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Nick Smyth

Hi Eric,

I found this all very interesting. Two questions. First: what would you say to a critic who (gently) chided you for inserting the word "analytical" into the name of this research program? Does this word just signal a certain style of writing, perhaps a preference for the literal over the allegorical, or for plain language over obfuscatory prose? If so, might the program not just be called "existentialism"?

Second: would you include Bernard Williams as an analytical existentialist? I suspect he'd be a good fit: many of his arguments against moral theory were grounded solidly in the first-personal experience of what it is like to confront the demands of such theories given one's prior commitments (he puts the characters of Jim, Gauguin and Agamemmnon to use here). You could even see Williams as developing a kind of practical metaphysics of the self based on commitments and projects, in a way that was enthusiastically adopted by Korsgaard (another candidate for membership in this school, I think).

Eric Schliesser

Well, I am the first to admit that 'an analytical style' is very vague and not helpful in a proper definition. But, to answer your first question, yes, it's related not just to a style of writing but to a way of doing philosophy and norms of evaluation that are commonly associated with the analytical tradition (diverse as it is).

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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