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Stewart D

A question about an example –

“during early analytical there was a consensus that Spinoza, while inspirational, really did not matter much to philosophy--Leibniz was the key historical figure”

That seems to fit Russell, but was it a consensus? I’m struck (perhaps too strongly) by the fact that Spinoza is one of the figures discussed in Broad’s Five Types of Ethical Theory. (Though Broad lectured and wrote on Leibniz too, and with both Broad and Russell teaching requirements are playing a role in the background.)

Playing around on JStor, looking for 20th century items in Mind with ‘Leibniz’ in the title, I seem to find only 8. After a review of Russell’s book, and a 1903 survey article by Russell, the later pieces are one article in 1942, and five book reviews from 1974 onwards. There is more Spinoza stuff – 23 items, 12 by 1940 – albeit with a question of whether it’s really analytic, in the early 20th century sense.


(Supposedly the correct story with the Zhou Enlai quote, which I'm told, but cannot at all confirm, is clear from the context, is that he's responding to a question about the 1968 French student uprisings. Sad, in a way, if true, because less fun, but also, nice because it's less likely to confirm our stereotypes about what a Chinese person/thinker would say.)

As for the period under discussion here, it's fun to think about how it could have been thought to be the period of Kripke, or Lewis, or Rorty, or Putnam. (Maybe I'm leaving someone out) but seems, as you say, to have been the period of Lewis, at least in the "core" M&E fields. But, maybe yet that will turn out to be too fast. Consider, as I'm sure you have, Hume's assessment of the achievements of Locke.

Schliesser, Eric

31 items on Leibniz and Spinoza may be too little to mean more than statistical noise. But a few notes, we know that under Ryle's editorialship history of philosophy was marginalized in Mind (until the recent change in editorship). I learned from a working paper by Joel Katzav and Krist Vaessens that under Moore in the mid twenties non-analytical work disappeared from Mind; in effect, that meant that the British Idealists -- who were engaged with Spinoza -- were banished (amongst others).
I don't tend to treat Broad as an (early) analytical philosopher, in part, because he Ernest Nagel ignores him in his important series of classificatory articles in 1936 (JPHIL), and, in part, because Broad is self-consciously not wedded to a school. I think Broad and Prior (and maybe Ramsey) raise interesting issues of classification --they have been picked up by analytical philosophers, but it is not entirely obvious they should be categorized as such. (And they also happen to be super interesting.)
So, I am going to stick to my guns, but I also note that 'key historical figure' may mean very little for any of them.

Schliesser, Eric

Matt, on Hume/Locke. Yes, later philosophy may discover that the earlier classification cannot be sustained.
On Lewis, do not forget his non-trivial impact on value theory (first by way of Convention, then later more indirectly by way of his metaphysics).


Where do you see Lewis's influence on value theory, Eric? I'm certainly not denying it, but it doesn't seem that significant in the stuff I read. I'd be interested in direction. (This may just reflect my tastes, I'll admit.)

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