[hist-analytic] Analytic Philosophy: Oxonian Varieties

Roger Bishop Jones rbj at rbjones.com
Tue Aug 11 15:04:59 EDT 2009

On Sunday 09 August 2009 23:38:46 Baynesr at comcast.net wrote:

> ... there is one
> troubling thing I've heard about Carnap while he was at Chicago. There was
> a dispute involving McKeon, with whom I've had some interesting discussion
> on Aristotle. It is said that Carnap would not approve a diss. on the
> ontological argument because the argument was fallacious. An argument
> ensued with McKeon who it is said left the department and became head of a
> new department, Ideas and Methods. If a guy can tolerate Heidegger, then he
> ought to tolerate a scholarly treatment of the Ontolotical Argument, or so
> its seems.

This is discussed by Carnap in the Schilpp volume,

 I.I.4.B "The Situation of Philosophy in the United States", pp 39-43.

He does not say that he declined to approve the dissertation,
and I would ask you to check your facts on that.
Nor does he have any problem with a scholarly treatment of the
Ontological Argument.
He has on p41 a long paragraph in which he is aknowledging
the value of doing history of philosophy fully from the point
of view of the historical figures being studied (he is stronger
on this point than I could manage to be myself), before
going on to describe the problem with the Ontological argument.
In this his complaint seemed to be that the dissertation
failed to fully aknowledge the significance of the results
of modern logic, treating them as if they were just an alternative
point of view.

Those philosophers who are dissatisfied with the perpertual
flux in received philosophical opinion (when viewed over the
long term), and who seek to make philosophy, at least in part
as rigorous as mathematics, will naturally deprecate unsound
Surely if analytic philosophers stand for anything they must
stand for sound reasoning, and hence be to some extent
intolerant of unsound reasoning, at the very least to the
extent of showing its defects?


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