Why Is Analytic Philosophy Dominant?
Truman Chen

03 March 2017

How did analytic philosophy come to dominate Anglo-American philosophy departments? If you thought it was just because it is the superior kind of philosophy, well, that might be your bias showing. Some seemingly important developments in the history of thought are determined by rather uninspiring and unglamorous contingencies, like rivalries or personal idiosyncracies. 

The Daily Nous recently discussed a new essay, "On the emergence of American analytic philosophy" by Joel Katzav and Krist Vaesen, published in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy in 2017. The essay argues that the historical dominance of analytic philosophy was actually due in large part to the deliberate "journal capture" and intellectual exclusion of other modes of philosophical thinking. In their words, "[t]he dominance of analytic philosophy was not just a matter of inherent affinity of American philosophy or analytic philosophy, good arguments, more cogently stated doctrines or the lack of alternatives."

With this in mind, have we inherited certain biases when it comes to determining what kinds of questions or methodologies are properly philosophical? What makes something "good" philosophy in the first place? Is there a way to determine this without recourse to conventional discriminations against opposing philosophical traditions? Maybe the analytic and "continental" modes of philosophy aren't inherently opposed after all, and a concerted effort to cultivate more philosophically diverse departments and institutions will lead to better and more informed arguments.

Read the article here: http://dailynous.com/2017/01/24/journal-capture-led-dominance-analytic-philosophy-u-s/

Comments (1)

420_ZaRAthUsTRa's picture


Thursday, March 9, 2017 -- 11:25 AM

It's long bothered me how

It's long bothered me how analytic philosophy has gotten so big.... always been drawn to alternative thought myself