Monday, October 18, 2004

# Posted 8:29 AM by Patrick Belton  

GOOD STUFF FROM THE LRB'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE, on class in Britain and the long-standing jousting match between Anglo-American and Continental philosophy. In the latter, Anglo-American philosopher Jerry Fodor writes: 'The place on the [Borders] shelf where my stuff would be if they had it (but they don't) is just to the left of Foucault, of which there is always yards and yards. I'm huffy about that; I wish I had his royalties. Royalties aside, what have they got that we haven't? It's not the texture of their prose I shouldn't think, since most of us write better than most of them. Anyhow, our arguments are better than theirs.' So why the declining fortunes of Anglo-American relative to Continental philosophy, at least in the readership of nonphilosophers? Problem one: 'Whereas it used to be said that philosophy is about, for example, Goodness or Existence or Reality or How the Mind Works, or whether there is a Cat on the Mat, [now] it's not the Good, the True or the Beautiful that a philosopher tries to understand, it's the corresponding concepts of "good" "beautiful" and '"true".' Problems two and three are then titled 'Quine' and 'Kripke'. Well worth a read.
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