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  • Alan Ryan (a1)

In this paper I intend to do two things. The first is to discuss a method of doing philosophy, the method of ‘ordinary language’ philosophy, as it is commonly and misleadingly called. (Its other common title: ‘Oxford Philosophy’ is even more misleading, since the roots of the method lie in Cambridge, and many of the most flourishing branches are in the United States rather than England.)If it needs a name, perhaps the best is—adapting Popper to our purpose—‘piecemeal philosophical engineering’. Such a title would emphasise the attention to detail and the caution about conclusions that characterise the best of such work. The second aim of this paper is to apply the method thus discussed and defended to three questions connected with the concept of freedom. These problems arise out of three recent discussions of freedom—Thought and Action and Spinoza and the Idea of Freedom by Professor Hampshire, and Two Concepts of Liberty by Professor Berlin.

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page 94 note 1 Most of this section is highly derivative: sources of particular importance are Ryle: ‘Ordinary Language’ in Philosophical Review 1953, Cavell: ‘Must we Mean what we Say?’ Inquiry, 1958.

page 99 note 1 Reviewing Austin: Sense and Sensibilia in Oxford Magazine, 12 1962.

page 106 note 1 This is unfair to Flew's later views; but perhaps not to the view expressed in New Essays in Philosophical Theology.

1 This paper is substantially as read to the Moral Sciences Club at Cambridge in November 1963 and to the Jowett Society at Oxford in February 1964.

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
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