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Visions of Philosophy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2009

Extract

Characterizations of philosophy abound. It is ‘the queen of the sciences’, a grand and sweeping metaphysical endeavour; or, less regally, it is a sort of deep anthropology or ‘descriptive metaphysics’, uncovering the general presuppositions or conceptual schemes that lurk beneath our words and thoughts. A different set of images portray philosophy as a type of therapy, or as a spiritual exercise, a way of life to be followed, or even as a special branch of poetry or politics. Then there is a group of characterizations that include philosophy as linguistic analysis, as phenomenological description, as conceptual geography, or as genealogy in the sense proposed by Nietzsche and later taken up by Foucault.

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Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy and the contributors 2009

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References

1 Peter Strawson compared the ‘analysis’ engaged in by the ‘descriptive metaphysician’ with the enquiries of the theoretical linguist into the ‘deep structures’ of languages. See his Analysis and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Philosophy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).

2 On Heideggerian ‘poetry’ and Marx's ‘politics’ as expressions of conceptions of philosophy, see Rorty, Richard, ‘Philosophy as science, as metaphor, and as politics’, in his Essays on Heidegger and Others, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, (London: Macmillan, 1969), §1.

4 Mulhall, Stephen, Inheritance and Originality: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 36ff.Google Scholar

5 ‘Philosophical progress in language theory’, Metaphilosophy 1, 1970, 1.

6 See the selections from the Nyāya-Sutras and Nāgārjuna in Cooper, David E. and Fosb, Peter S. (eds.), Philosophy: The Classic Readings, (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)Google Scholar.

7 Selected Philosophical Writings, trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 98.

8 World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction, 2nd ed., Oxford: Blackwell, 2003; The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002).

9 See Hegel's Encyclopedia of Logic, §194, and Phenomenology of Spirit, §12 and §195.

10 See the Preface to Rorty's Consequences of Pragmatism, (Brighton: Harvester, 1982).

11 The Sickness Unto Death, in , H. and Hong, E. (eds.), The Essential Kierkegaard, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), 363Google Scholar.

12 Metaphysical Horror, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988).

13 Science of Knowledge, trans. P. Heath and J. Lachs, (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970), 9ff.

14 Being and Nothingness, trans. H. Barnes, (London: Methuen, 1957), 552.

15 On Marcus Aurelius, see the illuminating discussion in Hadot, Pierre, Philosophy as a Way of Life, trans. Chase, M., (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), 190ff and 250ffGoogle Scholar.

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