THE FATE OF ANALYSIS: Analytic Philosophy From Frege To The Ash-Heap of History, #1–Introduction.

By Robert Hanna



II. Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

II.5 Frege, The First Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.6 Frege’s Project of (Transformative or Reductive) Analysis

II.7 Frege’s Dead End

II.8 Frege’s Semantics of Sense and Reference, aka Meaning

II.9 Some Biggish Problems For Frege’s Semantics

II.10 Husserl, Logic, and Logical Psychologism, aka LP

II.11 What LP is, and its Three Cardinal Sins

II.12 Husserl’s Three Basic Arguments Against LP

II.13 Has Husserl Begged the Question Against LP? Enter The Logocentric Predicament, and a Husserlian Way Out

II. Moore, Brentano, Husserl, Judgment, Anti-Idealism, and Meinong’s World

III.1 G.E. Moore, the Second Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

III.2 Brentano on Phenomenology, Mental Phenomena, and Intentionality

III.3 Husserl on Phenomenology and Intentionality

III.4 Moore and the Nature of Judgment

III.5 Moore and the Refutation of Idealism

III.6 Meinong’s World

IV. Russell, Unlimited Logicism, Acquaintance, and Description

IV.1 Russell Beyond Brentano, Husserl, Moore, and Meinong

IV.2 Russell and Mathematical Logic versus Kant

IV.3 Russell’s Unlimited Logicist Project

IV.4 Pursued by Logical Furies: Russell’s Paradox Again

IV.5 Russell’s ‘Fido’-Fido Theory of Meaning

IV.6 Knowledge-by-Acquaintance and Knowledge-by-Description

IV.7 Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

IV.8 Russell’s Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment

IV.9 Russellian Analysis, Early Wittgenstein, and Impredicativity Again

IV.10 Russell and The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

V. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 1: The Title, and Propositions 1–2.063

V.1 A Brief Synopsis of the Tractatus

V.2 The Tractatus in Context

V.3 The Basic Structure of the Tractatus: A Simple Picture

V.4 Tractarian Ontology

V.5 Reconstructing Wittgenstein’s Reasoning

V.6 What Are the Objects or Things?

V.7 The Role of Logic in Tractarian Ontology

V.8 Colorless Objects/Things

V.9 Tractarian Ontology, Necessity, and Contingency

V.10 Some Initial Worries, and Some Possible Wittgensteinian Counter-Moves

VI. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 2: Propositions 2.013–5.55

VI.1 What is Logical Space? What is Real Space?

VI.2 Atomic Facts Necessarily Are in Manifest or Phenomenal Space, But Objects or Things Themselves Necessarily Aren’t in Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.3 Logical Space is Essentially More Comprehensive than Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.4 Why There Can’t/Kant Be a Non-Logical World

VI.5 A Worry About Wittgenstein’s Conception of Logic: Non-Classical Logics

VI.6 What is a Tractarian Proposition?

VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

VI.8 Signs, Symbols, Sense, Truth, and Judgment

VI.9 Propositions Again

VI.10 Language and Thought

VII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 3: Propositions 4–5.61

VII.1 The Logocentric Predicament, Version 3.0: Justifying Deduction

VII.2 The Logical Form of Deduction

VII.3 Logic Must Take Care of Itself

VII.4 Tautologies and Contradictions

VII.5 What is Logic?

VII.6 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Language

VII.7 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Thought

VII.8 Logic is the A Priori Essence of the World

VIII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 4: Propositions 5.62–7

VIII.1 Tractarian Solipsism and Tractarian Realism

VIII.2 Tractarian Solipsism

VIII.3 Tractarian Realism

VIII.4 Is the Tractatus’s Point an Ethical One?

VIII.5 The Meaning of Life

VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus

VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things

VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts

VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy

IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide

IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus

IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics

IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate

IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide

X. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27

X.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations

X.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use

X.3 A Map of the Investigations

X.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did

XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242

XI.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity

XI.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.3 Understanding and Rule-Following

XI.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale

XI.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?

XI.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way

XI.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315

XII.1 What is a Private Language?

XII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.

XII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction

XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 & 174e-232e

XIII.1 Linguistic Phenomenology

XIII.2 Two Kinds of Seeing

XIII.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word

XIII.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar

XIV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism

XIV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism

XIV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism

XIV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life

XIV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy

XIV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique

XV. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism

XV.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters

XV.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique

XV.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism

XVI. Analytic Philosophy and The Ash-Heap of History

XVI.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis

XVI.2 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?

XVI.3 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

XVI.4 Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution


This installment contains chapter I.

But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete book HERE.


I. Introduction

There, I argued

(i) that Analytic philosophy emerged by virtue of its intellectual struggles with some of the central doctrines of the Critique of Pure Reason,

(ii) that a careful examination of this foundational debate shows that Kant’s doctrines were never refuted but instead, for various reasons, only rejected, and

(3) that ironically enough it’s the foundations of Analytic philosophy, not the Critical philosophy, that are inherently shaky.

And in 2006, I followed that up with a book called Kant, Science, and Human Nature, which extended the same general line of argument by critically exploring some of the equally deep connections between the Critical philosophy and Analytic philosophy from 1950 to the end of the 20th century.

In Fall (aka Michaelmas Term) 2003 and Spring (aka Lent Term) 2004, I did a series of lectures at Cambridge on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations respectively: the primary aim of the lectures was to explicate and interpret those two brilliantly original books both in their own terms and also by situating them in relation to the larger Kantian and Analytic traditions.

In 2008, I published an essay called “Kant in the Twentieth Century,” that began like this:

Alfred North Whitehead … quotably wrote in 1929 that “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”[i] The same could be said, perhaps with even greater accuracy, of the twentieth-century Euro-American philosophical tradition and Immanuel Kant. In this sense the twentieth century was the post-Kantian century.Twentieth-century philosophy in Europe and the USA was dominated by two distinctive and (after 1945) officially opposed traditions: the analytic tradition and the phenomenological tradition. Very simply put, the analytic tradition was all about logic and analyticity, and the phenomenological tradition was all about consciousness and intentionality. Ironically enough however, despite their official Great Divide, both the analytic and the phenomenological traditions were essentially continuous and parallel critical developments from an earlier dominant neo-Kantian tradition. This, by the end of the nineteenth century had vigorously reasserted the claims of Kant’s transcendental idealism against Hegel’s absolute idealism and the other major systems of post-Kantian German Idealism, under the unifying slogan “Back to Kant!” So again ironically enough, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions were alike founded on, and natural outgrowths from, Kant’s Critical Philosophy.

By the end of the twentieth century however, and this time sadly rather than ironically, both the analytic and phenomenological traditions had not only explicitly rejected their own Kantian foundations and roots but also had effectively undermined themselves philosophically, even if by no means institutionally. On the one hand the analytic tradition did so by abandoning its basic methodological conception of analysis as the process of logically decomposing propositions into conceptual or metaphysical “simples,” as the necessary preliminary to a logical reconstruction of the same propositions, and by also jettisoning the corresponding idea of a sharp, exhaustive, and significant “analytic-synthetic” distinction. The phenomenological tradition on the other hand abandoned its basic methodological conception of phenomenology as “seeing essences” with a priori certainty under a “transcendental-phenomenological reduction,” and also jettisoned the corresponding idea of a “transcendental ego” as the metaphysical ground of consciousness and intentionality.

One way of interpreting these sad facts is to say that just insofar as analytic philosophy and phenomenology alienated themselves from their Kantian origins, they stultified themselves. This is the first unifying thought behind this [essay], and it is a downbeat one. The second unifying thought, which however is contrastively upbeat, is that both the analytic and phenomenological traditions, now in conjunction instead of opposition, could rationally renew themselves in the twenty-first century by critically recovering their Kantian origins and by seriously re-thinking and re-building their foundations in the light of this critical recovery. Or in other words: Forward to Kant.[ii]

And then in 2011, in the context of a so-called “slasher” (i.e., 4000/5000 level) course that straddled advanced undergraduate work and introductory graduate work, I presented another series of lectures that combined, elaborated, and expanded the Wittgenstein lectures and “Kant in the Twentieth Century,” under the following course-description:

Twentieth century philosophy in Europe, the USA, and other English-speaking countries was dominated by two distinctive and (after World War II) officially opposed traditions: the Analytic tradition and the Phenomenological tradition. Very simply put, the Analytic tradition was all about logic, analyticity, and knowledge; and the Phenomenological tradition was all about consciousness, intentionality, and human existence. From 1900 to 1945, the two traditions critically interacted and influenced each other in various ways. But after World War II, they ultimately divided over cultural-political contingencies and the philosophically substantive issue of the metaphysical foundations and epistemic status of the exact sciences. The purpose of this lecture course is to give a close, critical reading of some foundational arguments, doctrines, and texts in the analytic tradition from Frege to scientific essentialism, with an eye to tracking some of the mutual critical interactions and influences of the Analytic and Phenomenological traditions prior to 1945, and a special emphasis on the philosophy of Wittgenstein, both early and late.

This book is an elaboration, expansion, and extension of those 2011 lectures, together with materials adapted/borrowed from my 2015 book, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori, and from eight other essays:

(i) “Husserl’s Arguments Against Logical Psychologism: Prolegomena §§ 17–61,” from 2008,[iii]

(ii) “From Referentialism to Human Action: Wittgenstein’s Critique of the Augustinian Theory of Language,” from 2010,[iv]

(iii) “Transcendental Idealism, Phenomenology, and the Metaphysics of Intentionality,” from 2013,[v]

(iv) “Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis,” from 2014,[vi]

(v) “Why Hasn’t Professional Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last 40 Years?,” from 2016,[vii]

(vi) “Wittgenstein and Kantianism,” also from 2017,[viii]

(vii) “Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and its Second Copernican Revolution,” from 2018,[ix] and finally

(viii) “On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” also from 2018.[x]

I.2 The Fate of Analysis thus combines the three lecture courses, “Kant in the Twentieth Century,” and those eight other essays, into a single critical and revisionist study of the conceptual and historical foundations of Analytic philosophy, with special reference to

(i) its Kantian provenance,

(ii) the special contributions of Wittgenstein, both early and late,

(iii) critical comparisons and contrasts with phenomenology during the period of the emergence and ascendancy of classical Analytic philosophy, from the late 19th century to 1950, and finally

(iv) its steady philosophical decline during the period of post-classical Analytic philosophy, a decline that’s partially due to its dogmatic obsession with scientific naturalism, but also and above all intimately entangled and synchronized with the social-institutional emergence, triumph, and finally domination and hegemony of academic hyper-professionalism in the larger context of the military-industrial-university-digital complex and the neoliberal nation-state,[xi] from 1950 right up to 6am this morning.

In 1981, Richard Rorty wrote:

In saying that “analytic philosophy” now has only a stylistic and sociological unity, I am not suggesting that analytic philosophy is a bad thing, or is in bad shape.[xii]

Nearly forty years later, with 20–20 hindsight and then some, I’m going one or two radical steps beyond Rorty,[xiii] by not merely suggesting, but instead asserting, not only one, but instead both, of those things; that is:

(i) because classical Analytic philosophy as a serious and substantive philosophical program effectively ended in the middle of the 20th century with Quine’s devastating critique of the analytic-synthetic distinction,

(ii) because of the dogmatic obsession of post-Quinean, post-classical Analytic philosophy with scientific naturalism since 1950, and above all,

(iii) because of post-classical Analytic philosophy’s spiralling descent into academic hyper-professionalism and a mind-manacled complicity with the neoliberal nation-State, in the late 20th century and first two decades of the 21st century, therefore

(v) it’s now a very bad thing and in very bad shape, and good riddance to bad rubbish, probably within the next 20 years.

Therefore the subtitle of this book, Analytic Philosophy From Frege To The Ash-Heap of History, which repurposes Petrarch’s and Trotsky’s famous good-riddances to Rome and the Mensheviks, succinctly prefigures my overall conclusion.


[ii] R. Hanna, “Kant in the Twentieth Century,” in D. Moran (ed.), Routledge Companion to Twentieth-Century Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 149–203, at pp. 149–150, also available online in preview, HERE.

[iii] In V. Mayer (ed.), Husserls Logische Untersuchungen (Munich: Akademie Verlag, 2008), pp. 27–42, also available online at URL = <>.

[iv] In A. Ahmed (ed.), Wittgenstein’s ‘Philosophical Investigations’: A Critical Guide (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010), pp. 11–29, also available online at URL = < /From_Referentialism_to_Human_Action_Wittgenstein_on_the_Augustinian_Theory_of_Language>.

[v] In K. Ameriks and N. Boyle (eds.), The Impact of Idealism (4 vols., Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013), vol. I, pp. 191–224, also available online at URL = <>.

[vi] In International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2014): 752–770.

[vii] Published under the pseudonym ‘Z’, in Against Professional Philosophy (9 September 2016), available online at URL = <>.

[viii] In H.-J. Glock (ed.), Blackwell Companion to Wittgenstein (Oxford: Blackwell, 2017), pp. 682–698, also available online at URL = <>.

[ix] In R. Hanna, Preface and General Introduction, Supplementary Essays, and General Bibliography (THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 1) (New York: Nova Science, 2018), pp. 147–168, also available online in preview, HERE.

[x] In Critique (2018), available online at URL = <>.

[xi] See, e.g., J. Schmidt, Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering Systems that Shapes their Lives (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000); M. Maiese and R. Hanna, The Mind-Body Politic (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), ch. 4, also available online in preview, HERE; and S. Turner, “Beyond the Academic Ethic,” in F. Cannizzo and N. Osbaldston (eds.), The Social Structures of Global Academia (London/New York: Routledge, 2019), pp. 35–52, also available online HERE.

[xii] R. Rorty, “Philosophy in America Today,” in R. Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis, MN: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1982), pp. 211–230, at p. 217.

[xiii] See R. Hanna, “Consequences of Consequences: Against Professional Philosophy, Anarcho- or Borderless Philosophy, and Rorty’s Role,” (April 2019 version), available online HERE.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Tuesday 18 February 2020

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