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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: May 2006

1 - Introduction

Summary

BRENTANO’S SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION

Brentano is among the most important yet under-appreciated philosophers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He led an intellectual revolution that sought to reverse what was then the prevalent post-Kantian trend of German-Austrian philosophy in the direction of an Aristotelian scientific methodology. At the same time, he made valuable contributions to philosophical psychology, metaphysics, ontology, value theory, epistemology, the reform of syllogistic logic, philosophical theology and theodicy, and the history of philosophy and philosophical methodology.

By revitalizing Austrian scientific philosophy, Brentano and his school simultaneously laid the groundwork for twentieth-century philosophy of science as it came to fruition in the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle, for the Gegenstandstheorie or object theory of Alexius Meinong and his students in the Graz School, and for phenomenology, notably in the work of Edmund Husserl, and indirectly in such later thinkers as Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Beyond the borders of the German-speaking world, Brentano’s philosophy had a profound impact on the course of Anglo-American analytic philosophy, as evinced in tributes to his influence by, among many others, Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, Gilbert Ryle, G. F. Stout, and Roderick M. Chisholm.