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Central Works of Philosophy
  • This book is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core
  • Volume 4: The Twentieth Century: Moore to Popper
  • Edited by John Shand, Open University

Book description

CENTRAL WORKS OF PHILOSOPHY is a multi-volume set of essays on the core texts of the western philosophical tradition. From Plato's Republic to the present day, the volumes range over 2,500 years of philosophical writing covering the best, most representative, and most influential work of some of our greatest philosophers. Each essay has been specially commissioned and provides an overview of the work and clear and authoritative exposition of its central ideas. Volume 4 covers the key works of philosophy written in the period 1900–60, which witnessed developments in logical and linguistic analysis far beyond anything dreamt of in the previous history of the subject. The volume includes chapters on central works by the Cambridge philosophers Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein, which together contributed to the emergence of analytic philosophy. The ideas of the Vienna Circle of the 1920s, and the logical positivism of the 1930s and 1940s are explored in chapters dealing with the works of Carnap and Ayer, and the distinctive ideas of the American pragmatists are discussed in a chapter on William James's Pragmatism, which propagated pragmatism by presenting its central tenets in a clear and accessible form. Essays on Husserl's The Idea of Phenomenology, Heidegger's Being and Time, Sartre's Being and Nothingness and Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception cover the core texts of the continental European traditions of phenomenology and existentialism. Of the linguistic philosophy that dominated the English-speaking world in the immediate postwar years, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and Ryle's The Concept of Mind are discussed in turn. The volume concludes with a chapter on Karl Popper's influential account of the nature of scientific method in his seminal work, The Logic of Scientific Discovery.


"These lucid and insightful essays by leading figures in the field effortlessly span the dreaded 'analytic/continental' divide, enabling students at all levels to engage the thought of the most influential western philosophers of the last century. I highly recommend the book both to the lecturer and the student, and even to the scholar in need of a refresher on the work of Husserl, Carnap, Russell, or another of the major philosophers so expertly treated here."

Mitch Green

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