Truth by Analysis

Truth by Analysis : Games, Names, and Philosophy

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Description

What kind of subject is philosophy? Colin McGinn takes up this perennial question, defending the view that philosophy consists of conceptual analysis, construed broadly. Conceptual analysis is understood to involve the search for de re essences, but McGinn takes up various challenges to this meta-philosophy: that some concepts are merely family resemblance concepts with no definition in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions ("game", "language"); that it is
impossible to provide sufficient conditions for some philosophically important concepts without circularity ("knowledge", "intentional action"); that there exists an unsolved paradox of analysis; that there is no well-defined analytic-synthetic distinction; that names have no definition; and that
conceptual analysis is not properly naturalistic. Ultimately, McGinn finds none of these objections convincing: analysis emerges as both possible and fruitful.

At the same time, he rejects the idea of the "linguistic turn", arguing that analysis is not directed to language as such, but at reality. Going on to distinguish several types of analysis, with an emphasis on classical decompositional analysis, he shows different philosophical traditions to be engaged in conceptual analysis when properly understood. Philosophical activity has the kind of value possessed by play, McGinn claims, which differs from the kind of value possessed by scientific
activity. The book concludes with an analytic discussion of the prospects for traditional ontology and the nature of instantiation.

McGinn's study of the nature of philosophy shows us how philosophy can maintain its connection to the past while looking forward to a bright future.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 163 x 242 x 20mm | 408g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0199856141
  • 9780199856145
  • 1,066,168

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. Philosophy and Analysis ; 2. Definition and Family Resemblance ; 3. Sufficiency and Circularity ; 4. The Paradox of Analysis ; 5. Psychologism and the Linguistic Turn ; 6. The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction ; 7. The Whole of Philosophy ; 8. The Sense of Names ; 9. Naturalism and Philosophical Method ; 10. Philosophy as Play ; 11. The Possibility of Ontology ; 12. The Concept of Instantiation ; Bibliography
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Review quote

McGinn's thesis is big, bold, and controversial. Even those who are dubious will find a lot to admire in his clearly written and vigorously argued book. * David Haugen, Philosophy in Review * an exciting book ... elegantly written * Richard Baron, Philosophy Now *
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About Colin Mcginn

Colin McGinn teaches philosophy at the University of Miami, specializing in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of language. He has taught at Rutgers University, Oxford University, and London University. He has published some twenty books, ranging from consciousness to evil, Shakespeare to sport, film to logic, Wittgenstein to imagination. He has written extensively for the general reading public, as well as publishing a novel. He is an
avid tennis player and surfer.
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