Analytic Philosophy

Epistemology and Metaphysics After Logical Positivism

What was new in metaphysics and epistemology after logical positivism?

Metaphysics and epistemology made a new empirical start that was thoroughly informed by science. P.F. Strawson (1919–2006) defended a common sense metaphysics, and, like Wilfred Sellars (1912–1989), he developed the idea of a common perspective that was opposed to science. Strawson did much to reclaim for philosophy a common sense approach to the world, which the logical positivists would have thought was meaningless, because it was not about science. Nelson Goodman (1906–1998) resurrected the perennial problem of induction—reasoning that begins with experience and builds toward knowledge. W.V.O. Quine (1908–2000) uniquely redirected the course of twentieth century philosophy by combining pragmatist insights with a rigorous philosophical method. Also, perhaps partly as a result of Quine’s work, Hilary Putnam (1926–) reinterpreted pragmatist epistemology by applying its insights to questions of truth in the sciences.


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