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Pragmatism and Analytical Philosophy, Essay Example

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The uniquely American character of pragmatic and analytic philosophy can be explained in terms of their homology with a greater social context, according to which the foundational values of American public discourse were primarily geared towards practical concerns. Accordingly, issues consistent with the capitalist worldview, such as real-world production and innovation were identical with the concerns of pragmatism in particular and analytic philosophy in general. Against the abstract metaphysical speculation of continental philosophy, with its underlying commitment to the investigation of quasi-mystical concepts such as the Absolute (i.e., Hegel and Schelling), pragmatism and analytical philosophy criticized the underlying metaphysical assumptions of such approaches, emphasizing the need for real-world responses to philosophical problematics, as, for example, is demonstrated in the priority given to the analysis of everyday language. Accordingly, the basic realist and scientific inclination of American society fostered a symmetrical philosophical movement that did not oppose the dominant cultural paradigm, but rather harmoniously emerged within its boundaries. Pragmatism, simply put, was consistent with the practical and even ethical concerns of the United States and how it viewed itself as a nation.

In the particular case of analytic philosophy, it can be added that the apparent affinity between the latter and the United States is traceable back to the issue of language. Insofar as analytic philosophy was primarily produced in the United Kingdom, its enthusiastic reception and subsequent growth in the United States is partly explained by the fact that such scholarship was written in the English language. The shared medium of communication allowed for a more instant exchange of ideas, as the boundaries of language and its consequences, such as waiting for translations of key texts to be realized, were not an obstacle. Intellectuals from Great Britain who supported analytic philosophy could easily communicate with their American counterparts.

Accordingly, the American affinity with pragmatism and analytic philosophy can be summarized as, on the one hand, a harmony of ideas and worldviews, and on the other hand, a pragmatic issue of communication that allowed the movement to within the U.S. context.

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