Simon Blackburn - The British philosopher’s

Sunday October 02nd 2005, 1:49 pm

Quoth Richard Rorty:

The principal vice of the community of analytic philosophers is that its members do not read much outside of analytic philosophy. Graduate study in philosophy in most American philosophy departments is largely a matter of going over the publications of the last ten or twenty years in order to get the background necessary for throwing oneself into the “hot topics” of the last one or two years—the topics currently being discussed on the pre-print circuit. … Yet they have little sense of what the ancient discipline was. … Nor do they have much sense of what is going on in the history, political science, literature, or sociology departments of the universities in which they teach. This is why they are baffled and annoyed when they find that contemporary French and German philosophers are being admired, discussed, and taught in these departments.

In other words, this is why people outside of philosophy are reading guys like Foucault and Derrida and so forth and not, say, Willard Van Orman Quine.

Quoted in an essay on Simon Blackburn by Stephen Metcalf


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