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Paperback | $35.00 Short | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780262730808 | 280 pp. | 6 x 9 in | March 1988

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Beyond Analytic Philosophy

Doing Justice to What We Know


This cogent and knowledgeable critique of the tradition of modern analytic philosophy focuses on the work of its central figures—Russell, Carnap, and Quine—and finds it wanting. In its place, Hao Wang unfolds his own original view of what philosophy could and should be. The base of any serious philosophy, he contends, should take as its point of departure the actual state of human knowledge. He explains the relation of this new tradition to mathematical logic and reveals the crucial transitions and mistakes in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy that make a new approach so compelling.

Equally at home in philosophy and mathematics, Wang is uniquely qualified to take on the task of critically examining modern philosophy. He carefully traces the path of ideas from Russell and Wittgenstein through the Vienna Circle to modern British and American philosophy, and makes use of his familiarity with the profound thought of Kurt Godel with whom he has had numerous discussions. He also presents the broader significance of Russell's philosophy, provides a comprehensive and unified treatment of Quine's work in logic and in philosophy, and delineates what is common between Carnap and Quine.


"Wang places contemporary academic philosophy itself on trial, and reveals its shortcomings, in a truly masterful analysis."
Martin Davis, Courant Institute

"Wang's book is a rich and fascinating contribution to the history of philosophy and metaphilosophy. In addition, it has unique value as an account of the reaction of a sensitive and distinguished individual to what has been, and is, an extraordinarily interesting phase of intellectual history."
Sir Peter Strauss, Magdalen College, Oxford