In this interview with philosopher Bernard Williams interviewer Bryan Magee suggests:

Logical Positivism was the prevailing orthodoxy of one generation, Linguistic Philosophy of the next.

Is another philosopher (or competent interviewer) on record for describing in similar concise terms how the history of philosophy (when viewed from a similar perspective) went on in the subsequent generation(s) since ?

  • A renewal of metaphysics – Quentin Ruyant Dec 21 '14 at 14:48
  • @quen_tin Can you elaborate or at least name a representative of that next generation as you perceive it. So is renewed metaphysics prevailing orthodoxy now, hmm ... ? – Drux Dec 21 '14 at 16:00
  • @Drux Timothy Williamson – sequitur Dec 21 '14 at 16:23
  • I can't elaborate a lot, sorry it's a kind of received view I've heard a lot. Kripke (naming & necessity) and Putnam (the meaning of meaning) are often credited for their semantic arguments which allows a renewal of realism, essentialism, etc. – Quentin Ruyant Dec 22 '14 at 11:28
  • Quine's attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction is sometimes credited for allowing continuity between metaphysics and science. Some well known metaphysicians: Armstrong, Lewis, Davidson, Lowe, ... – Quentin Ruyant Dec 22 '14 at 11:31

It is often said that the demise of logical empiricism allowed a renewal of metaphysics in the late 20th century.

Kripke (naming and necessity) and Putnam (the meaning of meaning) are often credited for their semantic arguments allowing a renewal of essentialism and realism, i.e. their semantic leaves room for metaphysics. Quine (two dogma of empiricism) is sometimes said to have restored a continuity between metaphysics and empirical sciences, through his arguments against the analytic/synthetic distinction.

Important works in metaphysics since then include: Armstrong, Davidson, Lewis, Lowe, and more recently Bird or Ellis.


In Western Philosophy with regards to the 20th century Brian Magee is indeed correct that Logical Positivism first prevailed as orthodoxy and then came the Linguistic Turn.

There is no prevailing orthodoxy today. There are two broad schools in Western Philosophy that bifurcated after Hegel and are in the process of re-assimilating: Analytic Philosophy and Continental Philosophy. There are those that would debate this but there are those that would debate black is white given half the chance.

What will happen next (indeed it has already started) in Contemporary Philosophy is two-fold. One, East and West shall merge to culminate in a Global Philosophy with influences from both East and West. Two, Computers and the Internet will mean that philosophy will become increasingly computational, digital, cyber-, call it what you will. Source: me (sorry!).

Sorry for the Wiall kipedia links but what can one do, huh?


any attempt to do so would be rhetorical by said philosopher.

there are schools of thought still, which call themselves e.g. "entity realists" or "structural realists" or "internal realists" etc., but none of these have reached the hegemony of the "received view".

why that is is quite a fascinating question actually, especially given the failures of logical positivism. i would suggest, influence in the soft sciences and arts...

,,, if i had to answer your question, i'd say "scientism".

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