I'm taking ancient philosophy at a public university. I've engaged with the Western canon from the pre-socratics through Aristotle, a number of the medievals and a smattering of modern philosophers including Kant, John Stuart Mill and Kierkegaard.

I find myself feeling very inadequate, however, when it comes to ideas that might be considered "postmodern". I'm not content to keep yapping about the objectivity of truth, however strong my convictions on that subject might be. I'd like to understand the jargon that is used alike by my sociological, linguistic and philosophy professors (the latter in unguarded moments).

Who are the key figures I should read to best understand philosophy during the last century and a quarter?

  • Professor John Rogers Searle of UC Berkeley. – Mr. Kennedy Dec 19 '16 at 5:30
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    For an overview : Anthony Kenny, Philosophy in the Modern World: A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4 (2007). – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 19 '16 at 7:22
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    Rorty's Mirror of Nature is one of the manifestos of postmodernism, Zammito's Nice Derangement of Epistemes, is a critical historical survey:"Setting out from Quine, Kuhn, and Davidson, Rorty has executed several elegant turns through Gadamer and Heidegger to come more and more to partner with Derrida". Either will get you current on buzz names and words. The Sokal hoax and the Fashionable Nonsense follow-up bring up more names and buzz words. – Conifold Dec 20 '16 at 1:41

Putnam called Pragmatism the 3rd Enlightenment (first the Greeks, then the 17th century). Brandom calls it the 2nd, after the 1st in the 17th century. Most of the great philosophers of the past 100 or so years have been pragmatists, even if some of them might deny it. Sellars, Wittgenstein, Quine, Putnam, Rorty, Brandom, the list goes on. A very good intro is Bacon's "Pragmatism: An Introduction" (http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0745646646.html).

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