Original Articles

Why I am not an analytic philosopher

Published in: South African Journal of Philosophy
Volume 27, issue 2, 2008 , pages: 153–163
DOI: 10.4314/sajpem.v27i2.31509
Author(s): David SpurrettSchool of Philosophy and Ethics University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus,


From a certain simplistic and inaccurate, although regrettably popular, perspective philosophy, at least for the past few decades, is available only in two main flavours - analytic and continental. Some self-identified members of both camps are apt to endorse uncharitable caricatures of what the others are up to. Among the many lines of criticism that can be directed against this false dichotomy, I wish to focus on discussion of a broadly naturalistic orientation that rejects many of the commitments both of paradigmatic analytic philosophy and paradigmatic continental philosophy. For the committed naturalist, the enterprise of philosophy is continuous with that of systematic empirical enquiry into the workings of the world (science). From a naturalistic perspective many of the standard moves of analytic philosophy, such as testing a proposal against ‘intuitions’, are as preposterous as the claims of ‘continental’ and ‘analytic’ philosophers sometimes appear to one another.

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