Original Articles

Strawson on Philosophy – Three Episodes

Published in: South African Journal of Philosophy
Volume 27, issue 3, 2008 , pages: 167–178
DOI: 10.4314/sajpem.v27i3.31510
Author(s): Paul Francis SnowdonDepartment of Philosophy, UK


Strawson repeatedly wrote about the nature of philosophy. This article responds to three of his discussions. First, in his review of Wittgenstein’ s Philosophical Investigations (1954) Strawson expressed dissatisfaction with Wittgenstein’s philosophy of philosophy. It is argued that Strawson’s response very successfully brings out the arbitrariness of the conception. Second, in his contribution to The Revolution in Philosophy (1956) he characterises the task of analysis as he sees it. It is argued that, despite the care of his treatment, many aspects of analysis remain unexplained. Finally, in Individuals (1959), he proposed the descriptive/revisionary distinction within philosophy. It is argued that this brilliant and influential distinction is less helpful than normally thought. What each episode shares, however, are many insights and the power to stimulate thought.

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