PHIL 109 -- History of Analytic Philosophy
Winter 2012

Instructor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8018
   hours:   Tues, 2-4pm
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   Alex M.
   office:   HSS 7039
   hours:   Fri, 11a-12p
derrida [at]


Time:        11:00am--12:20pm
Location:  Pepper Canyon Hall (PCYNH) 121 [map]
                   [**note change in room!**]

Required textbooks

{available at UCSD Bookstore (in the Price Center)}

Gottlob Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic (1884)
 J.L. Austin, tr., 3rd ed., Northwestern (1980)

Gottlob Frege, The Frege Reader
 M. Beaney, ed., Blackwell 1997

Bertrand Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (1918)
 Open Court, 1985

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)
 Pears/McGuinness, tr., Routledge, 2001

A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic (1936/46)
 2nd ed., Dover, 1956

Recommended textbooks


Course description

The main questions we will address include:

* What would it mean for 'analysis' to be the proper method of philosophy?  What are the prospects for such a proposal?  What are the tools (logical? conceptual? linguistic? psychological?) to be used in distinctively philosophical analysis? 
* Can a philosophy grounded in, and limited to, analysis claim to provide the foundations for knowledge in general, if it has to presuppose that there is something 'there' to be analyzed?  Can analysis demonstrate the validity of its own method to provide knowledge? 
* Among all that is 'there' already prior to analysis, what is to be the primary focus of analysis? (the world? our minds? language? science?) 
* How can analysis ever lead to new knowledge (tell us something we don't already implicitly know)?  Is it ultimately and essentially conservative? 
* Should analysis be the only valid method for all forms of philosophical inquiry (even, say, in ethics and aesthetics)? 
* If we cannot conceive of certain traditional philosophical questions and projects (in, say, metaphysics) as ones that can be resolved through analysis, what should we say about them?  Would this mean that the questions themselves are invalid or meaningless?  But then why would we have been tempted to ask them in the first place, and so frequently throughout the history of philosophy?

We will try to answer these questions (and more!) by working through proposals made by the central figures in
the historical development of the tradition which has come to be known as 'analytic' philosophy: Gottlob FREGE (1848–1925), Bertrand RUSSELL (1872–1970), Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN (1889-1951), and A.J. AYER (1910–89).

Prerequisite: upper-division standing or consent of instructor.  Despite what the catalog and the registrar may think, Phil 120 is *not* a prerequisite for this course (though having taken 120 might help you get more out of the course).  If you are having problems registering for the class because of this, please send me an email so that I can give you permission to enroll.

Course requirements

* assignments {tbd}
* attendance
* participation

Schedule of readings


Reference links

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries (requires sign-in)

Overview of 'analytical philosophy'
Gottlob Frege
G.E. Moore
Bertrand Russell
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Rudolf Carnap
A.J. Ayer
The Vienna Circle
W.V. Quine

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries

Analysis in the history of philosophy
Analysis in analytic philosophy
John Stuart Mill
Gottlob Frege
G.E. Moore
Bertrand Russell
Ludwig Wittgenstein
A.J. Ayer
The Vienna Circle
Logical Empiricism
W.V. Quine

Course URL

last updated: January 8th, 2012