Analytical Philosophy and the Philosophy of Intellectual History: A Critical Comparison and Interpretation

This article argues that the relationship between analytical philosophy and the philosophy of intellectual history is conceptually uneasy and even antagonistic once the general philosophical viewpoints, and some particular topics, of the two perspectives are drawn out and compared. The article critically compares the philosophies of Quentin Skinner and Mark Bevir with the philosophies of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J.L. Austin, W.V.O. Quine and Donald Davidson. Section I compares the way in which these two perspectives view the task of philosophy. Section II points to a critical difficulty in Bevir and Skinner’s use of analytical philosophy in their discussions on objectivity. In section III, another such critical juncture is identified in the topic of explanation. Finally, section IV suggests an interpretation for the character of the comparison.