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The Two Fates of Cold War Philosophy

The Two Fates of Cold War Philosophy

(p.154) Epilogue The Two Fates of Cold War Philosophy
The Philosophy Scare
John McCumber
University of Chicago Press

While Cold War philosophy itself was relatively short lived, its repercussions continued in American intellectual life, Later representatives of analytical philosophy such as Donald Davidson, David Lewis, and W. V. O. Quine appropriated insights from it piecemeal into their own programs; others, such as John Rawls, gave it a more central place. But it was never faced and critically discussed as a whole, which meant that some of its basic premises stayed in place. As the academy at large emerged from the Sixties, Cold War philosophy’s dispassionate and ahistorical view of reason came under attack in from feminists and members of minority groups, who asserted that their particular identities went all the way to their cores; reason was not merely mathematical but to some degree partisan. A quote from UCLA chancellor Franklin Murphy shows how the departments of American universities, shaped by Cold War philosophy, were unable to accommodate this, resulting in a proliferation of programs such as those in African-American, Chicano, LGBT, and Women’s Studies, as women and minorities sought places to articulate their standpoints.

Keywords:   analytical philosophy, Aristotle, dialectic, W. V. O. Quine, Donald Davidson, Immanuel Kant, David Lewis, Franklin Murphy, feminism, African-American Studies

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