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The Death of PhilosophyReference and Self-reference in Contemporary Thought$
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Isabelle Thomas-Fogiel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147781

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147781.001.0001

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Skeptical and Scientific “Post-philosophy”

Skeptical and Scientific “Post-philosophy”

(p.3) 1 Skeptical and Scientific “Post-philosophy”
The Death of Philosophy

Isabelle Thomas-Fogiel

, Richard A. Lynch
Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the thesis of the death of philosophy by focusing on the most radical antiphilosophers, which it calls the “post-contemporary philosophers.” In particular, it analyzes the ideas of these post-contemporary philosophers to show that, beneath their manifest differences—since they go from the most radical skepticism to the most accepted scientism—reveal the same invariant structure. Using this structure as a touchstone, the chapter proceeds to a discussion of the various, more subtle, appearances of the theme of the death of philosophy in other figures of contemporary philosophy. It traces, step-by-step, the various stages of current philosophy’s self-renunciation, from pragmatism, through an (admittedly failed) attempt to reestablish philosophy’s autonomy, to the most recent forms of phenomenology. It begins by focusing on Richard Rorty’s skeptical position before considering the moment that follows analytic philosophy. It then explores antirepresentationalism, antifoundationalism, and antiessentialism as well as Rorty’s “antiphilosophy.” It also looks at positivism, scientism, the radical scientism of biology, naturalism as a paradoxical synthesis, and Willard Van Orman Quine’s scientism.

Keywords:   death of philosophy, post-contemporary philosophers, radical skepticism, contemporary philosophy, phenomenology, Richard Rorty, analytic philosophy, antiphilosophy, scientism, Willard Van Orman Quine

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