philosophy, analytical

   Analytical philosophy is an approach to philosophy that emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with the work of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and that has since been dominant in British and North-American philosophy. Analytical philosophy involves no particular school or doctrine beyond the belief that analysis, the clarification of concepts and attention to the logical structure of language are essential for philosophical progress. As Russell said, 'I have sought solutions of philosophical problems by means of analysis; and I remain firmly persuaded, in spite of some modern tendencies to the contrary, that only by analysing is progress possible' (1959: 11). Typically analytic philosophers shy away from synthesis, the construction of systems of thought, instead limiting their work to a piecemeal postulation and assessment of philosophical claims. While analytical philosophers have often been at best ambivalent about Christianity, a growing number of Christians have adopted this method. While Christian analytic philosophers initially focused their efforts on defences of the rationality of theistic belief and the arguments for the existence of God, more recently attention has increasingly shifted to the analysis and defence of particular Christian doctrines (for example, Trinity and incarnation), and practices (for example, prayer). Critics complain that analytical philosophy falls prey to the dangers of over-analysis, which become even more egregious when it is directed toward essentially ineffable theological mysteries. Analytical philosophers counter that the method gives helpful assistance in working for clarity in our use of concepts and language.
   Further reading: Biletzki and Matar 1998; Dummett 1993; Gross 1970; Hales 2002; Martinich and Sosa 2001

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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