Introduction. Brentano and his school
reassembling the puzzle
If we use the device of treating complex and ramified movements of thought as somehow unitary points of reference, then the main distinction to be drawn in twentieth-century scientific philosophy sets analytic philosophy against phenomenology — two movements which waged outright war against each other for more than half a century and which only recently called a truce.1 And here we meet our first surprise. If we go back to the origins of these two movements, we find something that perhaps we were not expecting. If we may legitimately consider Frege to be the grandfather of analytic philosophy and Husserl the father of the phenomenological school, what would have been the reaction of a German student reading Frege and Husserl in, say, 1903?2 He would certainly not have considered them to be two radically antagonistic thinkers. Indeed, despite their differing interests, he would have believed that they largely shared the same point of view. The split between the two movements that drew on Frege and Husserl for their insights and arguments only came later; their common basis remained unchanged. Giving detailed treatment of the reasons for the distinction first, and the split later, between analyticists and phenomenologists would be beyond our brief; we shall make only a limited number of remarks. However, what we wish to stress in particular is precisely the fact that two of the 20th century's most significant movements in scientific philosophy have, at the very least, a common thematic origin and a shared cultural background.
Albertazzi, L. , Libardi, M. , Poli, R. (1996)., Introduction. Brentano and his school: reassembling the puzzle, in L. Albertazzi & R. Poli (eds.), The school of Franz Brentano, Dordrecht, Nijhoff, pp. 1-23.
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