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(2015) Dummett on analytical philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

Meaning and Dummett's Austrians

Peter Simons

pp. 195-210

Michael Dummett's 1987 Bologna lectures, published in German translation as Ursprünge der analytischen Philosophie1 and in an enlarged English version in 1993 as Origins of Analytical Philosophy,2 constitute a very minor part of his oeuvre. None of the essays in the 2007 Library of Living Philosophers volume3 mentions them, which is fair enough, since the vast bulk of Dummett's considerable achievements lie elsewhere. However they are notable for two reasons. Firstly, they illustrate Dummett's interest in the roots of the movement of which he was such a prominent representative, roots extending beyond his perpetual subject Frege. Secondly, and this is why they interest me, they show his willingness to engage with representatives of what one might call the Austrian analytic tradition. Dummett goes so far as to propose the epithet "Anglo-Austrian' to capture the origins, quite rightly repudiating the anachronistic "Anglo-American' (1f). Even this term, flattering as it is to an Anglo-Austrian like myself, is a trifle oversimplified, since of the major Austrians Dummett mentions, Bolzano was Bohemian, Brentano was German and only later Austrian, Husserl was Moravian, but studied, worked and took citizenship in Germany, although his doctorate and philosophical study were in Vienna. Wittgenstein was, of course, Austrian but studied mainly in England, had university positions only there, and later took British citizenship.

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Full citation:

Simons, P. (2015)., Meaning and Dummett's Austrians, in B. Weiss (ed.), Dummett on analytical philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 195-210.

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