Getting From There to Here

…Is the central problem of the history of philosophy for me. Near the end of Tom Ricketts’ Wittgenstein seminar last year, I asked him how the concerns that animated the philosophy of Russell and Wittgenstein relate to those of the present. I can’t fully remember his answer, but it involved Carnap and Quine. Now, near the end of the Carnap/Quine seminar, I can’t answer the parallel question. Apropos that thought, I just found a relevant quotation from Tom’s Frege, Carnap and Quine: Continuities and Discontinuities

On the story I tell, the central strand of the analytic tradition in philosophy decisively shaped by our three figures has, I think it is fair to say, no salient continuation among those who name themselves the heirs of that tradition.

This certainly fits my impression, or at least my confusion, though I don’t trust myself to assert the corresponding judgment. This sets up a trend of what I’m getting out of Tom’s history courses.
We’re now reading an Evans paper in order to examine the disagreement between Strawsonian and Quinean approaches to the referential dimension of language. If the trend continues, we’ll be getting even closer to the present. Taken to its logical conclusion, this would give the result that we can’t get from here to here, or more poetically, “there’s no there here.”

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