Preface: For the Inaugural Issue of RAP

Masaki Ichinose [PDF]

It is my great pleasure to declare the launch of a new international journal on analytic philosophy, Review of Analytic Philosophy (RAP).

Philosophy has a history of more than two thousand years and, astonishingly, still reigns as one of the most fundamental systems of human intelligence. Particularly, as far as the contemporary contexts of philosophical studies are concerned, the trend called analytic philosophy has been becoming increasingly dominant and influential worldwide. By analytic philosophy we roughly mean some streams of philosophical studies which historically and spontaneously emerged around the beginning of the 20th century in a peculiar style of arguing philosophical problems as clearly as possible while being assisted by logical, mathematical, and scientific ways of thinking. Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, and philosophers somehow related to the logical positivism movement like Rudolf Carnap, Karl Hempel, and Ludwig Wittgenstein are representative of the early days of analytic philosophy. Eventually or naturally, analytic philosophy came to focus upon our linguistic phenomena. That trend is probably represented by the works of Harvard philosopher W. V. O. Quine, followed by Donald Davidson in the US context, and the works of Oxford philosopher J. L. Austin, succeeded by Michael Dummett and Timothy Williamson in the UK context. In that stream, of course, English is highlighted in many cases.

Analytic philosophy in this sense has been generally understood as one dominant aspect of philosophical movements in contrast to continental philosophy, which is, for example, represented by so-called existentialism or phenomenology developed by Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. However, such a contrast between analytic philosophy and continental philosophy probably sounds old-fashioned nowadays. Currently, many philosophers, arguing in an analytic-philosophical manner, investigate almost all philosophical issues, some of which perhaps have seemed to have an affinity to continental philosophy and be outside the scope of analytic philosophy. That is to say, not only philosophy of logic, philosophy of science, epistemology, and ethics (including normative, practical, and meta-ethics), but also metaphysics (including metaphysics of death), religion, and aesthetics, are all included in the trend of contemporary analytic philosophy. In fact, a newly discussed stream called analytic existentialism has recently emerged, in which, for example, the meaning of life is disputed. Moreover, studies on classical philosophies from ancient philosophies to 19th century philosophies are often carried out with a flavour of analytic philosophy. For instance, Aristotelian virtue ethics, Locke’s theory of property rights, Humean regularity theory of causation, Kantian constructivism, Hegel’s phenomenology, and so on, are studied nowadays in a newly refined way sympathizing with the trend of analytic philosophy. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that analytic philosophy is becoming a synonym of “philosophy” at present.

It is true that so far analytic philosophy has been developed mainly in English speaking countries, but such a geographical characterization of analytic philosophy is also becoming so old-fashioned these days that it is in danger of bringing about mistakes or prejudices to maintain such an outdated image of analytic philosophy. As I wrote, analytic-philosophical studies have been universalized and hence also been globalized so that the range and scope of their activity and development have been expanded to all over the world. Indeed, it is already pointless to refer to geographical differences when we talk about analytic philosophy. Review of Analytic Philosophy is being launched today in such a universal context. Certainly, RAP is published at Tokyo, but its door is always open to the world. I really hope that various kinds of articles will be submitted to RAP, enabling it to be an arena for fresh and productive discussions on “philosophy”.

Everything has just got started.


Masaki Ichinose
Editor-in-Chief of Review of Analytic Philosophy
Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo
Professor of Musashino University

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