Cover image for A history of philosophy in the twentieth century
A history of philosophy in the twentieth century
Delacampagne, Christian, 1949-
Uniform Title:
Histoire de la philosophie au XXe siècle. English
Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xviii, 330 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes bibliographical references (p. [283]-311) and index.
Format :


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Material Type
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B804 .D3713 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this history of philosophy during the course of the 20th century, the author reviews the discipline's divergent and dramatic course, showing that its greatest figures were deeply affected by the events of their time. From Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose famous Tractatus was actually composed in the trenches during World War I, to Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the one a converted Jew who found himself barred from public life with Hitler's coming to power, the other a member of the Nazi party who later refused to repudiate German war crimes; from Bertrand Russell, whose lifelong pacifism led him to turn from logic and mathematics to social and moral questions, and Jean Paul Sartre, who made philosophy an occasion for direct and personal political engagement, to Rudolf Carnap, a committed socialist, and Karl Popper, a resolute opponent of Communism; from the Vienna Circle and the Frankfurt School to the contemporary work or philosophers, as variously minded as Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas adn Hilary Putnam - the thinking of these philosophers and scores of others should be understood within the context of the times in which they lived.

Author Notes

Christian Delacampagne is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. He has served as director of the French Institutes in Barcelona, Cairo, Madrid, and Tel-Aviv and, more recently, as the cultural and scientific attache of the French Embassy in Boston. He presently teaches in the Department of French and Italian at Connecticut College, in New London

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Delacampagne (Connecticut College) relates major philosophical trends over the past 120 years on both sides of the Atlantic to their historical settings. Beginning with innovations in logic and mathematics in the 1880s, he traces a series of developments: from logic and science to the "end" of philosophy (Frege-Russell-Wittgenstein, Brentano-Husserl-Heidegger, the Vienna Circle-Carnap); ordinary language philosophy; philosophical responses to Auschwitz and WWII (Frankfurt School); the Cold War (Popper, Sartre, Marcuse, Althusser); and the critique of reason (structuralism, poststructuralism, neopragmatism). Interweaving biography, history, and interpersonal contacts, Delacampagne clearly summarizes the significant ideas of most major English, French, and German philosophers. He assumes that "philosophy is essentially a political activity" and that the increasingly technical character of philosophical discourse (whether analytic-logical or deconstructive) has turned philosophy away from its political task. Heidegger comes under particular scrutiny for his philosophical and political views, and the major contemporary debate (rationalism versus relativism) is traced back to his critique of Enlightenment reason. While trained in France, Delacampagne's sympathies lean toward the analytic tradition; his ignorance of English-language Continental philosophy mars this otherwise comprehensive work. Although his own ideological commitments sometimes get in the way, the scope of this survey is impressive; it will be a helpful resource for readers unfamiliar with these writers. Upper-division undergraduates and above. A. D. Schrift; Grinnell College

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition
Preface to the Original Edition
Introduction: The Birth of Modernity
1 The Sure Path of Science
Progress in Logic
From Logic to Phenomenology
From Logic to Politics
Wittgenstein's Dissidence
2 Philosophies of the End
The End of Europe
The End of Oppression
The End of Metaphysics
After the End
3 Conceiving Auschwitz
Paths of Exile
Heidegger's Choice
Preliminary Inquiries
Investigation of the Case
4 In the Cold War
Partisans of Liberalism
Defender of Liberty
In Search of a Third Way
Avatars of Marxism
5 Reason in Question
Structure versus Subject
A History of Truth
From Deconstruction to Neopragmatism
Communication or Investigation?
Epilogue: The Unfinished Cathedral
Select Bibliography