Comments: Analytic Premises and Existential Conclusions

  • Michael Martin
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 3)


Professor Moore’s stimulating paper ‘The Center of the World’ is a most interesting and unusual blend of continental existentialism and Anglo-American linguistic analysis. However, in Moore’s paper linguistic analysis is not used in an attempt to refute existentialism, as is often the case among American and British philosophers. On the contrary, I interpret Moore to be using linguistic analysis to try to substantiate and demonstrate the truth of some conclusions and insights of existentialism. Now even if Moore is unsuccessful in his attempt to do this, the effort is surely worth the try. As Moore himself points out, a great gulf separates continental and Anglo-American philosophy and much misunderstanding and mistrust prevail. An effort like Moore’s to bridge this gulf, to show, e.g., how the techniques of linguistic analysis may illuminate the major insights of existentialism, must surely be applauded as a courageous attempt at international philosophical peace-making.1


Type Species Cortical Plate Linguistic Analysis Skeleton Structure Coral Rubble 
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  1. 1.
    For another attempt to bring together these two traditions, see John Wild, ‘Is There a World of Ordinary Language?’, Philosophical Review, 1958, 460–476.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For further discussion of this point, see A. J. Ayer, ‘Names and Descriptions’, The Concept of a Person and Other Essays, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1963.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Although Moore does not explicitly say so, it is likely that he is here greatly indebted to Husserl’s notion of the life-world (Lebenswelt). For a discussion of Husserl’s concept of the life-world with special reference to the philosophy of science see Herbert Marcuse, ‘On Science and Phenomenology’ and Aron Gurwitsch, ‘Comments on the Paper by by H. Marcuse’, both in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol. II (ed. by R. S. Cohen and M. Wartofsky ), New York, Humanities Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See for example, Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge, New York, Harper and Row, 1964; Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1963.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See for example, Kierkegaard’s remarks on subjectivity: S. Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript (transl. by D. F. Swenson and W. Lowrie), Princeton, University Press, 1944. See also Walter Kaufman, ‘Kierkegaard’, The Kenyon Review, Spring 1956 for a critique of Kierkegaard’s views on subjectivity.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company / Dordrecht-Holland 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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