From the Golden Age to the Decline
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The chapter provides the book’s main explanandum. In the 1950s Oxford and to a lesser extent Cambridge were the mecca of analytic philosophy, and Wittgenstein—the later Wittgenstein—was the champion of that philosophical tendency: a great majority of scholars in the Oxbridge analytic community shared a body of methodological and theoretical points and attitudes stemming from Wittgenstein’s teaching; in those years, the later Wittgensteinian paradigm in philosophy was so dominant in Britain that to many it seemed not unreasonable to presume that it was about to have a similar impact on the philosophical landscape of all English-speaking countries. However, things have gone on differently and unexpectedly, so that the later Wittgensteinian tradition—its assumptions, purposes, methods and philosophical style—has been largely forgotten or rejected by present-day analytic philosophers. Thus the question is: How did we get here from there?