The intellectual atmosphere of Oxford philosophy during the decade or so from 1945 was very different from that which Grice had known before the Second World War. As students and dons alike returned from war service, the process of change that had begun with a few young philosophers during the 1930s picked up momentum. Old orthodoxies and methods were overthrown as a host of new thinkers and new ideas took their place. The style of study was questioning, exploratory and cooperative. Many of the philosophers who were active in this period, such as Geoffrey Warnock and Peter Strawson, have since testified to the spirit of optimism, enthusiasm and sheer excitement that predominated.1 The reasons for these emotions were similar to those that had drawn A. J. Ayer to the work of the Vienna Circle just over a decade earlier. A new style of philosophy was going to ‘solve’ many of the old problems. Once again, this was to be achieved by close attention to and analysis of language. For logical positivists this involved ‘translating’ problematic statements of everyday language into logically rigorous, empirically verifiable sentences. For the new Oxford philosophers, however, no such translations would be necessary. A suitably rigorous attention to the facts of language was going to be a sufficient, indeed the only suitable, philosophical tool.


Sense Data Material Object Ordinary Language Vienna Circle Play Group 
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© Siobhan Chapman 2005

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