I should like to introduce you to an American bathtub, latest model, advertised as “The Revolution in Philosophy.” This is the bathtub in which all young Anglo-American philosophy majors are fishing today.

Philosophy must be “positive,” it is said; that is, “unbiasedly scientific,” not fouled in theological myths or capricious metaphysical assumptions, but straight methodical analysis of observable facts. Most significant of observable facts is the language we use, a universally public vehicle of thought. “Undogmatic,” “purely objective” philosophy at its “best,” then, will be logical analysis of language. Philosophy’s proper business is not to demand assent to certain assertions but merely to detachedly make clear the propositions men utter, and to discard formulations of thought that are found nonsensical by simple rules of logic or are found theoretically unverifiable by direct sense-observation: only what meets these criteria can be meaningful, “true.”

Students schooled in philosophy know with what prejudice this peculiar conception of philosophy approaches problems of knowledge and morality. They detect here perhaps the design of David Hume with his sense-tight Scottish skepticism which would suspend judgment on certain basic matters (such as the source of his original philosophical principle [An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Liberal Arts Press, 1957, p. 47 n. 1]), yet dogmatically burn as “sophistry and illusion” all books not containing mathematical reasonings or experiential scientific descriptions of matters of fact (An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Liberal Arts Press, 1957, p. 173)—which would include burning the Bible. The cult of language this philosophy prospers stems mostly from the enigmatic ...

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