The Logic of Reflection


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German Philosophy in the Twentieth Century

Julian Roberts

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This lucid and original book offers a detailed and critical exposition of German metaphysics and philosophy of logic during the past century. Julian Roberts sets his argument in the context of the current debate between "analytical" and "continental" philosophers. the book centers on the problem of reflection—exploration of the boundaries of rationality, or (in analytical terms) of the "limits of thought"—which Roberts claims lies at the heart of both traditions.
Roberts concentrates on the work of Frege, Wittengenstein, Husserl, the Erlangen School, and Habermas. In the course of his examination, however, he also considers philosophers ranging from Russell and Quine to Putnam and Heidegger.
Roberts argues that the technical advances of modern logic have not, as is sometimes believed by analytical thinkers, generated uniquely modern problems that can only be dealt with by a correspondingly modernist philosophy, for the problem of reflection was already at the heart of Kant's critical project and of his confrontation with Leibniz. If we recover this earlier debate, says Roberts, we can develop a more adequate understanding not merely of its echoes in the twentieth century, but of the role and contribution of metaphysics and of philosophy in general.

"An enormously impressive piece of work, written at a high level of sophistication yet admirably clear in its style."—William Outhwaite, University of Sussex

"[Roberts's] exegesis is fair-minded and of a high standard."—Robert Stern, Times Literary Supplement

"Far more than an introduction, this book exceeds Roberts's German Philosophy: An Introduction in its ambitions for a synthesis of analytic and Continental philosophy construed as both systematic and historically oriented, descriptive thought. . . . This work continues the aspirations for synthesis of the two camps in Nicholas Gier's Wittgenstein and Phenomenology: A Comparative Study of the Latter Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty."—Choice

"This insightful, comprehensive, and well-argued text provides an essential guide for anyone interested in finding a way through the labyrinth of twentieth-century German metaphysical (and post-metaphysical) thinking. . . . A rigorous and lucid study of a number of very technical topics: Frege's propositional logic, Russell's theory of types, Wittgenstein's theory of numbers, Husserl's theory of logic, and Lorenzen's dialogic reasoning and mathematical logic."—James C. Swindal, International Philosophical Quarterly

"The book's format and style pay tribute to the content it holds. . . . This lucidly written study engages potential readers in a fictive dialogue presenting arguments and counterarguments, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of various lines of thought."—Sigrid Berka, German Studies Review

ISBN: 9780300052077
Publication Date: June 24, 1992
256 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/2