Volume 48, Issue 4, December 2008
The Shocking Non Sequitur
Analytic philosophy and phenomenology represent two major movements in the study of the mind. Both developed in the twentieth century, having roots that go back well before. Even though the two schools of thought have been in dialogue in the past, they are currently at an impasse. In this paper, I examine the origin of this impasse and suggest that at a crucial point in the conversation, right when the issues were clearly articulated and there was broad agreement on the key questions, analytic philosophy abruptly changed the subject. Early analytic philosophers, like Carnap and Schlick, sought to establish a sharp distinction between the objective content of one’s claims and beliefs and what is merely subjective or perspectival. Phenomenologists denied this distinction. When efforts to defend the distinction failed, analytic philosophy took the distinction to be obvious and in no need of defense. I call this a shocking non sequitur.