Analytic Philosophy in Britain and America: the Forging of a Tradition

6 May 2011, 10:00 - 16:30


Dr Joel Isaac (Queen Mary, University of London), will present the Balzan Skinner colloquium following on from his lecture on Thursday 5 May.

Programme and Registration
Please click on the links at the right hand side of the page to see the provisional programme and to register online.  The attendance fee is £10 (reduced £5 for students) and includes refreshments and lunch.

Colloquium Summary

In his lecture and colloquium, Dr Joel Isaac will focus on the reception of the analytic tradition of philosophy in the United States. By any measure, the migration to America of the thinkers and ideas of the Vienna Circle, of the Cambridge school of logical analysis, and of Oxford ordinary language philosophy constitutes a major event in twentieth-century intellectual history.  Historians of philosophy and political thought, philosophers, and practitioners of the social sciences gesture toward this moment of encounter when they speak of the rise of positivism in philosophy, or of the impact of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigation on the post-Second World War human sciences.  But the historical significance of this shift, and especially the fine-grained details of the ways in which the analytic tradition was formed and remoulded in America, have yet to be fully explored. In the Balzan-Skinner 2011 lecture and colloquium, Dr Joel Isaac will aim to lay down a framework for an intellectual history of the analytic turn in American philosophy and social thought.

The colloquium will investigate issues raised in the lecture within a transatlantic framework.  It will examine the work and the influence of such key analytic thinkers as Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, Bertrand Russell, W V Quine, Donald Davidson, J L Austin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell, and Richard Rorty.  The ultimate purpose of this year’s Balzan-Skinner event will be to present a preliminary survey of the ways in which analytic philosophy can be placed within the intellectual history of modern America, Britain, and Europe.

Confirmed Speakers

Confirmed speakers include:

Thomas Akehurst (University of Sussex)

Andrew Jewett (Harvard University)

Edmund Neill (University of Oxford)

Bjørn Ramberg (University of Oslo)



For administrative enquiries please contact Michelle Maciejewska.



Location : CRASSH Date : 6 May 2011

Friday 6 May


10.00 - 10.30

Registration with tea/coffee

10.30 - 12.30

Welcome and Introduction
Joel Isaac (Queen Mary, University of London)

Session 1: The Analytic Tradition in America

American Philosophers and the Challenge of Logical Empiricism
Andrew Jewett (Harvard University)

Naturalism and the Struggle with Subjectivity: The Case of Rorty and Davidson
Bjørn Ramberg (University of Oslo)

Q&A/General Discussion

Chair: Joel Isaac

12.30 - 14.00


14.00 - 16.00

Session 2: The Analytic Tradition in Britain

Bertrand Russell and the Cultural Politics of Analytic Philosophy
Thomas Akehurst (University of Sussex)

The Impact of Positivism on Academic Political Theory in Post-War Britain
Edmund Neill (University of Oxford)

Q&A/ General Discussion

Chair: Rachel Malkin (University of Cambridge)