Chapter One


Churchland, Paul (U.C. San Diego): I guess the correct answer is the philosophical tradition that takes the natural sciences very seriously and that would be the tradition; some prominent examples are Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, and Bertrand Russell, and Willard Quine. I am a scientifically inclined philosopher, I think that would answer your question. I think many philosophical questions would ultimately get there answers from the developments that science gives us.

Cohon (Stanford University): I am at home with the methods and forms of argument of Anglo-American analytic philosophy. In epistemology, I am most attracted to Kant. In philosophy of mind and action I find the line of thought that goes through Wittgenstein and Anscombe most congenial. In ethics, my views agree with different traditions at different points: sometimes with the tradition of virtue ethics, sometimes with Kantian ethics. In political philosophy I suppose I find myself agreeing with Hume a good deal on certain topics.

Copp (U.C. Davis): I would agree with the so-called analytic tradition which claims are to be supported by argument. There is a premium on clarity and expression.

Dryefus (U.C. Berkeley): I agree most with what is called the Continental tradition because they deal with issues that seem relevant to human life and to the current state of the culture. The analytic tradition does too but in a very indirect way and sometimes so slightly that you cannot get relevance out it.

Friedman (U.C. Davis): Analytical philosophical tradition. Logic- linguistic analyses gives the best hope in dealing with certain classical problems.

Griesemer (U.C. Davis): As a philosopher of biology, I identify with a certain narrow tradition within my field. I am probably what you might call an anti-reductionist, non-realist. This is because reductionism developed in philosophy of science around a narrow set of formal axioms and sciences like biology as reducible to physics. I don't think formal reduction is possible. I am non-realist in the weak sense that I don't think the realists (people who believe that science gives us, or aims to give us, "the truth" about nature) have established their case. I tend toward empiricism or some variety of social relativism in that I think that the things philosophers of science tend to talk about, scientific theories and explanations, are products of social construction based on observable data. I don't believe in theoretical entities (like genes, species, atoms), but not because I don't think they exist. Rather, I don't think science requires that we believe in them in order to do science.

Jolley (U.C. San Diego): As a historian of philosophy, I am not committed to any particular overall philosophical position. My tastes in philosophy are fairly catholic. I admire British Empiricism for its intolerance of pretentious, cloudy abstraction. I also admire the metaphysical system of the Rationalists (such as Spinoza and Leibniz) which try to give a complete account of reality and the place of human beings within the world.

Jubien (U.C. Davis): I am firmly embedded in the Anglo-American "analytic" tradition within philosophy. To say that I "agree" with it is merely to say that I do philosophy that way. Philosophers in this tradition of course have serious disagreements among themselves on specific questions. The reason I do philosophy "analytically" is that I have so far been unable to understand the efforts of those who say they are doing philosophy some other way. In most instances I find what they write and say incomprehensible. In other cases I find it comprehensible but I don't think of it as philosophy. (It seems more like sociology or politics or cultural history or aesthetics or literary criticism or some other discipline.)

Kaplan (U.C. Los Angeles): Anglo-American or analytic philosophy. It's hard to say why you agree with one orientation more than another. I was raised in that orientation. Maybe even something one might call logical empiricism. Rudolph Carnap was my teacher. I am a logician. I am interested in the ways which technical work fare on fundamental philosophical issues. I find analytic approach most illuminating.

Lambert (U.C. Irvine): It's called analytic philosophy. I don't know the reason why. I suppose it's because I came into philosophy out of science. There is a natural disposition of a person coming onto philosophy out of science to be more interested in the ways in which people do philosophy in a kind of rigorous detailed mathematical way. I wasn't just interested in its history itself. I was more interested in analyzing problems than being able to solve them. You certainly didn't do that sort of thing in the other sort of traditions. When I talk about analytic philosophy, I'm talking about formal analytic philosophy. Those in the United States virtually owned the U.S. for a long time after WWII because of the founders of analytic philosophy on the formal side came from Austria and Germany and have escaped after WWII, otherwise they would've been killed. And they were the founders of that tradition. But my connection with it was just very natural, working this way with philosophical problems.

Lloyd (U.C. Berkeley): I see myself agreeing with several different conflicting traditions. I find the German Romantics very influential in my work. Most obviously I am influenced by the recent analytic tradition--the logical positivist tradition from Vienna. . .So I am a mixture of Continental and Analytic traditions. I am interested in problems about logic, and that makes me value the work of the logical positivist. But I am also interested in issues about the human spirit and human knowledge, and different ways of knowing. Which are much more the tradition of the Continental philosophers all the way back to the German idealists, the German romantics, and turn of the century people such as Goethe. He addresses issues of the relation between a human being and our science and so I find that this has a lot to do with the German romantic tradition.

Matson (U.C. Berkeley): The Aristotelian. It recognizes that our only reliable knowledge is what scientific investigation supports, and it has a proper conception of the roles both of experience and of intellectual insight in scientific method. Its ethic is based on the conception of the human good as the realization of distinctively human potential. It locates all values within this world (the only world there is). It appreciates the importance of tradition without being enslaved to it.

McGray (University of San Diego): The analytic tradition for the simple reason that the questions are carefully analyzed. However, I understand the analytic tradition in a wide, historical sense, more or less the way Bernard Williams interprets it.

Needleman (San Francisco State College): Plato.

Rosenberg (U.C. Riverside): I agree with the philosophical traditions of "Quine" because it attaches the greatest weight to physics.

Schwyzer (U.C. Santa Barbara): I guess I would call myself a Kantian. I am not a rationalist nor am I an empiricist. I believe that all knowledge comes from the senses.

Shalinsky (U.C. San Diego): I suppose I agree most with the contemporary analytic tradition, though I think distinctions between traditions are some what artificial. All traditions are--or ought to be--characterized by a commitment to the central tools of philosophy. What philosophers try to do is construct and critically analyze arguments: When engaged in critical enterprise, they try to assess evidence offered in support of a claim; when engaged in the constructive enterprise, they try to offer persuasive support for a claim. To the extent that a tradition employs such tools, it is what I regard as distinctly philosophical in nature.

Sircello (U.C. Irvine): Plato, because of his views on love and beauty are quite similar to my own.

Smart (U.C. Santa Barbara): I don't have a simple answer for that; there are more than just one. I'm fond of Buddhism although I was raised Christian. I'm influenced by both of these religions and by Karl Popper's philosophy of science. I'm influenced by his ideas of liberalism. A "liberal Christian" might be fine. Also I'm a "semi- Buddhist." And I'm critical. We shouldn't just accept a belief because it's tradition. I think we should have freedom and that's one thing that religions haven't stressed.

Suppes (Stanford University): I think Aristotle, British empiricists, and Kant are the ones I agree with most. They have different themes, but that is the great tradition in philosophy. They are classical academic philosophers. I think they have importance for today.

Wollheim (U.C. Davis): The analytic tradition, because it sets great store by clarity. Clarity is not the end of philosophy but it is a precondition of good philosophy.

Peter Woodruff (U.C. Irvine): One of the problems is that existentialism is not an alternative to empiricism and rationalism. They are different kinds of divisions of things. Well, I would say. . .if you wanted to know what movement I consider myself part of. . .I would say, broadly speaking, that known as logical empiricism, like Hume. But I wouldn't want to be pinned down to that. What I think is that philosophy is a technical discipline and that it should make use of certain technical methods, largely mathematical and logical. That was one of the views that held, such as the verifiability theory of meaning and so forth, those are up for grabs, but the broad sort of methodological point [is what I accept.] In saying that I can agree with philosophers like Aristotle and Leibniz. I mean Leibniz would be regarded as a rationalist, so would Descartes, and yet they both, I would say, did what I would call technical philosophy at their time, especially Leibniz. So that doesn't really make me an empiri ist. if an empiricist is somebody who's in epistemology--the theory of knowledge--denies that all truth is a priori truth, then I guess I can say that I am an empiricist, since I don't think that all truth is a priori truth.