R. Scharff, How history matters to philosophy
Robert C. Scharff has written what we might call, after Nietzsche, a timely meditation. It is timely in that it is aimed at our particular time (“After Positivism”), and it is a meditation on timeliness, on what it means to do philosophy within time and history (“How History Matters to Philosophy”). These two topics meet in his depiction of our time as one that is either not fully aware of or that actively suppresses its own timeliness, its own determination by its time and historical context, due largely to analytic philosophy’s remaining caught in the vestigial grips of positivism and the dominance of science. We may be “After Positivism,” but we are not wholly past positivism. Scharff considers this ahistorical approach untenable because, as he informs us in the book’s second sentence, all meditations are timely: time and historical context inescapably determine how and what we meditate on, especially the attempts to escape them.
Braver, L. (2014). Review of R. Scharff, How history matters to philosophy. Human Studies 37 (4), pp. 583-587.
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