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Future PastsThe Analytic Tradition in Twentieth Century Philosophy$
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Juliet Floyd and Sanford Shieh

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513916X.001.0001

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Ernst Mach at the Crossroads of Twentieth‐Century Philosophy

Ernst Mach at the Crossroads of Twentieth‐Century Philosophy

(p.81) 4 Ernst Mach at the Crossroads of Twentieth‐Century Philosophy
Future Pasts

Jaakko Hintikka

Oxford University Press

Hintikka questions the principled division between analytic and continental philosophy by arguing that Mach should be considered the century’s most influential philosopher, a giant on whose shoulders thinkers like Wittgenstein, Husserl, and Heidegger subsequently stood. Hintikka notes that Frege’s direct influence on philosophy proper outside of logic and the foundations of mathematics was for a very long time quite minimal. Mach’s wider impact is measured in the great importance to much 20th-century philosophy of the question whether knowledge may be given to us apart from what is conceptualized in thought (in, e.g., pure sense perception, intuition, or the sensory given). Mach’s phenomenalism (or phenomenology) set the agenda, according to Hintikka, for future discussion of this question in philosophy and in physics. Mach’s disputes with Bolzmann about the reducibility to knowledge of sensation affected Einstein. Hintikka argues that both Husserl and the early Wittgenstein embraced phenomenological conceptions of experience and knowledge that were indebted to Mach’s ideas. Heidegger was therefore wrong to insist that phenomenology and phenomenalism are distinct philosophical traditions.

Keywords:   Mach, phenomenalism, phenomenology, Wittgenstein, Husserl, sensory given, Bolzmann, origins of analytic philosophy

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