Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

History of Analytic Philosophy B PHIL5089

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course engages with key themes in the History of Analytic Philosophy between 1930 and 1980, such as Carnap's anti-metaphysical position, Quine's reaction to Carnap and Quine's alternative, and Davidson's philosophy of language. It is the core historically to many of the subjects of our MSc programme (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Logic, and the Philosophy of Language), as well as providing a partial foundation for those students looking to pursue research leading to a Ph.D. in the field of the History of Analytic Philosophy


10 one-hour lectures and 10 one-hour seminars.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





One essay of 4000-5000 words

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop students' understanding of History of Analytic Philosophy to a level which allows them to engage with contemporary scholarship and arguments in the field

■ Enable students to articulate and critically evaluate their own position within these issues.

■ Provide a foundation in this field for future engagement in original research in History of Analytic Philosophy.

■ Provide a foundation for research leading to a Ph.D in most of the following areas: Carnap, Quine, and Davidson.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ explain some central but detailed aspects of the development of Analytic Philosophy 1930-1980,

■ articulate the reasons why and how analytic philosophy developed and assess these developments critically,

■ evaluate contemporary positions and arguments in Analytic Philosophy as having their roots in the period studied, analyse how analytic philosophy has departed from the views of the period and the general presuppositions in Analytic Philosophy that formed then, and which might be questioned.

■ explain Carnap's version of Logical Empiricism (or Logical Positivism); Quine's critique of the view including his critique of analyticity and of quantified modal logic, and his wholly naturalised, alternative vision of language and Davidson's account of the nature and empirical status of theories of meaning, and articulate their relevance to metaphysics and philosophy of logic and language.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.