Matteo Falomi

Analytic Ideology and the Conversation of Justice

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: History of Analytic Philosophy, Ideology, Cavell, Conversation of Justice.

In this article, I amplify Conant and Elliot’s suggestion that analytic philosophy has produced an «ideology» by looking at the potential political implications of this mode of self-understanding. In order to spell out these political implications, I rely on Stanley Cavell’s notion of a «conversation of justice», which I propose to interpret as the conversation concerning our consent to society as a whole. I then consider what I take to be three fragments of analytic ideology (A.J. Ayer’s lecture Philosophy and Politics, Burton Dreben’s reading of Rawls’ Political Liberalism, and Rae Langton’s Austinian defence of Catherine MacKinnon), in order to illustrate how they prefigure the adoption of certain stances in the conversation of justice. I emphasize two main points. First, in each of my examples, analytic ideology is associated with an expression of political consent; second, this expression of consent is accompanied by a certain characteristic failure to listen to dissenting voices. I suggest, in particular, that Ayer’s understanding of analytic philosophy involves a form of conceptual inarticulacy, which results in an inability to listen to certain ways of assessing one’s relation to society; that Dreben’s take on the analytic tradition licenses a stance of rejection, a refusal to listen to questions about consent; and that Langton’s compliance with some ideological requirements leads her to listen selectively, or conditionally, to certain expressions of the conversation of justice.

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