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Austrian Philosophy: The Legacy Of Franz Brentano
by Barry Smith
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From Library Journal
The contribution of Austrian philosophy to the development of Western thought, particularly that of the German-speaking world, and the significance of Franz Brentano in that development is the subject of the current work. Smith provides here a thorough and cogent account of Brentano's thought and then uses his analysis to link Brentano with those who either studied under him or were otherwise influenced by his ideas, including Anton Marty, Alexius Meinong, Kasimir Twardowski, and Christian von Ehrenfels. The result is both an appreciation of the central place of Austrian philosophy in the 20th century and a clearer understanding of the nature and extent of Brentano's influence. This work should be seriously considered by all institutions offering undergraduate or graduate degree programs in philosophy.
Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When Franz Brentano introduced the concept of intentionality into modern philosophy, he initiated a revolution in philosophical thinking whose effects are still being felt - not least in contemporary developments in the field of cognitive science. Barry Smith's Austrian Philosophy: The Legacy of Franz Brentano is the first extensive study of the philosophy of the Brentano school. The Brentanian philosophy is oriented towards the problem of mental directedness, of how mind relates to objects. Thus in working out their 'theories of objects', the Brentanian philosophers - in contrast to Frege and his successors in the analytic movement - did not abandon psychological concerns in favor of an orientation towards language. Rather, their investigations in ontology proceeded always in tandem with work on the cognitive processes in which objects are experienced. In thus spanning the gulf between psychology and ontology, the Brentano school gave rise to movements of thought such as phenomenology and Gestalt psychology (the term 'Gestalt' was introduced as a technical term of philosophy by Brentano's student Ehrenfels). The Brentanists enjoyed close relations with Carl Menger and other early members of the Austrian school of economics and Austrian Philosophy contains a detailed study of the interconnections between their work on the general theory of value and subjective theories of value developed in the economic sphere. Brentano's student Kasimir Twardowski initiated the rich tradition of scientifically and logically oriented philosophy in Poland, and the role of Brentanianism in Polish philosophy, and especially in the development of Lesniewski's mereology, is here for the first time subjectedto extended historical treatment. Another Brentano student, Carl Stumpf, was responsible for introducing into philosophy the technical term 'Sachverhalt' or 'state of affairs', and the associated doctrine of realism in logic, too, is shown to have been a special preserve
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