A History of Philosophy in the Twentieth Century

Category: Philosophy
Author: Christian Delacampagne, Malcolm B. DeBevoise
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by voidhorse   2017-09-20
As these folks have said, Kripke and Fodor are not bad entry points for analytic philosophy if recency is your only concern--they might be hard to digest or understand properly however, as they are working with very specific problems and drawing on knowledge with a particular history to it. David Chalmers is good for philosophy of mind on the more analytic side. Quine is also important. So is Searle.

Scott Soames' two volume work on the history of analytical philosophy is a great introduction to that side of the field and will get you up to speed with the the trajectory the led to what contemporary voices in the domain are grappling with now: https://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-Analysis-Twentieth-Cent...

But that's just one side of philosophical thought, continental philosophy is very important as well. A good historical sketch of that milieu can be found in Delacampgne: https://www.amazon.com/History-Philosophy-Twentieth-Century/...

Some important recent voices from the continental side are probably Foucault, Zizek, Slotterdjik, Gadamer, Habermas, the Frankfurt School.

Finally you could just ignore everything prior and read Wittgenstein. Personally, if we're talking GIANTS among the Giants the list goes something like: Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Sartre, Wittgenstein. (I am of course, limiting myself to Western thought).

As with any field there are plenty of voices who have contributed a legion of ideas with varying amounts of success, but I'd say those names are the heaviest hitters. Wittgenstein is arguably still the most recent philosopher to have affected a paradigm shift. (though I think one could make a fairly convincing argument for including Foucault in those ranks as well).

Philosophy in general is a very interesting field because it often benefits from discoveries in other disciplines, in addition to having often motivated/been the birthchamber of said disciplines (see for instance, the often symbiotic relationship between linguistics and the philosophy of language).