Broad on the subject-matter of philosophy

A little while ago, I posted here, seeking an appreciative home for half a dozen of C.D. Broad’s books. I’m very pleased to have just found someone working on early analytic philosophy who is enthusiastic about Broad; so I’ve just packed up the books, and they will be on their way. Though the packing took longer than it should have done, as of course I just had to dip in, and read, and then dip in some more.

Which reminded me of one piece by Broad that I think any beginning philosophy student should still read! — it is (most of) the ‘Introduction’ to his Scientific Thought (1923) in which Broad discusses ‘the subject-matter of philosophy, and its relations to the special sciences’.

This remains a wonderfully lucid and persuasive defence of the business of philosophy in the analytic mode. I’ve edited with a light touch. It is quite short, just over seven pages. Of course, in some ways it is a little dated, though only a little. As I say, if you are a philosophy student visiting here, do read it. It you are a philosopher teacher, do recommend it to your students. And if you are a non-philosopher sceptical about the role of philosophy, then perhaps you should read it too!

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