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The most distinctive feature of John Anderson’s philosophy is that it was a systematic philosophy in a century dominated by the analytic methodology in Anglo-Saxon philosophy. System building of the sort Anderson engaged upon was frowned upon by analytic philosophers, whether of the conceptual or linguistic variety. In contrast, continental philosophers at this time were much more at ease with systematic philosophy, although the phenomenological and existential orientation of that philosophy did not fit easily with Anderson’s scientific conception of philosophy. As early as 1922, Anderson was describing his systematic philosophy as a unified theory of the ‘sciences’ of logic, ethics, and aesthetics and this characterization of his philosophy is one that he maintained into the 1930s. For Anderson, to assert that logic, ethics, or aesthetics were sciences was to assert that they were definite subjects that could be studied and that their method of study was as objective as any other science.


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