General presentation of ESAP (1992)
However convenient the opposition between ‘Analytic’ and ‘Continental’ philosophy may be, it is inadequate, for there are analytic philosophers on the Continent, and the values and aspirations of analytic philosophy are (meant to be) universal. Analytic philosophy is characterized above all by the goal of clarity, the insistence on explicit argumentation in philosophy, and the demand that any view expressed be exposed to the rigours of critical evaluation and discussion by peers. The universality of these values is one of the reason for the current revival of analytic philosophy in continental Europe after the long interruption due to the Second World War and the North American exile of many European philosophers. Practitioners of analytic philosophy can be found today not only in regions where it has flourished without interruption such as Great Britain or Scandinavia , but also in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland or Yugoslavia. Due to the unequal development of analytic philosophy in Great Britain and the United States, on one hand, and in Continental Europe, on the other hand, analytic philosophers on the Continent have made contact mainly with British and American philosophers and have often been unaware of the existence of analytic philosophers elsewhere on the Continent. Thus it is only quite recently that analytic philosophers in Germany, Italy, France or Spain have discovered each other’s existence.
It therefore seems natural to try and bring together at the European level the different national groups in the hope that these will lead to new contacts and collaboration. That is the main aim of the European Society for Analytic Philosophy (ESAP). For the British the ESAP offers the possibility of doing something to redress the imbalance in favour of the USA within analytic philosophy; for the number of analytic philosophers in the whole of Europe is not different from the number of analytic philosophers in the United States. In order to further contacts and collaboration amongst European analytic philosophers, the Society intends:
* To organize European Congresses of Analytic Philosophy (ECAP) on regular basis. Such congresses will allow European analytic philosophers, whatever their areas of interest (philosophy of language, ethics, epistemology, metaphyics, philosophy of mind, etc.), to meet and come to know each other.
* to issue a newsletter and other publications of general interest (a directory of the European analytic philosophers and a booklet containing information about istitutional aspects of philosophy in different European countries are planned).
* to facilitate the organization of European conferences and workshops on specific subjects within analytic philosophy.
Information about the beginning of the Society
Kevin Mulligan is the founder of ESAP together with a group of philosophers (among whom Barry Smith, Peter Simons, Pierre Jacob, Marco Santambrogio, Andreas Kemmerling, and Pascal Engel) in the Swiss village of Zinall in 1991. At that meeting François Recanati was named first president. In 1993 in Aix en Provence, during the first ESAP congress, Peter Simons was named president. Nenad Miscevic and Woldek Rabinowicz were named presidents in 1996 and in1999 (respectively). See at the page of Steering Committee for more information.
The web pages of ESAP have been originally written by Bozidar Kante in 1997, updated by Carlo Penco in 1999 and by Carlo Penco and Federico Pitto in 2007.