The University of Oxford dominated philosophy in the twentieth century

Michael Gibson at City Journal:

In 1963, the philosophers Gilbert Ryle and Isaiah Berlin had lunch with the composer Igor Stravinsky. Ryle, the least famous of the bunch, was the most scathing in his survey of the philosophical landscape. He dubbed the celebrated American pragmatists William James and John Dewey the “Great American Bores.” He condemned the work of French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, with its speculation about an emerging world consciousness, as “old teleological pancake.” Then he summed it up in a sweeping crossfire that could serve as the most Oxonian of putdowns: “Every generation or so philosophical progress is set back by the appearance of a ‘genius.’”

What did Ryle have against such geniuses? And is progress in philosophy even possible?

Largely thanks to Ryle and his colleagues, by the 1950s Oxford had ascended to a commanding position in philosophy, at least in the English-speaking world. On the European continent, things were different: German and French philosophers had run headlong down another path. The two broad traditions that emerged from the split after World War I are known as analytic and continental philosophy. The gap between the two styles is vast.

More here.