Analytic Philosophy is often characterized (in the node of that name, for instance) as a philosophical system focusing mostly on theories of truth, language, classical logic (one can't use the term logic here without the qualification if one has already read Freud or Marx and understands the Greek root of logic (logos) as any system of prepared reasoning the emphasis on thought as a systematic process (hence a conceptual link to dialectic (see Socrates and Hegel))), science, knowledge and representation.

George Herbert Mead (sociologist and pragmatist philosopher) looked at the historical roots of analytic philosophy and observed an obsession with the capitalistic exploits of the natural sciences and indeed many are convinced that analytic philosophy is unfairly exclusive in its consideration of the world and its concepts, taking too many cues from the discipline of science, but not only that because many sociologists (e.g., David Bloor or Bruno Latour) have criticized contemporary analytics for presenting an undisciplined view of science ignoring certain factors that contribute to the so-called 'success' of a given scientific theory (they point to 'non-scientific' factors such as prestige (the fame of a scientist on the research team), political relationships (the political outcomes of the scientific theory, e.g., Galileo or Darwin), success in the laboratory (a sterile environment that rarely, if ever, replicates 'real-world' conditions which the theory propounds to explain but sometimes never does (e.g., certain theories in pure physics and chemistry)). Mead interestingly looked at the theory of thermodynamics (as originally propounded by the French scientist Sadi Carnot) and the capitalistic roots of the concept of a calorie, i.e. the unit of work, i.e. a unit of measure that would allow capitalists to compare production of machines versus manual laborers.

Mead taught at the University of Chicago with John Dewey for a few years and greatly influenced his thought as well as that of the most well-known pragmatist, William James who was also critical of analytic philsophers of his day, notably Bertrand Russell for advancing theories of truth that couldn't accurately account for all aspects of practical (from the Greek word pragma meaning action in English) human activity, such as loving, fearing death, acting in an irrational manner, as well as the extreme difficulty that often characterizes moral choice (on this one would be good to read Martha Nussbaum and her writings on Aristotle in the book Love's Knowledge).

James and especially Dewey in turn influenced the contemporary American philosopher Richard Rorty who has perhaps presented the most thorough and convincing critiques of analytic philosophy written in the English language (the French thinker Jacques Derrida has also written a forceful critique of analytic philosophy as did the German fin-de-siecle author Friedrich Nietzsche and the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein (once the poster-child for British analytic philosophy departments (a concept deserving of its own node) due to his now-famous Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus). Rorty, beginning with his 1979 Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, has attempted to nonsystematically overturn philosophy's image as an arbiter of truth and rightness via a fair and nonbiased judgment of human behavior in favor of a more liberal picture of philosophy as another form of conversation in which we can emphasize those practical values that are important to us. Rorty himself has emphasized the values of Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity in the book by that name as well as espousing the concept of hope and its connections to liberalism in his recent political text Achieving Our Country.

Rorty has critiqued the analytics on several front. The most interesting is probably his characterization of analytic philosophy as a representational philosophy in which it is held as metaphysical truth that our language represents reality. Rorty over and over again deconstructs this notion (making use of figures such as Dewey, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Derrida, Nietzsche, Cervantes) as impractical and contrary to our practical involvement in discourse, life, conversation. Rorty wonders how it would ever be possible for a nonlinguistic object to found the veracity of a linguistic utterance. There is the further concern of our epistemic access to this so-called foundation for truth, especially in light of our historical tendency to hold beliefs that turn out in the end to be impractical, that is untrue. If truth occurs independent of practical human activity, then it is the case that we currently believe a whole host of untrue things. (If past performance is any indicator of future results (not Wall Street), then scientists in the year 3000 probably won't hold to any of our current physical, chemical, biological theories for understanding the world. This being the case, it seems that a great deal of our current beliefs are simply untrue.) This seems to undermine truth as a value.

Rorty and the pragmatists instead urge us to see truth as something more like practical efficiency or expediency. The true is the expedient in our way of thinking and behaving (James). This has far-reaching political consequences, explored mostly by Rorty and Dewey, and conceptually akin to the politics of Lyotard, Foucault, and Rawls.