It's always interesting to see how scholarship in ancient philosophy looks from the outside. Consider this paragraph from the review today in NDPR of the Cambridge Companion to (of all things) Logical Empiricism:
Another feature of much recent work on logical empiricism on display in this Companion is that comparatively less attention is paid to detailed argument reconstruction and assessment, and comparatively more to uncovering the causes -- both 'internal' and 'external'/socio-historical -- of the logical empiricists' beliefs. This follows the wider trend in history of philosophy more generally, but logical empiricist scholarship, unlike other subfields such as ancient and early modern philosophy, lacks the argument reconstructions and evaluations of earlier generations of scholars. Of course, there are very able philosophers, like Scott Soames, who have engaged in detailed argument reconstruction and assessment of logical empiricists' views (Soames 2003). However, readers hoping for work like Soames' in this Companion will likely be disappointed.There are all kinds of interesting questions here.
Is it really the case that scholars in ancient philosophy, as the reviewer suggests, now have greater license in speculating about 'internal' and 'external' causes of philosophical views, because a previous generation of scholars spent lots of time giving logical paraphrases of arguments in classical texts? Does anyone now see things in that way, or isn't it rather that efforts of the earlier generation are viewed as flawed because limited and distorting?--whereas the minority of scholars who do regard the earlier analyses as valuable continue still to read texts in that way.
Also, I wonder about the comparison of 'logical empiricism scholarship' with 'ancient philosophy scholarship', in this sense. That is, I wonder if, quite counterintuitively, scholars in ancient philosophy as a whole have the same interests in mere history as does 'logical empiricism scholarship'. I once heard Warren Goldfarb say that he studied Wittgenstein's Tractatus because he wished it were true (although he knew it wasn't); but I don't think that generally 'logical empiricism scholars' think that, say, Carnap's Aufbau just might be true. Yet I wouldn't be surprised to find that a common motive among scholars of Plato, Aristotle, or (say) the Stoics, is that they indeed suspect (and not merely wish) that what they are studying is true--and they engage in the historical scholarship with a view to the truth. So ironically it might be the case that scholarship in ancient philosophy ends up being, in intention, less a matter of history than scholarship in logical empiricism.
Also consider this. That logical empiricism is being studied historically, by 'scholars of logical empiricism', shows that it is now part of the history of philosophy. But if Quine (say) is part of 'history', then which philosopher --even those alive today--isn't a part of 'history', and why isn't 'history' completely on a par with what is written by philosophers active today? That is, 'scholarship in logical empiricism' tends to break down the supposed difference between philosophy and history of philosophy.
Also consider: if logical empiricism is a matter of 'history', then it is one philosophical movement among others in 'history', in which case, surely, it needs to be argued for that it deserves special prominence of influence over any other school or movement in the history of philosophy, and yet, demonstrably, the landscape of philosophy in the U.S. is a direct result of logical empiricism. (The landscape is not that which one would see if, for instance, the most dominant members of a previous generation were unreconstructed Kantians or Thomists.) So isn't the profession, then, captive to arbitrary accidents of power and influence?