Analytic v. continental philosopy
Posted on March 14, 2012
Did you know that the field of philosophy has two major modern traditions, called analytic and continental philosophy? If not, or if you’ve ever wondered what these supposedly distinct methodologies were all about, Notre Dame philosopher Gary Gutting is here to help you out.
To be sure, Gutting admits that parsing analytic and continental philosophy is not an easy task:
The distinction between analytic and continental philosophers seems odd, first of all, because it contrasts a geographical characterization (philosophy done on the European continent, particularly Germany and France) with a methodological one (philosophy done by analyzing concepts). It’s like, as Bernard Williams pointed out, dividing cars into four-wheel-drive and made-in-Japan. It becomes even odder when we realize that some of the founders of analytic philosophy (like Frege and Carnap) were Europeans, that many of the leading centers of “continental” philosophy are at American universities, and that many “analytic” philosophers have no interest in analyzing concepts.
But he takes a stab anyway — one that I think makes for a worthwhile read. Take a look here.