Monday, June 16, 2008

Philosophical Partitions

I've been talking to a friend about the great divide in philosophy--between analytic and continental approaches. Although there are genuine differences in style, I'm convinced that the divide is politically maintained. Of course it is. Analytic philosophers of language (some of them) show more animosity toward continental philosophy of language than they do toward, say, analytic aesthetics, even though the difference between them is clearly greater in the latter case.

My friend pointed out that at the extremes (and perhaps that is the area of metaphysics in both cases?) they rival each other when it comes to elitism.

And how relevant to contemporary problems is the purest of either? The degree of triviality that is the apparent goal of the analytics is perfectly balanced by the degree of obscurity on the other side.

1 comment:

Khadimir said...

I concur that the divide is politically maintained, though I would say that the difference is more fundamental than an "approach" or "style." We are what we do, and the difference in training can become more than a difference in the matter of thought.

As far as elitism and obscurantism ... ever read the Journal of Zizek Studies? Good case example there. And, despite my fondness for Heidegger, "Hedeggerians" tend to drive me crazy--"No, I don't want to talk about fundamental ontology!"

Personally, where someone stands on Kant and the aftermath is the biggest indicator of how "bridgeable" many gaps can be.