Title

The analytical-Continental divide: styles of dealing with problems

Document Type

Journal Article

Role

Author

Standard Number

1474-8851

Journal Title

European Journal of Political Theory

Volume

15

Issue

2

First Page

138

Last Page

154

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

What today divides analytical from Continental philosophy? This paper argues that the present divide is not what it once was. Today, the divide concerns the styles in which philosophers deal with intellectual problems: solving them, pressing them, resolving them, or dissolving them. Using ‘the boundary problem’, or ‘the democratic paradox’, as an example, we argue for two theses. First, the difference between most analytical and most Continental philosophers today is that Continental philosophers find intelligible two styles of dealing with problems that most analytical philosophers find unintelligible: pressing them and resolving them. Second, when it comes to a genuine divide in which not understanding the other side’s basic philosophical purposes combines with disagreement on fundamental questions of doctrine, the only such divide today is that between those analytical philosophers who tend to solve problems and those Continental philosophers who tend to press problems (roughly, the heirs of Derrida). It is among these subgroups that there is a real philosophical divide today. So the analytical–Continental divide is more a matter of style than of substance; but as we try to show, differences in style shape differences over substance.

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