On continental and analytic philosophies

Manuscrito 25 (2):51-79 (2002)
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I discuss the way in which the cleavage between the Continental and the Anglo-American philosophies originated, the images of both philosophical worlds, the converging rediscoveries from the Seventies, as well as recent ecumenical or anti-ecumenical strategies. I argue that pragmatism provides an important counterinstance to both the familiar self-images and to fashionable ecumenical or anti-ecumenical strategies. My conclusions are: Continental philosophy does not exist; less obviously, also analytic philosophy does not exist, or does not exist any longer as a current or a paradigm; what does exist is, on the one hand, philosophy of language and, on the other, philosophy of mind, that is, two disciplines; the dissolution of analytic philosophy as a school has been extremely fruitful, precisely in so far as it has left room for disciplines and research programmes; what is left, of the Anglo-American/Continental cleavage is primarily differences in styles, depending partly on intellectual traditions, partly owing to sociology, history, institutional frameworks; these differences should not be blurred by rash ecumenical; besides, theoretical differences are alive as ever, but within both camps; finally, there is indeed a lag in the appropriation of intellectual techniques by most schools of ‘Continental’ philosophy, and this should be overcome through appropriation of what the best ‘analytic’ philosophers have produced

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