Bridging the Continental-Analytic Divide

“Many philosophers at leading American departments are specialists in metaphysics: the study of the most general aspects of reality such as being and time. The major work of one of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, is “Being and Time,” a profound study of these two topics.  Nonetheless, hardly any of these American metaphysicians have paid serious attention to Heidegger’s book. The standard explanation for this oddity is that the metaphysicians are analytic philosophers, whereas Heidegger is a continental philosopher.  Although the two sorts of philosophers seldom read one another’s work, when they do, the results can be ugly.  A famous debate between Jacques Derrida (continental) and John Searle (analytic) ended with Searle denouncing Derrida’s ‘obscurantism’ and Derrida mocking Searle’s ‘superficiality.’” - Gary Gutting, “Bridging the Analytic-Continental Divide” on the NY Times Philosopher’s Stone Blog, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=120735

A further note: Melvin Bragg recently, and very helpfully, discussed this same issue on BBC4’s In Our Time, “The Continental-Analytic Split,” http://bbc.in/xpNjbt

timothywstanley@me.com