May 13, 2005

between the analytic continental divide

A standard polemic from analytic philosophers is that they aim to distinguish mainstream Western philosophy from the reflections of philosophical sages or prophets, such as Pascal or Nietzsche, and from the obscurities of speculative metaphysicians, such as Hegel, Bradley or Heidegger. It is a polemic because it sidesteps the criticism of science and its metaphysics by Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger. So one just ignores the analytic prejudices and continues to read continental philosophy.

The following quote from the article by Babette E. Babich on the 'Analytic-Continental' Divide in the philosophy institution, is a different kettle of fish. She says:

"Contrary to what I have said about the legacy of continental thought as it can be found in Heidegger and others, today's continental philosophy echoes the mainstream (and analytic) approach to Nietzsche's thinking while sidestepping any reference that would take them to raise epistemological questions in Nietzsche. Constituted within the institutional bearing of the analytic tradition - from Europe to the UK to America and across the globe, including contemporary Germany and France - so-called continental philosophy increasingly reflects exactly the values and interests analytic philosophy relegates to it...Analytic philosophy defines its language, its standards of rigor, its focal approach, its style as uniquely valid for crucial questions in philosophy."

This implies that the continental approach to philosophy has nearly abandoned its own heritage by taking over its definition from analytic quarters.

I find that claim rather strange. It looks like a reading continental philosophy from an Anglo-American philosophy department. So, if analytic philosophy is primarily associated with science, then continental philosophy appears to be given what is remaindered, literature.

This kind of reading fails to see what can be opened up philsophy's connection with literature---eg. a reading of Sade with Bataille, Blanchot and Klossowski. That takes us a long way from the concerns of analytic philosophy. Yet de Sade followed more or less the lines of enlightened thinking. He grounded his work in nature and expressed nature in terms of the inborn dispositions to explain and defend his natural desires. Sade included pederasty, prostitution, adultery, incest and lust murder are natural inclinations and that there is no reason to object to them or forbid them. For him, all human and also "inhuman" passions are innate, and should thus have a place as well in culture and society.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at May 13, 2005 11:40 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: yabonn on May 14, 2005 03:09 AM
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