May 14, 2005

continental philosophy: reacting against science

Analytic philosophers pride themselves on being logical, rigorous, and clear, which is their not so subtle way of denouncing Continental philosophers as illogical, sloppy, and incoherent. This way of addressing the divide overlooks classic continental approaches to the philosophy of science, which like many of the latter postmodern critiques, challenge the claim of science's very singular prerogative. The hegemony of science is placed into question.

The modern canon for legitimating discourse---that is, rationality, objectivity, truth, progress, the scientific schematism of limit and hierarchy---is called to account by both the broadly continental and specifically postmodern critiques.

This critical strand of continental philosophical thought can be interpreted as a further development of the modern philosophical tradition of critique and throughly modern demystification. As such, Hegel's, Marx's Nietzsche's, Husserl's and Heidegger's critique of science is only an extension of, and no break from, the modern enlightenment project of demystification.

Yet these historical and hermeneutic style of reflections on science find little resonance or consideration amongst analytical philosophers of science. As Babette E. Babich observes:

"...there is no received (i. e., there is no acknowledged or recognized) tradition of continental scholarship within the professional establishment of the [analytic] philosophy of science. Thus the philosophy of science remains an analytic discipline, with continental perspectives excluded by the sovereign expedient of disregard, an absence of critical reference which effects the professional annihilation of scholarship."
Yet a lot of continental philosophy only makes sense within the context of a critique of science that displaces the valorization of science and logic and opens up spaces for other modes of knowing. Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at May 14, 2005 11:58 PM | TrackBack
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