Monday, January 26, 2009

Continental Philosophy

This was positively a great read. While I would never assume that I understand the distinction between the Analytical (A's) and the Continental (C's) entirely, I feel much more confidently that I can express some of the differences between the two schools of thought and the history that caused the distinction.

For me the most interesting section of the reading was how Kant and the criticism of Kant (or the criticism of criticism) annihilated both reason and faith. Amongst the rubble are the torn philosophers looking for some kind of shelter in which to lick their wounds and go about getting something for all the effort they went trhough. The two schools went about resurrecting what they deemed to be the essential tool for answering questions that they held philosophy to be responsible for. The A's looked to truth and the C's looked to meaning, according to Critchley.

Mill is the one to first recognize and write down these distinctions for the world to see. I also appreciated C.P. Snow's accounting for a two culture system in which there are scientists (A's) on one side and literary intellectuals (C's) on the other(49).

For me, pragmatism appears to be answering these problems. Starting with Peirce (obviously falling on the A's side of things) and moving through James and on to Dewey we see that instrumentalism provides the philosophical apparatus to bind the two together. Faith and reason are both features of the human landscape. To trumpet one as taking precedence over the other is to ignore the diversity of the problems that we face as human beings. Both faith and reason have a place in this world. To shun one merely restricts aspects of humanity to those who would do so.

1 comment:

  1. As promised I am here to comment on your post.
    What really caught my attention in reading about the split was that the debate seemed to begin on two fronts one front on the critique of critique and the debates over reason and religion. It seems that a lot of fuss was made over reason and its possible role in creating atheists or nihilists and whether there was room for both reason and religion. Through this argument it seems that while coming to terms with faith and reason the knocked philosophy off the table and it broke into two pieces. One side deeply concerned with metaphysics and the relation between individuals and the world and society. While the other side is concerned with the rigorous pursuit of truth. I'm curious is it common for most colleges today to teach both fields in the philosophy department? I would think so because both seem to me to be very necessary in the pursuit of wisdom which is what philosophy is about.