Thursday, January 29, 2009

"the foreign, the exotic, and the strange"

I too feel that I am beginning to understand (or at least better understand) what Continental philosophy is. Critchley made it most clear (again, not saying I truly get it) to me when he discussed the difference between Coleridge and Bentham in their different ways of thought. He states that where a Bentham(in?) would ask "Is it true?" (knowledge), in relation to a text or idea, a Coleridge(ean?) would instead ask "What is the meaning of it?" (wisdom).

He further explains this by differentiating that Continental philosophy is concerned with meaning, and the other, analytic, is concerned with truth (42). Although he says these views are in opposition to each other, he also illustrates the importance and use of combining both views. These views cannot be separated completely from each other for fear that they will turn dogmatic. Through a mutual criticism of the beliefs held by the opposing views we can make more accessible the many presentations that lead to a complete sense of truth and wisdom. That is why they must work together, rather than unify, since such an opposition is necessary.

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