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Continental philosophy

Related: Freudo-Marxism - Nietzsche - Europe - philosophy

By country: French philosophy - German philosophy

In search of the roots of postmodern philosophy:
"Postmodernism" as a philosophical movement is not just Nietzsche rehashed; it grew out of the staged confrontations and collaborations of Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud undertaken by French (mostly) intellectuals in the twentieth century. Boiling it down to Nietzsche is inaccurate (as would be boiling it down to the three of these thinkers). --csloat 01:36, 3 June 2006 (UTC)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Postmodernism#Nietzsche [Jun 2006]


Continental philosophy is a general term for several related philosophical traditions that (notionally) originated in continental Europe, in contrast with Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Continental philosophy includes phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism, deconstruction, French feminism, critical theory such as that of the Frankfurt School, psychoanalysis, the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, and most branches of Marxism and Marxist philosophy (though there also exists a self-described analytic Marxism).

The distinction between continental and analytic philosophy is relatively recent, probably dating from the early twentieth century. In terms of a break in the philosophical tradition, however, its roots can be traced back to Immanuel Kant - analytic philosophy is generally not interested in the German philosophers of the nineteenth century who followed Kant, such as Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, and Nietzsche. What came to be called "continental philosophy" is largely descended from the tradition of these thinkers, as well as earlier thinkers like Kant who are also important to analytic philosophy.

In the early-to-mid twentieth century, Germany continued to have the most vital philosophical scene in Europe, until the rise of Hitler. This had the initial effect that many of Germany's most eminent philosophers, who were largely Jewish or left-wing, had to flee abroad, particularly to America, as in the case with the members of the Frankfurt School. The remaining philosophers, particularly Martin Heidegger, the most eminent German philosopher of the time, remained due to their affiliation with Nazism. After the fall of Nazism, they often found themselves banned from teaching, and their philosophies fell out of favour.

After World War II there was an explosion of interest in German philosophy in neighbouring France. On the one hand, the role of the French Communist Party in liberating France meant that it became for a brief period the largest political movement in the country. The attendant interest in communism translated into an interest in Marx and Hegel, who were both now studied extensively for the first time in the conservative French university system. On the other hand, there was a major trend towards the ideas of the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, and toward his former disciple Martin Heidegger. Most important in this popularisation of phenomenology was the author and philosophy teacher Jean-Paul Sartre (by then a noted intellectual), who called his philosophy existentialism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_philosophy [Jan 2005]

Analytical philosophy's reception of continental philosophy

Because continental philosophy is not a specific school or doctrine, individual philosophers often have widely different views on different streams within it. Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche are widely read and taught by Anglo-American philosophers, and they are usually recognized as important thinkers, even if they are not as widely agreed with. Early twentieth-century thinkers are less accepted; Sartre or Heidegger is more likely to be dismissed as incoherent, pompous, or simply worthless. Movements since then are in the lowest repute in philosophy departments: many analytic philosophers have published outright the claim that Derrida, for example, is simply a charlatan. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_philosophy#Differences_from_analytic_philosophy [Jan 2006]

See also: continental philosophy - Europe - Germany - France - Jacques Derrida

Difference with analytic philosophy

... many now claim that the distinction [between analytical and continental philosophy] is worthless: that the subject matter of continental philosophy is capable of being studied using the now-traditional tools of analytic philosophy. If this is true, the phrase "analytic philosophy" might be redundant, or maybe normative, as in "rigorous philosophy". The phrase "continental philosophy", like "Greek philosophy", would denote a certain historical period or series of schools in philosophy: German idealism, Marxism, psychoanalysis qua philosophy, existentialism, phenomenology, and post-structuralism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_philosophy#Relation_to_continental_philosophy

Working Definition of "Continental Philosophy"

A Dictionary of Continental Philosophy (2006) - John Protevi
[FR] [DE] [UK]

"Continental philosophy" has always been an exceedingly difficult term to define. In fact, it may even be impossible to define. After all, Nietzsche tells us in On the Genealogy of Morals that "only that which is without history can be defined," and not only does continental philosophy have a history, but most-although perhaps not all-of its practitioners would agree with Nietzsche that a historical treatment (or what he would call a "genealogy") of philosophical texts is vitally important. Thus, in lieu of a definition, the Introduction will offer, and our editorial decisions will be guided by, a (synchronic) operational treatment and a (diachronic) genealogy of "continental philosophy." --protevi.com

Infinite thought on continental philosophy

There is a need to actively demand and create a separate space for work of a European origin not covered by most UK philosophy departments, though I think the problem is more serious still: the rise and rise of post-analytic philosophy of many kinds (influenced by Cavell, Mulhall, McDowell, Brandom, Wittgenstein etc.) seems to want to assimilate all 'our' philosophers and interests (Hegel, phenomenology, existentialism, aesthetic thinkers, etc., a certain kind of Kant, the novel, art) into a horrible melange of reactionary, institutionalised, anti-thought, wishy-washy rubbish. I preferred it when they just hated us.

We need to preserve and take a stand on the profound, potentially revolutionary, aspects of Continental Philosophy, and not allow ourselves to be swept up in the misapprehension that these people (those who 'graciously' deign to incorporate a little non-analytic philosophy into their work) are doing what we do. They are not.

Furthermore, we need to affirm the lineages of Continental thought that directly impinge on typically 'analytic' interests: the various scientific, rationalist, and mathematical strands of French and German thought (Cavaillès, Koyré, Bachelard, Canguilhem, Foucault, Badiou, Cassirer), as well as the scientifically-informed and philosophically radical (Deleuze and Guattari, Lyotard), not to mention those that muddy the analytic/continental divide until it is revealed as the sorry fiction it always was: The Marburg School and other neo/post-Kantians. We have more than enough material to demonstrate the lame, yet pernicious, influence of the institutional anti-thinkers...and if you think I'm exaggerating, you should take a look at the composition of philosophy departments these days - all the places where Continental Philosophy once had a hold have been taken over by these meretricious zombies. We shouldn't have to flee to other disciplines - but we definitely need much more organisation. --infinite thought via http://www.cinestatic.com/infinitethought/2005/03/new-continental-philosophy-blog.asp [Jul 2006]

Also by infinite thought, an interesting comparison of G.W.F. Hegel and Gerard Depardieu and comments on the humaneness of New York. [Jul 2006]

See also: continental philosophy

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