The Idea of Continental Philosophy

The Idea of Continental Philosophy

Simon Glendinning
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    The Idea of Continental Philosophy
    Book Description:

    The idea of Continental Philosophy has never been properly explained in philosophical terms. In this short and engaging book Simon Glendinning attempts finally to succeed where others have failed – although not by giving an account of its internal unity but by showing instead why no such account can be given. Providing a clear picture of the current state of the contemporary philosophical culture Glendinning traces the origins and development of the idea of a distinctive Continental tradition, critiquing current attempts to survey the field of contemporary philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2709-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. 1 Starting Points
    (pp. 1-20)

    I must have been about seventeen. From the hallway I could hear two of my older brothers talking very enthusiastically about things they were beginning to explore in their studies at university. They were talking about something called ‘semiotics’. The door to the room was open as usual and I moved closer, cautiously approaching my spirited brothers inside. At the doorway I asked for an explanation, but whatever I was given just hung in the air and left me out of the charmed circle of my brothers’ talk. I had no idea what they were on about and couldn’t get...

  4. 2 A Meeting of (Some) Minds: Phenomenology at Large
    (pp. 21-37)

    In the last chapter I proposed that the thinking about the breakdowns in communication within the contemporary philosophical culture that appeals to the idea of a division between the traditions of analytic and Continental philosophy is part of and does not stand apart from the rotten scene it intends to capture. The plausibility of this proposal would be massively increased if I could demonstrate the independent plausibility of a further proposal: namely, that the very idea of a distinctive Continental tradition in philosophy is confused and distorting. It is a basic aim of this book to substantiate that. In doing...

  5. 3 The Usual Suspects
    (pp. 38-68)

    The engagement with texts outside the mainstream of analytic philosophy that has characterised my own work in philosophy has always involved an effort indirectly to intervene in the regular programming of analytic expectations about such texts. By rendering myself capable of reading these texts I have sought to encourage others to feel less well prepared for what they might encounter. My thought is that without such a disruption they will remain prepared only for the (for them, for everyone) depressing prospect of reading the Other.¹

    As I will explain in the next chapter, such preparatory expectations express a deep and...

  6. 4 The Analytic Perspective on the Idea
    (pp. 69-90)

    The trajectory of this book is entering its most crucial phase. I have promised to look at the major reasons and arguments (perhaps I should say more neutrally that I will look at ‘major texts’) presented by analytic philosophers who have affirmed or embraced the idea of what Gilbert Ryle called the ‘wide gulf’ between Anglo-Saxon ‘philosophical analysis’ and philosophy on ‘the Continent’.¹ It is now time to do so. The texts I will look at are all from the same period: the late 1950s.² As we shall see, the idea of the gulf was already well established by then,...

  7. 5 The Continental Perspective on the Idea
    (pp. 91-114)

    If what the postwar gulf-seekers in the analytic movement would have liked to have expelled from the midst of philosophy in the Englishspeaking world really had been fully expelled (qua actuality as it were) the story of Continental philosophy would perhaps already be a piece of analytical philosophy’s mythological folklore (‘There used to be some people who read that kind of stuff, but not any more, not round here anyway’). Of course, the fundamental argument of the last chapter is that what answers to the idea of Continental philosophy (the risk of ‘sophistry and illusion’) is not something that can...

  8. 6 The (B)end of the Idea
    (pp. 115-127)

    John McCumber claims that there has been no success in construing the ‘split’ between analytic and Continental philosophy ‘in philosophical terms’.¹ In this book I have attempted to succeed where others have failed. However, I have not tried to do so by showing ‘how, after all, the analytic/Continental distinction [can] be drawn’² but, rather, by showing why, after all, it cannot. Yet so pervasive is the de facto distinction, so serious the breakdown in communication, that we find it hard to resist the idea that there must be something to the distinction. This is where it gets hard to keep...

  9. Appendix: Continental Philosophy in Britain since 1986
    (pp. 128-138)
  10. Index
    (pp. 139-146)