analytic and continental philosophy

There is a big divide in philosophy that roughly maps, geographically, on to the large body of water known as that Atlantic Ocean. Europeans focus on very different questions than British and American philosophers, and the methodologies of the two schools is different as well.

Continental philosophers focus on politics, but also make more frequent use of sociology, aesthetics, and Marxism. Analytic philosophers are, in a word, more boring. They write in a kind of mechanical and scientific style, and are more likely to have Nozick and Rawls than Adorno and Horkheimer.

Now this is just rough stereotyping on my part, but here is a startling fact that gets the difference between these philosophical traditions across in an easily digestible anecdote:

Almost none of the writing in the analytic tradition after 1945 mentions WWII or the Holocaust. By contrast, almost every continental philosopher takes WWII as a significant challenge to philosophizing.


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