Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16ΰAugust 2007α, pp.

283-302
©2007 Soochow University
283
The Analytic/Continental Divide:
Entities and Being

Nevia Dolcini

I. Introduction
Though it remains controversial and is often the subject of strident
criticism, the tradition of sharply dividing Analytic from Continental
philosophy persists and is widely accepted. Anglo-American philosophers of
the middle twentieth-century are well-known for neglecting Continental ideas
by simply appealing to the orthodoxy of an allegedly unbridgeable
analytic/continental divide. The same tactic is now prevalent among
SKLORVRSKHUV ZKR GLVWLQJXLVK WKHPVHOYHV DV LQ WKH ³&RQWLQHQWDO WUDGLWLRQ´
Many authors have dedicated themselves to the topic of the Divide in the
attempt to single out its historical and philosophical origins. Among others,
this includes: Richard Rorty
1
and Michael Friedman
2
(two non-partisan
analytic philosophers); Andrew Cutrofello
3
)UDQFD '¶$JRVWLQL
4
and Franco

Proofreaders: Donald James Sturgeon, Ya-Ting Yang, Kuan-Jung Kao

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Macerata, Italy.
1
Richard Rorty (1979).
2
Michael Friedman (2000).
3
Andrew Cutrofello (2005).
4
)UDQFD '¶$JRVWLQL (1997).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
284
Restaino
5
(who describe the Divide from an historical point of view); Pascal
Engel
6
, etc. In this paper, I begin by presenting a short overview and
criticism of the traditional ways in which the Divide has been analyzed. I then
show that the two schools are fundamentally different because of their
orientation to the problem of accommodating time in a theory of Being.
According to my approach, the Divide finds its deepest roots in two different
RQWRORJLFDO SHUVSHFWLYHV ,Q SDUWLFXODU , ZLOO DUJXH WKDW WKH ³QHZ´ DQG
³UHDFWLRQDU\´ RQWRORJLFDO SHUVSHFWLYH SURSRVHG E\ +HLGHJJHU LQ Being and
Time (B&T) is the proper way to understand what is distinct about the so-called
³&RQWLQHQWDO´ WUDGLWLRQ +HLGHJJHU FKDUDFWHUL]HV WKLV SHUVSHFWLYH DV EHLQJ LQ
RSSRVLWLRQ WR WKH WUDGLWLRQDO RQWRORJ\ ZKLFK KH FDOOV D ³VXEVWDQFH WKHRU\´ RU
³RQWRORJ\ RI SUHVHQFH´ The substance theory, at least as Heidegger presents it,
is naturally bounded to science and to a kind of philosophical methodology
that is well represented by analytical philosophy.
+HLGHJJHU GUDZV D GLVWLQFWLRQ EHWZHHQ DQ ³RQWLFDO´ DQG DQ ³RQWRORJLFDO
OHYHO´ RI LQTXLU\ +LV GLVWLQFWLRQ FRXOG EH LQWHUSUHted more generally as an
unbridgeable gulf between a substance-theory-EDVHG RU ³VWDWLF´ RQWRORJ\ WR
which analytical philosophers and scientists are normally wedded), and a
³G\QDPLF´ RQWRORJ\ 7KH ODWWHU FOHDUO\ ILQGV RQH RI LWV PRVW VWULNLQJ
representations in Heidegger
7
and seems to be compatible with, if not to
underlie, most of the streams of continental philosophy (hermeneutics,
5
Franco Restaino (1999).
6
Pascal Engel (1997).
7
There is no real GLIIHUHQFH ZLWK UHJDUG WR WKLV SRLQW DIWHU +HLGHJJHU¶V SKLORVRSKLFDO WXUQ WKH
³VHFRQG´ +HLGHJJHU RIWHQ FKDUDFWHUL]HV WKH %HLQJ LQ WHUPV RI Ereignis ³HYHQW´ IXOO\
SUHVHUYLQJ WKH ³G\QDPLF´ FRQFHSWLRQ RI WKH %HLQJ 6HH IRU H[DPSOH +HLGHJJHU (1947).
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
285
existentialism, and so on.).
The traditional trust that analytical philosophy gives to scientific
disciplines can perhaps be best understood by observing the affinity between
the static ontology of substance theory and the scientific approach represented,
in particular, in neo-positivism. On the other side, the Heideggerian
ontological perspective that influenced many of the continental philosophers is
incompatible with the substance theory (and its philosophy of science). Thus,
the difficulties of communication (and sometimes dismissive attitudes)
between continental and analytic traditions is best explained by appeal to their
two very different orientations to the place of time in ontology.
II. Characterizing the Divide by its Origins and Sources
A number of writers have attempted to characterize the differences
between Analytical and Continental Philosophy in the hope of pinpointing the
origins and nature of the divisions between them. Currently, many
philosophers working within the Western tradition consider themselves, or are
considered by the others, as belonging to one of the two philosophical
³IDPLOLHV´ $ VKRUW OLVW RI PHPEHUV RI WKH $QDO\WLFDO ³IDPLO\´ ZRXOG LQFOXGH
Bolzano, Husserl, Frege (who are among its founding fathers), Brentano,
Meinong, Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Tarski, Schlick, Neurath, Ayer,
Popper, Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Dummett, Strawson, and Kripke. Within the
&RQWLQHQWDO ³IDPLO\´ ZH ILQG SKLORVRSKHUV VXFK DV +HLGHJJHU $GRUQR
Gadamer, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Habermas, etc.
8
8
See, Kevin Mulligan (1998).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
286
7DNLQJ D FXH IURP WKH ZRUG ³FRQWLQHQWDO´ RQH PLJKW DWWHPSW WR FODVVLI\
each family on the basis of geography. Thus, Analytical Philosophy (AP) will
be that kind of philosophy practiced in countries where the English language is
dominant (Great Britain, North European countries, U.S.A., Canada, and
Australia), while Continental Philosophy (CP) will be the kind practiced
mostly on the European continent (in countries such as Germany, France, Italy,
and Spain). But a geographical characterization is problematic for at least two
reasons: first, AP itself has its roots on the continent as much as CP does
(Frege, Wittgenstein, Carnap, among others, are unquestionably among
analytic philosophers and nonetheless are geographically continental); second,
there are currently many analytic philosophers on the Continent and even more
Continental philosophers in English language dominated countries. It is often
the case that philosophers belonging to the two different traditions share
philosophy departments, both in English-speaking countries and on the
Continent. The communication and interaction between them, though, is not
easy and sometimes even absent, as suggested by the metaphor in which
0LFKDHO 'XPPHWW FRPSDUHV $3 DQG &3 WR WKH 5KLQH DQG WKH 'DQXEH ³>«@
rivers that rise quite close to one another and for a time pursue roughly
parallel courses, only to diverge in utterly different directions and flow into
different seas. >«@ LW¶V QR XVH QRZ VKRXWLQJ DFURVV WKH JXOI´
9
Why is such communication so difficult? Is there a real
LQFRPPHQVXUDELOLW\ EHWZHHQ ³DQDO\VWV´ DQG ³FRQWLQHQWDOV´" 6RPH DXWKRUV LQ
order to clarify the gap between the two traditions, try to identify its sources.
9
Michael Dummett (1993).
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
287
According to Dummett, for example, AP finds its point of departure in Frege,
while CP starts with the phenomenology of Husserl. Franco Restaino considers
:LWWJHQVWHLQ¶V Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921-22) as the origin of the
$3 WUDGLWLRQ DQG +HLGHJJHU¶V Being and Time (1927) as the origin of the CP
tradition.
10
Often the Divide has been characterized as a struggle over the Kantian
legacy
11
. Rorty and Friedman, for example, have each tried to represent the
division has having its roots in a distinction that Kant draws between two
VXSSRVHGO\ VHSDUDEOH HOHPHQWV RI KXPDQ FRJQLWLRQ ³LQWXLWLRQV´ DQG
³FRQFHSWV´
12
. In A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger
13
,
Friedman locates the divisiRQ EHWZHHQ SKLORVRSK\¶V WZR FXOWXUHV LQ WKH DWWHPSW
made by rival schools of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century
neo-Kantians to rid themselves of the intuition/concept dichotomy. One school
presented an account of human experience that gave primacy to the natural
sciences (the view adopted by the Marburg School of neo-Kantianism); the
other privileged the Geisteswissenschaften or cultural sciences (the position of
the Southwest School).
Another aspect that has been thought to characterize the divide is the
10
Restaino (1999: 5-16). According to Restaino, Wittgenstein would be the father of three
streams of AP, namely, logical atomism (in England), logical positivism (in Vienna), and, later
on, ordinary language philosophy. Heidegger would play a central role as the main source of
phenomenology, existentialism and hermeneutics.
11
Ricouer (1998: 50).
12
According to Kant (1997), intuitions are immediate representations of individual objects that
are somehow given to us through a faculty of receptivity, while concepts are spontaneously
generated forms of thought in terms of which we recognize such objects.
13
Friedman (2000: 155-156).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
288
relationship between science and art. In Nineteenth-Century Idealism and
Twentieth-Century Textualism
14
Rorty observes that a certain way of thinking
about the relationship gave rise to a nineteenth-century polemic between
³SRVLWLYLVWV´ DQG ³5RPDQWLFV´ DQG KH VXJJHVWV WKDW WKH WZHQWLHWK-century split
between analytic and continental philosophers is just an extension of this
debate. Freidman implicitly agrees that the analytic/continental division
concerns the relative importance of science and art, but, as noted, he considers
this to be a consequence of the split between different forms of
neo-Kantianism.
Sometimes the Divide has been interpreted as a metaphilosophical
conflict which is intrinsic to the philosophical enterprise itself. This account is
IRXQG LQ &XWURIHOOR¶V SUHVHQWDWLRQ
15
of the Divide as a controversy about the
nature of philosophical controversies themselves.
In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
16
, Rorty characterizes the
differences between analytical and continental philosophical practices in terms
RI DQ HVVHQWLDOO\ GLIIHUHQW UHODWLRQ WR ³7UXWK´ ,QIOXHQFHG E\ *DGDPHU¶V Truth
and Method
17
5RUW\ VHHV $3 DV D ³V\VWHPDWLF SKLORVRSK\´ DQG &3 DV DQ
³HGLI\LQJ SKLORVRSK\´ +H ZULWHV ³I want now to generalize this contrast
between philosophers whose work is essentially constructive and those whose
14
The essay, published in 1981, is collected in Rorty (1982).
15
Cutrofello (2005).
16
Rorty (1979).
17
Gadamer (1975). In particular Rorty takes from Gadamer the idea of the contrast between the
desire for edification (Bildung) and the desire for truth. According to Gadamer (and many
continentals such as Heidegger and Sartre), however, such a contrast does not need to be
resolved: the search for the truth (via objective knowledge) is just one human project (or type
RI ³HGLILFDWLRQ´ DPRQJ RWKHUV
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
289
work is essentially reactive. I shall thereby develop a contrast between
philosophy which centers in epistemology and the sort of philosophy which
takes its point of departure from suspicion about the pretensions of
HSLVWHPRORJ\ 7KLV LV WKH FRQWUDVW EHWZHHQ µV\VWHPDWLF¶ DQG µHGLI\LQJ¶
philosophies´
18
This characterization is drawn at the epistemological level.
Focusing again on the role of language in the two traditions in Contingency,
Irony and Solidarity,
19
Rorty characterizes the continental philosophers (such
as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault and Derrida) as ironists who aim not at the
truth, as do analysts, but at self-transformation. In fact, Rorty goes so far as to
GHILQH DQ ³LURQLVW´ DV RQH ZKR UHIXVHV WR DFFHSW DQ\ ³ILQDO YRFDEXODU\´ DV
absolute.
All these interpretations of the divide focus on the origins and sources of
WKH WZR WUDGLWLRQV 7KH\ HDFK DGG LPSRUWDQW HOHPHQWV WR RQH¶V understanding of
the current situation in philosophy. But their explanations of the actual
differences are limited.
III. Explaining the Differences: Some Criteria
Recently there have been new attempts to explain the divide by
establishing criteria apparently crucial for grasping its nature. The list of the
main criteria used in the critical comparison of the two traditions includes: the
style; specialization into philosophical sub-disciplines or the lack thereof; the
relationship between the kind of philosophy and other disciplines such as
18
Rorty (1979: 366).
19
Rorty (1989).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
290
science and history; language, etc
20
.
The style of philosophical expression has been considered one of the most
important of the criteria for distinguishing analysts from continentals. In
JHQHUDO FRQWLQHQWDOV DGRSW D PRUH ³OLWHUDU\´ VW\OH WKDQ DQDO\VWV VRPHWLPHV
continentals give their concern for style override their concern for ideas,
allowing the coloring of their sentences to take precedence over their
discursive clarity. Although continentals often adopt distinctive personal styles,
it is normally very easy to distinguish them from analysts. In contrast, the
concern for clarity is always a top priority among analysts and as a result they
seem to adopt a more unified and recognizable style employing definitions and
a careful use of arguments. The role of argument is different in the two
traditions.
21
AP has concern for rigor and correct reasoning; its practices are
based on the elucidation of propositions, and definitions, descriptions and
DQDO\VHV SHUYDGH WKHLU FRQVWUXFWLRQ RI WKHRULHV &3¶V SKLORVRSKLFDO ZRUNLQJV
are based on creating concepts, unmasking, decoding, intuiting by the usage of
metaphors and even (often undefined) neologisms.
Another criterion is specialization (or the lack of specialization) of the
type of philosophy into sub-disciplines. Generally, in CP there is a relative
lack of specialization into sub-disciplines. While engaged in cultural critique,
continental philosophers search for a systematic and global view, working at
20
See, Neil Levy (2003) )UDQFD '¶$JRVWLni (1997: 57-62).
21
Dagfinn Føllesdal (1997), for example, characterizes the differences between the two traditions
as essentially a difference in the place given to arguments, rather than rhetoric. Rorty (1979:
369), in distinguishing between systematic and edifying philosophers, states that the former
³are constructive and offer arguments´ ZKLOH WKH ODWWHU ³are reactive and offer satires,
parodies, aphorisms´
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
291
the same time on several issues under a general theme. AP often rejects
systematic philosophy, dividing issues into myriad sub-disciplines (philosophy
of mind, of language, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and so on)
specialized in a very well-defined thematic field.
The two traditions differ in their relationship with other disciplines such
as history, politics, sociology, and psychology. In contrast with much of
analytic philosophy, continental philosophers do not take empirical science as
paradigm of rationality.
22
While analysts share with scientists a fundamental
DWWLWXGH RI ³WUXVW´ LQ WKH SRVVLELOLW\ RI objective knowledge and progress,
continental thinkers frequently reject this attitude, emphasizing the role of the
VXEMHFW DQG VXEMHFWLYLW\ DQG RIWHQ VHHP ³DQWL-VFLHQWLVWLF´ 7KH\ REMHFW WR WKH
hegemony empirical science has had in shaping modern culture, insisting that
the concepts of empirical science offer neither the only kind of knowledge nor
even the most basic kind. They tend to favor the view that modern scientific
concepts present a secondary or derivative way of knowing (Husserl,
Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Lyotard, Foucault, etc.). AP is generally
not just friendlier with science, it also often endeavors to work together with it.
,Q WKLV YLHZ WKH SKLORVRSKHU¶V WDVN LV WR SURYLGH WKH IRXQGDWLRQV RI ERWK WKH
empirical and mathematical sciences. There is also an evident attempt within
the analytic tradition to think of philosophical and scientific inquiries as
related, mutually supportive and sharing the same ³PHWD-ODQJXDJH´ ,Q
Analytic and Conversational Philosophy
23
, Rorty characterizes the dominant
analytic conception of philosophy as a kind of conceptual handmaiden to
22
Cooper (1994) takes this criterion to be the most crucial one.
23
Richard Rorty (2003).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
292
VFLHQFH ³JHWWLQJ WKLQJV ULJKW´ DQG VHDUFKLQJ IRU WLPHOHVV SURSRVLWLRQDO WUXWKV
while the dominant continental conception of philosophy is characterized as
cultural critique.
The two traditions relate differently to history
24
. In CP philosophical
problems are treated in their historical context, while in AP there is a tendency
to treat them in an atemporal or ahistorical way. In another sense, history is the
element in which continental philosophers find their work meaningful. As
5RUW\ SXWV LW ³they know their work loses its point when the period they were
reacting against is over´
25
$QDO\WLF SKLORVRSKHUV DV VFLHQWLVWV WHQG WR ³EXLOG
IRU HWHUQLW\´ DQG FRQVLGHU WKHLU SUDFWLFHV DV ³DWHPSRUDO´ LQ WKH VHQVH WKDW DQ\
philosophical theory has (or does not have) validity independently from its
historical context.
The Divide has often been characterized as deriving from differences in
concern with language. One of the best-known attempts to characterize it in
these terms is due to Michael Dummett. He claims that AP distinguishes itself
IURP WKH RWKHU WUDGLWLRQ E\ WKH EHOLHI ILUVW ³that a philosophical account of
thought can be attained through a philosophical account of language, and,
secondly, that a comprehensive account can only be so attained´
26
. This
account of language is closely related to what is presented by Rorty as the
LPDJH RI V\VWHPDWLF SKLORVRSK\ DV ³LQYROYHG ZLWK WKH LPDJH RI WKH µPLQG¶ RU
24
Simon Critchley (1997) takes this criterion as the main one in explaining the Divide; thus,
Critchley interprets the two traditions as essentially based on their different attitudes toward
history.
25
Rorty (1979: 369).
26
Dummett (1993: 4).
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
293
µODQJXDJH¶ DV PLUURULQJ WKH QDWXUH´
27
.
It would be possible to go on analyzing the differences between AP and
CP taking into account other criteria, such as the different audiences to which
the two traditions address themselves
28
, the different subjects they deal with,
and so on. I suggest, though, that such descriptive accounts characterize only
WKH ³SKHQRPHQRQ´ RI WKH 'LYLGH ZLWKRXW FDSWXULQJ LWV QDWXUH 0\ SURSRVDO LV
that the Divide is best understood by individuating it by means of a
fundamental disagreement in the role time is to play in ontology. This
difference, which is sometimes not explicitly manifest, is the basis of their
divergent orientations. It is this disagreement that generates their differences in
method, style, interests, languages, the role of the subject and subjectivity in
inquiry, and so forth.
IV. Entities and Being: An Ontological-Ground for the Divide
Early signs of a fundamental difference between two ways of conceiving
philosophy began to appear around the end of the Nineteenth Century
29
, but the
'LYLGH EHFDPH GUDPDWLF LQ WKH 7KLUWLHV ZLWK WKH DSSHDUDQFH RI &DUQDS¶V HVVD\
27
Rorty (1979: 393).
28
Continental philosophers commonly address themselves to the educated public at large, while
analytic philosophers are generally comprehensible only to other specialists.
29
Franz Brentano (considered by many as one of the fathers of analytical philosophy), in
UHYLHZLQJ DQ HVVD\ E\ :LOKHOP 'LOWKH\ FULWLFL]HG WKH ³REVFXULW\´ RI 'LOWKH\¶V DUJXPHQWDWLRQ
WKH ODFN RI ³ORJLF´ DQG WKH QXPHURXV PLVWDNHV LQ WKH WH[W .HYLQ 0XOOLJDQ KDV SRLQWHG RXW WKDW
%UHQWDQR¶V UHYLHZ ZLWKRXW VLJQDWXUH DQG FULWLFLVP RI 'LOWKH\¶V ZRUN FDQ EH FRQVLGHUHG WKH
first document in the struggle between analytic and continental philosophers.
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
294
The elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language
30
.
&DUQDS¶V SDSHU KHUDOGHG WKH JHQHUDO UHMHFWLRQ RI PHWDSK\VLFV DV PHDQLQJOHVV
and contained D VFDWKLQJ FULWLFLVP RI +HLGHJJHU¶V ZRUN LQ SDUWLFXODU ,Q
D IHZ \HDUV EHIRUH &DUQDS¶V HVVD\ +HLGHJJHU¶V Being and Time (B&T) was
published. Its influence has been extensive and contributed in particular to
phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, Levinas), existentialism (Sartre, Ortega y
Gasset), hermeneutics (Gadamer, Ricouer), political theory (Hanna Arendt, the
early Marcuse), post-modernism (Lyotard, Derrida), and even to theories of
psychotherapy (Medard Boss, Ludwig Binswanger, Rollo May). It is a book
DERXW RQWRORJ\ +HLGHJJHU¶V RQO\ GHFODUHG SKLORVRSKLFDO FRQFHUQ +HLGHJJHU
boldly presents his attempt as revolutionary because it offers a new conception
of how to state and to answer the fundamental philosophical question (the
question of Being) and contrasts it with that of the Western philosophical
tradition. In B&T he interprets Western traditions of explanation as dominated,
since Plato and Aristotle, by the concept of an entity and its properties and
UHODWLRQV ,Q +HLGHJJHU¶V YLHZ WKLV IRUPV DQ ³RQWLFDO´ LQTXLU\ +H GRHV QRW
reject the concept of an entity and he considers ontical inquiry to be useful, but
he maintains that a new kind of inquiry is needed in philosophy: an
³RQWRORJLFDO LQTXLU\´
What is the distinction between an ontical and the ontological inquiry?
30
Carnap (1932) 7KH PDLQ WDUJHW ZDV +HLGHJJHU¶V ³:DV LVW 0HWDSK\VLN"´ DQG LQ
SDUWLFXODU &DUQDS FULWLFL]HG +HLGHJJHU¶V UHIOHFWLRQV RQ WKH VHQWHQFH ³1RWKLQJQHVV LWVHOI
nothings [Das Nichts selbst nichtet@´ +H PDLQWDLQV WKDW VLQFH LW YLRODWHV WKH ODZV RI ORJLF WKLV
sentence was utterly meaningless. According to Carnap, Heidegger and philosophers of that
VRUW DUH MXVW OLNH ³PXVLFLDQV ZLWKRXW PXVLFDO DELOLW\´ 7KLV FULWLFLVP IURP D &DUQDSLDQ SRLQW RI
view, can be easily applied to the most contemporary continental philosophers.
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
295
Ontological inquiry is concerned primarily with Being; ontical inquiry is
concerned with entities and the facts about them. As one might suspect,
+HLGHJJHU GRHV QRW SURYLGH XV ZLWK D GHILQLWLRQ RI ³RQWRORJLFDO LQTXLU\´ 7KLV
should not be VXUSULVLQJ VLQFH RQ KLV YLHZ ³%HLQJ´ LWVHOI LV LQ SULQFLSOH
resistant to definition because it must be understood in terms of temporality.
Being cannot properly be captured as itself an entity among others standing in
fixed relations; it cannot be defined atemporally. Moreover, an ontological
inquiry is more primordial than any ontical inquiry (as for example is found in
empirical science), because Being is more primordial than entities. Heidegger
writes: ³The question of being aims therefore at ascertaining the a priori
conditions not only for the possibilities of the sciences which examine entities
as entities of such and such a type, and, in so doing, already operate with an
understanding of Being, but also for the possibility of those ontologies
themselves which are prior to the ontical sciences and which provide their
foundations´
31
.
The decision about which of the two kinds of inquiry should be preferred
WR WKH RWKHU GHSHQGV RQ RQH¶V DVVXPSWLRQV DERXW WKH QDWXUH RI RQWRORJ\
Philosophers dealing with an ontical inquiry seem to assume, even if just for
FULWLFL]LQJ LW D VRUW RI ³VXEVWDQFH RQWRORJ\´ LQ +HLGHJJHU¶V WHUPV DFFRUGLQJ
to which reality has the following nature: what is ultimately real is that which
XQGHUOLHV SURSHUWLHV RU DWWULEXWHV ³VXE-staQWLD´ VXEVWDQFH ³VWDQGV XQGHU´
³WKLQJV´ DUH HQWLWLHV RU ³VXEVWDQFHV´ ZLWK SURSHUWLHV WKLQJV LQWHUDFW FDXVDOO\
with one another; substance remains continuously present throughout all
31
Ibid.
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
296
change.
The traditional ontology based on substance has its emphasis on
³HQGXULQJ SUHVHQFH´ DQG LW LV DOVR FDOOHG ³PHWDSK\VLFV RI SUHVHQFH´ ([DPSOHV
of products stemming from the metaphysics of presence LQFOXGH 3ODWR¶V QRWLRQ
RI WKH )RUPV $ULVWRWOH¶V SULPDU\ VXEVWDQFHV WKH &UHDWRU RI &KULVWLDQ EHOLHI
'HVFDUWHV¶ res extensa and res cogitans .DQW¶V noumena +XVVHUO¶V LQWHQWLRQDO
content
32
; the physical stuff presupposed by scientific naturalism, etc. In
contrast with this tradition, the assumptions underlying an ontological inquiry
challenge the idea that reality must be thought of in terms of the idea of
substance
33
: Being is rather understood in terms of temporality; it is a process
DQG ³LW KDSSHQV´
Since the two inquires investigate objects of a different nature, different
tools are needed. The ontical inquiry privileges analysis that offers static,
³WLPHOHVV´ GHILQLWLRQV DQG FRQFHLYHV RI HQWLWLHV VWDQGLQJ DWHPSRUDOO\ LQ
relations. According to the ontological level of investigation these tools for
explanation are deceptive. If the object of the inquiry is a process, then it
cannot be properly understood by using analytic definitions as if it were a
32
+HLGHJJHU FRQVLGHUV +XVVHUO¶V SKHQRPHQRORJ\ DV DQ H[DPSOH RI WKH WUDGLWLRQDO RQWRORJ\ 7KH
fact that the intentional objects are self-given in the stream of consciousness (and are studied in
D GHWDFKHG ³YLHZLQJ´ RU ³LQWXLWLRQ´ VKRZV WKDW +XVVHUO¶V RQWRORJ\ LV VWLOO ³RQWRORJ\ RI
SUHVHQFH´ $JDLQ LQ +XVVHUO¶V SKHQRPHQRORJLFDO DQDO\VLV WKH REMHFWV LQ consciousness retain
WKH VWDWXV RI PHUH RFFXUUHQFH EXW %HLQJ LV QRW VLPSO\ D PHUH RFFXUUHQFH ³SUHVHQFH-at-KDQG´
The mode of Being that we assign to different entities is never fixed once for all. The context
GHWHUPLQHV WKH ³EHLQJ´ RI HQWLWLHV RQH DQG WKH VDPH ³WKLQJ´ FDQ EH WUHDWHG DV D SLHFH RI DUW DV
the object of scientific investigation, etc.).
33
Heidegger claims that philosophy misunderstood the nature of reality. The misunderstanding is
inevitable once one adopts the detached standpoint of theoretical reflection (for when we step
EDFN DQG WU\ WR JHW LPSDUWLDO REMHFWLYH YLHZV RI WKLQJV WKH ZRUOG ³JRHV GHDG´ IRU XV
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
297
VWDWLF HQWLW\ ³7LPH´ DQG WKH ³LQTXLUHU´ Dasein) are the key aspects of the
RQWRORJLFDO LQTXLU\ +HLGHJJHU ZULWHV ³Time must be brought to light ² and
genuinely conceived ² as the horizon for all understanding of Being and for
any way of interpreting it. In order for us to discern this, time needs to be
explicated primordially as the horizon for the understanding of Being, and in
terms of temporality as the Being of Dasein, which understands Being´
34
As we have seen, the ontical/ontological distinction is very useful. It is
particularly illuminating when it comes to understanding the source of the
serious difficulties of communication that exist between analysts and
continentals. It might be objected, however, that not all who have been
traditionally regarded as analytic philosophers explicitly (or even implicitly)
reject the importance of accommodating temporal processes in a dynamic way.
:KLWHKHDG¶V ODWHU SKLORVRSK\ Rf process might be cited as an example, though
PDQ\ DQDO\WLF SKLORVRSKHUV FDPH WR UHJDUG :KLWHKHDG¶V ODWHU ZRUN DV DQ
abandonment of analytic methods.) But my thesis is not that AP rejects
+HLGHJJHU¶V RQWLFDORQWRORJLFDO GLVWLQFWLRQ ZKHUHDV &3 DFFHSWV LW The relevant
issue is the sort of ontological assumptions that generally underlie the two
traditions, even when such assumptions are of a meta-theoretical (or
motivational) sort. Given the wide influence of Heidegger, it is very likely that
his characterization of Being is implicit in the many streams of continental
34
Heidegger (2006: 39). Such an understanding of time differs from the ordinary way of
conceiving it, which has persisted from Aristotle to Bergson. Nonetheless one might object that
even within the traditional philosophical perspective, time has been seriously investigated. But
even time, Heidegger would argue, must be taken outside of any ontology of presence. For a
dialectical discussion on how Heidegger relates himself to the tradition, see Dorothea Frede
(2006).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
298
philosophy. Continental philosophers do not generally deal with ontological
LVVXHV H[SOLFLWO\ DQG GR QRW H[SUHVV WKHLU SHUVSHFWLYHV XVLQJ +HLGHJJHU¶V
ODQJXDJH RI ³WKH RQWRORJLFDO´ versus ³WKH RQWLFDO´ 1RQHWKHOHVV PRVW RI WKHLU
philosophical work is readily understood as implicitly an ontological
SHUVSHFWLYH LQ +HLGHJJHU¶V VHQVH HYHQ ZKHQ WKH SHUVSHFWLYH LV XQGHFODUHG
&RQWLQHQWDOV DUH EHVW XQGHUVWRRG DV V\PSDWKHWLF WR D ³G\QDPLF´ WHPSRUDO
characterization of philosophical inquiry.
We have seen that the many different manifestations of the Divide have
led historians and philosophers to offer several different criteria for
distinguishing AP from CP (and vice versa). Though useful, the criteria fail
to reveal the deep nature of the Divide. On the present thesis, the different
manifestations all derive from a common source: different assumptions
(ontical versus ontological) about the nature of and inquiry about Being. Of
course, a detailed derivation of the differences is not possible within the short
space of the present work. A few examples and brief sketch of the power of the
present interpretation will have to suffice. Consider the literary and personal
style of continental philosophers. It is readily interpreted as flowing from the
fact that the subject herself is part of and participating in the process of Being
DQG LQ WKH DFWLYLW\ RI FRQVWLWXWLQJ KHU ³REMHFWV´ RI NQRZOHGJH 6LPLODUO\ DQ
emphasis on historical context is thrust upon the continental philosopher
because the systematic entwining of events proceeding through time as the past
gives way to the future constitute a relevant aspect of an philosophical inquiry.
&3¶V DQWL-VFLHQWLVP LV FOHDU LI ZH UHPLQG RXUVHOYHV RI +HLGHJJHU¶V FULWLFLsm of
all ontical inquiries. He says that any inquiry about entities (from the
perspective of different hard scientific disciplines as biology, chemistry,
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
299
physics, etc.) is limited and should be preceded by a wider ontological inquiry
about Being. The ontical/ontological distinction also gives rise to the many
ways in which AP manifests its division from CP. It explains its dialogue with
the hard sciences ZLWK ZKLFK LW VKDUHV WKH ³RQWLFDO´ SHUVSHFWLYH $QDO\VLV E\
LWV YHU\ QDWXUH LV ZHGGHG WR ³VWDWLF´ DWemporal) and ontical characterizations
RI %HLQJ 7KLV H[SODLQV $3¶V XVDJH RI FDWHJRULHV DQG GHILQLWLRQV
35
and its
DWWHPSW LV WR SURYLGH VWDWLF UHSUHVHQWDWLRQV WKDW DV 5RUW\ SXWV LW ³PLUURU
QDWXUH´
On the present account of the Divide, difficulties of communication
between analysts and continentals quite naturally arise because of the different
assumptions about the role of time in a philosophical inquiry. The different
assumptions manifest themselves in the ways language is used to express the
nature of Being. The different uses of language to represent, and the different
QRWLRQV RI D OLQJXLVWLF ³UHSUHVHQWDWLRQ´ LWVHOI WHQG WR SUHYHQW SKLORVRSKHUV
within the schools from understanding one another. The present perspective on
the Divide, however, opens up a new opportunity for understanding. Realizing
that the nature of the Divide derives from the ontical/ontological distinction,
one may explore the limits that constrain the ways in which the two languages
of time might be translatable into one another.
35
For example, Carnap criticized the non-referential language used by Heidegger. Heidegger
would answer that his language is referential, but the referent (an element within his accepted
ontological realm) has a different nature; or, in other words, the referent will not be found in
&DUQDS¶V RQWRORJLFDO UHDOP EXW LW LV SODFHG LQ WKH +HGHJJHULDQ ZLGHU RQWRORJLFDO UHDOP
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
300
References
Carnap, R. (1959). The Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis
of Language. In Ayer A.J. (Ed.), Pap, A. (Trans.) (Tit. or., Überwindung
der Metaphysik durch Logische Analyse der Sprache. Erkenntnis, vol. II),
Logical Positivism (pp. 60-81). Glencoe: The Free Press. (Original work
published 1932)
Cooper, D. (1994). Analytical and Continental Philosophy. Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society, 94: 1-18.
Critchley, S. (1997). What is Continental Philosophy? International Journal of
Philosophical Studies, 5, 3: 347-64.
Cutrofello, A. (2005). Continental Philosophy: a contemporary introduction.
New York: Routledge.
'¶agostini, F. (1997). Analitici e Continentali. Guida alla filosofia degli ultimi
WUHQW¶DQQL. Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore.
Dummett, M. (1993). Origins of Analytical Philosophy. London: Duckworth.
Engel, P. (1997). La Dispute. Une introduction a la philosophie analytique.
Paris: Minuti.
FØLLESDAL, D. (1997). Analytic Philosophy: What Is It and Why Should
One Engage in It? Monist, 82, 2: 218-34.
Frede, D. (2006). 7KH 4XHVWLRQ RI %HLQJ +HLGHJJHU¶V 3URMHFW. In Guignon, C.
B. (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger (pp. 42-69).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Friedman, M. (2000). A parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger.
The Analytic/Continental Divide: Entities and Being
301
Chicago: Open Court.
Gadamer, H.G. (1975). Truth and Method (Sheed & Ward, Trans.) (Tit. or.
Wahrheit und Methode. J.C.B. Mohr. Seibeck. Tübingen.). The Seabury
Press. (Original work published 1960)
Heidegger, M. (2006). Being and Time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.)
(Tit. or. Sein und Zeit.). Oxford: Blackwell. (Original work published
1926-7)
Heidegger, M. (1993). Letter on Humanism. In Krell, D. F. (Ed.) (Tit. or. Brief
über den Humanismus), Basic Writings (pp. 217-265). New York:
Routledge. (Original work published 1947)
Kant, E. (1997). Critique of Pure Reason (Guyer, P. & Wood, A., Trans.). New
York: Cambridge University Press.
Levy, N. (2003). Analytic and Continental Philosophy: explaining the
differences. Metaphylosophy, 34, 3: 284-304.
Mulligan, K. (1998). The great divide (Title page, The battle of the two
schools). The Times Literary Supplement, June 26, pp. 6-8.
Restaino, F. (1999). La filosofia contemporanea. Filosofie analitiche e
continentali. Dal 1918 ad oggi. In Restaino F., Storia della filosofia, Vol.
IV, 2, Torino, U.T.E.T.
Riceour, P. (1998). Critique and Conviction: Conversations with François
Azouvi and Marc de Launay (Blamey, K., Trans.). New York: Columbia
University Press.
Rorty, R. (1979). Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton: Princeton
University Press.
Rorty, R. (1982). Consequences of Pragmatism (Essays: 1972-1980).
Soochow Journal of Philosophical Studies, No. 16
302
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, Irony and Solidarity. New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Rorty, R. (2003). Analytic and Conversational Philosophy. In C.G. PRADO
(Ed.), A House Divided: Comparing Analytic and Continental Philosophy
(pp. 17-31). Humanity Books.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful