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Analytical and Continental – Origins of the divide and perspectives beyond it  

Reading Group of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences



Analytical and Continental – Origins of the divide and perspectives beyond it 

Conveners: F. Baracco, E. Petrovich


Committed Students: Valerio Buonomo, Roberta Bonanno



Writing the history of twentieth-century philosophy, the historian of philosophy cannot ignore a sort of difference in two “styles” of practicing philosophy in the century. He will find in the inner debate of the philosophical community two famous labels used to define them: “Analytical” and “Continental” – and, more often, with “versus” between them: analytical versus continental philosophy. For the historian of philosophy it is easy to see the vagueness of these labels, but it will be not so easy for him to demonstrate that they do not refer to anything. In fact, there is a difference behind the “analytical” and the “continental” way of approaching and doing philosophical work, but saying what is the difference – this is an hard matter.

This reading group obviously has not the ambition to resolve the problem. Nevertheless, it will try to deal with the analytical-continental divide joining a strong historical-philosophical approach with an attempt of theoretical assessment.

In the first part we will try to come back to the origins of the divide, i.e. the German-speaking philosophical word between the two World Wars, and we will try to examine for example the famous dispute between Heidegger and Carnap, in the light of their common Neo-kantian background [Carnap 1932, Heidegger 1929, Giere and Richardson 1996]. In the second part, we will jump to philosophy nowadays, at the dawn of twenty-first-century, in order to understand the future of the philosophical endeavor from the point of view of the analytic-continental divide: is the division inscribed in the destiny of the discipline or is it possible to go beyond it? For this second part we will focus on the recent collection of papers Beyond the Analytic-Continental Divide: Pluralist Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge 2015)

This reading group will be an opportunity to reflect not only on the history of contemporary philosophy but also on the methodologies and styles of doing philosophy. Therefore, both historians of philosophy and theoreticians are welcome! 


Suggested bibliography

Bell, J. A., Cutrofello, A., Livingstone, Paul M. (eds) (2015) Beyond the Analytic-Continental Divide: Pluralist Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century, Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy

Carnap, R. (1932) “Überwindung der Methaphysik durch logische Analyse der Sprache”, Erkenntnis 2 : 219 – 41, translated as The Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language, in Ayer (1959) Logical Positivism, New York, Free Press

D'Agostini, F. (1997) Analitici e continentali. Guida alla filosofia degli ultimi trent'anni, introduction by G. Vattimo, Milano : Cortina

Giere, R. N., Richardson, A. (ed.) (1996) Origins of Logical Empiricism, Minneapolis: Univ. Minnesota Press

Heidegger, M. (1929) Was ist Metaphysik?, Bonn : Friedrich Cohen

Hintikka J. (2010), How can a phenomenologist have a philosophy of mathematics?, in Hartimo M. (ed.) (2010), Phenomenology and Mathematics.

José da Silvia J. (2010), Beyond Leibniz: Husserl's vindication of symbolic knowledge, inHartimo M. (ed.) (2010), Phenomenology and Mathematics.

Tieszen R. (2005), The philosophy of Arithmetic: Frege and Husserl, in Tieszen R. (2005), Phenomenology, Logic, and the Philosophy of Mathematics.


[Starting from February 2016]

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