Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Habermas on Analytic and continental divide

There is yet another 'debate' about continental analytic divide here. This reminded me of Habermas' lecture on the topic where he analyses parallels and contrasts between the analytic and hermeneutic interpretation of the so called linguistic turn. The whole lecture is worth reading. It is now included as the first chapter of Habermas' Truth and Justification. Habermas on the whole thinks that the so called divide between analytic and continental philosophy is obsolete (underestimation to say the least!). However Habermas thinks that the divide has relevance in one crucial aspect. It is worth quoting Habermas on this point:

“I have yet to mention the most salient and striking difference between the hermeneutic and the analytic tradition. Since analytic philosophy of language more or less confines itself to issue it has inherited from the epistemological tradition, it lacks a certain sensibility for as well as the tools for dealing with the looser and larger issues of a diagnostics of an era. Since Hegel, the philosophical discourse of modernity has, therefore, been the domain of so-called continental philosophy. In this regard, the opposition between analytic and continental currents, which has otherwise become obsolete, still somewhat makes sense. Even Wittgenstein’s reflections on technology, his skepticism about progress, his loathing of sociology, the contrast of “culture” and “civilizaiton,” . . . still are of a rather private and ornamental nature and, in any case, do not affect the structure of his inimitable philosophical work.

For Heidegger, in contrast, cultural criticism is a pervasive feature of his entire philosophy. The author of Being and Time already brings together Aristotle and Kierkegaard, pre-Kantian metaphysics and post-Kantian ethics in grand posture of a critic of his time.” (TJ: 77-78).

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