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2016-08-02
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
THE INTEGRAL TEXT
I describe a novel textual structure which gave rise to the so-called analytic/continental divide, and which describes the origin and nature of divides in general.
 
The source of the analytic-continental divide is organizational and not conceptual, the divide arising as a consequence of the structure of the University "text". This structure I refer to as the "integral text". It is a tangible, self-referring structure through which the University stores knowledge and retains influence. (Those who wish to grasp the main conjecture quickly can move straight to the description of the integral text, about half-way through this essay.)

I develop the model of the integral text to describe both the structure through which an interpretive community fixes knowledge within its institutional repository and the way in which this structure restricts and promotes communication and academic influence.The integral text is not itself a body of knowledge, but a single, indivisible structure that encodes knowledge, and embodies power through its dissemination.

The model offers a perspective from which to assess and tackle problems encountered in the dissemination of knowledge. For example, If we want to secure knowledge and the academic institutional repository from the onslaughts of history then we must retain the form in which that knowledge is kept, this form being the integral text. We must also accept the restrictions to academic discourse that this form necessarily brings. These restrictions give rise to the analytic-continental divide.

Stanley Fish relates (1) an incident in which one of his old students asked a new tutor ‘Is there a text in this class?’. The tutor’s response was to give the name of a set text, but the student corrected ‘...in this class do we believe in poems and things or is it just us?’

The student’s question was an inquiry into the beliefs and practices of the classroom, even of the institution; for as Fish suggests, belief, practice, text and institution together form a system of constraints, or a ‘diacritical package’ of rules and regulations, governing the dissemination of knowledge. (2) It is not that the ubiquity of interpretation allows a chaos of free-play, displacing meaning from a centre of rationality, but that interpretation finds itself at the centre, uniting text and reader. The text sets down what is to be read, and the expectations of the reader determine what counts as a fact. To put the matter in a more formal vein, Fish eliminates the subject/object, reader/text dichotomy in discourse by viewing the activity of the interpretive community as ‘not objective because as a bundle of interests … its perspective is interested rather than neutral’; whose texts and meanings are not subjective because ‘they do not proceed from an isolated individual but from a public and conventional point of view’. (3)

The University weaves its interpretive strategies into the artefacts of its institution where they gain substantial form, secure from natural temporal loss and decay. Their interpretive intentions are presented through books, papers, faculty and buildings, where they manifest as systematic cross-referencing through notes, prefaces, teaching and assessment criteria, and cultural marketing through tradition, closed groups, and even ambience of the college grounds.

This synthesis of form and strategy, knowledge and power, I term the integral text.

That knowledge and power share a structural form bears comparison with Foucault’s concept of an economy of discourse in which power is disseminated through channels of dialogue. (4) Fish also emphasises the strength and unity of a discipline and suggests that even if this is ’underwritten by rhetoric’ rather than by nature or logic, the ‘force of its operation in the moments of its existence’ is not diminished. (5)

To these sentiments, with which I am in general accord, I might add that while Fish underscored the unity and endurance of a discipline he was yet in need of that model which could properly support them, a model which the integral text effectually provides. As a substantial and integrated structure the integral text would give us reason to challenge, with Fish, claims that a discipline is ‘always a transitory thing’; (6) we might find a greater degree of resistance against evolutionary change among those interpretive communities whose knowledge is encoded in a well-developed integral text than among those that encode their knowledge and interpretive strategies in less structured ways, as might be found, for example, in local tradition and industrial practice.

Interdisciplinary techniques that involve the partial or complete merger of disciplines must also merge their integral texts, a considerable undertaking that requires the creation of a new integral text or a laborious re-wiring of the old. Until its development reaches maturity a discipline may be seen by those that have matured to be lacking in rigour or ideological motivation. A matured discipline is even less likely to show sympathy toward information that is disseminated by those communities in the public domain whose primary interpretive strategies are not encoded within an integral text. Knowledge or facts (I term them nomad facts) taken from these sources is often disclaimed as anecdote.

ANECDOTE
For Fish, there is no arena of discourse that is not conducted within an interpretative community. Anecdote in that case could not be a stray, a fallen fact without an interpretive community to house it. Rather, I suggest that it appears as an expression of a certain working practice, a name given to a protective manoeuvre preventing the break-up of the integral text and the compromising of the intellectual strategies of its interpretive community. I will return to this theme in the context of a divide.

The integral text, then, is a code, not a repository of knowledge, that guides our reading and writing. Texts arise by decrypting or translating the code where, for each individual act of reading, both integral text and reader create the text. Fish does not describe a structure comparable to the integral text but alludes to the creation of literature— ‘[literature]… is the product of a way of reading, of a community agreement about what will count as literature, which leads the members of a community to pay a certain kind of attention and thereby to create literature.‘ (7)

I now consider the rift that distinguishes the 'two traditions' or analytic-continental split, divide or stalemate, as it has variously been called. These latter terms indicate communicative difficulties and conceptual contentions between two groups of schools in the discipline of philosophy. I will subsume these contentions and difficulties under the term ‘rift’. The analytic schools employ methodological and formal approaches while the continental schools typically embrace phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction.

Rift

A ‘rift’ refers to communicative influences that are, or are perceived to be, injurious to the maintenance and evolution of the institutional repository of knowledge serving the analytic and continental common intellectual, philosophical endeavour.

I propose that dispute or conceptual contention does not offer necessary or sufficient conditions for the establishment of a rift. Accordingly, I use the phrase perceived rift to describe a rift that presents disputatious elements, and actual rift (or simply ’rift’) to describe the single necessary and sufficient condition that marks restrictions to communication. This condition I term a divide. (8) Unlike dispute, a divide is characterised by a refusal or reluctance to communicate, or communication through bias or distortion, or simply an intentional failure to read. Before I turn to the nature of a divide I must first give reasons why I consider dispute not to be constitutive of a rift.

Dispute

The term 'rift' in its generic formulation is often called upon to shoulder otherwise perfectly acceptable instances of communication, specifically when it annexes dispute. Fish describes why an interpretive community can accommodate disagreement: it is not, he says, because of the absence of conceptual contentions but rather because of the expectations of its members which confer stability on the interpretive community and its ability to absorb dispute (9). During periods of academic quietude, as Russell notes, (10) 'the historian of philosophy is less concerned with the professors than with the unprofessional heretics'. My claim, then, is that dispute, unlike a divide, is not a destructive communicative act when it is made in the context of philosophical discourse. I give three arguments in support of this claim.

i) Productivity

A debate is productive if it promotes the values and/or goals of its participants and of the communities over which the participants exercise stewardship. Productivity of debate is directly proportional to polarity of position in that a proportionally greater benefit accrues from the working through and extinction of opposed debating positions the greater the difference between those respective positions. Dummett, attempting to minimise the perceived lack of mutual comprehension between the two traditions argues that the Heiddeger-Carnap exchange should not be characterized as one of ‘deeply opposed thinkers’, but as ‘remarkably close in orientation’. (11) Either way, there would be no evidence of a divide or actual rift here, but rather two interpretations of healthy dispute, with the more contentious scenario offering the greatest release or productivity. I also suggest that a combative dispute may (or may not) catalyse the formation of an actual rift, but that it is not characteristic of one.

ii) Attachment

Debate displays the attachments of its protagonists. 'Attachment', as a cleaving to cultural tradition and individual habit of thought cannot be dismissed or censured as irrational, for the need to re-assess attachments of any kind may instigate discourse and inform its rationale. If it is unwise to censure attachment and also impossible to remove it, it may yet suit protagonists to limit its manifestations such as they might arise as polemic or invective by admitting ceremony to the protocol of discourse, and to denounce not attachment but that failing of spirit that denounces it. This perspective of attachment may not be the common view. Habermas's 'consensus theory of truth' seeks to free argument from the 'neuroses' and ideologies of 'strategic action'. While psychoanalysis may be less influential than it had been in Habermas's day, nevertheless, his point can still be grounded in a modern clinical practice that references symptoms to pseudo-physical dysfunctional states, which in turn are offered as causal explanation confirming the symptomatic status. I need not employ this popular example of circular thinking by citing neurosis or its modern bedfellows as justification for purging attachment from debate. (12)

In the Searle/Derrida debate (Searle, of course, representing the ‘analytic’ philosopher, and Derrida, while we must acknowledge his dislike for such categories, represents for our purposes the continentalist), Dascal, asking 'how rational can a polemic across the analytic-continental “divide” be?' intimates that the force of attachments need not prevent illumination elsewhere: ‘[...] in spite of the sarcastic tone employed by both contenders, there is enough common ground and serious argumentation to consider this debate more than just an irrational dispute.’ (13) Searle, it appears, failed to understand his opponents position. If this failure was a consequence of knowingly taking a traditional dogmatic line, then it would typify a divide, and not a dispute.

iii) Evolution

The evolutionary nexus of discourse is marked by dispute and resolution, these being a single gestalt embodying the natural resistance raised against the severing of conceptual and cultural attachments before the assimilation of knowledge. Prior to resolution we might expect a sharp but healthy rise in dispute, as fever before a recovery. By abandoning dispute, we also necessarily abandon the prospect or actuality of resolution and hence stifle productive discourse. Evolution of discourse can, of course, appear frozen in a stalemate. This also, I argue, is not indicative of a rift. In a local debate stalemate can arise in response to a failed challenge to an assertion, reflecting a lack of intellectual resources. If Searle did not have the resources to tackle Derrida’s arguments and had, despite himself, followed the lines of traditional dogma, then I might conclude that the debate was indicative of a stalemated dispute and not a divide or rift.

Concluding, by the arguments of polarity, attachment, and evolution I make dispute agreeably synonymous with positive communication in force, intention, and productivity respectively if, of course, the reader may consider these latter elements descriptive of communication generally. This leaves what I term a divide as the foundation of a rift.

Divide

Before describing the theoretical mechanism of a divide I must give appropriate definitions and supporting descriptions. To begin, I propose that a communicative rift is initially characterised by a refusal or reluctance to communicate effectively, and that in a divide this is re-cast by the interpretive community as a claimed inability to communicate. A divide is the necessary and sufficient condition of a rift, and is constitutive of an actual rift. I define a divide as: an action undertaken by the stewards of the institutional repository upon its texts that manifests as an inability of at least one of two or more knowledge-based communities engaged in pursuit of a common interest derivable from their knowledge-bases, to communicate on behalf of that interest. That is, a divide is not a set of conceptual contentions or a dispute, but an act whose consequence is to make texts inaccessible to debate.

A discipline may seek to claim an inability to communicate rather than display a reluctance to do so if, for example, it is faced with intractable philosophical problems and needs to justify its institutional role. As Norris suggests (14), the flight from Kantian a priori truths following the revelation of a Riemannian geometry leaves the analytic tradition bereft of the resources and inclination to tackle issues of the 'genesis and structure' of veridical propositions. However, the rise of anti-realism and other post-empiricist programmes would not be indicative of a divide if they arose simply from a redirection of effort, prompted by a flight from stalemate.

This was not always the case, however. McDowell working in the analytic tradition advocates a limited return to Kant; yet in a move typifying a divide fails to acknowledge authors in the continental tradition writing in a similar vein. Norris draws attention to the works of Bachelard and Canguilhem against whom this divide seems to be implemented. These authors enjoy restricted recognition among analytic philosophers, yet, in Bachelard's programme of 'applied rationalism' there is also a move away from dualism by informing an a priori derived Cartesian precept of supposedly 'clear and distinct ideas' with a firm critique informed by scientific method and progress. One reason for Bachelard's unpopularity suggests itself, '[...] Bachelard also insists on the process of "rectification and critique" whereby [...] metaphors are progressively refined, developed, and rendered fit for the construction of adequate scientific theories'. (15)

Enough, we must presume, to raise unfounded suspicions in the analytic community that Bachelard might be toying with a Nietzschean view of science in which veridical truths are portrayed as selections of rhetorical curio's and extant sublimated metaphors. The divide is manifested here as a refusal or reluctance to adequately consider or even read relevant texts if they are perceived to come from that ‘other’ tradition.

Elsewhere, a failure to read is found in Rorty’s response to Norris in defence of Searle. While the practical demands of an economy of reading can restrict responses and result in thwarted debate (indicating dispute and not a divide), we would not expect an elaboration or second rebuttal to repeat the failing. Rorty's hasty alignment with Searle's position is not so much a demonstration of his support for authorial privilege as he claims but rather the pretext by which he can promote the sufficiency of adopting a dogmatically pragmatic posture. Rorty’s Derrida ‘has no interest in bringing his [Derrida's] philosophy into accord with common sense.’ (16) As a careful reading of the text in question (Signature, Event, Context) shows otherwise, it appears that an act contributing to a divide has been initiated by a doctrinally instigated failure of reading.

The Integral Text

I begin with a summary of the key points

1) The integral text is not a body of knowledge, but a body of power.

2) A fact in an integral text is not an item of knowledge but a nexus of unrelated facts that serve the institution. These include history, personage, idea, and style, among other qualifiers, deployed through references, journals, etc.

3) Communication within a discipline is through its integral texts. Groups that have no integral text, such as the public, communicate through anecdote. Anecdote is a technical term here that describes facts and ideas that have not been incorporated within an integral text.

4) Different disciplines have different integral texts.

5) The logical status of different integral texts is their incommensurability. There is no relationship or communicative discourse facilitated between integral texts of different schools. Two integral texts that must be merged must be disassembled into their respective nexus into an amorphous list of anecdotal facts, from which a new integral text can be constructed. This may take decades as the necessary historical, institutional and academic connections need to be interwoven together with anecdotal facts.

Before I can discuss the proposed mechanism for the implementation of a divide I will continue with a more detailed description of the integral text. I begin by offering a brief analogy. The typewriters of the 1970's held a metal golf-ball-like structure bearing type-cast characters. The golf-ball spun to the appropriate character when a similar character on the keyboard was struck, leaving the remaining characters on the golf-ball turned away. My analogy to the integral text is the typewriter golf-ball.

In a lecture the academic 'swivels' the integral text to present a particular integral fact, or cluster of them, while unselected yet still connected integral facts remain in the vast body of the integral text. Integral facts are encoded gestalt's or packages of information—of concepts, personages, analysis, etc., that, for the maintenance and survival of the institution, cannot be disassembled except under supervision. In teaching and writing academics need to have a close familiarity with the integral text to swivel it appropriately without distortion or breaks if their work is adequately to reflect the relevant themes and needs laid down by the institution and its greater interpretive community.

The integral facts that make up the body of the integral text are organized by themes. An integral text may have more than one theme. The complete group of themes I call a schema. Themes are often found in the way references to texts are organised, or else they may be found elsewhere in the interpretive community. For example, the typical schema of a continental discipline might arrange and reference its integral facts through its themes of named philosopher, history, and idea, and will emphasise these groupings in its texts, teaching practices and institutional historical ambience.

Here we might imagine history as a linear trunk, ideas as branches, and named philosopher which in most instances bear no genealogy, mapped to the branches and the trunk. The integral facts of ideas and philosophers are integrated in that they are referenced historically, while history and ideas in their turn are informed by named philosophers. The connections that are made constitute a completely inter-connected web whose nodes comprise a melding of themes.

A minority of philosophers, notably Wittgenstein and Nietzsche, appear to step outside this web by failing to supply adequate references in their works. This would, by my model, place their works as anecdote, that is, outside the integral text, the philosophical interpretive community, and the light of academic day. And indeed, if it was not for the fact that, for example, Wittgenstein had not been incorporated into the integral text by Russell and Moore as an integral fact under the theme of named philosopher/academic, his works would not have been ratified for inclusion into the integral text and promoted to the academic institutional repository.

Philosophy is about ideas, but because ideas are integrated into the integral text with history, style, personage, etc., these latter can act as a brake on the promulgation and discernment of new ideas. Thus we find that Kantian and Wittgensteinian scholarship acts as a brake on the development of that philosophy which these philosophers had introduced. Transcendental idealism, for example, never seems to break out of the round of Kant and Wittgenstein textual references, and its simple form is never expressed and rarely developed. This presents serious consequences for philosophy in that transcendental idealism and transcendental realism have been mooted as mutually exclusive and exhaustive for all philosophical endeavours. Needless to say, I do not refer here to idealism and realism, but to the description given by Henry Allison.

While Fish offers a grounding for the concept of the integral text as I discussed earlier, a number of other models of limited relevance present themselves. A distinction between institutional and public facts is also made by Parsons in The Social Structure of Action, where he describes facts that fall within a system (cf. interpretive community) as an 'illuminated spot' (cf. integral text) and outside a system as 'residual categories' as 'scattered and un-integrated bits of knowledge (my nomad facts and anecdote circulating in the public domain). Against Fish, Parson's model appears to support a non-interpretive zone; further, 'residual categories' makes only a nebulous distinction between facts as they are held in the public domain and in the institutional repositories of disciplines.

Gadamer argues that the recognition of authority and its distinction from authoritativeness is dependent on being able to make a hermeneutic assessment. Text A, then, is authoritative when it conveys information and can render itself to a hermeneutic assessment. However, I propose that this assessment must at least reveal, or suggest the presence of, the integral text within which text A is placed as an integral fact, if text A is to display the authority that statements require in being made in the context of an institutional interpretive community. It must, to use Fish’s terminology, display a ‘diacritical package’ of some substance. However, outside the institution, where the integral text is displaced by other encryptions, such as tradition, then Gadamer’s assessment of authority may acquire greater relevancy.

Formation of the Divide

We are now in a position to begin to describe the mechanics of a divide. Critchley hints briefly at the organizational process underpinning it. (18)

"Both continental and analytic philosophies are, to a great extent, sectarian self-descriptions that are the consequence of the professional-isation of the discipline, a process that has led to the weakening of philosophy's critical function and its emancipatory intent."

A divide is implemented not by the philosopher but by the academic. Although the roles of academic and philosopher are rolled into one job position in a discipline their roles are distinct. The academics role is in the main concerned with the survival needs of the interpretive community which are met by presenting and promoting the discipline and its integral text through activities such as teaching, etc. The philosopher’s role is to meet the evolutionary needs of the interpretive community, which are met by invention. Unlike the academic the role of philosopher is transient because the evolutionary needs of the community are occasional. I do not wholly set a precedent in this role assignment for the philosopher: Derrida presents a persuasive argument, I feel, in finding 'invention' - whether as tekhne or episteme, or more generally 'production' inaugurated within a 'social consensus' or pedagogical tradition.19 Likewise, I suggest that the inventive productions of the philosopher are inaugurated within the pedagogy of the integral texts, and not to be found otherwise outside it.

The academic guides the philosopher to a pertinent group of integral facts for development. Integral facts can be used for argument, but not as argument, so the philosopher must first release them from the schema that binds them to the fixed interpretational strategies or diacritical package of the interpretive community. For example, if the schema organises its integral facts by the themes of named philosopher, or by historical events, the philosopher must not take these themes as premises in argument—which he would have to do if he worked with integral facts in teaching practice. Upon completion the work is ratified by the academic who organises it according to the themes of the schema, thereby encoding the work back into the integral text; only then is the text recognised as authoritative. In step with Fish’s model of the interpretive community, knowledge, then, is created from the integral text by the ‘reader’ who releases integral facts from their schema, while the schema points to which integral facts should be considered.

The transition from an academic to a philosopher role and the concomitant changes to the operation of the integral text can be illustrated in this simple example: a visiting speaker begins his lecture by adopting the academic role and offering scholastic displays of the integral text of his school to best advantage for himself and his interpretive community. The schema guides what he is to say, but does not allow him to work inventively. At a suitable point, generally when the display or lecture is over, the academic role is dissolved and the philosopher role activated by ceremonial announcement—’opening the debate’, whereupon the schema is suspended and invention, that is, debate, can begin.

Now to the mechanics of a divide. The inherent tension between evolution, and security and maintenance of the institutions integral text may come to the fore in intellectual crises such as those precipitating a divide. In a divide, destructive evolutionary pressures are contained by suspending debate and dissolving the role of philosopher for its academics, whose role becomes limited to the maintenance of the integral text.

A divide is then initiated by the conceptual, rather than organizational, deployment of the schema in discourse.

That is, in a divide, the integral text is itself offered as concept or argument. As there are no concepts, arguments or ideas in the integral text per se, "debate" is replaced by dogma. Dogma, for our purposes here, entails a presentation to interpretive communities that falls outside the institution and its integral text, for example, to the public or other schools. As the purpose of a divide is to argue with a structure that cannot support argument (the integral text), argument is reduced to the power of repetition, sermonizing, or derision, while its scholastic impulse is a failure to read alien integral texts.

A divide, then, is a destructive communicative act perpetrated against other disciplines. A divide is the one necessary and sufficient condition constitutive of an actual rift. Its formation mandates a theme of the schema of the integral text to a conceptual, rather than organizational status.

An example is called for; in a divide a continental camp might demand that one of the organizational themes in its schema - historical genesis, for example, is henceforth also to be considered as a necessary conceptual consideration for argument; while elsewhere an analytic camp might insist on the necessity of a formal presentation, if formalism is one of the themes in its schema. A divide may not be noticeable unless and until sufficient schools with similar schema’s come together as schools of allegiance to form a recognisable body, marking a traditional divide.

This, then, is the mechanism I propose is responsible for the development of the rift between the two traditions.

Anecdote

One exception to the "destructive" nature of a divide (which does not compromise the definition) is its positive employment against intrusion of anecdote or unregulated discourse between distinct interpretive communities—between those institutions that do not share an integral text. For example, in a divide the schema theme of 'named academic' can be mandated as argument, though it is not argument. This prevents any fact from entering the integral text unless it is either presented or endorsed by a ratified academic or school of academics. Unsecured attempts are often referred to as 'anecdotal', 'unscholarly', or 'inadequately referenced', etc. This effectively presents dissolution of the integral text from evolutionary pressures arising in the greater community.

Allison, in rebutting Amerik’s claim that Kant had privately entertained an ontological interpretation of his (Kant’s) transcendental distinction, remarked that what Kant ‘may or may not have believed in (as a matter of private opinion) is not really germane’ (!) Indeed, what Kant thought privately had no bearing on what he thought as an academic. This is a divide instigated not against other traditions but protectively against interpretive communities (Kant's personal ideas promoted outside the integral text) that have no integral text.

The above example demonstrates the perhaps instinctual awareness that academics have of what I have termed the integral text and its opposition to anecdote. Here, even Kant's own private thoughts can be dismissed because they have not been referenced and ratified within the integral text of a (philosophy) discipline.

Another popular theme of the schema often used by some branches of the analytic community to instigate a divide is illustrated by Bar-Hillel who, in this case, veils it as a friendly suggestion; we suspect an ultimatum, nonetheless: "Those speculative philosophers who are interested in having analytic philosophers discuss their theses couched in metaphysical language must use a scientific metalanguage as their rational tool of persuasion." (20)

Bar-Hillel assumes that metaphysical theses are better presented by being skewered as objects (signs) on a logico-semantic abacus. However, unless the formal presentation he seeks is merely a trivial request for semantic shorthand, we would not expect the metaphysics associated with the movements of objects on the abacus to mirror the metaphysics associated with the movements or character of the objects represented; nor in that case, would formal accuracy and clarity of delivery be of much relevance. Unargued for stipulations of Bar-Hillel’s sort can reduce any attempt at debate to a promotionally static scholastic display of schema's and integral texts.

In conclusion, both analytic and continental philosophies have common goals in the maintenance, promotion, and evolution of their distinctive integral texts. This distinction is not conceptual, or stylistic. And, I have argued, we do not engineer a corruption of these goals by engaging in dispute. It must be asked, of course, why a divide is sometimes preferable to debate, and I suggested reasons for this; notwithstanding the length of time it takes to develop different integral texts that alone can support a divide, a divide stops effectual debate and so minimises differences in excellence.

I hope that the models I have presented here might, at least as maps, offer a means of achieving a clarity of description for some aspects of the philosophical endeavour and for the problems of communication that can arise in respect of it, a problem that is a consequence of the way in which Universities, as interpretive communities, store their knowledge.

Notes and References

1. Fish, Stanley, Is There a Text in This Class, Harvard, London, 1980, p.303.

2. Ibid., p. 356.

3. Ibid., p. 14.

4. Power/Knowledge, ed. Colin Gordon (1980).

5. Fish, Stanley, Professional Correctness, Harvard, London, 1995, p. 74.

6. Fish, Stanley, Knowledges: Historical and Critical Studies in Disciplinarity (ed: Messer Davidow, Shumway, Sylvan, Charlotesville, Va., 1993, p.151.

7. Ibid., p. 97.

8. Norris also uses the term ‘perceived rift’ to describe the misperception of the continental epistemological position by the analytic community. In this case a misperception arises from a reluctance or refusal to study or debate and is I argue, indicative of a divide.

9. Ibid. p. 15

10. Russell, Bertrand, History of Western Philosophy, Routledge, 2004, p. 654.

11. Michael Dummett, Origins of Analytical Philosophy (Duckworth, London, 1993) in Simon Critchley, Continental Philosophy. A very short Introduction, Oxford, 2001,p.126.

12. See McCarthy's introduction to Reading Guide to: Habermas, J (1976) Legitimation Crisis, London: Heinemann Educational Books (Trans. and intro. by Thomas McCarthy).

13. Dascal, M, How rational can a polemic across the analytic-Continental 'divide' be? International Journal of Philosophical Studies; 9 (3) Aug 2001, p.313 see also Alfino, Mark, Another Look at the Derrida-Searle Debate Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1991, pp. 143-152.

14. Norris, C., 'Minding the gap: Fog over channel, Continent isolated': new bearings in epistemology and philosophy of science, Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 2000, p.4.

15. Ibid., p.7.

16. Rorty, R., Philosophy as a kind of writing: an essay on Derrida, from Consequences of Pragmatism, Harvester 1982, p.97.

18. Critchley, Simon, Continental philosophy : a very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2001, p.54.

19. Derrida, Jacques, Psyche: Inventions of the Other, translated by Catherine Porter p28

20. Bar-Hillel, Yehoshua, A pre-requisite for rational philosophical discussion, p.308 in The Linguistic Turn: Recent essays in philosophical method University

2016-08-06
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones
Hi John
There must a be a simpler way to say all this - especially on a discussion thread . How about boiling it all down to about a fifteen line paragraph.  Give us the gist of your argument. 

DA

2016-08-08
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Here's a summary.
The university text or subject matter of a given school is not a body of knowledge; it holds no facts. This text, which I call the integral text, is employed in the dissemination of power and is a single undivided structure. It's advantage over a public body of knowledge is that it is relatively immune to historical decay.

The vast net that is an integral text is constructed of interconnected nodes which I call integral facts. These nodes are a synthesis of themes such as persons, ideas, style, and historical links, etc., as one integral fact. For example, references to texts are often organised on these themes, and will include dates, authors, references to journals, etc.

A continental discipline might arrange and reference its composite integral facts through its themes of named philosopher, history, and ideas, and will emphasise these groupings in its texts, teaching practices and institutional historical ambience. An analytic discipline may employ style (formalism) in its integral text.

The continental and analytic disciplines employ different integral texts. Integral texts are incommensurable, and any facts that are released from different integral texts are anecdote. Anecdote is not acceptable in a university text.

This has led to a divide. The analytic and continental disciplines cannot integrate their respective integral texts except by inventing a third discipline with a new referential net or integral text. This is a major failing of the university text but is mitigated by its resilience to cultural change.

2016-08-09
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

I find this very unclear (as I did the whole paper when I skimmed through it).

You talk for example about a “university text or subject matter”. What do you mean? A book? A series of books? A prospectus for a course? The actual course that’s taught? Something else? What?

Then you say: “This text, which I call the integral text, is employed in the dissemination of power and is a single undivided structure. It's advantage over a public body of knowledge is that it is relatively immune to historical decay.”

Shades of Foucault? But in any case why does this university text or subject matter suddenly become an “integral text”? And why do you say it is “relatively immune to historical decay”? If you looked back at uni texts for say the 1970s, I think you often would find them quite dated.

Then suddenly these “texts”, which became “integral texts”, turn out to be made up of “integral facts”, which, you then say, is really just “one integral fact”. But in the beginning you had said that the “text” (whatever exactly that is) “holds no facts”.

Then puzzlingly, at the end you say: “this [situation] is a major failing of the university text but is mitigated by its resilience to cultural change.” Surely, if a situation is a "major failing", it is only made worse by being resistant to change? (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "resilience".) It means we can’t do much about it!

Are you just saying that analytic and continental philosophy are different, and apparently irreconcilable, schools of modern philosophy that largely draw on different sources? If so, why not go straight to the point without the jargon?  The last thing philosophy needs now in my view is more jargon. (That, indeed, is probably part of the reason for the divide.) 

DA


2016-08-09
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Please see post below.

2016-08-09
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
I can't amend my original post on this site to make it more accessible, so I hope this will do the job instead. I'll answer all your points.

All university publications, books, papers,  journals, etc, have a similar organizational structure. This structural form I call "the university text" for publications issued by a university. However, this structural form is not limited to university publications. So, in light of that, I gave it a general name - the integral text.

University publications hold no knowledge, they have no epistemological facts. Instead epistemological facts are synthesised into structural facts. These structural facts are independent of the subject matter of the university publication. I called these structural facts "integral facts". Integral facts are a synthesis of date/author/idea/style, etc. These integral facts form the nodes of a single, vast referential net that I called the integral text.

Epistemological facts:
Two authors collaboratively wrote about snake eyes in 2005.
Carpette and Rodgers wrote for a university.
Some people wrote an academic paper about the origin and evolution of snake eyes.
Ohio University has a book called "Conquering the Cold Shudder."

Structural fact: Caprette, Christopher L. "Conquering the Cold Shudder: The Origin and Evolution of Snake Eyes." Dissertation, Ohio State U, 2005.

Structural facts include also include bibliographies, notes, etc.

Each discipline has its own structural "net". Foucault did not go as far as examining the actual organizational structure of publications/texts that embody power.

Why do the universities employ an "integral text" as an organizing superstructure?
A great advantage of integrating epistemological facts into the "structural facts" of an integral text  is that these epistemological facts cannot be lost unless the whole structure is lost. This is unlikely as long as there are universities. Epistemological facts that have not been structurally integrated are called anecdote. Anecdote is not acceptable in university publications.

What is the disadvantage of the university employing an integral text as an organizing superstructure?
I will mention two disadvantages. The first is that the the structural form that is the integral text is resistant to paradigm shift. A paradigm shift involves a major culling of the structural facts of an integral text, which may not survive the process. For example, the integral text of science that employed the idea of phlogiston has vanished.
The second disadvantage is that a divide between schools can develop. Universities communicate through their integral texts and if there are different integral texts (such as the "analytic and continental movements") then communication is ad hoc, partisan, occasionally collaborative, but always anecdotal.

The problem plaguing the analytic/continental movement is not one of using different sources. Geography and English literature are not at odds. Facts are obtained in the usual way by both movements/schools. Differences of interpretation is also not a characteristic of the divide. The divide is a problem caused by the way in which the university publications are structurally organized - the inertia of the integral text. This affects all university texts and any publication that employs an integral text as an organizing structure.

Hope that helps, please comment further if needed.

2016-08-10
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John 

RE: “University publications hold no knowledge, they have no epistemological facts.”

Well, here’s a chance for huge savings! We can shut down all departments of science, engineering and medicine to start with. Others will need scrutiny as well, in case they claim to produce knowledge.  

RE: “The problem plaguing the analytic/continental movement is not one of using different sources. Geography and English literature are not at odds.”

Not quite what I said, but anyway the issue is not about geography or English. It’s about philosophy. (In fact there are differences in the case of literature. Both analytics and continentals talking about the novel, for instance, will quickly put you to sleep. But they will do it in different ways. Can’t comment on geography.)

RE: “The divide is a problem caused by the way in which the university publications are structurally organized -…”

If only it were that simple…

As for the rest (eg the “snakes eyes”, examples and the strange notions of “integral facts”, “integral texts” etc, which you don’t seem to be able to define) I confess it is all beyond me. Maybe someone else would like to weigh in?

DA


2016-08-10
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
You skipped the part that might have brought clarity to the idea, and it looks now as if the idea has not been understood. I can remedy that.

First, please look again at the 4-5 examples I gave of epistemological facts (using the snake eyes example) near the start of my reply.

Then, look at the single example I gave of a structural fact (also using the snake eye example) directly underneath it.

Then, take on board the idea that university texts use structural facts, not epistemological facts. This is key. If that is not picked up then it's curtains down. As a man in University the idea of a structural fact (use another term if you wish) should make sense to you. After all, your own written works are presented through structural facts - references, notes, allusions to journals, etc.

Finally, the idea is that these structural facts are integrated into a single net comprised of a multitude of cross-references, notes, bibliography, etc. This I call the integral text.

2016-08-10
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: After all, your own written works are presented through structural facts - references, notes, allusions to journals, etc.”

Well, I don’t “allude” to journals. My footnotes give the sources (books, journals etc) of what I’m agreeing or disagreeing with, or explain a point a little further. How do these unremarkable and universally accepted measures, which are simply intended to be of assistance to readers, become “structural facts”? They’re only “facts” at all in the sense that they identify sources etc. And why “structural”?  Some books and essays don’t have any footnotes (which can be annoying). Do they lack “structural facts”? Is that good or bad? Why?

RE: these structural facts are integrated into a single net comprised of a multitude of cross-references, notes, bibliography, etc. This I call the integral text.

I don’t “integrate” my footnotes and references at all. No one does, as far as I’m aware. I’m not even sure how one would do that.

I get the distinct feeling that you’re making a mountain out of a very small molehill. Again I would recommend dropping the jargon (“structural facts”, “integral text” etc). It usually just impedes clear thinking.  

DA


2016-08-16
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
 The inclusion of references isn't simply about being polite. There is a mountain behind the molehill of a reference.

What is this mountain? First, academics must include references in an accepted form or their work will be rejected.  As a consequence of this tradition, these references must be mirrored or cross-linked in the references of the works they reference (for example, "in his paper Russell argues that..etc") . Failure to acknowledge other works in that way will lead to a possible rejection of the work.

Thus it can be seen that these references, notes, and bibliography, etc, form a single, structural, non-factual net that disseminates power or accreditation for texts/works of a given school or discipline (this is why I used the phrase "integrated into a single net".)

This net is the scaffolding that supports accreditation for the teachings of an entire school or discipline whose works are constructed around this scaffolding of references. It would be convenient to give this net a name as it is a substantial and influential structure. I named it "the integral text" to indicate its syntactical expression.

So you might agree that an accredited university publication or paper will be accredited only if it is found within this single net of cross-linked references, notes, bibliographies, accredited individuals (professors, etc), and that this is why the net needs to be recognised as an important structure that the universities use to retain knowledge.

2016-08-17
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

Re: “The inclusion of references isn't simply about being polite.”

Whoever thought it was just that? It’s principally to show readers where the quote came from – to allow them to look it up if they wish, read more of what the source says etc. Also, to some extent it’s to demonstrate the bona fides of the quote and show that it’s not taken out of context (which unfortunately is by no means unheard of).

RE: “First, academics must include references in an accepted form or their work will be rejected.”

Usually yes. And why not? It’s a very sensible measure (see above).

Re: “Thus it can be seen that these references, notes, and bibliography, etc, form a single, structural, non-factual net that disseminates power or accreditation for texts/works of a given school or discipline.”

You’re going much too far. First, why “non-factual”? The only important question is whether the references are accurate or not. If the writer is careless (or given to fraud) they might not be accurate. But how do “factual” or "non-factual" enter into it?

Then re: “…that disseminates power or accreditation for texts/works of a given school or discipline.”

Shades of Foucault again. If readers choose to regard a list of works as “disseminating power”, that’s their problem. If they have anything remotely resembling the courage of their own convictions and the ability to argue their case, they’ll decide for themselves which sources are important and which are not. Put bluntly, are we men or mice? (Perhaps Foucault was a mouse at heart.)

RE: “This net is the scaffolding that supports accreditation for the teachings of an entire school or discipline whose works are constructed around this scaffolding of references.”

Which is just another way of saying that academic disciplines are often prey to intellectual fashions. Unfortunately, it was ever thus. So it’s up to the individual to decide if he/she is going to be a pawn of fashion or think for him/herself – again, whether one is going to be a man or a mouse.  (Alas, many people seem a lot happier as mice...)

By the way all this applies on both sides of the divide. Mice are pretty evenly spread. 

DA


2016-08-18
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Hi Derek,
18/08

Then you can see that there is a net or scaffolding that supports accreditation for authorial texts. It holds no knowledge, it is a scaffolding for knowledge. That is why it is non-factual, it has no subject-matter except as a visible record, through notes, bibliographies, references, of "accredited knowledge", and the manner in which this accreditation has come about. This must be distinguished from knowledge per se,

The net defines a university, in that it is a necessary condition for its scholastic output: it is not a "fashion" or disposable option for it.

However, the general, social desire to create an institution (the university) that employs this net might be considered a fashion, a fashion that secures knowledge against the transience of anecdote in the public domain.

The "dissemination of power" that is a feature of the net or integral text isn't a restriction placed on what can be read, It is a restriction on what can be written and disseminated.

The dissemination of power is an authorial restriction, not a reader restriction. Not only must a work be installed in the net through references, notes, etc.,  it must have accredited writers ("professors" accredited to place their work into the integral text) whose names appear in these references, etc.

To repeat my first point, regarding the factuality of the entries in the net or integral text, as you can see, the net of references cross-reference authors and ideas, styles and historical placement or genus. The net itself is a textual accrediting structure and record, quite independent of the subject matter it endorses.

The terms analytic and continental refer to objects, not to a set of concepts or ideas. These objects are integral texts, or scaffoldings for the dissemination of knowledge. The nets are different in each case. The rise of distinct integral texts has led to the analytic continental "divide", which arises through the attempt to disseminate facts or ideas through the non-factual structure of the integral text.

2016-08-19
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: “Then you can see that there is …etc.”

I can see nothing of the kind. Did you not read my email?

Frankly John, I think you have allowed yourself to become mesmerised by the jargon you've invented (“net”, “integral text” etc). I would recommend dropping all of it and just sticking to ordinary language. It's simply encouraging you to build mountains out of molehills.

Re; “The rise of distinct integral texts has led to the analytic continental "divide", which arises through the attempt to disseminate facts or ideas through the non-factual structure of the integral text.”

Again, the jargon… 

The divide is simply due to people following the lead of different thinkers, to the point where they're now barely able to communicate with each other. No grandiose theories are needed to explain that. 

DA


2016-08-19
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Hi Derek,

(? There is no email option here and there are no emails in my btinternet in-box.).

Where you see references, bibliographies, etc merely as a formal method of attribution of auhorship. I also see it as that but also as an accrediting structure for the whole output of universities, and for authors, whose names must appear in the references as accredited and accrediting scholars. Only these individuals can successfully submit and contribute to texts (texts: written works).

As you are focusing on single words and selected phrases as obscure I assume that you have understood the whole project or idea in outline. Is this assumption more or less correct?

To clarify on a single term you highlight as obscure. A "net" is a cross-linked structure. Some nets have particular names such as
1) "Aslaug's", who comes neither naked nor dressed,
2) "Seine", a fine net used for fishing
3)  "Internet", a system used to connect participants to a common server.
4)  "integral text", a name I gave to the net of references through which scholastic knowledge is presented.

As you can see, the idea of a net is a simple one, and quite appropriate as a description for all four examples. Of these, the most difficult would be 3) I think you would agree. It is for me..

Regarding the phrase “The rise of distinct integral texts has led to the analytic continental "divide", which arises through the attempt to disseminate facts or ideas through the non-factual structure of the integral text.”

In other words, scholars traditionally communicate their ideas through the net or scaffolding of references which is a record of accreditation for those ideas. The analytic and continental scholars are unable to do that because they have no common net. So, all they can do is participate in an unstructured, non-accredited format, such as public debates, hearsay and anecdotal references.

2016-08-20
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: I also see it as that but also as an accrediting structure for the whole output of universities, and for authors, whose names must appear in the references as accredited and accrediting scholars. Only these individuals can successfully submit and contribute to texts (texts: written works). 

If you mean that only those people who have been cited at some point can successfully contribute, that is obviously wrong. It would mean that no new author could ever contribute. So as already cited writers die off, so would all published academic discourse!

If you mean that, to get published, you usually need to cite a number of writers who have already written on the subject in question, that is mostly true. But it’s hardly a major burden. One usually wants to read what others have said anyway, if only to establish whether or not one agrees with them. I quite often cite, and occasionally quote from, writers whose views I disagree with. It can be a handy way to make one’s own view clear – by pointing out how it differs from theirs. I recommend it – where appropriate, of course.

None of this, to my mind, implies a system of “accreditation”. The real fly in the ointment, in my view – if we are on this kind of terrain – is journals etc that have narrow, blinkered views of what is, and what is not, an acceptable point of view in their field, and enforce this via reader panels who follow the same party line. Good examples in my area of interest (theory of art) are the British Journal of Aesthetics and the American Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism which will simply not entertain – or, in my experience, even understand – articles that question the fundamentals of so-called “analytic” aesthetics, which is their holy writ. But I imagine many discipline areas have journals like this. They are the bane of academic discourse, and I guess, alas! they will always be with us. Happily, one can usually find other, more open-minded and better-informed journals. But if you are really looking for restrictions on free and open academic discourse – which seems to be your interest – blinkered journals (and of course books sponsored by the same people) that enforce a party line would the real place to look, not basically harmless, and usually very useful, mechanisms such as references, bibliographies etc.

DA


2016-08-22
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Derek,
I covered the point about the introduction of new authors in the original work, (which now needs re-writing) -there will be a record of accredited/accrediting new scholars in new papers and departmental administrative records. All of these, and not just references, are part of the single net:  each entry (such as scholarly title, name of work, topic covered, history of topic) can be traced to others, in other published works.

The net of references and bibliographies, etc, is a record, not of knowledge, but of accredited knowledge, and is not a record of the actual content of knowledge or its intellectual clarity. This cross-referencing ensures that knowledge is accessible.

In addition, providing references, notes, etc is not only concerned with acknowledging authorship and ensuring accessibility but also with protecting knowledge from historical decay by installing it in a single superstructure (that I call the integral text).

Wittgenstein threatened the very form in which the universities hold their knowledge when he angrily refused to provide references in his works. He was saved from obscurity through his scholastic title and fellow accrediting scholars.

If more analytic or continental philosophers read each others works, as you encourage, and also quoted from each other's  works, then this would help to re-integrate the single superstructure of this school which has divided these last hundred years or so into what we call the analytic and continental "schools". But they are not schools, they represent a division arising within the integral text as a paucity of references and of broken links.

These broken links have forced scholars to engage in an unsystematic reading regimen with consequent misunderstanding between parties. Scholars themselves have been disenfranchised from the university textual superstructure which alone gives them their life.

2016-08-23
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: If more analytic or continental philosophers read each others works, as you encourage, and also quoted from each other's  works, then this would help to re-integrate the single superstructure of this school which has divided these last hundred years or so into what we call the analytic and continental "schools". But they are not schools, they represent a division arising within the integral text as a paucity of references and of broken links. 

These broken links have forced scholars to engage in an unsystematic reading regimen with consequent misunderstanding between parties. Scholars themselves have been disenfranchised from the university textual superstructure which alone gives them their life.

But if analytics and continentals wanted to read authors in the other camp, they would have no difficulty finding out who to read. An analytic doesn’t avoid Derrida because he can’t find a reference to him. He avoids him because he thinks he is a waste of time (actually, I don’t blame him much in this case).

Likewise, a continental avoids the arid regions of analytic philosophy (which is nearly all of it) not because he lacks references. He knows who he could read. He also just thinks it would be a waste of time (which it mostly would be).

Each school – for they are schools, despite what you say – thinks its own approach is the only worthwhile form of philosophy. Simple as that. The infamous divide is hardly due to footnotes!

DA 


2016-08-25
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Derek,
Footnotes and references are not just isolated entries, they cross-link to each other and hence form a strategy for reading, essential for original research. Research IS, and presents, a visible account or record of this cross-linked structure.
An analytic researcher won't be able to research a continentalist author or idea using analytic references. These references simply won't be found in any systematic or cross-linked form.
This leaves intra-analytic/continental research with a surfeit of anecdote. This disables the grounds for research and provides fertile ground for misunderstandings.
JJ

2016-08-26
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: Footnotes and references are not just isolated entries, they cross-link to each other and hence form a strategy for reading, essential for original research.

In one sense they usually are “isolated entries”: they are simply the authors (and not just critics, by the way) one happens to have read for a give article, book etc. 

But in any case, they are not by themselves “a strategy for reading”. I can’t speak for others but my own strategy for discussing a philosopher, novelist etc begins with the author him/herself. Only after that will I delve around in what critics have said. Footnotes and references can be useful here, but that’s all they are – useful. I certainly don’t see them as “essential for original research”. Indeed, they can sometimes be an impediment to that. What is truly “essential for original research” is what goes on in one’s own head

RE: “An analytic researcher won't be able to research a continentalist author or idea using analytic references.”

Very true. Just as researching bees, for example, will hardly be helped by a set of references on elephants. I don’t see your point.

RE: “These references simply won't be found in any systematic or cross-linked form. “

But who needs a “cross-linked form”?  If I’m an analytic (perish the thought!) wanting to research continentals, I start by reading them; I also read what they say about each other, what others (even analytics) say about them, and so on. Where is the problem?

Again, I think you’re reading far too much into footnotes and references. You seem to want to see them as a kind of Foucauldian power/knowledge thing. But (a) Foucault is far from infallible (Jacques Bouveresse, among others, had had some interesting things to say on that issue); and (b) Foucault or no Foucault, any scholar worth his salt will make up his own mind. Again, are we men or mice?

DA

2016-08-29
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Derek Allan
Derek,
three points:

1)
Scholars may see only the minutiae of the referential protocol that they observe and apply, and fail to discern and appreciate the fact that this protocol provides the basis for the essential referential superstructure that accredits and defines ALL university scholarly publications. Wittgenstein and Frege, for example, failed to acknowledge this superstructure and were admonished because of it.
The University may sometimes reject papers from scholars (and always rejects them from the public) who fail to follow, accredit, and respect the form in which the university structures its facts.

2)
"Research" in philosophy invariably means thoroughly tracing, exhibiting, and linking references, notes, etc.in support of the claims they wish to make (about ideas or authors, etc.). 
Invariably, only those deemed to be familiar with the referential superstructure can undertake research and teaching.
The more a new article or paper exhibits this superstructure the more scholarly the research will be considered. Otherwise, papers may be rejected and promotion scuppered.

3)
How do we dissolve the analytic/continental divide? First recognise its nature. Conceptual disagreements are often provided as a scapegoat, but the mark of the topic of the analytic/continental divide is confusion. The confusion is dissolved if we take the divide to be a parallel development of distinct integral texts or university referential superstructures, and accommodate it. This means rebuilding a fractured referential net, such as by eliminating partisan and lazy accreditation habits.
The divide cannot be tackled by arguing out conceptual disagreements because 1) argument itself is compromised because of damage to the university referential superstructure, 2) conceptual disagreements are not a mark of the analytic/continental divide. "Analytic/continental divide" is the name of two distinct integral texts or referential superstructures.

2016-08-29
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones

Hi John

RE: “Wittgenstein and Frege, for example, failed to acknowledge this superstructure and were admonished because of it.”

Well, I am no Wittgenstein or Frege but I have published a number of items and as far as I am aware I have never acknowledged an “essential referential superstructure that accredits and defines ALL university scholarly publications”.  With footnotes etc, I have followed publishers’ (not the university’s) guidelines, as everyone does, but that’s all.

RE: The University may sometimes reject papers from scholars (and always rejects them from the public) who fail to follow, accredit, and respect the form in which the university structures its facts.

“Structures its facts”? What does that mean? In any case, in the humanities (or what’s left of them) it’s arguments that are usually crucial, rather than facts. And speaking for myself, no one has ever “structured” my arguments! (Fortunately, I don’t live in say, North Korea.)

RE: “Invariably, only those deemed to be familiar with the referential superstructure can undertake research and teaching.”

Aren’t you just saying that to teach or research in an area, one usually needs to be familiar with relevant arguments made by others? That’s surely quite reasonable. It would be a bit silly, surely, to write an article about X arguing Y if there were already 3 or 4 articles, of which one was unaware, saying the same thing. But why glorify this obvious fact with terms like “essential referential superstructure”? 

Re: “conceptual disagreements are not a mark of the analytic/continental divide. "Analytic/continental divide" is the name of two distinct integral texts or referential superstructures.

Well, this is a novel argument if nothing else. So you’re saying that if the analytics and the continentals would just fix up their references and footnotes, the divide would go away? There are no basic disagreements? No underlying differences in approach? Derrida, for example, gets under the skin of the analytics just because they don't like his footnotes?

DA



2017-02-13
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to John Jones
With all due respect to this threads author, I firmly agree with DA's responses. I want only to provide a cursory response to the thread. First, JIJ insists to use jargon which needlessly complexities his argument; DA is right highlighting this obvious fact (said so lucidly as well). Secondly, the gist of JIJ's essay is basic: higher educational institutions subscribe to a body of ideas, those who wish to be included should refer to said body of ideas or else risk exclusion. Said institutions yield power as a result; determining who gets to play in the ivory tower and who doesn't. Thus, the analytic tradition has their accepted intellectual repository as does the continental, therein lies the divide. Apologies to JIJ for crass reductionism. I too like language games. I'm beginning to understand why many in the analytic tradition have referred to much continental writing as a kind of poetry; indeed, it is beautiful, but perhaps at the expense of clarity. 


2017-02-14
The Origin and Nature of the analytic/continental Divide
Reply to Tom Anderson

Hi Tom

Nice to have your contribution. (I thought this thread had died – as so many do these days. I don’t know what’s happened to Philpapers discussion threads – they seem to have withered on the vine. Mostly one looks in vain for a worthwhile discussion.)

I’ve noticed in previous discussions of the analytic/continental divide that some philosophers like to deny that it exists – or at least, that it's very significant. From where I sit – which admittedly probably gives me a somewhat restricted view – it looks very real and very deep. And I always think it’s odd that philosophers – who, after all, like to pride themselves on their ability to get to the bottom of issues – seem quite unable to work out how to remove it, or even identify its basic cause.  

Some like to dismiss the whole thing by saying: “It’s fine. Let a hundred flowers bloom”. But that strikes me as simply sweeping the issue under the carpet. It’s the Pollyanna response which effectively says: “OK, there’s another school of thought out there that does philosophy is a quite different way from us. We don’t really understand why, and we don’t want to follow suit, but hey, let’s just keep doing our own thing and no doubt it will all turn out for the best in the end.”

DA