June 6, 2011
In Introduction to Philosophical Romanticism Nikolas Kompridis says that all the crossing and recrossing in recent years between Anglo- American and European philosophical traditions has opened up a depoliticized philosophical space between ‘‘analytic’’ and ‘‘continental’’ philosophy. As a result questions and issues are being approached from a much wider and much more illuminating range of perspectives. And this makes possible previously unthinkable conversations across considerable historical, cultural, and philosophical distance.
He adds that:
For many of us it is a welcome sign that the categories ‘‘analytic’’ and ‘‘continental’’ have lost some of their ideological power to shape philosophical outlooks. While they still play an institutional role as political categories, as philosophical categories they are becoming increasingly irrelevant. That doesn’t mean, however, that they are going to disappear anytime soon as an unstoppable wave of toleration and cooperation spreads throughout the academic philosophical world; but their ideological power has weakened enough to allow us to see the real philosophical divisions that run through it more perspicuously.
He then mentions the real philosophical divisions:
The deepest and most decisive of these is the line dividing naturalistic from non-naturalistic views of agency, intentionality, reason, and normativity. Of course, this dividing line runs through the whole culture of modernity, and not just through philosophy. Philosophy merely articulates this division, providing us with one of the most salient expressions of it .... A second dividing line, almost as decisive, but not as extensive or deep since it runs only through philosophy, intersects the line dividing naturalism from non-naturalism. On one side of this second line is a philosophical orientation and self-image derived from the natural sciences; on the other a philosophical orientation and self-image derived from the humanities. If scientism threatens philosophy from too close an identification with the sciences, then syncretism threatens it from too close an identification with the humanities.
By looking at the divisions in philosophy in this way it it helps us see with far greater clarity what is at stake in the ongoing struggle over what it is philosophy is about, what it should be doing, and what cultural role it should play.