Philosophy 101: Analytic versus Continental Philosophy
April 29, 2010

So after consulting the Twitternets, I’ve resolved to do some more philo-blogging in an attempt to introduce some of the concepts that interest me most to non-majors. I’ve argued before at length that a little education in Philosophy is valuable to everyone–and that, in fact, it should be a mandatory part of education in any liberal democratic society. So here’s my attempt to spread some of what I’ve learned at the undergraduate level, and in my own readings.

First off, I want to clear up what I think is one of the most common misconceptions about the study of academic philosophy: What, exactly, it is we tend to study.

Since around the early 20th century, the fundamental split in Western philosophy has been between analytic philosophy (most popular in the UK and US) and continental philosophy (which, as you can probably guess, comes mostly from the European continent). NYU, even by American standards, is a very analytic-heavy department–before this semester, my last at NYU, only one of my classes had referenced so much as a single continental philosopher.

In very rough terms, here are the differences between the two schools:

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