Beyond the analytic / continental divide

The two models of philosophy

The analytic / continental divide was an invention of 20th century Anglo-American philosophy. And while analytic philosophy and the English language have become dominant in academia, continental philosophy is increasingly accepted within analytic circles. The hope is that a new configuration will eventually emerge, a universal philosophy beyond the strictures of any one tradition or language. The very question “what is philosophy?” is open to a variety of answers, beyond those any one model could give, writes Simon Glendinning.


In a lecture delivered at UNESCO in 1991, Jacques Derrida reflected on a situation in which “two competing models” had succeeded in becoming the “hegemonic references” for what we call philosophy right across “the entire world”. Derrida identified them as “the so-called continental tradition…and so-called analytic or Anglo-Saxon philosophy”. However, he was also sensitive to the fact that these two mod

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