The Analytic Philosophy vs Continental Philosophy divide is a faultline running through modern philosophy. In this episode we explore the origins of this divide and why these two paths diverged when their founders were in close contact. Edmund Husserl and Gottlob Frege were the two men that gave rise to Continental Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy respectively and surprisingly they were in close contact — critiquing each other’s work.
But despite this closeness, there is a historical backdrop to their concerns that invites us to reconsider this difference. Much like the Empiricism/Rationalist divide of the two centuries before Frege and Husserl, the Continental/Analytic divide ran along the line of the English Channel and seems to have been as much a divide of temperament as of philosophy. The British empiricists and the Anglo-American Analytic tradition are concerned more with a non-human standpoint — what reality is out there and how we can gain purest access to it. On the other the Rationalists and Continentals are more concerned with the human element — what it’s structure is like and what that tells us about the structure and nature of reality. This difference in focus on the human and non-human element widened into a irreparable chasm by the time of Martin Heidegger and Bertrand Russell.
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