October 30, 2005

Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Habermas

Brian Leiter and Jerry Fodor had an email exchange in which they discussed the definition of analytic philosophy. In one of his remarks to Fodor, Leiter wonders whether philosophers like Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, or Habermas could be considered analytic philosophers, primarily for doctrinal reasons. While I think Hegel is out automatically, because "analytic" and "continental" are at least partially historical (anyone before Frege is neither), Husserl was certainly more similar to Frege or Russell, in the early years, than he was to the later Heidegger, much less Sartre or Derrida. Still, the influence of Husserl has been more widely felt among the "continentals" than the "analytics," and that's probably why he's referred to as one of the former rather than the latter. As for Heidegger, while his view of language may be compatible with some (not many!) analytic conceptions of language, he doesn't really embody any of the other properties of analytic philosohpers, so he's probably not someone we should include. Habermas is actually a good choice for an analytic philosopher, though, and if he were read by more analytic philosophers, I think they would probably agree. Why he's considered a continental philosopher, I'm not quite sure. It probably has something to do with his use of terms like "crisis," which are ordinarly pretty vague. However, in his hands, they become quite specific, and powerful at that. posted by Chris @ Friday, October 22, 2004

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