Which philosophers have done most to bridge the analytic/continental divide?



I am interested to find out work done in this direction by prominent philosophers in each tradition.

My paradigm cases would be Richard Rorty on the analytic side and Alain Badiou on the continental side. (That said, I know little about Badiou's efforts at reconciliation - so if anyone could elaborate on those I would be very grateful.)

I know that on the analytic side (on which I find myself deeply entrenched) there is very little ongoing effort at achieving reconciliation with or understanding of our continental counterparts - and most continental philosophy is dismissed as no more than whimsical lexicography. So, as a subquestion, I would also be interested to find out how analytic philosophers are regarded on the continental side.


Posted 2011-06-12T13:44:58.900

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1Ironically, the analytic thing was started by a continental European, i.e. Frege. I agree with @Chuck re: the hallmark & also that the wiki article is a good one. – boehj – 2011-06-15T00:42:03.360

Markus Gabriel is a good one. You can read his "Why the world does not exist?" and "Fields of sense: a new realist ontology". – Farhad Rouhbakhsh – 2017-10-05T11:36:07.683

Charles Taylor. See Philosophical Papers, Vols. I and II. In a deep and perhaps less obvious way, I would also mention Robert Brandom. – None – 2011-06-16T06:01:37.047

One of the more interesting and audacious writers I've read is Paul Feyerabend. I find Rorty and Feyerabend rather similar thinkers. Rorty, however, is much more meticulous in his writing. Feyerabend's Conquest of Abundance and Farewell to Reason are some of the most enjoyable philosophical books I've read. – Jon – 2013-01-27T04:49:57.847

As philosiology puts it: "Every once and a while, you may encounter a philosopher who claims that they are neither an analytic or continental philosopher—they are both (or they are category-less, or whatev). This is false. What they are really saying is, “I’m a very peaceful continental philosopher who hasn’t really been burned by an analytic philosopher or tasted the bitter drink of discord yet.” I have never heard an analytic philosopher claim this. Analytic philosophers love distinctions too much." ;-)

– DBK – 2012-03-08T13:57:54.027

3Good question. I'd like to know the answer too. – Cerberus – 2011-06-13T00:55:18.197

1As one who is "deeply entrenched" on the so-called "continental" side of philosophy, I'm not entirely sure I even know what or whom to regard as "analytic" philosophy. Rorty and Russell are obvious candidates, but I'm not sure who else would merit the label. What do you consider as the hallmark or indicator of an analytic philosopher? – Cody Gray – 2011-06-13T08:04:15.987


@Cody That is hard to answer. The hallmark of an analytic philosopher is a sceintific/logical approach, a distaste for terminological flamboyance and an emphasis on precision and rigour. I think the Wiki on Analytic philosophy is very good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_philosophy

– Chuck – 2011-06-14T13:02:16.683



First, I should point out that a lot of social movements and struggles already do unite continental and analytic thinkers. Also, I should note that 'analytic' and 'continental' are extremely difficult to define conceptually.

Finally, there is a somewhat pejorative dimension to these terms in certain contexts at this point, as without a well-defined theoretical context they mean almost nothing.

With those qualifications in mind, the analytic and the continental can indeed be said to sketch out planes of thought, which I would see as perhaps intersecting in a few intriguing places.

  • Alain Badiou, with his strong interest in overturning the excesses of the linguistic and postmodern turn, could be considered a contender here. Zizek probably belongs here in this sense as well, since he also tends to function as a gadfly for the deconstructionists et al.
  • François Laruelle, in my opinion, answers to the terms of your question. He calls his enterprise "non-philosophy", and he argues that all philosophy suffers from a defect owing to its "decisional" structure; yet he further argues that philosophy is blind to this defect. It is in a way a Godelization of philosophy. His work is very dense and incredibly rewarding. He is just beginning to become known in the United States owing to several new translation efforts.

Joseph Weissman

Posted 2011-06-12T13:44:58.900

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Joseph, are there particular works of Badiou or Laruelle that you would recommend? – Jon – 2013-01-29T22:17:10.773

@Jon Philosophies of Difference by Laruelle might not be the worst place to look for this; also I would definitely recommend looking at The Non-Philosophy Project. For Badiou, Being and Event is the master work, but Metapolitics in particular I would see as addressing certain issues that would intersect with the analytic-continental divide such as it is. – Joseph Weissman – 2013-01-29T22:51:58.753

I'll definitely look into those. Thanks for the recommendations – Jon – 2013-02-05T19:38:03.283


Ian Hacking is great. Read his Historical Ontology. The intro explains how he went from being an analytic philosopher interested in the history of probability to looking at Foucault and Derrida and the genealogy of styles of thought.


Posted 2011-06-12T13:44:58.900

Reputation: 151


Most of these answers seem to be pointing towards "continental" philosophers who have contributed to "analytic" discussions.

Since I'm more familiar with the analytic segment, I'll point towards a philosopher or two who is analytically trained but does research on "continental" figures.

First, there is Kris McDaniel, a younger philosopher at Syracuse University who has written on Hegel and Heidegger. See his CV for links to some of his papers.

Then, I also know that Graham Priest (famous as a proponent for dialetheism, the view that there are true contradictions) has done some work on Hegel's logic and on Marx. See for example his "Dialectics and Dialetheism".

Of the two Graham Priest is certainly the more famous. Both have, however, done a decent amount to bring continental figures into the discussions of analytic philosophers.


Posted 2011-06-12T13:44:58.900

Reputation: 4 370


Badiou and Laruelle are working in the traditions of so-called Continental Philosophy. it is a vast tradition that includes many movements and schools. Nowadays, Laruelle's international reception is growing with dozens of titles a year translated and published in English by such publishing houses as Polity Books, Edinburgh University Press, Continuum, Palgrave Macmillan, Columbia University Press, Urbanomic/Sequence and others. Warwick University in England is very involved with Laruelle. Warwick Symposium on the Non-Philosophy of François Laruelle ... www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/news/?newsItem... Feb 18, 2010 - News, seminars, reading groups and other events in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Symposium on the Non-Philosophy of Laruelle | Speculative Heresy https://speculativeheresy.wordpress.com/.../symposium-on-the-non-philosophy-of-lar... Feb 8, 2010 - A whole mess of events and CFPs to announce: Warwick Symposium on the Non-Philosophy of Francois Laruelle The Warwick University ... I myself have been working in meta-philosophical critique and analyzed the methods of the so-called two 'types' of philosophy (apology I am not allowed to post another link) also see my work, IF you wish, on Academia-Edu where I am in the top 0.5% of academics - https://independent.academia.edu/UlrichdeBalbian


Posted 2011-06-12T13:44:58.900