This chapter introduces the project of trying to make sense of the idea of a kind of philosophy called “Continental philosophy”. It explains why this project seems to be one that should be capable of completion, and why, in reality, efforts to do so inevitably prove inadequate and distorting. The claim is not that there are no significant differences between work that is typically identified as “analytic” work typically identified as “Continental”, or that the differences at issue here are often sufficient to ruin every effort to engage in positive discussion. Rather, the claim is that appeals to the idea of division accentuate and do not explain the failures of communication here. In a situation where communication between different parts of our philosophical culture has all but broken down, the thinking about the breakdown that is an appeal to the idea of a division between analytic and Continental philosophy does not so much as capture the scene as it is part of it.
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