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The Idea of Continental Philosophy$
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Simon Glendinning

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624706

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624706.001.0001

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The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects

(p.38) 3 The Usual Suspects
The Idea of Continental Philosophy

Simon Glendinning

Edinburgh University Press

One way of disrupting the idea that there is a distinctive “Continental” tradition in philosophy is to get a vivid sense that what typically gets grouped together as such is a highly eclectic and disparate series of intellectual currents that could not possibly form a coherent tradition. The aim of this chapter is to give just such an overview. All “the major Continental philosophers” from Kant to Žižek are introduced through summary paragraphs of their major works and ideas. This is followed by an overview of the major intellectual currents that can sensibly be discerned in this eclectic collection such as phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, structuralism and post-structuralism. None of this is intended to suggest that there is, after all, a “Continental” tradition but to make perspicuous quite how implausible that idea really is.

Keywords:   Continental tradition, phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism, Immanuel Kant, Slavoj Žižek

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