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Continental Philosophy

Wittgenstein And Analytic Philosophy, Freud And The Unconscious, Phenomenology Of Consciousness, Heidegger And The Phenomenology Of Being

The term continental philosophy was coined by English-speaking analytic philosophers in Great Britain and the United States shortly after World War II. Since then, the term has been used primarily by English-speaking philosophers but not by western European philosophers, who see no need to call themselves "continental."

The differences between analytic and continental philosophy are rooted in eighteenth-century European Enlightenment. Generally speaking, analytic philosophers tended to view the Enlightenment positively, while continental philosophers viewed it critically. Taking different stances toward the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), analytic philosophers focused primarily on Kant's epistemological work, Critique of Pure Reason, while continental philosophers stressed Kant's ethical and aesthetic works, the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment. The final divide between analytic and continental philosophy occurred in their respective stances toward post-Kantian German idealism and Romanticism, especially toward the dialectical system of the "Absolute Spirit" posited by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831). Deeply influenced by Hegel and by the critique of religion devised by Hegel's former student Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872), Karl Marx (1818–1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) transformed Hegel's dialectical idealism into dialectical and historical materialism. In keeping with this post-Kantian philosophy, contemporary continental philosophers are concerned primarily with man's history and culture and with religious, moral, and social issues.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Condensation to Cosh