Conclusion: What Now for Continental Philosophy?
Robert C. Solomon
What now for continental philosophy? Well the first thing that must be hoped for is an end to the divisiveness. By this I do not mean that healthy dialectic that is the essence of all good philosophy, nor do I mean to suggest that philosophy should in any sense become “unified.” This has been the dream of many a system-builder to be sure, but such systems have almost always turned out to be anything but total or final – even if occasionally (as in that rich period from Kant to Hegel) they have turned out to be fascinating failures. This is the most historically astute message of postmodernism, the attack on “master narratives” and “totalizing theories,” but such theories and the postmodern challenge are themselves now part of our philosophical history, and there are already signs that the next round of such ambitious narratives and theories has begun. Perhaps the need for such narratives and theories is yet another remnant of that persistent insecurity in modern philosophy that idolizes and emulates science (although in the philosophy of science, too, reductionism and other attempts to unify not so much science as the philosophy of science have turned out to be eviscerating). Or else, perhaps, it is an even older holdover from the days when (Western) philosophy was not easily distinguishable from Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology and the certainty and all-embracing security that ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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