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Symposium

Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring/Printemps 2012

James Bradley
Pages 155-178

Philosophy and Trinity

I will argue that 'Continental Philosophy' is an Anglo-American invention. It is 'Pseudo-Continentalism,' no more than a highly selective rendering of Western European Philosophy. Borne out of opposition to the dominance of analytical philosophy in our universities, Pseudo-Continentalism in fact converges with analysis in remarkable ways. Both are advertised as revolutions in thought and both stand over against the tradition of speculative philosophy: both repeat each other's historical shibboleths about traditional speculative philosophy in respect of the completeness of reason and of reality, the priority of identity and totality, the predetermined fixity of teleology. What this amounts to is a common rejection of a chimera, which in Pseudo-Continental Philosophy is usually called onto-theology or the metaphysics of presence and in the analytic tradition is sometimes called speculative philosophy. Here, indeed, the analytic tradition is more radical: as I will show, it characteristically rejects any notion of a special kind of activity of actualisation as a feature of the real, whether this is understood as Being, mind, will, the élan vital. Difference, or the impotential. These are the vestiges of the tradition of speculative philosophy that are retained under the rubric of Continental Philosophy.

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