Interesting Essay

I find this to be a very interesting article, and Leiter has the link here. At the same time, I think Leiter could do better than call out other research programs, like Derridians for instance, that often fail to confront others. Every internal sociological description of a projected problem or area of research has its own merits and shortcomings. Think of the alleged diversity of self-proclaimed generalist journals that have come to be known as the Healy-4. Certainly, there have been very interesting Derridians that have been critics and applicants of Derrida’s thought, and there is a certain element of discourse that takes place within print–whether literary theory or the more rigorous work done on Derrida. So, the insularity could be a lack of different traditions reading each other, and there are those that defy such boundaries. Think of Samuel Wheeler’s book Deconstruction as Analytic Philosophy.

Yet, I am wondering if the essay could not be considered its own tradition, or at the very least a call to revive the social activity of philosophy that took place in the agora 2500 years ago. We could call it the dialogical tradition; Gadamer thought the understanding was dialogical through and through, but that’s not really relevant here.  Warburton’s entire essay might be calling insular traditions out on their failure to communicate with others, and it might not be so much against the insularity of various traditions as much as it is a call for conversations to take place between traditions. Stand between the fusion of horizons. In fact, the younger generation of philosophers that I am friends with almost always want to know what I am doing, and I, in turn, want to know what they are doing. We may not even work in the same areas, but we like discussing the problems that engage our attention and sometimes problems surface between us. They may stare oddly at my choice of style and I theirs, but the distinction between Analytics and Continentals means very little to the people my age or younger.  Some problems resurface between the traditions, and good philosophers are reading between traditions and wanting those inter-traditional conversations to take place. For example, phenomenology talked about value ontology just as much as J. L. Mackie or G. E. Moore did. The point is to know where to look and whom to read, and ultimately having the patience to encounter another tradition first in terms of its own merits and then learning how exactly said tradition can talk to another.