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What is the difference between analytical and continental philosophy? Is one better than the other? Is analytical philosophy more scientific than continental philosophy?

I think that it is time that these terms were retired from the language. At best they represent a difference in literary style. That's at best. Many people regarded as "analytic" by those who fancy this distinction actually live(d) on the continent in question. Many regarded as "continental" live(d) and work(ed) in Anglophone countries. There is no clear demarcation between philosophical problems and methods marked by this distinction, and at worst, it is used by parties on each side as an excuse to valorise or to denegrate the work of those they regard as lying in the opposite side. Just read philosophy and enjoy it!

Why should I be concerned about torture? As a middle class, white atheist living in the UK, neither I nor anyone I know is likely to suffer from it. I consider my aversion to it to be mere sentimentality. Bill Foster

Do you feel that way with regard to all evil? For instance, had you been a German during the Nazi period, would you have responded in the same way to the plight of the Jews, Romani, etc? Neither you nor your neighours are likely to be gassed, so....? If you think that evil is to be opposed, and in particular, if you think that evil perpetrated by governments that represent one is to be opposed as a special obligation of citizenship, then the fact that you are not the victim is simply irrelevant.

I'm not sure who made the claim, but I read that during the 1970s feminist movement some claimed that all sex was rape. Why did that person think that women could never have consensual sex?

The person most associated with this claim was Andrea Dworkin, though she was not alone in asserting it. The claim was a bit hyperbolic, but reflected an interesting, controversial claim. Consent, she argued, presupposes rough equality. If you are a violent person holding a gun, and ask me politely for all of my money, even if you don't threaten me, my handing it over is nonconsensual. And that is the case, on this view, even if, had you not had the gun, I would have consented, out of generosity, to give you the cash you wanted. The presence of an unequal power relationship, and the background of potential violence renders consent conceptually impossible. Now, Dworkin argued, given the tremendous power disparity between men and women in the culture of the USA in the 1970's and 1980's, and the prevalence of domestic violence with men as actors and women as victims, a man's request for sexual activity is too much like your request for cash with the gun in your hand and a history of violence. ...

How do you know that you know something? Isn't everything a perception? Even science assumes that the world is real and the senses convey truth about the world--and perhaps even more. If everything is perception, then how does one leap to the level of finally "knowing" something.

Ahh, you have raised one of the oldest questions in epistemology (the theory of knowledge). If you are seeking some unassailable foundation for all of your knowledge, then for the reasons that motivate your question, you are going to fall short. For any foundations you propose can be queried for justification: Why believe them? If they have no justification, they don't constitute knowledge; if they do, you are off on a regress. Or, to put it a different way, if you had a criterion that would tell you when you know something and when you don't, you'd have to justify that criterion. But if you used that criterion itself as the justification, you would argue in a circle, and if you needed another criterion, you are off on a regress. Sextus Empiricus, in THE OUTLINES OF PYRRHONISM and AGAINST THE LOGICIANS among other texts, developed such arguments in great detail. Nagarjuna, in VIGRAHAVYAVARTANI, develops interesting variations in an Indina context. He argues that we can only test...

I have always been curious how the typical, bright Western philosopher views Eastern philosophers and sages. Quite a few sages and philosophers of the East seem to feel as if they have attained 'truth' or 'enlightenment'. I wonder sometimes what a Western philosopher is hoping to reach or attain in life through philosophy. Is it the same 'truth' or 'enlightenment' that the sages of the East strive for? Is there a common goal between the two different philosophies? It seems to me as if the stress of Western philosophy is on sound logic and reason and clarity of thought. Many times, this is not the stress of Eastern thought. It stresses intuition, metaphors, meditation, and faith (at least in Vedanta). So I guess what I'm really interested in is, does the Western philosopher believe that a 'sage' or great philosopher of the East has truly attained truth or enlightenment (even though the emphasis and stresses in 'philosophy' are very different [often times])? Or, rather is the eastern sage or philosopher...

The West is a big place, with a lot of philosophers, some of whom use careful rigorous arguments; some of whom do not, but give voice to deep insights in other ways; some of whom have explicitly religious agendas; some of whom are anti-religious or secular. The East is a big place, with a lot of philosophers, ome of whom use careful rigorous arguments; some of whom do not, but give voice to deep insights in other ways; some of whom have explicitly religious agendas; some of whom are anti-religious or secular. I think that the intelligent philosopher, or reader of philosophy does not first ask "in which hemisphere was this text composed?" or even "in which philosophical tradition was this text composed?" (especially given how hard it is to individuate traditions, and how heterogeneous each turns out to be), any more than s/he asks, "on which day of the week was this published?" The intelligent philosopher, or reader of philosophy, opens his/her mind and library to good, useful, insightful...

Is it fair to say that analytic philosophy of language has been more concerned with language as (actual) use and language as (actual) knowledge than with the problem of correct interpretation? When I say "the problem of correct interpretation" I mean the problem of giving good reasons to justify the claim that some interpretation (a paraphrase or a translation) is correct or the correct one. I am aware that much has been written on the "indeterminacy of translation", but isn't it possible to give arguments for or against the correctness of a certain interpretation in spite of such "indeterminacy"? Where can I read about it?

There is a big literature on translation. It is a hard topic. I would start by reading Gadamer's TRUTH AND METHOD, parts II and III, as well as some of his essays in PHILOSOPHICAL HERMENEUTICS. Also, read the excellent article by Dorit Bar-On in PHILOSOPHY AND PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH on translation (I don't have the reference at my fingertips, but a search of her home page will turn it up), Tom Wartenburg's paper QUINE AND THE THIRD MANUAL, and, though hard to get, Luis Gomez' superb essay on translation of Buddhist philosophical texts and issues of accuracy and deisderata, THE WAY OF THE TRANSLATOR, published in an occasional journal called BUDDHIST LITERATURE. You might have to write to Gomez for a copy. Most people who have both translated and who have thought hard about translation agree that the right way to think about translation is not in terms of what is the CORRECT translation of a text, but rather to think about a large set of desiderata in a...

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