The great schism between the study of analytic philosophy and the study of continental philosophy that exists among scholars and intellectuals, to me, does not seem to be caused by interesting reasons. An interesting reason would be that both of them completely disagree on their take on the world, so their consider each other unworthy. That’s just what seems to be the reason.
The actual reason, or at least a sizable chunk of it, is that the adherents of such schools do not understand the other side. In fact, it seems to me that only analytics do not understand the propositions and ideas of their intellectual ‘enemies’. While it is true that continentals do not understand the value of rigor, extreme attention to unbiased experimentation, and clearness, it think there is a worse misunderstanding of ‘continentalism’, if one might say there is such a thing, in the minds of analytic philosophers.
I say this as an enthusiastic reader of popular science/philosophy books (such as Pinker, Feynman, Hofstadter, Hawking, Dennett, Gleiser, Dawkins, Grayling, and so many more I would feel weird quoting in one go.), and someone who loves figures such as Russell, Searle, Turing, Hume, and other masters of airtight thinking. I understand the animosity analytics feel with their vision of continentalism. I think they are totally right.
But only in their vision. I do not think the picture analytics have of continental philosopher (and here I mean, going from Marx to Foucault, from Husserl to Heidegger, from Beauvoir to Dworkin, not Freud to Lacan) is accurate. I think this is the case because I have been reading a lot about what thinkers such as the ones cited (and Butler and Sartre and… yak yak yak) and I think their jargon is severely misunderstood.
Something being called Being-to-death shouldn’t, by itself, lead us to think it is complete mystical baloney. Remember that respected analytical philosophers such as Rorty respect the work mister Heidegger has done. The only thing that should make us feel animosity towards an idea, such as the biopower or the genderflux or heterosexism, the existential nausea, the aesthetical experience, is that the idea is lousy. While maybe some of these ideas are sort of lousy, it does not follow neither that they are completely senseless, nor that they are being rejected for that very reason (lousiness).
So one must think to oneself: do I really understand this concept I’m criticizing? Am I rejecting it based on sound arguments and solid understanding of how it really is obscure and intellectual tomfoolery? Or am I merely being prejudiced because it looks obscure and I interpreted Alan Sokal as having demonstrated that every obscure-sounding jargon means a utter and complete incapability of making any sense or standing up to rigor?