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I've struggled for a while as to what traditionally is accepted as philosophy within a tradition. Without knowing a philosopher's background is there a way to tell if that philosopher stands with a specific tradition (so as to say, remove their history and develop judgement based solely on their writing)?

For instance, if we talk about era's of painting I can tell, with a fair likelihood, what era it came from without knowing an artist, or possibly when a painting was painted, based on my knowledge of art history. It doesn't appear philosophy can be reflected upon in the same way to identify traditions.

Rewording: Is there a means, by which, to judge a piece of writing by the style in which it is written, and identify a tradition, possibly without knowing who wrote it or when it was written?

  • Y;ou identify a painting as belonging to a certain tradition because you have studied art history. With philosophy it is the same: if you would study history of phil, you will understand philosophical traditions. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 11 '16 at 14:37
  • Just as with enough experience you can look at a painting and say "that's Renoir", or listen to a piece of music and say "that's Chopin", so you can read a text in philosophy and say "that's Kant". – Eliran May 11 '16 at 15:08
  • @Eliran H I don't wish to identify "Kant", I wish to identify "Continental" or "Analytic". What criteria ties Hagel, Marx, and Nietzsche, for example, to the continental label besides the era and location in which they lived? – NationWidePants May 11 '16 at 15:41
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    "Continental" and "analytic" are pretty arbitrary designations that have more to do with what was happening in philosophy in Britain and America at the start of the 20th century. Applying the labels retrospectively yields confusing results: both Marx and Nietzsche (and even Hegel) have fairly well-established "analytic" readings. They're considered "continental" if only because they exercised a greater influence on what, at the start of the 20th century was called "continental philosophy". – ig0774 May 11 '16 at 19:01

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