For those curious, this is not a fully fleshed out thought but a seminal premise.
What is the relationship and differences between the Continental and the Analytic is essentially the relationship of epistemology and hermeneutics. Epistemology addressing the questions of what do we know, whereas hermeneutics addressing the questions of how do we make sense. On the one hand, Gadamer thought epistemology and hermeneutics were opposites. And in one way they are, questions of interpretation come from different cognitive schema and processes than questions of certainty. However, at the same time hermeneutics and epistemology as fields are complementary, as they address different aspects that co-occur in concrete human experience and that these different aspects influence each other. In other words, I can address questions about the degrees of confidence I can have in my interpretations, while at the same time, I can try to interpret whether I have reasons for my confidence in my beliefs. They are like a married couple, complementary and yet ideally joined together. This joining together doesn’t always happen, as various philosophers and intellectual have their own process and methods of developing their intellectual systems and then try to protect them in a turf war from others whose ideas seek to come into contact and potentially threatened their own. But what if the divide between analytic and continental can be derived from people’s and traditions’ varying emphasis on confidence in beliefs, i.e. epistemology, or processes of developing understanding, i.e. hermeneutics, but that they can be joined together in mutuality rather than antagonism, if there is a relinquishing of turf wars and rather an openness to what each provides to the other and that can change the other.
This can perhaps be witnessed in the styles of discourse. Analytic philosophy, is well, analytic, dry, technical, concise, and to the point when it is done in an ideal manner. Its discourse is a reflection of its earlier, more British empiricist roots (sans Frege) that was ultimately influenced by Locke’s empiricism. It entails a more ostensive, direct description of what you have, leaving commentary and exposition to a minimum, because you should speak of what you have in front of you, an implicitly epistemic influence on analytic discourse. Meanwhile, continental discourse is more free-flowing, esoteric, reveling in the beauty of metaphor. When you think about it, however, metaphor is essentially hermeneutical, transforming our understanding of something in terms of something else we are aware of. This helps us to make sense of the often subtle and hidden realities and causes that lack clear, direct, sustainable perception
But in reflection, it seems we interpret what we know, and what we know helps us to determine how we interpret. Past experiences of the same type of event over and over again can give us a set of abstract and metaphorical schemas that can help us to make sense of similar events in the present; because we know through experience, we can then interpret. Similarily, our present experience can help us to sift through the schemas we developed from past events to determine which schemas are more valid; we can interpret because we know.
Where this goes is anybody’s guess, but I leave it here now for potential future exploration.