Here is an interesting review of a survey of continental thought. The review offers some criticism, but on the whole seems favorable. I was taken by this account of the book’s unifying theme:
McCumber sets continental philosophy up against what he calls “traditional philosophy,” by which he understands, following Heidegger, “philosophy that locates true reality in an atemporal domain” (4). “Traditional philosophy” — whether in the form of Parmenidean Being, Platonic Forms, Aristotelian essences, Kantian transcendental structures of the human mind, or the logically manipulated world of propositions — places what is ultimately real in some timeless and unchanging realm. Continental philosophy, however, understands itself to be firmly situated within time and history while trying to understand things and actions that are themselves equally so situated within the temporal realm.
This intrigues me, but I think contemporary non-continental philosophers – specifically, philosophical naturalists – would scratch their collective heads and say, “Huh? You mean we’re locating true reality in an atemporal domain?” Indeed, anyone “non-continentalists” after and including the logical positivists would fight against that characterization. Of course, maybe they’re still going atemporal, despite their protestations, but the fact that they don’t want to be characterized in that way makes me think McCumber’s claim can’t be marking the deep division that exists today between the two camps. I keep thinking it has to do more with methodology (and probably politics) than with a specific content claims.