5/01/2015

"outgroup homogeneity" and 'continental philosophy'

One phenomenon that social psychologists have found pretty consistently is called 'outgroup homogeneity.' The idea, as I understand it, is that people judge outgroup members (i.e. people who are not in a group they identify with) as being more homogeneous in the stereotypical traits attributed to the outgroup than they judge ingroup members on those same traits.

What gets lumped under the heading 'continental philosophy' today is a very diverse range of traditions and thinkers: phenomenology, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, existentialism, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and so on. Many of these are so different and even opposed to one another that it doesn't really make all that much sense to lump them together under one heading. 'Continental philosophy' is a phrase analytic philosophers devised (Glendinning 2006). So what I'm wondering now is whether the creation of that phrase/ category was facilitated by the outgroup homogeneity effect -- since without it, it would have been harder to amass together, under a single heading, all the disparate traditions.

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