Peter Gordon’s excellent book (Continental Divide) on the 1929 Davos encounter between Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger is an insightful and historically informed account of the complex interplay of issues that were brought to the table. The central hinge or fold of Gordon’s book is the full translation of and commentary to the encounter itself, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft, which was transcribed by students of both Cassirer and Heidegger (Otto Bollnow for Heidegger, and Joachim Ritter for Cassirer). A central fold of the encounter itself occurs, I would argue, when the Dutch linguist Hendrik J. Pos intervenes into the discussion and suggests that what separates Cassirer from Heidegger is that, as Pos puts it, “Both men speak a completely different language,” and moreover there are several terms in each of these distinct languages that he doubts can be translated into the other’s language. For Heidegger, he nominates the terms “Dasein, Being, the ontic,” and for Cassirer “the functional in spirit and the transformation of primordial space into one another.” (CD 189)
Heidegger’s response to Pos’s claims brings to light a number of interesting points about the nature of philosophical problems and the role of philosophical discussions and disputations in addressing such problems. I’ll just highlight some of the implications of these points as they relate to the analytic-continental divide (working off some of the nice points made in Jon's post).