Brian Leiter is poking fun at the analytic/continental distinction again, this time by way of the late Dummett:
Unnoted, of course, is that Dummett's conception of "analytic" philosophy--as "an armchair subject, requiring only thought" and as trying "to clarify the concepts in terms of which we conceive of [reality], and hence the linguistic expressions by means of which we formulate our conception" as he put it in his last book--was such that huge numbers of philosophers in the Anglophone world today wouldn't qualify, though one can happily stipulate that Dummett is an "analytic" philosopher in his sense, and Heidegger is not.The funny thing is, I'm not sure that Heidegger doesn't get counted as an "analytic" philosopher, if all we look at from Dummett's book is this one claim. He clearly wasn't doing "empirical" work in the way that Leiter likes to promote, so he can only be ruled out by the second part of Dummett's quote's criterion: Did Heidegger attempt to "clarify the concepts in terms of which we conceive of [reality], and hence the linguistic expressions by means of which we formulate our conceptions"?
My initial reaction is to say that he did, at least in Being and Time. It's easy to find passages like the one from section 14, where Heidegger presents a list of four ways in which the word "world" is used, and notes that he's "unraveling" these uses so that "we can get an indication of the different kinds of phenomena that are signified, and of the way in which they are interconnected." (p.93 in the Macquarrie translation). This looks to be straightforwardly what Dummett's quote says analytic philosophers do. But this is only a particularly clear instance of a general strategy: Being and Time is largely made up of discussions of ordinary sorts of words and experiences in a context which makes clear that it's easy to get confused about them. For instance, Heidegger's discussion of "reality" (the concept) is largely focused on the ways in which Descartes misunderstood things in this area, and the problems it lead him into. (Also fun is Leiter's joking attempt to unify "analytic" philosophers by the fact "that they all probably read "On Sense and Reference" at some point, given that we know that Heidegger read this work.)
What spurred me to think about this was a post Enowning linked to the other day; the post itself doesn't interest me, but I quite liked being pointed to a passage I had overlooked (it wasn't highlighted in my copy of the book): "Nevertheless, the ultimate business of philosophy is to preserve the force of the most elemental words in which Dasein expresses itself, and to keep common understanding from leveling them off to that unintelligibility which functions in turn as a source of pseudo-problems." (p.262 in the Macquarrie) The context of this quote is section 44 of the first division of Being and Time, the discussion of truth which closes that division, and why Heidegger is looking at (what he thinks of as) the etymology of "ἀλήθεια" in Greek. He notes that he needs to avoid "uninhibited word-mysticism" in doing this, and I'm not sure he meets his own demand here (and later on I think he clearly falls into it). But the success of what he's aiming at here doesn't interest me as much as what the goal he set for himself was: he's trying to avoid "that unintelligibility which functions in turn as a source of pseudo-problems" which comes from a "common understanding" which "levels off" words.
It seems to me that one of the main things that Heidegger is concerned with warding off in this section is the idea that it is only in true thoughts (judgements, assertions) that we (our minds, our thoughts, our language) "come into contact" with the world. This comes to seem obvious to us when we think of truth as exhausted by things like the T-schema: "S" is true IFF S. Truth is here a predicate of concatenated strings of signs, and to say of a string that it is true "is just to say what the string says itself": truth is chased up the tree of grammar. As a truth-predicate can be added onto any existing language without changing the inferential connections between the portions of that language which do not contain a truth-predicate, it can thus appear that truth is "not deep", is "redundant", "does not refer to a real property": thus we should handle how the language works without truth, and then a truth-predicate can be added onto it. This is what Heidegger has in view when he criticizes the idea that truth is rightly thought of as simply a property of judgements: to do so makes it easy to think that judgement should be intelligible without truth, and then truth be made intelligible in terms of antecedently-understood judgements.
Against this, Heidegger tries (in various ways) to get us to see that our ability to judge at all, rightly or wrongly, is possible only because of our "disclosedness": there is a binary hiddenness/revealedness to the entities uncovered in our being-in-the-world which is more primordial than explicit judgements, and our ability to say anything (truely or falsely) by means of concatenated strings depends on it. The appearance that the binary true-false predicates of truth could be added onto a language which was antecedently understood thus covered up the fact that the language was understood only against a background of some such disclosedness, which should itself be apprehended in a discussion of truth and falsity, as its binary and the true-false binary are kin. The "common understanding" that allows concatenated strings of signs to be regarded as "saying something (in a language)", and to take these independently-intelligible relations as a foundation for work in semantics, can only be achieved by a "leveling off" which occludes the fact that we symbolize only in the course of our lives together, and that we leave things unsaid if we insist on treating language solely in terms of signs, sets, and satisfaction-relations. Signs "in the language" have the set-theoretic relations they are established to have in the set-theoretic universe; symbols have meanings only in our life together.
So, it seems to me that Heidegger was concerned with clarifying our concepts (our thoughts) and the words we use to express them; if it is necessary to any analytic/continental distinction that Heidegger be opposed to the "analytic" group, then Dummett's quote does not give us such a distinction.