The term ‘contemporary philosophy’ refers to the current era of philosophy, generally dealing with philosophers from the late nineteenth century through to the twenty-first.
The nineteenth century also began to see a division in the approach to philosophy being taken in different areas of western philosophy. In the United Kingdom and North America, a focus on logic, language and the natural sciences was becoming predominent in philosophy, and this tradition was labeled analytic philosophy. Those who did not find themselves in this analytic trend were mostly based in Europe, and the idea of continental philosophy was born. The names are already considered obsolte, in some senses, but many philosophers still observe a difference between the logical and scientific approach of analytic philosophy and the existentialism, phenomenology and other approaches of continental philosophy.
The division is a largely artificial one, as the terms were first used by universities in attempts to form courses out of related works in philosophy.