It is commonly held that the change from the concrete view of the axiomatic method to the abstract one originated from the creation of non-Euclidean geometries and algebraic theories beyond the traditional theory of equations. Such explanation seems however to be too simple because, for instance, Lobačevskij presented his geometry not as an abstract system but as a concrete investigation of certain physical forces, and Boole presented his algebra not as an abstract system but as a concrete investigation of the (...) operations of the mind by which reasoning is performed. Lobačevskij and Boole did not even present their systems as axiomatic systems. In this paper it is argued that a more plausible explanation is that the change was due to a somewhat late impact of Romanticism on mathematics. -/- . (shrink)
These lectures by one of the most influential and original philosophers of the twentieth century constitute a sustained argument for the philosophical basis of romanticism, particularly in its American rendering. Through his examination of such authors as Emerson, Thoreau, Poe, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, Stanley Cavell shows that romanticism and American transcendentalism represent a serious philosophical response to the challenge of skepticism that underlies the writings of Wittgenstein and Austin on ordinary language.
Philosophical Romanticism is one of the first books to address the relationship between philosophy and romanticism, an area which is currently undergoing a major revival. This collection of specially-written articles by world-class philosophers explores the contribution of romantic thought to topics such as freedom, autonomy and subjectivity; memory and imagination; pluralism and practical reason; modernism, scepticism and irony; art and ethics; and cosmology, time and technology. While the roots of romanticism are to be found in early German (...) idealism, Philosophical Romanticism shows that it is not a purely European phenomenon: the development of romanticism can be traced through to North American philosophy in the era of Emerson and Dewey, and up to the current work of Stanley Cavell and Richard Rorty. The articles in this collection suggest that philosophical romanticism offers a compelling alternative to both the reductionist tendencies of the naturalism in "analytic" philosophy, and the deconstruction and other forms of scepticism found in "continental" philosophy. The thinkers and writers studied in Philosophical Romanticism include Proust, Goethe, Heidegger, Novalis, Deleuze, Holderlin, Wittgenstein and Wordsworth. (shrink)
These challenging essays defend Romanticism against its critics. They argue that Romantic thought, interpreted as the pursuit of freedom in concrete contexts, remains a central and exemplary form of both artistic work and philosophical understanding. Marshalling a wide range of texts from literature, philosophy and criticism, Richard Eldridge traces the central themes and stylistic features of Romantic thinking in the work of Kant, Hölderlin, Wordsworth, Hardy, Wittgenstein, Cavell and Updike. Through his analysis he shows that Romanticism is neither (...) emptily literary and escapist nor dogmatically optimistic and sentimental. This is the first serious philosophical defense of the ethical ideals of Romanticism and will appeal particularly to all professionals and students in philosophy, literature and aesthetics who are interested in what, philosophically, literature can show that philosophy cannot say. (shrink)
This article asks how ideas about nature in the 18th and 19th century Romantic movement have traveled in and been translated by the various religious groups that constitute contemporary Paganism. Drawing on the work of poets, philosophers, historians, social scientists, and contemporary Pagans themselves, the article argues that contemporary Paganism borrows freely from Romantic notions of inspiration and imagination to craft a vision of nature, that, for them, responds to the emotional and political needs of their own time and place. (...) At the center of this vision is what I describe as the Romantic hero, a figure in search of a more authentic existence in a broadly conceived "natural world.". (shrink)
In this provocative new study, Richard Eldridge presents a highly original and compelling account of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations , one of the most enduring yet enigmatic works of the twentieth century. He does so by reading the text as a dramatization of what is perhaps life's central motivating struggle--the inescapable human need to pursue an ideal of expressive freedom within the difficult terms set by culture. Eldridge sees Wittgenstein as a Romantic protagonist, engaged in an ongoing internal dialogue over the (...) nature of intentional consciousness, ranging over ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of mind. The picture of the human mind that emerges through this dialogue unsettles behaviorism, cognitivism, and all other scientifically oriented orthodoxies. Leading a human life becomes a creative act, akin to writing a poem, of continuously seeking to overcome both complacency and skepticism. Eldridge's careful reconstruction of the central motive of Wittgenstein's work will influence all subsequent scholarship on it. (shrink)
In this article I ask how fruitful the concept of alienation can be for thinking critically about the nature and causes of the contemporary environmental crisis. The concept of alienation enables us to claim that modern human beings have become alienated or estranged from nature and need to become reconciled with it. Yet reconciliation has often been understood—notably by Hegel and Marx—as the state of being ‘at-home-with-oneself-in-the-world’, in the name of which we are entitled, perhaps even obliged, to overcome anything (...) in nature that is alien to the human mind. This approach to alienation derives ultimately from the German Idealist philosopher J. G. Fichte. I explore an alternative conception of alienation and reconciliation to be found in the work of the Early German Romantics, especially Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis. The Romantics think of reconciliation as including a dimension of alienation, in the form of an awareness that nature is greater than and exceeds the understanding of human beings, insofar as we are merely limited parts of the all-encompassing whole that is nature. I argue that this is a more fruitful approach to alienation and reconciliation than that pursued by Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. (shrink)
An appeal to all that doubt or disbelieve the truths of the Gospel, whether they be deists, Arians, Socinians, or nominal Christians, by W. Law.--Siris; a chain of philosophical reflexions and inquiries concerning the virtues of tar water, and divers other subjects, by G. Berkeley.--Observations on man, his frame, his duty, and his expectations, by D. Hartley.--The theory of moral sentiments, by A. Smith.--An essay on original genius, by W. Duff.--The light of nature pursued, by A. Tucker.--A new system; or, (...) An analysis of antient mythology, by J. Bryant.--Enquiry concerning political justice and its influence on morals and happiness, by W. Godwin. (shrink)
Many revolutionary proposals entered the biological disciplines during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, theories that provided the foundations for today’s science and gave structure to its various branches. Cell theory, evolutionary theory, and genetics achieved their modern form during this earlier time. The period also saw a variety of new, auxiliary hypotheses that supplied necessary supports for the more comprehensive theories. These included ideas in morphology, embryology, systematics, language, and behavior. These scientific developments forced a reconceptualization of nature and (...) the place of human beings therein. The legacy for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been a materialization and mechanization of the most fundamental processes of life. From our current perspective, it’s easy to look back and assume that the foundational ideas of our contemporary science must have had the same character as they now seem to manifest. I think a closer inspection of biological science of this earlier period will reveal a discipline whose philosophic assumptions are quite different from those of its present incarnation. This becomes especially vivid when 1 we focus on the contributions of German Idealism and Romanticism to the biology of the earlier dispensation. (shrink)
From Romanticism to Critical Theory explores the philosophical roots of literary theory through the traditions of German philosophy that started with the Romantic reactions to Kant. Andrew Bowie traces the continuation of the Romantic tradition, culminating in Heidegger's approaches to art and truth, the work of Adorno and Benjamin and the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory.
Philosophical romanticism is the view that, in maintaining out forms of life, we are engaged in the endless task of “acknowledging the human” in reading and being read by others. Winch's discussions of “human nature” and the principle of universalizability in ethics should discourage us from imputing such romanticism to his work. On the other hand, his discussions of generality in “the human” and the human neighbourhood might tempt one to do so. Winch's contemplative conception of philosophy should, (...) in the end, count against this temptation. His work is a passionate example of doing conceptual justice to different readings of “the human”. (shrink)
Friedrich Schleiermacher's groundbreaking work in theology and philosophy was forged in the cultural ferment of Berlin at the convergence of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. The three sections of this book include illuminating sketches of Schleiermacher's relationship to contemporaries, his work as a public theologian, as well as the formation and impact of his two most famous books, On Religion and The Christian Faith. Richard Crouter's essays examine the theologian's stance regarding the status of doctrine, church and political authority, and (...) the place of theology among the academic disciplines. (shrink)
(2003). Contemporary ‘vehicularity’ and ‘romanticism’: debating the status of ideas and intellectuals. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy: Vol. 6, The Public Role of Intellectuals, pp. 51-66. doi: 10.1080/1369823042000241267.
Commentators often construe Foucault as an anti-Enlightenment thinker; much of this criticism assumes that Foucault inherits early German Romanticismin some sense. This essay examines these claims by assessing the role the German Romantics play in Foucault’s work, both early and late. After a briefconsideration of the meaning of the term “Romanticism,” the essay examines the role that language and literature plays in Foucault early texts before examining the place of self-formation or Bildung in his later work. I conclude that (...) examining the relationship between Foucault and the German Romantics can help us betterunderstand Foucault’s texts and thereby avoid what Foucault terms the “blackmail of the Enlightenment,” the idea that one must be either for or against Enlightenment ideals rather than critically interrogating them. (shrink)
This paper claims that recent attempts to draw on the maternal experiences of women in order to articulate an ethic of care and compassion is a new romanticism. Like earlier romantic views, it is both attractive and potentially dangerous. The paper examines the basic claims of this new romanticism in order to identify both its strengths and weaknesses. I conclude that there are at least two versions of this new romanticism, one that relies primarily on the experiences (...) of child-bearing in grounding an ethic of care and compassion, and a second that relies primarily on child-rearing. I suggest that the former version of the new romanticism is deeply flawed because such a view ought to be unacceptable to women and will be inaccessible to men. (shrink)
What is Romanticism? In this Very Short Introduction Michael Ferber answers this by considering who the romantics were and looks at what they had in common -- their ideas, beliefs, commitments, and tastes. He looks at the birth and growth of Romanticism throughout Europe and the Americas, and examines various types of Romantic literature, music, painting, religion, and philosophy. -/- Focusing on topics, Ferber looks at the 'Sensibility' movement, which preceded Romanticism; the rising prestige of the poet; (...)Romanticism as a religious trend; Romantic philosophy and science; Romantic responses to the French Revolution; and the condition of women. Using examples and quotations he presents a clear insight into this very diverse movement, and offers a definition as well as a discussion of the word 'Romantic' and where it came from. (shrink)
The Greeks are on trial. They have been for generations, if not millennia, from Rome in the first century, to Romanticism in the nineteenth. We debate the place of the Greeks in the university curriculum, in New World culture--we even debate the place of the Greeks in the European Union. This book notices the lingering and half-hidden presence of the Greeks in some strange places--everywhere from the US Supreme Court to the Modern Olympic Games--and in so doing makes an (...) important new contribution to a very old debate. (shrink)
This wide-ranging and original book reappraises the role of genre, and genre theory, in British Romanticism. Analyzing numerous examples from 1760 to 1830, David Duff examines the generic innovations and experiments which propel the Romantic 'revolution in literature', but also the fascination with archaic forms such as the ballad, sonnet, epic, and romance, whose revival and transformation make Romanticism a 'retro' movement as well as a revolutionary one. The tension between the drives to 'make it old' and to (...) 'make it new' generates one of the most dynamic phases in the history of literature, whose complications are played out in the critical writing of the period as well as its creative literature. -/- Incorporating extensive research on classification systems and reception history as well as on literary forms themselves, Romanticism and the Uses of Genre demonstrates how new ideas about the role and status of genre influenced not only authors but also publishers, editors, reviewers, and readers. The focus is on poetry, but a wider spectrum of genres is considered, a central theme being the relationship - hierarchical, competitive, combinatory - between genres. Among the topics addressed are generic primitivism and forgery; Enlightenment theory and the 'cognitive turn'; the impact of German transcendental aesthetics; organic and anti-organic form; the role of genre in the French Revolution debate; the poetics of the fragment and sketch; and the theory and practice of genre-mixing. -/- Unprecedented in its scope and detail, this important book establishes a new way of reading Romantic literature which brings into focus for the first time its tangled relationship with genre. (shrink)
Many contemporary critiques of `modernity' target a caricatured construction of `modernity-as-universalist-reason'. Such critiques are often blind to the constitutive splits and tensions within the philosophical and political horizons of modernity between a rationalist and a romanticist episteme. These critiques are therefore also oblivious to the fact that their own critiques of modernity move on a terrain heavily structured and prefigured by older romanticist critiques of reason and scientific objectivity. Some of the persistent problems in romanticist thought - the celebration of (...) authenticity and a recurrent essentialism - reappear in current post-structuralist critiques of modernity. This is particularly evident in the debates in South Asia - emerging from the subaltern studies group in India, from debates on hybridity and migration, and on post-coloniality as a critique of Western modernity. Rather than launching essentializing and totalizing critiques of `modernity-as-universalist-reason', which tend to reproduce the metaphysical fallacies of romanticism, critiques of modernity could more fruitfully unfold as concrete critiques of modern practices and institutions. (shrink)
Intellectual encounters between Europe and the Middle East have a long and rich history. During the last two centuries these encounters have accelerated, creating valuable opportunities to study the evolution of political concepts and dissemination of political ideas. This article examines one example of such encounters, showing how a liberal Persian intellectual of the late nineteenth century has borrowed and manipulated concepts from a French Romanticist of the late seventeenth century. Guided by theoretical insights from Quentin Skinner and Fred Dallmayr, (...) this article demonstrates the importance of context to the development of political thought, and refutes the conventional suggestion that Middle Eastern liberals have been the passive recipients of Western ideas. (shrink)
Despite well-established results in survey methodology, many experimental philosophers have not asked whether and in what way conclusions about folk intuitions follow from people’s responses to their surveys. Rather, they appear to have proceeded on the assumption that intuitions can be simply read off from survey responses. Survey research, however, is fraught with difficulties. I review some of the relevant literature—particularly focusing on the conversational pragmatic aspects of survey research—and consider its application to common experimental philosophy surveys. I argue for (...) two claims. First, that experimental philosophers’ survey methodology leaves the facts about folk intuitions massively underdetermined; and second, that what has been regarded as evidence for the instability of philosophical intuitions is, at least in some cases, better accounted for in terms of subjects’ reactions to subtle pragmatic cues contained in the surveys. (shrink)
The essay takes as its point of departure the way in which the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer has recently been adopted by philosophers such as Richard Rorty, John McDowell, and Robert Brandom. While appreciating the way in which Truth and Method has gained new relevance within an Anglo-American context, I ask whether sufficient attention has been paid to Gadamer’s romantic heritage. In particular I question the way in which his notion of tradition and historical truth, designed as it is to (...) overcome the ramifications of Descartes and the Kantian enlightenment, is modeled on the example of art and aesthetic experience. (shrink)
Concentrating on the music, politics, and philosophy of Richard Wagner, Lydia Goehr addresses some fundamental questions of German Romanticism: Is all music musical? Is music made less musical by the presence of words? What is musical autonomy? How do composers avoid censorship? How are composers affected by exile? Can music articulate a 'politics for the future'? What is the relation between music and philosophy?
Professional philosophers have tended either to shrug off American philosophy as negligible or derivative or to date American philosophy from the work of twentieth century analytical positivists such as Quine. Russell Goodman expands on the revisionist position developed by Stanley Cavell, that the most interesting strain of American thought proceeds not from Puritan theology or from empirical science but from a peculiarly American kind of Romanticism. This insight leads Goodman, through Cavell, back to Emerson and Thoreau and thence to (...) William James and John Dewey, as they assimilated to American circumstances and intellectual habits the currents of European thought from Kant to Wittgenstein. (shrink)
This article shows that Rabbi Pinchas Elijah Hurwitz, a major eighteenth-century kabbalist, Orthodox rabbi and Enlightenment thinker, who merged Lurianic Kabbalah with Kantian philosophy, attempted to describe God and the world in terms of formal grammars and abstract information processes. He resolves a number of Kant's dualistic views by introducing prophecy as a tool that allows a mystic's mind to perform transfinite hypercomputation and to obtain a priori knowledge about things usually known only a posteriori. According to Hurwitz, the reality (...) consists of Divine names, which generate an infinite network of recursive string rewriting systems, some of which are identical to what is known today as Lindenmayer systems. Hurwitz is also one of the first thinkers, who raised questions about non-human and artificial intelligence. (shrink)
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era was at hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and (...) urged that each individual find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists, were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden; and, by the 1850's in an increasingly urgent critique of American slavery. (shrink)
Alexander Nehamas and others have recently attempted to revive a conception of ethics that is centered on self-formation and the values of aesthetic coherence. This conception faces several difficulties, including the lack of fit between models of aesthetic coherence in literary works and individual lives and an absence of determinate content. The argument of this paper is that both of these defects are absent from the work of one of the earliest and most vocal exponents of this conception of ethics, (...) Friedrich von Hardenberg (1772–1801), better known by his pseudonym “Novalis”. The paper begins by reviewing the growing consensus among scholars that Novalis makes a serious contribution to philosophy, and by pointing out the lack of attention paid to his moral philosophy. His conception of moral life as an infinite process of approximation the archetypal unity of the divine is then explicated in detail. Particular attention is paid to the manner in which his model of moral life and conception of aesthetic coherence avoids some of the difficulties faced by more recent theorists. (shrink)
In this paper I reconstruct Schlegel's idea that romantic poetry can re-enchant nature in a way that is uniquely compatible with modernity's epistemic and political values of criticism, self-criticism, and freedom. I trace several stages in Schlegel's early thinking concerning nature. First, he criticises modern culture for its analytic, reflective form of rationality which encourages a disenchanting view of nature. Second, he re-evaluates this modern form of rationality as making possible an ironic, romantic, poetry, which portrays natural phenomena as mysterious (...) indications of an underlying reality that transcends knowledge. Yet Schlegel relies here on a contrast between human freedom and natural necessity that reinstates a disenchanting view of nature as fully intelligible and predictable. Third, therefore, he reconceives nature as inherently creative and poetic, rethinking human creativity as consisting in participation in natural creative processes. He replaces his earlier "idealist" view that reality is in itself unknowable with the "idealist realist" view that reality is knowable as creative nature, yet, in its spontaneous creativity, still eludes full comprehension. I argue that Schlegel's third approach to the re-enchantment of nature is his most consistent and satisfactory, and is important for contemporary environmental philosophy in showing how re-enchantment is compatible with modernity. (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed a rehabilitation of early German Romanticism in philosophy, including a renewed interest in Romantic ethics. Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) is acknowledged as a key figure in this movement. While significant work has been done on some aspects of his thought, his views on ethics have been surprisingly overlooked. This essay aims to redress this shortcoming in the literature by examining the core themes of Schlegel’s ethics during the early phase of his career (1793–1801). I argue that (...) Schlegel’s position stands out against both the dominant Kantianism of his era, as well as against some of fellow Romantics. I show how Schlegel anticipates contemporary philosophers such as Bernard Williams, Harry Frankfurt, John McDowell, and Stanley Cavell in both his criticisms of traditional moral theory and in his attempts to develop a positive position. (shrink)