Amalia Holst (1758-1829) has had a rather conflicted reception within the history of feminism. Her Über die Bestimmung des Weibes zur höhern Geistesbildung (On the Vocation of Woman to the Higher Education of the Mind, 1802) is a strident defense of women’s right of access to education; however her case relies on the presuppostion of woman's traditional threefold role as "mother, spouse, and housewife." In this essay, in addition to disclosing new details about Holst's life, I contend that a closer (...) reading of her text reveals a rather more radical project motivating her discussion, and that this helps alleviate concerns about her alleged unoriginality, conservatism, and elitism. (shrink)
The chapter replies to Paul Guyer’s (2020) account of the debate between Mendelssohn and Kant about whether humankind makes continual moral progress. Mendelssohn maintained that progress can only be the remit of individuals, and that humankind only “continually fluctuates within fixed limits”. Kant dubs Mendelssohn’s position “abderitism” and explicitly rejects it. But Guyer contends that Kant’s own theory of freedom commits him, malgré lui, to abderitism. Guyer’s risky interpretive position is not supported by examination of the relevant texts in their (...) intellectual context. I first identify the historical origins of the term abderitism, which here signifies the independence of individual progress from social conditions. By contrast, Kant argues that individual progress cannot be independent of the progress of the species, acting as a corporate agent. This arresting position, I argue, must be understood in light of the Stoic ethical-teleological presuppositions generally accepted in eighteenth-century German discussion of human progress. (shrink)
Issue number 4 of "SYMPHILOSOPHIE: International Journal of Philosophical Romanticism" is devoted to the Dutch philosopher François Hemsterhuis and 250th anniversary of the birth of the German romantics Novalis and Friedrich Schlegel. This fourth issue of the journal contains nearly 600 pages of new research articles, translations, review-essays, and book reviews. The main section on Hemsterhuis among the German Romantics was guest edited by Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway, University of London).
Doris Lessing, the Persian-born, African-raised and London-residing novelist enjoys a writing career which has spanned more than 50 years. Critics have labeled her as Marxist, feminist, Sufist and even psycho-analyst. It is my contention to prove that latent Sufi characteristics are inherent in her works, and this premise marks a difference between my study and other research on Lessing. To prove that even Lessing’s early works contain Sufi characteristics, this paper looks at her early fictions which lend themselves to Sufistic (...) interpretation. The theoretical framework used in this paper proves the manifestations of Sufism in her early works which involve different Sufistic concepts. The methodology appropriated entails tracing some of these concepts in these novels which are overtly Sufistic. I would also show how Lessing invites a Sufi reading of her novels and whether there are direct signs or changes in her choices of genre, mode, and style that suggest a new vision and a changed worldview and outlook. By revisiting her writing life to show that Sufism has always been present in her works, I depart from other critics and researchers who examine Lessing’s works in more general terms. This departure is significant because the use of a non-western perspective actually enriches our understanding of Lessing who is mainly read from eurocentric points of view. (shrink)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, thinker, dramatist and controversialist of many-sided interests, is the most representative figure of the German Enlightenment. His defence of Spinoza, who had traditionally been condemned as an atheist, provoked a major controversy in philosophy, and his publication of H. S. Reimarus' radical assault on Christianity led to fundamental changes in Protestant theology. This volume presents the most comprehensive collection to date in English of Lessing's philosophical and theological writings, several of which are here translated for the first (...) time. They are edited and translated by H. B. Nisbet, who also provides an introduction that sets them in their historical and philosophical contexts. (shrink)
This study shows that despite the fact that Leo Strauss published little about Jacobi, the misunderstood thinker about whom he wrote his doctoral dissertation exercised a crucial influence on what is often thought to be Strauss's most enduring achievement: his rediscovery of exotericism. A consideration of several of Strauss's writings that do mention Jacobi but remained unpublished at the time of his death—in particular his studies on Moses Mendelssohn, who was Jacobi's principal target in the Pantheismusstreit —reveal that Strauss considered (...) Jacobi to be an exoteric writer. Appropriately enough, it is only a Straussian-style reading of Strauss's claims that exotericism lapsed after Lessing's death that reveals Jacobi's influence between the lines. Some consideration is given to the question of why Strauss wrote about Jacobi in this secretive way. (shrink)
This essay expands upon the suggestion that Lessing's infamous ‘ditch’ is actually three ditches: temporal, metaphysical, and existential gaps. It examines the complex problems these ditches raise, and then proposes that Kierkegaard's Fragments and Postscript exhibit a similar triadic organizational structure, which may signal a deliberate attempt to engage and respond to Lessing's three gaps. Viewing the Climacean project in this way offers an enhanced understanding of the intricacies of Lessing's rationalist approach to both religion and historical truth, and illuminates (...) Climacus's subjective response to Lessing. (shrink)
L’ouvrage de Charlotte Coulombeau est entrepris en philosophe, et c’est bien en tant que telle que l’auteur s’attache à clarifier chez Lessing les rapports complexes entre philosophie, poésie, critique, métaphysique, religion, histoire et éthique. L’intérêt de cette étude pour le linguistique réside cependant dans la large part accordée au style de Lessing et à ses stratégies de communication (pp. 382-539). Monument de la littérature allemande, l’œuvre de Gotthold Ephraim Lessing a de quoi d..
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-81), thinker, dramatist and controversialist of many-sided interests, is the most representative figure of the German Enlightenment. His defence of Spinoza, who had traditionally been condemned as an atheist, provoked a major controversy in philosophy, and his publication of H. S. Reimarus' radical assault on Christianity led to fundamental changes in Protestant theology. This volume presents the most comprehensive collection to date in English of Lessing's philosophical and theological writings, several of which are here translated for the (...) first time. They are edited and translated by H. B. Nisbet, who also provides an introduction that sets them in their historical and philosophical contexts. (shrink)
ArgumentIn his Philosophia practica universalis, Christian Wolff proposes a “mathematical” theory of moral action that includes his statements on the Aesopian fable. As a sort of moral example, Wolff claims, the fable is an appropriate means to influence human conduct because it conveys general truths to intuition. This didactic concept is modeled on the geometrical figure: Just as students intuit mathematical demonstrations by looking at figures on a blackboard, one can learn how to execute complex actions by listening to a (...) fable. Wolff's “scientific” fable theory met with an ambivalent reception. Lessing, who in his fable treatises re-translates Wolff's suggestions into the conceptual framework of poetics, interprets the geometric model as a stylistic ideal. The famous passage on Homer's successive descriptions in Lessing's Laokoon can be seen as another attempt to apply the representational model of geometry to literature. Herder, reading Wolff in a way that might be called deconstructive, replaces Wolff's geometric theory of poetry by a poetic anthropology of geometry. (shrink)
Leo Strauss reconnaît, en 1970, qu'il doit tout ce qu'il a découvert d'important en matière de discours exotérique à Lessing. La présente étude cherche à montrer d'abord le bien-fondé de cette affirmation en explorant ce que le jeune Strauss a pu puiser chez Lessing dans les travaux qui l'occupèrent de 1921 à 1937. Cet examen nous conduit aussi à ce qu'ont pu dire de Lessing Rosenzweig et Cohen (et qui va dans le sens de ce que Strauss en comprenait) qu'aux (...) textes de Lessing luimême où, effectivement, Strauss a considérablement puisé, et qui sont bien l'une des sources principales de ses problématiques et de ses orientations. Leo Strauss, in 1970, admits that everything of importance that he discovered in the field of esoteric discourse he owes to Lessing. This study (the following study) attempts to show, first off, the validity of this statement by examining what the young Strauss could have drawn from Lessing in the work that occupied him from 1921 to 1937. This includes what Rosenzweig and Cohen may have said of Lessing (more or less what Strauss himself understood of him), as well as Lessing's own texts from which Strauss did draw considerably, which are surely one of the principal sources of his problematics and orientations. (shrink)
Résumé — S’il fallait résumer les thèses défendues par Lessing dans le Laocoon, on arriverait à un résultat finalement malingre. L’idée que la peinture représente au moyen de « signes naturels » des corps coexistant dans l’espace, tandis que la poésie représente au moyen de « signes arbitraires » des actions se succédant dans le temps a été en effet maintes fois développée par d’autres auteurs avant l’essai de 1766. Ce constat n’ôte pourtant rien à l’intérêt du Laocoon. Car cet (...) intérêt réside ailleurs. Il se situe non pas dans l’exposé définitif de la thèse, mais dans la méthode qui y mène, une méthode que Lessing veut d’abord inductive, c’est-à-dire fondée sur l’exemple. Le présent article entend analyser la conception de la critique qui se dégage de l’essai : refus de la méthode déductive, rôle central dévolu à l’imagination, intronisation du public comme instance légitime de jugement – le tout sur fond de polémique antiwinckelmannienne.Zusammenfassung — Wollte man die in Lessings Laokoon verteidigten Thesen zusammenfassen, so würde man zu einem eher spärlichen Ergebnis kommen. Da die Malerei anhand « natürlicher Zeichen » nur koexistierende Körper im Raum und die Poesie anhand « willkürlicher Zeichen » nur sukzessive Handlungen in der Zeit darstellt, wurde in der Tat schon vor der Erscheinung dieses Traktats von anderen Autoren dargelegt. Dies gereicht aber dem Essay keineswegs zum Nachteil, denn seine Bedeutung liegt anderswo. Sie liegt weniger in dem Inhalt der Thesen selbst, als in der Methode, die zur Aufstellung dieser Thesen führt. Lessing sucht nach einer induktiven Methode, die auf der präzisen Analyse von zahlreichen Beispielen beruht. Ziel des vorliegenden Artikels ist es, den Lessingschen Kritik-Begriff zu untersuchen, der sich aus der Methodologie dieses Essays ergibt : Ablehnung der deduktiven Verfahrensweise, Erhebung der Einbildungskraft zum entscheidenden Vermögen sowohl für die Produktion als auch für die Rezeption der Kunstwerke, Inthronisation des Publikums als vollberechtigter Kunstrichter – lauter Aspekte, die vor dem Hintergrund einer scharfen Polemik gegen Winckelmann entwickelt werden. (shrink)
_Spinoza’s Modernity _is a major, original work of intellectual history that reassesses the philosophical project of Baruch Spinoza, uncovers his influence on later thinkers, and demonstrates how that crucial influence on Moses Mendelssohn, G. E. Lessing, and Heinrich Heine shaped the development of modern critical thought. Excommunicated by his Jewish community, Spinoza was a controversial figure in his lifetime and for centuries afterward. Willi Goetschel shows how Spinoza’s philosophy was a direct challenge to the theological and metaphysical assumptions of modern (...) European thought. He locates the driving force of this challenge in Spinoza’s Jewishness, which is deeply inscribed in his philosophy and defines the radical nature of his modernity. (shrink)
This 2002 volume brings together major works by German thinkers, writing just prior to and after Kant, who were enormously influential in this crucial period of aesthetics. These texts include the first translation into English of Schiller's Kallias Letters and Moritz's On the Artistic Imitation of the Beautiful, together with translations of some of Hölderlin's most important theoretical writings and works by Hamann, Lessing, Novalis and Schlegel. In a philosophical introduction J. M. Bernstein traces the development of aesthetics from its (...) still rationalist and mimetic construction in Lessing, through the optimistic construal of art and/or beauty as the appearance of human freedom in the work of Schiller, to Hölderlin's darker vision of art as the memory of a lost unity, and the variations of that theme - of an impossible striving after the lost ideal - which are found in the work of Schlegel and Novalis. (shrink)
Despite his well-recognized importance in the history of thought, Lessing as theologian or philosopher of religion remains an enigmatic figure. Through intensive study of the entire corpus of Lessing's philosophical and theological writings, as well as the extensive secondary literature, Yasukata reveals a fresh image of Lessing as a creative, modern mind who is both shaped by and gives shape to the Christian heritage.
We analyse in this article, from the point of view of an aesthetics of the effect, the sources of the so called "aesthetics of Goethe's time", according to the works of Lessing, Winckelmann and Herder. Our aim is to show that there are in those authors both an influence of the parameter of the effect, elicited by the work of art on the spectactor, and the pointing to a dimension, so to speak critical, idealistic and speculative of appreciation of the (...) artistic phenomenon.Este artigo investiga, sob a perspectiva de uma estética do efeito, as origens da assim chamada "estética da época de Goethe", segundo a obra de Lessing, Winckelmann e Herder. Pretende-se mostrar que há nestes autores tanto uma influência do parâmetro do efeito, suscitado pela obra de arte no espectador, quanto o apontamento para uma instância, por assim dizer crítica, idealista e especulativa de apreciação do fenômeno artístico. (shrink)
"monumental work" - The North American Spinoza Society Newsletter , February 1999 "The sheer volume of this anthology makes it an indispensable asset to any serious scholar of Spinozism. Certainly no academic library can do without it. The quality of the material gathered here is extremely impressive. To the professional scholar of early modern philosophy many of the criticisms it contains may well look superficial and outworn, but even the best-informed experts will find much in it that will surprise and (...) delight." - Wipe van Bunge Benedict Spinoza (1632-77), Dutch metaphysician, psychologist, moral philosopher and philosopher of religion, is one of the most important figures of seventeenth-century rationalism. He is among the illustrious group of hugely influential thinkers of that time who were mathematicians and scientists as well as philosophers, a group that included Descartes, Leibniz and Hobbes. His thought has been continually reinterpreted and he influenced such people as Goethe, Lessing, Nietzsche, Shelley, George Eliot, Wordsworth, Bertrand Russell, Freud and Einstein. This unprecedented collection brings together some 150 historically and philosophically important discussions of Spinoza published in English in the two centuries following his death. The authoritative bibliography - Boucher's Spinoza in English: A Bibliography from the Seventeenth Century to the Present - cites a total of only about 300 publications from this period. Thus this collection gathers half of all materials so far identified and represents by far the most significant and interesting contributions. Internally cross-referenced, with an introduction, notes and full subject and name index, this essential collection also features an index of citations to the Ethics, by the editor. This will be an extremely useful resource for Spinoza specialists, research libraries, intellectual historians, and graduate students in philosophy. --a compilation of c.150 important pamphlets, papers and book chapters discussing Spinoza --the first collection of its kind - none of this material has previously been collected --6 reset volumes in royal size --extremely comprehensive, including many rare items --internally cross-referenced and fully indexed for easy use. (shrink)
Lessing's Spinozism looms up out of the numerous intellectual riddles of the past. Almost everything has been tried in an effort to sound and weigh the exact amount of Spinozism Lessing betrayed in his conversations with Jacobi.
This anthology, part of a three-volume series devoted to German aesthetic and literary criticism from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, charts the development of aesthetic and literary theory in Germany in the latter half of the eighteenth century and its emancipation from the hitherto dominant influence of France. This development helped to produce an unprecedented flowering of German culture and art which culminated in the classicism of Goethe and Schiller and in the rise of the Romantic movement, with momentous consequences (...) for Europe as a whole. The texts gathered together here represent the main theoretical phases in this process. Their unifying theme is classicism and the author examines the theories of Winckelman, Lessing, Herder, Schiller and Hamann. The volume concludes with Goethe's essay on Winckelmann, which is both a reaffirmation of neo-classical principles and a definitive statement of the mature Goethe's own aesthetic theory. (shrink)