Hegel is one of the major philosophers of the nineteenth century. Many of the major philosophical movements of the twentieth century - from existentialism to analytic philosophy - grew out of reactions against Hegel. He is also one of the hardest philosophers to understand and his complex ideas, though rewarding, are often misunderstood. In this magisterial and lucid introduction, Frederick Beiser covers every major aspect of Hegel's thought. He places Hegel in the historical context of nineteenth-century Germany whilst clarifying the (...) deep insights and originality of Hegel's philosophy. A masterpiece of clarity and scholarship, _Hegel_ is both the ideal starting point for those coming to Hegel for the first time and essential reading for any student or scholar of nineteenth century philosophy. Additional features: glossary chapter summaries chronology annotated further reading. (shrink)
Neo-Kantianism was an important movement in German philosophy of the late 19th century: Frederick Beiser traces its development back to the late 18th century, and explains its rise as a response to three major developments in German culture: the collapse of speculative idealism; the materialism controversy; and the identity crisis of philosophy.
Fred Beiser, renowned as one of the world's leading historians of German philosophy, presents a brilliant new study of Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), rehabilitating him as a philosopher worthy of serious attention. Beiser shows, in particular, that Schiller's engagement with Kant is far more subtle and rewarding than is often portrayed. Promising to be a landmark in the study of German thought, Schiller as Philosopher will be compulsory reading for any philosopher, historian, or literary scholar engaged with the key developments (...) of this fertile period. (shrink)
Frederick C. Beiser presents the first book to be written on two of the most important idealist philosophers in Germany after Hegel: Adolf Trendelenburg and Rudolf Lotze. Beiser addresses every aspect of their philosophy-- logic, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics--and traces their intellectual development from their youth until their death.
This is the first full study in English of the German historicist tradition. Frederick C. Beiser surveys the major German thinkers on history from the middle of the eighteenth century until the early twentieth century, providing an introduction to each thinker and the main issues in interpreting and appraising his thought. The volume offers new interpretations of well-known philosophers such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Max Weber, and introduces others who are scarcely known at all, including J. A. Chladenius, Justus (...) Möser, Heinrich Rickert, and Emil Lask. Beyond an exploration of the historical and intellectual context of each thinker, Beiser illuminates the sources and reasons for the movement of German historicism—one of the great revolutions in modern Western thought, and the source of our historical understanding of the human world. (shrink)
Weltschmerz is a study of the pessimism that dominated German philosophy in the second half of the nineteenth century. Pessimism was essentially the theory that life is not worth living, and was introduced into German philosophy by Schopenhauer. Frederick C. Beiser examines the intense and long controversy that arose from Schopenhauer's pessimism, which changed the agenda of philosophy in Germany away from the logic of the sciences and toward an examination of the value of life. He examines the major defenders (...) of pessimism and its chief critics, especially Eugen Dühring and the neo-Kantians. The pessimism dispute of the second half of the century has been largely ignored in secondary literature and this book is a first attempt since the 1880s to re-examine it and to analyze the important philosophical issues raised by it. The dispute concerned the most fundamental philosophical issue of them all: whether life is worth living. (shrink)
The Sovereignty of Reason is a survey of the rule of faith controversy in seventeenth-century England. It examines the arguments by which reason eventually became the sovereign standard of truth in religion and politics, and how it triumphed over its rivals: Scripture, inspiration, and apostolic tradition. Frederick Beiser argues that the main threat to the authority of reason in seventeenth-century England came not only from dissident groups but chiefly from the Protestant theology of the Church of England. The triumph of (...) reason was the result of a new theology rather than the development of natural philosophy, which upheld the orthodox Protestant dualism between the heavenly and earthly. Rationalism arose from a break with the traditional Protestant answers to problems of salvation, ecclesiastical polity, and the true faith. Although the early English rationalists were not able to defend all their claims on behalf of reason, they developed a moral and pragmatic defense of reason that is still of interest today. Beiser's book is a detailed examination of some neglected figures of early modern philosophy, who were crucial in the development of modern rationalism. There are chapters devoted to Richard Hooker, the Great Tew Circle, the Cambridge Platonists, the early ethical rationalists, and the free-thinkers John Toland and Anthony Collins. (shrink)
This article discusses the historical background to the concept of normativity which has a wide use in contemporary philosophy. It locates the origin of that concept in the Southwestern Neo-Kantian school, the writings of Windelband, Rickert and Lask. The Southwestern school made the concept of normativity central to epistemology, ethics and the interpretation of German idealism. It was their solution to the threats of psycologism and historicism. However, Windelband, Rickert and Lask found difficulties with the concept which eventually forced them (...) to abandon it. These difficulties might be of interest to contemporary philosophers who find the concept of normativity appealing. (shrink)
Against current non-metaphysical interpretations, I argue that Naturphilosophie is central to Hegel’s philosophy. This is so for three reasons. First, it was crucial to Hegel’s program to create a holistic culture. Second, Naturphilosophie is pivotal to absolute idealism, Hegel’s characteristic philosophical doctrine. Third, the idea of organic development, so central to Naturphilosophie, is pervasive throughout Hegel’s system. This idea is essential to Hegel’s concepts of spirit, dialectic, and identity-in-difference. Finally, I take issue with the neo-Kantian critique of Hegel’s Naturphilosophie on (...) the grounds that it fails to appreciate the underlying motive behind Hegel’s system: the attempt to resolve the aporia of Kant’s epistemology.Author Keywords: Naturphilosophie; Absolute idealism; Organicism; Alienation; Subjective idealism; Dualism. (shrink)
Few thinkers are more controversial in the history of philosophy than Hegel. He has been dismissed as a charlatan and obscurantist, but also praised as one of the greatest thinkers in modern philosophy. No one interested in philosophy can afford to ignore him. This volume considers all the major aspects of Hegel's work: epistemology, logic, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion. Special attention is devoted to problems in the interpretation of Hegel: the unity of the Phenomenology (...) of Spirit; the value of the dialectical method; the status of his logic; the nature of his politics. A final group of chapters treats Hegel's complex historical legacy: the development of Hegelianism and its growth into a left and right-wing school; the relation of Hegel and Marx; and the subtle connections between Hegel and contemporary analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy examines Hegel within his broader historical and philosophical contexts. Covering all major aspects of Hegel's philosophy, the volume provides an introduction to his logic, epistemology, philosophy of mind, social and political philosophy, philosophy of nature and aesthetics. It includes essays by an internationally recognised team of Hegel scholars. The volume begins with Terry Pinkard's article on Hegel's life, a conspectus of his biography on Hegel. It also explores some topics much neglected in (...) Hegel scholarship: such as Hegel's hermeneutics and relationship to mysticism. Aimed at students and scholars of Hegel, this volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in nineteenth-century philosophy. The bibliography includes the most important English-language literature on Hegel written in the last fifteen years. (shrink)
Jacobi’s importance in the history of German philosophy has long been recognized. Yet his writings have been little studied in the English-speaking world, mainly because very few of them have been translated. George di Giovanni’s translation and edition of some of Jacobi’s main philosophical writings now fills this serious gap. This is the first major scholarly edition in English of Jacobi’s writings. The quality of the translation and the editing set a high standard for future work. Giovanni’s translations capture the (...) freshness and fluency of the German original, and his scholarly notes leave nothing to be desired in thoroughness and erudition. But it is not only students who will appreciate this volume. The long introduction, and the many notes, will be useful even for specialists. It is among the very best scholarship on Jacobi in any language. (shrink)
This article defends the paradoxical thesis that neo-Kantianism is better described as neo-Fichteanism rather than neo-Kantianism. It maintains that neo-Kantianism is closer to Fichte than Kant in four fundamental respects: in its nationalism, socialism, activism, and in its dynamic and quantitative conception of the dualism between understanding and sensibility. By contrast, Kant’s philosophy was cosmopolitan, liberal, non-activist quietist and held a static and qualitative view of the dualism between understanding and sensibility. I attempt to explain why it took the neo-Kantians (...) so long to recognize these profound affinities with Fichte: they were influenced by Fries conception of Fichte as a speculative metaphysician. I argue that the hold of Friesian interpretation of Fichte was first broken by Emil Lask in his Fichtes Idealismus und die Geschichte. (shrink)
This article is an introduction to Herbart's monadology. It discusses the fundamental concepts of his monadology and its similarity to Leibniz's monadology. A final section discusses the vexed question of Herbart's realism. It is argued that Herbart is more a transcendental idealist than a realist.