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.
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)
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.
Histories of German philosophy in the nineteenth century typically focus on its first half--when Hegel, idealism, and Romanticism dominated. By contrast, the remainder of the century, after Hegel's death, has been relatively neglected because it has been seen as a period of stagnation and decline. But Frederick Beiser argues that the second half of the century was in fact one of the most revolutionary periods in modern philosophy because the nature of philosophy itself was up for grabs and the very (...) absence of certainty led to creativity and the start of a new era. In this innovative concise history of German philosophy from 1840 to 1900, Beiser focuses not on themes or individual thinkers but rather on the period's five great debates: the identity crisis of philosophy, the materialism controversy, the methods and limits of history, the pessimism controversy, and the Ignorabimusstreit. Schopenhauer and Wilhelm Dilthey play important roles in these controversies but so do many neglected figures, including Ludwig Büchner, Eugen Dühring, Eduard von Hartmann, Julius Fraunstaedt, Hermann Lotze, Adolf Trendelenburg, and two women, Agnes Taubert and Olga Pluemacher, who have been completely forgotten in histories of philosophy. The result is a wide-ranging, original, and surprising new account of German philosophy in the critical period between Hegel and the twentieth century. (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)
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)
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)
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)