Hierocles of Alexandria was a Neoplatonic philosopher of the fifth century AD. Hermann S. Schibli surveys his life, writings, and pagan and Christian surroundings, and succintly examines the major points of his philosophy, both contemplative and practical. He includes the first modern English translations, with helpful notes, of Hierocles' Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans and of the remnants of his treatise On Providence.
In the second century of our era the Athenian Platonist, Atticus, claimed that it was clear not only to philosophers but perhaps even to ordinary people that the heritage left by Plato was the immortality of the soul. Plato had expounded the doctrine in various and manifold ways and this was about the only thing holding together the Platonic school. Atticus is but one witness to the prominence accorded the soul in discussions and debates among later Platonists. But while questions (...) concerning the origin, constitution, and destiny of the human soul are relatively well attested for Middle Platonism, not to mention Neoplatonism, we know much less about these topics among Plato's immediate successors in the Academy, Speusippus of Athens and Xenocrates of Chalcedon . Both wrote treatises on the soul , but these have been lost along with their other, numerous writings. Because the least that can be said is that Speusippus and Xenocrates upheld the immortality of the soul , any snippet of information that might tell us more deserves close consideration. (shrink)
Hierocles of Alexandria was a Neoplatonic philosopher of the fifth century AD. Hermann S. Schibli surveys his life, writings, and pagan and Christian surroundings, and succinctly examines the major points of his philosophy, both contemplative and practical. He includes the first modern English translations, with helpful notes, of Hierocles' Commentary on the Golden Verses of the Pythagoreans and of the remnants of his treatise On Providence.
In the sixth century BC, Pherekydes of Syros, the reputed teacher of Pythagoras and contemporary of Thales and Anaximander, wrote a book about the birth of the gods and the origin of the cosmos. Considered one of the first prose works of Greek literature, Pherekydes' book survives only in fragments. On the basis of these as well as the ancient testimonies, the author attempts to reconstruct the theo-cosmological schema of Pherekydes. An introductory chapter on the life of Pherekydes is followed (...) by four chapters on the contents of his book. From Pherekydes' mythopoeic creation account, his colourful narratives of a divine marriage and a battle of the gods, and finally from his remarks on the soul, Professor Schibli is careful to unfold the philosophical implications. Pherekydes emerges as a figure who moved in that fascinating frontier between myth and philosophy. The theogonies of Hesiod and the Orphics, the cosmological speculations of certain Presocratics, and the Pythagorean tenets on the soul are all profitably compared with the remnants of Pherekydes' book. Pherekydes is thus shown to be an important witness to early Greek thought in its various manifestations. -/- This is the first book-length study in English dedicated to Pherekydes. It includes a comprehensive appendix of the fragments and ancient testimonies, along with limited critical apparatus and English translations. (shrink)
German supporters of the Kantian philosophy in the late 19th century took one of two forks in the road: the fork leading to Baden, and the Southwest School of neo-Kantian philosophy, and the fork leading to Marburg, and the Marburg School, founded by Hermann Cohen. Between 1876, when Cohen came to Marburg, and 1918, the year of Cohen's death, Cohen, with his Marburg School, had a profound influence on German academia.
This paper examines Hermann Cohen's idiosyncratic construction of a medieval Jewish philosophical tradition, focusing primarily, though not exclusively, on his Charakteristik der Ethik Maimunis . This construction, not unlike modern accounts, is filtered through the central place of Maimonides. For Cohen, however, Maimonides' centrality is defined not by his systematization of Aristotelianism, but by his elevation of ethics over metaphysics. The ethical and pantheistic concerns of Maimonides' precursors, according to this reading, anticipate his uniqueness. Whereas Shlomo ibn Gabirol's pantheistic (...) doctrine of emanation, for example, assigned little weight to ethics, Abraham ibn Daud rebelled against such a doctrine. Ibn Daud—much like Bahya ibn Paquda and Abraham ibn Ezra—becomes part of a Jewish philosophical tradition that culminates in Maimonides' rejection of Aristotelian metaphysics. In particular, this paper examines the way in which Cohen envisaged the pre-Maimonidean philosophical tradition, putting his highly critical reading of Shlomo ibn Gabirol and his pantheistic obsession with prime matter in counterpoint with his more favorable readings of Abraham ibn Daud and Bahya ibn Paquda. (shrink)
In searching for the origins of current conceptions of science in the history of physics, one encounters a remarkable phenomenon. A typical view today is that theoretical knowledge-claims have only relativized validity. Historically, however, this thesis was supported by proponents of a conception of nature that today is far from typical, a mechanistic conception within which natural phenomena were to be explained by the action of mechanically moved matter. Two of these proponents, Hermann von Helmholtz and his pupil Heinrich (...) Hertz, contributed significantly to the modernization of the conception of science. Paradigmatic for their common contribution to this development is the way in which they employed the concept of image. By considering the origin and the different meanings of this concept we may trace a line of development which begins with Helmholtz's original claim that a universally and forever valid theory provides a unique representation of nature. It continues with the realization that the status of scientific knowledge is capable of revision; and it arrives at Hertz's admission that a variety of theories over a domain of objects is possible, at least at times. (shrink)
The difference between Hermann Cohen’s systematic philosophy and his philosophy of religion can be determined via the logical “Judgment of Contradiction,” viewed as an “Authority of Annihilation.” In Cohen’s Logic of Pure Knowledge the “Judgment of Contradiction” acts as a “means of protection” against “falsifications” that may have arisen on the pathway through the previous judgments of “origin” and “identity.” Cohen thematizes these operations in his Religion of Reason Out of the Sources of Judaism, too. However, there they do (...) not form the grounding for natural science but rather for the knowledge of nature as creation in a strict correlation to God’s uniqueness. Any admixture between God and nature is the falseness that must be excluded via the “Authority of Annihilation.” The Being of God places the world over against the possibility of its own radical Non-Being. Yet at the same time, a second mode of Negation, a relative Nothing providing continuity for the world’s being-there, grounded in the “Logic of Origin,” retains its validity. In Cohen’s view a Creation “in the beginning” stands side by side with a continuous “renewal of the world”. (shrink)
Nach einer kurzen Übersicht über das Leben und Werk von Helmholtz, diskutiere ich die drei Themenbereiche, die für die Beurteilung seines Verhältnisses zu Kant vornehmlich ins Gewicht fallen. Der erste Bereich bildet die Begründung des Energieerhaltungssatzes von 1847, den der späte Helmholtz selbst „durch Kant’s erkenntnistheoretische Ansichten […] beeinflusst“ gesehen hat. Während viele Interpreten diese Selbstauskunft für berechtigt halten, sehe ich in der Struktur der Begründung einen Ausdruck der gegensätzlichen Wissenschaftsauffassungen von Helmholtz und Kant. Als zweites gehe ich auf die (...) Rolle der Kausalität in der Wahrnehmungstheorie ein. In diesem Kontext bezieht sich Helmholtz erstmals und durchaus positiv explizit auf Kant. Seine Rede "Über das Sehen des Menschen" von 1855 zur Einweihung eines Kantdenkmals in Königsberg gilt als eines der Gründungsdokumente des Neukantianismus und spiegelt doch zugleich die tiefgreifenden Differenzen zwischen empiristischer und idealistischer Wissenschaftsphilosophie wider. Zeitlich wiederum nachfolgend steht die Begründung der nichteuklidischen Geometrien als dritter Bereich für die deutlichste Kritik an Kants transzendentaler Begründung der Wissenschaft. Sie ist zugleich wohl auch Helmholtz’ bekanntester Beitrag zur Hypothetisierung der Wissenschaftssauffassung. der Gründungsdokumente des Neukantianismus und spiegelt doch zugleich die tiefgreifenden Differenzen zwischen empiristischer und idealistischer Wissenschaftsphilosophie wider. Zeitlich wiederum nachfolgend steht die Begründung der nichteuklidischen Geometrien als dritter Bereich für die deutlichste Kritik an Kants transzendentaler Begründung der Wissenschaft. Sie ist zugleich wohl auch Helmholtz’ bekanntester Beitrag zur Hypothetisierung der Wissenschaftssauffassung.Dem Werk von Hermann von Helmholtz wird gemeinhin ein maßgeblicher Stellenwert bei der Begründung der neukantianischen Bewegung im 19. Jahrhundert beigemessen. Wo diese Zuordnung Helmholtz’ positive Bezüge auf Immanuel Kant ohne hinreichende Kontextualisierung hervorhebt, läuft sie Gefahr, die Distanz zu übersehen, die zwischen den wissenschaftsphilosophischen Positionen von Helmholtz und Kant bestand. In meinem Beitrag gewinnt das Verhältnis von Helmholtz zu Kant erst seine Bedeutung vor dem Hintergrund ihrer konträren ontologischen und erkenntnistheoretischen Grundannahmen. Helmholtz betrachte ich als repräsentativen Vertreter einer szientistischen Wissenschaftsauffassung in der Naturforschung des 19. Jahrhunderts. Demgegenüber bietet Kant ein paradigmatisches Beispiel einer metaphysischen Wissenschaftsbegründung. Im Gegensatz zu Kant beschränkt Helmholtz seinen Ausgangspunkt nicht auf erfahrungsfreie Prinzipien, sondern entwickelt und stützt seine Begründung des Geltungsanspruches der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis auf forschungsbewährte Theorien und Experimente. Eine Differenz zwischen den beiden Positionen findet sich ebenfalls in den Strukturen der jeweils vertretenen Naturkonzeptionen. Führt Kants dynamischer Mechanismus alle Eigenschaften der Materie auf Kräfte zurück, so geht Helmholtz von einer Dualität von Kraft und Materie aus. (shrink)
The article includes a short biography of Hermann of Dalmatia and gives an account of his translations and philosophical and scientific work. In order to have a better understanding of Hermann’s philosophy, a reminder of Greek and Arabic philosophy of nature, on which he relies in his interpretation of the world picture, needs to be presented. Cosmological models by Plato, Aristotle, Eudoxus, Heraclides of Pont, Apollonius of Perga, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, and the Arab scientist Abu Ma’shar, are presented. The (...) main focus of interest is on Hermann’s translations. The immense importance of his translations from Greek and Arabic into Latin is due to the fact that some of the seminal Greek and Arabic works became known in Western Europe in the middle of the twelfth century. Hermann is also important as the author of the original work De essentiis, which presented a blend of Platonian and Aristotelian as well as Western European and Arab traditions. (shrink)
Mit seinem Einfluß auf die Entwicklung der Physiologie, Physik und Geometrie ist Hermann von Heimholtz wie kaum ein anderer Wissenschaftler der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts repräsentativ für die Naturforschung in Deutschland. Nicht weniger repräsentativ nimmt sich die Entwicklung seiner Wissenschaftsauffassung aus. Während er bis in die späten 60er Jahre einen emphatischen Wahrheitsanspruch der Wissenschaft vertrat, begann er in der nachfolgenden Zeit, die Geltungsbedingungen der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis einer Relativierung zu unterwerfen, die zusammenfassend als Hypothetisierung bezeichnet werden kann. Helmholtz entwickelte (...) damit schon im vergangenen Jahrhundert Ansätze einer Wissenschaftsauffassung , die in erstaunlichem Umfang in die Richtung der Moderne weisen. Wie nah er späteren Wissenschaftsauffassungen bereits gekommen ist, kann ein Vergleich mit Karl R. Poppers Forschungslogik illustrieren. In seiner Forschungslogik ist die Hypothetisierung der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis entschieden weiter vorangeschritten als in Heimholtz' Wissenschaftstheorie. Was sich bei Helmholtz erst vage abzuzeichnen beginnt, ist bei ihm bereits explizit formuliertes Programm geworden. Obwohl HeImholtz und Popper in keiner direkten wissenschaftstheoretischen Entwicklungslinie stehen und Popper sich in seinen Schriften auch nur sehr selten und beiläufig auf Helmholtz bezieht, finden sich dennoch überraschende und bisher nicht beachtete Berührungspunkte, die insbesondere dann hervortreten, wenn man Heimholtz' Wissenschaftsauffassung vor dem Hintergrund von Poppers Forschungslogik betrachtet. (shrink)
This paper explores Hermann Cohen's engagement with, and appropriation of, Maimonides to refute the common assumption that Cohen's endeavor was to harmonize Judaism with Western culture. Exploring the changes of Cohen's conception of humility from Ethik des reinen Willens to the Ethics of Maimonides and Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism , this paper highlights the centrality of the collective Jewish mission to bear witness against the dominant order of Western civilization and philosophy in Cohen's Jewish (...) thought. (shrink)
The most important Jewish source for Hermann Cohen's rational theology of Judaism is Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed . Indeed, the Guide is of such importance that Cohen bases his entire idealistic interpretation of the Jewish religion on it. In particular, Cohen derives his discussion of the continued authority of Mosaic law from the Guide . What follows focuses on Cohen's discussion of the “Law” in his Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism , and attempts to (...) fill a gap in recent Cohen research by dealing with questions of halakhah and the interpretation of rabbinical sources. Cohen's original reading of, inter alia, Guide III.31-32 led him to formulate a theory wherein Mosaic law—and by extension Judaism—guarantees the highest end of human morality. In identifying God with this end, Cohen eventually finds the ultimate criterion for the decision of how much of traditional Jewish law must still be observed in the need for the preservation of the purest monotheism—another central point in Maimonides' philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract At the beginning of his best seller Meaning in History , Karl Löwith launches a violent attack against Jewish prophetism, using the philosophy of history of Hermann Cohen as his first and foremost example. This article purports to show that Löwith misinterpreted the thought of Hermann Cohen. It also reclaims Cohen's own position on history and on the philosophy of history by identifying the questions Cohen himself had asked in his time. At the end of the article, (...) some paths of research are indicated that might prove themselves fruitful today, in a further study of Cohen's thought. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 236 - 255 In this article I compare some elements of Eric Gans’s thought with a few aspects of the philosophy of Hermann Cohen—first and foremost, Gans’s concept of the origin and Cohen’s concept of Ursprung—while revealing the deep affinity between these two lines of thinking.
While Maimonides reread his sources to reconcile biblical and rabbinic texts with the demands of reason, Hermann Cohen, in his construction of a “religion of reason,” rereads Maimonides' rereadings of those very same texts. Maimonides' Judaism often bridges the sources toward Cohen's religion of reason by providing a philological anchor that nudges a term or verse now viewed through a more modern historical and evolutionary lens toward its ultimate reason-infused meaning. This paper will explore a hitherto neglected feature of (...) their oeuvres that unites Maimonides and Cohen as much as it distinguishes them: the “Jewishness” shared by both, as evident in the most Jewish of all exercises that suffuses both their works, biblical and midrashic exegesis. Their exegetical nets are systematically cast widely throughout the breadth of the Hebrew Bible, but more often than not they offer highly discrepant readings of the same passage or prooftext. Cohen's referencing of many of the same sources appeals to their Maimonidean rationalist refurbishment, but at the same time often places them in combative discourse in order to subvert and reorient Maimonides' exegesis. The notions of divine names, the “image” ( tselem ) of God, “nearness” to God, and divine “glory” ( kavod ) are closely examined to demonstrate this intertextual relationship between these two seminal Jewish thinkers. While Cohen may be misreading Maimonides' rereading of scripture, he remains a true hermeneutical disciple in his exegetical restructuring and realignment of scripture. Cohen's programmatic exegetical idealization of Maimonidean prooftexts to reconstruct a new Kantianized God forms a common ground of discourse with Maimonides that traverses seven centuries of a quintessential Jewish enterprise. (shrink)
Two seemingly contradictory tendencies have accompanied the development of the natural sciences in the past 150 years. On the one hand, the natural sciences have been instrumental in effecting a thoroughgoing transformation of social structures and have made a permanent impact on the conceptual world of human beings. This histori¬cal period has, on the other hand, also brought to light the merely hypothetical validity of scientific knowledge. As late as the middle of the 19th century the truth-pathos in the natural (...) sciences was still unbroken. Yet in the succeeding years these claims to certain knowledge underwent a fundamental crisis. For scientists today, of course, the fact that their knowledge can possess only relative validity is a matter of self-evidence. The present analysis investigates the early phase of this fundamental change in the concept of science through an examination of Hermann von Helmholtz's conception of science and his mechanistic interpretation of nature. Helmholtz (1821-1894) was one of the most important natural scientists in Germany. The development of this thoughts offers an impressive but, until now, relatively little considered report from the field of the experimental sciences chronicling the erosion of certainty. (shrink)
Lotze’s "Microcosm" was published in three volumes, in 1856, 1858 and 1864, respectively. It was soon one of the most widely read philosophy books of the time. It was translated into French and Russian immediately, into English in 1885/87, and into Italian in 1911/16. The book saw six editions in Germany alone by 1923.
The philosophical question "what is?" plays different roles in the work of Cohen and Rosenzweig. According to Cohen, it expresses the authentic meaning of the Socratic concept, which has its methodical-transcendental foundation in the Platonic Idea as answer, since it gives an account of the concept. So Cohen turns the question into an epistemological problem, because it ultimately refers to the necessary condition of knowledge. In contrast, Rosenzweig sees in the "what is?" question grounds to condemn the "old" philosophy founded (...) on the identity of being and thought. In his view, the question is the original sin of the "philosophy of the All", which has always reduced everything to something completely different by means of the altering word "is" in the "is"-question. Nevertheless, with regard to the "what is?" question, it is possible to detect a kind of agreement between the two philosophers: namely, Rosenzweig opposes a claim of ontological reduction that Cohen also rejects. (shrink)
Die Entwicklung von HeImholtz' Mechanismus ist durch einen Wandel im Geltungsanspruch gekennzeichnet und läßt sich in einer noch sehr groben Übersicht in zwei Perioden einteilen. Auf die erste Periode bis etwa zum Ende der 60er Jahre werde ich im ersten Teil meines Beitrages eingehen. Hier rekonstruiere ich umrißhaft die empiristische Begründung, die Helmholtz für den Wahrheitsanspruch seiner Naturauffassung gegeben hat. Im zweiten Teil werde ich dann die wichtigsten Merkmale der im Verlauf der 70er Jahre hervortretenden Hypothetisierungstendenz charakterisieren. Abschliessend will ich (...) in einem dritten Teil zeigen, wie Helmholtz auf der Grundlage seines gewandelten Wissenschaftsverständnisses das Programm einer mechanistischen Naturerklärung mit großem wirkungs geschichtlichen Einfluß weiter verfolgt hat. (shrink)
Helmholtz initially ascribes more to theoretical knowledge than merely that it is a picture of the world: it penetrates even to the unobservable causes of the phenomena which he conceived throughout his career as matter set mechanically in motion. The introduction of the picture-concept in the 1860s to characterize scientific theories marks the beginning of the loss of a direct connection with the world. Theories now constitute only a representation of a law-like structure of the world but no longer shed (...) light on the objects themselves. Beginning in the late 1870s, this knowledge of laws takes on an increasingly hypothetical character. (shrink)
Helmholtz's public reflection about the nature of the experiment and its role in the sciences is a historically important description, which also helps to analyze his own works. It is a part of his conception of science and nature, which can be seen as an ideal type of science and its goals. But its historical reach seems to be limited in an important respect. Helmholtz's understanding of experiments is based on the idea that their planning, realization and evaluation lies in (...) the hands of a person or group acting according to decisions of free will. In my opinion this idea is characteristic for the foundation of the experimental method in early modern times, not however for several forms of its present structures. Above all, the increasing technization of producing knowledge reduces the roIe of the subject in conducting experiments. My lecture consists of three parts. In its first part I would like to present a summary of Helmholtz's own theory of experiment and the change of his conception of science and nature. In the second part I would like to discuss three examples of his experimental practice, which were taken in chronological order from three different periods of his work; in the third part I would like to compare the examples with the change of his conception of science and nature. (shrink)
Der Verzicht auf absolut gültige Erkenntnis, heute in den Naturwissenschaften beinahe schon selbstverständlich, ist erst jüngeren Datums. Noch im vergangenen Jahrhundert zweifelte die experimentelle Forschung kaum an der vollkommenen Begreifbarkeit der Welt. Diesen Wandel zu erkunden und aufzuzeigen ist Thema der vorliegenden Studie. Der erste Teil präsentiert verschiedene Typen neuzeitlicher und moderner Wissenschaftsauffassungen von Galilei über Newton bis hin zu Kant. Im zweiten Teil werden Entwicklung und Wandel der Wissenschafts- und Naturauffassung bei Helmholtz (1821-1895) erstmals mittels detaillierter Textanalysen einer umfassenden (...) Rekonstruktion unterzogen. Die Relativierung des Wahrheitsanspruchs erlaubt es Helmholtz, seine Naturauffassung trotz der antimechanistischen Kritik innerhalb der Physik, die im letzten Viertel des vergangenen Jahrhunderts laut wurde, als Hypothese aufrechtzuerhalten. Auch gewährt die Studie eine neue Sichtweise des Verhältnisses zwischen Helmholtz und Kant, das in der Vergangenheit kontroverse Beurteilungen erfuhr. (shrink)
Who is Kierkegaard’s target, when he criticizes the philosophical ‘volatilization’ of Christian faith? In this paper I will argue that Kierkegaard’s early dispute with Immanuel Hermann Fichte in the spring of 1837 can be considered not only as the background of this critique, but also as the key to its proper understanding. After outlining the argument in Fichte’s book The Idea of Personality and Individual Continuity in Section I, I will provide an interpreta-tion of Kierkegaard’s critical remarks on the (...) younger Fichte in journal entry AA:22 in Section II. In Section III, I will then explore the relation between AA:22 and the journal entry CC:12, in which Kierkegaard for the first time expresses his critique of the philosophical ‘volatilization’ of central Christian concepts. Here I hope to show that, according to Kierkegaard, the philosophical ‘volatilization’ of Christian faith consists in the inappropriate usage of this concept within the philosophical realm, a misuse which results from conflating the realms and boundaries of philosophy and Christianity. (shrink)
This paper offers an introduction to Hermann Cohen’s Das Princip der Infinitesimal-Methode, and recounts the history of its controversial reception by Cohen’s early sympathizers, who would become the so-called ‘Marburg school’ of Neo-Kantianism, as well as the reactions it provoked outside this group. By dissecting the ambiguous attitudes of the best-known representatives of the school, as well as those of several minor figures, this paper shows that Das Princip der Infinitesimal-Methode is a unicum in the history of philosophy: it (...) represents a strange case of an unsuccessful book’s enduring influence. The “puzzle of Cohen’s Infinitesimalmethode,” as we will call it, can be solved by looking beyond the scholarly results of the book, and instead focusing on the style of philosophy it exemplified. Moreover, the paper shows that Cohen never supported, but instead explicitly opposed, the doctrine of the centrality of the ‘concept of function’, with which Marburg Neo-Kantianism is usually associated. (shrink)
Few texts summarize and at the same time compound the challenges of their author's philosophy so sharply as Hermann Cohen's Das Prinzip der Infinitesimalmethode und seine Geschichte . The book's meaning and style are greatly illuminated by placing it in the scientific, political, and academic context of late-nineteenth century Germany. As this context changed, so did both the reception of the philosophy of the infinitesimal and of the Marburg school more generally. A study of this transformation casts significant light (...) on the political relevance of the philosophy of science in theWilhelmine era. As a means of following this development across time, Cohen's text is read through its changing reception in the philosophy of his closest disciple, Ernst Cassirer. (shrink)
In my dissertation, I present Hermann Cohen's foundation for the history and philosophy of science. My investigation begins with Cohen's formulation of a neo-Kantian epistemology. I analyze Cohen's early work, especially his contributions to 19th century debates about the theory of knowledge. I conclude by examining Cohen's mature theory of science in two works, The Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History of 1883, and Cohen's extensive 1914 Introduction to Friedrich Lange's History of Materialism. In the former, Cohen (...) gives an historical and philosophical analysis of the foundations of the infinitesimal method in mathematics. In the latter, Cohen presents a detailed account of Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics of 1894. Hertz considers a series of possible foundations for mechanics, in the interest of finding a secure conceptual basis for mechanical theories. Cohen argues that Hertz's analysis can be completed, and his goal achieved, by means of a philosophical examination of the role of mathematical principles and fundamental concepts in scientific theories. (shrink)
This book investigates one of the oldest questions of legal philosophy---the relationship between law and legitimacy. It analyses the legal theories of three eminent public lawyers of the Weimar era, Carl Schmitt, Hans Kelsen, and Hermann Heller. Their theories addressed the problems of legal and political order in a crisis-ridden modern society and so they remain highly relevant to contemporary debates about legal order in the age of pluralism. Schmitt, the philosopher of German fascism, has recently received much attention. (...) Kelsen is well-known as one of the main exponents of the philosophy of legal positivism. Heller is virtually unknown outside Germany. Dyzenhaus exposes the dangers of Schmitt's legal philosophy by situating it in the legal context of constitutional crisis to which he responded. He also points out the severs inadequacies of Kelsen's legal positivism. In a wide-ranging account of the predicaments of contemporary legal and political philosophy, Heller's position is argued to be the most promising of the three. (shrink)