Stewart’s book reminds one of Voltaire’s remark to the effect that history is the trick that the living play on the dead. In that spirit, careful readers must critically consider Stewart’s reconsiderations to discover his tricks. This review is only a beginning, for this important book will be debated for years to come.
This work admirably continues Thulstrup’s effort to set forth the philosophical, historical, and literary contexts of the works of Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous Johannes Climacus. Howard Hong admirably translated Thulstrup’s introduction and commentary to the Philosophical Fragments and Robert J. Widenmann has succeeded as well here.
Prof. Robinson has presented a compactly written and tightly organized work on a major section of the Phenomenology. In fact one suspects that if it were not all too compact it would be easier going. Still it has its own way of being clear and it is much easier going than Hegel’s own text. We are all indebted to Prof. Robinson.
Hegel’s philosophy is a response to the bifurcations and antinomies that developed in Western philosophy particularly in the modern period. Although one is tempted to think that the mistakes in modern philosophy emanate from the false start of Descartes, the real trouble began much earlier. In Hegel’s perspective at least, Descartes is more a symptom than the cause of the limitations of modern philosophy. Besides, even though Descartes made his mistakes, there is a fundamental respect for Descartes in Hegel’s philosophy. (...) In this essay I shall begin with a comment on the perplexities and false starts in modern epistemology, centering on the concept of perspectivity and its opposite, objectivity. This approach is unusual, but it will throw fresh light on Hegel’s epistemology as a critical reflection upon this dichotomy. Second, I shall offer some comments on Descartes’ epistemology as a struggle against perspectivism. Finally, I shall evaluate Hegel’s effort to succeed where Descartes failed. This paper views Hegel in the context of a limited problem rather than as an innovator of revolutionary proportions, though he may indeed be such. In a very real sense modern epistemology grows out of a dispute over perspectivity and objectivity, the latter being understood, rather simply, as a mode of understanding which lacks perspective, interest, and “subjectivity.” That negative approach to subjectivity is now reflected in everyday speech and in a lot of chatter one hears around the campus. It is much easier to say what objectivity is not than to say what it is. Historically, objectivity is related to some fundamental theological notions. From a theological standpoint, objectivity is considered to be the mode of understanding that shares or is equivalent to divine knowledge, i.e., God’s knowledge of the world, a knowledge which is sub specie aeternitatis. Objectivity permits us to grasp the world as it really is, not from this or that perspective. Objectivity is a knowledge that is so certain, so clear, so distinct, so universal, so necessary, finally so coherent and so complete that it grasps totality without any qualification. That is a high and mixed expectation for human knowledge. That this exalted claim for human knowledge should be contested should cause no surprise whatsoever. (shrink)
Kierkegaard’s views of knowledge and moral psychology provide insights into certain issues that Habermas treats at length: multiculturalism and the Historikerstreit. Kierkegaard’s concept of subjective truth sustains the universality necessary to oppose racism,sexism, nationalism, fundamentalism, and the economic imperialism characteristic of some postnational states. Habermas expands Kierkegaard’s ethical concept of “choosing oneself” to politics and historiography in the debate over the Holocaust. To be a self, onemust accept responsibility for one’s “good and evil.” Likewise a nation creates its national identity (...) through the choice and enforcement of public policies, especially educational content, which subtly and pervasively create a sense of the nation. Thus a nation must acknowledge its wrongs and crimes. This robust choice enables persons to loyally witness against their nation’s history, free themselves from an inherited guilt-consciousness, and develop a freer and more cohesive politics. (shrink)
This volume contains the first English translation of three of Martensen’s earliest publications. They are The Autonomy of Human Self-Consciousness in Modern Dogmatic Theology, Meister Eckhart: A Study in Speculative Theology, and Outline of a System of Moral Philosophy. The first and third of these essays were translated by Thompson, who also wrote the introduction to the volume. The essay on Eckhart was translated by Kangas.
Kierkegaard recognized that the changes ushered in by the revolutions of 1848 would profoundly affect human existence in both its political and personal dimensions. At the political level he was concerned that the new forms of government would not be able to govern any more effectively than the previous forms. Loquacity would be substituted for policy. Then, too, the new forms of government encouraged confusion about the actual locus of power; the appearances and the reality of power did not conform. (...) Also, the actual state represents ?interests?, and as a result, justice is jeopardized. To be sure, compromise will be evident in such an actual state, but is governing possible in and through such conflictual arrangements? What is the relation of the press (media) to the public, and these in turn to politics? (shrink)
It is a great pleasure to review Prof. Crites’ work again. The present book was first presented in a shorter version at the Wofford Symposium on Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion in November, 1968. Crites’ essay was omitted from the Wofford collected essays because of space limitations, but its omission there has resulted in subsequent revision, enlargement, and the consequence of this provocative and enlightening volume. The present reviewer served, along with Professor Arthur Lessing, as a critic of the Wofford version (...) of the present work. The Cunning of Reason has arranged a second encounter between Professor Crites’ and my views of Hegel and Kierkegaard. (shrink)
This reading of works of two German thinkers, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil and Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, is deeply influenced by two French thinkers, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. Although the book is not an historical study, Scott attempts to show how Nietzsche and Heidegger pioneered the philosophy of difference and deconstruction.