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Previous research in clinical, community, and school settings has demonstrated positive outcomes for the Secret Agent Society (SAS) social skills training program. This is designed to help children on the autism spectrum become more aware of emotions in themselves and others and to ‘problem-solve’ complex social scenarios. Parents play a key role in the implementation of the SAS program, attending information and support sessions with other parents and providing supervision, rewards, and feedback as their children complete weekly ‘home mission’ assignments. Drawing on data from a school-based evaluation of the SAS program, we examined whether parents’ engagement with these elements of the intervention was linked to the quality of their children’s participation and performance. Sixty-eight 8–14-year-olds (M age = 10.7) with a diagnosis of autism participated in the program. The findings indicated that ratings of parental engagement were positively correlated with children’s competence in completing home missions and with the quality of their contribution during group teaching sessions. However, there was a less consistent relationship between parental engagement and measures of children’s social and emotional skill gains over the course of the program.
Research on psychotic illness is loosening emphasis on diagnostic stringency in favour of including a more dimensionally based conceptualization of psychopathology and pathobiology. However, to clarify these notions requires investigation of the full scope of psychotic diagnoses.
The Cavan–Monaghan First Episode Psychosis Study ascertained cases of first episode psychosis across all 12 DSM-IV psychotic diagnoses via all routes to care: public, private or forensic; home-based, outpatient or inpatient. There was no arbitrary upper age cut-off and minimal impact of factors associated with variations in social milieu, ethnicity or urbanicity. Cases were evaluated epidemiologically and assessed for psychopathology, neuropsychology, neurology, antecedent factors, insight and quality of life.
Among 432 cases, the annual incidence of any DSM-IV psychotic diagnosis was 34.1/100 000 of population and encompassed functional psychotic diagnoses, substance-induced psychopathology and psychopathology due to general medical conditions, through to psychotic illness that defied contemporary diagnostic algorithms. These 12 DSM-IV diagnostic categories, including psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, showed clinical profiles that were consistently more similar than distinct.
There are considerable similarities and overlaps across a broad range of diagnostic categories in the absence of robust discontinuities between them. Thus, psychotic illness may be of such continuity that it cannot be fully captured by operational diagnostic algorithms that, at least in part, assume discontinuities. This may reflect the impact of diverse factors each of which acts on one or more overlapping components of a common, dysfunctional neuronal network implicated in the pathobiology of psychotic illness.
The landmark US Multimodal Treatment of ADHD (MTA) study established the
benefits of individualised medication titration and optimisation
strategies to improve short- to medium-term outcomes in attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This individualised medication management
approach was subsequently incorporated into the National Institute for
Health and Care Excellence (NICE) ADHD Clinical Guidelines (NICE CG78).
However, little is known about clinicians' attitudes towards implementing
these medication management strategies for ADHD in routine care.
To examine National Health Service (NHS) healthcare professionals'
consensus on ADHD medication management strategies.
Using the Delphi method, we examined perceptions on the importance and
feasibility of implementing 103 ADHD treatment statements from sources
including the UK NICE ADHD guidelines and US medication management
Certain recommendations for ADHD medication management were judged as
important and feasible to implement, including a stepwise titration of
stimulant medication. Other recommendations were perceived as important
but not feasible to implement in routine practice, such as weekly clinic
follow-up with the family during titration and collection of follow-up
Many of the key guideline recommendations for ADHD medication management
are viewed by clinicians as important and feasible to implement. However,
some recommendations present significant implementation challenges within
the context of routine NHS clinical care in England.
The Enlightenment took enormous interest in a wide variety of religious topics: the existence of God, the problem of evil, the meaning of revelation, ecclesiastical authority, the status of scripture, religious tolerance, and immortality. This last issue is particularly important as one of the essential components, along with the existence of a moral God, of a “natural” theology that could be fully derived or endorsed by reason. Furthermore, reflection on immortality plays directly into the urgent discussions in the eighteenth century about autonomy, freedom, and progress; the way one envisions a hereafter profoundly reflects and legitimates the way one envisions life in the present. This fluidity between an understanding of the here and the hereafter is perfectly captured in Johann Joachim Spalding's extremely influential Bestimmung des Menschen (1748; The Vocation of Man), which envisions immortality as a process of ever increasing rational pleasure and self-perfection—goals not at all unfamiliar to the mortals of the Enlightenment.
Johann Gottfried Herder is a central and in some ways transitional voice in this public discussion of man's immortal Bestimmung. In the early 1769 letters to Mendelssohn he espoused a model of nonprogressive palingenesis, in which the soul is endlessly reborn within the same class of being without undergoing any overarching development. There is, in short, no personal, angelic afterlife. Compared to the essentially Christian afterlife of the rationalist Popularphilosophen of Herder's day, this position was quite austere.
“Classicism” and “secular humanism” seems an obvious combination: Goethe, the great pagan, substituted a generalized ethic of humanity (taken in its broadest possible religio-ethical and aesthetic sense) as the social glue that replaced the function of sectarian religion in post-Enlightenment secularized Europe. He offered a heightened version of Enlightenment culture and reason that obviated the need for religion. Through World War I his name alone evoked an entire system of ethics, aesthetics, and even epistemology among writers as disparate as Adalbert Stifter, Wilhelm Raabe, Theodor Fontane, Hugo von Hofmannsthal; and scholars such as the psychoanalytic generation, Hannah Arendt, Norbert Elias, Oswald Spengler; and philosophers such as Benedetto Croce and José Ortega y Gasset. My subtitle reveals the underlying schism— “sanctification” is a religious term; Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), a hangover of the particularly secular and disrespectful Enlightenment associated with the French Revolution; and the “Novelle,” a charming, respectable, Biedermeier idyll. The Goethe cult that substituted German classicism for religion was, for better or worse, not interested in the Goethe of the 1820s, except for his conversations with Eckermann; “the late Goethe,” or, as I would have it, “the Biedermeier Goethe,” offers, however, a more mature, richer classicism, indeed a sanctified classicism.
Sed omnia praeclara tam diffidila, quam rara sunt.
[For all excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.]
The Revolutionary Rhizome
All eyes, it would seem, are on Spinoza at the moment. Much of the credit for this remarkable renaissance is due to Gilles Deleuze, who wrote two books on Spinoza, and then went even further in his best-selling manifesto What Is Philosophy?, anointing Spinoza both the “prince” and the “Christ” of philosophy. And Deleuze is hardly alone in his attentions. Spinoza now looms large in our understanding of the entire Age of Goethe. The controversy over Spinoza still figures as a minor flap in Lewis White Beck's classic history, Early German Philosophy; but it has become the defining intellectual controversy of the whole age since the publication of Frederick Beiser's influential study The Fate of Reason in 1987. Further, over the past decade, the intellectual historian Jonathan Israel has published three massive tomes asserting that, basically, every significant thinker of the Enlightenment was a closet Spinozist. Skepticism may be in order: on Wall Street, this latest development would be read as a “contrary indicator,” signaling a market top. But the centrality of the Spinozastreit (Spinoza controversy) clearly means that we have to understand both the extent and the import of Spinoza's influence on the Age of Goethe. And the centrality of Spinoza to contemporary discourse is beyond doubt; somehow, he figures in everyone's equations.
When it comes to religion, Goethe's reputation is anything but spotless. Heinrich Heine famously referred to Goethe as “der große Heide” (the great heathen). August Wilhelm Schlegel took this one step further when he called Goethe “einen zum Islam bekehrten Heiden” (a heathen who converted to Islam). Wolfgang Frühwald points out that in an altar painting by Konrad Eberhard for the St. Clara Hospital in Basel, Goethe is grouped with the heathens who cannot be converted by St. Paul. Similarly, Prince Metternich opposed the creation of a Goethe monument because of Goethe's spotty record on religion, declaring that we should not “dem Andenken eines Mannes zu große Ehre … erweisen, der ersichtlich seines religiösen Bekenntnisses nicht ohne Anstoß gewesen sei” (pay too much tribute to the memory of a man whose religious creed was not inoffensive). Finally, Romano Guardini, in a letter to Ernst Beutler, summed it up when he declared that Goethe had done more harm to Christianity than even Nietzsche (Perels 28).
Though these claims are surely inflated, they are not wholly unfounded. In the following, I will provide a brief overview over Goethe's stance on religion. I then contrast Goethe's views with those introduced in Kant's “Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft” (1793; Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone). Here, I pay particular attention to the role both thinkers assign to the concepts of sensuality and the body.
Es ist ein armseliges kleinliches Ideal, für eine Nation zu schreiben.
[It is a pathetic, petty ideal to write for only one nation.]
—Schiller's letter to Körner of 13 October 1789
By 1788, Friedrich schiller (1759-1805) could look back on nearly a decade of blasphemous production regarding prophets, priests, and organized religion. In 1789, after several years of assaulting the negative social and political functions of Jesus Christ and Christianity, Schiller, then a professor of history, turned his attention to the Hebrew prophet Moses in the lecture “Die Sendung Moses” (The Mission of Moses or The Legation of Moses), delivered at the University of Jena in the summer of 1789 and published in Schiller's journal Thalia in 1790. In light of recent charges of blasphemy (and—in an insightless or disingenuous smear attempt—polytheism) inspired by his poem “Die Götter Griechenlandes” (The Gods of Ancient Greece) in 1788, Schiller's Moses essay comprises both a response to the charges and an articulation of his earlier criticisms of religion. In the Moses essay, Schiller moves beyond the concerns of the political misuses of and intellectual detours posed by Christianity in contemporary European states to an explanation of the original paradigmatic political purposes of religion and the initial civilizing effect of monotheism as a step toward a constitution based on reason for all humankind.
O meine Freunde, warum sollten wir scharfsinniger als Leibnitz … scheinen wollen…?
[O my friends, why should we try to appear more sharp-witted than Leibniz…?]
—Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, “Leibnitz von den ewigen Strafen”
[Leibniz] ein materieller Idealist von der subtileren Art… [a most subtle materialist Idealist…]
—Jacobi, Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen
In chapter 10 of The Romantic Imperative, “Religion and Politics in Frühromantik,” Frederick Beiser argues for the significance of Herder in the crucial process of reinterpreting Spinoza at the end of the eighteenth century in Germany. Specifically, Herder's 1787 Gott: Einige Gespräche (God: Some Dialogues) introduced a “vitalistic” reading of Spinoza and “self-consciously fuse[d] him with his great metaphysical contemporary: Leibniz.” However, besides another brief mention of Herder's belief in “combining Spinoza's monism and naturalism with Leibniz's vitalism” (182), Leibniz falls out of Beiser's story. In Beiser's earlier Fate of Reason Leibniz suffers the same fate, disappearing in the excellent and gripping tale of the so-called Pantheism controversy around Spinoza. Given the weight of Beiser's account, this essay undertakes what many a novel has done with, say, Jane Austen or Gone with the Wind, namely, a shift in focus onto a minor or at least somewhat neglected character in order to let Leibniz emerge from the immense shadow cast by Spinoza.
Throughout his long and productive career as a publicist, novelist, essayist, philosopher, and educator, Christoph Martin Wieland grappled with the meaning of religion for individuals and human societies. Wieland's work is of particular interest to the study of religion and secularization in German Classicism because he demonstrates how secular interests can shape serious intellectual engagement with religious concerns. Wieland's approach to religious questions is multivalent, but it is decidedly this-worldly rather than theological. Wieland's writings on religion are distinguished by his rationalist critique, his political and social pragmatism, and his anthropological focus on how religious experience provides insight into human nature. These three approaches to questions of religion each serve the Enlightenment project, of which Wieland is a representative figure, and which is often equated with modernity and secularization in the West. Yet Wieland presents a distinctive voice in late eighteenth-century deliberations on the role of religion in human experience and its relationship to reason. This voice is defined by his self-conscious method of inquiry, his interest in the relation between the secular and the religious, and by his attention to authorial tone. Both method and tone reflect important anthropological and philosophical convictions he holds about human nature and the limits and possibilities of human knowledge.
The eighteenth century is usually considered to be a time of increasing secularization in which the primacy of theology was replaced by the authority of reason, yet this lofty intellectual endeavor played itself out in a social and political reality that was heavily impacted by religious customs and institutions. This duality is visible in the literature and culture of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany. On the one hand, authors such as Goethe, Schiller, and Kleist are known for their distance from traditional Christianity. On the other hand, many canonical texts from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries -- from Goethe's 'Faust' to Schiller's 'Die Jungfrau von Orleans' to Kleist's 'Michael Kohlhaas' -- are not only filled with references to the Bible, but invoke religious frameworks. 'Religion, Reason, and Culture in the Age of Goethe' investigates how culture in the Age of Goethe shaped and was shaped by a sustained and multifaceted debate about the place of religion and religious difference in politics, philosophy, and culture, enriching our understanding of the relationship between religion and culture during this foundational period in German history. Contributors: Frederick Amrine, Claire Baldwin, Lisa Beesley, Jane K. Brown, Jeffrey L. High, Elisabeth Krimmer, Helmut J. Schneider, Patricia Anne Simpson, John H. Smith, Tom Spencer. Elisabeth Krimmer is professor of German at the University of California, Davis. Patricia Anne Simpson is professor of German at Montana State University.