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Chapter Eleven - The Third Phase: Material Inquiry into the Verifiability of Specific Concepts, and Conflict over the Implications of the Findings c.1890– c.1920

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2021

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Summary

History

Heinrich Friedjung (1851– 1920)

Heinrich Friedjung's The Struggle for Supremacy in Germany 1859– 1866 was published in 1897. It is the first history to contain “oral history,” published interviews, as Appendixes to the main text, of three key figures within the years covered. In that, Friedjung augments the significance of differing ways of comprehending in-common events articulated as a basis in historical knowledge by Chladenius in the 1740s. Chladenius did not give living examples, but hypothesized certain ways the same event might be seen differently by observers. In his writings, Chladenius also speculated, based upon Leibniz's understanding of each individual having a differing logic of seeing, the idea of each individual having an inherent “Sehepunkt,” “point-of view” as they offered their understanding of the course of an event. A century after Chladenius, Karl Marx used the idea of how events were perceived historically from a sociological argument of differing normative socioeconomic views. This was done more thoroughly than Chladenius, but still within the framework of the kinds of generalizations made by Chladenius. Marx's use of empirical arguments was an augmentative step. Indeed, one could call it a “spiral return” to the fourth phase and century before, with Marx's addition of empirical support for the differing ways a capitalist or a mercantilist, or, a socialist as himself, might see something such as the revolutions of 1848.

However, Friedjung's 1897 use of the words of individuals to support the differing views of the struggle for supremacy in Germany and Austrian-Germany from 1859 to 1866 was a greater insight into how an individual thought and acted. In that, Friedjung took the concept of Chladenius and Marx, which was one perceived events from their adherence to a political-social or economic philosophy, and re-applied as an individual understanding. This shift in the concept from the general to the individual corresponds to what Thomas Kuhn saw in the phases of a metaparadigm, where concepts were reoriented to match the phasal norms of the metaparadigm. Friedjung writing in the third phase had taken up what Chladenius and Marx wrote in the fourth phase.

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The Metahistory of Western Knowledge in the Modern Era
Four Evolving Metaparadigms, 1648 to Present
, pp. 177 - 186
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2021

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