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The aim of this book is to explore the impact of the First World War on German philosophy through a series of analyses of the paths taken by central figures of the German 20th-century philosophical tradition in such a way that recognizes the complexity of the philosophical issues that animated their thinking, as well as the demands of wartime and its aftermath to which these thinkers responded: Hermann Cohen, Max Scheler, Martin Buber, Georg Simmel, Ernst Bloch, Gyorgy Lukacs, Franz Rosenzweig, Ernst Cassirer, Martin Heidegger, and Edmund Husserl
How did the First World War, the so-called 'Great War' - widely seen on all sides as 'the war to end all wars' - impact the development of German philosophy? Combining history and biography with astute philosophical and textual analysis, Nicolas de Warren addresses here the intellectual trajectories of ten significant wartime philosophers: Ernst Bloch, Martin Buber, Ernst Cassirer, Hermann Cohen, György Lukács, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Franz Rosenzweig, Max Scheler and Georg Simmel. In exploring their individual works written during and after the War, the author reveals how philosophical concepts and new forms of thinking were forged in response to this unprecedented catastrophe. In reassessing standardized narratives of German thought, the book deepens and enhances our understanding of the intimate and complex relationship between philosophy and violence by demonstrating how the 1914-18 conflict was a crucible for ways of thinking that still define us today.
Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation is one of the central texts in the history of Western philosophy. It is one of the last monuments to the project of grand synthetic philosophical system building, where a single, unified work could aim to clarify, resolve, and ground all the central questions of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, religion, aesthetics, and science. Poorly received on its initial publication, it soon became a powerful cultural force, inspiring not only philosophers but also artists, writers, and musicians, and attracting a large popular audience of nonscholars. Perhaps equally importantly, Schopenhauer was one of the first European philosophers to take non-Western thought seriously, to treat it as a living tradition rather than as a mere object of study. This volume showcases the enormous variety of contemporary scholarship as well as the enduring relevance of this beautifully written text.
Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation is one of the central texts in the history of Western philosophy. It is one of the last monuments to the project of grand synthetic philosophical system-building, where a single, unified work could aim to clarify, resolve, and ground all the central questions of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, religion, aesthetics and science. Poorly received at its initial publication, it soon became a powerful cultural force, inspiring not only philosophers but also artists, writers and musicians, and attracting a large popular audience of non-scholars. Perhaps equally importantly, Schopenhauer was one of the first European philosophers to take non-Western thought seriously and to treat it as a living tradition rather than as a mere object of study. This volume of new essays showcases the enormous variety of contemporary scholarship on this monumental text, as well as its enduring relevance.
This chapter examines the relationship between Kant’s political thought and that of Elise Reimarus (1735-1805), a prominent member of the Hamburg Enlightenment. Kant and Reimarus both ground their political philosophies on the concept of freedom. Yet, although Kant grounds his political philosophy on freedom, he also controversially claims that people must live in obedience to unjust states and may not rebel against them. This chapter argues against a prior interpretation from Curtis-Wendlandt that assimilates Elise Reimarus’s own views regarding rebellion to those of Kant. The chapter argues that Elise Reimarus’s views regarding rebellion differ significantly from Kant’s own and provide an interesting 18th-century alternative for people attracted to Kant’s emphasis on freedom but skeptical of his views regarding obedience and rebellion.
In this book, Daniel Herskowitz examines the rich, intense, and persistent Jewish engagement with one of the most important and controversial modern philosophers, Martin Heidegger. Contextualizing this encounter within wider intellectual, cultural, and political contexts, he outlines the main patterns and the diverse Jewish responses to Heidegger. Herskowitz shows that through a dialectic of attraction and repulsion, Jewish thinkers developed a version of Jewishness that sought to offer the way out of the overall crisis plaguing their world, which was embodied, as they saw it, in Heidegger's life and thought. Neither turning a blind eye to Heidegger's anti-Semitism nor using it as an excuse for ignoring his philosophy, they wrestled with his existential analytic and what they took to be its religious, ethical, and political failings. Ironically, Heidegger's thought proved itself to be fertile ground for re-conceptualizing what it means to be Jewish in the modern world.
Kant’s claim in the Subjective Deduction that we have multiple fundamental mental powers appears to be susceptible to some a priori metaphysical arguments made against multiple fundamental mental powers by Christian Wolff who held that these powers would violate the unity of thought and entail that the soul is an extended composite. I argue, however, that in the Second Paralogism and his lectures on metaphysics, Kant provides arguments that overcome these objections by showing that it is possible that a composite could ground the unity of thought, that properties are powers and therefore the soul could possess multiple powers, and the soul is a thing in itself so it cannot be an extended composite. These arguments lend additional support to the attribution of multiple mental powers to us in the Subjective Deduction.
Heidegger claims that Dasein's capacity for adopting intentional stances toward the world is grounded in the reflective structure of its being, which dictates that Dasein exists for the sake of a possibility of itself. Commentators have glossed this reflective structure in terms of the idea that our subjection to the normative demands of intentionality is grounded in a basic commitment to upholding an identity-concept, such as an occupation or a social role. I argue that this gloss has serious adverse implications for Heidegger's philosophical project and for the internal coherence of his theory of intention. I recommend an alternative gloss on the reflective structure of existence, according to which sustaining a robust claim to openness to the world specifies the universal, formal object of intentional stance-taking. The reflective structure of existence should be understood through the concept of self-maintenance rather than that of self-definition.
Nietzsche's discussions of nihilism are meant to bring into view an intriguing pathology of modern culture: that it is unable to sustain ‘higher values’. This paper attempts to make sense of the nature and import of higher values. Higher values are a subset of final values and are distinct from foundational values. Higher values are characterized by six features: demandingness, susceptibility toward creating tragic conflicts, recruitment of a characteristic set of powerful emotions, perceived import, exclusionary nature, and their tendency to instantiate a community. The paper considers Nietzsche's arguments for the claim that we are committed to instituting some set of higher values. The cost of not doing so is vitiating our deepest aim and precluding a central form of happiness.
Nietzsche, we are often told, had an account of ‘self’ or ‘mind’ or a ‘philosophical psychology’, in which what he calls our ‘drives’ play a highly significant role. This underpins not merely his understanding of mind—in particular, of consciousness and action—but also his positive ethics, be they understood as authenticity, freedom, (self-)knowledge, autonomy, self-creation, or power. But Nietzsche did not have anything like a coherent account of ‘the drives’ according to which the self, the relationship between thought and action, or consciousness could be explained; consequently, he did not have a stable account of drives on which his positive ethics could rest. By this, I do not mean that his account is incomplete or that it is philosophically indefensible: both would leave open, misleadingly, the possibility of a rational reconstruction of Nietzsche's views; both would already assume more unity and coherence than we find in his texts. Specifically, as I show through detailed analysis, Nietzsche provides varied and inconsistent accounts of (1) what a ‘drive’ is, (2) how much we can know about drives, and (3) the relationship between drives and conscious deliberations about action. I conclude by questioning the hunt for a Nietzschean theory: is this the best way to be reading him?
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