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By Frederick C. Beiser

Histories of German philosophy within the 19th century often concentrate on its first half--when Hegel, idealism, and Romanticism ruled. against this, the rest of the century, after Hegel's demise, has been quite overlooked since it has been noticeable as a interval of stagnation and decline. yet Frederick Beiser argues that the second one 1/2 the century used to be actually essentially the most progressive classes in glossy philosophy as the nature of philosophy itself used to be up for grabs and the very absence of simple task ended in creativity and the beginning of a brand new period.

In this leading edge concise background of German philosophy from 1840 to 1900, Beiser focuses no longer on topics or person thinkers yet quite at the period's 5 nice debates: the id quandary of philosophy, the materialism controversy, the tools and boundaries of heritage, the pessimism controversy, and the "Ignorabimusstreit." Schopenhauer and Wilhelm Dilthey play vital roles in those controversies yet so do many overlooked figures, together with Ludwig Buchner, Eugen Duhring, Eduard von Hartmann, Julius Fraunstaedt, Hermann Lotze, Adolf Trendelenburg, and girls, Agnes Taubert and Olga Pluemacher, who've been thoroughly forgotten in histories of philosophy.

The result's a wide-ranging, unique, and unbelievable new account of German philosophy within the serious interval among Hegel and the 20th century."

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Extra resources for After Hegel: German Philosophy, 1840-1900

Example text

The point I wish to make is that all sides assumed that these questions could be answered. The all but universal belief which this amounts to is that these answers are, as it were, so much hidden treasure; the problem is to find the path to it. Or, to use another metaphor, mankind has been presented with the scattered parts of a jigsaw The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West • 29 puzzle: if you can put the pieces together, it will form a perfect whole which constitutes the goal of the quest for truth, virtue, happiness.

We are free to criticise the values of other cultures, to condemn them, but we cannot pretend not to under­stand them at all, or to regard them simply as subjective, the products of creatures in different circumstances with different tastes from our own, which do not speak to us at all. There is a world of objective values. By this I mean those ends 12 • The Crooked Timber of Humanity that men pursue for their own sakes, to which other things are means. I am not blind to what the Greeks valued – their values may not be mine, but I can grasp what it would be like to live by their light, I can admire and respect them, and even imagine myself as pursuing them, although I do not – and do not wish to, and perhaps could not if I wished.

We can discuss each other’s point of view, we can try to reach common ground, but in the end what you pursue may not be reconcilable with the ends to which I find that I have dedicated my life. Values may easily clash within the breast of a single individual; and it does not follow that, if they do, some must be true and others false. Justice, rigorous justice, is for some people an absolute value, but it is not compatible with what may be no less ultimate values for them – mercy, compassion – as arises in concrete cases.

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