Histories of German philosophy in the nineteenth century typically focus on its first half-when Hegel, idealism, and Romanticism dominated. By contrast, the remainder of the century, after Hegel's death, has been relatively neglected because it has been seen as a period of stagnation and decline. But Frederick Beiser argues that the second half of the century was in fact one of the most revolutionary periods in modern philosophy because the nature of philosophy itself was up for grabs and the very absence of certainty led to creativity and the start of a new era. In this innovative concise history of German philosophy from 1840 to 1900, Beiser focuses not on themes or individual thinkers but rather on the period's five great debates: the identity crisis of philosophy, the materialism controversy, the methods and limits of history, the pessimism controversy, and the Ignorabimusstreit. Schopenhauer and Wilhelm Dilthey play important roles in these controversies but so do many neglected figures, including Ludwig Buchner, Eugen Duhring, Eduard von Hartmann, Julius Fraunstaedt, Hermann Lotze, Adolf Trendelenburg, and two women, Agnes Taubert and Olga Pluemacher, who have been completely forgotten in histories of philosophy. The result is a wide-ranging, original, and surprising new account of German philosophy in the critical period between Hegel and the twentieth century.
Frederick C. Beiser is professor of philosophy at Syracuse University. He is the author of many books, including The Fate of Reason, German Idealism, Hegel, and The German Historicist Tradition.
Preface ixIntroduction 11. A Revolutionary Half Century 12. The Standard Narratives 73. Method 131 The Identity Crisis of Philosophy 151. Sources of the Crisis 152. Trendelenburg's Philosophia Perennis 193. Philosophy as Critique 224. Schopenhauer's Revival of Metaphysics 285. Rise and Fall of the Neo-Kantian Ideal 366. Eduard von Hartmann's Metaphysics of the Sciences 457. Dilthey and Worldviews 482 The Materialism Controversy 531. Context and Causes 532. The Controversy Begins: Wagner versus Vogt 563. Philosophical Struwwelpeter 624. The Bible of Materialism 705. Schopenhauer Enters the Fray 776. Czolbe's Sensualism 847. Friedrich Lange, Neo-Kantian and Materialist Manque 893 The ignorabimus Controversy 971. Du Bois-Reymond's Speech: Content and Context 972. Hartmann's Defense of Metaphysics 1043. The Materialist Position 1084. Lange's Defense of Du Bois-Reymond 1125. Nageli's Methodological Materialism 1166. Dilthey on the Virtues and Vices of Naturalism 1207. A Mask and a Martyr 1238. Haeckel's Last Stand 1284 Trials and Tribulations of Clio 1331. History as a Science 1332. Historical Objectivity? 1403. The Battle against Positivism 1454. Positivist Misunderstandings of Historicism 1545 The Pessimism Controversy 1581. A Forgotten Controversy 1582. Schopenhauer's Pessimism 1613. The Neo-Kantian Crusade 1664. Duhring on the Value of Life 1725. Hartmann's Pessimism 1846. Hartmann's Self-Defense 1907. The Value of Work 1948. Aesthetic Redemption 2009. Love 207Appendix: Two Forgotten Women Philosophers 217Further Reading 221Index 229
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