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1830-1848: The End of Metaphysics as a Transformation of Culture [Paperback]

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Item description for 1830-1848: The End of Metaphysics as a Transformation of Culture by Herbert De Vriese...

The question of 'the end of metaphysics' is generally considered as a central issue concerning the nature and significance of philosophy as such, and, accordingly, as belonging to the realm of 'pure' or 'fundamental' philosophy. By contrast, this book investigates to what extent the end of metaphysics might be related to specific influences from outside philosophy. Focusing on the period between 1830 and 1848, it argues that metaphysics was not so much challenged by internal philosophical argument, but rather by a transformation of Western culture in its entirety. Metaphysics was overtaken by the modern spirit of the age.

In consequence, this book approaches 'the end of metaphysics' as a problem of the philosophy of culture. Three historians of culture provide an overview and analysis of the 'Age of Revolution' by focusing upon the political revolution in France, the industrial revolution in England and the intellectual revolution in Germany respectively. The proclamations of the end of metaphysics by Auguste Comte, Friedrich Engels and Otto Friedrich Gruppe are shown to mirror this threefold cultural transformation. Against this backdrop, the idea of the end of metaphysics is brought into relief as a historical reality during the years 1830 to 1848.

The editors are members of the Centre for Metaphysics and Culture at the University of Antwerp.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Peeters Publishers
Pages   362
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.7" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 2004
Publisher   David Brown
ISBN  9042913932  
ISBN13  9789042913936  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Metaphysics

Reviews - What do customers think about 1830-1848: The End of Metaphysics as a Transformation of Culture?

The end of metaphysics as a historical event  Jul 2, 2004
The original perspective of the book lies in the question to what extent the end of metaphysics might be related to specific influences FROM OUTSIDE philosophy. Focusing on the period between 1830 and 1848, the main message of the book is that metaphysics was not so much challenged by internal philosophical argument, but rather by a transformation of Western civilization in its entirety.

From the second quarter of the nineteenth century onwards, metaphysics was indeed challenged in a way that did not seem to reflect an internal discussion on the meaning and identity of philosophy. In the period leading to the revolutions of 1848, Europe was engaged in a concrete and practical struggle of human, political and social liberation, which also received the support of an important number of philosophers. Their here-and-now-oriented attitude and participation in social movements and political-publicistic activities did not leave room for lofty speculation. Philosophers who were not prepared to take part in the great movement of change were confronted with the pervasive influence of a spirit of revolution within the realms of philosophy too. In Germany, for instance, the positive school of Weisse and Fichte tried to re-establish the legitimacy of traditional metaphysics, only to observe that the credibility of their undertaking had drastically been undermined. So the science of metaphysics was not so much theoretically questioned in its right to exist, as it was practically pushed into the background - both in university life, in the wider circles of intellectuals and in society at large. Metaphysics was not merely discredited, but rendered irrelevant: the interest in metaphysics disappeared. As regards the critique of metaphysics, most of the damage seemed to be caused not to the contents but to the reputation and credibility of metaphysics. Metaphysics was overtaken by the modern spirit of the age - which was a spirit of radical change, a spirit of making a clean break with the tradition.

"1830-1848. THE END OF METAPHYSICS AS A TRANSFORMATION OF CULTURE" is an enlightening book on a subject that is still "haunted" by the contentious and self-serving interpretations of Heidegger (the end of metaphysics understood as its accomplishment in modern science and technology), Habermas (post-metaphysical thinking as the one and only true Habermassian paradigm), Marion (the end of metaphysics as a possibility to free religion from its metaphysical enclosure). It studies the end of metaphysics as the loss of its authentic and uncontested place in Western culture. In that respect, the transformation of Western culture itself is at the centre of attention.

At first sight, however, this interpretation seems to be involve a cultural-historical or even a sociological question rather than a genuinely philosophical problem. In one respect, the editors are not inclined to ignore this, on the contrary. It is precisely the intellectual honesty of the book that the study of the transformations in Western culture during the years 1830-1848 has been provided not by philosophers but by three historians of culture. The overview and analysis of the 'Age of Revolution' is the result of this historically adequate focus on the political revolutions in France, the industrial revolution in England and the 'intellectual revolution' - the transformation of art, science and literature - in Germany respectively. It are the following contributions that investigate the effect of revolutionary change in Europe in the period 1830-1848.

"Reinventing 1789 in the July Days, 1830. The Impact of the 1830 Revolution on Political Culture in France and in Europe" Pamela Pilbeam (Royal Holloway, University of London); "Conceptions from the Mainland of Europe's First Industrial Revolution" Patrick Karl O'Brien (London School of Economics, University of London); "After the death of Goethe. 'Junges Deutschland', Heinrich Heine and the End of Art in Germany" Bernd Witte (Heinrich-Heine-Universit?t, D?sseldorf)

Yet there is unmistakably a significant philosophical part in the book as well. In my view, the philosophical contribution to the book is twofold. In the first place, there is a discussion which pertains to the history of philosophy and more in particular to the history of the critique of metaphysics. What the book emphasizes is the considerable difference between the internal-philosophical "idea" of the end of metaphysics in Hegel's philosophy on the one hand and the "proclamations" of the end of metaphysics during the years 1830-1848 on the other. In so doing, the authors launch a new theory on radical criticism of metaphysics. They argue that the appeals to abandon metaphysics refer to, and explicitly derive their legitimacy from a culture that is considered to have changed, or to be in the process of change, in its most important fields. Or even more explicitly: that the philosophers who in the period from 1830 to 1848 proclaimed the end of metaphysics felt themselves AUTHORIZED to their performative utterance by the radical transformations and revolutions in culture as a whole; and that in this respect they merely presented themselves as the "spokesmen of their time".

The second and major philosophical contribution consists in the attempt to answer a uniquely relevant philosophical question: what is changing in the perception of the modern world and in the experiences of human existence that, all of a sudden, in the period of a few decades, the time-honoured metaphysical tradition from Aristotle to Hegel could come to an end (in the interpretation of: losing its central place in the history of Western civilization)? What is the philosophical significance of the disappearance of metaphysics? What does the abandonment of metaphysics teach us about the modern world and about modernity as a way of life?

The genuinely philosophical answer to this question is explored by a close reading of the texts of Auguste Comte, Friedrich Engels and Otto Friedrich Gruppe, which results in a fascinating philosophical experience! A most original and inspiring book !!!


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