Johann Gottfried von Herder’s Philosophy of “Kultur”

Johann Gottfried von Herder is one of the most important transitionary figures in German philosophy. Perhaps along with Fichte, Herder was actually one of the most influential philosophers after Kant but largely forgotten in the Kant to Hegel canonical study that dominates most philosophical departments and continental surveys. Nonetheless, Herder was instrumental in pioneering the … Continue reading Johann Gottfried von Herder’s Philosophy of “Kultur”

Islam, Islamism, and the Crisis of the Political

Is Islam a political threat? That might depend on where you live. Is there a distinction between Islam and Islamism. Some say yes. Others say no. Naive leftists who are anti-political (in the Schmittian sense) believe the universal ark of fraternity triumphs over the tribalisms of politics. The boisterous liberal right, spearheaded by anti-religious libertarians … Continue reading Islam, Islamism, and the Crisis of the Political

Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

There are two great stories concerning Hegel and Napoleon. The first, undeniably fantastical and romantic, is that Hegel was finishing up his draft manuscript of the Phenomenology of Spirit as the Battle of Jena roared behind him as he escaped the hellfire of the morning; the second, true, relates to Hegel’s encounter with Napoleon which … Continue reading Hegel and Napoleon: On Heroes and the Sublime in History

Our Brave New Century

Michel Foucault famously wrote in Madness and Civilization, “The ultimate language of madness is that of reason.”[1]  Foucault was referring to liberal civilization—born of the Enlightenment—a civilization that extolled the virtues of materialistic rationalism, individualism, market economics, private property, which ends in the slow erosion of the communitarian bonds that had shaped human society since pre-modernity.  … Continue reading Our Brave New Century

Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

Hegel’s social and political philosophy was of profound importance in mid nineteenth century Germany, especially within the Kingdom of Prussia where he spent his latter days.  It is sometimes said that Hegel believed Prussia was the end of history, that Prussia was the fulfillment of the socio-political, constitutional, and ethical progression of the Spirit in … Continue reading Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

In-of-itself, Romanticism is not a fascist movement or philosophy.  But fascism drew upon the rich intellectual traditions of Romanticism, even if it distorted it some very important and meaningful ways.  So what is Romanticism? Philosophical Romanticism was a counterrevolutionary intellectual and artistic movement that arose in the late Enlightenment.  It was starkly opposed to Enlightenment … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

In his series of lectures on the philosophy of mythology, published as the Historical Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology, Friedrich Schelling achieves a paradigmatic revolution in German Romantic and idealistic thought that would be influential for later German philosophy and influential upon the psychologist Carl Jung.  Schelling, a student and pupil of Fichte and Hegel, … Continue reading Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

Johann Hamann: Poetry, Language, and Human Nature

Johann Hamann is one of the most understudied and unknown philosophers, especially in the English-speaking world.  A figure of tremendous importance to history, who was called the “brightest star” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hamann came to be an influential father of the Sturm und Drang  movement in Germany, a key father figure in the litany … Continue reading Johann Hamann: Poetry, Language, and Human Nature