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The Identity Crisis of Philosophy

The Identity Crisis of Philosophy

1 The Identity Crisis of Philosophy
After Hegel
Frederick C. Beiser
Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the “identity crisis” suffered by philosophers beginning in the 1840s, the decade after Hegel's death. They could no longer define their discipline in the traditional terms widely accepted in the first decades of the nineteenth century. So they began to ask themselves some very hard questions. What is philosophy? What is its purpose? And how does it differ from the empirical sciences? The remainder of the chapter covers the sources of the crisis, Trendelenburg's philosophia perennis, philosophy as critique, Schopenhauer's revival of metaphysics, the rise and fall of the neo-Kantian ideal, Eduard von Hartmann's metaphysics of the sciences, and Wilhelm Dilthey's conception of philosophy as a worldview.

Keywords:   German philosophy, Adolf Trendelenburg, philosophia perennis, Arthur Schopenhauer, metaphysics, neo-Kantian ideal, Eduard von Hartmann, Wilhelm Dilthey, worldview

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