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a42 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 28" 1 JANUARY 1990 Klaus Christian K6hnke. Entstehung und Aufstieg des Neukantianismus. Die deutsche Universittitsphilosophie zwischen Idealismus und Positivismus. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1986. Pp. 623. $41.2o. It has long been known that Kantian thought exercised a more or less profound influence on German academic philosophy in the nineteenth century, even during the supposedly meager period following Hegel's death. It has also been surmised that the rise of neo-Kantianism did not simply represent the renaissance of a forgotten philosophy , but that its roots lie in the debates which took place after the unsuccessful revolution of March x848. K/Shnke's book uncovers these roots. The author does not actually introduce any new names, but the familiar figures of Trendelenburg, Beneke, Helmholtz, J. B. Meyer, etc., are presented in a new light. In tracing the early history of neo-Kantianism K6hnke recounts a substantial part of German academic history between 183o and 187o. His criticism of mystifications 04) in the literature on neoKantianism leads to interesting revisions of our conception of nineteenth-century German intellectual history: e.g., he demolishes Karl Lrwith's generally accepted account.' The book consists of three parts. Part 1 deals with the actual "pre-history" of neoKantianism during the period from 183~ to 1848. The author sees it as characterized by an explicit rejection of German idealism, of"pure thought," and of the postulate barring presuppositions. Here the significance of Friedrich AdolfTrendelenburg as a mediator between Kant and neo-Kantianism (23) as well as his proximity to Hermann Cohen become evident. While Trendelenburg is said by Krhnke to be the architect of"the neoKantian conception of philosophy and of the theory of science," Schleiermacher is designated as the "initiator of the new epistemology" (58). Schleiermacher's student Friedrich Eduard Beneke plays a central role in the highly informative explication of the program of the new epistemology. This too corrects an injustice inflicted on Beneke by historians who have denigrated him as a "sensualist" and "psychologist." The period after March 1848 (Part 2) saw a profound change of circumstances. The criticism of "systems of thought" previously voiced on solely philosophical grounds yielded to repression against the whole of academic philosophy. Statistics on the number of students and on the careers of university teachers bear witness to the decline. K6hnke also demonstrates how the forced neglect of current social and political issues tended to make philosophy more scientific (124). This trend was supplemented by a skeptical attitude to which the generation of the early "critical programmatists " (Hermann Helmholtz, Jiirgen Bona Meyer, and Rudolf Haym) was prompted in the aftermath of the "materialist debate" of 1854. Showing that the discussion of materialism was an important if not decisive motive for the development of explicit neo-Kantianism is a major achievement of the book. But what finally provided neo-Kantianism with its success? Aside from the new philosophical discipline of epistemology, K6hnke men~ons two further factors: Kuno Fischer's idealist Kant-image; and the national motive, which dominated the Schiller festivities of 1859 and the Fichte festivities of 186~ (~ 11). ' Von Hegel zu Nietzsche(1939). BOOK REVIEWS 143 Otto Liebmann's book Kant und die Epigonen (1865) marks the end of the preparation stage of neo-Kantianism (214). After 1865 the movement goes into its expansion phase, which Krhnke traces until 1881 (Part 3). A differentiated image of neo-Kantianism in the 187os is presented on the basis of an outline of Friedrich Albert Lange's position, of the Fischer-Trendelenburg debate about Kant's space-time doctrine, as well as of the cultural, political, and academic environment. At first there are only individuals (e.g., Cohen, Riehl, Volkelt, Windelband), no schools as of yet. The common denominator connecting these young philosophers---none older than thirty--lay in their rejection of naturalism or materialism, clericalism and pessimism; they advocated "the ideal of bourgeois liberty" (321). Krhnke sees one new factor in the rise of historical research of Kantian philosophy in 1875/76 (e.g., Benno Erdmann), another in the shift of many neo-Kantians (e.g., Friedrich Paulsen) to positivism. At first positivism and criticism were compatible thanks to their shared...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 142-144
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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