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Autobiographical Reflections, Revised Edition with Glossary

Eric Voegelin, edited with an introduction by Ellis Sandoz

Publication Year: 2011


Autobiographical Reflections is a window into the mind of a man whose reassessment of the nature of history and thought has overturned traditional approaches to, and appraisals of, the Western intellectual tradition. Here we encounter the motivations for Voegelin's work, the stages in the development of his unique philosophy of consciousness, his key intellectual breakthroughs, his theory of history, and his diagnosis of the political ills of the modern age.
Included in this revised volume is a glossary of terms used in Voegelin’s writings. The glossary lists, defines, and illustrates from the author’s writings many of the key terms employed, paying particular attention to the Greek terms. Together, the glossary and enlarged index systematically include names, subjects, ideas, writings, and terms, making this volume an indispensable help for any serious study of Eric Voegelin’s oeuvre.

Published by: University of Missouri Press

Title Page, Series Information, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction to the Revised Edition

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pp. 1-14

This revised edition of Eric Voegelin’s Autobiographical Reflections consists of the original text, slightly revised and expanded,together with the introduction from the 1989 edition and some additional annotation, a glossary of terms used in Voegelin’s writings that lists, defines, and illustrates from the author’s writings many...

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pp. 15-30

Eric Voegelin’s Autobiographical Reflections allows Voegelin him-and arguably the greatest philosopher of our time. Here Voegelin elucidate his other writings and set them in the overall horizon of his thought. Authoritative, incisive, elegant, and profound as they are, the Reflections both disclose the motivations of Voegelin’s...

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1. University of Vienna

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pp. 31-36

I attended the University of Vienna, in the Faculty of Law, from War. By its composition, the university was still the university of the capital of the empire and reflected in its scholarship and the personal attitude of the professors this cosmopolitan atmosphere.felt in the early thirties, Vienna still had an enormous intellectual...

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2. High School

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pp. 37-38

The development of my studies in the university requires some reflection on the background acquired in high school. I went to a Real-Gymnasium, which meant that I had eight years of Latin, six years of English, and, as an optional subject, two years in Italian. Besides, my parents took care that I had some elementary tuition...

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3. Max Weber

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pp. 39-41

This problem of throwing out an ideology because it is scientifically untenable remained a constant in these years. Very important for the formation of my attitude in science was my early acquaintance with the work of Max Weber, whose volumes on the Sociology of Religion, as well as Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, came out in these years and were of course devoured by us...

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4. Comparative Knowledge

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pp. 42-43

To continue the problem of comparative knowledge, Max Weber of course was not the first to set this example. The founder of sociology, Auguste Comte, also insisted on having this broad range of knowledge, and this range has remained ineluctable for the great social scientists ever since. The matter has been obscured...

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5. Stefan George and Karl Kraus

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pp. 44-47

The range of knowledge for comparative purposes was more than a formal principle. As these various recollections indicate, I actually acquired a considerable amount of knowledge for such comparative purposes through the study of the works of Max Weber,...

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6. The Pure Theory of Law: Neo-Kantian Methodology

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pp. 48-51

I shall now go into the question of my more immediate studies as a student in the university and my veering toward Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law. I cannot say with precision why Hans Kelsen was for me a more strongly attractive teacher than Othmar Spann. Spann’s range was without a doubt much larger, both philosophically...

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7. Political Stimuli

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pp. 52-53

When I became aware of such problems, I had not yet even an inkling of their magnitude. I shall turn now to the gradual enlargement of the horizon that permitted me to discern their nature.
The stimuli for going deeper into the matter were provided by political events. Obviously, when you live in a time dominated by...

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8. Concerning My Dissertation

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p. 54-54

Its subject matter was Wechselwirkung und Gezweiung. Wechselwirkung was the key term of Georg Simmel’s sociology, which formed the basis for the further development of the Beziehungslehre in German social science. Gezweiung was the favorite term...

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9. Concerning Oxford in 1921 or 1922

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p. 55-55

I was lucky enough, through connections, to get a fellowship for a summer school in Oxford. The official purpose of the fellowship was to learn English, and I remember an excellent young Englishman by the name of Alexander who did his best to correct my mispronunciations. The comparatively primitive level on which...

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10. American Influence

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pp. 56-61

I have already referred to my year in New York, in which one important influence came through the younger men surrounding Thomas Hunt Morgan. This year in New York was possible because at that time the Rockefeller Foundation extended research fellowships to European students under the title of the...

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11. Concerning the Year in France

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pp. 62-65

After the two years in America, the Rockefeller Foundation was kind enough to extend the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship for another year to continue my studies in France. I accepted the opportunity with the idea of enlarging my horizon by living in France for a year and finding out firsthand what points...

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12. Return to Vienna

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pp. 66-69

Aftermyreturn from the three years under the Rockefeller Fellowship, I began to concentrate on writing publications that would lead to my habilitation and ultimately to a professorship. The first thing I finished was the book that was published under the title...

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13. Anschluss and Emigration

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pp. 70-72

A profound emotional shock came in the critical moments of the destruction of Austria. I would have left Vienna long before 1938 if I had not assumed that Austria was safe in its defense against National Socialism. On the basis of my historically founded political knowledge, I considered it impossible that the Western democracies...

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14. Concerning Ideology, Personal Politics, and Publications

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pp. 73-81

As the anecdotes just related show, my personal attitude in politics, and especially with regard to National Socialism, is frequently misunderstood, because entirely too many people who express themselves in public cannot understand that resistance...

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15. Concerning Emigration in 1938

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pp. 82-83

As I explained previously, I barely escaped from Austria. The Gestapo was about to confiscate my passport, and that would have meant the end of any possibility of emigration short of a secret border crossing. But the Gestapo’s attention also had its funny side. For instance, in the general survey of university personnel, a...

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16. Life in America: From Harvard to LSU

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pp. 84-88

When I came to America in 1938, I had a part-time instructorship at Harvard. It had been secured through the offices especially of W. Y. (Bill) Elliot, Gottfried von Haberler, and Joseph von Schumpeter, with Arthur Holcombe, who was then chairman of the department, consenting to my appointment. This appointment,...

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17. From Political Ideas to Symbols of Experience

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pp. 89-95

This brings me to the problem of the history of ideas. At Harvard I had met Fritz Morstein-Marx, who at that time was editor of a textbook series for McGraw-Hill. He was kind enough to enlist me for a textbook of moderate size—I believe 200 to 250 pages were envisaged—for this series. That is how I got beyond teaching...

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18. Alfred Schütz and the Theory of Consciousness

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pp. 96-100

An important development in my understanding of the problems that worried me throughout the 1940s and well into the writing of Order and History was marked by my correspondence with Alfred Schütz on the problems of consciousness. They were not published until 1966 as the first part of my volume on...

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19. Order and Disorder

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pp. 101-103

Frequently questions are raised concerning the meaning of order and disorder in my analysis. The reality of order is not my discovery. I am speaking of the order in reality discovered by mankind as far back as we have any written records, and now even further back as we become familiar with the symbols in monuments...

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20. The Background of Order and History

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pp. 104-109

My History of Political Ideas started from the conventional assumptions that there are ideas, that they have a history, and that a history of political ideas would have to work its way from classical politics up to the present. Under these assumptions, I humbly worked through the sources, and eventually a manuscript of several...

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21. Teaching Career

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pp. 110-117

In addition to the actual work in science in which I try to participate as far as my powers permit, I have for fifty years functioned as a teacher. My teaching experience started in high school. Since we were poor, I had to get some minimum pocket money by way of tutoring other high school students who were the children of...

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22. Why Philosophize? To Recapture Reality!

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pp. 118-126

The motivations of my work, which culminates in a philosophy of history, are simple. They arise from the political situation. Anybody with an informed and reflective mind who lives in the twentieth century since the end of the First World War, as I did, finds himself hemmed in, if not oppressed, from all sides by a...

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23. Philosophy of History

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pp. 127-132

These various developments affect the problems of a philosophy of history. Philosophy of history as a topic does not go further back than the eighteenth century. From its beginning in the eighteenth century, it became associated with the constructions of an imaginary history made for the purpose of interpreting the...

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24. Range, Constancy, Eclipse, and Equivalence of Truth

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pp. 133-136

One of the fundamental problems in every philosophy of history turned out to be the constancy of reality experienced throughout the process of compactness and transition to differentiation. The reality experienced by so-called primitives is not different from that experienced by moderns. What happens between, say,...

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25. Consciousness, Divine Presence, and the Mystic Philosopher

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pp. 137-139

A study of this critical period of the Ecumenic Age will have to face the fact that what happened is the location of the process of differentiation in the mind of man. Once consciousness or, in the Greek terminology, the psyche of man is understood as the site of the process, the symbolization of divine presence must shift from...

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26. Revolution, the Open Society, and Institutions

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pp. 130-144

Regarding the institutional realization of existential order, American society seems to have certain advantages over other national societies in the Western world. But I must first of all admit that in that matter I am biased because, after all, I had to run for my life from the political environment in Central Europe, and I...

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27. Eschatology and Philosophy: The Practice of Dying

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pp. 145-148

Once certain structures of reality become differentiated and are raised to articulate consciousness, they develop a life of their own in history. One of the important insights gained by philosophers, as well as by the prophets of Israel and by the early Christians, is the movement in reality toward a state beyond its present structure....

Glossary of Terms Used in Eric Voegelin’s Writings Compiled by Eugene Webb

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pp. 149-186


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pp. 187-202

About the Authors, Back Cover

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pp. 203-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780826272553
E-ISBN-10: 082627255X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826219305
Print-ISBN-10: 0826219306

Page Count: 211
Illustrations: 8 illus
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1