Tag Archives: History of Concepts

Foucault, the “History of Thought,” and the Question of Enlightenment

My previous post examined how, during the last eighteen months of his life, Foucault repeatedly drew a distinction between the “history of thought” in which he was engaged and more conventional (though, in his view, “entirely legitimate“) approaches employed within … Continue reading

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On Michel Foucault’s Distinction between the “History of Ideas” and the “History of Thought”

In a May 1984 interview with Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault characterized his general approach as follows: For a long time, I have been trying to see if it would be possible to describe the history of thought as distinct both … Continue reading

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Hans Blumenberg on Light & Truth, with Some Thoughts on Eighteenth-century Frontispieces

There’s no good reason why it took me so long to get around to reading Hans Blumenberg’s Paradigms for a Metaphorology — a 1960 contribution to the Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte that has been available in translation since 2010.1 I’d read … Continue reading

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Culture & Civilization: The First English Translation of Mendelssohn’s Answer to the Question “What is Enlightenment?” (Part II)

As should be apparent by now, my collection of hobby horses includes an interest in old translations of now-familiar texts.1  The interest is not entirely idiosyncratic, nor is it entirely irrelevant to my labors in that open-ended field known as the … Continue reading

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Tracking the Reception of Kant’s Answer to the Question “What is Enlightenment?”

As Dan Edelstein once observed, scholars have gotten into the habit of using Kant’s 1784 to the question “What is enlightenment?” as a convenient “one-stop shop for defining the Enlightenment.”1 There is a tendency to assume that because Kant was … Continue reading

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Isaiah Berlin & the “Counter-Enlightenment”: A Reassessment (Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” — Conclusion)

Since the middle of October I have been attempting to trace the history of the concept “counter-Enlightenment.” I set out on this venture convinced that Zeev Sternhell’s account of the history was wrong and confident that the sketch that I … Continue reading

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“Counter-Enlightenment” in English (1908-1942) (Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” Part III)

The two previous posts in this series examined nineteenth and early twentieth-century German uses of the term “Gegenaufklärung” and argued, contra Zeev Sternell, that the term does not seem to have been generally adopted as a convention for referring to … Continue reading

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