Tag Archives: History of Concepts

Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” — Part 1: Nietzsche’s Role

When asked “Who invented the word ‘counter-Enlightenment?” Isaiah Berlin replied I don’t know who invented the concept …. Someone must have said it. Could it be myself? I should be somewhat surprised. Perhaps I did. I really have no idea.1 … Continue reading

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Securing the Borders: On the Genealogy of Scientism (Part II)

Leon Wieseltier’s response to Steven Pinker’s rejoinder to Wieseltier’s earlier attempt to defend the humanities from the depredations of what he terms “scientism” prompted me, in my previous post, to offer a few thoughts on the history of this peculiar … Continue reading

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On the Genealogy of “Scientism” (Part I)

Last Monday I flew back from two weeks in Spain, where I interrupted my research on pintxos long enough to attend the Sixteenth International Conference on the History of Concepts. On Tuesday, I staggered into my first class, which — … Continue reading

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Making Sense of “Aufklärung” – Translating Kant, Part III

I began this series of posts more or less as a lark, thinking that I’d look at how my fellow translators of Kant’s response to the question “What is enlightenment?” handled the opening sentence. But this exercise turned out to … Continue reading

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Translating Kant on Enlightenment: Two Nineteenth-Century Translations

As sketched last week, my plan had been to consider nine different translations of Kant’s essay on the question “What is Enlightenment?” and see how the translation of the crucial terms in essay’s opening sentence changed over the last two … Continue reading

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How Isaiah Berlin Revised the “Two Concepts” (A Concluding Philological Postscript)

Having finished my three posts on the exchange of letters between Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin, I’m ready to reward myself by rolling around in the some of the nGram catnip that I’ve been accumulating. But there’s one bit of … Continue reading

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Why It Wouldn’t Have Mattered if Isaiah Berlin used Ngrams

I’d been planning on posting the final part of my discussion of the exchange of letters between Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper on liberty and enlightenment, but various commitments have conspired to delay my posting of that discussion until later … Continue reading

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Habermas on Publicity II (Re: Arendt, Koselleck, and Schmitt)

It is hardly surprising that Immanuel Kant plays a prominent role in Habermas’s discussion of the vicissitudes of what — for reasons that I’ve discussed in a previous post — might best be termed “bourgeois publicity.”  As Habermas notes at … Continue reading

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Publicity & the Public Sphere – Reading Habermas as a Historian of Concepts

As I was getting ready for a discussion of Jürgen Habermas’ Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere in a seminar that I’m teaching on Enlightenment and its Critics, I recalled an incident from the distant past. A colleague returned from … Continue reading

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Deeper into the “Shallow Enlightenment” (Ludwig Tieck, George J. Adler, and Herman Meville)

Before resuming last week’s exploration of the “shallow Enlightenment,” we should take stock of where things stand. What we saw last week was that “shallow” was but one of a number of pejoratives that have been marshaled against the Enlightenment. … Continue reading

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