Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kinnaman, Ted. "Review of J. G. Hamann's WRITINGS ON PHILOSOPHY AND LANGUAGE." NDPR (August 2008).

Hamann, Johann Georg. Writings on Philosophy and Language. Ed. Kenneth Haynes. Cambridge: CUP, 2007. Although little known among English-speaking philosophers, the 18th-century German Johann Georg Hamann can be credited with originating a number of the most important ideas in the Continental tradition of philosophy of the last two centuries. His early criticism of Kant (for example, in the "Metacritique on the Purism of Reason") introduces the idea that reason is indistinguishable from the particular language in which one reasons, and thus shot through with the same thoroughgoing contingency. His use of pseudonyms and an opaque writing style to unsettle the relation of the author to his texts, and thus to the rational commitments of authorship, foreshadows the use of irony among the early German Romantics, as well as Søren Kierkegaard's own pseudonymous writing. And his charge that pure reason can never truly be pure, and thus universal and necessary, anticipates a long line of antirationalist argument. . . . Read the rest here:

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