The career of J. G. Fichte, a central figure in German idealism and in the history of philosophy, divides into two distinct phases: the first period, in which he occupied the chair of critical philosophy at the University of Jena (1794-1799); and the following period, after he left Jena for Berlin. Due in part to the inaccessibility of the German texts, Fichte scholarship in the English-speaking world has tended to focus on the Jena period, neglecting the development of this major thinker's mature development. The essays collected in this book begin to correct this imbalance. Concerned in a variety of ways with Fichte's post-Jena philosophy, these essays by distinguished and emerging scholars demonstrate the depth and breadth of Fichte scholarship being done in English.
With an introduction that locates the essays in philosophical and historical terms, the book divides into three related categories: Fichte’s development, his view of religion, and other aspects of his "popular" (or not-so-popular) philosophy. From a wide range of perspectives, the essays show how Fichte’s later development reflects the philosophical concerns of his time, the specific debates in which he engaged, and the complex events of his philosophical career.
edited by Tom Rockmore and Beth J. Singer Temple University Press, 1991 Library of Congress BD181.A57 1992 | Dewey Decimal 121
"[The book] illuminate[s] the philosophical urge to attain certainty and system, and especially system that is based on certain and indubitable ground. The historical approach works well.... This collection makes no pretensions, yet manages to deliver important contributions to the continuing inquiry."
--John Lachs, Vanderbilt University
The debate over foundationalism, the viewpoint that there exists some secure foundation upon which to build a system of knowledge, appears to have been resolved and the antifoundationalists have at least temporarily prevailed. From a firmly historical approach, the book traces the foundationalism/antifoundationalism controversy in the work of many important figures--Animaxander, Aristotle and Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Hegel and Nietzsche, Habermas and Chisholm, and others--throughout the history of philosophy. The contributors, Joseph Margolis, Ronald Polansky, Gary Calore, Fred and Emily Michael, William Wurzer, Charlene Haddock Siegfried, Sandra B. Rosenthal, Kathleen Wallace, and the editors present well the diversity, interest, and roots of antifoundationalism.
Art and Truth after Plato
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress N72.7.R63 2013 | Dewey Decimal 701.17
Despite its foundational role in the history of philosophy, Plato’s famous argument that art does not have access to truth or knowledge is now rarely examined, in part because recent philosophers have assumed that Plato’s challenge was resolved long ago. In Art and Truth after Plato, Tom Rockmore argues that Plato has in fact never been satisfactorily answered—and to demonstrate that, he offers a comprehensive account of Plato’s influence through nearly the whole history of Western aesthetics.
Rockmore offers a cogent reading of the post-Platonic aesthetic tradition as a series of responses to Plato’s position, examining a stunning diversity of thinkers and ideas. He visits Aristotle’s Poetics, the medieval Christians, Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Hegel’s phenomenology, Marxism, social realism, Heidegger, and many other works and thinkers, ending with a powerful synthesis that lands on four central aesthetic arguments that philosophers have debated. More than a mere history of aesthetics, Art and Truth after Plato presents a fresh look at an ancient question, bringing it into contemporary relief.
German Idealism as Constructivism is the culmination of many years of research by distinguished philosopher Tom Rockmore—it is his definitive statement on the debate about German idealism between proponents of representationalism and those of constructivism that still plagues our grasp of the history of German idealism and the whole epistemological project today. Rockmore argues that German idealism—which includes iconic thinkers such as Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel—can best be understood as a constructivist project, one that asserts that we cannot know the mind-independent world as it is but only our own mental construction of it.
Since ancient Greece philosophers have tried to know the world in itself, an effort that Kant believed had failed. His alternative strategy—which came to be known as the Copernican revolution—was that the world as we experience and know it depends on the mind. Rockmore shows that this project was central to Kant’s critical philosophy and the later German idealists who would follow him. He traces the different ways philosophers like Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel formulated their own versions of constructivism. Offering a sweeping but deeply attuned analysis of a crucial part of the legacy of German idealism, Rockmore reinvigorates this school of philosophy and opens up promising new avenues for its study.
For Martin Heidegger the "fall" of philosophy into metaphysics begins with Plato. Thus, the relationship between the two philosophers is crucial to an understanding of Heidegger--and, perhaps, even to the whole plausibility of postmodern critiques of metaphysics. It is also, as the essays in this volume attest, highly complex, and possibly founded on a questionable understanding of Plato.
As editors Catalin Partenie and Tom Rockmore remark, a simple way to describe Heidegger's reading of Plato might be to say that what began as an attempt to appropriate Plato (and through him a large portion of Western philosophy) finally ended in an estrangement from both Plato and Western philosophy. The authors of this volume consider Heidegger's thought in relation to Plato before and after the "Kehre" or turn. In doing so, they take up various central issues in Heidegger's Being and Time (1927) and thereafter, and the questions of hermeneutics, truth, and language. The result is a subtle and multifaceted reinterpretation of Heidegger's position in the tradition of philosophy, and of Plato's role in determining that position.
"[These] essays together form an extraordinary response, and radical but not self-righteous challenge, to Heidegger's unambiguous complicity with Hitler and Nazism....This book will provoke intense dialogue and controversy about issues which, for too long, too many philosophers have chosen either to gloss over or ignore."
--Ronald E. Santoni
The relation between Martin Heidegger's philosophical thought and his political commitment has been widely discussed in recent years, following the publication of Victor FarÃas's controversial study, Heidegger and Nazism, published in this country by Temple University Press. The Heidegger Case is a collection of original essays, by both American and European philosophers, on issues raised by Heidegger's involvement with the Nazis. The contributors consider such matters as the relationship between Heidegger's philosophical theories and his public statements and activities, the ways in which his ideas on social and political life compare with those of other philosophers, and the role of philosophy with respect to politics.
This is the first detailed study, following the recent collapse of political Marxism in Eastern Europe, of twentieth-century Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukács and his position as the leading proponent of the Marxist theory of reason. Lukács's History and Class Consciousness has been called one of the three most influential philosophical works of this century, and he, the outstanding Marxist philosopher. Marxism has long suffered relative neglect in philosophical discussion as a result of its own invidious distinction between itself and the supposed irrationality of what it regards as bourgeois philosophy.
Tom Rockmore offers a uniquely detailed philosophical analysis of Lukács's entire position as a theory of reason, based on the distinction between reason and unreason, or irrationalism. The author gives special emphasis to Lukács's connection to German neo-Kantianism, particularly Lask, and on his last, unfinished work.
Rockmore begins with an account of the roots of Lukács's Marxism, followed by an in-depth analysis of his often mentioned, but still incompletely understood, seminal essay "Reification and the Class Consciousness of the Proletariat." He then traces the evolution and later demise of the distinction between reason and irrationalism in Lukács's final thought. The author thus makes available for the first time in English a strictly philosophical discussion of Georg Lukács's Marxist phase and brings consideration of his thought into the wider philosophical discussion.
“These essays build a valuable, if virtual, bridge between the thought of John Dewey and that of a host of modern European philosophers. They invite us to entertain a set of imagined conversations among the mighty dead that no doubt would have intrigued Dewey and each of the interlocutors gathered here.”—Robert Westbrook, author of John Dewey and American Democracy and/or Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth.
John Dewey and Continental Philosophy provides a rich sampling of exchanges that could have taken place long ago between the traditions of American pragmatism and continental philosophy had the lines of communication been more open between Dewey and his European contemporaries. Since they were not, Paul Fairfield and thirteen of his colleagues seek to remedy the situation by bringing the philosophy of Dewey into conversation with several currents in continental philosophical thought, from post-Kantian idealism and the work of Friedrich Nietzsche to twentieth-century phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism.
John Dewey and Continental Philosophy demonstrates some of the many connections and opportunities for cross-traditional thinking that have long existed between Dewey and continental thought, but have been under-explored. The intersection presented here between Dewey’s pragmatism and the European traditions makes a significant contribution to continental and American philosophy and will spur new and important developments in the American philosophical debate.
Kant and Phenomenology
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BD161.R594 2011 | Dewey Decimal 121
Phenomenology, together with Marxism, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy, dominated philosophy in the twentieth century—and Edmund Husserl is usually thought to have been the first to develop the concept. His views influenced a variety of important later thinkers, such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, who eventually turned phenomenology away from questions of knowledge. But in this significant new work, Tom Rockmore argues for a return to phenomenology’s origins in epistemology and does so by locating its roots in the work of Immanuel Kant.
Kant and Phenomenology traces the formulation of Kant’s phenomenological approach back to the second edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In response to various criticisms of the first edition, Kant more forcefully put forth a constructivist theory of knowledge. This shift in Kant’s thinking challenged the representational approach to epistemology, and it is this turn, Rockmore contends, that makes Kant the first great phenomenologist. He then follows this phenomenological line through the work of Kant’s idealist successors, Fichte and Hegel. Steeped in the sources and literature it examines, Kant and Phenomenology persuasively reshapes our conception of both of its main subjects.
Two centuries after his birth, Karl Marx is read almost solely through the lens of Marxism, his works examined for how they fit into the doctrine that was developed from them after his death.
With Marx’s Dream, Tom Rockmore offers a much-needed alternative view, distinguishing rigorously between Marx and Marxism. Rockmore breaks with the Marxist view of Marx in three key ways. First, he shows that the concern with the relation of theory to practice—reflected in Marx’s famous claim that philosophers only interpret the world, while the point is to change it—arose as early as Socrates, and has been central to philosophy in its best moments. Second, he seeks to free Marx from his unsolicited Marxist embrace in order to consider his theory on its own merits. And, crucially, Rockmore relies on the normal standards of philosophical debate, without the special pleading to which Marxist accounts too often resort. Marx’s failures as a thinker, Rockmore shows, lie less in his diagnosis of industrial capitalism’s problems than in the suggested remedies, which are often unsound.
Only a philosopher of Rockmore’s stature could tackle a project this substantial, and the results are remarkable: a fresh Marx, unencumbered by doctrine and full of insights that remain salient today.
The philosophical thought of J. G. Fichte, particularly his later work, is at the very center of the paradigm shift under way in the field of German idealism. Crucial to this reassessment is Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre nova methodo of 1796 to 1799, the manuscript at the heart of this essay colleciton and an articulation of the philosopher's Wissenschaftslehre, or overall system of philosophy, which he discussed in lectures at the University of Jena. Coherent, comprehensive, and edited by two of the foremost Fichte scholars in the world, the essays provide a much needed introduction to the major themes of the most important period of Fichte's philosophical thought--and thus to German idealism itself--and make a persuasive case for the originality and continuing significance of the later Jena Wissenschaftslehre.