By Robert Alan Sparling
Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788) used to be a German thinker who provided in his writings a thorough critique of the Enlightenment's reverence for cause. A pivotal determine within the Sturm und Drang move, his proposal stimulated such writers as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder. As a pal of Immanuel Kant, Hamann used to be the 1st author to touch upon the Critique of natural cause, and his paintings foreshadows the linguistic flip in philosophy in addition to various components of 20th century hermeneutics and existentialism.
Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment undertaking addresses Hamann's oeuvre from the viewpoint of political philosophy, concentrating on his perspectives about the public use of cause, social agreement thought, autonomy, aesthetic morality and the politics of 'taste,' and the technocratic excellent of enlightened despotism. Robert Alan Sparling situates Hamann's paintings traditionally, elucidates his just a little tough writing, and argues for his relevance within the ongoing tradition wars over the benefits of the Enlightenment venture.
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Extra resources for Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project
65 In terms of history, this amounted to a fondness for ancient ways of thinking that were widely denigrated in the eighteenth century as childish (merely immature and superficial rather than childlike and profound). Hamann’s anti-progressive stance confounds our normal associations, however, for Hamann could make it the basis of radical anti-authoritarianism. In Prussia, Enlightenment was associated with absolutism; to oppose the age of Frederick was to oppose Frederick. ’66 Philosophy and domination were intimately linked as manifestations of human pride.
They were concerned equally with the emancipation of reason from religious control. Thus, while few writers of the Enlightenment were outright atheists, all believed that religious claims required rational justification. While they had radically different philosophical positions, they all shared the promise of cleaning out both mind and society, brushing away the cobwebs of metaphysics, mythical thought, feudal corporatism, and the authority of tradition. Hamann and His Age As we noted, interpreters of Hamann are somewhat mixed in their interpretations of his reaction to his age.
Attending to Hamann’s counter-Enlightenment writings helps us see the contours of a religious response to the problems presented by the rule of reason. It is a response that is in some ways novel to our ears, and in others extremely old. It is a constellation of ideas that appear odd to the main partisans of both Enlightenment and its opposite, a constellation of ideas that are entirely incoherent without a God. Rights give way to duties, dignity is based on grace, difference is elevated and only reconciled with a divine mystery, history, contingency, and particularity have universal implications, willing and projecting are replaced by receiving, and, while we speak language, language in a sense speaks us.
Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project by Robert Alan Sparling