This collection of essays, first published in German in 1995, has been written by the foremost representative of the hermeneutical approach in German philosophy. It offers a quite original interpretation of the tradition of German Idealist thought - Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. Rudiger Bubner seeks to cast fresh light on the genuine philosophical innovations in the complex of issues and aspirations which dominated German intellectual life from 1780 to 1830. His major question is: in what way did the Idealists change philosophy, reformulate traditional issues, and especially, reinterpret traditional figures? His answer to this question involves focusing on the literary and cultural spirit of the time, thus broadening the question of philosophical innovation and locating it within the wider framework of innovations and continuities within the Western intellectual tradition itself. This collection will be of special interest to students of German philosophy, literary theory and the history of ideas.
'In effect the book constitutes an elaborate defense of the hermeneutical approach to philosophy through its carefully crafted elaboration of how hermeneutical thought grows out of the project of idealism. One of its real strengths is its development of certain key ideas in Hegelian thought and its attempt to take Hegel seriously while nonetheless avoiding his mistakes. In Bubner's interpretation hermeneutical thought thus completes the idealist project in a way analogous to that in which Hegel claimed to have completed the projects of his idealist predecessors ... It has few counterparts in either the German or English language literature on the subject. It is far more philosophically sophisticated than the older intellectual histories of the subject.' Terry Pinkard, Northwestern University, author of Hegel: A Biography