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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article is a defense of the history of ideas as traditionally understood. The history of ideas, as originally conceived, attempted to be both historical and philosophical. Its historical dimension consisted in placing ideas in their historical context and understanding the intentions behind the author; its philosophical dimension consisted in criticism, the internal critique of an author according to his own aims. Modern intellectual or philosophical history has separated these two components. There is the analytical history of philosophy which aims to be primarily critical or philosophical (viz., the approach advocated by Strawson and Bennet), and the historical Cambridge school which aims to be chiefly historical (viz., Skinner and Tully). The article argues that the history of philosophy is best pursued by joining the philosophical and historical approaches; it attempts to show how the attempt to pursue history without philosophy, or philosophy without history, breaks down and suffers from inevitable shortcomings.

Keywords: history of ideas, hermeneutics, historicism, Begriffsgeschichte, immanent critique, context, content, historiography, ethnocentrism, relativism

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