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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts to frame European Romanticism against the background of that ‘somewhat enigmatic event’ which, between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, was said by Foucault to have begun European modernity: the discovery of ‘the historicity of knowledge’. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the monogenetic assumption that humankind was of a single Adamitic origin, created by one God, and universally attending to one divinely ordained natural law, had already fallen into disrepute under the attack of Reason; once Reason too, along with its presumption of one ‘unchanging human nature’, was relativized after the European discoveries of different cultures and ancient civilizations, a new outlook on life, which Meinecke called historismus, ‘rose’ to change once and for all European culture’s very understanding of its world.

Keywords: historicity, relativism, Europe, modernity, natural law, reason, geography.

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