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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter considers Friedrich Schlegel as a philosopher, and argues that Schlegel’s philosophical views must be understood in relation to his emphasis on history and historical knowledge and his claim that philosophy must emerge from and in relation to life. Thus, in deep contrast to two influential interpretations of Schlegel—Hegel’s view of Schlegel’s philosophy as a poetic exaggeration of the Fichtean subject and the postmodern view of Schlegel as a deeply sceptical anti-idealist—the chapter contends that Schlegel sought to develop a historically-informed philosophy and maintained that it is only through concrete knowledge of political and social realities that we can understand the nature of morality and achieve moral progress. Furthermore, it is argued that Schlegel did not entirely forego the possibility of systematic knowledge, but developed a new conception of systematicity based on his understanding of living or organic beings.

Keywords: Friedrich Schlegel, romantic philosophy, hermeneutics, historicism, idealism, empiricism, skepticism, first principles, systematic knowledge, organicism

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