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The Modern Subject

State University of New York Press, Albany, 1995
ISBN: 0 7914 2754 4

cover_modernsubjectContemporary thought often claims the 'death of the subiect" and postmodernists typically contend that the standpoint of human subjectivity has been surpassed as a foundation for philosophy. A proper appreciation of these influential claims requires an understanding of the main tradition in which the standpoint of subjectivity was articulated, namely the classical philosophy of German Idealism. This book provides such an understanding.

The authors assess what is dead and what is alive today in the philosophy of subjectivity, and offer the most thorough study available on the background of the postmodern assault on the primacy of the subject. Tracing this assault back to reactions to Kant, they elucidate the historical and systematic details of the development of the concept of the self in Classical philosophy from Kant to Fichte and Hegel. Manfred Frank, one of Europe's most prominent and prolific writers on neo-structuralism, provides two major contributions - an account of the philosophical foundations of the reaction to Kant in early romanticism (especially Novalis), and a defense of the ineliminability of selfconsciousness against its critics in current analytic philosophy. Essays by other contributors including Henry Allison, Robert Pippin, Daniel Breazeale, Guenter Zoeller, Ludwig Siep, Veronique Zanetti, and Georg Mohr relate the concept of the self to topics such as freedom, teleology, modernity, and intersubjectivity.