Draft Review of Hammer’s ‘German Idealism: Contemporary Perspectives’

Comments, whether stylistic or substantive, very welcome!

Espen Hammer (ed.): German Idealism: Contemporary Perspectives, London, Routledge, 2007, pp. 339. £18.99 pbk. ISBN 0-415-37305-0.

Update: I’ve taken down this post as the review is now forthcoming in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy in early 2009. Look out for it there…

Update II: The review is available online to subscribers here.

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4 thoughts on “Draft Review of Hammer’s ‘German Idealism: Contemporary Perspectives’

  1. Thanks for this review. I’ve been tempted by this book – what a lineup! – but at $35 I think I’ll pass for now.

    Can you say more about Gardner’s piece? He lists it on his site but not for download … 8-(

  2. The article is a good one but I am not ultimately convinced by it.

    Firstly, Gardner ties the fate of non-metaphysical interpretations of the German idealists too closely to the contemporary prospects of soft naturalism. This blurs the boundaries between historical scholarship and independent philosophical considerations more than I am comfortable with (with all the provisos of our previous exchange on this issue, of course).

    Secondly, I think that the sort of soft naturalisms that Gardner seems to have in mind (e.g. McDowell and Brandom) do manage to retain many of the distinctive advantages of idealism. Gardner worries that the hard/soft naturalism distinction will ultimately map onto something like the reality/appearance distinction (or perhaps the scientific/manifest one). However, this thought is undermotivated as it stands, and does not engage with the sort of meta-philosophical considerations which someone like McDowell adduces to prevent this happening. For example, McDowell’s analogical treatment of value and morality that exploits comparisons with secondary properties and mathematics in support of an anthropomorphic yet still not anti-realist attitude toward value and moral reasons.

    Sorry that’s so sketchy; I’ll have to re-read the Gardner article before I can be of much more use.

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