Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts: A Survey, a Criticism, a New Approach, and a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Study of Letters and Arts

By Martin Schütze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE DIALECTIC-ABSOLUTISTIC
NOTION OF HISTORY

Genetic environment. Metaphysical preconceptions injected into the historical account of romanticism. Other local and temporal terms.

The dialectic-absolutistic approach to history and all processes of development consists in the reduction of the variety and richness of particular events to a preconceived static set of dialectic terms. By its absolutism it contradicts the first premise of any truly genetic view, namely, the assumption that in development there takes place a change not merely in the external appearances of an eternally fixed set of concepts, but of reality itself. Dialectic absolutism destroys the understanding of history and any real growth of knowledge. It is limited to a purely static verbal classification within an unalterable, preconceived scheme of things. It is a dialectic post- mortem of reality. Kant unwittingly acknowledges this character of dialectic absolutism at the end of the Critic of the Pure Reason where he expresses the conviction that his system will lead to a definitive mastery of all possible knowledge!

Kant persisted in attempting to deal with history. From his historical writings, including his review of Herder Ideen, the first essay in modern historiography, the static nature and the poverty of his classifications are obvious. It was Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche in the

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