The History of Continental Philosophy

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From Kant to Kierkegaard, from Hegel to Heidegger, continental philosophers have indelibly shaped the trajectory of Western thought since the eighteenth century. Although much has been written about these monumental thinkers, students and scholars lack a definitive guide to the entire scope of the continental tradition. The most comprehensive reference work to date, this eight-volume History of Continental Philosophy will both encapsulate the subject and reorient our understanding of it. Beginning with an overview of Kant’s philosophy and its initial reception, the History traces the evolution of continental philosophy through major figures as well as movements such as existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. The final volume outlines the current state of the field, bringing the work of both historical and modern thinkers to bear on such contemporary topics as feminism, globalization, and the environment. Throughout, the volumes examine important philosophical figures and developments in their historical, political, and cultural contexts.

The first reference of its kind, A History of Continental Philosophy has been written and edited by internationally recognized experts with a commitment to explaining complex thinkers, texts, and movements in rigorous yet jargon-free essays suitable for both undergraduates and seasoned specialists. These volumes also elucidate ongoing debates about the nature of continental and analytic philosophy, surveying the distinctive, sometimes overlapping characteristics and approaches of each tradition. Featuring helpful overviews of major topics and plotting road maps to their underlying contexts, A History of Continental Philosophy is destined to be the resource of first and last resort for students and scholars alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Naas

“A superb and absolutely unique project that will be an invaluable resource for students and teachers of continental philosophy. The academic rigor and quality of the work is truly exemplary and is unlike anything currently on the market. I cannot imagine a more competent group of editors and authors or a more thoughtful presentation of the material. This landmark series provides the first comprehensive history of continental philosophy in the English language--probably the first in any language. Every library will want to own a copy and every scholar of continental philosophy will have occasion to turn to it often.”
“While Gilles Deleuze complained that ‘the history of philosophy plays a patently repressive role’ in philosophical education, this outstanding eight-volume work will have the opposite effect on readers. It opens up new vistas and possibilities by bringing canonical figures (Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida), the necessary supporting cast (Herder, Schelling, Kierkegaard, Peirce), and marginal voices (Freud, Dostoevsky, utopian socialists, black existentialists) often given short shrift in less comprehensive histories into sharp focus. It traces a motley heritage--from Kant and Hegel through phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, structuralism, and poststructuralism--noting resonances, convergences, and trends along the way. The volumes follow a chronological progression, as one would expect, with each volume collecting a well-thought-out sequence of essays by highly regarded international and American scholars. . . . The writing is usually clear, succinct, and accurate, and all contributors do a commendable job of summarizing their primary subject matter and placing it in the context of current scholarship while avoiding being overly technical. . . . Essential.”
Library Journal
This eight-volume set considers continental philosophy as a tradition of philosophical thought developing from Kant's work and more specifically a tradition that took shape at the beginning of the 20th century with the phenomenology of Husserl and proceeded through critical theory, structuralism, and poststructuralism to today. Schrift (philosophy, Grinnell Coll.) aims for a "coherent and comprehensive account of the continental philosophical tradition that offers a unique resource for understanding this tradition's complex and interconnected history." Each volume is thematic, with 98 separate articles throughout the series, so the coherence is somewhat strained, but the set as a whole gives a comprehensive account of the continental tradition, and its broad scope makes it a unique contribution to the history of continental philosophy. BOTTOM LINE Recommended. Though priced for libraries, this work should appeal to anyone interested in continental philosophy. Readers familiar with continental philosophy up to the heyday of Foucault and Derrida—and who seek a coherent view of what has gone on since—will find the final two volumes covering post-­poststructuralism and emerging trends especially interesting.—Wayne Bivens-Tatum, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226740461
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Pages: 3040
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Alan D. Schrift is professor of philosophy at Grinnell College. He is the author of many books, including Twentieth Century French Philosophy: Key Themes and Thinkers, Modernity and the Problem of Evil, and Why Nietzsche Still? Reflections on Drama, Culture, and Politics.


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Table of Contents

Volume 1: Kant, Kantianism, and Idealism: The Origins of Continental Philosophy
Edited by Thomas Nenon
Introduction, Thomas Nenon
1. Immanuel Kant's Turn to Transcendental Philosophy, Thomas Nenon
2. Kant's Early Critics: Jacobi, Reinhold, Maimon, Richard Fincham
3. Johann Gottfried Herder, Sonia Sikka
4. Play and Irony: Schiller and Schlegel on the Liberating Prospects of Aesthetics, Daniel Dahlstrom
5. Fichte and Husserl: Life-world, the Other, and Philosophical Reflection, Robert R. Williams
6. Schelling: Philosopher of Tragic Dissonance, Joseph P. Lawrence
7. Schopenhauer on Empirical and Aesthetic Perception and Cognition, Bart Vandenabeele
8. G.W.F. Hegel, Terry Pinkard
9. From Hegelian Reason to the Marxian Revolution, 1831-48, Lawrence S. Stepelevich
10. Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Proudhon: "Utopian," French Socialism, Diane Morgan

Volume 2: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy: Revolutionary Responses to the Existing Order
Edited by Alan D. Schrift and Daniel Conway

Introduction, Daniel Conway
1. Feuerbach and the Left and Right Hegelians, William Clare Roberts
2. Marx and Marxism, Terrell Carver
3. Søren Kierkegaard, Alastair Hannay
4. Dostoevsky and Russian Philosophy, Evgenia Cherkasova
5. Life after the Death of God: Thus Spoke Nietzsche, Daniel Conway
6. Hermeneutics: Schleiermacher and Dilthey, Eric Sean Nelson
7. French Spiritualish Philosophy, F.C.T. Moore
8. The Emergence of Sociology and its Theories: From Comte to Weber, Alan Sica
9. Developments in Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, Dale Jacquette
10. Peirce: Pragmatism and Nature after Hegel, Douglas R. Anderson
11. Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art, 1840-1900, Gary Shapiro 

Volume 3: The New Century: Bergsonism, Phenomenology and Responses to Modern Science
Edited by Keith Ansell-Pearson and Alan D. Schrift

Introduction, Keith Ansell-Pearson
1. Henri Bergson, John Mullarkey
2. Neo-Kantianism in Germany and France, Sebastian Luft and Fabien Capeillères
3. The Emergence of French Sociology: Émile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, Mike Gane
4. Analytic and Continental Traditions: Frege, Husserl, Carnap, and Heidegger, Michael Friedman and Thomas Ryckman
5. Edmund Husserl, Thomas Nenon
6. Max Scheler, Dan Zahavi
7. The Early Heidegger, Miguel de Beistegui
8. Karl Jaspers, Leonard H. Ehrlich
9. Phenomenology at Home and Abroad, Diane Perpich
10. Early Continental Philosophy of Science, Babette Babich
11. Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Fennell and Bob Plant
12. Freud and Continental Philosophy, Adrian Johnston
13. Responses to Evolution: Spencer's Evolutionism, Bergsonism, and Contemporary Biology, Keith Ansell-Pearson, Paul-Antoine Miquel and Michael Vaughan

Volume 4: Phenomenology: Responses and Developments
Edited by Leonard Lawlor
Introduction, Leonard Lawlor
1. Dialectic, Difference and the Other: The Hegelianizing of French Phenomenology, John Russon
2. Existentialism, S. K. Keltner and Samuel J. Julian
3. Sartre and Phenomenology, William L. McBride
4. Continental Aesthetics: Phenomenology and Antiphenomenology, Galen A. Johnson
5. Merleau-Ponty at the Limits of Phenomenology, Mauro Carbone
6. The Hermeneutic Transformation of Phenomenology, Daniel L. Tate
7. The Later Heidegger, Dennis Schmidt
8. Existential Theology, Andreas Grossmann
9. Religion and Ethics, Felix Ó Murchadha
10. The Philosophy of the Concept, Pierre Cassou-Noguès
11. Analytic Philosophy and Continental Philosophy: Four Confrontations, Dermot Moran

Volume 5: Critical Theory to Structuralism: Philosophy, Politics and the Human Sciences
Edited by David Ingram
Introduction, David Ingram
1. Carl Schmitt and Early Western Marxism, Christopher Thornhill
2. The Origins and Development of the Model of Early Critical Theory in the Work of Max Horkheimer, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse, John Abromeit
3. Theodor Adorno, Deborah Cook
4. Walter Benjamin, James McFarland
5. Hannah Arendt: Rethinking the Political, Peg Birmingham
6. Georges Bataille, Peter Tracey Connor
7. French Marxism in its Heyday, William McBride
8. Black Existentialism, Lewis R. Gordon
9. Ferdinand de Saussure and Linguistic Structuralism, Thomas F. Broden
10. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Brian C. J. Singer
11. Jacques Lacan, Ed Pluth
12. Late Pragmatism, Logical Positivism, and their Aftermath, David Ingram

Volume 6: Poststructuralism and Critical Theory's Second Generation
Edited by Alan D. Schrift
Introduction, Alan D. Schrift
1. French Nietzscheanism, Alan D. Schrift
2. Louis Althusser, Warren Montag
3. Michel Foucault, Timothy O'Leary
4. Gilles Deleuze, Daniel W. Smith
5. Jacques Derrida, Samir Haddad
6. Jean-François Lyotard, James Williams
7. Pierre Bourdieu and the Practice of Philosophy, Derek Robbins
8. Michel Serres, David F. Bell
9. Jürgen Habermas, Christopher F. Zurn
10. Second Generation Critical Theory, James Swindal
11. Gadamer, Ricoeur, and the Legacy of Phenomenology, Wayne J. Froman
12. The Linguistic Turn in Continental Philosophy, Claire Colebrook
13. Psychoanalysis and Desire, Rosi Braidotti and Alan D. Schrift
14. Luce Irigaray, Mary Beth Mader
15. Cixous, Kristeva, and Le Dœuff: Three "French Feminists," Sara Heinämaa
16. Deconstruction and the Yale School of Literary Theory, Jeffrey T. Nealon
17. Rorty Among the Continentals, David R. Hiley

Volume 7: After Poststructuralism: Transitions and Transformations
Edited by Rosi Braidotti
Introduction, Rosi Braidotti
1. Postmodernism, Simon Malpas
2. German Philosophy after 1980: Themes Out of School, Dieter Thomä
3. The Structuralist Legacy, Patrice Maniglier
4. Italian Philosophy Between 1980 and 1995, Silvia Benso and Brian Schroeder
5. Continental Philosophy in the Czech Republic, Josef Fulka, Jr.
6. Third Generation Critical Theory: Benhabib, Fraser, and Honneth, Amy Allen
7. French and Italian Spinozism, Simon Duffy
8. Radical Democracy, Lasse Thomassen
9. Cultural and Postcolonial Studies, Iain Chambers
10. The "Ethical Turn" in Continental Philosophy in the 1980s, Robert Eaglestone
11. Feminist Philosophy: Coming of Age, Rosi Braidotti
12. Continental Philosophy of Religion, Bruce Ellis Benson
13. The Performative Turn and the Emergence of Post-Analytic Philosophy, José Medina
14. Out of Bounds: Philosophy in an Age of Transition, Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti

Volume 8: Emerging Trends in Continental Philosophy
Edited by Todd May
Introduction, Todd May
1. Rethinking Gender: Judith Butler and Feminist Philosophy, Gayle Salamon
2. Recent Developments in Aesthetics: Badiou, Rancière, and Their Interlocutors, Gabriel Rockhill
3. Rethinking Marxism, Emily Zakin
4. Thinking the Event: Alain Badiou's Philosophy and the Task of Critical Theory, Bruno Bosteels
5. Rethinking Anglo-American Philosophy: The Neo-Kantianism of Davidson, McDowell, and Brandom, John Fennell
6. Rethinking Science as Science Studies: Latour, Stengers, Prigogine, Dorothea Olkowski
7. European Citizenship: A Postnationalist Perspective, Rosi Braidotti
8. Postcolonialism, Postorientalism, Postoccidentalism: The Past That Never Went Away and the Future That Never Arrived, Eduardo Mendieta
9. Continental Philosophy and the Environment, Jonathan Maskit
10. Rethinking the New World Order: Responses to Globalization/American Hegemony, Todd May

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