Nineteenth-century philosophy

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC100-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 06, 2020, from

5. The legacy of nineteenth-century philosophy

It can be seen therefore that the ‘fight between the nineteenth century and the eighteenth’ runs like a thread though the philosophical debates in the period we have been discussing (and where European ideas spread, a similar trajectory can be found in other countries: see Anti-positivist thought in Latin America; Argentina, philosophy in §§2–3; Australia, philosophy in §2; Brazil, philosophy in §§6–8; Latin America, philosophy in §1; Mexico; philosophy in §1; Positivist thought in Latin America).Moreover, in an important sense, this fight continues even now, as Kantians and idealists question the positions of materialists, empiricists and positivists, in the light of scientific developments and disputes about the methodologies of science. While aspects of the nineteenth-century debate may perhaps be less strongly felt - such as the religious implications of these issues - the issues remain as central and pivotal to large areas of philosophy as previously, insofar as they concern not only our conception of the nature of reality, knowledge and the mind, but also of ethics, human freedom, society, historical understanding and politics. Many intellectual movements of the twentieth century - such as existentialism, phenomenology (see Phenomenological movement), critical theory and Hermeneutics - have underlying them this tension between ‘naturalism’ and various forms of ‘anti-naturalism’. To understand our own preoccupations properly, we must understand the nineteenth century debates that first reflected this tension.

Citing this article:
Stern, Robert. The legacy of nineteenth-century philosophy. Nineteenth-century philosophy, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC100-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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