Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.770705
Title: Christian Garve's quarrels, rhetoric, and humanism
Author: Thompson, James
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
The philosopher Christian Garve (1742-1798) is now largely forgotten. Some scholars apparently think that this was deserved. However, most will admit that Garve was also a victim of historical developments. He embraced a particular set of intellectual values; he regarded it as the philosopher's duty to communicate with the public and do work of value to them. During and after his lifetime, this view came to be excluded from German intellectual culture. A very different set of values prevailed: on this view, a dichotomy exists between serious intellectual work and the wider public. The conflict between these two sets of values is dramatized in several episodes from Garve's experience. The present thesis analyses four exchanges involving Garve and a range of prominent contemporaries: Kant, Schiller, Goethe, Schlegel, and Schleiermacher. In these exchanges, the contrasting positions of Garve and his opponents take on concrete expression. The thesis draws out the underlying assumptions which inform their arguments. The individual episodes therefore become microcosms for more fundamental developments. This gives them unique significance: the outcome of this conflict still shapes German intellectual culture today. The thesis interprets Garve's quarrels as local expressions of a conflict between two views of the intellectual's vocation. Both go back to ancient models. Plato argued that the philosopher should preserve independence from society; Cicero argued that he must serve his fellow men. Cicero sought to bring philosophy down from heaven; Plato was concerned to send it back. The present thesis identifies Garve with the Ciceronian position, labelled here as 'humanism', and his opponents with Plato. It also notes that his arguments frequently draw on rhetorical principles; rhetoric and humanist philosophy were closely linked. Accordingly, the thesis locates each individual exchange against the background of key texts from those two traditions.
Supervisor: Hilliard, Kevin Sponsor: Alfred Toepfer Stiftung ; Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.770705  DOI: Not available
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