Images of History: Kant, Benjamin, Freedom, and the Human Subject by Richard EldridgeImages of History: Kant, Benjamin, Freedom, and the Human Subject by Richard Eldridge

Images of History: Kant, Benjamin, Freedom, and the Human Subject

byRichard Eldridge

Hardcover | July 15, 2016

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Developing work in the theories of action and explanation, Eldridge argues that moral and political philosophers require accounts of what is historically possible, while historians require rough philosophical understandings of ideals that merit reasonable endorsement. Both Immanuel Kant and Walter Benjamin recognize this fact. Each sees a special place for religious consciousness and critical practice in the articulation and revision of ideals that are to have cultural effect, but they differ sharply in the forms of religious-philosophical understanding, culturalcriticism, and political practice that they favor. Kant defends a liberal, reformist, Protestant stance, emphasizing the importance of liberty, individual rights, and democratic institutions. His fullest picture of movement toward a moral culture appears in Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason, where he describes conjecturally the emergence ofan ethical commonwealth.Benjamin defends a politics of improvisatory alertness and consciousness-raising that is suspicious of progress and liberal reform. He practices a form of modernist, materialist criticism that is strongly rooted in his encounters with Kant, Holderlin, and Goethe. His fullest, finished picture ofthis critical practice appears in One-Way Street, where he traces the continuing force of unsatisfied desires.By drawing on both Kant and Benjamin, Eldridge hopes to avoid both moralism (standing on sharply specified normative commitments at all costs) and waywardness (rejecting all settled commitments). And in doing so, he seeks to make better sense of the commitment-forming, commitment-revising, anxious,reflective and sometimes grownup acculturated human subjects we are.
Richard Eldridge is Charles and Harriett Cox McDowell Professor of Philosophy at Swarthmore College. He has held visiting appointments at Essex, Stanford, Bremen, Erfurt, Freiburg, Brooklyn, and Sydney. He is the author of 5 books and over 100 articles in aesthetics, philosophy of language, philosophy of literature, and Romanticism and...
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Title:Images of History: Kant, Benjamin, Freedom, and the Human SubjectFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190605324

ISBN - 13:9780190605322

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Editorial Reviews

"Richard Eldridge has written a sustained reflection on the question of the historical actualization of human freedom and on the character of a genuinely historical human agency...Eldridge's book is a significant contribution to the renewed interest in problems of the philosophy of history andtheir relevance for contemporary moral and political philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition. The approach that Eldridge presents and in particular the continuity that he finds with the Kantian project offers a distinct and important alternative reading to recent appropriations of Benjamin's workin continental philosophy." --Eli Friedlander, Tel Aviv University