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Weimar ThoughtA Contested Legacy$
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Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691135106

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691135106.001.0001

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Weimar Philosophy and the Crisis of Historical Thinking

Weimar Philosophy and the Crisis of Historical Thinking

(p.133) 7 Weimar Philosophy and the Crisis of Historical Thinking
Weimar Thought

Charles Bambach

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the philosophy of history and the so-called crisis of historicism. For proponents of the Weimar “crisis theology,” the breakdown of historical norms and values had led to a “permanent Krisis of the relation between time and eternity.” In this void “between the times” the work of Spengler, Barth, and Gogarten came to signify a “crisis of historicism”: not merely of the empirical research paradigm of practicing historians, but rather a crisis in the foundations of historical thinking, of Nietzsche's question about whether history itself has any meaning for life. It is this crisis that came to shape German historical thinking in decisive ways during the Weimar era, especially in the work of four philosophers of history: Oswald Spengler, Ernst Troeltsch, Heinrich Rickert, and Martin Heidegger.

Keywords:   philosophy of history, Oswald Spengler, Ernst Troeltsch, Heinrich Rickert, Martin Heidegger, Weimar Republic, German historical thinking, historicism, Nietzsche

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