Philosophy of History After Hayden White (Bloomsbury Studies in American Philosophy)
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This anthology of new essays by an international group of preeminent scholars explores the ground-breaking work of Hayden White, whose thought, beginning with his seminal Metahistory (1973), has revolutionized the way we think about the philosophy of history, historiography, narrative, and the relation between history and literature. Representing a variety of disciplines and approaches, the contributions to this volume testify to the far-reaching effects and significance of White's philosophy of history. Individual essays relate White's ideas to contemporary art, cognitive studies, Heideggerian hermeneutics, experimental history, Kant's transcendental philosophy, analytic philosophy of history, Marxist cultural theory, the Kantian sublime, and American academic historiography.
A substantial introduction by the editor traces the genesis of White's philosophy of history, situating it with respect to both the Anglo-American and Continental traditions. The volume also features a previously unpublished essay by White, which offers a concise overview of his later thought, and a "Comment" written specifically for this volume, in which White revisits the question of the philosophy of history.
concepts of objects and makes judgments about them) and reason (which connects such judgments through inferences and unifies our cognition under principles specifying the self-directing aims of our cognitive faculties as a whole)” (ibid., 31). 37 Ibid., 33. By extension, when Kant, in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, identifies the “intuitive” basis of aesthetic ideas, he emphasizes the subjectivity of their sensory content, on the one hand, and the passive comportment of the mind that
in common. Irony is what separates figural or tropological utterances in general from their literal counterparts. Though, again, tropology makes us aware of the fact that the denial—or negation—may take different forms. It is the shortcoming, or naivety, of Aristotle’s law of the excluded middle to suggest that there should be just one form of denial or negation—i.e. the one we would primarily relate to irony. So denial can take different forms: there is irony, but also metaphor, metonymy, and
were affected by the momentous conflict on the plains of Troy. It is this overlay of interest onto happening that singles out events as having historical significance. Helen’s twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, were great athletes who led busy and eventful lives before they became stars in the ancients’ firmament. Her sister and future sister-in-law, Clytemnestra, are coincidentally related to one another in the Fall of Troy, since the latter’s daughter and the former’s niece, Iphigenia, had to be
as Roland Barthes notoriously commented, language is fascist, not because it prevents us from speaking, but, on the contrary, because it forces us to do so. So it is with narrative, White maintains, which will control us via emplotment to such an extent that even a work purposely bereft of plot becomes a fully emplotted statement of the plotless—for example, Jacob Burckhardt. What White is calling for is what Barthes announced in his 1968 essay “The Death of the Author”—the victory of the reader
our many powers of rendering and fulfilling the figures that we have chosen. Finally, meaning, as Barthes or Tolstoy feared, can saturate the world and present us with the banal, useless maps that we encounter everywhere. Yet an explosion of meanings in a truly creative world (of modern art, for example) has the opposite effect. More irony, more narratives, more meanings, and, of course, more histories, are the only antidotes to the problem. And they must be taken at a different level, an