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Marx, the Young Hegelians, and the Origins of Radical Social Theory: Dethroning the Self (Modern European Philosophy) [Hardcover]

By Warren Breckman (Author)
Our Price $ 114.13  
Item Number 156590  
Buy New $114.13

Item Specifications...

Pages   348
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.21" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.97"
Weight:   1.41 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 23, 2008
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521624401  
EAN  9780521624404  

Availability  90 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 11:37.
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Modern European Philosophy (Hardcover) - Full Series Preview
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Item Description...
This study of Marx and the Young Hegelians offers an interpretation of Marx's early development, the political dimension of Young Hegelianism, and that movement's relationship to political and intellectual currents in early 19th-century Germany. The author challenges the orthodox distinction drawn between the exclusively religious concerns of Hegelians in the 1830s and the sociopolitical preoccupations of the 1840s. He seeks to show that there are inextricable connections between the theological, political and social discourses of the Hegelians in the 1830s. The book draws together an account of major figures such as Feuerbach and Marx, with discussions of lesser-known figures such as Eduard Gans, August Cieszkowski, Moses Hess, F.W.J. Schelling as well as such movements as French Saint-Simonianism and positive philosophy .

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More About Warren Breckman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Warren Breckman currently resides in the state of Pennsylvania. Warren Breckman was born in 1963 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Pennsylvania.

Warren Breckman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Modern European Philosophy (Hardcover)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Indispensable Intellectual History  Feb 13, 2006

This remarkable book makes a significant contribution to the intellectual history of nineteenth-century Europe. Breckman offers a new interpretation of Marx's early development, as well as of the political dimension of Young Hegelianism as a whole and its relationship to the political, theological, and ideological currents of vormärz Germany. He shows that the discussion of Hegelian politics cannot be separated from the theologico-philosophical discussion of the period. Questions of civil society and the state were essentially related to the question of the nature of sovereignty, and sovereignty in turn devolved upon a more basic question about the nature of the self in its manifold roles as "sovereign," "citizen," and "subject." In the context of Germany in the early nineteenth century, this most basic political question was posed in the theologico-philosophical disputes of the day.

To support this contention, Breckman examines the polemical exchanges between Hegelians and Anti-Hegelians in the 1830s. This battle centered on the critical issue of "personality" or "personhood." Theological debates about the personal God crystallized orthodox Christian misgivings about Hegel's alleged pantheism; and the controversy moved easily across the porous divide between religion and politics and society. For the analogy between the personal God and the personal monarch was a mainstay of official Prussian ideology in the post-revolutionary era. The analogy extended further to the private property-owner, understood as a sovereign self. The theological, social and political homologies of Christian personalism structured the opponents of Hegelianism, as well as the the emerging Hegelian radicalism of the 1830s. It provided a basis from within the theological discourse of the time for the critique of the atomistic egotism of civil society and the political unfreedom of monarchy. The progressive Hegelians' association of Christianity with anti-social egoism suggested to them that "Christian civil society" was the obstacle to the realization of a free republic in Germany or, for some of the most radical among them, the obstacle to the fulfillment of more extreme visions of post-Christian social collectivism.

Breckman casts new light on Karl Marx's early development in light of the profound influence of these hitherto neglected debates about personalism. He rethinks Marx's debt to the Young Hegelians by showing that Marx's critique of bourgeois civil society and the state was as much the culmination of an earlier discourse about civil society as it was the initiation of a new one. The book argues that Marx's critical engagement with western European post-revolutionary "modernity," characterized by bourgeois individualism, political liberalism, and capitalism, was in fact filtered through the language and concepts that had evolved in the earlier radical Hegelian reaction against a more parochial Prussian context where liberal political and social forms were still overshadowed by monarchy and vestigial feudalism, and where theological, political, and social themes bled easily into each other. Marx brought along a lot of undeclared baggage when he shifted his scrutiny from the hybrid forms of Prussian society and politics to the political and social landscape of western Europe and America. This helps to explain his fateful identification of all secular conceptions of individualism with Christian personhood and his denunciation of liberalism as the last bastion of theology.

In sum, this is an extraordinary work: deeply researched, well-written, brilliantly argued. It succeeds in breathing new life into a subject that has been heavily worked in the past. The model of "personalism" that Breckman develops has much broader implications for the intersections of theology and politics in France and Britain in the early nineteenth century. This is a must-read for historians of political thought or theology and for philosophers or theologians interested in the Hegelian tradition.
A Must Read  Oct 16, 2003
Breckman's book does not replace Toews earlier work on the Young Hegelians, but it adds significantly to it. He is, by far, at his best in discussing the relationship between Feuerbach and Stahl, at his weakest in discussing Bauer and Stirner and in danger of being tendentious or merely trivial in his discussion of Marx (but makes some good minor points on Marx's dissertation).

The key idea he brings out most clearly is the centrality of the relationship between the political debate over the appropriateness of sovereignty and the religious debate over the incarnation dogma. The analysis of Feuerbach has always needed this conceptual framework.

If we see the Young Hegelian movement as having three moments - Strauss on Jesus, Feuerbach on humanity and Bauer on critique - Breckman adds significantly to the current analysis on the second moment. For english speaking readers, the superiority of his analysis of Feuerbach to that of Wartovsky is most welcome.

Where his weaknesses are is in the area of philosophy (the unfolding of the German idealist understanding of the unity of apperception) and Marx (the resolution of of personalism in a materialist conception of a unity, rather than an identity). These weaknesses derive from his sympathy for the post-modern pluralist positions of Mouffe, Arrato&Cohen etc. [Torben Bech Dryberg's book sets out this position most effectively.] Although fashionable, this re-articulation of a much older view only gets in Breckman's way when it comes to extending his analysis beyond 1841 when the young Hegelians themselves moved beyond the pluralist (but not liberal view) Breckman likes. A telling point this about the modern reception of the Young Hegelians - see also Kouvelakis for another post-Foucault take on the Young Hegelians.

Generally good on primary sources, weak on secondary works (not necessarily a flaw!), Breckman is too harsh on Mah. His bibliography is generally excellant, with good references to english translations (although he fails, if I recall correctly, to refer to Liebich's translation of Ciezkowski). Definitiely a buy for the YH fan.


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