Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory beyond Green

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by Jeffrey J. Cohen F’11, F’03, ACLS Fellowship Program, now available University of Minnesota Press.

Traces the impress and agency of ecologies that cannot be reduced to the bucolic expanses of green readings

Prismatic Ecology moves beyond the accustomed green readings of ecotheory and maps a colorful world of ecological possibility. By way of color, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen guides readers through a reflection of an essentially complex and disordered universe and demonstrates the spectrum as an unfinishable totality, always in excess of what a human perceives.

A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 by Aurelian Craiutu F’08 now available from Princeton University Press. Political moderation is the touchstone of democracy, which could not function without compromise and bargaining, yet it is one of the most understudied concepts in political theory. How can we explain this striking paradox? Why do we often underestimate the virtue of moderation? Seeking to answer these questions, A Virtue for Courageous Minds examines moderation in modern French political thought and sheds light on the French Revolution and its legacy.

A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 by Aurelian Craiutu F’08 now available from Princeton University Press.

Political moderation is the touchstone of democracy, which could not function without compromise and bargaining, yet it is one of the most understudied concepts in political theory. How can we explain this striking paradox? Why do we often underestimate the virtue of moderation? Seeking to answer these questions, A Virtue for Courageous Minds examines moderation in modern French political thought and sheds light on the French Revolution and its legacy.

The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy: A Systematic Reconstruction by Eckart Förster F’85 now available from Harvard University Press.Kant declared that philosophy began in 1781 with his Critique of Pure Reason. In 1806 Hegel announced that philosophy had now been completed. Eckart Förster examines the reasons behind these claims and assesses the steps that led in such a short time from Kant’s “beginning” to Hegel’s “end.” He concludes that, in an unexpected yet significant sense, both Kant and Hegel were indeed right.The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy follows the unfolding of a key idea during this exceptionally productive period: the Kantian idea that philosophy can be scientific and, consequently, can be completed. Förster’s study combines historical research with philosophical insight and leads him to propose a new thesis. The development of Kant’s transcendental philosophy in his three Critiques, Förster claims, resulted in a fundamental distinction between “intellectual intuition” and “intuitive understanding.” Overlooked until now, this distinction yields two takes on how to pursue philosophy as science after Kant. One line of thought culminates in Fichte’s theory of freedom (Wissenschaftslehre), while the other—and here Förster brings Goethe’s significance to the fore—results in Goethe’s transformation of the Kantian idea of an intuitive understanding in light of Spinoza’s third kind of knowledge. Both strands are brought together in Hegel and propel his split from Schelling.Förster’s work makes an original contribution to our understanding of the classical era of German philosophy—an expanding interest within the Anglophone philosophical community.

The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy: A Systematic Reconstruction by Eckart Förster F’85 now available from Harvard University Press.

Kant declared that philosophy began in 1781 with his Critique of Pure Reason. In 1806 Hegel announced that philosophy had now been completed. Eckart Förster examines the reasons behind these claims and assesses the steps that led in such a short time from Kant’s “beginning” to Hegel’s “end.” He concludes that, in an unexpected yet significant sense, both Kant and Hegel were indeed right.

The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy follows the unfolding of a key idea during this exceptionally productive period: the Kantian idea that philosophy can be scientific and, consequently, can be completed. Förster’s study combines historical research with philosophical insight and leads him to propose a new thesis. The development of Kant’s transcendental philosophy in his three Critiques, Förster claims, resulted in a fundamental distinction between “intellectual intuition” and “intuitive understanding.” Overlooked until now, this distinction yields two takes on how to pursue philosophy as science after Kant. One line of thought culminates in Fichte’s theory of freedom (Wissenschaftslehre), while the other—and here Förster brings Goethe’s significance to the fore—results in Goethe’s transformation of the Kantian idea of an intuitive understanding in light of Spinoza’s third kind of knowledge. Both strands are brought together in Hegel and propel his split from Schelling.

Förster’s work makes an original contribution to our understanding of the classical era of German philosophy—an expanding interest within the Anglophone philosophical community.

ACLS Fellows in the News. Aurelian Craiutu F’08 will speak on “America as Seen by Tocqueville and French Liberalism” today at Brigham Young University. Craiutu’s research interests include French political and social thought (Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Constant, Madame de Staël, Guizot, Aron), varieties of liberalism and conservatism, democratic theory, as well as theories of transition to democracy and democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe.