The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.


We are still a long way from undoing the damaging view of early modern German philosophy as the ante-chamber in which reason had to wait while history prepared for its enthronement in Kantian philosophy. In this paper I sketch the broad outlines of a different view, focusing not on what philosophy had to become, but on a series of disputes about what it might be. The story that emerges is not that of Western reason calmly clarifying its epistemological and ethical premises, but one of a complex archipelago of struggles in which diverse configurations of philosophy were hammered-out in relation to theology, jurisprudence, political science, and natural law. It is impossible to understand the resulting philosophical profiles without investigating the milieux in which these struggles took place - in particular the confessionalised universities and urban gymnasia in their relation to ruling courts and councils - and the crucial role played by the cultivation of specific philosophical personae.

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