Advertisement

The Situation of the Modern Subject

  • Thomas de Zengotita
Chapter
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)

Abstract

To prepare for an adequate account of “the postmodern,” Chap.  2 describes the contours of “the modern” in phenomenological terms—as a particular way the subject is constituted in relation to nature and society. Descartes and Galileo serve as exemplars of the original moment, showing that Cartesian dualism expressed philosophically a relation that was also essential to the natural sciences and to Protestantism. A subsequent section on Locke and the Enlightenment focuses on the social aspect of that relation as it was realized culturally, technologically, and politically—the “project of progress” was launched. Then, an outline of the “evolutionist” views of Hegel, Comte, and Spencer shows how moderns who persisted in that project of progress were obliged, after the traumas of the French and Industrial revolutions, to jettison the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ image of Nature’s plan as a synchronic blueprint and conceive of it instead as a determined historical process of development, an unfolding. Finally, the Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment is described in terms that strikingly anticipate “postmodernism” as we know it today.

References

  1. Abrams, M.H. 1971. Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  2. Althaus, Horst. 2000. Hegel: An Intellectual Biography. Trans. Michael Tarsh. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barzun, Jacques. 1964. Science: The Glorious Entertainment. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  4. Braudel, Fernand. 1982. Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  5. Braver, Lee. 2007. A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-realism. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bury, J.B. (John Bagnell). 1932. The Idea of Progress: An Inquiry into Its Origin and Growth. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  7. Descartes, Rene. 1968. The Discourse on Method (1637) and the Meditations (1641). Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  8. Dunn, John. 1969. The Political Thought of John Locke: An Historical Account of the Argument of the “Two Treatises of Government”. London: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elias, Norbert. 1978. The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. New York: Urizen Books.Google Scholar
  10. Francis, Mark. 2007. Herbert Spencer and the Invention of Modern Life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Galilei, Galileo. (1623a) 1957. Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo: Including the Starry Messenger. Trans. Stillman Drake. Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  12. ———. (1623b) 1970. Two Kinds of Properties. In Philosophy of Science: Readings Selected, ed. and Introduced by Arthur Danto and Sidney Morganbesser. New York: Meridian Books.Google Scholar
  13. Gay, Peter. 1969. The Enlightenment, an Interpretation: The Science of Freedom. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  14. Gillispie, Charles Coulston. 1960. The Edge of Objectivity: An Essay in the History of Scientific Ideas. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Green, F. 1931. 18th Century France, Six Essays. New York: D. Appleton.Google Scholar
  16. Hegel, Georg W. F. (1837) 1996. Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  17. Hobsbawm, Erik J. (1962) 1996. The Age of Revolution: 1789–1848. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  18. Houghton, Walter E. 1957. The Victorian Frame of Mind, 1830–1870. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Johnson, Samuel. 1958. The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kuehn, Manfred. 2001. Kant: A Biography. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lehmann, William C. 1971. Henry Home, Lord Kames, and the Scottish Enlightenment: A Study in National Character and in the History of Ideas. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
  22. Locke, John. (1689) 1996. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Abridged and ed. Kenneth P. Winkler. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  23. Lowith, Karl. (1941) 1991. From Hegel to Nietzsche: The Revolution in Nineteenth Century Thought. Trans. David E. Green. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Lukács, Georg. 1938. The Young Hegel: Part IV: The Breach with Schelling and the Phenomenology of Mind (Jena 1803–1807).https://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/youngheg/ch42.htm
  25. MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1984. After Virtue. Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  26. Macpherson, Crawford Brough. 1962. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  27. Malthus, Thomas. 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society; with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers. London.Google Scholar
  28. Manuel, Frank. 1962. The Prophets of Paris. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Maritain, Jacques. 1944. The Dream of Descartes. New York: Philosophical Library.Google Scholar
  30. Mossner, Ernest Campbell. 1970. The Life of David Hume. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nisbet, Robert. 2017. The History of the Idea of Progress. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Pickering, Mary. 1993. Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. (1781) 1953. The Confessions. Trans. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  34. ———. (1782) 1979. Reveries of a Solitary Walker. Trans. Peter France. New York: The Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  35. Rudé, George F.E. 1972. Europe in the 18th Century: Aristocracy and the Bourgeois Challenge. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  36. Sennett, Richard. 1974. The Fall of Public Man. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  37. Spencer, Herbert. (1857) 1881. Progress: Its Law and Cause, with Other Disquisitions, 233–34, 236, 238, 243. New York: J. Fitzgerald. http://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/primary-source-131-herbert-spencer-progress-its-law-and-cause.pdf
  38. ———. 1896. Study of Sociology. New York: D. Appleton and Company.Google Scholar
  39. Taine, Hippolyte Adolphe. (1867) 1931. The Ancient Régime. New York: Smith.Google Scholar
  40. Taylor, Charles. 1979. Hegel and Modern Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Weber, Max. (1905) 2014. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Kettering: Angelico Press.Google Scholar
  42. Wernick, Andrew. 2001. Auguste Comte and the Religion of Humanity: The Post-theistic Program of French Social Theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Whitney, Lois. 1965. Primitivism and the Idea of Progress in English Popular Literature of the Eighteenth Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  44. Willey, Basil. 1950. The 18th Century Background: Studies on the Idea of Nature in the Thought of the Period. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Williams, Raymond. (1958) 1983. Culture and Society: 1780–1950. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas de Zengotita
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations