The German historicist tradition


The German historicist tradition

Frederick C. Beiser

Oxford University Press, 2015, c2011

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [568]-594) and index

"First published in paperback 2015" -- T.p. verso



This is the first full study in English of the German historicist tradition. Frederick C. Beiser surveys the major German thinkers on history from the middle of the eighteenth century until the early twentieth century, providing an introduction to each thinker and the main issues in interpreting and appraising his thought. The volume offers new interpretations of well-known philosophers such as Johann Gottfried Herder and Max Weber, and introduces others who are scarcely known at all, including J. A. Chladenius, Justus Moeser, Heinrich Rickert, and Emil Lask. Beyond an exploration of the historical and intellectual context of each thinker, Beiser illuminates the sources and reasons for the movement of German historicism-one of the great revolutions in modern Western thought, and the source of our historical understanding of the human world.


  • Introduction: Concept and Context of Historicism
  • 1. Chladenius and the New Science of History
  • 2. Justus Moser and the Roots of Historicism
  • 3. Herder's Historicism, its Genesis and Development
  • 4. Humboldt the Proteus
  • 5. Savigny and the Historical School of Law
  • 6. Ranke's Romantic Philosophy
  • 7. The Historics of Johann Gustav Droysen
  • 8. Dilthey and the Foundations of the Human Sciences
  • 9. Wilhelm Windelband and the Forces of History
  • 10. Rickert and the Philosophy of Value
  • 11. Emil Lask and the End of Southwestern Neo-Kantianism
  • 12. Simmel's Early Philosophy of History
  • 13. Max Weber and the End of the Historicist Tradition
  • Bibliography

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