Cover: The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy: A Systematic Reconstruction, from Harvard University PressCover: The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy in HARDCOVER

The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy

A Systematic Reconstruction

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$58.00 • £42.95 • €52.00

ISBN 9780674055162

Publication: March 2012


432 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 halftone, 13 line illustrations


Kant maintained that philosophy finally had begun with his Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. In 1806, Hegel claimed that philosophy was now completed. Therefore, philosophy existed for only 25 years. In this masterful book, Förster examines the conceptions of philosophy held by Kant and Hegel that required them to make such seemingly extravagant pronouncements. Förster argues that, astonishingly, they were correct. To do this, he provides synthetic and critical examinations of not only the crucial texts and arguments of Kant and Hegel but also those of Spinoza, Jacobi, Fichte, Goethe, Herder, and Schelling. Förster’s command of the historical sources is most impressive. Moreover, this book is clearly written, and Bowman’s translation is commendable. Scholars and graduate students will welcome this masterpiece.—J. M. Fritzman, Choice

Förster has written one of the most important books on German philosophy to have appeared in several decades, important both for the many new things it has to teach us about the history of the “twenty-five years” of philosophy, and for its remarkable contributions to philosophy itself. A truly path-breaking achievement.—Robert B. Pippin, University of Chicago

In this book, a great Kant scholar asks two fundamental questions about the extraordinary period of German philosophy from 1781–1806. Why did Kant claim that he had begun philosophy anew—and why did Hegel think that he had brought it to an end? Eckart Förster’s answers are historically cogent and philosophically challenging. They are rooted in the deepest learning yet, at the same time, presented with extraordinary clarity. The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy is a masterpiece.—Michael Rosen, Harvard University

For several years, scholars working in the vibrant field of German Idealism—philosophers, literary critics, historians of science, art historians—have been tensely awaiting the appearance of Förster’s major synthetic study of the period. But The Twenty-Five Years of Philosophy exceeds even the most extravagant expectations. In its combination of detailed historical and textual reconstruction with penetrating philosophical thought, in its unrivaled perspicuity of presentation, in its narrative drive, Förster’s book will reward its readers’ engagement in every respect. It is masterful in its command of the work of Kant, Jacobi, Spinoza, Fichte, Schelling, Goethe, and Hegel. It is moving in its commitment to philosophical reflection of the boldest order. Its clarity is marvelous to behold. No serious student of the period will read this book only once.—David E. Wellbery, University of Chicago