Category Archives: intellectualhistory

The Intellectual History of Europe

In the introduction to their 1984 volume on Philosophy in History, Richard Rorty, J.B. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner describe their vision of a comprehensive (and incidentally impossible) “Intellectual History of Europe”: Imagine a thousand-volume work entitled The Intellectual History of Europe. Imagine also a great convocation of resurrected thinkers, at which every person mentioned in […]

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The Sea of Stories

Earlier this week the Guardian, Forbes and others covered the discovery of 500 fairy tales collected by 19th century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. I sent a note about this to Professor Jack Zipes, who promptly replied urging caution about the discovery and pointing to many other (in his view more interesting) 19th century collections […]

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The contingent cathedral: notes on Lewis White Beck’s Early German Philosophy

Lewis White Beck‘s 1969 Early German Philosophy is a long, rich and rambling chronicle of philosophical thinkers and philosophical ideas originating from what we now call Germany, roughly from the birth of St. Ambrose in 340 to the death of Kant in 1804.

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Ideas for OpenPhilosophy.org

For several years I’ve been meaning to start OpenPhilosophy.org, which would be a collection of open resources related to philosophy for use in teaching and research. There would be a focus on the history of philosophy, particularly on primary texts that have entered the public domain, and on structured data about philosophical texts.

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Who read what? Mapping influence in intellectual history

In my research I often wonder about whom and what the people I’m reading read. Did Wittgenstein read Nietzsche? Did Nietzsche read Hegel? Did Hegel read Shakespeare? Did Shakespeare read Chaucer? Did Chaucer read Sophocles?

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How much will digital tools change the nature of scholarship?

Will new digital technologies radically transform the nature of research in the arts and humanities? Generally I think I might be relatively old fashioned about this. Of course new technologies may change our modus operandi, and may alter the kinds of research we do. For example the (arguably disproportionate) dominance of the monograph and the […]

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Historical Hooks: ‘X Hundred Years Ago Today, …’

Our daily lives are permeated by the past. Newspapers are full of commemorations of persons and occurrences we deem to be culturally and historically significant. Calendars are stuffed with births, deaths, battles, inventions, catastophes, riots, murders and miracles.

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Leibniz’s Funny Thought

Last night I went to the 25th annual Long Night of Museums in Berlin, where over 125 museums, galleries and archives are open until the early hours of the morning for live music, films and talks.

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The Construction of Immateriality

The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) was launched last year at the conference for copyrighthistory.org, a digital archive of primary sources on copyright. In addition to the history of copyright, patents and other rights, the society aims to examine: […] the diverse “roads not taken” in the evolution of […]

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