Philosophy of History A

lfilo2290  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Philosophy of History A
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h

  This biannual learning unit is not being organized in 2020-2021 !

Basic instruction in the history of philosophy.
Main themes
The course will attempt to lay out the origin of the concept of a " philosophy of history " by distinguishing it from epistemological questions about the foundations of historical science. The course will present a historical overview of the evolution of the concept of a philosophy of history. Next, the course will present some observations on differing interpretations of the concept in order to point out the conflicts that set these interpretations against each other. On this basis, a more specific debate shall be studied in order to provide an example of the general presentation.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Upon successful completion of the course, the student should :
- Be able to identify the major schools of thought in the philosophy of history ;
- Know the fundamental concepts associated with those schools of thought ;
- Be able to explain briefly the conflicts of interpretation that have resulted within contemporary thought.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Philosophy of history. Between epistemology and ontology
The philosophy of history, at least since Schelling and Hegel bequeathed it with recognition as its own proper disciplinary field, has stood starkly apart from a theory of knowledge applied to historical science. The 20th century has maintained this separation in particular by exploring its anthropological valence through fundamental notions such as historicity and historiality, as well as through the rich webs of forgetting and memory, or beginnings and endings. Messianism, millenarianism, utopian and dystopian thinking, or even archaism, futurism and non-contemporaneity are so many anthropic distortions in the relationship to lived time and common history that have marked reflections on the progressive exit of philosophies of history. This general movement deserves a two-fold reinvestigation. On the one hand, ab initio, on the epistemological level: Schelling’s initial problem, instead of cutting it off from historians, projects it onto a capital debate at the dawn of the 20th century, namely, the Lamprechtstreit and the question of the theoretical conditions presupposed by any act of periodization, and Lamprecht’s subsequent choice to turn to collective psychology to understand the mental consonance among minds with a certain dominating force of their era: the Zeitgeist supposes common affect or a shared Stimmung. On the other hand, in fine, at the transition point that is ours, epistemological recourse to a unitary schema of consonance should be requestioned beyond its anthropological valence, looking instead at its ontological reach. The sought-after unity does not necessarily come from the imaginary historical consistence of a shared psychic identity, but rather from a plural totality capable of coming together.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Students will be asked to write a 10 page paper to be based off of a reading of one of the proposed texts. After emailing the paper, the student will receive a question on the paper to be prepared for the oral exam.
The student will have approximately 15 minutes to present this answer during the oral exam.
The paper may be written in French, English, Spanish, or German, with the professor’s agreement.
Agamben, G., La communauté qui vient: théorie de la singularité quelconque, Seuil, Paris, 2014.
Benjamin Andrew, Towards a Relational Ontology: Philosophy’s Other Possibility, State University of New York Press, 2015.
Das Saitya Brata, The Political Theology of Schelling, Edimburgh University Press, Edimburgh, 2018.
Kenneth R. (2005), “Universalism and the Jewish Exception: Lacan, Badiou, Rosenzweig”, in Umbr(a): The Dark God, No. 1, p. 43-71.
Kühn Rolf, Anfang und Vergessen: phänomenologische Lektüre des deutschen Idealismus ; Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart, 2004.
Lamprecht Karl, „Was ist Kulturgeschichte? Beitrag zu einer empirischen Historik, in Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, Bd. 1, Neue Folge, 1897, pp. 75-150
Matthews Bruce, Schelling’s Organic Form of Philosophy: Life as the Schema of Freedom, State University of New-York Press, Albany, 2011.
McGrath Sean J., The Dark Ground of Spirit. Schelling and the Unconscious, Routledge, London, 2013.
Warland Geneviève, « Les métaphores de la nation chez Henri Pirenne et Karl Lamprecht », in Hubert Roland et Sabine Schmitz (eds.), Pour une iconographie des identités culturelles et nationales, Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M., 2004, pp. 179-207.
Zammito J.H., Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago/ London, 2002.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Certificat universitaire en philosophie (approfondissement)

Master [120] en langues et lettres françaises et romanes, orientation français langue étrangère

Master [120] en sciences des religions

Master [120] en éthique

Master [60] en philosophie

Master [120] en philosophie