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philosophy 18th century german ethics karl reinhold enlightenment germany eighteenth

A Primer on German Enlightenment:
With a Translation of Karl Leonhard Reinhold's The Fundamental Concepts and Principles of Ethics

by Sabine Roehr

ISBN 0826209971 / 9780826209979 / 0-8262-0997-1
Publisher University of Missouri
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

This is the first translation into English of a work of late German enlightenment by Karl Leonhard Reinhold (1757-1823). Reinhold was an acute thinker, who is best known for his interpretations of Kant and whose writings on theoretical philosophy were decisive for the development of philosophy after Kant. This work is not a "philosophical" one in the strict sense but was written for a general audience by a philosopher concerned with public enlightenment. The book, published in 1798, is based on the principle of "common sense," a popular concept at the time as German enlightenment was nearing its end.

Roehr's extensive historical-analytical work provides the context necessary for fully appreciating Reinhold's work. She does not restrict her discussion to the immediate time of Reinhold, but details the thinking of the German enlightenment in general. She analyzes the moral, religious, political, and philosophical elements of the period, as well as the history of their development. In the course of her introduction, she illustrates that the Kantian concept of enlightenment was in no way the only one or even the most influential one at the time Reinhold wrote.

Philosophers, political theorists, historians, theologians, and eighteenth-century scholars in general will gain much insight from this valuable study and the accompanying translation.

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