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The book begins with the problem of the relationship between systematic philosophy and the history of philosophy. Why does philosophy attach so much importance to history? Consideration of this question is an essential part of metaphysics, and it has important consequences for the methodology of both history and philosophy.
An analysis of the problem that begins the book leads to many other fundamental questions concerning the nature of philosophy. In treating these issues the author discusses positions taken on them by Russell, Rorty, Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Ricoeur, Derrida, and others of our century. He also draws inspiration from Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.
Adriaan Theodoor Peperzak is Full Professor and Chair of Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Ethics in the Philosophy Department of the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Table of Contents
Chapter I. Is Thematic Philosophy Still Possible?
1. The present-day situation of philosophy
2. Think on your own!
2.1 What does this incentive mean?
2.2 Is this a good incentive?
Chapter II. Philosophy is Learning
1. Pupil, teacher, text
3. Discussion with existing philosophies
4. "Classical" and "contemporary"
5. To which philosophers must I turn?
6. Consequences for a history of philosophy
6.1 Why "the history of philosophy" cannot be written
6.2 Every history of philosophy is an expression of a thematic philosophy
6.3 The necessity for a certain "positivism" in the history of philosophy
6.4 Specific problems of the history of philosophy
6.4.1 Individual philosophers
— The work
— A text
— An oeuvre
— Work and life
6.4.2 Milieu and time
6.4.3 Philosophical constellations
a. The unity of an oeuvre
b. The unity of a period
c. The unity of a history
6.5 Dogmatism and hermeneutics
Chapter III. Philosophy as Discussion
1. Philosophy as dialogue
2. Conversations in search of truth
A parenthetical remark
2.3 Topics of conversation
2.4 Conversation, combat, violence (or:dialogue and rhetoric)
2.4.1 Speaking as fighting
2.4.4 An ethics of violence
2.4.5 Conditions for a good polemic
2.4.6 Universal polemics?
2.4.7 Democratic deliberation
2.4.8 Polemics and rhetoric
2.5 The time structure of conversation
3. Is philosophy a conversation?
3.1 Thematic philosophy and conversation
3.2 Thematic philosophy and the history of philosophy