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You are here: Platypus /Berlin Summer 2015 Reading Group: Radical Bourgeois Philosophy

Berlin Summer 2015 Reading Group: Radical Bourgeois Philosophy

Radical Bourgeois Philosophy


We will address the greater context for Marx and Marxism through the issue of bourgeois radicalism in philosophy in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Discussion will emerge by working through the development from Kant and Hegel to Nietzsche, but also by reference to the Rousseauian aftermath, and the emergence of the modern society of capital, as registered by liberals such as Adam Smith and Benjamin Constant.

The principle of freedom and its corollary, “perfectibility,” . . . suggest that the possibilities for being human are both multiple and, literally, endless. . . . Contemporaries like Kant well understood the novelty and radical implications of Rousseau’s new principle of freedom [and] appreciated his unusual stress on history as the site where the true nature of our species is simultaneously realized and perverted, revealed and distorted. A new way of thinking about the human condition had appeared. . . . As Hegel put it, “The principle of freedom dawned on the world in Rousseau, and gave infinite strength to man, who thus apprehended himself as infinite.”
– James Miller (author of The Passion of Michel Foucault, 2000), Introduction to Rousseau,Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (Hackett, 1992)

Recommended background reading:

+ Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution 17891848 [PDF]

Wednesdays 6:30 pm
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Center Room 3C*
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3
10117 Berlin

*Please note that you cannot bring a non-clear bag into the library.  We will be meeting at 6:30 in-front of the library if anyone needs to use the lockers with a lock to store their bags


Week 1: June 10

Max Horkheimer, “The little man and the philosophy of freedom” (pp. 50–52 from selections from Dämmerung,1926–31) [ENG] [DEU]

Cutrone"The Marxist hypothesis" (2010) [ENG]

• Louis Menand (on Marx and Engels) [ENG]

 Karl Marx, on "becoming" (from the Grundrisse, 1857–58) [ENG] [DEU]

Chris Cutrone"Capital in history" (2008) [ENG] [DEU]

Capital in history timeline and chart of terms
video of Communist University 2011 London presentation
+ Robert Pippin, “On Critical Theory” [HTML Critical Inquiry 2003]

Week 2: June 17

• Jean-Jacques RousseauDiscourse on the Origin of Inequality PDFs of preferred translation (5 parts): [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
• Rousseau, from On the Social Contract [ENG] [DEU] (Book I Sec 5-9, Book II Chap 1-4)

Week 3: June 24

 Adam Smith, selections from The Wealth of Nations

Volume I [PDF]
Introduction and Plan of the Work
Book I: Of the Causes of Improvement…
I.1. Of the Division of Labor
I.2. Of the Principle which gives Occasion to the Division of Labour
I.3. That the Division of Labour is Limited by the Extent of the Market
I.4. Of the Origin and Use of Money
I.6. Of the Component Parts of the Price of Commodities
I.7. Of the Natural and Market Price of Commodities
I.8. Of the Wages of Labour
I.9. Of the Profits of Stock
Book III: Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations
 Of the Natural Progress of Opulence
III.2. Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the Ancient State of Europe after the Fall of the Roman Empire
III.3. Of the Rise and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire
III.4. How the Commerce of the Towns Contributed to the Improvement of the Country

Week 4: July 1

Smith, selections from The Wealth of Nations

Volume II [PDF]
IV.7. Of Colonies
Book V: Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth
V.1. Of the Expences of the Sovereign or Commonwealth

Week 5: July 8

• Immanuel Kant, “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View“ [ENG] [DEU]
Kant, “What is Enlightenment? ” [ENG] [DEU]
Benjamin Constant, “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns” [ENG] [DEU]

Week 6: July 15

G.W.F. HegelIntroduction to the Philosophy of History [HTML] [PDF pp. 14–96 (96–128)] [ENG] [DEU]

Week 7: July 22

Audio: Richard Strauss, “Der Held” ["The Hero"], Ein Heldenleben [A Hero's Life] (1898)
• Friedrich NietzscheThe Use and Abuse of History for Life [translator's introduction by Peter Preuss] [ENG] [DEU]
Nietzsche, selection from On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense [ENG] [DEU]

Week 8: July 29

+ Human, All Too Human: Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil (1999)

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic [ENG] [DEU]

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