PRESENTATION JOURNAL GELTUNG
A distinctive phenomenon of twentieth-century philosophy is the radical schism between two traditions, “Analytic” and “Continental” (better: “Phenomenological-Hermeneutic”) Philosophy. The characteristic trait of this schism is that, for the first time in the history of philosophy, two methodological and thematic orientations were constituted so that, not only do they represent opposing positions on specific questions, they do not speak to each other at all. The last few decades show increasingly striking trends that have begun to transcend the aforementioned scenario. These trends include a notable strengthening of pragmatism beyond its original cultural circle, a rediscovery of interest in metaphysics, and a growing preponderance of naturalism in Analytic Philosophy, which frequently metamorphoses the original agenda of Analytic Philosophy and to which Phenomenology itself does not seem alien. Beyond these broader trends, more local attempts to formulate alternatives, to revise the original positions, and to mediate between these opposed traditions have sprung up here and there. In any case, and without ignoring movements such as those mentioned above, the parting of the ways is still in full force today.
Now, it is not historical-philosophical temerity to suggest that contemporary philosophy in general, and the schism between Analytic and Phenomenological-Hermeneutic Philosophy in particular, is the result of a process that began with post-Kantian thought and erupted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This state of affairs clearly makes the study of the history of philosophy of this period systematically relevant and especially “contemporary”.
However, the study of this historical process remained neglected for decades due to two factors that, although in principle independent of each other, converged in the production of a common result. On the one hand, the history of nineteenth-century philosophy was, for a long time, monopolized by an oversimplifying vision that unilaterally catered to German Idealism as an exclusive post-Kantian product and to reactions to it by titanic heroes, such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. This oversimplification privileges a certain idea of what is significant to contemporary philosophy, and masks continuities between the nineteenth century and the current state of affairs. On the other hand, this impoverished history of philosophy was complementary to a strong anti-historical sense that, while extremely obvious in Analytic Philosophy, was felt even in the phenomenological-hermeneutic trend. In both cases, the historical-philosophical underestimation of “the past” made it possible to stress the claim of absolute novelty, of a radical turn that put everything behind itself and made previous philosophical developments irrelevant. Despite all their significant differences, Analytic and Phenomenological-Hermeneutic Philosophy nurtured, each in its own way, a certain “myth of creation”. Now, whether it be due to historical-philosophical simplification or because of the prevailing myths, this vision of nineteenth-century philosophy simply left out a gamut of authors, schools and movements, as well as the complex and rich interactions between them. However, precisely these authors, schools and movements were crucial in laying the foundations for what would happen in the 20th and 21st centuries.
That situation begins to change as some pioneer studies either began to point to antecedents directly linked to the emergence of the two hegemonic movements, or began to notice the continuities with what these movements considered simply as the outdated past, including continuities that frankly conflicted with the dominant historical narrative. Thus, in recent decades, there has been a significant accumulation of materials that are expressions of the same phenomenon. The result of this movement seems to be the need to rewrite the history of 19th century philosophy, evidencing a complex movement, internally articulated and not lacking in unity – a movement that ends up breaking out at the end of that century and at the beginning of the next. Its ramifications and interactions are at the base of where we are today.
These valuable efforts, even though they point in the same direction, are often discounted, either because they end up being totally disconnected from each other, or because they still reflect the systematic parting of the ways at a historical-philosophical level. Thus, for example, the commendable and still incipient historical awareness of Analytic Philosophy is often reduced to a "history of Analytic Philosophy" which, due to the limitations imposed by self-indulgent creation myths, reaffirms those myths even as it refines them.
The proposal of this new journal is to offer a space for historical-philosophical studies of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century that ultimately contribute to a better understanding of the parting of the ways, without assuming or taking for granted the principles of a presupposed self-identity. These studies should pay particular attention to the common roots and effective interactions of these trends at their origin, as well as to the multiple connections of those trends with other authors and movements that, not yet being “contemporary” in the imperative sense of the hegemonic trends mentioned, play a decisive role in its emergence, whether as antecedents, interlocutors, or privileged adversaries. This, clearly, does not intend to instrumentalize the study of these authors and movements merely as a means to understand the present moment, but, for this last objective to make sense, to study them by themselves, and their reciprocal dynamic movements.
In short, the journal Geltung, whose name – and not by chance – refers to a central concept of 19th century philosophical discussion that extends into the 20th, intends to focus on the thematic axis fixed by the following principles:
a. Attention should be given to nineteenth-century authors and trends that are not properly comprised in the traditional axis of German idealism and reactions to it, but are in themselves worthy of study;
b. Special emphasis should be placed on their internal dynamics, their lines of continuity and, in particular, their internal relationships;
c. Inquiry should be made into the decisive role played out by these authors and trends in the process of the emergence of the two hegemonic tendencies of contemporary philosophy and in the characteristic parting of the ways later carried out;
d. Particular attention should be paid to transversal perspectives that study concepts, distinctions, themes, controversies, and trends that permeate the aforementioned schools. Just as an example, and without any claim of exhaustiveness, among such concepts we propose: Sinn, Bedeutung, Geltung, Wert, Intentionalität and the like; among the distinctions Akt-Inhalt, Sinn-Bedeutung, Begriff-Gegenstand; among the themes Subjektivität, Logik, Zahl; among the controversies, Psychologismusstreit, Materialismusstreit, Historizismusstreit; and among the trends: Logicism, Naturalism, and similar positions;
e. Beyond Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein or Carnap, authors such as Herbart, Fries, Beneke, Bolzano, Trendelenburg, Lotze, Sigwart, Cousin should also be taken into consideration, as well as highly influential schools of thought (Frieseans, Herbartians, Neo-Kantians, and Brentanians), and also “smaller” ones (the Greifswald or the Lwów-Warsaw schools);
f. The whole scope of interest does not limit itself to the neo-Kantian idealism of the Germanic world or the Brentanian realism of the Austrian world. One should also account for the simultaneous and often subsidiary developments in the Anglo-Saxon world, in the first instance, in Great Britain (e.g., Bradley, Stout, Moore), but also across the Atlantic (e.g., Pierce, James, Dewey).
Geltung explicitly proposes to keep an open and pluralistic attitude that, instead of deepening the parting of the ways, goes beyond it insofar as it is conceived from a strictly historical-philosophical perspective. Conceptual clarity and argumentative rigor, however, far from being the exclusive heritage of Analytic Philosophy, are aspects of all good philosophy and part of its very meaning as an intellectual activity. Conceptual clarity and argumentative rigor, however, are seen here in a historical-philosophical viewpoint, that is, as reconcilable with rigorous hermeneutic zeal with texts and contexts. The perspective described obviously assumes that the journal does not claim an antinomy between philosophy and the history of philosophy, but that it considers philosophy as historical and the history of philosophy as philosophical, thus seeking to offer an alternative to a certain “presentist” cult that, without further ado, shortens the horizon of thinking by sacrificing the tradition of thought. Perhaps it should always be remembered that the present is not a flash of eternity, it is also historical.
Finally, it should be noted that the Geltung journal is another step in a long process. It began thirty years ago with the setting up of a line of research that was formalized fifteen years later as a CNPq-Research Group (Brazil) that brought together similar research efforts at the national level. This Research Group began later to organize an annual meeting and to promote a dialogue with the international scientific community. The journal's Editorial Board, made up of participants in these meetings, is the crystallization of this process.
From the South, the Editors.