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Tragic thinking: The question of tragedy in German idealism

Gkosevits, Alexandros; (2024) Tragic thinking: The question of tragedy in German idealism. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis focuses on the question of tragedy in German idealism, and has two main aims: to investigate the conditions that led to the birth of the speculative appropriation of the notion of the tragic; and to examine how tragedy and the tragic had a cardinal role in modernity’s selfunderstanding at the turn of the eighteenth century. Our inquiry takes its cue from the possibilities opened up by Kant’s third Critique (1790) and the French Revolution, and follows the eccentric path of idealistic thought in its oscillation between a sense of profound crisis and a longing for the realisation of Enlightenment’s unfulfilled promises. This double bind renders the question of tragedy as a paradigmatic case of thinking in times of danger. Two interrelated themes are absolutely crucial to the argument: the tendency of German idealists to subdue the historical specificity of tragedy in order to assimilate and integrate it in the overall systematic structures of their thought; and the subversive quality of the tragic as it often resists and runs counter to systematisation. Together they form the basic interpretive crux of tragedy in the context of German idealism. The analysis of the main corpus of the writings of Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, and Hölderlin reveals an elective affinity between tragedy and history, and thereby establishes a potentially radical and productive dialogue between antiquity and modernity. To pose the question of tragedy in speculative thought entails thinking about the limits of philosophical thinking; the reflection of this process confers the tragic character of their endeavour. Insofar modernity remains caught up in its insoluble contradictions and a vague, yet always present, sense of catastrophe seems to permeate its worldview, the constellation of the tragic remains a real presence in our self-understanding.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Tragic thinking: The question of tragedy in German idealism
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2024. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Greek and Latin
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10185790
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