Carl Humphries

Schmalenbach on Standing Alone before God: A Philosophical Case-Study in Ontologico-Historical Understanding  

Article
21/2 - Fall 2016, pages 157–186  
Date of online publication: 15 novembre 2017
Date of publication: 15 novembre 2017

Abstract

This article explores the clarificatory potential of a specific way of approaching philosophical problems, centered on the analysis of the ways in which philosophers treat the relationship between ontological and historical forms of commitment. Its distinctive feature is a refusal to begin from any premises that might be considered “ontologistic” or “historicistic.” Instead, the relative status of the two forms of commitment is left open, to emerge in the light of more specific inquiries themselves. In this case the topic in question is furnished by an essay from the early twentieth century German philosopher Herman Schmalenbach, entitled “Der Genealogie der Einsamkeit” (somewhat problematically translated as “On Lonesomeness”). The aim is to show how the import of Schmalenbach’s historico-philosophical treatment of certain features arguably central to the spiritual practices and religious beliefs of Christianity can be more effectively grasped when approached in these terms. The first part provides an overview of the key points of Schmalenbach’s essay, while the second presents some conceptual-analytic considerations as a basis for exploring relations between ontological and historical forms of commitment as these figure in his text. Some possible broader implications for Christianity and its relationship to modern society are then also briefly sketched.  

Keywords

Cite this article

Humphries, Carl. “Schmalenbach on Standing Alone before God: A Philosophical Case-Study in Ontologico-Historical Understanding.Forum Philosophicum 21, no. 2 (2016): 157–186. doi:10.5840/forphil201621211.  

Bibliography

Benjamin, Walter. The Origin of German Tragic Drama. Translated by John Osborne. London: Verso, 1998. Originally published in German as Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (Berlin: Ernst Rowohlt Verlag, 1928).  

Humphries, Carl. “Proceduralism and Ontologico-Historical Understanding in the Philosophy of Language.” In Philosophy of Language and Linguistics: The Legacy of Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein, edited by Piotr Stalmaszczyk, 115–38. Frankfurt: Ontos, 2014.  

Humphries, Carl. “The Family and its Ethos: A Philosophical Case-Study in Ontologico- Historical Understanding.” Rocznik Filozoficzny Ignatianum 19, no. 2 (2013): 7–31.  

Schmalenbach, Herman. “Communion—A Sociological Category.” In Herman Schmalenbach, On Society and Experience. Edited and translated by Günter Lüschen and Gregory P. Stone, 64–25. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1977. Originally published as “Die Soziologische Kategorie des Bundes,” Die Dioskuren: Jahrbuch für Geisteswissenschaften 1 (1922): 35–105.  

Schmalenbach, Herman. “Individualität und Individualismus.” Kantstudien 24 (1920): 365–88.  

Schmalenbach, Herman. “On Lonesomeness.” In Herman Schmalenbach, On Society and Experience. Edited and translated by Günter Lüschen and Gregory P. Stone, 137–54. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1977. Originally published as “Die Genealogie der Einsamkeit,” Logos 8 (1919): 62–96.  

Schmalenbach, Herman. On Society and Experience. Edited and translated by Günter Lüschen and Gregory P. Stone. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 1977.  

Schmalenbach, Herman. “The Sociological Category of Communion.” Translated by Kaspar D. Naegele and Gregory P. Stone. In Theories of Society, vol. 1, edited by Talcott Parsons, Kaspar D. Naegele, Edward Shils, et al., 331–47. New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961.  

Tönnies, Ferdinand. Community and Civil Society. Translated by Charles P. Loomis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Originally published in German as Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Leipzig: Fues, 1887).  

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons. London; Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1930. Originally published in German as Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus (Tübingen: Mohr, 1920).  

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. On Certainty. Translated by Elizabeth Anscombe and Denis Paul. Oxford: Blackwell, 1969.

Copyright

© Forum Philosophicum