"Bestimmung des Menschen" is a key term belonging to Heinrich von Kleist’s (1777–1811) so-called pre-poetic period, appearing with great frequency in his writings from 1799 to 1801. Besides representing one of the paradigmatic ideas of German thought from the Enlightenment to Idealism, the term serves to clarify the then prevailing intellectual trends, which prioritized practice over theory, hence providing a connection to the well-known view of philosophy as a way of life. Yet, thus far, the term has not received due attention from Kleist scholars, who generally mention it without deeming it worthy of systematic investigation. The aim of this paper is precisely to fill this gap, focusing both on Kleist’s usage of the term while also tracing it back to his most likely source, namely the treatise "Die Bestimmung des Menschen" (first edition 1748–eleventh and final edition 1794) by the Lutheran theologian Johann Joachim Spalding (1714–1804). As a result, the essay will offer a more complete account of Kleist’s early philosophical and theological studies, as well as a re-evaluation of the import of these studies. Along the way, this essay will demonstrate how Kleist’s allegedly immature and dilettante approach to philosophy actually belonged to the well-established, yet often misunderstood paradigm of protreptic, transformative, and performative thinking.

Kleist, Johann Joachim Spalding and the Bestimmung des Menschen: Philosophy as a Way of Life?

L. A. Macor
2022-01-01

Abstract

"Bestimmung des Menschen" is a key term belonging to Heinrich von Kleist’s (1777–1811) so-called pre-poetic period, appearing with great frequency in his writings from 1799 to 1801. Besides representing one of the paradigmatic ideas of German thought from the Enlightenment to Idealism, the term serves to clarify the then prevailing intellectual trends, which prioritized practice over theory, hence providing a connection to the well-known view of philosophy as a way of life. Yet, thus far, the term has not received due attention from Kleist scholars, who generally mention it without deeming it worthy of systematic investigation. The aim of this paper is precisely to fill this gap, focusing both on Kleist’s usage of the term while also tracing it back to his most likely source, namely the treatise "Die Bestimmung des Menschen" (first edition 1748–eleventh and final edition 1794) by the Lutheran theologian Johann Joachim Spalding (1714–1804). As a result, the essay will offer a more complete account of Kleist’s early philosophical and theological studies, as well as a re-evaluation of the import of these studies. Along the way, this essay will demonstrate how Kleist’s allegedly immature and dilettante approach to philosophy actually belonged to the well-established, yet often misunderstood paradigm of protreptic, transformative, and performative thinking.
9781640140967
Kleist, Spalding, philosophy as a way of life
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1064084
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