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Johann Gustav Droysen on Continuity - Dictionary of Arguments
Gadamer I 213
Continuity/History/Droysen/Gadamer: (...) the empirical attitude of the historical school is (...) not without philosophical presuppositions. What remains is the merit of the astute methodologist Droysen that he has removed it from its empirical disguise and recognized its fundamental significance. Cf. >History/Historism, >Unity/Ranke, >Interrelation/Ranke, >Continuity/Ranke.
Droysen Thesis: Continuity is the essence of history, because history, unlike nature, includes the moment of time. To this end, Droysen repeatedly quotes the Aristotelian statement of the soul that it is an increase in itself (epidosis eis hauto). In contrast to the mere repetition of nature, history is characterized by such an increase in itself - but this means: by preserving and going beyond what has been preserved. Both, however, include self-knowledge. History itself is therefore not only an object of knowledge, but is in its being determined by knowing itself. "The knowledge of it is it, itself" (Droysen, Historik p. 15)(1). The admirable continuity of the world-historical development, of which Ranke spoke, is based on the consciousness of continuity, a consciousness that makes history into history (Historik p. 48).
Gadamer: It would be quite wrong to see in it only an idealistic bias. Rather, this a priori of historical thought is itself a historical reality. Jacob Burckhardt is quite right when he sees
Gadamer I 214
the very existence of Western culture in the continuity of Western cultural tradition(2).
The collapse of this tradition, the collapse of a new barbarism, of which Jacob Burckhardt in particular has prophesied many a gloomy prediction, would not be a catastrophe within world history for the historical view of the world, but the end of this history itself - at least if it seeks to understand itself as a unity of world history. It is important to be aware of this content-related precondition of the universal historical question of the historical school, precisely because it itself denies such a question on principle.
1. J.G. Droysen, Grundriß der Historik, 1868
2. Vgl. etwa Löwith, Weltgeschichte und Heilsgeschehen, Kap. I._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
J. G. Droysen
Grundriss der Historik Paderborn 2011
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977
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