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Johann Gustav Droysen on Freedom - Dictionary of Arguments
Gadamer I 218
Freedom/Necessity/History/Droysen/Gadamer: The single individual in the randomness of his or her particular impulses and purposes is not a moment in history, but only insofar as he or she rises to the moral commonalities and participates in them. In the movement of these moral powers, which is brought about by the common work of men, the course of things consists. It is quite true that what is possible is thereby limited. But it would mean reflecting from one's own historical finiteness, if one spoke therefore of an antagonism of freedom and necessity. The acting human is constantly under the postulate of freedom.
The course of events is not an external barrier to his or her freedom, for it is not based on rigid necessity, but on the movement of the moral powers to which one has always been attached. It sets the task in which the moral energy of the doer proves its worth(1). Droysen therefore determines far more appropriately the relationship between necessity and freedom that prevails in history, determining it entirely from the person acting historically. He assigns to necessity the unconditional should, to freedom the unconditional will (from "to want"), both expressions of the moral force with which the individual belongs to the moral sphere(2).
The mediating moral world moves in such a way that everyone participates in it, but in different ways. Some by carrying the existing conditions by continuing what they are accustomed to, others by sensing and expressing new thoughts. In such a constant overcoming of what is, through criticism from what it should be, there is continuity of the historical process (§ 77f.)(1).
So Droysen would not be talking about mere "scenes of freedom". Freedom is the basic pulse of the
historical life, and not only real in exceptional cases. The
Gadamer I 219
great personalities of history are but a moment in the progress of the moral world, which as a whole and in each individual is a world of freedom. Against historical apriorism, he agrees with Ranke that we cannot see the goal but only the direction of the movement. The purpose of the purposes to which the restless work of historical humanity is related cannot be discerned through historical knowledge (§§ 80-86)(1).
It is only the object of our supposition and belief. The position of historical knowledge now corresponds to this image of history. >History/Droysen; >Recognition/Droysen.
1.J.G. Droysen, Grundriß der Historik, 1868_____________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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