Historicizing, enlightenment, genealogy

pages: 189-201

  • Raymond Geuss Faculty of Philosophy, Cambridge University


Historicising thinking has three properties: a) it takes the past to be different from the present, b) it takes the past to have been contingent, c) it holds that the past is relevant to the present. Genealogy, as practiced by Nietzsche and Foucault, shows itself to be a useful tool for mounting a historicising critique of certain aspects of our contemporary world. As such it can contribute to a non-dogmatic form of Enlightenment.

Keywords: historicizing, enlightenment, genealogy, past, Nietzsche, Foucault


Adorno, Theodor und Horkheimer, Max (1969), Dialektik der Aufklärung, Fischer.

Foucault, Michel (1994), Dits et écrits, Band 4, Gallimard.

Bultmann, Rudolph (1949), Das Urchristentum im Rahmen der antiken Religionen, Rowohlt.

Condorcet, Jean-Marie-Antoine de Caritat (1970), Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progrès de l’esprit humain (1795), Vrin.

Craig, Edward (1990), Knowledge and the State of Nature, Routledge.

Castro, Fidel (2009), Die Geschichte wird mich freisprechen, Rotbuch.

Douglas, Mary (1966), Purity and Danger, Routledge.

Dunn, John (2005), Setting the People Free, Atlantic Books.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1960), Wahrheit und Methode, Mohr.

Geuss, Raymond (2016), „Realism and the relativity of judgment“, in Reality and Its Dreams, Harvard University Press.

– (1999) „Nietzsche and Genealogy“, in: Morality, Culture, History, CUP.

– (2014) „Goals, Origins, Disciplines“ in: A World Without Why, Princeton University Press.

Husserl, Edmund (2012), Cartesianische Meditationen, Meiner.

Kant, Immanuel (1956), Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Meiner.

Kant, Immanuel (1977), ,,Ideen zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht“
In: ders. Werke, Suhrkamp.

Marx, Karl (1964), Das Elend der Philosophie, in: Marx–Engels Werke, Band 4, Dietz.

Römer, Thomas (2014), L’invention de Dieu, Seuil.

Xenophanes (1966), „Fragmente 10–26“, in Diels-Kranz (hrsg.), Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Band I, Weidmann.