(Dis-) Similarities: Remarks on “Austrian” and “German” Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century

In Franz Brentano and Austrian Philosophy. Springer. pp. 169--180 (2020)

Christian Damböck
University of Vienna
In this paper, I re-examine Barry Smith’s list of features of Austrian Philosophy in his Austrian philosophy. The legacy of Franz Brentano. Open Court, Chicago, 1994). I claim that the list properly applies only in a somewhat abbreviated form to all significant representatives of Austrian Philosophy. Moreover, Smith’s crucial thesis that the features of Austrian Philosophy are not shared by any German philosopher only holds if we compare Austrian Philosophy to a canonical list of German Philosophy II. This list, however, was established in twentieth century as a result of historical misrepresentations. If we correct these misrepresentations, we obtain another list of hidden representatives called German Philosophy I. German Philosophy I is fundamentally identical to Austrian Philosophy, whereas German Philosophy II is entirely different from both Austrian Philosophy and German Philosophy I. Therefore, a slightly modified version of Smith’s Austrian Philosophy account still makes sense as a tool to position the proscientific and rational currents of Austrian Philosophy and German Philosophy I against the tendentially anti-scientific and irrational current of German Philosophy II.
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