Herder on Humanity and Cultural Difference : Enlightened Relativism
Herder is often criticized for having embraced cultural relativism, but there has been little philosophical discussion of what he actually wrote about the nature of the human species and its differentiation through culture. This book focuses on Herder's idea of culture, seeking to situate his social and political theses within the context of his anthropology, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, theory of language and philosophy of history. It argues for a view of Herder as a qualified relativist, who combined the conception of a common human nature with a belief in the importance of culture in developing and shaping that nature. Especially highlighted are Herder's understanding of the relativity of virtue and happiness, and his belief in the impossibility of constructing a single best society. The book will appeal to a wide range of readers interested both in Herder and in Enlightenment culture more generally.
- Hardback | 294 pages
- 152 x 229 x 17mm | 560g
- 22 Sep 2016
- Cambridge University Press
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
Table of contents
Note on citation style; Abbreviations and works cited by title; Introduction; 1. The question of moral relativism; 2. Happiness and the moral life; 3. History and human destiny; 4. The concept of race; 5. Language and world; 6. The place of reason; 7. Religious diversity; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
'Sikka's book is well-written, comprehensive, and makes a strong argument for its overall thesis, one that should be taken seriously by any student of Herder's philosophy. It has important things to say to those approaching Herder with an eye to his historical, literary, political, and anthropological contributions as well ... This text is to be recommended to any Herder scholar, whatever their area of specialization.' Philosophy in Review
About Sonia Sikka
Sonia Sikka is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa.