Who is Wilhelm Wildelband?June 26, 2021
He has a great reputation as a historian of philosophy. He is also the initiator of a style known as “problem historiography” in the historiography of philosophy.
According to this, the historiography of philosophy should adopt a style that describes the basic concepts, views and systems of philosophers and philosophy schools, as well as a style that mainly describes problems and includes the views of philosophers as solutions they bring to problems. According to Nicolai Hartmann, who followed him on this path and then left the School, the body of the history of philosophy is not the views of philosophers and philosophical systems, but rather philosophical problems.
Philosophers’ views and systems are like branches and leaves clinging to the trunk; some wither and rot; But the problems always remain. Windelband’s Handbuch der Philosophiegeschichte, 1892 (Handbook of the History of Philosophy) is a work that is frequently reprinted today. Likewise, his book Einführung in die Philosophie, 1914 (Introduction to Philosophy) continues to be a basic reference source, presenting an architectonics of philosophy. Windelband finds Kant’s importance in his re-establishing the link between science and philosophy, as in the Marburg School. However, at the same time, he criticizes Kant for emphasizing the mathematical natural sciences but not doing justice to the history/spiritual/cultural sciences that developed after him, and this is where he criticizes the naturalism of the Marburg School.
Along with this criticism and in order to close a gap in Kant’s philosophy, Windelband deals with the specific structure and methodology of the history/spiritual/cultural sciences (as it is called in the positivist philosophy of science tradition: “social sciences”) and consciously moves away from Kant and gives these sciences a philosophical basis. seeks. According to Windelband, “Logic is the ethics of thinking”; It dictates to us how we should think, as if it were a moral imperative. Thinking based on the principles of logic is not only a cognitive imperative, but also a moral imperative, a commandment. Similarly, our perception of the universe is not just a cognitive state; The necessity of comprehending the universe according to logical patterns at the same time accompanies this perception. So much so that every kind of informational and moral structure is essentially a structure that we have created and that we have validated. We are the source of all validity, both informational and moral. And everything is open to us within the validity patterns that are our own product. Since even principles of logic are in the moral imperative mode, all validity patterns are also value patterns.
Windelband speaks of four “modes of validity” and four “patterns of value” in human thinking and life. Principles of logic and their validity are the most primitive and universal. Then comes the informational (True), moral (Good) and aesthetic (Beautiful, Sublime) value patterns, respectively. In this case, philosophy essentially becomes nothing more than a science of values or a philosophy of values. So much so, that philosophy becomes an activity of researching the a priori sources of universal/rational relations (logical, informational values) on the one hand, and moral and aesthetic forms of thinking and feeling/intuition, which lie on the basis of all cultures and are all value-based, on the other. Setting out with the thesis that “all philosophy is a science of values”, Windelband repeats under the titles of Truth, Good, Beautiful, Sublime that logical, informational, moral and aesthetic values prioritize our way of understanding the world, and that’s exactly why philosophy should be a “science of values”. . Here, the subject of history/spirit/cultural sciences is a world, a world of culture, realized by people and societies depending on values.
Windelband, in his famous rector’s speech titled Geschichte und Naturwissenschaft (History and Natural Science), which he made as the rector of the University of Strassburg in 1894, distinguishes natural sciences and history/spiritual/cultural sciences according to the following criteria. Windelband does not want to refer to the term “social sciences” as it is a term of Comte’s positivism. He resorts to the terms “nomothetic sciences” (law-making sciences) and “idiographic sciences” (sciences that make sense of the one-off), which he used for the first time have become the most frequently used classical terms in today’s philosophy of science studies. This distinction table of Windelband’s history of philosophy of science is as follows:
1. They work with general, compulsory (apodictic) judgments.
2. They turn to general knowledge.
3. They take into account the same, repetitive form of reality.
4. They are after the idea (in modern science: the law of nature); their informational purpose is to reach the laws.
5. They work with an abstractionist attitude.
6. They work nomothetic; They want to make laws.
7. They are the science of law.
8. Their subject is nature.
1. They work with singular, simple (assertoric) judgments.
2. They turn to the knowledge of the specific.
3. A part of reality