(Nederlands) Contact Survey page Niels Helsloot

[A short history of reason]

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Een korte geschiedenis van de rede
Cahiers voor Taalkunde 15
Amsterdam and Münster: Stichting Neerlandistiek VU/Nodus 1998
ISBN 90 72365 50 X
88 pp.


Philology is more than a forerunner of the contemporary faculties of language and literature: it was the first modern science of great moment. Yet, up to now, an introductory review of this science of discourse and culture is lacking. This is shocking because it is the foundation of virtually all methods of analysis and interpretation accepted in contemporary science.

This synopsis of the (pre-)history of philology describes the rise of this science in relation to the classical 'love of the logos' which is its background. The ways are followed in which pleasure in open conversation – up to a complete immersion in the world reason – was reduced by a compulsory reference to the generally human 'ratio'.

The development of modern classical philology will be dealt with untill about halfway through the nineteenth century. At the beginning of that century, modern science, or at least its ideal image, arose from a hodgepodge of conflicting ideologies. And the effect is clear: particularly in philology, the increasing rationalization clashed with a diversity of inspirations from the past.

The open conversation with other points of view turned into a profession, which gave priority to reasonable rules and methods over personal and shared passions for the uncomprehended. However, differences between individual experiences, and the unapproachability of sources of inspiration, could not be abolished just like that.

This survey incites to a renewed continuation of the enthusiasm for philological conversation within professional science. 

Abstract (full text)

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