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The W ork of the History of Philosophy

The W ork of the History of Philosophy 1 The W ork of the History of Philosophy CHARLES E. SCOTT The Pennsylvania State University I find the work of the history of philosophy, its times and places, difficult to describe. When we read or teach this subject, we are clearly involved in an historical effort to encounter times and places that are not now present. Either we are reliant on the editorship, translations, and commentaries of other peo- ple or, as we encounter the original texts, we must ourselves engage the ques- tions of access, translation, manuscripts, ambiguities of meanings, specific circumstances of composition, and lineages of influence-we must engage all of the contingencies that are the stock in trade of trained scholars, especially historians. When we do original historical work we usually find that major commentators have applied methods and assumptions that we think are inap- propriate. They mistranslate important words, ignore certain nuance and cir- cumstances, ignore a subtle and performative movement of thought in their overattention to other details, or interpret the text in light of parochial inter- ests that we do not share. In our intention to get the texts right, we can spend our energy on commentary and efforts to convince http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

The W ork of the History of Philosophy

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 29 (1): 1 – Jan 1, 1999

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916499X00019
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1 The W ork of the History of Philosophy CHARLES E. SCOTT The Pennsylvania State University I find the work of the history of philosophy, its times and places, difficult to describe. When we read or teach this subject, we are clearly involved in an historical effort to encounter times and places that are not now present. Either we are reliant on the editorship, translations, and commentaries of other peo- ple or, as we encounter the original texts, we must ourselves engage the ques- tions of access, translation, manuscripts, ambiguities of meanings, specific circumstances of composition, and lineages of influence-we must engage all of the contingencies that are the stock in trade of trained scholars, especially historians. When we do original historical work we usually find that major commentators have applied methods and assumptions that we think are inap- propriate. They mistranslate important words, ignore certain nuance and cir- cumstances, ignore a subtle and performative movement of thought in their overattention to other details, or interpret the text in light of parochial inter- ests that we do not share. In our intention to get the texts right, we can spend our energy on commentary and efforts to convince

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1999

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