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Speaker: Jerome Carroll (Nottingham)

Christian August Crusius has tended in recent assessments to be identified as a philosopher who prioritises experience or existence or actuality over logical or essentialist abstraction. Broadly speaking Carroll agrees with this assessment, but it risks ignoring the fact that his writings often accord value to the methods and fruits of abstraction, even to the extent of contradiction with his remarks on existence and actuality. The aim of this lecture is two-fold: firstly, to redress the balance in readings of Crusius’ work by highlighting the several ways in which abstraction is accorded value in his writings, in terms of the aims (to establish the grounds of knowledge and experience) and methods (logic and abstraction) of philosophy; and, secondly, to explore the reasons for the ambivalence that this gives rise to. Carroll argues that the tensions in his thinking should not be dismissed as a case of Crusius being contradictory or confused in his ideas, but rather that his approach should be characterised as hybrid, a quality which he ascribes two aspects of his ideas: firstly, Crusius’ sense of the inherent and insuperable limitations of either approach; and secondly, his sense of the complexity of reality, which limits the possibility and value of separating out necessary and contingent aspects of reality, essential from extraneous, and singular from multiple and diverse grounds.

This English Goethe Society lecture will take place in Room G37 at the University of London Senate House and will be streamed via Zoom. The lecture will be preceded by the Society's AGM at 17:00. All welcome; attendance free. Advance online booking is essential whether attending in person or online (please select appropriate ticket when registering).