1st Edition

German Philosophy in the Twentieth Century Lukács to Strauss

By Julian Young Copyright 2021
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    The course of German philosophy in the twentieth century is one of the most exciting and controversial in the history of human thought. In this outstanding and engaging introduction, a companion volume to his German Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: Weber to Heidegger, Julian Young examines and assesses the way in which some of the major German thinkers of the period reacted, often in starkly contrasting ways, to the challenges posed by the nature of modernity, the failure of liberalism and the concept of decline.

    Divided into two parts exploring major intellectual figures of the left and right respectively, Young introduces and assesses the thought of the following figures:

    • Georg Lukács: the critique of capitalism: alienation, reification, and false consciousness
    • Ernst Bloch: the Marxist utopia
    • Walter Benjamin: the confluence of phenomenology and left-wing thought: the Arcades Project, aura, and the technological reproduction of the artwork
    • Oswald Spengler: the pessimistic right and the concept of Western decline
    • Max Scheler: Catholic conservatism and the ‘objective hierarchy of values’
    • Carl Schmitt: the failure of liberalism, dictatorship, ‘friends’ versus ‘enemies’
    • Leo Strauss: the rejection of moral relativism and the return to classical philosophy.

    Highly relevant when the viability of liberal democracy is again called into question, German Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: Lukacs to Strauss is essential reading for students of German philosophy, phenomenology and critical theory, and will also be of interest to students in related fields such as literature, religious studies, and political theory.


    Part 1: The Left

    1. Georg Lukács: The Hard Left

    2. Ernst Bloch: The Utopian Left

    3. Walter Benjamin: The Phenomenological Left

    Part 2: The Right

    4. Oswald Spengler: The Pessimistic Right

    5. Max Scheler: The Christian Right

    6. Carl Schmitt: The Bellicose Right

    7. Leo Strauss: The American Right





    Julian Young is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Wake Forest University, USA, and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of fifteen books including Schopenhauer (Routledge, 2005); Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, which won the Association of American Publishers' 2010 PROSE award for philosophy; The Philosophy of Tragedy: from Plato to Žižek (2013); and The Death of God and the Meaning of Life (2nd edition 2014, Routledge).

    "Young’s mastery of modern German philosophy is unsurpassed. In this lucid, compelling, and wide-ranging study, he continues his long-standing effort to map and assess this complex terrain, throwing new and much needed light especially on the relation between philosophy and politics. While revealing unexpected and exciting approaches to its subject matter, it offers timely and intellectually stimulating perspectives on our contemporary challenges." - Espen Hammer, Temple University, USA