Street Life and Morals

Lesley Chamberlain


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Reaktion Books
24 November 2021
ISBN: 9781789144949
356 pages

From the publisher

With resonance for today, this book explores a significant crisis of German philosophy and national identity in the decades around World War II.

German philosophy, famed for its high-minded Idealism, was plunged into crisis when Germany became an urban and industrial society in the late nineteenth century. The key figure of this shift was Immanuel Kant: seen for a century as the philosophical father of the nation, Kant seemed to lack crucial answers for violent and impersonal modern times. This book shows that the social and intellectual crisis that overturned Germany's traditions-a sense of profound spiritual confusion over where modern society was headed-was the same crisis that allowed Hitler to come to power. It also describes how German philosophers actively struggled to create a new kind of philosophy in an effort to understand social incoherence and technology's diminishing of the individual.