Wallhauser, John Books2002 0-7734-7156-1
During 1804-05 and 1805-06, while teaching at the University of Halle, Friedrich Schleiermacher lectured twice on philosophical ethics. From the first lectures only his notes on the theory of virtue are extant. In 1805-1806, however, we have his own dense notes covering 98 hours of lectures. He planned to revise this (Brouillon zur ethik) for publication, a project which was never completed. But these Halle lectures reveal for the first time the details of his distinctive approach to ethics as a philosophy of culture. In these lectures he presents ethics as the critical examination of reason embodied in selves in community. He unfolds the web of relations of selves within the diverse communities of formative action, communication and language, art, the state, friendship, knowing, and transcendence. This translation makes available in English the first systematic presentation of his ethics as an inclusive vision of cultural goods, virtues and duties. His emphasis on the idea of the highest good leads to a recovery of the teleological principle in which morality consists in the formation of structures, i.e., the goods of the moral life which he calls cultural organs. These organs, in turn, are used in the exchange of ideas and goods. His critical philosophy – against the stream of the prevailing transcendental philosophy – is dialogically open, and thus resists a speculative absorption of differences and opposes the subordination of the individual to a totalizing whole. His ethics confronts issues that still reach into today’s questions of pluralism, language communities and communication, and the individual in relation to community.