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Schleiermacher and the Ethics of Authenticity

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Schleiermacher's Soliloquies not only represent a pivotal work in this classically modern theologian's development as a moral philosopher. They are also arguably the principal moral writing of the early German romantic movement and therefore a significant, if widely overlooked, contribution to the history of ethics in the West. This essay provides a comprehensive interpretation and modest retrieval of this unusual and difficult work by bringing Schleiermacher's early “ethics of individuality” into conversation with Charles Taylor's conception of “expressivist” understandings of human selfhood. It argues that the Monologen are a signal instance of what Taylor has subtly characterized as romanticism's expressivist impulse.

Keywords: Charles Taylor; Schleiermacher; ethics of authenticity; expressivism; romanticism; self-cultivation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9795.2004.00175.x

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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