The Historiographical Concept 'System of Philosophy'

Its Origin, Nature, Influence and Legitimacy


Author: Leo Catana
Jacob Brucker (1696-1770) established the history of philosophy as a philosophical discipline in the 1740s. In order to separate this new discipline from other historical disciplines, he introduced the historiographical concept ‘system of philosophy’. The historian of philosophy should use this concept as a criterion of inclusion of past philosophies, and as an ideal form of exposition. The present book describes the origin of this historiographical notion, its implicit Protestant assumptions, and it traces the concept’s impact upon the methods of history of philosophy and history of ideas, as developed over the following centuries. Finally, it discusses the concept’s strenghts and weaknesses as a historiographical tool, arguing that it ought to be given up.

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Leo Catana, Ph.D. (2002) in Philosophy, University of London, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Copenhagen. He has published on Renaissance philosophy and its reception, including articles in History and Theory and Bruniana & Campanelliana.
List of Illustrations


1. The Concept ‘System of Philosophy’: The Case of Jacob Brucker’s Historiography of Philosophy
2. Brucker’s Practice (I): His Exposition of Bruno
3. Brucker’s Practice (II): His Expositions of Thales, Plato and Aristotle
4. Giordano Bruno’s Hermeneutics: Observations on the Bible in De monade (1591)
5. Apologetic Strains in Brucker’s Historiography of Philosophy
6. The Influence of the Historiographical Concept ‘System of Philosophy’
7. The Legitimacy of the Historiographical Concept ‘System of Philosophy’

A. Portraits of Jacob Brucker
B. Jacob Brucker’s Citations in his Exposition of Giordano Bruno
C. Christoph August Heumann’s Scheme of Periodization
D. Jacob Brucker’s Scheme of Periodization

Index of Names
Index of References to Jacob Brucker’s Writings
All those interested in the methods of history of philosophy, history of ideas and intellectual history, as well as those interested in the reception of Plato and Giordano Bruno.