Herder's Political Thought
 9781442643024, 1442643021

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HERDER’S POLITICAL THOUGHT A Study of Language, Culture, and Community

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VICKI A. SPENCER

Herder’s Political Thought A Study of Language, Culture, and Community

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS Toronto Buffalo London

© University of Toronto Press 2012 Toronto Buffalo London www.utppublishing.com Printed in Canada ISBN 978-1-4426-4302-4

Printed on acid-free, 100% post-consumer recycled paper with vegetablebased inks.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication Spencer, Vicki A., 1961– Herder’s political thought : a study of language, culture, and community / Vicki A. Spencer. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4426-4302-4 1. Herder, Johann Gottfried, 1744–1803 – Contributions in political science. 2. Political science – Philosophy. I. Title. B3051.Z7S64 2012

320.01

C2011-907109-6

University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial assistance to its publishing program of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for its publishing activities.

In loving memory of my parents, Ray and Audine Spencer

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Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction

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1 The Origin of Language 2 Expressivism

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3 Culture, Identity, and Community 4 The Pluralist Alternative 5 Nationalism

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6 Republicanism 7 Multiculturalism Conclusion Notes

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221

Bibliography Index 339

307

158 185

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Acknowledgments

The primary research for this book began many years ago for my D.Phil. I am indebted to Norman Porter for first suggesting I read Charles Taylor, who in turn inspired me to read Herder, and to the late Isaiah Berlin for teaching me the basics of Herder’s thought. I am especially grateful to Mark Philp and Sabina Lovibond for their supervision of my dissertation and to Charles Taylor and Michael Freeden for examining it. Since then my research has taken various directions, although I have often found myself working on related topics and returning to Herder’s thought. Paul Corcoran and Andrew Vincent, in particular, deserve my sincere gratitude for their consistent support over many years and for their willingness to engage seriously with Herder’s ideas at a time when they appeared uncongenial to most political theorists. I am confident that neither of them will agree with me, but it is precisely their eagerness to argue with me in the most good-natured and scholarly manner that I have most appreciated. My thanks also go to James Headley, Katherine Smits, Takashi Shogimen, Bruce Buchan, Ruth Abbey, Brett Nicholls, Rebecca Stringer, Peter Anstey, and the past members of the political theory group at the University of Adelaide for their encouragement to follow through with this project. My ideas have benefited greatly from the comments of participants at various conferences and seminars in response to papers that I have delivered in Germany, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. I would also like to thank Daniel Quinlan at the University of Toronto Press for his enthusiastic support and the two anonymous referees for their highly constructive and detailed advice. Thanks, too, to Wayne Herrington and Matthew Kudelka for their understanding and assistance in making many improvements to the text.

x Acknowledgments

I am indebted to a number of institutions for financial assistance, including the Rhodes Trust, Nuffield College, the University of Adelaide, the Early Modern Research Cluster at the University of Otago, and the Politics Department at the University of Otago. I am especially grateful for the very generous support of the Humanities Division and for the consummate efficiency of the library staff at the University of Otago, who ordered a vast array of sources and interlibrary loans for the revisions. My new colleagues also deserve my thanks for providing me with the research time to revise the manuscript, as does the Morrell Centre for Toleration at the University of York for providing me with such a congenial and vibrant environment in which to work during part of my sabbatical. A very special thanks is also due to my research assistant, Andrea Fromm, with whom it was a delight to work and whose high level of efficiency was indispensable to the timely completion of the revisions. An early version of chapter 4 first appeared as ‘Beyond Either/Or: The Pluralist Alternative in Herder’s Thought,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4., ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 53–70; and an earlier version of part of chapter 5 was previously published as ‘Herder and Nationalism: Reclaiming the Principle of Cultural Respect,’ in Rethinking Nationalism, ed. Vicki Spencer, Martin Griffiths, and Michael Sullivan, Australian Journal of Politics and History 43, no. 1 (1997): 1–13. Parts of chapters 2 and 3 formed the basis for my article ‘Towards an Ontology of Holistic Individualism: Herder’s Theory of Identity, Culture, and Community,’ History of European Ideas 22, no. 3 (1996): 245–60; and some of the ideas for chapter 7 first appeared in ‘Difference and Unity: Herder’s Concept of Volk and Its Relevance for Contemporary Multicultural Societies,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 295–305. A summary of my central argument recently appeared as ‘In Defense of Herder on Cultural Diversity and Interaction,’ Review of Politics 69 (2007): 79–105.* I am grateful to the editors and publishers for permission to reproduce my earlier work, which has benefited significantly from ongoing debates within Herder schol* Excerpts from ‘In Defense of Herder on Cultural Diversity and Interaction,’ by Vicki A. Spencer. The Review of Politics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Winter 2007): 79–105. Copyright © 2007 University of Notre Dame. Reprinted with the permission of Cambridge University Press.

Acknowledgments xi

arship and from various commentaries on my early articles by other scholars. The current work thus supersedes some of my earlier views and hopefully offers a far more reflective account of my position. I owe a heartfelt gratitude to John and Tracy Boehl for their friendship, care, and loyalty over many years but especially during two serious illnesses that significantly disrupted my research career. Helen O’Grady, Glenda Mather, Tim Knocks, Vicky Dennison, Marius Drienik, Kylie Heneker, Henry Kristall, and Kate and John Allen, among others, also deserve my thanks for their friendship and support. Thanks, too, to my new friends in Dunedin, and in particular, to the Friday night theory group for bearing the brunt of the final revision stage in the most goodhumoured manner. Finally, but by no means least, I wish to express my love and appreciation for my mother, who, until her recent death, was always there in one way or another.

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HERDER’S POLITICAL THOUGHT A Study of Language, Culture, and Community

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Introduction

This book is a conversation between the thought of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744–1803) and recent Anglo-American political theory. Since John Rawls’s critique of utilitarianism and the enormous influence of his Theory of Justice (1971), liberal-communitarian critics have placed firmly on the agenda the notion that individual identity is partly constituted by the cultural community in which one is born and educated. Rawls subsequently came to contend that his once apparently universal principles are only applicable to modern, liberal-democratic states. Postmodernism, too, has had a significant impact with its critique of the one-sided universalism typically associated with ‘the Enlightenment,’ as have feminist critiques of dichotomous thinking and the unencumbered self. With the recent focus in contemporary debates on ‘group or collective forms of particularity,’1 the issues of cultural membership and diversity have assumed centre stage. Given the scant attention paid to the relationships among individual identity, culture, public recognition, and oppression for most of the twentieth century, it would be easy to assume that this shift represents a new and momentous breakthrough in philosophical thinking. But without detracting from the significant contributions of more recent thinkers, in the eighteenth century Herder was already paving the way toward recognition of the centrality of our linguistic and cultural embeddedness, as were Giambattista Vico and Johann Georg Hamann before him. It is, indeed, difficult not to be struck by the uncanny resemblance between the debates in Germany in the late eighteenth century between the two most important thinkers of their generation, Herder and Kant, and the Rawlsian–communitarian debate of the 1980s. But more generally, the concerns that Herder raised over the significance

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Herder’s Political Thought

of our language and culture to individual identity are now widely recognized as central to questions of justice and the way we ought to live together as moral and ethical beings. To situate Herder’s thought most appropriately within current debates and those of his own time, it is necessary to make a number of qualifying points. Despite some attempts to categorize Herder’s thought in postmodern terms,2 it is now generally recognized among Herder scholars that he was never an unrelenting adversary of ‘the Enlightenment.’ Isaiah Berlin’s use of the term ‘Counter-Enlightenment’ to categorize Herder’s thought has, therefore, been subject to significant intellectual critique.3 Steven Lestition questions whether Berlin ever meant the term ‘Counter-Enlightenment’ to mean the ‘AntiEnlightenment’ instead of denoting ‘an immanent critique’ that was simultaneously indebted to the movement itself.4 In his contribution ‘The Counter-Enlightenment’ in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Berlin recognizes that critics of the ‘French Enlightenment’ existed prior to and alongside the movement itself. Nor was the more radical ‘rejection of the central principles of the Enlightenment – universality, objectivity, rationality’ that he associates with ‘the Counter-Enlightenment’ a monolithic, unified movement, as it ‘occurred in various forms, conservative or liberal, reactionary or revolutionary.’5 While tracing the origins of the break from ‘Enlightenment’ thinking to Vico, Hamann, and Herder, Berlin indicates the paradox that it was ‘the profoundly rational, exact, unromantic Kant, with his lifelong hatred of all forms of Schwärmerei, who is in part, through exaggeration and distortion of at least one of his doctrines, one of the fathers of this unbridled individualism.’6 He goes on to include thinkers as diverse as William Blake, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, G.W.F. Hegel, William Wordsworth, Friedrich Schelling, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Schlegel, Joseph de Maistre, and even the Marquis de Sade. There is a family of resemblances among these thinkers in their rejection of the Newtonian and mechanistic model of nature. However, in terms of the implications of this shift for the history of ethical and political thought, there is little explanatory power in any categorization that combines reactionary with progressive thinkers. Despite Berlin’s own subtlety in making these distinctions, it is precisely the association of Herder with the authoritarianism of thinkers such as de Maistre that has proved particularly problematic with regard to his legacy as well as to interpretations of his thought in the English-speaking world.7

Introduction 5

Also, to the extent that Berlin consistently juxtaposes the ‘rationalism,’ ‘universality,’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’ of ‘the Enlightenment’ with the anti-rationalism, ‘irrationalism,’ and particularity of ‘the CounterEnlightenment,’8 Herder’s thought simply does not belong in such a counter-movement. On the contrary, his rejection of such dichotomies is one of the most fascinating and intellectually fertile aspects of his thought – something now well understood in Herder studies. Berlin himself emphasizes this point in Vico and Herder when he indicates the centrality of Herder’s radical anti-dualism to his thought.9 At a more fundamental level, the idea that ‘the Enlightenment’ ever existed has been subject to considerable contestation. In his highly influential The Enlightenment Contested, Jonathan Israel argues that there was always a radical and a moderate Enlightenment, while Sankar Muthu in his Enlightenment against Empire calls for a rejection of Berlin’s categories in favour of a pluralization of the era.10 Scholars of the long eighteenth century – that is, the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century – have shown that the standard stereotype of ‘the Enlightenment’ as a unified movement fails to capture the complexity of the debates and the thought of individual thinkers in this highly innovative and diverse period of European intellectual history.11 This diversity, moreover, extends well beyond Berlin’s ‘Counter-Enlightenment.’ To the extent that the ‘Counter-Enlightenment’ has been understood as the ‘Anti-Enlightenment,’ these categories do tend to obscure rather than clarify Herder’s contribution to the history of ideas.12 The once orthodox view that cast him as a cultural relativist who rejected all transcultural, transhistorical, and, hence, universal values has now lost much of its credibility. With this insight comes an acknowledged need among Herder scholars to revise critically many of the assumptions that influenced past misperceptions of his thought.13 Although Berlin came to reject this view emphatically, the problem remains that his most famous essay on Herder – and the one most familiar to political theorists – promotes the idea that he was an ethical and historical relativist by employing relativism as if it were an interchangeable term for pluralism.14 An important aim of this study, then, is to challenge further the basic assumption that Herder ever intended to reject either ‘the Enlightenment’ per se or all universal concepts. Yet while many thinkers in the eighteenth century were, among other things, combining insights from both rationalist and empiricist discourses, as well as recognizing the importance of language, the emotions, and cultural particularity, it is equally necessary to acknowl-

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Herder’s Political Thought

edge that Herder did see himself as challenging many of the dominant discourses generally associated with ‘Enlightenment’ thought. Two of his most famous early works, Abhandlung über den Urspung der Sprache (Treatise on the Origin of Language, 1772, hereafter Abhandlung) and Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte (Yet Another Philosophy of History, 1774, hereafter Auch eine Philosophie), situate him as a strident critic of his contemporaries. It is also readily acknowledged by Herder scholars that his late Metakritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Metacritique of the Critique of Pure Reason, 1799, hereafter Metakritik) is marred by unfair and false distortions of Kant’s transcendental philosophy that fail to acknowledge his recognition of the relationship between thought and experience.15 The spiritedness and passion of Herder’s critique of his contemporaries’ ethnocentric treatments of other cultures in their philosophical histories also means that his Auch eine Philosophe would not be out of place in a critical edition of ‘the Enlightenment’ today. There are good reasons why Edward Said, albeit belatedly, acknowledged Herder (as well as Vico) as offering an alternative interpretative model to Orientalism16 and why one recent scholar has presented him as part of a small minority ‘Swimming against the Tide of “Continental Chauvinism.”’17 Although the positive validation of Herder’s thought is a welcome relief from the more dominant, negative portrait of Herder as a ‘CounterEnlightenment’ and anti-rationalist thinker,18 it also requires some qualification. Fred R. Dallmayr recognizes quite rightly Herder’s salient role in the development of modern hermeneutics. He also takes the pivotal theme in Herder’s work – that of balancing unity with diversity – as inspiration for his own political philosophy.19 It is not, in my view, a distortion of Herder’s work to see him as a precursor to the kind of comparative political theory that Dallmayr seeks to establish, so that we set aside our hegemonic arrogance and attempt to enter into the philosophical and value systems of different cultures and see them from their own perspectives.20 My central argument is that Herder has far more in common with the recent wave of multicultural thinkers than most nationalists. But modern readers will be disappointed if they expect to find a thinker who has miraculously managed to overcome all the prejudices of his time or, to use Martin Heidegger’s terminology, his ‘fore-sight’ and ‘fore-conceptions.’ We cannot forget that Herder was an eighteenth-century thinker situated within his time and limited by the empirical resources available to him. An overriding love of humanity

Introduction 7

in all its diversity unmistakably permeates Herder’s work. But if a sympathetic approach to his situatedness is not taken, modern sensibilities are bound to react negatively to some of his cruder comments on different cultures.21 Although my task in this book is to concentrate on the most interesting, innovative, and fruitful aspects of his work for the history of political thought, we need to acknowledge that, like his contemporaries, Herder is also, at times, fallible in his understanding of other cultures and others’ arguments. Nevertheless, in his less polemical writings, Herder’s generosity is striking in the extent of his admiration for many thinkers throughout medieval times and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Recent scholarship has contributed considerably to our understanding of the diversity of intellectual influences on him. In addition to Kant, JeanJacques Rousseau, and Hamann, who have historically been seen as major influences, we will see that Herder recognizes the importance of both John Locke and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in their understandings of the relationship between thought and language. David Hume inspired not only Hamann but also Herder from an early age, as did Montesquieu. Lately, Benjamin Redekop has reminded us of the importance of both Thomas Abbt and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing to the development of Herder’s views on the public sphere; and in common with Goethe, Herder had considerable admiration for Benedict de Spinoza.22 In his Briefe zu Beförderung der Humanität (Letters for the Advancement of Humanity, 1793–1797, hereafter Humanitätsbriefe), Herder positively mentions a wide range of thinkers with respect to their contributions to the advancement of peace and justice.23 And since Berlin emphasizes Voltaire as ‘the archenemy . . . whom Herder called a “senile child” with a corrosive wit in place of human feeling’ to stress Herder’s differences with the French philosophes,24 it is worth noting that in his Humanitätsbriefe Herder writes that ‘whatever might be said to the contrary, humanity owes much to Voltaire himself.’25 Yet while influenced by or appreciative of these thinkers, as a unique and original thinker, Herder also disagrees with them all. Ironically, in his attempt to pluralize ‘the Enlightenment,’ which he takes to refer to the long eighteenth century, Muthu almost erases the very real differences and disagreements between Kant and Herder. It is true that both were strident anti-imperialists and equally critical of the cosmopolitanism of their day for its one-sided focus on a general love to the neglect of the local.26 It is also the case that Herder’s concern

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Herder’s Political Thought

to unite the universal with the particular was not new. Michael Morton has shown that this conundrum has concerned philosophers since ancient times.27 Yet however strongly Muthu challenges many false perceptions of Herder’s thought that have arisen by casting him as a radical opponent of ‘the Enlightenment,’ to conclude as he does that the main difference between Kant and Herder lies in the latter’s ‘emphasis upon the importance of particular languages’28 is just as misrepresentative. As we will see, this emphasis leads Herder to a very different understanding of the fundamental role of language in human cognition and of the importance of cultural membership to individual identity. There is also a far more thoroughgoing anti-dualism in Herder’s thought such that ‘the One and the Many . . . is the master problem of his entire career.’29 The challenge facing Herder’s commentators, then, is to retain a sense of the distinctiveness of his thought without denying his links to the universalism associated with ‘the Enlightenment.’ It is the far more challenging task of combining the universal with the particular without collapsing either into the other that constitutes his central preoccupation. Charles Taylor points to a return to a number of Aristotelian concepts in Herder’s thought with his desire to reunify the self and his rejection of the mechanistic model of nature. As I identify Herder as having a number of affinities with the thinkers labelled in the 1980s as ‘communitarians,’ it needs to be stressed that this does not mean that his thought equates to the kind of outright rejection of ‘the Enlightenment’ project evident with Alasdair MacIntyre’s return to an Aristotelian ethic.30 Herder never examines Aristotle’s thought in depth, but with his reference to ‘the great Aristotle’ in his very first philosophical treatise Versuch über das Sein (Essay on Being, 1763), it is clear that he knew his work from an early age.31 I will also show a number of affinities between Herder’s ideas and those of Aristotle with his conception of the relationship between the self and community, his emphasis on moral education, and his holistic conception of nature. Herder rejects what Taylor sees as the dominant, ‘Enlightenment’ conception of the subject as being found at the centre of the universe, dominating and controlling nature as an object apart from and subject to humanity. Yet, as with the other connections we can draw between Herder’s ideas and those of his predecessors, there are also marked differences. In rehabilitating the Aristotelian notion of a purposeful life, Herder does not conceive this purpose as the realization of a fixed plan outside the self. History,

Introduction 9

for him, is never more than the sum of its individual parts. He has, as Taylor argues, an entirely modern conception of the self: a meaningful life is one in which the self is realized.32 Herder’s conception of the self nevertheless differs from the idea of an autonomous subject endowed with a pure will and one that is simply the sum of individual choices – an idea that Iris Murdoch identifies as prevalent in the mainstream, Western analytical and existentialist philosophies of the twentieth century.33 In Herder’s formulation, the self-defining subject is also an embedded, or situated, self. Here the links between his work and that of modern liberal-communitarians are most apposite. I argue, as Taylor has with respect to more recent ‘communitarians,’ that Herder’s work belongs to a tradition of holistic individualism ‘that is fully aware of the (ontological) social embedding of human agents, but at the same time prizes liberty and individual differences very highly.’34 Although some commentators regard the communitarian embedded self as one completely determined by its cultural context and thus incapable of critical reflection,35 such a view misunderstands the interpretative and, hence, hermeneutic conception of culture and traditions possessed by both Herder and modern liberal-communitarians.36 Communitarianism is not, then, seen here as ‘anti-liberal,’ as it has sometimes been cast37 and as led Taylor, Michael Sandel, and Michael Walzer ultimately to reject the label. Instead, I see these thinkers, along with Herder, as forming one strand of the rich tradition of liberalism with its focus on individual diversity and freedom that typically includes in its canon thinkers such as Wilhelm von Humboldt as well as British Idealists such as L.T. Hobhouse and T.H. Green. These thinkers all depart, however, from the abstract individualism of the admittedly more dominant variants of liberalism. Although Taylor includes Humboldt but not Herder as part of this tradition, the link I am drawing will resonant with those who are well acquainted with his acknowledged indebtedness to Herder: My attraction to Herder was prepared long ago by my situation in Quebec, where two languages as well as two philosophies of language, came face to face: while English speakers considered language an instrument and did not understand why someone would refuse to adopt the most widely used instrument, due to its use in North America and the rest of the world, for French speakers language constitutes a way of being in the world. Having belonged to a family mixed for several generations, it

10

Herder’s Political Thought always seemed obvious to me that language is more than an instrument, that each language carries its own sense of humor, conception of the world etc.38

Long before the twentieth-century linguistic turn in philosophy, philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries such as Thomas Hobbes, Locke, George Berkeley, Leibniz, Rousseau, and Hume were concerned with the role of language in human development and cognition.39 But Herder, like his friend and mentor Hamann, is preoccupied with the phenomenon of language to an extent and in a way that Locke and these other thinkers are not. To emphasize this difference, some recent scholars refer to the shift that occurred in Germany in the late eighteenth century toward the now established belief in ‘the inseparability of epistemological and linguistic concerns’40 as the turn to language.41 This claim requires qualification, however, and not only because Francis Bacon can be said to have moved ‘language to the centre of the philosophical stage’42 in the late sixteenth century. The linguistic turn of the twentieth century took a very different direction in analytical philosophy than it did in the work of the philosophers of language whom I identify as heirs of Herder’s expressivism, such as Heidegger, R.G. Collingwood, the later Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Hans-Georg Gadamer. This difference is best exemplified by Wittgenstein’s own break from his earlier analytical philosophy. In his recent critique of Berlin, Robert E. Norton objects to his use of the term ‘expressionism,’ as well as to Taylor’s coining of the alternative term ‘expressivism’ in his analysis of Hamann’s, Herder’s, and Heidegger’s theory of language to distinguish it from the artistic movement of the early twentieth century known as Expressionism.43 Admittedly, Herder never used either term, and a degree of indeterminacy exists due to the increased attention that many eighteenth-century philosophers placed on the emotive and expressive dimensions of language. Nevertheless, other philosophers, such as Sabina Lovibond, have also found ‘expressivism’ a useful term to distinguish the language philosophies of the later Wittgenstein and Collingwood from analytical philosophy, which is no less concerned with language.44 Berlin’s explanation of Herder’s ‘expressionism’ does lack analytical clarity, but Taylor clearly distinguishes Herder’s expressivism from the notion of expression held by his contemporaries. At the core of this difference is a rejection of the designative view of language as a mere instrument for communication in favour of one that emphasizes the constitutive role

Introduction 11

of language in human cognition.45 It is a distinction that is, moreover, widely recognized among scholars of Herder’s theory of language.46 Where his theory differs from analytical philosophy is in its further rejection of the dichotomy between figurative and literal language, and his general anti-dualism. I will, therefore, continue to employ Taylor’s term to denote these distinctions. Political theorists may be less inclined to recognize immediately the implications for politics that arise from this shift in the philosophy of language. Stanley Rosen expresses a common concern that an excessive preoccupation with language as found in the ‘ordinary language analysis’ of Wittgenstein and J.L. Austin, and in Heidegger’s ontology of language, undermines the examination of more fundamental philosophical questions about ‘the good.’47 To be sure, the abstract nature of much language philosophy often makes the connection difficult to see. The work of expressivist thinkers like Heidegger, Collingwood, and the later Wittgenstein, while significant in more fully elaborating many of Herder’s initial insights on language, typically is apolitical, with none of them clearly articulating the normative implications of their theories.48 Although Hamann’s pioneering work is also of significant import for the history of language philosophy, the abstract nature of his work similarly means it is of less direct or immediate relevance for political theorists. The connection between language and politics is nevertheless an ancient one that can be traced to Aristotle’s classical definition of a human being as zoon logon ekhon, that is, a creature endowed with logos. Often incorrectly translated to refer exclusively to reason and thought, logos has a dual meaning, with Gadamer and Hannah Arendt arguing that its primary meaning is language and speech.49 When combined with Aristotle’s second famous definition of human beings as zoon politikon or political creatures, an essential link between language and politics exists in Aristotle’s philosophical system, with both seen as indispensable, defining features of the human species.50 Hamann’s acquaintance with Aristotle was such that he would have been perfectly aware of these connections. Yet despite sharing a number of commitments with Hamann, due to his historical approach Herder draws a far more direct connection with politics through his extensive and concrete studies of different cultures. The advantage of focusing on Herder’s work thus lies in the way that his philosophy of language intimately informs his ontological position – that is, those factors he takes as crucial in accounting for social life,

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Herder’s Political Thought

particularly in his historical studies, where he also articulates many of his political views. For political theorists, one of the most significant consequences is that language is no longer seen as an intellectual interest distinct from ethical and political thinking but rather as intricately connected to the ways we ought to live and do live. Contrary to Rosen’s concern, Herder’s theory of language and its importance for our understanding of cultural membership and identity leads us toward, not away from, more fundamental questions of the ‘good.’ Herder appreciates that for many communities, their indigenous language and culture are essential parts of their definition of the ‘good.’ The respect due to a people’s language and culture is thereby reconceptualized as an issue of justice so that central to his political thought is the idea that it is unjust to repress the indigenous language and culture of a people.51 Herder, therefore, goes significantly beyond Aristotle by recognizing the intimate connections among particular languages, a community’s way of life, and individuals’ sense of identity. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the relative merits of Latin and the vernacular languages of Europe were at the core of the struggle by the bourgeoisie to gain greater access to political power.52 Linguistic-political conflicts remain a major source of contention in modern political life. In the twentieth century, after the demise of British rule, the Indian Subcontinent suffered at times from violent clashes among groups with competing vernacular languages.53 Many other groups, such as the Basque nationalists, linked their struggles for political independence intimately with their desire for linguistic and cultural self-determination. More recently, linguistic policy has been a significant source of tension in the post-Soviet states in the Baltic and Eastern Europe, as well as for French and English speakers in Quebec.54 One explanation for these linguistic-political conflicts lies in the relationship between language and the modern state. As the medium of public discourse, languages are a force in the unification of states and in the political domination of cultural groups. It is self-evident that the adoption of one language as the official language of state in a multilingual state will privilege the speakers of that language over others. In such circumstances, language becomes a powerful means of inclusion or exclusion from the political system. Thus to the extent that political participation is important to people, so too is the language of state and politics. This functionalist understanding of language is nevertheless only part of the picture. In rejecting the view that language is merely a tool

Introduction 13

of communication and a means to some other end, Herder understands that it is an end in itself for the communities that speak it. Thus friction between the English- and French-speaking communities in Canada exists despite a general bilingual policy that enables French-speaking citizens to participate in the political system. The preservation of the French language and a French-speaking community, as Taylor indicates, is not a secondary issue for French Canadians but the essential point of contention.55 Similarly, if languages were only important to people as a means for political communication, then the Basques having been coerced to make the difficult transition to Spanish under Franco’s leadership would have had little incentive to promote the use of their own language since gaining some political autonomy. Herder’s examination of analogous situations in the eighteenth century suggests a deep identification between a people’s language and their entire way of life.56 More than any other thinker previously, Herder therefore grasps the moral and political import of the centrality of language and culture for our individual and collective self-understanding and identity.57 Herder’s Legacy Herder’s role in German intellectual history and his influence on the development of a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities are firmly established. In his work, we can see the infancy of anthropological and cultural studies, a sociological approach to historical studies, the basis for the nineteenth-century interest in comparative and historical linguistics, and a defence of the importance of literary criticism. His appreciation for mythology and folk literature was vital to the development of German Philologie.58 With his significant contribution to historiography, he is, along with Vico, one of the originators of the use of empathy in historical studies. His work continues to be of interest to historians, theologians, psychologists, literary critics, anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers of aesthetics and language, with a considerable renewal of attention given to his thought over the past thirty years.59 Far more controversial and less understood in the English-speaking world has been his contribution to ethical and political theory. Far too often, focus has been placed exclusively on his apparent role as the father of nationalism – a picture that I argue fails to capture both the complexity and the contemporary relevance of his thought.

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Herder’s Political Thought

Despite the notable contributions of Frederick M. Barnard, who has been the acknowledged authority on Herder’s political thought for the past forty years, it is largely due to Berlin’s influence with his many graduate students, not to mention his wide readership, that acknowledgment of Herder’s importance has increased markedly in recent years among Anglo-American political theorists.60 The result has been somewhat of a mini-revolution so that it is now difficult to open a theoretical work on nationalism or cultural identity and accommodation more generally and not find at some point a reference to Herder. Yet problems remain with the persistence of the one-sided interpretation of him as a nationalist and with the extent of recognition in the English-speaking world accorded to this seminal German thinker of the late eighteenth century. References to him by political theorists are often merely a passing nod in his direction, and some works on ‘the Enlightenment’ and the history of political thought continue to omit him entirely.61 There are notable exceptions, such as Norton’s contribution to the Encyclopaedia of the Enlightenment and Wolfgang Proß’s entry in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, both of which challenge Herder’s reputation as ‘a Counter-Enlightenment thinker.’ Proß further disputes his alleged influence on the development of German nationalism in the nineteenth century.62 Yet the editors of the same edition of The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought credit Herder with the development of ‘cultural relativism’ and ‘modern nationalism.’ And while the authors of Fifty Major Political Thinkers generally provide a more balanced account, they also misleadingly depict him as the ‘most significant single figure in the development of the Romantic “counter-Enlightenment”’ with ‘his central idea of cultural nationalism.’63 The central task of this book is to challenge these misperceptions of his thought, but it is important to begin to clear the ground here with a number of initial points regarding his legacy. During the twentieth century, the reception of Herder’s thought in the English-speaking world, no less than in Germany, was intertwined with politics. Until recently, those interested in group particularities in political philosophy have on the whole been relegated to a minority position in the Anglo-American tradition, especially since the devastating impact of the Second World War, when the consequences of an extreme nationalism and a one-sided focus on group particularities were apparent to all. Although Herder had a major impact on the development of Hegel’s

Introduction 15

thought,64 as Murdoch notes, it was Kant and not Hegel who influenced the existentialist and analytic image of humanity that was dominant in philosophy departments in the Anglo-American world during much of the twentieth century.65 For a generation of theorists still conscious of the evils that can be unleashed by a positive valorization of group particularities, the urgent task was to construct a global regime for the protection of universal human rights. Any positive mention of group affiliations and rights tended to be viewed with deep suspicion. As a consequence, for much of the twentieth century, it was Herder’s fate to be derided as the epitome of all that is wrong with nationalism. In particular, the cultural nationalism that his thought is most commonly aligned with was often demonized in comparison to the apparently more benign and acceptable form of civic and republican nationalism associated with the Western, that is, non-East European tradition. Wulf Koepke traces the classification of Herder as a cultural nationalist to the pre-Great War era and to the German historian Frederick Meinecke, who was soon followed by other historians such as Carleton Hayes in the English-speaking world.66 Hans Kohn further developed the twofold classification of Western and Eastern nationalisms in the mid-1940s, which John Plamentaz cemented in the imagination of Anglo-American political theorists during the 1970s with his article on ‘Two Types of Nationalism.’67 More than any other scholar, however, it has been Elie Kedourie, due to the enormous influence of his Nationalism – first published in 1960 and in its fourth expanded edition in 1993, with many more reprints since – who has been most culpable for promoting the image of Herder as largely responsible for every evil ever unleashed in the name of nationalism to generations of students of international relations, nationalism, and politics. Since the 1990s Herder, along with nationalism in the new guise of identity politics, has been somewhat rehabilitated. He is now generally credited as one of the first thinkers (along with Vico) to appreciate fully the diversity existing between cultures. But the erroneous view that Herder is oblivious to the diversity existing within cultures remains prevalent in both Anglo-American political theory and nationalist studies. Typically he is also depicted as a thinker with either a highly deterministic view of culture or a fatalistic conception of the laws of nature, both of which leave little room for critical thought and human freedom. This misperception then leads to the equally false claim that he promotes a policy of cultural isolation and purity over interaction.68 As

16

Herder’s Political Thought

most Herder scholars recognize, few characterizations could be more inaccurate. It is especially ironic that the originator, along with Vico, of the use of empathy as a historical method has had so little of it applied by commentators of his own work. Herder’s failure to apply a more measured approach in his critique of Kant’s thought undoubtedly played a role in his reception in Germany. It is possible, however, that any critique of Kant’s transcendental philosophy at a time when a new generation of emerging intellectuals was enthralled by it would have faced similar derision.69 Herder’s first biographer in the nineteenth century, Rudolf Haym, was also a Kantian whom Herder scholars readily acknowledge provides ‘an account of Herder’s life and work as yet unsurpassed in scope and attention to detail,’ yet it is a mixed legacy due to Haym’s utter failure ‘to grasp the spirit of the man.’70 The treatment of Kant in Anglo-American political theory compared to that of Herder is further indication of the prejudices that have often marred commentaries of the latter’s work. Kant, for example, adheres to a racist paradigm that Herder rejects, yet he is largely remembered in contemporary political theory as the great cosmopolitan and liberal thinker, a champion of universal rights. Only recently has this more pernicious aspect of his thought even been acknowledged.71 It does not follow that the rest of Kant’s philosophy should be rejected along with his racist views – an approach that has been all too prevalent in recent years among those who dismiss ‘the Enlightenment’ as if it were some unified system of thought. It is important to remember that his views were part of a robust scientific debate in his day and that even great thinkers can make mistakes. It does not follow that Kant’s other ideas cannot be adapted and interpreted in light of modern times, as clearly many contemporary theorists attempt to do. I merely propose a similarly empathetic and interpretative approach be adopted in Herder’s case, as is my intention here. To do so, it is first necessary to set aside the assumption that there is a direct line between Herder’s thought and modern nationalism. The kind of state or official nationalism that arose during the nineteenth century and that has been documented by thinkers such as Hugh SetonWatson72 is, in fact, the antithesis of Herder’s ideas. Similarly, I will demonstrate that the centralizing forces of the modern state detailed by scholars of modern nationalism such as Ernest Gellner,73 with their often adverse effects on the cultural autonomy of minority groups, are precisely the dangers that Herder foresees as a consequence of large

Introduction 17

bureaucratic states and that he tries to prevent. Only by seriously distorting his political philosophy or the history of European state formation and nationalism in the nineteenth century can he, therefore, be credited with the development of ‘modern nationalism.’ To be sure, we will also see that Herder’s ideal is for political associations to arise out of a pre-existing and common cultural base. In this respect, he supports a bottom-up communal approach to the formation of government. But his respect for cultural communities is universally applied. In supporting the rights of indigenous communities to govern themselves, he rails against any aggression or disdain toward other cultures. Throughout his life, he is a strident critic of imperialism. His sense of history and attention to the particular further mean that his general principles do not assume a concrete form for all times and places so that he thinks that all nations ought to have their own state. Reminiscent of the central role that Aristotle accords practical wisdom in the application of any other virtue, Herder is ultimately a pragmatist who consistently argues for common sense over dogmatism.74 In the context of the large bureaucratic states of his day under which a great many cultural communities resided, he therefore encourages state leaders not to impose a single vernacular language and culture but instead to respect the languages and cultures of all their peoples.75 He promotes cultural interaction in a spirit of cooperation, and I will further show that central to his education program is the learning of many languages. Such policies have very little in common either with ordinary perceptions of nationalism or with modern conceptions of civic and cultural nationalisms in nationalist studies. Nor, in my view, can his thought be equated easily with contemporary liberal nationalism. Both his appreciation for cultural diversity and his attempt to mediate between diversity and unity mean he has far more in common with contemporary proponents of a politics of recognition and multiculturalism. This is not to deny that cultural communities in a minority and oppressed position in large modern states might still find inspiration in Herder’s work for their struggles to attain some political autonomy, even if it takes a separatist form. Indeed, many have. For example, Herder’s influence on the Slavs in Europe struggling for their political independence is a matter of historical fact.76 But any such movement only retains legitimacy in Herder’s thought as long as it equally respects the languages and cultures of others. Admittedly, recognition of the importance of language and culture to individual identity can lead to a host of different political outcomes, but this is no less true of the

18

Herder’s Political Thought

belief that human beings are characterized by an innate unsociability – a belief that is shared by thinkers as diverse as Hobbes and Rousseau. Conceptions of human nature and ontological positions are crucial, for they frame the field of possibilities open to a thinker. However, they do not lead straightforwardly and deductively to a particular normative position. As a consequence, it is simply inadequate to tar with the same brush political theorists who do seek at the normative level to respect cultural and linguistic diversity through various forms of public recognition and those who wish to promote their own language and culture either through the direct destruction of others or by advancing unity over diversity in more benign forms. Barnard has always emphasized that Herder’s thought is without any aggressive or racist tendencies, and his detailed scholarship means that his works are an invaluable source. But as demonstrated by the title of his early book, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism, the categories he employs are subject to many of the same problems associated with Berlin’s. Although he has noted more recently that Herder is not a nationalist in the way this term is understood today, he continues to employ this problematic categorization.77 Berlin, by contrast, rejects the appropriateness of seeing Herder as a nationalist and instead uses the term ‘populism’ to denote ‘the belief in the value of belonging to a group or a culture, which, for Herder at least, is not political, and is indeed, to some degree, anti-political, different from, and even opposed to nationalism.’78 Yet this reclassification is equally dubious, with its reliance on an extremely narrow conception of politics, one that was common in Berlin’s day and one that meant for many years that the political dimension of Herder’s thought was erroneously denied.79 This study is indebted to Berlin’s assessment that it is not possible to appreciate fully Herder’s thought without an understanding of his philosophy of language. In exploring its implications for the value he places on cultural membership and for his pluralism, I reject any suggestion, however, that I am thereby digressing from a study in the history of political thought. Hence, when I initially define a Volk as a cultural community, I do not mean that it is non-political but only that a Volk can exist without a formal system of government and state to legitimize it. I will demonstrate in more detail in chapter 6 how the notion that Herder’s thought is somehow ‘anti-political’ has been decidedly misleading.80 Although his republicanism is not the most innovative aspect of his thought, it is an essential element of his political thought, and one

Introduction 19

that I will examine to combat this one-sided and erroneous portrait. His appreciation for diversity and his historical particularity mean that he never promotes the notion of a perfect political system applicable for all times and places. Yet he does develop general principles for good governance based on his ideal for human beings to become selfdefining in the moral and political spheres. Indeed, if this were not the case, it would be inexplicable that three of the most significant liberal thinkers of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries – John Stuart Mill,81 Berlin, and Taylor – have expressed such admiration for Herder’s thought. Merely because Herder employs organic metaphors and recognizes the value of cultural traditions so that he is uniquely sensitive among his contemporaries to the desire of communities to maintain their distinctive languages and cultures, it is far too simplistic to suggest that he is a conservative. Those who have done so generally interpret ‘conservatism’ as a doctrine that places value on community traditions at the expense of their impact on the well-being of the individual, and that delegitimizes criticism of existing institutional structures.82 But if anything, we will see that his intense dislike of centralized bureaucracies means he harbours certain anarchist rather than any authoritarian sympathies. Like Michel de Montaigne before him, he is a steadfast critic of the destruction caused to indigenous communities by colonialism and the hypocrisy of its stated ideals of a civilizing progress. This criticism does not, however, amount to a rejection of all forms of cosmopolitanism, and I will show that Herder develops an alternative peace ‘plan’ to those of his contemporaries. Berlin is strictly correct to indicate that all those who focus on the particular owe something to Herder’s legacy,83 yet this claim is only true in the most general sense. History has shown that Herder’s ideas can be appropriated and misused, but wilful distortion for ideological reasons cannot be legitimated on the basis that his work is open to various interpretations. Only a highly selective reading of his thirty-three volumes of text can yield support for a reactionary and isolationist political program. As Frederick Beiser argues, Herder is in fact ‘one of the most radical thinkers of the 1790s.’84 There is nonetheless a complexity in Herder’s thought that means that even sympathetic readers have often faced difficulties in grasping the subtlety of his ideas. It has often been said that Herder is an unsystematic and contradictory thinker.85 Even his admirers have sometimes vented their frustration with the metaphorical style he employs in his

20

Herder’s Political Thought

attempt to capture the multifaceted dimensions to human existence that defy simple categorizations: ‘His texts employ – often simultaneously – sensual, rational, and analogical patterns of argumentation. Consequently, the thrust of his arguments cannot be measured in terms of their conformity to the linear ideal of rationalist speculation, but must be sought in the intentionally “curved,” elliptic, and even contradictory character of his texts.’86 But as many Herder scholars indicate, his deliberately chosen metaphorical style – which Kant found so unscientific in his review of the first volume of Herder’s seminal work, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Ideas for the Philosophy of History, 1784–1791, hereafter Ideen) – is not the sign of an unsystematic thinker.87 Recent scholarship has also shown that, in Herder’s case, form does matter.88 Among other things, he wanted to appeal not just to the intellect but also to the emotions: an aim that is best achieved with the use of the poetic and that is further realized with his liberal use of typographical emphasis, exclamation and question marks, and so on.89 But in my view, too much can be made of the difficulty of reading Herder’s texts. For those familiar with Heidegger or the metaphorical style of the later Wittgenstein, reading Herder’s work is a simple task in comparison.90 It is equally noteworthy that Herder was a highly accomplished essayist: many of his essays possess a passion and liveliness that make them invigorating to read. Kant disparagingly referred to him as the ‘poetic’ philosopher and others have criticized the emotional tone of his texts.91 Yet if we compare Herder’s essays to the extreme sarcasm in Voltaire’s pamphlets during the high point of his campaign against religious superstition, Herder appears utterly constrained.92 Since the inclusion of Montesquieu’s Persian Letters in the canon of political thought, neither emotion nor the poetic is, moreover, a basis for exclusion. Like Locke, Herder saw himself as a public intellectual who was writing for a general audience with a programmatic intention to spark the seeds for social reform. Koepke further notes that having employed a more experimental style in his Älteste Urkunde des Menschengeschlechts (Oldest Document of the Human Race, 1774), he learned that its use would make his work inaccessible and returned to employing ‘allusions, metaphors, examples, and allegories within the framework of reasoned discourse.’93 It is true that in Herder’s case, it is not possible to point to one major text to include in the philosophical canon, as we can, for example, with Hobbes’s Leviathan.94 But while political

Introduction 21

theorists might make wide use of Mill’s On Liberty in their teaching, none of us would claim that we gain a sense of Mill’s wider philosophical project from this one work. And while the lack of translations in English remains a problem for more scholarly endeavours, there are now sufficient translations available that it is possible to attain a very good sense of Herder’s overall concerns, one that challenges the stereotype of him as a one-sided nationalist and opponent of all universal values.95 Many of the problems readers have faced in grasping the subtleties in Herder’s thought instead stem from the attempt to employ an analytic method of reductive analysis to his ideas. Distinct reasoning and mutually exclusive categories do not suffice for a thinker for whom the world is too complex and mysterious to be reduced to simple formulations. Carl Erik Kühl suggests a useful distinction between the analytic and hermeneutic methods of definitional practice in philosophical discourse. To this, J.E. Malpas adds that ‘to adopt an analytic mode may lead to misunderstanding of the hermeneutical – particularly if the hermeneutic mode embodies an approach that is incompatible with or opposed to the analytical.’96 Herder’s attempt to mediate between such apparent opposites as unity and diversity is bound to appear contradictory to those who approach his work based on standard conceptual dichotomies. Their previous imposition is largely responsible for the failure of many commentators until recently to understand that his attempt to unite the universal with the particular is not simply due to inconsistency, but arises out of his deliberate refusal to accept a sharp dichotomy between absolutism and relativism. As Morton indicates, Herder challenges the notion of identity at the core of analytical philosophy. Hence, along with putting aside any assumptions about Herder’s apparent one-sided nationalism, the reader must be continually on guard against imposing on him a framework that demands ‘things must be either one way or the other, either x or not-x.’97 Yet at the same time that many of the apparent tensions in his thought do dissipate once his radical anti-dualism is appreciated, much can be gained from the more systematic evaluative practices of more recent moral and political philosophy. The validity of categorizing Herder as a nationalist ultimately depends on the meaning of that term, as is also the case with the application of relativism or pluralism to his thought. For this reason I not only adopt a contextual approach by examining Herder’s ideas in relation to the debates in his own time but also

22

Herder’s Political Thought

analyse his ideas in light of more recent debates in ethical and political thinking. Evaluative political theory and the contextual or ‘historicist’ approach associated with Quentin Skinner and the Cambridge School adopt different approaches to the study of political thought.98 However, they need not be mutually exclusive, and an understanding of Herder’s thought is significantly enhanced with the assistance of the kind of clear definitional practice that is more characteristic of recent philosophy. Herder’s legacy as a critic of ‘Enlightenment’ thought has undoubtedly been distorted by the Kantian dominance in philosophy noted by Murdoch.99 As one result, the complexity and subtlety involved in his anti-dualism has been overlooked. As another, his focus on group particularity has generally been disparaged from a universalist paradigm. But while most liberals have not placed importance on groups, as Andrew Vincent argues, ‘it is simply not good enough to try to dismiss groups as irrelevant or incoherent, or alternatively, to valorise the notion of the human individual, on neo-Kantian, utilitarian or contractarian grounds.’100 As many now recognize, the one-sided focus on individualism in political theory for much of the twentieth century meant that a crucial part of political reality was neglected. Whether or not political theorists believe that groups ought to be the most significant particular, the reality is that the struggle for linguistic and cultural self-determination is a significant part of the modern political landscape. The assumption that we have to choose as our focus either the individual or the group is, moreover, highly problematic. For Herder, the issue is not that group particularities are more significant than the individual but that we need to recognize their interrelatedness in the formation of personal identity and attend to the significance of both. Unless we do so, the linguistic-political conflicts that arise will remain simply inexplicable. Overview A central objective of this work is to give due credit to a thinker whose way of looking at the world is currently enjoying a renewal of interest in Anglo-American political thought. The methodology employed is both empathetic and interpretative. It seeks to place the development of his original ideas in the context of the debates of his own time and to convey their continuing influence – often unacknowledged – on more recent philosophical thought. At the same time, the insights of recent

Introduction 23

thinkers help us interpret and clarify his central ideas. Some might object to the links I draw with contemporary political theory. In adopting the Cambridge School approach, Arnd Bohm argues in a recent commentary on Herder’s political thought that ‘understanding his writings as a response to what he perceived as vital matters is more useful than are strained efforts to find him as a precursor.’101 But these efforts are not strained when Taylor and Dallmayr openly acknowledge their affinity with Herder. I will also demonstrate that a far more strained effort is required to apply modern conceptions of nationalism to his thought. Of course, some might point out that extreme nationalists have found inspiration in his thought no less than Taylor and Dallmayr have. Yet the crucial difference lies in extreme nationalists failing first to engage with Herder on his own terms. As a consequence, they distort Herder’s own framework of thought. Historians have contributed much in recent years to our understanding of past thinkers; but ultimately, from the perspective of political theorists, our interest in the past is predicated on our learning from it for the present.102 Herder is always conscious of the symbiotic relationship between theory and practice. So this, too, is evident in his approach to history when he takes the general principles of Athenian republicanism as opposed to its precise structure and applies them to his own time. Following Herder, I therefore adopt a ‘reinterpretative’ approach in the final chapter by examining the continuing relevance of his ideas on language and culture for contemporary multicultural societies. It is important to stress that in applying his general principles to current circumstances I am not claiming that Herder was interested to any significant degree in the fate, for example, of immigrants. In the context of his time, his main concern was the protection of cultural communities against the encroachment of the increasingly centralized European states, both within Europe and around the world.103 Nevertheless, keeping in mind the universal nature of his concern for cultural diversity and his belief in adapting general principles for good governance to suit different times and circumstances, my aim is to do precisely that in light of the cultural diversity now existing in modern states. By incorporating past and present thinkers, I will reveal that Herder is one of the most important and insightful thinkers of the eighteenth century, and one who has been far too often neglected in the history of Western political thought. Chapters 1 and 2 analyse the main features of Herder’s philosophy of language, which form the crucial framework for his ontology. Chapter

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Herder’s Political Thought

1 focuses on his award-winning essay on the origin of language in the context of the linguistic debates in the eighteenth century. Chapter 2 provides an exposition of his expressivist theory of language in contrast to the designative view of language held in common by both rationalists and empiricists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Subsequent chapters then trace how Herder’s theory of language establishes the guiding principles for his political philosophy. Chapter 3 examines the relationship between his theory of language and those factors he takes as meaningful in accounting for social life. Here the links with his understanding of the relationship between the self and community, and modern, liberal-communitarian views are drawn out in more detail. I then begin to explore the more normative aspects of his thought. Chapter 4 offers an account of the central principles of his moral pluralism. It argues that while Herder’s thought has some affinities with a strong pluralism, he is more appropriately seen as adhering to a weak pluralism that accepts a thin universal morality. By showing that there is little in Herder’s work with which a cultural relativist would find satisfaction, it attempts to reconcile the tensions in his commitment to both the universal and the particular through an analysis of his open teleology. Chapter 5 challenges the validity of interpreting Herder’s thought through the prism of modern nationalism by analysing its relationship to some of the main theories of modern nationalism. It argues that Herder is neither a cultural nor a civic nationalist as these concepts are understood in nationalist studies. Showing that Herder did not see cultural self-determination as a good in itself, as do many nationalists, prepares the way for the exploration of his republican and cosmopolitan views in chapter 6. Having established the main tenets of Herder’s ethical and political views in the previous chapters, chapter 7 explores the relevance of his general principles to modern multicultural societies by examining them in light of recent debates in contemporary political theory. Although the reader might agree that Herder’s ideas do not conform to either a cultural or a civic conception of nationalism, I also wish to pre-empt any temptation to recast him as a precursor to the kind of liberal nationalism that has recently been expounded by David Miller. I argue, instead, that Herder’s general principles have far more affinity with the recent wave of multicultural theories. The edition of Herder’s collected works I employ in the main is by Bernhard Suphan, which with its thirty-three volumes remains the

Introduction 25

most comprehensive collection. Although Herder scholars are increasingly turning to two more recent editions – one in three volumes by Wolfgang Proß, the other in ten volumes by Günter Arnold and colleagues – neither has as yet replaced the Suphan edition for all scholars.104 I have, however, consulted the newer editions for they possess many useful commentaries and notes, and I have also provided crossreferencing for his major texts. For English speakers, I have attempted to employ existing translations while indicating where I have adapted them. Where I do not indicate otherwise, the translations are my own. Although my exposition of Herder’s thought devotes separate chapters to his theories of language, culture, and politics in its narrow sense, it is necessary to emphasize that none of his central ideas exist completely independently. Herder is a holistic thinker, and all aspects of his world are bound together in a complex and multifaceted unity. This is not to imply that he is a system-builder; on the contrary, his refusal to fit the complexity of human existence into the neat binary categories dominant in much philosophical thinking means that his work defies simple classification. But, as Herder’s central project is to mediate between apparent opposites, it is also important to remember that while I dissect his overarching perspective on human affairs to clarify his fundamental concepts, they are all intimately interconnected.

1 The Origin of Language

Eighteenth-century philosophers were intensely interested in the question of language origination, for it raised a host of wider questions concerning the relationship between language and cognition, and the operations of the mind. Differences throughout Europe were equally evident in the disputes within the Berlin Academy. Heavily influenced by the French philosopher Étienne Bonnet de Condillac, the academy’s President Pierre Moreau de Maupertius delivered a lecture in 1756 that attempted to demonstrate how human beings naturally created and perfected language.1 Johann Süßmilch, a skilled exponent of the Wolffian school of philosophy, responded in his Versuch eines Beweises, daß die erste Sprache ihren Ursprung nicht vom Menschen, sondern allein vom Schöpfer erhalten habe (Essay on the proof that the first language did not originate from humans but rather was given from the Divine Creator, 1766) that the structural perfection and complexity of language meant its origins could not be explained by unaided human development. Through a careful use of deductive logic, he argued that the only plausible explanation was that God endowed humans with a fully developed capacity for it. With little agreement evident, in 1769 the Berlin Academy of Sciences and Letters announced its question for its prestigious prize essay: ‘ “Supposing that human beings were left to their own natural faculties, would they be in a position to invent language? And, if so, by what means will they arrive at this invention?” ’2 Already intensely interested in the philosophy of language, and having written an outline of his views on language origination in the revised version of his early Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Literatur (Fragments on Recent German Literature, hereafter Fragmente, 1767–68),3 Herder responded

The Origin of Language 27

enthusiastically to this opportunity with what became his 1770 prizewinning Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache (Treatise on the Origin of Language, 1772). Herder rejects the divine thesis and opts for human origins, but the conventional framing of this debate in terms of a divine–human dichotomy fails to capture either his achievement or the issues at stake. Though Herder takes issue with Süßmilch’s divine position, the two thinkers agree that language and thought are inseparable. The religious dimension of the debate was significant for the thinkers of the time. Yet just as commonalities transcend this conventional dichotomy, important differences divide those who argue in common either for divine or human origins. When Hamann, for example, later wrote on the origin of language, he posited a divine genesis but was no less critical than Herder of Süßmilch’s argument deduced from rationalist logic.4 Nor does Herder accept Condillac’s theory of human origination, or deny God’s role in the creation of humanity as linguistic beings, any more than Locke does with his extensive critique of the Cartesian notion of innate ideas.5 Yet Herder saw himself as more faithfully honouring God by crediting him with the creation of human beings with the ability to create language. So he was genuinely bemused by Hamann’s highly negative reaction to his Abhandlung. Commentators such as Ulrich Gaier also conclude that little difference exists between their theories of language origination.6 But Herder’s personal disappointment with his mentor’s disapproval belies the fact that he makes a decisive break from the mystical dimension of Hamann’s philosophy of language when he writes: To be sure, creating Providence must have presided over the first moments of coming to conscious control – but it is not the job of philosophy to explain the miraculous aspect in these moments, as little as philosophy can explain the human being’s creation. Philosophy takes up the human being in his first condition of free activity, in his first full feeling of his sound existence, and hence explains these moments only in human terms.7

For Hamann, Herder’s divorce of the human from theological terms was entirely unacceptable. As John R. Betz comments, Hamann perceived that Herder consequently makes ‘any notion of language as prophetic or inspired speech – superfluous, since the human logos could be satisfactorily explained apart from a divine Logos.’8 Herder’s statement

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Herder’s Political Thought

is also no aberration in a strategic attempt to appeal to a secular institution like the Berlin Academy. His first philosophical essay, Versuch über das Sein, criticizes Kant’s attempt to demonstrate The Only Possible Foundation of Proof for God’s Existence (Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes, 1763) and argues against attempts in epistemology and traditional metaphysics to achieve the kind of certain truth that is God’s domain. No matter how imperfect, the sensuous certainty of the human world is sufficient for Herder.9 This is not to deny the spiritual dimension of Herder’s work or the vast differences between Kant and Hamann; but unlike Hamann, who wants to turn philosophy into the mystical, Herder’s project is to turn philosophy into anthropology. The central theme in the Abhandlung is therefore not a religious one; rather, it is the nature of humanity. Chapter 2 explores implications of this essay for his philosophy of language within the broader framework of his other work. Here I focus on Herder’s extensive elaboration of his conception of human nature with his fundamental rejection of dualistic approaches to the human constitution. Section One examines his critique of Süßmilch’s, Condillac’s, and Rousseau’s theories of language origination. Recent scholarship has questioned the originality of Herder’s argument on the relationship between thought and language, and the affinities between Herder and his contemporaries are far closer than he admits. Yet in reaction to the often exuberant and, at times, misplaced praise bestowed on the Abhandlung, there has been an equally misleading tendency in recent times to go to the other extreme and dismiss his text as merely repeating well-established ideas.10 Although the differences between his theory and those of his contemporaries are subtler than was once assumed, they remain significant. Unlike Condillac and Rousseau, Herder does not accept that humans ever existed in a pre-linguistic state. Although Süßmilch agrees with him on this point, Herder does not adhere to his strong innate position that people are created with specific linguistic knowledge. Section Two shows that because they are firmly embedded in a linguistic world, one that divides and unites, human beings are equally situated in the world of nature and experience. At the core of Herder’s understanding of the human condition is his radical anti-dualism. Herder’s Critique of His Contemporaries The opening sentence of the Abhandlung – ‘Already as an animal, the human being has language’ – is both provocative and ironic.11 It immediately

The Origin of Language 29

captures the reader’s attention, even while Herder proceeds to reverse its apparent meaning. From the outset he insists that human language is both an entirely natural phenomenon and fundamentally different from the kinds of spontaneous cries and sounds expressed by all sentient beings. As human beings are by nature linguistic creatures, his central argument is that they were never animals.12 First taking issue with the theory of a divine genesis of language, Herder proceeds to dismiss Süßmilch’s argument. It is nevertheless far more philosophically credible than either Herder, or those commentators who too readily accept Herder’s depiction of it, acknowledge.13 Süßmilch refers in a general sense to God as ‘the Creator and first teacher of the human species,’14 but nowhere does he state, as Herder declares, that God ‘had taught language to the first humans.’15 Against this claim, Herder argues that the attempt to deduce a theory of divine genesis from the process by which parents teach language to their children is invalid because the concurrent inventive activity of the children is always involved in such parental teaching. In short, children do not simply copy adult utterances. In order to have received and understood the first word from God, people would have needed the same degree of cognitive powers as if they had invented it themselves.16 The idea that God invented language and then imparted it to humans is fundamentally flawed because humans, for Herder, were never in a pre-linguistic state.17 Yet divine instruction is not Süßmilch’s position. His ‘first sentence’ in his preface on the relationship between reason and language states explicitly that ‘without language or other arbitrary signs there is no reason.’18 For Süßmilch, conceptual thinking depends on the existence of a system of arbitrary signs that is used to isolate perceptions, form general concepts, and make connections.19 Herder also falsely attributes to Süßmilch the claim that ‘it is possible to reduce all known languages to about twenty written symbols.’20 He easily refutes it by using J.H. Lambert as an authority and pointing out that far fewer symbols than sounds exist. Human history, he maintains, shows that it was only with the Greeks and not in the original divine language of the Hebrews that vowels were written because they were still far too dynamic and changeable at that point in time to be captured in written symbols. Herder concludes that since written symbols were inadequate even for the tasks required of them, they fail to demonstrate the perfect organization of language on which Süßmilch’s argument is based. God would never have invented something so ‘imperfect.’21

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But Süßmilch’s argument is not so easily dismissed. In employing the term Buchstaben, he refers to spoken and not written language. He recognizes that when combined, they form an endless number of variations for human expressions. He is also fully aware that the number of Buchstaben varies between languages.22 Bruce Kieffer argues that in using this term to denote the discrete sound elements of speech, Süßmilch developed an early theory of phonemes on which most linguists still base their principles of phonology.23 Noam Chomsky refers to such units as substantive universals, which, he suggests, indicate along with the syntactic and semantic elements of natural languages that humans are predisposed to operate with certain kinds of distinctions rather than others.24 Like Chomsky, Süßmilch follows Descartes’s theory of innate ideas by making the strong claim that people are born with certain knowledge of a universal structure involved in the use of complex, natural languages. God, he declares, created humans ‘at the time of Creation also with the skill involved in the use of a complete and orderly language.’25 There are important areas of agreement between Herder and Süßmilch.26 As Herder ultimately concedes, both believe that reason and language are inseparable so that humans cannot possess the capacity to reason without language.27 Herder and Süßmilch therefore agree that human beings never existed without language28 – a position that distinguishes them both from Condillac. But Herder does not, as Jürgen Trabant argues, believe in the existence of a universal grammar – or at least, not in the kind of deep universal grammatical structure that Chomsky and Süßmilch adhere to. As Trabant indicates, Herder never falls into the kind of ‘nationalistic relativism’ that linguists typically attribute to him and that would mean we would be unable to communicate with each other across languages.29 Later in the Abhandlung, he sees linguistic diversity as having emerged from one common origin and notes that as far as he knows, ‘among all peoples of the earth grammar is constructed in almost a single manner,’ with the possible exception of Chinese.30 Yet Chomsky’s position is not merely that grammatical rules are similar in different languages. Chomsky argues that humans possess certain very specific yet general principles that are far removed from actual experience and that these underlying principles determine the ‘surface’ grammatical rules in actual existing languages. In short, children are born with a specific language acquisition device that contains all the necessary knowledge of these universal linguistic principles so that they can extract,

The Origin of Language 31

as children, the rules of grammar from the linguistic information they receive. Following Descartes’s theory of innate ideas, our innate knowledge of language requires the correct stimulation to become activated; but the social world is not the primary basis for our possession of this knowledge.31 In Süßmilch’s theory, too, neither the individual nor the external world is responsible for the development of language except to arouse the knowledge given to humanity by God.32 Learning and social interaction are necessary; neither Chomsky nor Süßmilch accepts the extreme mechanistic view that reduces human infants to automata equipped with languages in their head ready to be used from birth.33 I will show shortly that Herder, by contrast, places a far stronger emphasis on the role of sensual perception and the individual in relation to the external world. For Herder, humans possess the innate powers to create language but do not have innate linguistic information.34 Chomsky correctly sees himself as part of the rationalist tradition; where he is wrong is to include Herder in it and to exclude Süßmilch. Herder next distances his theory from the extreme naturalism he associates with Condillac and his attempt to deduce the origin of human language from spontaneous sounds of emotions. He repeats his claim made earlier that all sentient beings possess the ability for selfexpression. But unlike human language, no communication is intended by cries that are simple expressions of an emotion, such as a scream issued forth as a purely physical reaction to pain.35 ‘All animals,’ he notes, ‘down as far as the dumb fish, sound forth their sensation.’36 Thus, he cannot hide his ‘astonishment that philosophers, that is, people who seek distinct concepts, were ever able to arrive at the idea of explaining the origin of human language from this cry of the sensations. For is human language not obviously something completely different?’37 Herder accuses Condillac of presupposing the existence of language with his famous hypothetical construct in which two children, who are placed in a desert before knowing any signs, gradually learn from both their mutual interaction and repetition of similar circumstances to connect their emotional cries with their thoughts. This fails, for Herder, as an explanation of the origins of human language because it cannot explain why all animals expressing spontaneous cries of emotion do not also invent arbitrary, conventional signs.38 He is equally critical of Rousseau for arguing that the history of language is marked by a gradual progression from the simplest cries of

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nature through increasingly complex stages as humans became more interdependent and formed societies.39 For Rousseau, the second linguistic stage is marked by a more complex composite of gestures and inarticulate sounds than simple cries. These sounds develop with the formation of minimal social relations based on mutual interest and common consent. They do not arise from physical need, as many had argued, but from the desire to express passions and to interrelate. Yet little difference exists between this linguistic stage and animal language; indeed, Rousseau declares that ‘such intercourse would not require a language much more refined than that of rooks or monkeys, who associate together for much the same purpose.’40 Language only develops into the conventional utterances that characterize modern society when people’s ideas become more complex.41 Herder thus thinks that Condillac ‘made animals into humans’ by endowing them all with the power to develop language; while he rebukes Rousseau for making ‘human beings into animals.’42 The affinities between Herder and Condillac are, however, far stronger than Herder’s criticisms of him suggest. Condillac defends the view, central also to Süßmilch, that the abilities of humans to develop their rational powers and improve their use of language are fundamentally interdependent.43 It is important to recognize that Condillac’s work represents a merger of post-Lockean empiricism with the universal grammar of the Port-Royal rationalists so that he sees language as an expression of the mind’s operations.44 Contrary to Herder’s suggestion, Condillac denies that human language consists in any significant degree of natural cries. He recognizes that mastery over such cries would not in itself enable a person to use reflection because their production would depend on the occurrence of appropriate stimuli. Therefore, even a large vocabulary of such vocal responses would not indicate a speaker’s control over his or her mind. A crucial stage is reached in Condillac’s theory when people begin to live together and use these natural cries to communicate. It is at this point that natural cries are no longer simple emotional responses but acquire an intentional use, as in the case of warning someone of an approaching danger. Only then does Condillac think it is a simple step to substitute natural emotive signs with instituted ones.45 Language and reason are therefore completely interdependent in their development. Nevertheless, both Hans Aarsleff and Norton overestimate the continuities between Herder and Condillac by attributing the belief in an innate ability to control reflection to Condillac.46 To reason, for Condil-

The Origin of Language 33

lac, is to frame judgments and connect ideas that are produced through the use of one’s chosen signs. But if people had not learned how to control their natural reflective powers through the use of language, they would have remained in an unenlightened state similar to that of animal consciousness.47 This crucial difference is evident in Condillac’s account of a twenty-three-year-old deaf man who began to hear and whom he depicts as ignorant of his motives and intentions when he was deaf.48 Condillac argues that although he was driven by habits and imagination, even the need to provide for his wants did not enable him to connect or, indeed, to possess ideas because perceptions that are not yet subject to our command are ‘not properly ideas.’49 Memory and reflection are entirely dependent for their existence upon the ability to connect signs, and this, in turn, is contingent upon mutual communication.50 This description bears a remarkable similarity to Condillac’s account of animal consciousness, with the distinction between perception and reflection also informing his demarcation between animals and humans.51 He believes that animals have souls but that they are inferior to human souls because ‘the souls of brutes are limited to perception, consciousness, attention, reminiscence, and to an imagination not subject to their command.’52 Condillac therefore thinks the linguistic skills entailed in the ability to control reflection are uniquely human; but also, because they are unavailable to the deaf man, who is unable to participate in mutual communication, that they are not innate. Without mutual communication, human beings at most attain animal consciousness. By contrast, Herder insists that a ‘savage’ alone in the forest would be bound to ‘invent’ language. Human linguistic ability is not a potential skill that people acquire as a result of living together, nor is it the result of an adaptation of the mouth.53 Human language is not on a continuum with natural cries but is qualitatively different. He proceeds to demonstrate this claim by first indicating the differences between animals and human beings, which lie in human imperfection. Every animal has its sphere and ‘ “the sharper animals’ senses are and the more marvelous the products of their art, then the smaller their circle is, the more limited in kind the product of their art.” ’54 The bee builds its hive brilliantly, as does the spider its web, but neither can move beyond that sphere of activity.55 Animal language is the expression of these ‘drives, innate and immediately natural for the animal.’56 It also has a basic communicative function.57

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But it is not human language. Nor is it the ‘actual roots’ of human language. Although natural cries can act as ‘juices which enliven the roots of language,’58 humans have no instinctive, ‘animal language.’59 The fundamental difference stems from the circumstance whereby the wider and more diverse the sphere of an animal, the less sharp and more imperfect is the art. Human beings have ‘no such uniform and narrow sphere’ but ‘a world of occupations and destinies’ surrounding them. Their ‘senses and organization are not sharpened for a single thing.’60 Humans are instead born ‘dumb,’ ‘naked and bare, weak and needy, timid and unarmed’ in a ‘miserable state . . . with such a dispersed, weakened sensuality, with such indeterminate, dormant abilities, with such divided and weakened drives, obviously dependent on and directed to a thousand needs, destined for a large sphere.’61 But as nature does not exist in such a contradictory state, Herder posits that it must have given humans ‘other hidden powers’ to compensate for their weakness.62 Human Distinctiveness Herder thereby begins the second section of the Abhandlung by setting himself the task of identifying these hidden powers and the ‘ “distinctive character of humanity.” ’63 Like his contemporaries, he argues that by nature, human beings are conscious, reflective beings. As animals act from instinct, humans are formed for freedom: Let one name this whole disposition of the human being’s powers however one wishes: understanding, reason, taking-awareness [Besinnung], etc. It is indifferent to me, as long as these names do not denote disconnected powers or merely a higher degree of animal powers. It is the ‘whole organization of all human powers; the whole domestic economy of his sensuous and cognizing, his cognizing and volitional, nature.’ Or rather, it is ‘the single positive power of thought, which bound up with a certain organization of the body, is called reason in the case of human beings, just as it becomes ability for art in animals, which is called freedom in the case of human beings, and becomes instinct in animals.’ The difference is not in levels or an addition of powers, but rather in an entirely different orientation and unfolding of all powers.64

It soon becomes evident that it does, however, matter which term we employ. Herder adopts the word Besonnenheit to refer to this distinctive

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human character. Often translated as reason or reflection, with Herder initially noting that it is another term for ‘Reflexion,’ Besonnenheit needs to be distinguished from reflection understood as a single human power. Nor does the reflexivity that Herder indicates when he writes that the human being not only ‘cognizes, wills and effects, but also knows that it cognizes, wills, and effects’65 capture its full meaning. He continues to refer to both reflection and reason; but as Proß argues, it is vital to acknowledge the differences between Condillac’s terminology and Herder’s.66 Against the tendency to divide various human powers into separate categories, Herder deliberately chooses to employ Besonnenheit to avoid the ambiguities entailed in the false notion that ‘cleverness, intelligence, imagination, reason’ could ever exist as distinct and separate faculties and take effect in isolation. Besonnenheit thus denotes the total disposition of all human powers that are subject to the free will and reflexivity that only humans have and that together form the distinctive character of humanity.67 Human distinctiveness, for Herder, reveals itself in the first thought of the child. This does not mean that an infant reasons as if it had a fully developed mind;68 but neither is reason, as Rousseau claims, merely a potential or an ‘ability’ for reason that may or may not come into existence. Human reason is undeveloped at infancy, but it is no less a ‘positive power’ that the infant possesses. It therefore already exists as a ‘tendency.’69 Infants do not think, for example, ‘like a condor or a lion’ but in a distinctively ‘human way . . . [which] is already in the first moment its fate, just as it will be so in the last.’70 Besonnenheit reveals itself in the simplest cognitive act of isolating characteristics that distinguish one feature from another within the vast array of sensations rushing in on the mind through the senses. This recognition requires a distinguishing symbol, that is, a ‘word of the [Seele] soul! With it human language is invented.’71 It is the introduction of the third thing – the characteristic mark – that is essential for all differentiation and recognition to occur.72 This internal, spontaneous, and silent cognitive act of fixing a characteristic mark to an individual perception in the act of recognition is already evidence of human language.73 For Herder, not the least use of reason, not the simplest distinct recognition, not the simplest judgment of a human awareness [Besonnenheit] is possible without a characteristic mark; for the difference between two things can only ever be recognized through a third thing. Precisely this third thing, this

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Human language and reason, therefore, coexist in such a way that each presupposes and necessitates the other. ‘Without language,’ Herder writes, ‘the human being has no reason, and without reason no language.’ The ‘invention’ of language is thus ‘as natural, as old, as original, as characteristic of the human being as the use of the former [i.e., reason].’75 Although Herder employs the Academy’s term of ‘invention,’ he shows that there was in fact no real moment of invention; human beings do not exist without language and reason.76 The significance of Herder having redirected the origin of language within the human constitution is not that he distinguishes humans from animals on the basis of language and reason as philosophers had done from the time of Aristotle. It instead lies in his rejection of any notion of a hierarchical dependence of language upon prior thinking and reflection. Non-symbolic thought is, on his theory, impossible. As Trabant writes, ‘this is what is decisive and radically new in Herder – thought is the word,’77 although it is equally crucial to stress that the word, for Herder, is far more than is captured with any narrow conception of the term ‘thought.’ Condillac also argues that ideas do not exist independently of symbols; nevertheless, he thinks that humans can exist without ideas. In Herder’s terms, Condillac thinks that humans possess animal language and subsequently attain human language and develop ideas through mutual communication. The distinctive character of humans is therefore only a difference of degree imposed on an otherwise animal nature. Humans and their language are not qualitatively distinct. It is this qualitative distinction that led Chomsky to place Herder within the rationalist tradition.78 But Herder’s insight is that Descartes also fails to establish a qualitative distinction between animals and humans. His mind–body dualism, one that Christian Wolff 79 also upholds, means that language, along with the mind, is conceived as a faculty superimposed over what are otherwise animal functions. From a Cartesian perspective, humans have a distinct animal and a distinct human part. Emotion and reason, the sensual and rational, are not intrinsically interconnected, as they are for Herder.80 Herder’s theory of language marks a fundamental rejection of Cartesian dualism. So it is crucial to Herder’s argument that before locating language within the mind, he has already established the interrelatedness of

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human powers. Karl Menges maintains that although Herder initially uses Besinnung and Besonnenheit interchangeably, his use of the term Besinnung should be distinguished from that of Besonnenheit. As I have noted, Besonnenheit refers to the general disposition and character of the human being, that is, the totality of human powers. According to Menges, Besinnung instead ‘connotes more sensuality as the manifestation of being and the basis of human knowledge.’81 Martha B. Helfer further indicates that Besonnenheit is derived originally from der Sinn, ‘sense,’ and sinnen, ‘to think,’ and it therefore ‘contains a double entendre in its simultaneous incorporation of intellectual activity and sense perception.’82 According to Michael Forster’s translation, Besinnung is ‘taking awareness’ and thus exists in the act of recognition. It, too, however, has both a cognitive and a sensual dimension, because in Herder’s initial interchangeable use of Besinnung and Besonnenheit, he does not, as Menges suggests, only refer to humans’ ‘rational “disposition.” ’83 As the quotation above demonstrates, he mentions from the outset ‘the “whole domestic economy of his sensuous and cognizing . . . nature” ’ and states that the ‘the single positive force of thought’ is ‘bound up with a certain organization of the body.’84 For Herder, then, when he refers either to the entire disposition of human powers, Besonnenheit, or taking awareness, Besinnung, there is no sensuous–rational or mind–body dualism operating.85 The location of the genesis of language within the mind, and the associated claim that a savage would be bound to create language despite never having uttered a word, nonetheless raises the question whether Herder adheres to the possibility of a private language – a Cartesian notion that since Wittgenstein’s work in the early twentieth century has been seriously disputed by many philosophers of language. For Wittgenstein, the idea stemming from Descartes that only ‘I can really know my inner sensations’ is seriously mistaken because thought is neither logically prior to nor able to be detached from its linguistic medium.86 Since language-games are, for Wittgenstein, socially constructed, it is argued that a savage alone in the forest or a born Crusoe could not possess either language or, by extension, thought.87 Yet Herder also recognizes that the lone savage, who has never uttered a word, would not possess the kind of socially constructed language-games to which Wittgenstein refers. He maintains that if, by chance, the knowledge that each individual had attained in a lifetime died alongside him or her, language could not develop beyond the most basic rudimentary stage.88

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Moreover, the idea of the possibility of a private, mental language depends on language’s hierarchical dependence on the prior existence of thought – a dependence that Herder rejects. He shows instead that it is the denial of language to the born Crusoe or the human infant, who possesses ideas prior to the ability to articulate them, that effectively maintains this hierarchical dependence. As Aarsleff argues, it is not only the Cartesian tradition but also the one stemming from Locke and to which Condillac belongs that believes ‘owing to the impenetrable subjectivity of ideas to which words are tied, each individual has a radically private language.’89 We will see more fully in the following chapter that such an ‘impenetrable subjectivity’ is impossible on an expressivist theory of language. It is sufficient to indicate at this point that, like Wittgenstein, Herder rejects the very idea of a hierarchical dependence of language on thought – the idea from which this view stems.90 The qualitative distinction that Herder draws between animals and humans might be objected to today from the perspective of environmentalists wishing to focus on our interconnectedness with nature and our proximity to other species. Yet Herder’s qualitative distinction is not based on a denial of animal abilities. He recognizes that animals have language, albeit not a human one, and that they possess thoughts, both obscure and clear. They also recollect and in some instances have better memories than humans. But they do not think ‘distinctly’ and they therefore do not generalize their experiences or work toward improving their entire species; their world is far more immediate.91 The human condition is, by contrast, one where the individual is ‘never the whole human being; [is] always in development, in progression, in process of perfection [or becoming]. One mode of efficacy is transcended though the other, one builds on the other, one develops out of the other.’92 In many respects, humans are less perfect than animals. There is a crucial moral and political dimension to Herder drawing this qualitative distinction – one that extends in importance beyond the question of whether he underestimates the linguistic abilities of some animals based on recent scientific evidence.93 From his earliest works it is clear that, for him, all human beings possess the defining features of humanity. Everyone has reason and language; humans do not have a mere disposition for them – they possess these powers. As he writes, ‘if the human being’s first condition of taking-awareness [Besinnung] was not able to become actual without the word of the soul, then all conditions of awareness [Besonnenheit] in him become linguistic; his chain of

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thoughts become a chain of words.’94 Human beings, even as infants, never engage with the world as animals because the only way they can recognize is linguistically.95 Far from developing a linguistic relativity or nationalism, Herder is here laying the foundation for the fundamental equal moral worth of all humans by virtue of their belonging to the human species irrespective of how developed their capacities or abilities might be. No member of the human species is merely potentially or less than fully human. But in making this qualitative distinction, Herder does not thereby adhere to Süßmilch’s view that humans are born with the skill involved in a complete and orderly language that requires no more than social interaction to activate it. For Herder, society may not be necessary for humans originally to have created language, but ‘sociality’ is essential.96 The actual word, or distinguishing mark, as Trabant writes, ‘is created by the human being through his encounter with the world.’97 The human being does not come into the world fully formed from ‘Plato’s cave’ but is born ‘from the hands of nature,’ and from that point ‘the whole of nature storms at the human being in order to develop his senses.’ It is through hearing, in particular, ‘the middle sense between seeing and feeling,’ that obscure feelings immediately develop into ‘Besinnung,’ or taking-awareness. It is simultaneously the point of the ‘first distinctive characteristic mark.’ It follows, for Herder, that ‘the genesis of language is as much an inner imperative as is the impulse of the embryo to be born at the moment when it reaches maturity.’98 Yet this linguistic moment of recognition only occurs in relation to nature in which human beings are embedded. Besinnung, or ‘taking-awareness,’ exists because of Besonnenheit, as it requires the power to create a distinguishing mark to become actualized, but the ‘taking-awareness’ that occurs with the creation of a distinguishing mark is, at the same time, intrinsically sensuous.99 Herder does not then adhere to a dichotomy between culture or the human ‘invented’ world and nature.100 The fact that the ability to create a distinguishing mark is, for Herder, innate but not any specific knowledge of language is further evident in his famous scene of the blind man’s encounter with a sheep. On touching the sheep, the man’s senses are enlivened but his feelings are obscure. When the sheep, however, bleats, the man recognizes a distinguishing mark, which enables him to know the sheep again.101 According to Proß, it is the emotional charge of the object the human being confronts that triggers the creation of the distinguishing mark. The formation of words is not guided primarily

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through logic but through one’s encounter with and through the sensuous. The external sound having penetrated ‘deeply and distinctly into the soul,’ the soul springs forth the word, ‘You bleat!’ that is, also a ‘distinct’ idea.102 Thus, Herder is critical of Süßmilch also for his failure to combine sufficiently the intellectual process of conversion with sensual perception.103 It is the motivation from the external, sensuous world that leads to the symbolic character of Besinnung or taking awareness.104 The creation of language is an internal and external process; neither can be separated from the other. As linguistic beings, humans are firmly situated within the world. The third fundamental feature of language is its dialogical nature. Herder dismisses the idea that the need for communication is the primary instigator for the creation of language. Yet the first human act of recognition with a distinguishing mark is dialogical in nature: I cannot think the first human thought, cannot set up the first aware judgment in a sequence, without engaging in dialogue, or striving to engage in dialogue, in my soul. Hence the first human thought by its very nature prepares one to be able to engage in dialogue with others! The first characteristic mark that I grasp is a characteristic word for me and a communication word for others!105

Following his demonstration of the first natural law of language development, which focuses on the progressive nature of humans to learn stemming from their intrinsic weakness, Herder establishes the second law of nature: that ‘the human being is in his destiny a creature of the herd, of society. Hence the progressive formation of language becomes natural, essential, necessary for him.’106 Society is not the motive force for the origin of language, but the human infant in its weakness cannot survive without others. Our necessary social interaction therefore provides the stimulation for the development of a language of communication. Herder rejects Rousseau’s image of the solitary man of the forest seeking only his own enjoyment along with the ‘Hobbesian wolf.’107 Nature has formed humans to live in social groups. Parents accumulate experience not only for themselves but also to communicate it to their offspring, passing on their knowledge to posterity.108 ‘No individual human being,’ Herder writes, ‘exists for himself; “he is inserted into the whole of the species.” ’109 Conflicts arising from our different internal dispositions are largely responsible for the diversity of languages, the third natural law. The

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human species is not a single homogeneous group.110 Herder’s fourth natural law returns us to the acknowledgment that despite this linguistic diversity, there is one common source. Diversity springs forth from unity, and a progressive unity – a chain of continuity – unites all generations: Each individual is a son or daughter, was educated [gebildet] through instruction; consequently, he always inherited a share of the thoughttreasures of his ancestors early on, and will pass them down in his own way to others. Hence in a certain way there is ‘no thought, no invention, no perfection which does not reach further, almost ad infinitum.’111

A strong connection between the innate power of humans to create a distinguishing mark with the first act of recognition and the need for social interaction to ensure the development of spoken and written languages is thus established. The social context of language so shapes the hues of people that their nature as human beings cannot be described without reference to it. Language in both its internal and external forms lies at the core of Herder’s understanding of human nature and cognition, as does the interrelatedness of the formation of language to the external, sensual world. The self is firmly situated within a linguistic world that both divides and unites us and that connects us to the world of nature. As Morton succinctly writes, ‘language, man, and the world are, of necessity, entirely co-original with one another.’112 Conclusion Debate exists whether Herder came in later life to doubt the validity of his conclusions in the Abhandlung.113 He even appears to express contradictory viewpoints in 1784 with his praise for Lord Monboddo’s human origination thesis in his preface to the German translation of On the Origin and Progress of Language, and in his declaration in the Ideen that speech is a divine gift from God.114 Yet this apparent contradiction merely confirms that the divine versus human origination dichotomy fails to capture sufficiently the issues at stake for these eighteenthcentury philosophers of language. The spiritual dimension of Herder’s conception of nature becomes far more explicit in his later works, when he advances the view in the preface to the Ideen that nature is God personified, that is, ‘God is all in His works.’115 But when he also states that ‘nature has formed the human being for language,’116 it follows that

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while speech is a gift from God, it is no less natural – a view entirely in accord with his position in the Abhandlung.117 It is also far more significant with respect to Herder’s philosophy of language and his conception of human nature that his belief in the inseparability of language and reason, and his radical anti-dualism, remained unaltered as late as 1799 in his Metakritik.118 Irrespective of Herder’s views on the actual origin of language – an issue that ultimately defies a definitive solution – the Abhandlung stands as one of his most systematic and extensive elaborations of the place of language in his conception of human nature with its central argument in support of the notion that there is no non-symbolic thought. Humans are fundamentally defined as linguistic beings. The self, one that is formed for creativity and freedom, is situated simultaneously within a social, linguistic world and the sensuous world of nature. The next chapter explores the implications, for Herder’s theory of language, of this radical anti-dualism; as well as, in the context of his larger body of work, his insight that there is no non-symbolic thought.

2 Expressivism

Herder’s expressivist theory of language marks a distinctive break from the designative view of language held by both rationalists and empiricists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Put simply, according to the designative view, a word is a sign that ‘stands in for’ by serving as a substitute, or kind of proxy, for the object or idea it represents.1 It is predicated on the long-held belief in the hierarchical dependence of language on the prior existence of thought, a position known in philosophy as ‘internalism.’ Herder rejects the very possibility of non-symbolic thought and instead develops a view of language as partly constitutive of thought. His expressivist theory is thereby set apart from the increasing emphasis that eighteenth-century thinkers placed on the role of language in expressing passions and evoking feelings in others. It also means he goes beyond recognizing the diversity of languages reflecting different modes of life – a recognition that can be traced to Locke and that became commonplace during the eighteenth century among the French philosophes and, in Germany, through Leibniz’s comparative linguistics. This constitutive view of language is referred to in philosophy as ‘externalism’ and is often, quite incorrectly, seen as an innovation of twentieth-century philosophy beginning with Frege and the early Wittgenstein.2 There are nevertheless important differences between Herder’s concerns and those of analytical philosophers, such as Frege, so that the term ‘expressivism’ better captures his general theory. It needs to be distinguished, however, from any association with a one-sided focus on subjectivism where language is seen to disclose ‘a human “inside” to an “outside” world’ – a view that Dallmayr sees as characteristic of late Romanticism.3 Herder attributes to language both a

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subjective and an objective dimension. It is never merely an object we can dissect and come completely to know in its parts, because it is always in flux. Yet at the same time that it is always out beyond our individual control, it is an inherently active, dynamic process of our own creation. One of the most innovative aspects of Herder’s theory is his linguistic holism: everything we know, we know only through relationships and contrasts that are mutually interdependent for their meaning. It is now commonplace in philosophy for speech acts to be seen to consist in total utterances. But Herder also challenges the dichotomy between figurative and literal philosophy that continues to prevail in mainstream Anglo-American philosophy. His theory does have its more recent philosophical heirs. In the following exposition, I situate his ideas in their context to show his indebtedness to and differences with his contemporaries. I then turn to a more detailed elaboration of his core commitments and demonstrate that they have been reiterated and developed in the past century by philosophers from Collingwood to Taylor. Beyond the Designative View Early in the seventeenth century, in an exchange between Thomas Hobbes and René Descartes on the latter’s Meditations, Hobbes makes the objection that ‘reasoning will depend on names, names upon the imagination, and imagination perhaps, as I see it, upon the motions of the corporeal organs. And thus the mind will be nothing more but movements in certain parts of an organic body.’ Descartes replies that ‘in reasoning there is a joining together not of names but of things signified by these names’ so that ‘our reasonings . . . [are] about this something that is signified, rather than mere words.’4 For Descartes, there is a direct connection between thinking about an object and the actual object,5 and he is shocked by Hobbes’s suggestion that reasoning is not ‘about the nature of things’ but rather about ‘the designation of things.’6 Philip Pettit has argued recently that Hobbes’s objection amounted to a major break from language philosophy as it had existed from Plato onwards by suggesting that speech is not just ‘a sign of a capacity to think’ but ‘the source of the capacity to think.’7 He therefore credits Hobbes with originating the core idea that influenced later developments in German language philosophy.8 Hobbes, as Descartes notes, nevertheless accepts the designative view of signification. Their dispute concerns whether words represent

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the nature of things or whether, as Hobbes suggests, relations between things and names are purely arbitrary and conventional.9 Hobbes also provides a fundamental challenge to the idea of non-corporeal thinking, one that is central to Cartesian metaphysics, when he asserts that everything ultimately depends on the ‘motions of the corporeal organs.’ Yet for Herder, neither reason nor the imagination, no more than the senses or the bodily organs, can ultimately be primary, because they work together in a dynamic relationship. When Hobbes declares that names depend on the imagination, a marked difference is therefore evident with the interconnection of human powers we have seen Herder develop so that no human faculty is unaffected by our nature as linguistic creatures. Whereas Hobbes, for example, thinks that our imagination exists prior to words, Herder states in his Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der menschlichen Seele (On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul, 1778, hereafter Vom Erkennen) that the imagination ‘does not just consist only of images but also of sounds, words, signs.’10 For Hobbes, too, ‘the generall use of Speech, is to transferre our Mentall Discourse, into Verbal; or the Trayne of our Thoughts into a Trayne of Words,’ but such a transference cannot occur unless mental discourse is prior to words.11 We find from the early seventeenth century an increasing acknowledgment of the importance of language to reasoning, but it is nonetheless limited by the long-held belief in language as primarily a tool to designate pre-existent thoughts that are seen as separate from and logically prior to language. Locke typifies this designative theory of signification when he writes that ‘the use then of Words, is to be sensible marks of Ideas; and the Ideas they stand for, are their proper and immediate Signification.’12 That the rationalists also held this designative view is evident in the Port-Royal Logic. Following Descartes, the association between particular words or sounds and ideas is seen as conventional and arbitrary, but a natural correlation between the fixed hierarchy of concepts and the structure of complex linguistic signs is believed to exist. Against Hobbes, the Port-Royalists therefore write that ‘ideas – at least those that are clear and distinct – are not at all arbitrary things depending on our own fancy.’13 In practice, words and thinking are interconnected, with things ‘presented to the mind only in the words in which we usually clothe them in speaking.’14 Yet ideas are nonetheless separable from and logically antecedent to words so that ‘if reflections on our thoughts never concerned anyone but ourselves, it would be enough to examine them in themselves, unclothed in words or other signs.’15 Despite their differences, words are for the Port-Royalists,

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as they are for Hobbes, ‘clothes’ we use like tools to transfer our mental discourse to others for the purposes of communication. Berkeley, the main exponent of philosophical Idealism, expresses the obvious objection to this narrow philosophical focus on language when he writes in the early eighteenth century that ‘the communicating of ideas marked by words is not the chief and only end of language, as is commonly supposed. There are other ends, as the raising of some passion, the exciting to or deterring from an action, the putting the mind in some particular disposition.’16 Throughout eighteenth-century Europe, emphasis on the emotive use of language to express one’s passions and evoke them in others became increasingly commonplace. I indicated previously that Rousseau sees language as having arisen from our need to express our passions. In French theatre in the late eighteenth century, an anti-classicist movement promoted a form of drama intended to move the audience to tears. Emotions were seen as the essential ingredient of theatre. That Herder is aware of this general trend in European thought is evident in the Abhandlung in his reference to John Brown’s A Dissertation on the Rise, Union, and Power, the Progressions, Separations, and Corruptions of Poetry and Music (1763). Brown argues that poetry and music originated in the passions and that humanity’s original sensuousness was more complete and unified compared to the later focus on rational powers.17 The stereotype that eighteenth-century thinkers consistently deride the emotions in pursuit of reason and rationality is mistaken. But it does not follow from this emphasis on the emotive dimension of language that the traditional priority accorded to thought over language – a priority that is central to the designative view of signification – is challenged. Although Cartesian dualism gives priority to the intellect over the sensuous, ideas have a very wide meaning for the thinkers of this time, and use of this term does not mean that the corporeal senses, the body, or the emotions are necessarily divorced from the process of thinking.18 In Herder’s view, Berkeley’s achievement is that he recognizes the interconnection between the senses and the intellect and that the term ‘immaterialism’ rather than Idealism would be a more accurate summation of his theory. Yet Herder despairs at Berkeley’s dismissive attitude toward language.19 Following Descartes,20 Berkeley argues that clear thinking depends on stripping away as much language as possible: ‘So long as I confine my thoughts to my own ideas, divested of words, I do not see how I can easily be

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mistaken. The objects I consider I clearly and adequately know. I cannot be deceived in thinking I have an idea which I have not.’21 From this perspective, difficulties arise only when we attempt to put a chain of thoughts into words. Words result in ambiguity, contradiction, and confusion rather than the attainment of truth. Human beings use language as an instrument to attain a range of ends, but it is a deficient instrument, and not only because it fails to reveal the correct contents of our ideas. Indeed, it is responsible for the actual falsification of the ideas it is meant to re-present. There is a move here toward recognizing a constitutive role for language, at least in terms of the ideas that are actually communicated to others if not the ones we possess. The medium of language is not a neutral instrument, but Berkeley’s solution is to ‘remove the mist or veil of words’ from our pre-existing and fully formed mental discourse that is independent of any distorting linguistic medium – something that is simply impossible if there is no non-symbolic thought.22 Descartes’s solution had been to extend the notion of the unity and universality of knowledge to language. In a letter to Mersenne dated 20 November 1629, he posits the existence of a finite number of non-subjective concepts that stand in a factual relation to one another in a definite, fixed, and logical connection of subordination and co-ordination. Based on the assumptions that these ideas are innate and fixed, and that human reason is the one form of cognition that permeates all branches of knowledge, he proposes that speech must also possess a single, foundational universal language. Descartes’s ambitious aim for a rationalist philosophy of language is no less than the construction of a universal and objective system of signs to re-present the storehouse of clear and distinct ideas in a neutral way.23 Leibniz brings a more systematic recognition of the interdependency of thought and language to his construction of a formal system of signs with his view that only through linguistic signs can the given structure of knowledge be intelligible to us. He designs his Universal Characteristic to provide a direct, numerical symbolization of the components of all complex concepts so that we can reason correctly by thinking of the rules of combining, substituting, and transforming signs.24 But whereas Herder agrees that there is a common origin to all languages,25 he thinks that Leibniz’s aim to resolve all possible controversies through a purely mechanical calculation of mathematical symbols is predicated on a wholly misconceived understanding of the means by which reason

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acts and produces its work. It is ‘a philosophy,’ he hopes, ‘from which may all the Muses save us!’26 It is also here that the main differences between the rationalists and empiricists become apparent, with the rationalists pursuing the objectivity of a formal system of signs and the empiricists embracing a more subjective and psychological approach to language.27 For Locke, the main cause of linguistic ambiguity lies with ideas and not with ordinary language. There is no reason to believe that one sign is less able than another to signify a certain idea. The connection is purely arbitrary and based on convention. It is not just that the connection between a particular sound and a thing is arbitrary.28 The real essence or constitution of a thing is never represented in language because reason cannot ‘grasp things essentially.’29 Locke claims instead that words, which designate real substances, only capture their ‘nominal Essence’ – that is, definitions only specify either a combination of sensible characteristics or a single characteristic for which a name stands.30 Since there is no fixed storehouse of ideas, rather than a rational and universal structure of ideas, only the speaker’s ideas and sensory perceptions of an object are signified with language. We cannot know their real essences because our knowledge is mediated through the senses, which do not have access to the ‘real essences’ of objects.31 Locke admits that the forming of ideas is not an entirely arbitrary process. Determining the nominal essence of a substance involves categorizing common features between different objects, and the mind only follows unions that are already present in nature.32 The signification of nominal essences is therefore subject to less ambiguity than mixed modes, which consist of several combinations of simple ideas that the mind puts together and that are independent of any real beings or things. There is far greater scope for ambiguity with the complex ideas that form mixed modes such as obligation, lie, and suicide.33 Even when people employ the same ‘Name Glory and Gratitude’ throughout a country, Locke maintains, ‘yet the complex collective Idea, which every one thinks on, or intends by that name, is apparently very different in Men using the same language.’34 A semantic uncertainty thereby arises, but the primary cause of the ambiguity lies ‘more in the Ideas they stand for,’ whereas signs are, for Locke, ‘equally perfect’ neutral instruments.35 Avoiding disagreement over the meanings of conceptual words does not entail a uniform attempt to reform all languages. Locke thinks that behind the ‘vain’ attempt to construct a universal language is the

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erroneous demand that everyone ‘should have the same Notions.’36 He suggests instead that greater care and attention is required to clarify thoughts and to define and use ordinary words, including those which designate relations between different propositions.37 Locke fears that, in practice, words dominate ideas; and like many of his contemporaries, he is concerned about the effect on ideas of the misuse and abuse of words. Yet he still holds to the long-held priority accorded to thought, so he sees signs in purely instrumental terms.38 ‘The Signs of Mens Ideas’ are, he writes, ‘the Instruments whereby Men communicate their Conceptions, and express to one another those Thoughts and Imaginations, they have within their own Breasts.’39 The main task of the philosophy of language is, therefore, to improve ordinary language so that it can better serve as an instrument ‘for the recording of our own Thoughts’ and ‘for the communicating of our Thoughts to others.’40 Herder possesses a deep respect for Locke’s work. In recognition of the close connection between language and cognition at which Locke arrives in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), he expresses sympathy for Horne Tooke’s suggestion that it be renamed A Treatise on Words, on Language.41 Following Locke, Herder rejects the Platonic idea that words signify the real essence of things. Names arise from those qualities of an object that ‘act’ on people and that are the ‘liveliest’ and most active and distinct to the name giver, be it the object’s sound, colour, or shape. Names are derived from the empirical world so that the connection between language and the external world is not entirely arbitrary; but because of their mediation through the senses and the subjectivity of the name giver, the most noticeable quality may not be the most essential. Other qualities of an object are ‘passed by’ in the process of naming them so that ‘no human description denotes essentially and fully.’42 Following Locke’s shift toward the notion that the ideas behind languages differ, the French philosophes during the eighteenth century came increasingly to see language as the reflection of a community’s culture,43 while the main impetus for the development of historical linguistics in Germany came from Leibniz’s comparative work. In Anglo-American philosophy, Leibniz is known largely for his Universal Characteristic, but he was also a historian. Herder is indebted to Leibniz’s insight that languages are the historical records of peoples’ ‘origins, kinships and migrations.’44 In his early Fragmente, the work that first elevated Herder to the forefront of the German intellectual

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scene, he acknowledges that ‘Leibniz had already observed that our language is a language of the hunt and the mine,’ and indicates that it is a depiction requiring modification owing to changes in the German way of life. His proceeding analysis nevertheless adheres to Leibniz’s point that languages ‘mirror’ the culture of a people.45 As late as his Metakritik of 1799, he continues to express considerable admiration for Leibniz’s comparative work, but Herder in his philosophy of language ‘boldly adds’ to Leibniz’s initial insight that ‘language mirrors the human understanding’ the idea that language and thought are inseparable.46 What unites the rationalists and the empiricists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is their common designative view of language as an instrument of cognition – a view founded on the belief that thought is both separate from and logically prior to language. To be sure, they see language as essential to cognition; it aids the processes of reasoning, memory, the separating and combining of concepts, and the communicating of ideas. It also evokes feelings and ideas in others. Herder is indebted to the rationalist and empiricist traditions for a number of his insights, but to the extent that these thinkers retain an instrumental conception of language that does not see thought as inseparable from and in part constituted by its linguistic medium, a significant distinction exists between them and Herder. Commentators point to a remarkable consistency in Herder’s commitment to the idea that language shapes consciousness. In his first published treatise, Über den Fleiß in mehreren gelehrten Sprachen (On Diligence in Several Learned Languages, 1764, hereafter Über den Fleiß), he writes that ‘the language of our fathers holds attractions for us also, which in our eyes exceed all others. They impressed themselves upon us first and somehow shaped themselves together with the finest fissures of our sensibility.’47 In shaping our first thoughts, the language we learn from our ‘nursemaids’ is bound to our thoughts, forming our very identity.48 Herder’s terminology is not always precise. He subsequently states in the first collection of his Fragmente that ‘language is the tool [Werkzeug] of the learned disciplines and part of them’; and in his late Metakritik he also refers to language as ‘an indispensable tool of reason.’49 While his alternative use of the term ‘organ’ better captures, in my view, his general theory,50 language does have its ‘uses.’ In ordinary language we say, for example, that authors ‘use’ language in their writing and that advertisers ‘use’ language to evoke certain reactions in us, as do governments. Language thus takes on the appearance

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of a tool, and a rejection of the designative view does not commit Herder to the nonsensical position that language is not also a means of communication or that language does not have other uses. His point is twofold: first, we cannot control language in the way that we can control an instrument; and second, while language has its ‘uses,’ it is never a mere tool. Thus in the previous quotation the notion of a tool is qualified by the idea that language is also a part of the learned disciplines. Two passages later, Herder importantly adds that ‘language is more than a tool. Words and ideas are exactly related in the realm of philosophy; so much depends on the form of expression in the criticism of arts and letters; it is through language that we learn to think precisely, and precise and lively thoughts stimulate us to seek clear and living words; our nursemaids, who train our tongues, are our first teachers of logic.’51 Most eighteenth-century philosophers would agree that language assists our ability to reason. Yet Herder is clearly taking an additional step in his Über den Fleiß with the idea that language shapes our thoughts and when he writes in the third collection of the Fragmente that ‘the thought clings to the expression.’52 He then distinguishes between artificially constructed languages and the living languages in which we are educated: Thoughts are roused through words, and these first words uttered by us are the foundation stones of all our cognition. In all concepts drawn from the senses in simple ideas and experiential ideas, ‘expression’ relates to ‘thought as the skin to the body.’ Let someone endeavour to turn the processes of languages into thoughts: all of that which, were we to invent the language, would be arbitrary in expression, is, when we learn the language, inextricably tied together.53

I will examine shortly the full implications of this way of viewing the relationship between thought and expression. What should be clear at this point is the interdependency of this relation. It is through learning language that we learn to think, as many of his contemporaries would also say. However, words do not merely clothe our thoughts so that we can separate them one from the other; they are inextricably tied. Although Herder is closer to the empiricist than the rationalist approach to language philosophy, he nonetheless rejects the very notion of arbitrary conventional signs – a notion held by thinkers from Locke to Condillac – as inapplicable to real living languages.54

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Reflecting on the above statement, Herder then decides that even the relationship between the skin and body fails fully to capture his point: Thought and Expression! Are they related here as the gown to its body? The finest gown, to a beautiful body, is only a hindrance. – Are they related as the skin to the body? That, too, is not sufficient: the color and smoothness of the skin never account fully for beauty . . . I recall a Platonic tale that describes the beautiful body as a created being, a messenger, a mirror, a tool of a beautiful soul, and says that within it there dwells the presence of the gods, that heavenly beauty has impressed itself upon it, reminding us of perfection on high; I join these beautiful Socratic images together and reveal to my readers a vision of thought and word, feeling, and expression relating to one another like Plato’s soul to the body.55

Language is creative, it is communicative, and it acts as a mirror, but it is also more than can be captured by defining it solely in terms of its uses. Herder’s use of the Platonic idea of the soul evokes a spiritual dimension. The metaphor of the messenger also corresponds with the mystical and is a key metaphor in hermeneutics.56 But while a ‘magical’ and ‘mysterious’ dimension to language exists, Herder employs the term soul in an analogous way to our modern usage of the human psyche and, in recent political theory, identity.57 Our language shapes our thoughts and is therefore a part of us, as is our soul. It is not a mere piece of clothing that we can shed at will. Nor is it only a covering like the skin on the body. It penetrates deep into us, forming and shaping our very psyche and identity as individuals. With the focus of the third collection of the Fragmente on the art of poetry, when Herder came to revise the first collection, he further clarified that this constitutive feature applies to all forms of language: Language is even more than that [i.e., a tool]: the form of the sciences, not only in which, but also in accordance with which, thoughts take shape; where in all parts of literature thought sticks to the expression, and forms itself according to the latter. I say in all parts of literature, because if one believes that only in the criticism of artistic literature, in poetry and oratory, much depends on the expression, then one defines the borders of this connection too narrowly . . . In the case of all sensuous concepts in the whole language of common life the thought sticks to the expression . . . All perceptual cognition connects the thing with the name.58

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It is to the implications of this new understanding of language as shaping the very contents of our consciousness that I now turn. The Expressivist Alternative Herder’s recognition of the constitutive role of language distinguishes his expressivism immediately from his contemporaries’ notion of expression – a notion that is, as Taylor maintains, limited by their continued adherence to the designative theory of signification.59 Recall that Condillac sees human language as having evolved from human beings beginning to use their most primitive expressions with intention. From this point, the replacement of cries with the intentional use of arbitrary conventional signs for communication is a simple advance. But what these arbitrary signs are expressing are pre-existing feelings. The only difference between these two modes of expression is that with the use of conventional language, speakers no longer respond directly to stimuli but can control their expressions and use them at will.60 There is no conception that language shapes our thinking or that spontaneous sensations are altered through the use of language. To say that language has an expressivist dimension does not mean, then, that it is a mechanism by which human beings merely express or describe their passions that are fully formed prior to articulation. Nor is it a neutral instrument for a more profound understanding of selfdisclosure. Clearly, in the course of normal discourse we describe our sensations and the objects around us. We also, on occasion, disclose our innermost feelings. But Herder’s point is that we do not use and control language to communicate pre-existent ideas and sensations. Ideas do not exist in the mind independently of language, for the difference between two things can only be ascertained with a distinguishing mark.61 ‘Senses afford us a rich material,’ but to the ‘oldest aphorism: nothing is in the intellect which was not in the senses,’ Herder adds, ‘in people, there is no sensory concept on which the intellect had not a part and formed it.’62 Basic perceptions and sensations that we may feel initially are transformed by becoming concepts, which are only possible ‘with language.’ And since language is the ‘organ’ of our imaginative and sensory concepts, Herder concludes that there are no actual borders separating our thoughts, our senses, and our language.63 This cognitive-linguistic64 process possesses an important creative dimension that distinguishes it from a mere technical exercise where we compare the meanings of different words to determine which word

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most appropriately matches and re-presents our sensation. According to the designative view of signification, the subsequent replacement of a cry of pain with the articulation of a word is a means to describe one’s sensation that has a fully determinate character prior to its articulation. In Herder’s expressivist theory, the process of articulating one’s sensation through language creates a new conceptualization and, hence, realization of the original sensation. We may look at a rose but ‘the human being gapes at images and colors until he speaks, until he, internally in his soul, names.’65 What I feel, want, and desire may be ‘deeply buried in my heart’ and get ‘formed deep in the obscure center of my being,’ but when thought and, therefore, language ‘digs down that far and illuminates it with its torch, then it is no longer what it was.’66 The decision whether one’s sensation is a throbbing, piercing, or stabbing pain, or a dull, prolonged ache, is not, for Herder, simply a descriptive process that makes certain features of one’s original sensation salient; rather, it is a transformative process whereby the original sensation that might produce a cry becomes a sensory concept. The pain itself is illuminated and transformed. Through language, humans therefore possess the power to form and to realize their inner feelings and the objects external to them: In giving names to all, and ordering all from his inward feeling, and with reference to himself, he becomes an imitator of the Divinity, a second creator, and therefore also a creative poet. Following this origin of the poetic art, instead of placing its essence in an imitation of nature as has generally been done, we might still boldly place it in imitation of that Divine agency, which creates, and gives form and determinateness to the objects of its creation.67

As linguistic beings, we live in a world of our own creation. The language our parents teach us ‘gives our thinking its whole shape and direction.’ Herder recognizes that in setting boundaries to our thoughts, our cognition is ‘not as autonomous, voluntarily choosing, and unbound as is believed.’68 But at the same time, it is with language that we recreate the process of divine creation, because the world we know is our own interpretation – we can never know its real essence. Nevertheless, the claim that human beings create their own world requires some qualification. First, there is a narcissistic element contained in the idea that human beings name everything with reference to themselves.69 This, though, needs to be placed in the context of human

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beings’ equally essential sociability, which, as we have seen, Herder establishes in the Abhandlung. In his analysis of the human psyche in Vom Erkennen, he further stipulates that ‘self-feeling’ is necessary because we can ‘love our neighbor only as ourselves. If we are disloyal to ourselves,’ we will not have the ability to be loyal to others. However, he insists that attention to the self is only ever a ‘means’ and not an ‘end.’ It is through the self that we connect with others: ‘In the degree of the depth of our self-feeling lies also the degree of our other-feeling for others, for it is only ourselves that we can, so to speak, feel into others.’70 Second, while Herder argues that we think with language and that our interaction with the world is mediated through language, it does not follow that language constitutes all reality. In the Metakritik, he rejects outright the ‘coarsest egoism’ contained in the notion that ‘ “I create the world because I have human intellect . . . Without me there would be no nature: because I give law and order to nature!” ’71 It is this egoism, in his view, that motivates the construction of a universal philosophical language. Human beings do not give law and order to nature but only to the sensations that rush in on them from their interaction with nature. Thus, reality is mediated not only by our senses but also our language.72 Yet an utterance or word simultaneously bears the imprint of objective reality even if it is now in a mediated form that human beings have created. The rejection of Plato’s idea that words signify the real essence of things does not mean that there is no relation at all between the objective world and language. Third, languages possess, for Herder, both a subjective and an objective dimension. Human beings and the languages they inherit form part of the objective world. Thus, while human beings create language with which they perceive the world and in this sense can be said to recreate the world, language is also, as Hans-Georg Gadamer writes, always ‘out beyond us.’ Speaking belongs to the sphere of the ‘We’ rather than the ‘I.’73 Languages are socially constituted with the meanings of words in part dependent on their use. This idea, which is normally attributed to the later Wittgenstein, is evident in Herder’s Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769 ( Journal of my Journey in the year 1769, hereafter Journal): ‘The question is not what a word can mean according to a few dictionaries, but what it means in the consciousness of living people – here, now, in all its capriciousness.’74 When this idea is combined with the constitutive role of language, it follows that a phrase such as ‘I am in pain’ does not simply replace the

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natural expression of crying, whereby both stand for the same inner sensation. As Wittgenstein indicates in relation to the social dimension of language, in learning to use the verbal expression of pain, we also learn a new form of pain-behaviour.75 The more abstract our language, the clearer this transformative process becomes. We may, as Taylor argues, attribute a sense of anger to a dog when it is maltreated and growls, or to a cat when it meows and scratches on being forced to do something against its will. We may also attribute a sense of indignation to a cat when it refuses to eat an inferior brand of cat food. But we would be mistaken to do so, because in order to feel indignation the cat would need to have a sense that some injustice had been done. It would need to make, and be aware of making, the kinds of contrasts we are able to make because our language possesses the concepts of justice and injustice, right and wrong. We, too, may experience an inner sensation of anger prior to articulating it with language, but according to Herder, when we employ the phrase ‘I am angry’ the inner sensation has already been changed by the intellect with these words. Taylor adds that when we instead use the term ‘indignation’ to articulate this sensation, it becomes a mental concept imbued with moral standards.76 Thus our initial sense is transformed into something also other than anger, for indignation is not the same as a scream of raw anger, nor can it be described by the term ‘anger.’ It follows from this constitutive role of language that it is impossible for thought to assume an autonomous stance vis-à-vis the empirical world. Long before Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781), Herder had already developed the basis for his critique of the impossibility of disembodied thought that is separate from the medium of its expression. In the Ideen, he explicitly criticizes the notion of a pure reason: ‘A people has no idea for which it has no word: the liveliest imagination remains an obscure feeling until the mind finds a distinguishing mark for it and by means of a word incorporates with it the memory, recollection, understanding, and lastly, the understanding of humankind, tradition: a pure reason without language, upon Earth, is a utopian land.’77 That Kant speaks of reason without any indication that a fundamental relationship exists between ideas and language or that language is even relevant to cognition is thus a major source of Herder’s dissatisfaction with his critical philosophy.78 Recently it has been suggested that there is more in common between the critical Kant and Herder’s

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constitutive view than is often supposed, and it is significant that some see Kant’s critical turn as having made possible the so-called linguistic turn in the twentieth century. Yet Kant’s lack of concern with language other than as a means of signification is hardly a minor point of difference, given the importance attached to recognizing the constitutive role of language in twentieth-century philosophy.79 The immediate implication, as Herder recognizes in his Fragmente, is that ‘language sets limits and outline for the whole of human cognition.’80 Human cognition and rationality are thereby radically reconceptualized.81 Herder’s critique of the non-linguistic nature of Kantian reason is closely linked to his rejection of a priori truths. For Herder, consciousness, time, and space are all a posteriori so that we can only know them through experience. If there is any a priori, it is only the certainty of Being itself, which in his early Versuch über das Sein is ‘the foundation of all our thinking and the element, with which we are wrapped.’82 It is nature that convinces us of its certainty and only philosophy that creates scepticism about our existence.83 Later in the Metakritik, he says that it is through activity – that is, by doing and acting in the world – and ‘through the application of our powers that we prove to ourselves that we exist.’84 As Karl Menges argues, from the perspective of someone who wrote in his early Fragmente that ‘we are human beings, before we become world-wise: we therefore already have a way of thinking [Denkart] and language, before we approach philosophy, and both must therefore be the foundation, of the language of the understanding, of reason, the way of thinking of life and of speculation,’85 Kant’s transcendental subject was bound to appear ‘as a work of “fiction” conjured up through an “abuse” or “misuse of language” whose senselessness – literally, its disregard for sensual, empirical perception – is documented by the very abstractions it claims to avoid.’86 Moreover, if ‘the human mind thinks with words,’ as Herder further writes in the Metakritik,87 then it thinks with particular words. Words only exist in real, living, historically developed languages through which we pass down our experiences and ideas to future generations. Thus to bring language into the cognitive process is by necessity to introduce history and culture,88 and the particular. And since thought is shaped by language and is not simply a neutral tool for communicating pre-existent and fully formed ideas, it is also shaped by the history and culture of those from whom one inherits one’s language. Language and thought are inextricably linked to a community’s life, its culture

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and traditions.89 The insight that thought is necessarily embodied in a linguistic medium is thus of primary importance for Herder’s move toward the notion of a socially embedded self – a notion that I will examine in detail in the following chapter.90 From this perspective, the task of philosophy becomes one of clarification and interpretation, what Herder terms a ‘negative philosophy,’ which entails the study of concrete human languages as the way to study human cognition.91 As linguistic beings, we are all interpretative creatures. Through language acquisition we become incorporated into a particular world view and way of thinking (Denkart). Yet it is equally important to note that Herder’s incorporation of the particular into the cognitive process does not negate the general and universal. He is critical of the philosophical misuse of ‘All,’ noting in his Metakritik that it is a tendency of children ‘to pronounce an All, where they only mean many,’ as the rest of us do every day without thinking whether ‘the one is the same All’;92 but he does not fall into a linguistic relativism.93 The particular and the general are, for him, mutually interdependent: ‘We only exist as a particular in the general.’ We do not, he says, exist as a particular outside the general because ‘without this generality to which we belong nothing in us is applicable or explainable.’94 He also repeats the metaphor of ‘a great chain’ that we encountered earlier, in the Abhandlung, which means that despite linguistic diversity, languages share certain grammatical features owing to a common origin. Thus, while Herder is acutely aware of the difficulties entailed in translation, and while he despairs, in particular, at the difficulties involved in attempts to translate into German the most ancient Greek poets who did not know developed prose, he contends that translation is possible.95 His own translation work makes him highly sensitive to the potential loss of the spirit and tone of the original language and text in its translated form96 – something that he considers inevitable if one provides a literal, word-for-word translation. Locke previously raised the difficulty of word-for-word translation with his point that ‘those of one Country, by their customs and manner of Life, have found occasion to make several complex Ideas, and give names to them, which others have never collected into specifick Ideas.’97 He notes that even when we can render Latin words easily into English, the ideas that the terms designate differ for the English person. But whereas Locke challenges the semantic certainty entailed in the belief that the same ideas ultimately underlie every language, successful translation, for Herder, requires

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more than deciphering an author’s ideas and finding more appropriate words or combinations of words to signify them.98 The eminent translator will try to understand the author’s way of thinking and feeling; one must read, hear, and sing ancient Greek texts as if one were an ancient Greek.99 Translators therefore need to know the ‘history, religious life, the condition, the customs’ as well as the language of the author. They require, at once, the skills of a ‘philosopher, poet and philologist.’100 But to recreate the tone and spirit of the text, the translator must also ‘be a creative genius himself if he wants to do justice here to his original and his own language.’101 Translation is thus an interpretative and creative process, not a mere technical exercise. But despite the difficulties entailed, Herder thinks it is possible to translate well. These interpretative and constitutive features of language mean that Herder understands language as a dynamic process. It is not a tool or instrument that we can bring fully under our control. Languages are living, dynamic entities that are in constant flux. To borrow Wilhelm von Humboldt’s terminology, language is ‘no product [Ergon] but an activity [Energia].’102 As Herder writes: ‘Just as the human being undergoes different stages of life, so time changes everything that is. The entire human species, the inanimate world itself, each nation, and each family is subject to one and the same law of change . . . So it is also with language.’103 Languages therefore defy grammarians’ attempts to capture them fully as objective entities (Saussure’s langue) that can be neatly separated into fixed categories. For Herder, if a language is ever fixed it is a dead artefact, like ancient Greek, which is no longer spoken by a living community.104 He recognizes that the more languages are regulated by grammarians, the more fettered they become by rules, but he rejects Diderot’s view that the French language still ‘sighs to this day’ under the yoke imposed on it by the grammarians of the Middle Ages. Herder argues that since ‘no human language of sensuous beings can remain entirely faithful’ to strict grammatical rules of reason, modern French exhibits as many idiosyncrasies as any other language. A living language is never a closed or ‘perfect’ system, as some philosophers and grammarians might desire; rather, it is in a constant state of renewal and change.105 Despite any potential utility, artificial constructions therefore bear little resemblance to actual human languages.106 Herder never abandons the identification of thought with action, or language with activity.107 In his late Metakritik, he argues that ‘without

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relationships nothing is thinkable.’108 In order to know what ‘inside’ means, we also need a sense of ‘outside.’ These terms are not opposites in a dichotomous sense where they are conceived as mutually exclusive, separable, and fixed categories. Each endows the other with meaning in an interactive relationship so that the very existence of each as a conceptual term is dependent on the other’s existence: The outside and inside, the over and under, between and beside, in front and behind etc. is from the other inseparable. No duration is without before, now and after, no action without beginning, middle, end; as no cause without effect, no measurement without greater and smaller. 2. These relationships cannot be torn from each other but are rather one to the intellect.109

These interactive relationships show ‘irrefutably the structure of human language’; and according to Herder, any philosophy that tries to separate these necessary connections ‘rescinds all philosophy’ and ‘the essence of our intellect.’110 Words cannot exist in isolation; they need to be surrounded by other words that in contrasting with them nevertheless connect them. These connections – that is, the ‘living combination’ of their ‘interaction and reciprocation’ – reveal the energy and activity of the intellect.111 Herder’s point that in studying languages we are concerned with relationships became embedded in linguistics in the twentieth century with Ferdinand de Saussure, who holds that there are two major relationships. First, there are contrasts that produce distinct and alternative terms.112 Importantly, for Herder, no priority is accorded to any side of a contrasting relation; Saussure makes the same point when he says that ‘in language, there are only differences without positive terms.’113 There is no evaluation of either side of these contrasts within the structure of language. One side of a contrast cannot exist without the other side, so each term is equally important to the meaning of the other. Second, for Saussure, there are relations preceding and following a word that combine to form sequences. Similarly, Herder indicates that there are secondary concepts – that is, words that help the main concepts in an utterance, such as ‘prepositions and adverbs or as pronouns, endings, adjectives that stand before and after the main words on a page; they support and relieve, bind the intellect of speech on all sides.’114 The first, which Saussure refers to as associative relations, are

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now known as paradigmatic relations; the second are called syntagmatic relations.115 Humboldt, who develops many of Herder’s ideas, compares language to an interconnected web (Gewebe).116 Herder indicates that the sense of a word is completely different from the recognition of its letters and syllables.117 Owing to these relationships, a sentence does not consist simply of a collection of words strung together. One cannot be a successful translator merely by matching words, because the meaning of a sentence is always more than the sum of its individual parts. When acknowledging the difficulties that poets face – that they must take images we perceive through the eyes, take ‘the language of sound and gestures,’ and take their feelings, and evoke them in others through the medium of written language – Herder notes that the poet employs ‘the inflection and conjunction of words’ to ‘draw a portrait’ and indicates ‘how much does everything here cling to the expression, not in single words, but in every part, in their flow and in the whole.’118 If we were to dissect a poem or sentence and examine the meaning of each word separately, we would not find the meaning of the poem or sentence. We can only comprehend one part of a sentence in relation to the other parts. For this reason, too, Humboldt maintains that speech consists of total utterances or sentences.119 Meaning is also created in the dynamism of conversation. Hamann, in Socratic Memorabilia (1759), had given the dialogical nature of language priority so that meaning is seen as the co-production of both speaker and listener. The phrase ‘I don’t play’ might mean that a speaker does not understand the rules of a game or that he or she has some aversion to it. Even when spoken by the same person, every sentence is subject to different meanings and interpretations. Conversation is not simply an activity performed by the speaker who expresses something; it is one that engages the listener in an act of interpretation.120 Although governments and advertisers ‘use’ language as a tool to transmit their messages, and although propaganda can at times be highly successful, governments still cannot determine the way a message will be received in a straightforward, casual fashion. Not every message will succeed according to their will. To talk of conversation in terms of communicating or transmitting a speaker’s ideas to a passive listener is to misunderstand entirely the active, creative dynamism of language. For Herder, new meanings and expressions also develop through dialogical interaction: ‘Language and speech are developed most intensely through interaction . . . Language evolved through

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interaction, not through solitude, through interaction every expression is sharpened and polished.’121 Meaning, then, emerges from the dynamic interchange that occurs between speaker and listener. Hamann’s influence on Herder has been seriously overestimated in the past.122 Herder never adopted the mystical elements of his theory, which means Hamann is a far more radical opponent of rationalist philosophy than Herder ever was.123 In Hamann’s view, God is not simply responsible for the origin of language. For him, speech is a continuous process of interpretation in which human language is translated from the language of angels as well as an act of continuous communications among God, the angels, and humanity.124 Recent scholarship further suggests that instead of Herder following Hamann’s innovations, it could have been Herder’s work on the relationship between thought and language that helped Hamann formulate his Metakritik of Kant.125 Yet there is little doubt that the two thinkers share a number of important commitments. Herder’s theory focuses entirely on the human being; nonetheless, he takes from Hamann his conception of language as a medium of hermeneutic experience whereby self-understanding possesses a dialogical character. As we saw in the previous chapter, although language does not derive originally from conversation, its dialogical nature is fundamental to Herder’s understanding of language. Herder applies Hamann’s insight that conversation is a dialogical process of interpretation also to the reading and understanding of texts. Reading, for Herder, is an imaginative process and an interpretative one. His admission, in his Journal, of his hermeneutic failure of imagination in the past is instructive. Only when he is aboard ship can he understand more fully the fears and trials of the sailors’ experiences in Greek mythology: A thousand new and more natural explanations of mythology, a thousand more profound appreciations of its most ancient poets, come to mind when one reads Orpheus, Homer, Pindar – and especially the first – on board ship. Sailors brought the Greeks their earliest religion; all Greece was a colony of the sea coast . . . What would I have given to have been able to read Orpheus and the Odyssey on board! When I do read them again, I will throw myself back into their times.126

A reader is never merely a passive recipient of words on a page. If we wish to understand a text better, we need to engage dialogically with the text. We need to become involved with the text by trying to

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understand the author’s way of thinking with all its idiosyncrasies and ‘birthmarks of his time.’127 The objective is to see things from the author’s point of view by feeling oneself into his or her way of thinking, thus engaging in a kind of dialogue. In this way we avoid assimilating the text into our own world through the kind of reinterpretative process that erases the marks of the author’s context.128 Failure and misinterpretation always remain possible. Yet understanding presupposes the attempt to bridge the inevitable gap between reader and text. This emphasis on language as an activity explains the special importance that Herder assigns to verbs as the most active element of speech and as its driving force. They are also the essential ingredient in poetry, which he sees as pure activity.129 There is a fourfold dimension to his idea of poetry. First, nature acts on the poet. Second, the poet captures and interprets the world of passion and action. Third, the poetic process is an act of creation. Fourth, poetry – particularly the epic poetry of earlier peoples – acts by stimulating and directing the listener to action:130 The true poet is only an interpreter or actually the bearer of nature in the soul and in the heart of his brother. What acts on him and how it acts on him, acts forth, not through arbitrary, patched up convention but rather through natural powers. And the more open people are to feel or to avenge this; the more they have eyes to see what occurs in nature and ears to hear how the messenger of creation communicates it to them; the stronger the poetic art necessarily acts in them. And immediately it acts from them further.131

While it may be objected that poetry is only one literary form – and in modern times, a relatively infrequently used one – Herder considers that these features of linguistic activity are intensified in this use of language but are not unique to it. On the whole, Western philosophers have been unsympathetic to poetic language, often treating it as an aberration from the proper, literal language of judgment. Hobbes’s Leviathan as a representation of the state is one of the most famous metaphors in political theory. Yet Hobbes stipulates that ‘the use of Metaphors, Tropes and other Rhetoricall figures,’ although lawful in ordinary speech, should not be admitted in the ‘seeking of truth.’132 Locke, too, thinks that while reading poetry can be a great ‘Diversion and Delight,’ any desire on the part of a

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child to write poetry should be ‘stifled and suppressed.’133 Frege set the scene for analytical philosophy in the twentieth century by regarding poetic statements, in contrast to scientific propositions, as mere reflections of a poet’s subjective feelings. And while Michael Oakeshott celebrates the poetic, he believes that ‘truth’ can exist in practical, scientific, and historical statements but never in poetic images. Despite the move toward ‘externalism’ in philosophy in the early twentieth century, the traditional priority accorded to literal statements over poetic ones remains prevalent.134 Herder argues, by contrast, that we find ‘truth under the garb of fiction.’135 His expressivism is thereby distinguished from a more general recognition of the constitutive role of language, in part owing to his rejection of the dichotomy between figurative and literal language. Poetry not only receives its elements from the empirical world of nature but also contributes to truth through its force and clarity. Unlike dull description, poetry has the capacity to recreate the tone and general form of an original impression and image of the senses. Figurative language is also useful simply as a way to add force to an expression. History has often been recorded through narrative poetry (such as the fable) precisely for this reason. It is hardly surprising, however, that the kinds of personifications found, for example, in Hebrew and Greek poems would appear as irrational extravagances to those who examine poetry on the basis of pure reason and geometrical rules. To avoid misunderstanding the general aim and scope of these narratives, the interpreter needs to appreciate the use of poetic statements on their own terms.136 Figurative language can provide a valuable contribution to human knowledge also by directing our attention to aspects of things that literal expressions convey inadequately. According to Herder, poetry can enlarge the heart and expand one’s viewpoint as well as awaken love and sympathy.137 It is an inspiring form of language that can stimulate others to direct action; and it also, he suggests, represents the first development of moral principles. Through personification we discover ourselves reflected everywhere, and the closer we feel a resemblance with another being, the more our sympathies accord with our own sensibilities. Thus in ancient times, poetry was often used as a moral inducement to encourage benevolence and compassion in people. The Bible is full of personifications, fables, and allegories.138 In direct response to the philosophical prejudice that figurative language does not contain valuable truths, Herder declares ‘that Homer and Sophocles,

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Dante, Shakespeare and Klopstock have supplied psychology and knowledge of humankind with more material than even the Aristotles and Leibnizes of all peoples and times.’139 Literature has the power to teach us about humanity and to open our eyes to new ways of seeing the world. It might be objected that Herder’s emphasis on the capacity of poetic over literal language to portray reality inverts, rather than subverts, the dichotomy between factual and emotive language. The poetic statement is seen as more effective, but its legitimacy is derived from its meaning being verifiable in the same way as a scientific or literal statement. The verifiable–unverifiable dichotomy of literal truths is thereby enhanced.140 Three points are relevant here. First, Herder refuses to distinguish between the cognitive and emotive dimensions of language – dimensions that have been central to the existence of this dichotomy and the granting of a superior position to literal over figurative language in Western thought. Since language, thought, and the senses are interactive processes that cannot be separated, Herder recognizes that our scientific and literal truths are as dependent on our powers to feel as on our ability to reflect. ‘The sensing human being,’ he writes, ‘feels his way into everything, feels everything from out of himself, and imprints it with his image, his impress.’ Hence, despite their intentions, Newton, Buffon, and Leibniz were all poets.141 Philosophical concepts are, for Herder, derived from our senses and emotions no less than poetry.142 Reiterating this point in the early twentieth century, Collingwood succinctly puts it: ‘ “ The proposition,” understood as a form of words expressing thought and not emotion . . . is a fictitious entity.’143 Thus, as Herder writes, ‘the philosophers who declaim against figurative language . . . are at least in great contradiction with themselves.’144 Second, since nature acts on the poet and since the poet’s language is embedded firmly in a shared form of life, poetry as a literary form necessarily has the real world and the poet’s culture as its reference points. Reminiscent of Herder, Paul Ricoeur argues that we need to reject the restriction of truth-values to scientific statements and accept the thesis that poetry has reference. Following Roman Jacobson’s notion of a split reference, Ricoeur contends that instead of the referential function being obliterated by the poetic by being made ambiguous, it is altered. Although metaphorical discourse organizes reality in a different way, its reference remains the objective world. With the power of imagination intensified in the poet and in either the listener or reader of this linguistic form, the poet has the ability to invent things and to

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enable us to see them in new ways. But while a distinction exists between literal and metaphorical truths, the more fundamental distinction lies between literal and metaphorical truths on the one side and falsity on the other. Figurative language differs from literal language by forming other worlds of existence, yet at the same time, it belongs to our world of ‘truth.’145 Third, it is not just figurative language that is dependent on the literal and that takes its elements from the objective world. Following Hamann, Herder sees poetry as the original language of humanity.146 Literal language, too, is originally formed through abstraction, images, and metaphors: ‘In this understanding the entire language is allegory: because every time the mind expresses something through another in it . . . [that is], objects through signs, thoughts through words, they have nothing rationally in common with each other.’147 Herder recognizes that the linguistic process of naming objects and concepts involves the same kind of imaginative leaps and transferences demanded of us by metaphors. The connections drawn between an object and a word are not in a straightforward, determinative sense given to us by nature. Nor do they follow strict, logical rules. These connections are a creative process of activity entailing both our cognitive and sensuous faculties. The notion that the literal sense of a word is entirely distinct from metaphor is an illusion. ‘What we know,’ Herder writes, ‘we only know through analogy.’ And to the question whether analogy contains truth, he responds: ‘Human truth, certainly, and as long as I am a human being I have no information about any higher.’148 He acknowledges that language can be misused and abused to deceive people and lead them astray. But the problem, for him, is not with language itself or with any particular form of it. Ordinary language can be improved. The meanings of expressions can, as noted earlier, become sharper through dialogical interaction. But in essence, language is perfectly good as it is: All gifts of God in nature are good and so also its great gift over them all, its living language. Senses, imagination, action, passion, everything which poetry expresses and portrays is good; consequently its impression on others can . . . not be called bad. Since everything however in creation and, just like the noblest, can be misused, so also can poetry, the noble charming balm from the most secret powers of creation of God can become sweet poison, intoxicating, deadly lust.149

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Yet, at the same time, ‘poetry can be more effective than pure philosophical abstraction in influencing for the good.’150 As a Lutheran minister, Herder is strongly attuned to the ways in which language can be deployed in oratory to persuade and seduce.151 But he also knows perhaps better than many that the problem does not lie with figurative language in itself, which can in fact work to the good more than literal propositions. Philosophers, for Herder, can also misuse language, distort reality, and lead people astray, as we have seen with the tendency of his contemporaries to separate different human powers and faculties into separate and mutually exclusive categories. The solution to the misuse of language therefore does not lie, as it did for Plato, in banning poets from the republic or poetry from the school curriculum, as Locke suggests. The key ultimately lies in the moral education (Bildung) of the people. Conclusion The advantage of Herder’s expressivism over a designative view of language lies not simply in its greater insight into the social and dialogical dimensions of language and its holistic nature. Once language is seen as partly constitutive of thought, the diversity of individual languages assumes far greater philosophical significance than entailed in the view that they reflect the temperament of a people in an instrumental fashion. Languages not only embody the consciousness of a people but also constitute their thoughts and identity in an interactive relationship. Individual languages are, therefore, intrinsic to the identity of a community and its way of life, as well as to the consciousness of its individual members. It follows that language acquisition is not merely a matter of learning an effective form of communication for one’s thoughts and sensations, which are separable from and logically prior to language. It is about becoming incorporated into a particular cultural community and world view. It is this expressivist understanding of the essential nature of language for human identity and the self that provides the background to Herder’s ontological position. Language is placed at the centre of what it means to have a good and meaningful life, and it enables Herder to explain the rise of linguistic-political conflicts when the language of a community is threatened. So, I consider next the implications of Herder’s expressivist theory of language for his conception of self and community.

3 Culture, Identity, and Community

The abstract study of language in the previous chapter takes on a concrete basis through Herder’s study of specific cultural communities. Both are central to his ontological position – that is, to those factors he takes as meaningful in accounting for social life.1 Herder is now commonly credited as one of the first thinkers in the Western tradition to celebrate cultural diversity. Yet the erroneous idea that he fails to grasp sufficiently the diversity that exists within cultures persists among some political theorists. The first section of this chapter begins the task of correcting this misperception by showing that Herder fully accounts for the heterogeneity that exists within cultures. I then turn to a fuller elaboration of the interactive relationship he identifies between language and culture. This lays the basis for an examination of the relations among language, culture, and community in the third section. Finally, I outline the implications of the preceding discussion for his understanding of the relationship between the self and community, and his conception of freedom. Here the connections between Herder’s ideas and those of modern communitarians are more fully drawn out. I have indicated that Herder belongs to a philosophical tradition of holistic individualism, which Taylor identifies as combining a socially embedded conception of the self with a high priority on individual differences. I differ from Taylor, however, by defining holistic individualism as a theory that combines these two elements at the ontological level. As suggested by the title of Taylor’s article ‘Cross-Purposes: The Liberal–Communitarian Debate,’ a considerable degree of misunderstanding characterized the ‘liberal–communitarian’ debate of the 1980s. But Taylor’s argument that it is plausible to combine a holistic ontology with the promotion

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of individuality at the advocacy level fails to challenge sufficiently the dichotomy that emerged in this debate at the ontological level between an unencumbered and a situated self. Important differences certainly exist between the conception of an unencumbered self that procedural liberals such as Rawls holds in his Theory of Justice (1971) and the notion of the situated self that is associated with thinkers like Taylor, Sandel, and MacIntyre. The idea of a self that exists ‘prior to its ends which are affirmed by it’ is central to Rawls’s hypothetical construct that provides the foundation for his theory of justice.2 He is, in this respect, indebted to Kant’s notion of a transcendental self that arrives at a priori and universal principles of justice by abstracting from all empirical factors that distinguish rational agents. Communitarians, by contrast, share with Herder a conception of the self as firmly situated in the social world. The transcendence that Kant demands of the individual is for modern communitarians, as it is for Herder, impossible. Problems nonetheless arise for the conception of a situated self when this divide is seen in terms of a critical versus an uncritical self. From a Kantian perspective, individuals are free to stand back from their existing social practices and to question those practices unencumbered by their place in them. Yet if the situated self is seen as the polar opposite of this view, it follows with the move to a situated conception of the self that the capacity for critical reflection is seriously undermined. As Elizabeth Frazer and Nicola Lacey indicate, if we abandon the unencumbered self, ‘we risk finding ourselves in the arms of a radically embodied communitarian self, a determined product of her or his circumstances, social conditioning and community culture.’3 The validity of this dichotomy between an unencumbered–critical self and a situated–uncritical self is highly questionable, particularly from the perspective of Herder’s radical anti-dualism. But notwithstanding the many misconceptions in the ‘liberal–communitarian’ debate, it did highlight the need for those who are committed to a situated conception of the self to provide an alternative account of our capacity to reflect critically on our social practices and our place within them. What is needed is a conception of the self that is not only firmly embedded but also equally committed to subjectivity and individuality at the ontological level. I argue that Herder, due to his heterogeneous conception of culture and his emphasis on individuality in his analysis of the human psyche, provides us with precisely this kind of fruitful alternative account of the self and community, one in which the self is

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conceived as both situated and critical. Human beings are limited and bounded creatures in ways that hold significant import for the way we ought to live and our conceptions of justice, but we are simultaneously interpretative creatures who are never wholly determined by our language and culture. Culture and Diversity Herder employs the term ‘Cultur’ to refer to all creative human enterprises. He identifies art, industry, commerce, science, political institutions, and literature, as well as ideas, beliefs, customs, and myths, as constituent parts of a community’s culture.4 He was not the first to appreciate the importance of these human enterprises and institutions in gaining an understanding of different communities. Voltaire previously established the need for historical investigation to take account of the social life of a people as manifest in its mode of life, arts, industries, literature, and sciences. Montesquieu also recognizes the importance of these various factors in his political analysis of laws.5 As Muthu has recently stressed, many eighteenth-century thinkers examined the diverse manners, activities, and values of different communities. Herder, however, differs from his contemporaries in that he uses ‘culture in the plural’ in the contemporary sense and sees non-Europeans as ‘members of distinct cultures,’ innovations that Muthu instead credits to nineteenth-century thinkers.6 Raymond Williams traces the etymology of the term ‘culture’ to its original usage as a noun to denote the process of tending to things such as crops or animals. Beginning in the sixteenth century this definition underwent a gradual metaphorical extension to include the process of human development. The idea of cultivation formed the word’s main sense until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when ‘culture’ developed as an independent and abstract noun to describe a general process of intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic development. In England, the word acquired clear class associations, while in France it became synonymous with civilization. The Germans, who borrowed the word from the French, also used it to describe a process of becoming ‘cultivated’ or ‘civilised.’7 It was no doubt sensitivity to this German usage that led T. Churchill in 1800 to translate Herder’s references in the Ideen to ‘Cultur’ incorrectly into English as ‘civilisation.’ As Churchill’s is the only complete translation of Herder’s seminal work, it is a particularly unfortunate

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error that fails to acknowledge his attempt to provide a definition of culture that is free of ethnocentric assumptions. With Herder, as Williams notes, a ‘decisive change’ in the application of the word ‘culture’ occurred.8 For example, in the preface to the Ideen, with the pointed question, ‘Which people on earth is there that does not have a common culture [Cultur]?’, Herder clearly distinguishes his use of the word ‘Cultur’ from the notion – one that he rejects – of ‘einem cultivirten Volk,’ that is, ‘a cultivated people.’9 He questions the applicability of the European notion of a cultivated person to many in any Volk, and he rejects the granting of any pre-eminence to them.10 Throughout his works, Herder consistently challenges conceptions of culture based on notions of civilization and good taste, which are invariably defined by European standards. ‘Why,’ he rhetorically asks, ‘should the western corner of our northern hemisphere alone possess culture?’11 Both his appreciation for folk literature and his coining of the term ‘political culture’ also mean that his understanding of ‘culture’ differs from its subsequent usage in the twentieth century as an ‘independent and abstract noun which describes the works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity.’12 It is this common sense of the term today that often misleads commentators to think that Herder’s focus on culture means he neglects the political.13 Instead, politics is for him one part of a community’s culture. Here Herder’s theory of culture also differs from Kant’s distinction between a raw and a higher cultivated state and his use of the term to refer to the activities of the leisured classes.14 As Williams argues, Herder was the first to use ‘culture’ in its modern anthropological sense to indicate the particular way of life of a period, people, or group.15 Herder’s theory of culture is also distinguished by his assumption that all cultures have value. ‘It would be the most stupid vanity,’ he declares, ‘to imagine, that all the inhabitants of the world must be Europeans to live happily.’16 He maintains that the community into which one is born is a matter of chance. If a European were accidentally born into a non-European culture, he or she would develop nonEuropean standards. Differences in these standards are no concrete grounds for presuming their inferiority. ‘He who placed them here, and us there,’ Herder insists, ‘undoubtedly gave them the equal right to the enjoyment of life.’ Human happiness is ‘an internal disposition’ and ‘an individual good’ that is intimately tied to one’s environment, language, and communal traditions.17 It is, at all times, historically specific. Herder acknowledges that similarities exist among different

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peoples, but each is unique in itself because none has entirely the same original influences. It follows that ‘each nation has its center of happiness in itself, like every sphere has its own center of gravity!’18 Appreciation of this complex diversity is seriously diminished in Herder’s view by the practice of assessing the merits and demerits of various activities in one culture based on the standards and values of another that one reveres. Every culture has its own artistic standards, which arise from particular historical and environmental circumstances. So it is inconceivable to him how one can gain an understanding of an artist’s ideas and the purpose and structure of a work if, like Johann Winkelmann, one judges Egyptian art ‘according to Greek standards.’ Even his unqualified admiration for Homer does not lead him to accept Lessing’s representation of Homer’s work as an absolute standard by which all poetry should be judged.19 Whether Greek criteria are used to assess Egyptian culture, or Greek science is judged by modern European standards, Herder considers the method of analysis to be equally misguided and futile.20 Showing that he is also fully aware of the diversity existing within cultures, Herder warns with respect to the term ‘Cultur’ that ‘nothing is more indeterminate than this word and nothing is more deceptive than its application to entire peoples and times.’21 To acknowledge that different cultures coexist in the same community, he uses culture both to refer to the way of life of an entire community and to denote particular activities and enterprises in which different social and economic subgroups within society engage. It is in this sense that he employs the term ‘political culture’ in his historical analysis of the Hebrew people in ancient times.22 Herder criticizes the essentializing tendency in attempts to categorize people across cultures according to their different occupations, indicating that different modes of life such as hunting, husbandry, and fishing differ so widely between regions that it is difficult for such kinds of divisions to provide accuracy.23 In recognizing the diversity within cultures, he acknowledges the ability of different strata, classes, and castes to form subcultures that are distinct from the total, or dominant, culture of a community owing to the activities in which they engage. In older state constitutions, priests and Brahmins, for example, defined their position in society by reserving their right to scientific knowledge; and the complexity of higher mathematics and other sciences in the eighteenth century means, for Herder, that scientists form a separate culture from the general public.24

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A community’s culture is far from a uniform body with all its parts changing in unison. Herder shows how different cultural activities within a community may develop at a faster or slower rate than others. The community’s scientific life may, for example, be highly active in contradistinction to its theatrical life. Furthermore, the importance placed on certain cultural activities within a community can alter during the lifetime of that community.25 As human beings are imperfect creatures, negative and positive features characterize any given way of life: ‘So the nation can, despite virtues of the most sublime sort on one side, on another side have shortcomings, make exceptions, reveal contradictions and uncertainties which astonish.’26 In his study of ancient Greece, Herder not only highlights the noble public spirit and great artistic achievements of ancient Greece, for which his admiration is clearly immense, but also points to the inhumane treatment of helots, foreigners, and colonies by many Grecian states.27 Far from allowing his appreciation for cultural diversity between communities to lead to an idealized picture of ‘every culture as a distinct and harmonious whole,’ as it is sometimes claimed,28 Herder shows the incoherence and tensions within different cultures throughout the Ideen. Nor is any culture a self-contained entity. In Vom Erkennen, Herder explicitly rejects Leibniz’s theory of monads, declaring to the contrary that ‘nothing in nature is separated, everything flows onto and into everything else through imperceptible transitions.’29 It is also a consistent theme throughout his work that every culture is indebted to others. In the Abhandlung, he indicates that without the achievements of the Egyptians, ancient Greece could not have developed in the way that it did. ‘The Roman,’ he writes, ‘got his culture [Bildung] from Greece in this way, the Greek received it from Asia and Egypt, Egypt from Asia, China perhaps from Egypt.’30 And in Auch eine Philosophie, he is critical of those of his contemporaries who take a sceptical approach to history because of their failure to show the connections between peoples, and further notes that ‘the Roman raised himself onto the back of the whole world.’31 The modern era is likewise indebted to the Middle Ages. Against Voltaire, Robertson, Iselin, and Hume, Herder maintains that we should not dismiss the Middle Ages with excessive denunciations, and not simply because detailed empirical investigations reveal that it was not a period of total barbarity and spiritual impoverishment. We need to examine the forces that generated its abuses – its feudal wars, devastation, crusades, and migrations – as well as the

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attempts people made to overcome them, if we are to attain a richer understanding of the present, which arose from its foundations.32 For Herder, since every culture develops out of the framework of previous ones, all are intercultural in their very formation.33 This attention to cultural specificity does not invalidate all generalizations. In the Ideen, Herder regards each community as a composite of various powers and influences competing in ‘wild confusion’ until ‘opposing regulations limit one another, and a kind of equilibrium and harmony takes place.’34 At this point, certain cultural features and activities dominate others. An identifiable and overarching culture is thereby formed that characterizes a particular community at a certain time in history. So it is possible to single out the ‘spirit’ of the Phoenicians with their ‘navigation and commercial industry,’ the ‘quiet assiduity in labour and endurance’ of the Hindus, or the ‘refined political morality’ of the Chinese as distinctive features of these communities.35 This reference to ‘spirit’ should not be confused with the later Hegelian conception of an Absolute Spirit; it is, however, reminiscent of Montesquieu’s notion of ‘general spirit.’ As Montesquieu writes: ‘Many things govern men: climate, religion, laws, the maxims of the government, examples of past things, mores, and manners; a general spirit is formed as a result.’36 Following Montesquieu, Herder thinks that the general spirit of a community – in Herder’s terminology, its culture – is formed through a complicated interaction of various environmental forces with various activities and attitudes. It is important to emphasize that his use of the term ‘spirit’ does not however mean that he succumbs to an essentialist conception of culture. Despite this criticism of Herder, Bhikhu Parekh similarly argues in Rethinking Multiculturalism that the dynamic nature of cultures does not mean they possess ‘no identity’ at all, for cultures, like individuals, are distinguishable based on their beliefs and practices, which ‘form a reasonably recognizable whole.’37 Herder shows that when combining to form an identifiable whole, these various factors can limit or encourage, complement or conflict with one another. The mixture of these forces varies at different times, creating diversity within and between cultures. Given the variety of activities and elements operating on one another at any specific time and place, no particular factor possesses a determining influence at all times and in all places.38 This point is exemplified in Herder’s account of poetry, where he shows that its central role in the forming and recording of Hebrew and Greek customs, laws, and constitutions

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diminished with the emergence of written symbols and rules. In contrast to poetry’s formative influence on Hebrew and Greek cultures, it played only a minimal role in the formation of Roman culture because written prose had by then replaced poetry’s role in the recording of state affairs.39 The influence of particular activities on other institutions and elements that together form the culture of a community is at all times a historically specific phenomenon. Language and Culture The one exception to this particularity is language. The capacity to develop different activities and engage in those enterprises that together form a community’s culture stems directly from our intrinsic nature as linguistic beings: ‘As soon as our language of reason commenced in the slightest beginnings, man was immediately on the path to every art and science. For what does human reason do in the invention of all these, than notice and indicate? Thus with language, the most difficult of arts, a prototype of all the rest was to a certain degree given.’40 It might be objected that the connection between a community’s language and its non-verbal cultural forms such as dance, instrumental music, sculpture, and painting is far from obvious. For this reason, Taylor and Collingwood include language as but one expressive form in a more general category of ‘expression.’41 The advantage to this approach is that it does not appear to give priority to linguistic forms of expression. Yet Herder is no less appreciative of other art forms. In his analysis, non-verbal art forms are determined in the main by the faculty of sense to which they appeal so that music is determined by hearing, painting by our visual perceptions, and sculpture by touch.42 None are determined by the medium of language in the way that poetry is. But owing to the constitutive role of language in the formation of our sensory and imaginative concepts, the fact that these art forms are expressed in different media than language does not, for Herder, wholly negate the influence of language any more than dance exists in a purely sensual form without thought, or philosophical thought exists without the sensuous. The constitutive role of language in the cultural formation of a community flows directly from Herder’s commitment to the relationship between language and thought. With respect to the culture and mode of writing of the Chinese, he writes: ‘The whole of the learning of the Chinese is exhausted in artificial and political hieroglyphics. The

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difference with which this mode of writing alone operates upon the mind that thinks in it, must be incredible. It enervates the thoughts, and reduces the whole national way of thinking to painted or air-drawn arbitrary characters.’43 Here we can see what Herder thinks to be the effect of one linguistic activity on the way of thinking of a community. Once language is seen as constitutive of thought, it follows that the characteristics of particular languages give form and determinacy to the way of thinking of the people who speak them. Children learn from their parents more than abstract linguistic skills such as the use of different word classes and a general ability to construct sentences. Through language acquisition, ‘the whole soul, the whole manner of thinking, of his begetters gets communicated’ to an infant.44 The fact that every language is, for a people, ‘a mirror of their history, of their actions, joys and suffering’45 explains the diverse expressions of feeling and orderings of ideas that characterize different languages. Thus we find that all languages vary in terms of alphabets, ‘allegorical expressions,’ ‘figures of speech,’ ‘the relation, arrangement and connexion of its parts,’ the way time is expressed, the order of ideas in a sentence, whether there are many nouns or verbs, and so on.46 Three main factors contribute to these variations. First, there are external environmental factors such as climate and geography. Herder, who has a broad understanding of climate, notes that other environmental factors such as ‘air and water, food and drink,’47 also influence the unique characteristics of particular languages. It is due to environmental factors that Arabs, for example, have so many more words for ‘lion’ than Germans do: ‘The Arabian poet, who has at his disposal five hundred words to say lion, words that connote varying conditions such as young, hungry lion, etc., is able to paint with a word, and thus is able to achieve, by means of these images captured in one sweep, setting them one against the other, more manifold expression than we, who are able to create distinct variation only by adding modifiers.’48 Second, Herder indicates that a community’s economic life, customs, ethics, experiences, and occupations all contribute to linguistic diversity. For example: ‘The economic life of the people of the Morn was rich in servants; so is their language.’49 Third, as we saw in the Abhandlung, he identifies internal dispositions and attitudes arising from relations among families and individuals within communities, and relationships among communities.50

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The first and most obvious way in which a culture is imparted to others is through the recording and passing down of events and experiences to future generations through oral or written history. Despite the difficulties with translation that Herder indicates, the transmission of historical events and experiences remains possible in circumstances where a community no longer speaks its own language. Arabian poets may use one word to denote a lion in a particular condition, and Germans may need to use several to express the same condition, but it is still possible to do so. When people are denied their language, it does not necessarily follow that their cultural distinctiveness will be completely extinguished. Herder recognizes that the Irish and the Scots are distinctive peoples despite the forceful imposition of the English language on them both. Admittedly, he says that the Welsh ‘character’ will be ‘gradually extinguished’ and that their language will ‘infallibly be annihilated’ because the Welsh have been conquered, united with the English, and their language expelled. Yet even while underestimating Welsh resilience, he shows that their stories continue in other languages.51 A cultural community can be destroyed through assimilation; but the speaking of the same language by several distinct peoples does not necessarily mean that their cultures are the same. Language shapes our thoughts but does not determine the different experiences we have with our environments or our shared historic memories, which Herder identifies as also contributing to the formation of our individual and collective consciousness. English is common to England, Scotland, Ireland, and the United States, among other countries, yet important differences exist between the languages of the peoples in these countries – differences that embody their unique histories, experiences, and cultures. It is the second form of transmission Herder identifies that means a culture is irrevocably transformed when its language is denied, for cultural transmission also depends on the learning of the language of one’s ancestors. As we have seen, languages do not merely reflect different historical and environmental experiences. They also order our thinking in the way they are, for example, structured. Languages are ‘an imprint of “all,” a living image of our way of thinking.’52 They embody a community’s culture and shape its consciousness and the identity of its individual members. Herder thus thinks that comparative linguistic studies will reveal that cultures have not only different ideas or modes of life but also different ways of thinking and diverse

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characters: ‘A philosophical comparison of languages would therefore form the best essay on the history and diversified character of the human heart and understanding: because in every language the intellect and character of a people is shaped.’53 Since language shapes the intellect and character of a people, it also shapes its culture. Although we can translate the different Arabian words for lion into English, if Arabian poets were forced to write in another language, they would lose their unique ability to paint a portrait of a lion’s condition with just one word. Their art would be fundamentally transformed. Herder acknowledges that the use of translators is a quicker path to attain the wisdom of other cultures. But he also indicates in Über den Fleiß that due to the unique quality of languages, it is still a deficient path: Indeed, it is a shorter path, but an uncertain one, unfortunately; it is too short to reach the goal. There are always marvels that shine through the veil of language, shine with twofold charms; tear away the veil and they disappear. There are rosebuds intertwined with thorns, blossoms that are destroyed when they are opened. Those sacred relics of poetry and eloquence among the Romans, Greeks, and especially in our Revelation, lose the core of their strength, the splendor of their simplicity, the coloring, the harmony of their ringing rhythm, these flowering Graces lose everything when I transplant them against their nature. – And does not the divine Moenian poet deserve to be heard as he is rather than being read in dismembered parts?54

As those who know several languages are well aware, there is a qualitative difference between reading a work in its original language with all its richness and idiosyncrasies, and reading a translation. Herder’s argument is not, however, purely instrumental. He posits a duty for us to respect people on their own terms and to hear them as they are. The ideal of authenticity is central to his thought.55 Herder believes that there is nothing dearer to a people than its language. In shaping our first thoughts and sensibilities, ‘it is our guiding thread’ on which we make sense of the world.56 Since every language embodies a particular world view, a close identity is forged between the individual and his or her cultural heritage.57 From the perspective of the members of a community, a threat to their language is therefore experienced as an attack on their unique way of thinking, on their laws and customs. In a people’s language, Herder declares, ‘lives their

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entire realm of thoughts on tradition, history, religion and principles of life, all of their heart and soul.’58 Their language is inextricably tied to their identity as members of a particular culture. With this insight, he is able to comprehend the resentment felt toward Joseph II by those peoples whose languages were threatened by his attempt to impose the German language on all the linguistic communities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire: ‘ “To me, whoever wants to drive out my language . . . also wants to rob me of my reason and my way of life, the honour and laws of my people.” ’59 When a community of speakers is outright denied its language, its culture is irrevocably changed, and the context in which its members make sense of the world is seriously disrupted. This has significant potential to cause harm that goes well beyond the inconvenience of having to learn another language. Language, Culture, and Community The denial of its language also has the potential to disrupt a community as a whole. The public and dialogical character of language means that languages constitute and sustain the communities in which they are spoken. In his Humanitätsbriefe, Herder laments the increasing lack of understanding between people within Germany due both to its division into separate and distinct provinces and to the linguistic domination first of Latin and then of French among the German elite. Without a common language in which all members of a community are educated, ‘there is no true understanding of minds, common patriotic education, no inner sympathy and a feeling of togetherness, no more public of the fatherland.’60 At the core of this idea is the notion that language is the medium through which we form and constitute our relationships and, hence, through which the bonds between children and parents, and between members of a community, are established. Herder indicates that in ancient Greece, the art of speech not only guided people in the development of their cultural activities but also bound them together into a collective body from which a strong public spirit developed. Through conversation we place something out in the open among people – that is, in public space. What once concerned only the individual, comes to concern one or several additional people. A rapport is created through which individuals come to share a common understanding.61 Conversation has the power to unite previously separate individuals around a common concern: ‘The bond of the tongue and the ear ties a public together; on this path we examine

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thoughts and advice, we seize resolutions and share with one another instruction, song and joy. Whoever was educated in the same language, whoever poured his heart in it and learnt to express his soul in it, he belongs to the people of this language.’62 In his early 1764 address Haben wir noch jetzt das Publikum und Vaterland der Alten? (Do We Still Have the Public and Fatherland of the Ancients?), which Herder reworked for his Humanitätsbriefe, he argues that with the loss of the art of public speaking the active, public sphere of the ancients no longer exists. According to Koepke, Herder acknowledges that a new and different public sphere is required in modern times, but ‘public speaking had to be an essential ingredient of such a spirit.’63 More recently, Redekop has challenged this emphasis on the role of public speaking in Herder’s thought, arguing that it was, for him, a ‘two edged sword.’64 Herder perceives, in particular, the dangers of making life-and-death decisions dependent on the public and ‘the wilfulness of the moment’ rather than having them placed in ‘the realm of justice.’ ‘How critical a moment,’ he writes with regard to Roman times, ‘was it for a Cicero, standing before the judges, when a mere misplaced argument, an apology advanced in an unfortunate way, could tighten the deadly noose around his client’s neck?’ He concludes that in this respect ‘our age is more just.’ Yet this insight does not diminish the importance of public speaking. With his positive example of ‘the parliament of England,’65 he instead shows that limitations on the responsibilities entrusted to the public are essential. In modern times, both public speaking and written language play an important role in the formation of a public sphere. For Herder, the most active element of language is evident in speech. The living vitality and dynamism characteristic of speech with its inflections, intonations, and expletives, and with the speaker’s use of gestures, is absent in written language.66 His enthusiasm for oral languages might suggest to some that he follows Plato in granting a primary significance to speech over writing; but unlike Plato, Herder does not think that written language enfeebles our memory.67 He notes that in freezing our thoughts, the written text constrains them – an idea recently reiterated by Jacques Derrida, who clearly challenges any priority accorded to spoken over written language.68 Hans Dietrich Irmscher interprets Herder’s early comments on the fixative quality of written language as evidence of its weakness for facilitating social reform.69 Yet as early as his Fragmente, Herder acknowledges that while a language that is only spoken is more dynamic and fluid because it is subject to less

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strict grammatical rules, a language that is written and spoken is the most adaptable.70 ‘The poet,’ Herder further declares in 1778, ‘is a creator of a people [Volk] around himself: he gives them a world to see and has their soul in his hand, to lead them to it.’ This public role is not diminished in modern Germany, where the poet employs written language. Writers, like orators, nevertheless require ‘the priestess of truth and virtue’ for their work to contribute positively to the formation of a strong public sphere.71 The word Volk can be translated into English as ‘folk’ or ‘people,’ but Herder’s concept is far more complex than is conveyed by these English terms. Chapter 5 will examine in detail its relationship to the modern concept of nation. For the moment it is necessary to make three main points. First, Herder realizes that cultural and political communities may not coincide. We have seen that in his conception of culture as the way of life of a people, he includes political institutions. He also has a very wide understanding of governance, one that includes tribal communities and families.72 But in the eighteenth century, when dynastic empires dominated Europe, many Völker had no political autonomy.73 That a Volk may possess no formal or even informal political structures does not mean, however, that it loses its moral and cultural significance and thus its legitimacy to strive for autonomy. It is in this sense that we need to see a Volk first and foremost as a cultural community. This distinction is, moreover, crucial to maintain in political terms because the advantage of Herder’s theory lies precisely in the legitimacy he accords to cultural communities that do not necessarily possess formal forms of governance.74 Second, when Herder refers to das Volk in the singular, he employs it to denote original humanity, which, as we saw in chapter 1, he sees as a single people with a common language. Gaier indicates that Herder employs Volk in this context in ‘a generic-anthropological sense’ to encompass people in a ‘state of nature.’75 Third, in societies with a high degree of stratification, he uses the term to refer to the majority of people in contrast to the aristocracy and the nobility, and sometimes also in contrast to intellectuals.76 Here he still uses the term in the sense of a people sharing a common culture, but his application of it to the majority and not to all people living within a territorial unit has been criticized for its exclusionary nature.77 Since the majority of people in the eighteenth century were engaged as labourers, servants, and craftsmen, these two uses have further led to the association of Herder’s concept with the kind of occupations and

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simple way of life evident in folk songs.78 Martin Schütze captures how the term is often understood: ‘Volk is to almost everyone a generalization of the less sophisticated part of an ethnic or political group who work for their living and are distinguished by the qualities of mind and character associated with a more or less simple, wholesome, laborious, responsible, sober and unstrained way of life.’79 It is important to emphasize two points here. First, Herder’s categories are not static. He only excludes rulers and the upper classes from a Volk when they divorce themselves from the rest of their community. Unlike Joseph II, who reigned over the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he treats neither King Solomon nor Moses in this fashion because both had an intimate connection with and common understanding of the general public.80 There is a degree of inconsistency in Herder’s usage, in part due to the different historical contexts in which cultural communities form.81 But it is generally in his analysis of highly stratified societies that he employs it to refer to the majority of people as opposed to the upper classes and intellectuals. Second, Herder’s understanding of folk literature differs markedly from our conception of it today. He appreciates the simplicity of Greek art and has considerable passion for the spontaneous inspiration of oral traditions and folk poetry of earlier times.82 Yet he categorizes the works of both Homer and Shakespeare as folk literature, and he includes in his two volumes of Volkslieder (Folk Songs, 1778 and 1779) pieces by Shakespeare and Goethe along with ones from different cultures that do conform to our current notions of folk songs.83 For Herder, when intellectuals and artists partake in the concerns and culture of their entire community they also belong to a Volk, and the more that artists are active, free, and direct in their mode of expression, the greater he thinks they have the ability to embody authentically in their work the soul and character of their Volk. The acceptance of particular poems by a Volk is another determining factor in Herder’s classification of folk literature, but he distinguishes between works that have temporary popularity and those that have an ability to endure because of their depth, liveliness, concrete form, and vividness.84 Herder’s Volkslieder are intended to celebrate cultural diversity and are simultaneously grounded in the common humanity of authenticity, spontaneity, and communal identity. As Koepke argues, they demonstrate Herder’s ‘philosophy of unity in diversity.’85 But they are also intended, as Gaier maintains, to awaken in their readers the vividness, liveliness, spontaneity, and community associated with his

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singular usage of das Volk.86 In Herder’s analysis, the loss of these Volk characteristics in modern European literature stems in part from the stratification of European societies. New philosophical and scientific modes of life had resulted in a sharp separation between the fine arts and the songs and poems of the general public. Authors and artists wrote for a philosophical and ‘cultivated elite’ centred on the court and thereby divorced themselves from the majority in their community. Although Herder regards classicist literature as beautifully precise, it is, for him, a lifeless refinement compared to earlier folk literature.87 Yet at the same time, he rejects the kind of primitivism and distaste for modern society found in Rousseau’s work.88 Conscious that his praise for earlier times in his Auch eine Philosophie might lead to misinterpretations, he emphatically declares: ‘I recognize everything great, beautiful, and unique in our century, and despite all my scolding have always at bottom kept it – “philosophy!, disseminated clarity!, mechanical skill and facility to wonder at!, gentleness!” ’89 Herder had no desire to return to an earlier period in history. Imitation of another culture merely results in the stultification of one’s own. In contrast to Hamann’s unhistorical demand for a return to an earlier form of poetic language, Herder insists repeatedly that it is impossible either to recreate the historical conditions that gave rise to a culture or to transpose its vitality onto another time and place by applying the formal rules of its artistic modes:90 ‘By rules alone it is not to be learned: but it displays in the observation of rules, and, though originally the inspiration of happy genius, must become mechanical by continued practice. The worst Greek artist according to his manner is also a Greek: we can surpass him; but we will never attain the entire original nature of Greek art; the genius of those times has passed.’91 Artists and writers require exemplars for stimulation, but in learning from other cultures, geniuses transform these lessons into the spirit of their own culture, time, and place. Herder therefore disagrees with the prevalent view of his day that a poem or drama cannot exist without strict adherence to Greek or Roman forms. Yet he also refuses to deny artists the use of ancient mythology when the modern poet employs it not as an end in itself but as a means for illumination. Its appropriateness depends entirely on context. Because the modern German mind is insufficiently attuned to its cultural references, adaptation to one’s own culture is essential.92 The path toward a literary renaissance in Germany thus lay not in strict adherence to rules, or a return to the

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past, but in the sensibility of artists to the complexities and spontaneity in their own language as well as to the way of life of their entire community, combined with an unleashing of their creative genius and spontaneity as individual artists. It is this authenticity that is captured in Herder’s singular usage of das Volk and that he wants to reinvigorate in modern artists.93 Authenticity to one’s own time and place and the ability to change in light of new circumstances are the keys to a flourishing culture. Like Montesquieu, Herder attributes a characteristic life cycle to every Volk. Just as an individual is born, grows, and ultimately dies, the histories of Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome demonstrate that Völker are also transitory. Like all terrestrial beings, a Volk develops, flourishes, and eventually decays. There is a natural path toward the self-realization of a Volk that runs parallel to the development of the individual from birth to death. Change is a central feature of Herder’s theory; like an individual, a Volk must modify itself according to the time and place of its existence as well as its internal character. The more adept a Volk is at harnessing, developing, and uniting its powers, the greater is its effect on history. But, like an individual, if a Volk is not true to itself, it is prone to accident, premature death, and corruption.94 Thus, if a community is to remain alive, its members must constantly reinterpret its cultural traditions in light of new circumstances. Tradition is not a dead artefact but a living, active process in a constant state of regeneration. For Herder, ‘the spirit of change is the core of history.’95 Recognition of the value and role of cultural traditions thus commits us to a process of reinterpretation in light of our particular and changing circumstances, not to an uncritical acceptance of them. Otherwise our community is doomed to decay.96 Community and the Self Ultimately whether or not a Volk blossoms or decays depends on the people who constitute it. Coercive traditions, political systems, and laws are, for Herder, bereft of legitimacy.97 Herder’s concept of willing identification nevertheless differs in a number of important respects from the liberal notion of voluntary association that informs social contract theories.98 Sandel’s classification of three different conceptions of community helps illustrate the distinction. The first informs Hobbes’s social contract theory wherein the state is conceived in instrumental terms. Individuals agree to cooperate only for the sake of their private

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interests. The second Sandel attributes to Rawls, who views participants in a community as sharing certain ends. Cooperation is a good in itself, not a necessary evil.99 Yet while some people have altruistic motives, the community is a collection of individuals who cooperate voluntarily because certain benefits are best obtained communally. Collective action is directed toward shared ends, but little value is placed on the actual process of sharing.100 By contrast, Herder regards a cultural community not simply as an attribute that its members possess. It is not simply an object that is external to the self and that we utilize to achieve our ends. It is constitutive of our identity as individuals.101 It is this third conception of community that modern liberal-communitarians, like Sandel, reiterate: On this strong view, to say that the members of a society are bound by a sense of community is not simply to say that a greater many of them profess communitarian sentiments and pursue communitarian aims, but rather that they conceive their identity – the subject and not just the object of their feelings and aspirations – as defined to some extent by the community of which they are a part.102

The character of a Volk cannot be considered as the mere aggregate of individual personalities. As an organic whole it emerges – as does the meaning of a sentence – from mutual relationships and interactions as more than the sum of its constituent parts. Just as the meaning of a word in a sentence depends on its relationship to other words, members of a community depend for their unique identity on their continuing relationship to the whole.103 It does not follow that an individual possesses no identity apart from the whole any more than a word cannot be defined independently of a sentence. Yet an individual’s identity is fundamentally transformed if these relations dissolve. Aristotle makes a similar point: asking us to suppose that an axe is a natural body, he claims, ‘its axeity would be its substance, would in fact be its soul. If this were taken away, it would cease, except in an equivocal sense, to be an axe.’104 Herder’s belief that the language and culture of our community is, in part, constitutive of our individual identity does not mean that with the loss of our Volk we would die. Assimilation policies cannot in this respect be equated with outright genocide. The loss of one’s language and culture does, however, result in the partial loss of one’s self:

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Neither our language nor our culture are pieces of clothing we can take off with no effect on the self. When a community is denied the social practices that constitute it, the necessary context in which its members make sense of the world and of who they are as individuals is seriously disrupted.106 Here Herder is indebted to the classic republican conception of political corruption, which denotes the decay and disintegration of those social practices that define and provide the basis for collective selfunderstanding and common purpose. J. Peter Euben explains: Corruption implies decay, where the original or natural condition of something becomes infected. If the infection goes far enough, the infected body begins to decompose until unrecognizable. In this sense corruption entails a loss of identity and definition. A people who lose what is distinctive to and about them become amorphous, then anonymous, and historical victims rather than actors. A person who loses his composure loses his capacity to act and speak.107

It is this loss of identity and the consequences that flow from it that Herder recognizes when a community fails to be true to its own culture, whether it is voluntarily through the attempt to imitate another culture or coercively through the imposition of an alien language and culture upon it. The issue is not that people are incapable of adopting different ways of life or languages in countries culturally and linguistically different from the one in which they are born and educated. Sociologists find, however, that people are often reluctant to relinquish their cultural associations. They are the locus of strong affiliations that are crucial to an individual’s identity, sense of security, and self-respect.108 Herder believes that no person is truly an internationalist because it is impossible to transcend completely the cultural heritage into which one is born and educated. Nor is it desirable that people do so. Individuals define and express themselves only in terms of a specific language and

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cultural community, not in terms of a universal language and citizenship that has no basis in community life.109 It is a common communitarian theme that because these attachments are not chosen voluntarily but are part of our identity, we come by them through self-discovery.110 There is an intuitive sense to this notion in relation to our culture and language. As Herder argues, we are born into a specific Volk; whether we like it or not, we discover we are a part of a unit of people with a particular cultural heritage that has played a significant part in our own personal development. This view of the self has nevertheless been criticized for leaving us totally encumbered by socially given ends because what is good for us is given rather than chosen.111 Thus Herder thinks it is in the best interests of individuals within a Volk if their indigenous language is honoured. He maintains that because the French formed the French language for themselves and not the Germans, Germans need to be educated instead in their own language: ‘If language is the organ of power of the soul, the means of our innermost formation and education, so we cannot otherwise than in the language of our people and country be well educated; a so-called French education . . . in Germany must necessarily deform German minds and lead to error.’112 Herder consistently argues that indigenous communities have the right to be educated in their own language and that individual members of a community have a duty to respect their culture. Yet according to Will Kymlicka, the kind of discovery of our communal attachments that leads to certain options being decided for us ‘violates our deepest self-understandings. For we don’t think that this self-discovery replaces or forecloses judgements about how to lead our life.’113 An understanding of life as a process of self-clarification and discovery does not, however, negate people’s capacity to criticize and reject individual cultural and linguistic practices. Culture, like language, possesses an objective dimension and a subjective one. While their dynamic and public nature means that neither can be brought fully under an individual’s control, they are nevertheless social practices that are created by the people who participate in them. Just as language is a ‘treasure room of human thoughts to which each person contributed something in his own way!’114 so, too, is a community’s culture. Neither is a historical given that the individual absorbs passively. Herder accords to artists, poets, and writers a significant role in the development of a community’s culture. Different writers, he argues, enliven and extend their language by employing it in new and innovative ways

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according to their individual ‘character,’ ‘spirit,’ and ‘heart.’115 It is recognition of this subjective dimension that gives the expressivist view its full critical potential by dispelling the notion that language possesses an authority unmediated by the actions of individual members of a community.116 Herder’s acknowledgment of the importance of cultural membership for the self does not entail the fulfilment of specific ends or roles that are given to us by our community. To borrow Kymlicka’s example, the housewife is entirely capable of standing back from her specific role as a housewife and deciding she no longer wants to fulfil that role. Once language and culture are considered social practices that individuals participate in and create, the question whether they ought to participate is immediately introduced.117 Nothing ‘in the whole of God’s realm’ is, for Herder, ‘only means’ to an end. Every human subject is both a means and an end in him or herself.118 The key to Herder’s notion of willing identification is that we recognize the ends we strive for as our own. As interpretative beings, every individual has the capacity to interpret these ends for him or herself. Every French, German, or English person has his or her own way of being French, German, or English. In the hands of every great writer, ‘the language is a separate thing.’ As he argues, Montaigne, Rousseau, Pascal, Diderot, and Voltaire all write very differently, despite writing in French and belonging to the French nation.119 The individual is by no means determined wholly by the dominant culture in his or her community. As much as Herder recognizes that our cognition is bounded, he also believes that ‘cognition without volition is nothing as well, a false, imperfect cognition.’120 The motive force for linguistic and cultural change lies in the heterogeneity of cultures and individuals that arises from both internal and external factors. External factors relate to the diversity between and within cultures. Due to the propensity for monads to interact, a totally self-contained culture is a rarity in the history of the world.121 Individuals come into contact with divergent values and practices from different cultures. This may highlight contradictions within and among the teachings and practices of a culture and cause certain individuals to question their own cultural norms and practices.122 Due also to the diversity existing within cultures, individuals are exposed not only to roles and ideas that form the dominant culture of their community but also to conflicting views and practices within their community. This diversity enables the individual, as a creature endowed with reason,

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to evaluate the dominant values of his or her culture with reference to divergent views that also have an intellectual and institutional basis. Internal factors relate to the different psychology of individuals. In Herder’s analysis of the human psyche, no person possesses exactly the same sensory perceptions or abilities as another: One human being possesses the art of seeing far more than the art of hearing; whether he be a poet or a philosopher, his cognition, his presentation, his style, his composition will certainly shape itself accordingly. How many are called poets and are only wits and men of understanding because they are entirely lacking in poetic imagination with respect to sight and hearing, and how many who like Plato only paint out a few metaphors and the metaphors last eternally.123

Our experiences as individuals are never wholly the same as another’s. The fact that one person may have perfect pitch while another is tone deaf means that their experiences of music will differ. Nor do we interpret the same things in a uniform manner. ‘No two painters or poets,’ Herder writes, ‘have seen, grasped, depicted a single object, even if only a single metaphor, in the same way.’124 It follows that people who share the same culture do not respond in the same way to their surrounding influences. ‘No two grains of sand are like each other, let alone such rich germs and abysses of forces as two human souls – or,’ he writes, ‘I have no grasp at all of the term “human soul.” ’125 Herder’s appreciation for human individuality does not mean he succumbs to subjectivism. In his Kritische Wälder (Critical Forests, 1769), he insists that everyday experiences demonstrate we are able to arrive at some agreement over individual sensations and the ideas that flow from them.126 Human beings have shared mental capacities, and furthermore, meanings are socially derived. The notion of a wholly subjective thought is, on an expressivist view, impossible, for our thoughts are only given determinacy as we learn a language with socially accepted rules and expressions that embody a specific world view; ‘no one of us is an isolated universe.’127 Admittedly, what Herder allows does not satisfy the requirement that we be able to reject our constitutive attachments entirely if we happen to find them distasteful or trivial. To be sure, other factors might make leaving one’s Volk essential, such as war and famine. Herder recognizes that people possess an innate ability to choose and that cultures also

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decay. But the rejection of our indigenous culture and language outright because we regard them as valueless is a qualitatively distinct scenario. It is not simply a rejection of the appropriateness of our participation in certain specific practices. It amounts to saying that our identity as a German, French, or English person lacks merit. Herder believes this is the problem with the German people during the eighteenth century. The issue per se was not that the upper classes spoke French.128 Herder knew English well, and he wished he knew French better.129 With the aristocracy’s increasing adoption of the French language under Frederick the Great’s patronage, the central issue was their use of their vernacular German solely to speak to servants. Recognition as an ‘educated,’ ‘cultivated’ person entailed denying who they were by adopting French ways. For Germans to speak their own language and identify as German was regarded as an inferior state of being. The neglect of their own language and culture thus harmed not only their community – by increasing class stratification – but also their self-esteem and sense of worth as individuals.130 The link between personal identity and recognition is now widely acknowledged.131 Although Taylor traces its core to the ideal of authenticity in Rousseau’s and Herder’s work,132 we can see here that Herder himself understands the connection between authenticity and the need for public recognition. He realizes that the forceful imposition of a foreign language and culture upon indigenous populations is more than a failure of respect that prevents the members of these communities from being true to themselves; the infliction of actual harm upon indigenous peoples at both a community and an individual level is the real issue. Language is the ‘medium of our self-feeling and mental consciousness,’133 and by virtue of its public and dialogical character, we are incorporated into a particular cultural community through language acquisition. Personal identity is formed through our relationships with significant others. ‘The first words we stammer,’ Herder writes, ‘are the foundation stones of our knowing.’134 It follows that people who are subject to constant depreciatory images of their community by another more dominant group are in constant danger of forming a negative image of themselves. It can affect their self-esteem, their self-respect, and their sense and value of who they are.135 Herder is highly aware of this problem. Referring to the many French thinkers who in the past had derided not only German literature but also the German language, he dismisses their judgments as grounded in mere ignorance.136 While he notes that the French ‘are

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now more inclined to give us [i.e., Germans] our due,’ Pierre Juliard indicates that in attempting to determine what character was most desirable in a language, the French philosophes invariably concluded ‘that French was superior.’137 That such judgments had caused Germans to look upon their own language in a negative fashion is poignantly evident in the emphatic tone of Herder’s conclusion to the first collection of his early Fragmente. He acknowledges that German could learn a great deal from other languages, but he insists that ‘no genius need to be ashamed of his mother tongue, or lament it, as, at any rate, for every proficient author the thoughts are sons of heaven, the words are daughters of the earth.’138 The extent to which it is possible entirely to reject one’s constitutive attachments is also open to question. According to Herder, while the German nobility possessed the capacity to choose to reject their own language and culture in favour of another, they could only ever become second-rate Frenchmen, an imitation. We are not, as abstract individualists claim, entirely what we choose to be. We do not choose to be born and educated in a particular cultural context. Indeed, many of our life experiences are not necessarily what we would choose. The idea that their effect on us is entirely within our control is, moreover, based on a highly atomistic understanding of the human psyche, one that fails to recognize that our identities are formed in the context of significant others.139 We cannot control who we are at will as if our identities were a piece of plasticine external to ourselves and subject to manipulation by our own hands. Linguistic and cultural adaptability does not mean it is possible to erase entirely the formative role of our original culture in the development of our personal identity. One’s upbringing is a significant part of one’s intellectual and emotional experiences. It is, as MacIntyre puts it, part of the narrative of one’s life.140 It does not follow that personal identity is fixed. Throughout our lives, our experiences can be transformative of our identity in important ways. Herder acknowledges that ‘a human being at different times of his life is not the same, thinks differently, according as he has different sensations.’141 His conception of the situated self nevertheless enables us to understand the difficulties entailed in transforming fundamental aspects of our identities that are formed during the early years of our lives. Transformation of the self can be not only a highly painful process but also an extremely slow and tortuous one. That is why misrecognition can be so damaging to a person or group of people. The

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internalization of a negative, derogatory self-image by a person or a group can be a powerful force of continued oppression.142 Sélim Abou’s study of Lebanese immigrants in Quebec is instructive. He shows that even those who are extremely eager to integrate with the cultural norms of their new community find they have a strong need ‘to reimmerse themselves in the original environment and thus counterbalance the pressure on them by the norms of the receiving society.’143 To avoid assimilation into the dominant culture and what Abou refers to as ‘the pathology of deculturation that can follow from it,’ immigrants and people from minority cultures who attempt to integrate into a more dominant culture spontaneously separate their world into primary and secondary spheres. Typically, the secondary sphere is the world of work, where the person integrates with the cultural code of his or her new community. The primary sphere is the family and cultural group wherein the person ‘conserves his models of thought and sensitivity.’ The person moves between cultural codes and in a positive environment may find his or her identity enriched by this experience. Yet it is significant that the person’s original cultural code continues to form the reference point for his or her interpretation of the new one.144 It is precisely this point that is evident in Herder’s early Über den Fleiß. Its central theme is to encourage the learning of other languages, but he acknowledges the greater sense of self-assurance and sense of security we have in doing so when we first possess a firm grasp of our own language, for it forms our reference point for understanding other languages: Just as the love of our fatherland binds us to each other by heartfelt bonds of affection, the language of our fathers holds attractions for us also, which in our eyes exceed all others. They impressed themselves upon us first and somehow shaped themselves together with the finest fissures of our sensibility; or because our mother tongue really harmonizes most perfectly with our most sensitive organs and our most delicate turns of mind. Just as a child compares all images with the first impressions, our mind clandestinely compares all tongues with our mother tongue, and how useful this can be! Thereby, the great diversity of languages is given unity; our steps exploring foreign regions become shorter and more selfassured.145

Human beings are limited, bounded creatures. ‘Where the Lord’s spirit is,’ Herder writes, ‘there is freedom.’146 But for him, freedom

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requires, as it subsequently would for Hegel, that we recognize these limitations:147 ‘Here it is truly the first seed of freedom to feel that one is not free, and with which bonds one is bound. The strongest, freest human beings feel this most deeply and strive further.’148 With the realization of one’s limitations comes the awareness necessary for the harmonious ordering of one’s life. One may choose to ignore such constraints, but in so doing one fetters oneself.149 Discovering the relationship between our self-identity and our community enables us to recognize the medium through which we can fully realize ourselves. It opens the path for both self-fulfilment and self-determination. By understanding the need, for example, to learn our own language well, we will then have the ability more easily to grasp other languages. Herder does not want us to stay at the level of the particular, but rather to understand that it is through the particular that we can attain the general. It is acknowledgment of the embedded nature of the self that provides the path for our cosmopolitanism.150 This conception of freedom differs from the negative notion with which many liberals identify. The Hobbes–Bentham negative conception of freedom as an absence of external constraints is evident in the idea that we are bound neither to our language nor to our culture but only to ourselves – an idea that has held a dominant place in the history of liberal thought.151 Herder’s understanding of freedom accords instead with a positive conception, albeit not as this concept is sometimes caricatured by proponents of negative freedom. The dichotomous classification of negative and positive freedom is in large part a distortion of different views on freedom.152 We will see in chapter 6 the full extent to which Herder recognizes the importance of the absence of external constraints over individual action. For the moment it is sufficient to emphasize that Herder nowhere suggests that we ought to be coerced to live in our Volk or to be true to our cultural identity. Coercion, Berlin explains, ‘implies the deliberate interference of other human beings within the area in which I could otherwise act.’153 Although Herder encourages us to honour our cultural heritage, he sees no value in forcing people to live a certain way of life. To do so would violate another equally necessary condition for freedom, namely, that we recognize the goals we pursue as our own.154 In this respect, Herder’s notion of freedom is entirely in accord with liberal conceptions of positive freedom and opposed to totalitarian forms. Where he differs from proponents of negative freedom is in his recognition that we can fail to be free for internal as well as external

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reasons. Being free, on a positive view, is about controlling one’s life. We cannot say, as we can on a negative view, that individuals are free if nothing is standing in their way and yet they are unrealized.155 For Herder, we are realized when we are true to ourselves; but we are not free to be ourselves if we are denied or reject outright the culture that forms a part of who we are. As with the immigrants in Abou’s study, we need to exercise rather than suppress the cultural attachments that form an integral part of our identity. While it may be argued that our upbringing is an internal obstacle, like envy or spite, that we need to overcome in order to be truly free, there are two important differences here. First, unlike envy or spite, no language or culture is entirely valueless. All possess meanings for the people who participate in them. Second, while we could lose envy or spite without harm to our selves, this is not the case with our language and culture.156 From the perspective of Herder’s expressivist view of the world, both are intertwined with our very way of thinking against which we define ourselves. Conclusion Herder recognizes that a commitment to a situated conception of the self does not negate our capacity for critical reflection. An acknowledgment of the important role that language and culture play in the formation of personal identity does not mean we are determined products of our cultural conditioning. Such a view is predicated, in part, on a false conception of culture as a self-contained and homogeneous entity. This chapter has shown that Herder instead possesses a heterogeneous understanding of cultures. Individuals come into contact with divergent practices and beliefs through contact with people from different cultures and the array of subgroups that exist within cultures. This diversity may cause individuals to reflect on the dominant values and practices of their culture, just as may different circumstances that arise through time. Nor does any individual possess exactly the same sensory perceptions as another, or the same life experiences. While we share certain unique experiences with others in our community through our common language and culture, every individual interprets these for him or herself. At the same time that our language and culture shape our identities, they are social practices in which we participate and which we contribute to and change. Fundamental to Herder’s theory is his recognition that individuals, languages, and cultures are all subject to

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change. A community’s culture is only alive and healthy if its members engage in an active, dynamic process of continual reinterpretation. Yet as situated beings, human beings are also limited creatures. The fact that our consciousness is shaped by our language and culture means that with their loss the necessary background against which we make sense of who we are, and the world around us, is seriously disrupted. The denial of linguistic and cultural autonomy to a people thus has the potential to inflict actual harm on the individual members of a community.

4 The Pluralist Alternative

Herder’s sustained attention to linguistic and cultural specificity means he rejects the rationalist and absolutist belief in a single and harmonious body of knowledge. Yet he never abandons many of the universal values associated with ‘the Enlightenment’ by adopting a relativist conception of ‘truth.’ Owing to the recent pluralist turn in Anglo-American political thought,1 the dichotomy between relativism and absolutism that held such a dominant place in Western thought has undergone considerable re-evaluation. Richard Bernstein locates its intellectual force as having emerged from Descartes’s search for an absolute foundation, that is, some fixed point from which all metaphysical and epistemological problems could be solved. For Descartes, there is Either some fixed foundation for knowledge Or there is only intellectual and moral chaos.2 That this paradigm dominated past analyses of Herder’s thought is evident in Meinecke’s classic, Die Entstehung des Historismus (1936), in which he argues that Herder’s historical method completely shattered the legitimacy of judging other cultures on the basis of one’s own tastes but that this was only possible at the cost of ‘a bottomless pit of mere relativism.’3 This view was once widely held among Herder scholars and continues to appear in some contemporary analyses.4 Yet this orthodox view has always sat uneasily with the concept of Humanität that Herder develops in his later works. Acknowledging this development, some scholars claim that a shift occurred in Herder’s thought away from an early relativism toward an increasing acceptance of rationalism in his later life.5 Others, like Meinecke, who recognize that Herder adheres consistently to the same historical method, conclude instead that an unresolved contradiction exists in Herder’s

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thought between relativism and absolutism.6 Yet as scholars increasingly recognize, neither interpretation is entirely satisfactory because both impose a framework where things are ‘either x or not-x’ on a holistic thinker who rejects the philosophical basis from which such dichotomous thinking stems.7 Given his aversion to strictly divided categories as well as to dualistic approaches to philosophical issues, Herder’s early interpreters were bound to face intense difficulties in fitting his ideas neatly into a dichotomy between absolutism and relativism. These apparent contradictions are not simply the result of a distinct break from an early relativism toward a wholesale adoption of universal principles in his later life. Just as Herder’s later works are characterized by a continued emphasis on the individuality and uniqueness of each Volk and each era, his early works are not wholly devoid of universal concepts. Thus, if Herder is self-contradictory – which he must be if we accept this absolutist versus relativist dichotomy – then he is inordinately insensitive to this problem. This is not to deny the existence of tensions in his thought. These are hardly surprising in an original attempt to combine what have traditionally been seen as incompatible values, but such tensions are no less evident in more recent theories of value pluralism. Berlin is no more successful in providing us with a sustained examination of the way the universal and particular might be reconciled with his pluralism. Yet while a more systematic examination than either thinker provides is possible, it is equally important to recognize that the pluralist insight is precisely that these two commitments can never be entirely reconciled. Contradiction and conflict are central to the pluralist perspective. Although some recent commentators have challenged the idea that Herder is consistently or sufficiently a pluralist due to certain of his commitments,8 it is worth noting that contemporary value pluralists also sometimes face the charge that they have elevated their particular values to the status of universality.9 It does not follow that their project is not the pluralist one to combine the universal with the particular. I am less convinced that Herder’s particular commitments seriously challenge the core of his pluralist approach, and in the following two chapters I will continue to address this issue. My central point here is that for a thinker, like Herder, whose entire intellectual career is devoted to the ‘One and the Many’ – that is, to paying due attention to both unity and diversity – it is simply inadequate to impose a framework on his thought that insists on divorcing universality and

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particularity into mutually exclusive categories so that he is bound to appear contradictory. But this is the inevitable result if the notion of relativism over pluralism is employed in relation to his thought. To appreciate fully Herder’s position we need to go beyond the impasse created by this grand Either/Or. Relativism, as Berlin argues, is not the only alternative to absolutism, and I will show that Herder’s historical work contains little that would satisfy a cultural relativist. Nor is absolutism the only moral position to uphold universal values. In Vico and Herder, Berlin provides a confusing portrait of Herder, whose ‘pluralism’ he identifies as one of the three most innovative aspects of his thought, even while he continually refers to his ‘historical’ and ‘ethical relativism.’10 Later, he sharply divorces pluralism from relativism and emphatically rejects the idea that Herder is a relativist.11 Herder’s thought nevertheless remains misunderstood if pluralism is seen as the polar opposite to a commitment to universal values – a misperception that is reinforced by Berlin’s tendency, at times, to dichotomize pluralism and monism so that pluralism mistakenly becomes seen as anti-universalist. It is also implied by Berlin’s own adherence to what is often seen as a strong pluralism, which many still find difficult to distinguish from cultural relativism.12 In the following discussion I argue that Herder’s thought is, instead, most appropriately understood in terms of a weak pluralism that combines his appreciation for diversity with certain core universal values and that, unlike Berlin’s strong pluralism, contains clear normative commitments. Before I proceed with the main argument, however, it is first necessary to clarify the concepts that are central to this discussion, for many continued misunderstandings are generated in the scholarship due to more fundamental confusions over the differences between relativism and pluralism.13 The Key Concepts Bernard Williams provides us with the following definition of cultural relativism where ‘society’ is regarded as a cultural unit: ‘that “right” means (can only be coherently understood as meaning) “right for a given society”; that “right for a given society” is to be understood in a functionalist sense; and that (therefore) it is wrong for people in one society to condemn, interfere with, etc., the values of another society.’14 Williams admits that these three propositions constitute a particularly vulgar form of relativism. A more sophisticated version would not adhere to the third proposition. There is a fundamental contradiction

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underlying this doctrine between the belief that our cognitive capacities are trapped by our distinct moral and cultural world, and the idea that it is still possible to disregard our prejudices in analysing cultures different from our own. Nevertheless, as Williams says, these three propositions constitute the most distinctive and influential form of cultural relativism.15 It is also this version that is typically attributed to Herder on the basis of his historical method. For the cultural relativist there is no unique truth or single objective reality, no context-free rationality, and there are no universal standards or principles that are somehow external to and above the historical and cultural framework in which they are held.16 These claims should not be confused with the subjectivist proposition that all moral judgments are mere statements or expressions of individual attitudes and opinions. What the subjectivist denies is the existence of something that backs up and validates moral judgments. For the cultural relativist, the beliefs and standards that we hold are not merely a matter of personal preference; they are context-bound by the culture in which we live. But what is true or rational for us as members of one culture, may not be true or rational for members of another culture.17 No distinction is thus made between standards or beliefs that are ‘really rational’ as opposed to those that are ‘locally accepted,’ because the cultural relativist thinks there are no transcultural or context-free standards of rationality or objectivity as such.18 The absolutist, instead, maintains that there is some permanent and ahistorical framework to which we can ultimately appeal in determining the nature of rightness and goodness as well as rationality, knowledge, and truth.19 This position, also known as objectivism, makes the strongest possible claim on behalf of value judgments that they are absolutely true or false. From this perspective, there is only one true morality. When two moral statements conflict, only one of them can be true. It need not follow that we are always capable of distinguishing between the truth and the falsity of moral principles. Not all proponents of this view agree with the ‘apodictic’ certainty of Kant’s moral concepts.20 Most acknowledge a degree of fallibility in discovering moral truths. This recognition does not imply that there is no longer any better or worse in each moral case. But it is conceded that, as cognitively imperfect beings, we are capable of making errors in our search for objective truth.21 Scope is created for rational questioning; indeed, such questioning is seen as a necessary condition of obtaining moral truth.

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The kind of pluralism to which Berlin adheres and which he also attributes to Herder insists on the plurality of values, accepting that they may conflict and that they are not reducible to one another.22 Pluralists acknowledge the existence of a common ‘human horizon’ without which cross-cultural communication would be impossible. Where they differ from absolutists is in their rejection of the belief in a single discoverable set of principles that renders all values harmonious. For Berlin, this belief is based on an ancient and ‘false a priori view of what the world is like.’ It presupposes the concept of an ideal life in which all rational desires are satisfied and no values are traded, a view that is both ‘utopian’ and mistaken. There are a great variety of possible and worthwhile forms of life, and furthermore, ‘ends collide.’23 Where it emerges that more than one course of action is morally requisite, whatever the agent does will involve trading one ultimate value for another. The choice, for example, between caring for an ill relative and pursuing an independent life does not easily produce a definitive moral decision. From a pluralist perspective, complete moral harmony is unattainable because choosing one way of life necessarily involves excluding other alternative and valuable ways of life. The realization of one ultimate value means that other ultimate values are sacrificed.24 As Joseph Raz indicates, there are strong and weak versions of moral pluralism.25 The position I wish to suggest that Herder develops accords most with Raz’s formulation of weak pluralism, although Herder also recognizes – in common with Raz’s characterization of strong pluralism – that some values and ways of life are non-comparable. This incommensurability differs from the relativist claim that the values of different cultures are equally valid. The plurality of values to which Herder adheres is derived from a minimal moral framework that is based on the existence of certain common and ultimate principles. Herder does not, like Raz, uphold a ‘thick’ liberal conception of autonomy as universally applicable.26 But there is, to use Walzer’s term, a ‘thin’27 moral framework that Herder believes applies to all human beings irrespective of their particularity. Different ways of life or activities are incommensurate only when they each embody the universal principles contained in his concept of Humanität. His pluralism is therefore weak in the sense that ‘value’ is not reducible to what a culture holds to be of value; the truth or falsehood of a moral principle that a particular culture holds can still be ascertained. With his concept of Humanität, Herder’s universals go beyond Berlin’s ‘factual claim’ that we share a common human horizon. This common horizon makes our

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ability to understand other cultures explicable, but unlike Berlin’s strong pluralism, Herder’s universals also possess a normative dimension.28 Where weak pluralism diverges from absolutism is in its rejection of a thick universal morality due to the recognition that there are many valuable and different forms of life that cannot be hierarchically ranked. Herder and Relativism Having broadly defined the concepts that are central to this discussion, it is now possible to examine in detail the question of relativism in Herder’s thought. Both historicism and relativism have been fuelled in large part by the laudable desire to avoid ethnocentric assumptions when studying non-European cultures. Given their subject matter, it is unsurprising that anthropologists have been particularly attracted to the doctrine of cultural relativism. To attain the richest possible comprehension of different cultures, they have long felt the need not only to understand societies from the perspective of their inhabitants but also to respect them. The main aim of the modern cultural anthropologist is to show what his or her subjects believe and why; granting a privileged status to particular forms of knowledge and values is seen to threaten this aim. Equally, comparisons that link different cultures on an evolutionary scale or that place them on a preconceived hierarchy add nothing to this end. For anthropologists to achieve their goal, they must identify and explain the beliefs of each society and era in their own terms.29 Herder would have little trouble in agreeing with these sentiments. Besides criticizing Winkelmann for having elevated Greek artistic standards to a universal status, in his early Auch eine Philosophie he vehemently criticizes Voltaire, Hume, and Robertson for having assessed the merits and demerits of different Völker in their philosophical histories from the perspective of an idealized picture of their favourite Volk.30 Approaching the study of history from the outset with an idealized blueprint of either modern European standards or a past utopia is, for Herder, invalid because it prevents an actual examination of past societies.31 He makes it equally clear in the Ideen, however, that ‘a barren wonder and recital deserve not the name of history.’ Herder recognizes that historians need to generalize, but following Möser, he insists that they are only at liberty to do so after collecting the smallest of empirical details. They must, he argues, employ the same ‘acumen

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on every historical event, as on a natural phenomenon’ by adhering strictly to the principles of impartiality and fairness:32 ‘In the narration of history one will therefore seek the strictest truth [Wahrheit] and the most complete connection in its version and assessments, and never strive to explain a thing, which is or happens, by a thing that it is not.’33 Note that the objective he sets is to ‘seek the strictest truth,’ a point I will return to shortly. Since no natural scientist would judge a sloth for failing to perform the activities of an elephant, Herder argues that equivalent comparisons are also out of place in the study of history.34 The historian’s first objective is to reveal the causes of and conditions for a society’s own standards and values and to explain the forces behind historical events, not to evaluate its achievements in terms of his or her own likes and dislikes. Nothing was particularly new in Herder’s desire either to apply the methods of scientific research to the study of history or in his attention to empirical detail. Despite the philosophical histories that Herder criticizes for their sweeping generalizations based on insufficient evidence,35 the focus on individuality and detail was well established in historical work prior to the eighteenth century.36 Many eighteenthcentury thinkers further adopted scientific methods in an effort to establish history as a viable subject for inquiry, with some attempting to uncover fundamental laws governing the behaviour of human societies with the use of the same inductive principles as employed in Newtonian physics. In The Spirit of the Laws, for example, Montesquieu’s aim is to identify underlying patterns and laws of development operating in the spheres of politics, religion, and morality in different societies, while Condorcet claims to have revealed the general laws of history through the same methods as employed by the natural scientists.37 Yet Herder anticipates many of the problems with the method of induction that were extensively exposed in twentieth-century philosophy.38 Despite his appeal to the principle of impartiality, he is not, as Schütze claims, an unqualified positivist.39 Herder concedes that the generalizations he seeks are ultimately ‘abstractions’ that depend upon the historian’s ability to interpret events as accurately as possible. He is conscious that he will also face ‘small-scale objections’ that he has neglected certain things in his accounts. So many choices and decisions are made when forming general claims that partiality is inevitable.40 As he says of himself: ‘I only write history as it appears to me, as I come to know it.’41 Recall, too, his insight that scientific and historical

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truths depend not only on our powers to reflect but also on our ability to feel. This suggests that the idea of an entirely objective, detached, and unprejudiced observer of the senses is equally inappropriate in the sciences.42 Herder argues that it is our powers to feel and imagine that open the way for us better to understand other communities and times. The method he develops applies the hermeneutic reading of texts to the study of history by requiring the historian ‘first to sympathize with the nation, in order to feel a single one of its inclinations or actions all together’43 and to ‘go into the age, into the clime, the whole history, feel yourself into everything [ fühle dich in alles hinein].’44 He therefore goes beyond the scientific use of either simple deductive reasoning or inductive generalizations. The word for this method is Sichhineinfühlen, which is usually translated as ‘empathy’ and is the original source for Coleridge’s coining of the term in English.45 But according to Barnard, the English word is too ‘sterile – to capture the imaginative sweep of the German word,’ which he defines as the ‘ “capacity to feel oneself into” the minds, motives, moods, purposes, aspirations and habits, and customs of those different from ourselves.’46 His definition is nevertheless akin to the English understanding of empathy and its use in historiography. In both collecting data and forming generalizations, historians must attempt to transport themselves into the century and region under study and thereby grasp the manner in which the people of those cultures and times thought and felt. Only with this kind of sympathetic identification, Herder claims, is it possible to dispense with the method of comparing everything with oneself and to develop the capacity to discover the reasons for beliefs and practices that are different from one’s own.47 Herder acknowledges that the task he sets the historian is not a simple one. It requires a highly developed imagination combined with the impartiality that scientific research attempts to achieve. He is not always able to present a complete air of neutrality. Although his analysis of ancient Greece does not take on the colour of a favourite Volk that he uses to measure the success of other peoples, his enthusiasm for many aspects of its culture is undeniable.48 It may be argued that the kind of impartiality he desires is impossible, given that we are expressivist beings whose rationality is constituted by the language and culture of our Volk. Robert S. Leventhal maintains that Herder does not provide us with a method by which we can attain a ‘true and authentic understanding’ but rather with one that ‘only points up the

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limits and boundaries of the subject, and the foolishness of attempting to defy those boundaries.’49 But Herder wants us to try to obtain a better understanding of peoples in different cultures and times, and he clearly states that he seeks ‘the strictest truth.’ Despite the limitations and boundaries imposed on our cognition by our linguistic and historical embeddedness, Herder believes it is worthwhile to attempt to obtain the ‘truth’ about other peoples and times. Cross-cultural communication may not be fully transparent, but it is no less worthwhile and illuminating. The question that arises is what Herder thinks this ‘truth’ is. We saw in chapter 2 that ‘human truth’ is limited, with human beings knowing things only through analogy. As with Locke, we can never know the real essence of a thing. But Herder’s rejection of scepticism with his focus on ‘common sense’ when it comes to epistemological issues means that while ‘human truth’ is limited by virtue of its ‘human’ character, it is, for him, nonetheless adequate for our purposes. Rather than dwelling on our limitations, he directs his focus toward providing us with the best possible means to better understand humanity in all its diversity. The key, for him, is to encourage a reflexive awareness of our personal factors – those that are liable to distort our interpretations – so that we can attempt to avoid imposing alien frameworks, and our own likes and dislikes, upon those from other ways of life.50 With the use of Sichhineinfühlen, historians can attempt to compile the most balanced and detailed understanding of events that is feasible. But while we should strive for impartiality, it is at best a regulative ideal for research, and it is by no means – in Herder’s understanding of it – divorced from our powers to feel. Objective truth is, therefore, never absolute in a rationalist sense. The possibility of falsification is, however, no less a characteristic of what we regard as scientific knowledge. A number of scholars have noted that Herder pre-empts Gadamer in rehabilitating prejudice against ‘the Enlightenment’s’ desire to eliminate it.51 In his early Fragmente, he regards prejudice in a positive light by presenting ‘national prejudices’ as ‘national assets’ for the poet.52 And in his Auch Eine Philosophie, he writes: ‘Behold! these socalled prejudices, grasped without barbara celarent, and accompanied by no demonstration of natural law, how strong, how deep, how useful and eternal! – foundation pillars of everything that is supposed to be built upon them later, or rather already through and through seeds out of which everything later and weaker, however glorious it may be called, develops.’53

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But not all prejudices are equally good. As Ernest A. Menze indicates, throughout his work Herder also ‘inveighs against all manner of prejudice.’54 It is particularly the elevation of one’s unreflective prejudices to a universal standard that one then employs to judge other cultures that he wants to eliminate: ‘When the exaggerated reverence will have been blunted, the factionalism with which each person cuddles his people as a Pandora sufficiently brought into balance – you Greeks and Romans, then we will know you and classify you!’55 Herder clearly thinks it is possible for us to come to know others from different times, but only by repudiating an unreflective imposition of our prejudicial likes and dislikes. While the prejudices we inherit with our traditions possess a positive influence in situating us, as Irmscher argues, the ‘dominance of un-reflected prejudices’ means that they are imbalanced. They then constitute a problem for Herder in the same way that Gadamer finds ‘opinions’ problematic because they suppress ‘questions.’56 It does not follow that we can ever take up the stance of an objective observer with a view from nowhere. Again, Herder’s admission of his own hermeneutic failure is instructive. Referring in his Humanitätsbriefe to his inability to extract anything good from Kant’s ‘hypothesis of a radical wicked basic force in the human mind and will,’ he writes: ‘From early years I have tried to put myself in the position of even the most alien hypotheses, and I returned from almost all of them with the gain of a new side of truth, or of its reinforcement.’57 Remember that in the reading of texts, Herder aims for the avoidance of the assimilation of the text to the reader’s framework whereby the author’s context and time is erased. This quotation further suggests that Herder preempts Gadamer’s notion of a ‘fusion of horizons.’ He recognizes that we cannot eliminate our prejudices or, in Heidegger’s terminology, our ‘fore-sight’ and ‘fore-conceptions.’58 Because language limits the boundaries of knowledge, such a cognitive feat is impossible. But by being conscious of our prejudices through reflection and by feeling our way into an era and place with sympathetic identification, so that we endeavour, at least, to see things from the perspective of others, we can be sufficiently open to learn from them and thereby broaden our own field of vision. But, as Herder concedes, we may also fail in this endeavour. The concerns that Herder expresses regarding the historical methods employed by many of his contemporaries have much in common with those expressed in more recent times by those who adopt a

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relativist methodology. Yet current historians have no more sympathy for Voltaire’s unreflective projection of his notions of rationality and civilization in his analysis of past eras than Herder does.59 Despite continued disputes over social science methodology and its ‘objectivity,’ Herder’s claim that in order to understand the plurality of human actions and beliefs we need to attempt to study cultures on their own terms strikes many of us today as an obvious truism. The more contentious issue is whether or not the historian should be, or can be, confined only to the task of describing cultures in their own terms. Recall that the cultural relativist believes there are no universal criteria of right and wrong, the rational or irrational, on which human action can be assessed because all standards are relative to the cultural unit in which they are held. Typically, the social researcher who adopts this view also supports the third proposition noted above – that it is wrong to condemn cultures that are different from our own. Our moral code is regarded as only ‘one among many.’60 Thus relativism usually involves some form of ‘equivalence’ postulate where it is claimed that the world views of different cultures are all equally true.61 For historians, this means they are limited to narration.62 The successful historian enables us to see why an action was rational/right/ good from a subject’s perspective. Analyses that question their subjects’ conceptions of their actions and that suggest they were fundamentally confused or deluded by ideological doctrine are considered invalid. Even in cases of human sacrifice, the ritual torture of children, or the activities of German Nazis, the relativist maintains that the role of the researcher is only to explain the belief systems, policies, and principles that validate these actions to the actors who perpetrate them.63 For example, given both the acceptance of social Darwinism and the aim of creating a pure Aryan race, it was perfectly rational from a relativist perspective for German Nazis to have attempted to rid their society of what they perceived as inferior or ‘sub-human’ specimens. It is precisely this type of claim that incenses opponents of relativism, who interpret it as a rational justification for such atrocities. It is important to stress, however, that the relativist inquirer passes no judgments. To say that something is rational/good/right in its context is not to condone it.64 To claim that something can be rational/good/right in its context nevertheless assumes that something can also be irrational/bad/ wrong. An equivalence postulate that represents all beliefs as equally true cannot cope, however, with beliefs that contradict one another or

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that are seen as illogical/misguided/wrong in their context.65 Influenced by the work of anthropologists on closely knit tribal communities, relativists have a tendency to present cultures as if they express a single and unified body of beliefs. We have seen that Herder, by contrast, insists that communities are not homogeneous entities. Thus, even if rationality is relative to context, as Martin Hollis argues, the inquirer still needs to decide which of the various conflicting beliefs evident in the culture of a community are rational in that context.66 The problem is that relativism tries to rule out moral conflicts between different systems of belief. As long as German Nazis, for example, acted consistently according to their own beliefs, we are prevented from saying they should have acted otherwise. This stipulation applies both to the scholar of German history, who may or may not be from a different society, and to German Jews, socialists, and homosexuals (and indeed, many others), who evidently held conflicting moral values at the time. Williams argues that when we attempt to ‘explain away’ such conflicts, something intrinsic to our understanding of morality is clearly lost. When we encounter values of another culture that conflict with our own, we cannot simply turn off our ethical responses.67 Indeed, the relativist claim that we should do so is grounded in a priori and non-relativist principles of toleration and acceptance. Nor can relativists maintain consistently that it is wrong for a person of one culture to criticize the values of another culture if that person’s set of values is believed to be universal in character within his or her moral community. And if it were the case that we inhabit distinct moral and cultural worlds, they cannot claim logically that we have the capacity to enter and study another society, as though we were blank sheets. Clearly we would be incapable of performing this cognitive feat. The doctrine, in this crude form, is inherently confused. Furthermore, many historians consider it unrealistically restrictive to limit them to the narrating of events and the recounting of actors’ intentions or principles. We have seen Herder reject a mere barren recital of events. But the recovery of an actor’s self-description and thoughts may also fail to illuminate. Taylor indicates that actors are often confused, misinformed, and self-contradictory in their beliefs. We may empathize with a character who is confused, but we also need to explain that confusion. Coming to understand someone means that we come to understand not only his or her formulated but also his or her unformulated desires, aspirations, dislikes, emotions,

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and so on. This requires us to determine not only those aspirations and desires that an agent did consult, but also those that might have been heeded if a more considered account of the subject’s hates, loves, and so on had been arrived at.68 This kind of assessment requires a far more reflective examination of an agent’s aspirations and desires than empathy alone can provide. Herder does not, however, confine the historian to empathy any more than to the narration of events. In his Humanitätsbriefe, he provides a balanced assessment of the achievements of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Joseph II by pointing out his positive actions – his decree against serfdom, and his campaigns against superstition and religious intolerance.69 But he argues that Joseph II was wrong to attempt to create an instant, unified culture by imposing the German language on all the linguistic communities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The emperor had logically consistent reasons for doing so – he wanted to unite his empire through a common language and a unified system of law, education, and monarchy. But the outcome was negative, for it repressed the indigenous languages and cultures of the different Völker under his jurisdiction and caused deep resentment toward the sovereign.70 Herder’s sympathetic identification with his subject means we can understand why Joseph II acted as he did – something that a one-sided denunciation of his actions due to the harm inflicted on the linguistic communities in his empire could not provide us. But we can also assess the validity of his policies and with the aid of hindsight determine whether or not the effects of the emperor’s actions were consistent with his aspirations. From his perspective, Herder concedes, it appeared as a ‘great thought’ to adopt an indigenous language in place of Latin as the language of state.71 But since it created resentment rather than the desired unity, Herder concludes that the emperor’s actions were ill-conceived and that he was wrong to believe it was possible to create a unified empire by imposing a foreign language on the Hungarians, the Slavs, and so forth. Herder’s methodology therefore goes beyond a mere explanation of the causes for Joseph II’s actions in that it forms ‘a general theory of their why and wherefore’ – a theory that William Walsh insists is essential to the historian’s task. Herder questions the emperor’s actions and challenges his belief system in light of their effects, which only the historian with the aid of hindsight can know. In these respects, his methodology does not conform to the kind of relativist approach typically attributed to historicism.72

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When faced with the conflicting belief systems between those Völker whose languages were threatened and that of Joseph II, Herder also has no hesitation in siding with those whose indigenous languages were threatened. Rather than trying to explain away such conflicts, he declares that ‘a sovereign should not only tolerate the varied languages of his people but also honour them.’73 This principle is not contextrelative. He thinks that any attempt to create a ‘quick culture’ is misconceived. Based on his universal principle of respect for all cultures and languages, he questions the wisdom of the desire – one that he notes is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout Europe in the latter part of the eighteenth century – to bring all states and provinces within an empire under a single, unified system of law and education.74 Herder wants us to attain from historical research both a concrete sense of what it was like to live in a certain time and place, and also an appreciation of the achievements of different cultures in their own terms and within their own limitations. This necessitates, among other things, an understanding of the socio-economic foundations of a given society – for example, whether it existed during the Bronze Age or the Iron Age – and the limitations imposed by the surrounding environment. As Herder writes in Auch Eine Philosophie, which is generally seen to contain his most ardent argument in favour of cultural relativism: ‘Those Romans were able to be as no other nation, to do what no one does in imitation – they were Romans . . . And what wonder that a small shepherding and farming people in a valley of the earth was not an iron animal that could act in that way?’75 It is true that most relativists would accept – indeed demand – that to understand the aspirations and achievements of the members of a society they be placed within the material as well as the intellectual and artistic contexts of their time. Yet Herder continues: ‘The Roman victor dyed with red dye of the gods is invisibly also daubed with blood; plunder, wickedness, and lusts surround his chariot; before him goes oppression, in his train follows misery and poverty. – Hence in this sense too shortcoming and virtue always dwell together in one human hut.’76 Far from merely presenting the rationale for their oppressive behaviour from the perspective of the Romans, Herder has no hesitation about indicating their ‘wickedness’ and ‘lusts,’ which presumably were not lusts or wickedness to the Romans. All Völker have their own internal standard of happiness, which is important for us to understand through a process of sympathetic identification because otherwise we cannot come to know them. Nor can

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we expect others living in very different times to have precisely the same standards as us. Only by being open to others’ ways of viewing the world can we possibly learn from them and thereby broaden our own vision. But understanding others does not exclude the possibility that they possess ‘shortcomings’ along with ‘virtues,’ as do all cultures and individuals. ‘For every person who wants to recognize the human heart from the element of its life-circumstances,’ Herder writes, ‘such exceptions and contradictions are completely human.’77 While criticizing one-sided denunciations of the Middle Ages – in part because it is inconceivable to him how any people or era could possess no value at all – he nevertheless states that he ‘would rather do anything than defend the eternal peoples’ migrations and devastations, vassals-wars and fights, monks’ armies, pilgrimages and crusades – I would only like to explain them.’78 The objective he sets the historian is to present the complexity of each era and culture in as balanced a way as possible. This does not entail the relativist assumption that every culture is equal in value – an a priori that Herder simply never countenances, for he rejects all a priori assumptions in historical evaluations on the grounds that they merely prevent us from coming to know others. I noted previously that Herder adopts the practice of indicating the merits and demerits of different societies throughout the Ideen. He is known, for example, for having placed considerable importance on Indian culture, yet he does not present an idealized, ‘romantic’ image of India.79 Following a detailed description of the Hindu social system and form of government, he describes not only (what he considers) a number of its positive features, with particular reference to the Hindu commitment to religious tolerance, but also its negative features, writing ‘that, as with all other human institutions, so in this, there is much that is oppressive.’ He disagrees with the ‘confinement of the different ways of life to hereditary castes’ with the ‘violence’ it produces, ‘as it nearly excludes all freedom in improving the arts’; and he is particularly critical of the ‘contempt’ with which Untouchables are treated. Though he understands the Hindu doctrine of eternal fate first on its own terms, he considers that it produces ‘a want of sympathy . . . even in the gentle Hindus.’80 He argues that the Hindu practice of burning wives on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands possesses no legitimate, moral justification: The burning of wives on the funeral pyres of their husband may be reckoned among the barbarous consequences of this doctrine: for to whatever

The Pluralist Alternative 111 cause it owes its first introduction, whether it entered the course of custom either as an emulation of some great minds or as a punishment: the doctrine of the Brahmins of a future state has unquestionably ennobled the unnatural practice and inspired the poor victim to encounter death. No doubt this cruel practice renders the life of the husband more dear to the wife, as she thus becomes inseparable from him even in death, and cannot remain behind him without disgrace; but is this gain worth the sacrifice, when only tacit custom gives it the force of law?81

In such evaluations, Herder clearly goes beyond a mere narration of the internal standards and values of a given society. There is no excuse for the historian to neglect, misconstrue, or exaggerate the available data. Both a commitment to impartiality as encapsulated in the desire to seek to know the past from the perspective of those who lived it and his method of Sichhineinfühlen are thus vital in the initial collecting and compiling of historical information. But just as understanding does not necessarily entail acceptance, it also does not exclude criticism. Unlike the relativist, Herder is not only a narrator of history but also a social commentator and critic. In the history of ideas, Herder, like Vico, can legitimately be seen as the originator of a historical method that has influenced those who advocate both the need for empathy with one’s subjects and the need to rethink past thoughts and feelings in the historian’s mind. Exponents of relativism have often adopted these ideas. But in tracing the history of an idea, it is necessary to indicate its adaptations by different thinkers. Not all the exponents of the above methods have denied the historian the capacity for critical judgment. Certainly in his polemics against the philosophical histories of his own time, Herder’s stress is on the need to understand each Volk and era on its own terms. Yet such emphasis is a reaction to flagrant distortions of historical evidence to suit some preconceived theory and what he perceives as a lack of concern by certain philosophers to provide a balanced appraisal of the merits and demerits of past societies and eras. It is this unbalanced and highly prejudiced work that Herder attacks, and not the modern historiography that is criticized by modern relativists.82 Without doubt Herder is a historicist in the sense that Berlin defines the term as someone who holds ‘that human thought and action are fully intelligible only in relation to their historical context.’83 His insights into our linguistic and historical situatedness, and the interconnections between reason and emotions, further mean that he

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cannot naively allocate to the historian, or to any other social scientist, the position of an objective, detached observer. But it does not follow that he is a relativist.84 On the contrary, his historical work exemplifies few qualities with which a cultural relativist would find satisfaction. Universal Values It might appear like an outright contradiction for Herder to employ external criteria in his historical evaluations and to believe in the possibility of attaining historical knowledge while emphasizing the plurality of values among different Völker. Yet this contradiction is largely mitigated once it is acknowledged that underlying his appreciation for human diversity is a conception of human nature that recognizes the existence of certain common capacities and interests in all humans. This claim does not deny his powerful critique of uniform and static conceptions of human nature. It is possible, however, to reject theories of human nature that attribute specific cultural and personality traits to all human beings, while developing a universal and dynamic conception in terms of human capacities and predispositions. Recall that in his Abhandlung, Herder sees humans as social, linguistic beings with the capacity to choose and the power to reason. The totality of all human powers he refers to as Besonnenheit. Unlike instinctive animals, human beings must learn to use and develop their powers and are always in a constant state of progression. What humans lack in instinctive powers, they are compensated for with a greater diversity of powers that have led, in turn, to more manifold ways of life. These common human powers beget diverse, specific characteristics in every individual and in different communities as they are subjected to specific environmental and cultural influences. Yet no matter what form they assume, Herder insists that all people even in a state of madness possess them.85 Languages also share certain grammatical features owing to their one common origin. Although human diversity is extensive, as Berlin notes, it is nevertheless finite.86 It is this common ‘human horizon’ that enables us to engage in cross-cultural communication, a point that Berlin also makes in developing his pluralism. Even in Berlin’s strong version, there is therefore not the mistaken relativist assumption that we inhabit closed and distinct cultural worlds.87 The term that Herder adopts in his later work to denote ‘the character of our species’ is Humanität.88 In the Ideen, he provides the following description of what he wants this term to denote:

The Pluralist Alternative 113 I wish I could grasp everything in the word Humanität, that I have so far said about the noble formation of the person to reason and freedom, to finer senses and drives, to the gentlest yet strongest constitution, to the discharge and rule of the earth: because there is no nobler word for the person’s destination than that which expresses himself, in whom the image of the creator of our earth lives imprinted as visibly as it can be here.89

Herder is sufficiently aware of the vagueness of this definition to distinguish the meaning of Humanität from a number of its usual associations. As scholars indicate, the notion of Humanität should not be confused with ‘humankind,’ which denotes the aggregate of all human beings at any one time. Nor, Herder insists, should it be reduced to either ‘humaneness’ or an unqualified ‘love for humankind.’90 Although humanitarian acts form a crucial part in the realization of Humanität, Humanität and humanitarianism are distinct concepts.91 He refers to human love, dignity, justice, sympathy, compassion, reason, equity, goodness, truth, and even beauty, at times, to describe Humanität, but he also indicates that these words only partly convey its meaning.92 Herder’s concept of Humanität operates at a number of levels. It is both descriptive and prescriptive. First, it is an ‘ontological-anthropological concept’ that designates the specific features of humanity.93 In the Ideen, Herder repeats the main points he develops in the Abhandlung on the differences between animals and humans. He then adds the further distinction that human beings, by virtue of their upright posture, have been formed to choose: ‘With the erect gait man becomes a creature of the arts: for by this, the first and most difficult art that man learns, he is initiated into the practice of learning, and becomes a living art.’94 The ability to stand vertically allows human beings a different perspective on the world; by looking upwards they see farther, although people also see obscurely and often stumble and thus err. Nature gives liberty to people with their ‘two free hands as instruments,’ whereas animals are confined by their very physical constitution. ‘The human being is,’ Herder writes, ‘the first of creation left free: he stands erect. He holds the balance of good and evil, of truth and falsehood: he can examine, he should [soll] choose.’95 Because they are able to create arts, humans are not defenceless; but neither are they formed for aggression. They do not possess ‘claws and teeth for attack’ but are ‘designed to be a mild peaceful creature.’96 These empirical claims are open to the objection that they serve only to show that a

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peaceful existence is not something that needs to be imposed on humans against their real natures. Against those who argue that people are inherently warlike, this is an important factual claim; but it does not follow that we ought to promote peace, any more than the empirical evidence that throughout history societies have engaged in warfare shows that we ought to promote war.97 Yet Herder does not merely think we have the ability to examine; he stipulates that we ‘should choose.’ Herder’s concept therefore operates at a second, normative level. Humanität is the goal toward which the entire human constitution is formed.98 Human beings are purposive creatures who have certain capacities and powers that must be developed if they are to live well.99 This purpose is only manifest in the diversity of human experiences and actions in different cultures, but Herder engages in a process of deduction from his empirical investigations to determine those factors that better assist humans to live well. It does not follow that the specific ways in which Humanität is realized are predetermined. His claim in the Ideen that human beings are spiritual beings designed to hope for immortality is, for example, based on his empirical investigations of different cultures that reveal that no cultural community has ever been completely devoid of religion.100 As an empirical claim, it is open to future falsification. Nor does it override his normative claim that we ‘should choose.’ The development of the concept of Humanität in Herder’s later writings does not mark a fundamental shift in his thinking. Normative principles also underlie his criticisms of various Völker in his Auch eine Philosophie. The important difference is that his ethical principles are far more explicit in his later writings with his concept of Humanität. Yet he is no less aware of the need to avoid a specific, idealized notion of what the human species is and ought to be in all places and at all times. Herder consistently believes that we can only come to know ourselves through our actions.101 Since Humanität is manifest in the actions of self-constituted human beings, it is by necessity an open telos.102 Herder is less consistent regarding whether or not Humanität is attainable by the individual. In the Ideen, he thinks that the end of humanity is too high and extensive for any individual to achieve. Whereas every beast becomes what its organization can attain, it is impossible for people to perfect all their powers in one lifetime; ‘of all the inhabitants of the Earth man is the furthest from attaining the end of his destination.’103 On the path toward understanding and virtue,

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people can also develop false prejudices and ways. Drawing on Plato’s attempt in the latter part of the Phaedo to demonstrate the immortality of psuchê,104 Herder argues that only human beings live in such contradiction with their end. At the same time that the human species is the most highly developed on earth, it is the first in another sphere of existence, ‘the middle species with which nature makes a transition from one element to another.’105 Following Plato, Herder concludes that the human telos extends beyond the material world and is fully attainable only in the spiritual.106 A shift occurs in Herder’s thinking by the time he comes to write the Humanitätsbriefe, in which he declares emphatically that Humanität is attainable in our present existence. He is anxious to stress that perfection does not demand the formation of ‘ein Über- ein Außermensch’ (superhuman): 1 Perfection in an object is found in nothing but that the thing is what it is meant to be and what it is capable of being. 2 Perfection in an individual human being, therefore, is found in that he, in the course of his existence, be himself and continue to become himself. That he utilize the powers nature has given him as his heritage; that he strive with them to profit himself and others.107

Here perfection and the ideal of Humanität are seen in terms of individual self-realization and authenticity to the self. Simultaneously, Herder stipulates that its realization entails working for the benefit of others. It thus contains a clear normative dimension. Humanität is a regulative ideal that is not necessarily perfected by all individuals. Yet at the same time, the requirement that individuals develop their powers to their potential is not a demand for each individual to develop all those powers known to humanity. Individuals do not necessarily inherit equal abilities. As a telos, Humanität is best understood as human nature par excellence. All human beings possess an innate propensity toward this end, but it requires development and cultivation through education to reach its full potential. In this sense, Humanität is the goal and ideal of human endeavours toward which human beings strive and for which their entire constitution is formed.108 The term Humanität, therefore, signifies the purpose and end of our human nature as well as a latent capacity to achieve that end. But it is not an ideal that exists outside of humanity.109 Perfection exists when something becomes what it can

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and should be. Although Herder suggests that Humanität is only realizable fully in some ideal future, it is constantly reaffirmed and fulfilled in our eternal striving and progress toward this goal. With every step toward the realization of ourselves as human beings, Humanität is manifest.110 No single, definitive blueprint can exist for the quest of this telos, because individuals and Völker must modify their powers and goals according to their time, environment, culture, and inner character. Every individual and Volk has its own specific interpretation of Humanität and standard of perfection, as they do for the notion of happiness.111 According to Herder, ‘everywhere we therefore find humankind in possession and use of the right to form themselves to that type of Humanität which they envisaged.’112 Herder believes that when denied this right, humankind will be unable to achieve what it is capable of becoming. Human beings require spontaneity to enable them to learn from their mistakes and successes and thereby progress.113 Hence no advantage would be gained through the construction of an ahistorical, definitive telos for the entire human species. Yet Herder’s telos is not devoid of specific content. The attainment of Humanität does not simply refer to the improvement of human powers in a morally neutral sense. For Herder, Humanität cannot be promoted equally by ill and virtuous practices provided that such deeds advance human powers in a technical sense.114 Although he believes that immoral acts ultimately promote Humanität because people suffer by their mistakes and learn better ways, he rejects the idea that abuses of human powers directly advance Humanität.115 Herder tries to capture all that he considers noble and worthy in the human species in his concept of Humanität. He realizes that people are imperfect beings who often do wrong, misconceived, and foolish acts, but the capacity to err does not mean that the human intellect is inherently evil. On the contrary, being born with a propensity for Humanität means that all human beings possess the capacity to receive and develop moral virtues.116 Herder’s concept of Humanität thus provides a universal yet minimal regulative ideal for the good life. Its basic principles can be summarized as follows: (1) people are by nature imperfect beings with a tendency to strive for the good; (2) human beings have an ultimate end – human nature par excellence; (3) this telos is not external to human beings but is achieved through the self-realization of one’s potential as an individual for the benefit of oneself and others; (4) self-realization

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requires authenticity to oneself both as an individual and as a member of a particular cultural community; (5) harming others and committing inhumane acts, while possible, go against and are detrimental to the fulfilment of our ultimate end; (6) along with the avoidance of radical harm, the realization of Humanität requires us to live in peace;117 (7) the destructive powers people possess need to be controlled by ‘reason; in terms of action it is equity and goodness’;118 (8) the good life is also inconceivable without the balance and equity embodied in the principle of fairness (Billigkeit): ‘Do not unto others what you would not wish them to do unto you; what you expect others to do unto you, do unto them too’;119 (9) in addition to tolerance, we need to develop a transnational empathy;120 (10) we have a duty to help others and, in particular, the weak and oppressed;121 (11) the awareness and acceptance of these limitations is essential to the achievement of the true freedom and happiness found through self-realization; (12) the good life requires that every individual and Volk interpret these general principles for themselves according to the social realities that confront them; and (13) human beings require the freedom to choose and therefore err so that they can learn. These basic principles clearly place limitations on what are acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour and provide guidelines for the good life, but their minimal nature means that the struggle toward Humanität is, as Barnard writes, ‘a struggle towards ever emerging ends.’122 The proposition that human beings are born with a propensity toward the ‘good’ should not be confused with a claim for the existence of an inborn, intuitive moral conscience. Following Aristotle,123 Herder believes that moral judgments, like ideas, are not innate but rather are formed. Human beings are born only with a ‘predisposition’ that makes them capable of and susceptible to moral development.124 This capacity may, however, become diseased or strong, become stunted or expansive, and be well or poorly developed. While disagreeing with Rousseau’s pessimistic assessment of human development, Herder nevertheless adheres to a similar doctrine of perfectibility. Although human beings have the ability to improve their capacities, they are also capable of taking retrograde steps.125 According to Herder, Humanität makes our moral advance possible – it ‘is the goal of our strivings, the sum of our endeavours, our worthiness’ – but possession of this capacity does not ensure its fulfilment. Good moral judgments that foster our Humanität ‘must be developed,’ and it ‘is a task that must be carried on incessantly’ through formative, moral education.126

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It is important to stress that Herder’s ideal of Humanität is a dynamic concept. Since people exist in a state of constant becoming, so does their telos.127 His universal principles thus provide a minimum moral framework for any human being to live by, but they require specific historical content to become, in Walzer’s terms, a fully developed, ‘thick’ morality. ‘Without strong fairness and truth,’ Herder writes, ‘is no reason, no Humanität thinkable.’128 Unlike Berlin’s strong pluralism, which George Crowder sees as lacking normative content as his universals remain at the level of mere factual claims,129 Herder’s universalism contains a clear, normative dimension. Yet within this minimal moral framework every individual and Volk still has considerable scope to form their own thick morality to accommodate the physical and social circumstances that confront them. This means that the goal of Humanität does not simply mark the completion of human history as a whole, which is imagined as some utopian society or perfect political constitution. In the Humanitätsbriefe, Herder indicates that it can be and has been realized at different points in human history. Examples include the artistic achievements of ancient Greece, deeds such as the Quakers’ opposition to slavery, and the actions of individuals such as Las Casas, Fénelon, and the Abbé St-Pierre in their promotion of justice and peace.130 It can also be developed and then lost if, for instance, moral education is neglected.131 Yet with each just and humane act Humanität is manifest, and its further development is enabled. Historical Progress Herder’s acknowledgment of the plurality of ends in history, and of the possibility for humanity to take retrograde steps rather than improve its capacities, informs his entire work. In his Auch eine Philosophie, he is severely critical of those of his contemporaries who portray historical progress as a steady, linear progression from superstition and ignorance toward a superior enlightened life of the present: Generally, the philosopher is most an animal when he would wish to be most reliably a God – thus also in the confident calculation of the perfection of the world. Of course, if only it were true that everything proceeded prettily in a straight line and that every succeeding human being and every succeeding race got perfected according to his ideal in a beautiful progression for which he alone knew to give the exponent of virtue and happiness!132

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It is noteworthy that in this early work Herder draws an analogy between the human life cycle and development from Hebrew to Roman times.133 Some of his contemporaries interpreted this as an attempt to develop a linear conception of progress whereby earlier communities were seen as culturally undeveloped compared to eighteenth-century Europe. In the preface to the Ideen, he responds that while it never ‘entered into . . . [his] mind’ that it was applicable to ‘the philosophy of history at large,’ the analogy was overly simplistic and ‘applicable, only to a few nations.’134 For Herder, there is no straight line of development because there is no guarantee against the misuse of human powers. Not all inventions are utilized in a manner beneficial to humankind. In the hands of a despot, human skills can be and often are misused.135 Nor does the realization of Humanität at a certain point in history rule out the possibility of future errors. History teaches Herder that fools frequently overcome the wise and good.136 Admittedly, at his most optimistic, Herder tends to overstate his desire for greater justice, peace, and equity in terms of a certain end; and it emerges in his later works that he is essentially a pacifist who regards harmony and order as part of nature’s plan.137 Replying in the Ideen to those who depict history as a continual succession of wars, he argues that they do people a disservice since most are generally lawful. He concludes that ‘peace and not war, is the natural state of humankind when at liberty,’138 and he deduces that it is the most beneficial state in which people ought to live. Later in his Humanitätsbriefe, Herder outlines a ‘plan’ for peace among nations and claims that it is a law of nature for reason and justice ultimately to triumph.139 By contrast, in his early Auch Eine Philosophie, he depicts war as a positive force in preventing stagnation.140 A number of commentators have seen Herder’s later belief in the attainment of Humanität and the cessation of war as a retrograde step in his doctrine of historical change.141 Yet while Herder desires the end to all war, he does not neglect the obstacles that militate against this end. He is optimistic due to his belief that human beings ultimately learn from their errors, but some commentators overstate his optimism to the neglect of his equally pragmatic side.142 His strong grasp of human fallibility means that he rejects formalistic plans for ‘eternal peace,’ stating that he believes ‘eternal peace will only be formally made at the day of judgment.’143 He outlines seven ‘dispositions’ we need to cultivate if we are to achieve peace, which due to their non-formalistic nature are more appropriately dubbed an ‘anti-plan’ for peace. But while he identifies numerous

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problems that need to be overcome to attain peace, he nevertheless thinks ‘that no first principle, no drop of oil, is in vain that prepares for it even if only at the remotest of distances.’144 Herder’s political thought is a complex blend of optimism and pragmatic realism. Yet he never claims that all forms of conflict and contradictions in human affairs will one day cease. As G.A. Wells argues, disequilibrium and conflict are not intrinsically states of violence.145 Despite Herder’s belief in the possibility of peace among nations, he thinks that energy is at all times dividing into forces of attraction and repulsion: ‘No system of forces constructed according to the regular pattern can assume a form where it is not divided into friendly and hostile forces, forming a whole by virtue of the counterpoise of these forces in relation to each other.’146 This process of repulsion and attraction is an essential part of the life force of nature. Without it, Herder believes, creation would be truly dead.147 In contrast to Leibniz’s theory of a pre-established harmony, Herder describes the equilibrium of society as the outcome of a multitude of conflicting powers. Yet equilibrium is also transient. Just as a being that is driven into disequilibrium will again approach order, elements constantly disrupt the harmonious order of nature. Although Herder thinks these alternate cycles become less violent over time as people learn to harness their passions and to practise less destructive ways to achieve their ends, they never cease. Contradictions and conflict are indispensable forces in social development because human beings learn through their errors. History might manifest an overall progression toward the attainment of Humanität, but it is a process with waves of great height as well as troughs of stagnation or regression and no guarantees.148 The tension in Herder’s thought arises in part from his attempt to demonstrate the existence of fluctuations in human progress, while trying to avoid a picture of history as an unconnected series of interchangeable states of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Herder is critical in his Auch eine Philosophie of Montaigne, Bayle, Hume, and ultimately Voltaire and Diderot for adopting a radical scepticism. By presenting history as a series of interchangeable virtues and vices, they misleadingly ignore all continuity, indebtedness, and links among peoples and eras.149 Yet he is explicit in the Ideen that no individual or society is a mere means to some ultimate end. Herder never imagines any individual or Volk as simply an instrument in the grand workings of history. While he acknowledges the existence of historical continuity and

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progress, he rejects outright the idea of the human species operating as a single uniform mind: Our philosophy of history shall not wander on the path of the averroean system, according to which the whole human system possesses but one mind; and that indeed of a very low order, distributed to individuals only piecemeal. On the other hand, were I to confine every thing to the individual, and deny the existence of the chain, that connects each to others and to the whole, I should run equally counter to the nature of man, and his evident history.150

Herder consistently refers to the human species and its history as a whole, but unlike his organic conception of the individual and Volk, history is never more than the aggregate of individual human actions and events. ‘In the species as a whole,’ he writes, ‘reason has no other destiny than it has in its individual members: because the whole consists only of individual members.’151 Wells suggests that a theoretical confusion between laws and forces has misled some critics to ascribe to Herder a fatalist doctrine of history. This confusion stems from the belief that laws of history, or nature, have an ‘irresistible’ quality that renders meaningless the actions and aspirations of individuals who are determined by them. However, ‘irresistibility’ is a feature of forces and not of laws. Fatalism was distinguished on this basis from determinism in the eighteenth century.152 As J.L. Mackie also explains, while the fatalist regards human actions and their results as fixed irrespective of the wants and actions of individuals, the historical determinist at best explains trends of developments or general patterns in large groups without the additional requirement of deterministic behaviour in their individual members.153 Herder is clearly aware of this distinction when he disassociates his doctrine of laws from the kind of ‘fatal necessity that crushes all striving and aspiration toward bliss, beauty, virtue in every character, and binds us in chains of blind obedience to the capricious path of fate.’154 Although Barnard agrees that Herder is essentially a ‘soft’ historical determinist,155 who sees human beings as having the capacity for self-direction, he also argues that Herder possesses a providential conception of history that sees human actions as part of the working out of a grand design. For Barnard, Herder’s acceptance of these two potentially irreconcilable ideas is one of the most perplexing problems

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in his philosophy of history.156 But Herder’s belief in the existence of a providential plan is not predicated on a doctrine of historical fatalism and it therefore does not undermine human beings’ capacity for selfdirection. John Milton shows that this position was not unusual by the middle of the eighteenth century. Many thinkers believed in a divine plan, but the explanation of historical phenomena with an appeal to natural laws was based on a sharp distinction between God and the created world.157 God’s power is seen as absolute with respect to His creation, but all movements in the general running of the world are understood to be fully natural. We saw earlier that this is the case with Herder’s theory of language origination, and there is no sharp shift in his thinking on this point in his later life. He no less believes in his early Auch Eine Philosophie that history reveals a divine purpose,158 but he does not regard particular historical events or human actions as mere instruments of a directing purpose.159 In the Ideen, too, God never interferes directly with human events but works out His purpose through the creation of humanity who is ‘left free.’160 The essentialism of Herder’s teleology is combined with free will. God achieves Humanität through the creation of people with the propensity to learn that inhumane behaviour is against their interests. Herder’s Christianity means he genuinely believes that justice will ultimately triumph, but whether this occurs on Earth depends on individuals heeding the right lessons. ‘The grand law of nature,’ he discovers in the Ideen, is ‘let man be man; let him hold his condition according to himself as he seems best.’161 The sceptical doubt that progress toward the good is non-existent arises, in his view, from a narrow vision. If the sceptic were instead to view human beings from the perspective of the whole of history, ‘he would doubt as little as their progress, as of the most indisputable physical truth.’162 Herder is therefore optimistic about the ability of humanity to advance, but the natural laws he identifies are not like physical laws that determine our fate. Nor are they mere factual statements about how people do live. His grand law of nature stipulates how we ought to live. There is no doubt that Herder possesses a teleological conception of history. Human beings are purposeful creatures. But in rejecting the theory of final causes that portrays history as a progressive chain of more perfect stages toward a single ultimate end, he develops an ‘open’ teleology that stands as an alternative to many of the teleologies of his day. Herder cannot be clearer on this point than when he states in the Ideen that ‘Humanität is the end of human nature; and with this end,

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God has put their Fate into the hands of humankind.’163 Human powers advance through history as the human species collectively comes to possess greater knowledge with the experience of each Volk. But whether or not and in what form Humanität is realized depends on the deeds and choices of individuals in response to their environmental and cultural influences and in light of their own interpretative powers. No guarantees exist to ensure that people will achieve the potential of their Humanität. Furthermore, there are many different and worthwhile forms of life in which it can be realized. Pluralism The reason it is possible in principle for us to know and understand the aspirations, values, and ends of societies different from our own is that they possess a certain common quality by virtue of the meanings they possess for people who are different from us but who are nevertheless human.164 This is equally true of both humane and inhumane acts. Although most of us would consider cannibalism an inhumane practice, those who have performed this practice are nevertheless human. Herder is acutely aware that a denial of their humanity would make their actions inexplicable. Thus he maintains that cannibals, like all people, possess ‘Humanität, Vernunft und Sprache’ (humanity, reason, and language).165 It follows that we can discover and understand the reasons for their actions and beliefs: ‘No cannibal devours his brothers and children; their inhumane practice is a savage right of war, to nourish their valour, and terrify their enemies. It is no more or less than a gross political rationale.’166 Significantly, Herder does not conclude from this ability to imagine that such practices have meaning for the people who perform them that they are morally right. Contrary to the relativist proposition that ‘right’ can only be coherently understood to mean ‘right for a given society,’ he is clear that cannibalism is an ‘inhumane practice.’ We can nevertheless come to understand such alien practices because the reasons underlying inhumane practices in cultures different from our own are just as misguided as inhumane practices performed by individuals within our own European communities: Misguided reason, or unbridled luxury, has engendered many more singular abominations among us . . . But as no one on this account will deny that the figure of humanity is engraven on the heart of the sodomite, the

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oppressor, the assassin, though almost effaced by this licentious manners and passion; permit me, after all I have read and examined concerning the nations of he Earth, to consider this internal disposition toward Humanität to be as universal as human nature.167

The problem is not that any individual lacks the capacity to develop Humanität or lacks reason. Rather, in these cases, Humanität has been overpowered by other considerations such as necessity, greed, power, or politics. Herder believes that given our ultimate interest lies in the realization of our Humanität, these other considerations, while understandable, are nonetheless based on a misguided conception of our ends. The basis for our understanding of inhumane practices in other cultures lies in part in the fact that our own moral community is never immune from failing to act in accordance with our Humanität. The practice of cannibalism is both foreign to our own way of life and abhorrent to many of us, yet we can still recognize as human the perpetuation of inhumane practices for political reasons. Thus, according to Herder, the only distinction is that Europeans ‘overpower’ their Humanität ‘in some other respects.’ The ‘consequences of lamentable necessity’ that mean ‘the Eskimo bridges the days of his aged parent’ are also ‘not inconsistent with the original feelings of humanity.’168 We can recognize the human dilemma that in some circumstances certain ultimate values need to be sacrificed for the sake of survival. A connection can, therefore, be drawn between such alien practices and our own. It is important to comprehend Herder’s commitment to a plurality of values in the context of his theory of monads, which he sees as having a propensity toward interaction.169 Where the relativist tends to distinguish between different moral and cultural worlds as one would distinguish humankind from other primate species or some alien being, Herder’s conception of cultures and their different values is more appropriately seen in terms of Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘family resemblances’ between language games.170 A particular activity or value may not be manifest in precisely the same form in all Völker, but similarities between activities and values of different cultures overlap and crisscross in the same way that various physical resemblances among family members do. These resemblances make it possible for us to understand particular activities and values and to question their appropriateness. They do not, however, make the task of understanding and interpreting

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these practices a simple one. Herder does not on this basis ignore the limitations that arise from the interrelations among language, culture, and thought. As noted earlier, he admits that the historian cannot achieve absolute objectivity. But in principle, at least, the existence of common human attributes combined with the power of human imagination means that, if we try hard enough, it is possible to come to understand the rationale even for such alien practices as cannibalism. In urging that we avoid applying modern standards to judge the cultural practices of earlier cultures, Herder does not, then, propose that all cultural practices are equally valid. Nevertheless, he considers it a mistake to expect peoples living in very different times and circumstances to have, for example, the same level of scientific knowledge as exists in modern times. Since every culture is indebted to earlier ones, modern sciences have benefited not only from the advances of ancient times but also from the scientific contributions of many generations. To approach the study of ancient Greek or early Asian science by modern standards is to ignore the limitations imposed on human achievements by existing conditions. Doing so only prevents us from appreciating their actual advances and achievements at a time when modern disciplines were still in an early stage of development.171 There is simply no historical gain in lamenting the fact that the ancient Greeks did not possess our scientific knowledge, and ‘it does no justice, to no people upon Earth, to judge them by a foreign standard of science.’172 It does not follow that it is illegitimate to claim that the modern era has advanced science to new heights. It is important to recognize that such a claim necessarily implies that, despite all understandable reasons, Völker of earlier times were inferior in the sciences compared with modern Völker. If we accept this claim, it is a short step to the proposition that modern science is more advanced than, for example, ancient Greek science. Although Herder thinks it pointless to criticize an ancient Volk for not having our scientific knowledge, he nevertheless acknowledges that the geologies of ancient thinkers and the trade of those times do not compare to the evident progress in these fields of human activity in the eighteenth century. Such progress does not occur in a linear fashion, yet for Herder, its existence is undeniable.173 Thus ancient and modern sciences make rival claims that, once we have understood each in its own terms, require our judgment. The point is that we need to divorce this type of proposition from any claim that the ancient Greeks were irrational, less intelligent, or

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otherwise inadequate for failing to develop their sciences to modern standards. At the same time, the pluralist sees certain ends as incommensurate. In accordance with this doctrine, Herder asserts that the ‘culture of the beauty of ancient Greece, particularly in Athens’ with its art and political direction; ‘the virtue’ of the Spartan and Roman dedication to their Volk; ‘the refined purity and quiet labour and endurance’ of the Hindus; and ‘the spirit of navigation and commercial diligence’ of the Phoenicians are ‘almost non-comparable.’174 But what does it mean for two ends to be non-comparable? Raz offers the following definition of incommensurability where it is understood as synonymous with non-comparability: ‘A and B are incommensurate if it is neither true that one is better than the other nor true that they are of equal value.’175 Ends that are incommensurate cannot be seen as equal in value, as many relativists claim, because such a claim suggests that we can form some kind of judgment about their relative value. By contrast, when two ends are incommensurate it means that their values cannot be ranked. For example, Raz argues that in the case of two people where one pursues a career as a graphic artistic and the other as a farmer, and both are content with their chosen paths, we lack the grounds to judge that one has a lifestyle that is better than, equal to, or worse than the other.176 It is in this sense that Herder thinks the practices of the cultures noted above are almost non-comparable. Each represents a specific manifestation of Humanität that developed in accordance with the particular circumstances facing the members of these cultures. Unlike the inhumane practice of cannibalism, the activities highlighted by Herder as noncomparable do not violate the minimal moral framework provided by his concept of Humanität. When the standards of perfection operating in different cultural communities accord with these principles, it is not possible for us to judge whether they are better, worse, or equal. Raz indicates that the only reason one option may be preferable over another, from the perspective of the agent’s well-being, rests on the chance of the agent succeeding in either pursuit.177 Herder, too, believes that we can still assess how well each Volk pursues its particular interpretation of Humanität, as the more it harnesses its powers to this end ‘the more brilliant figure it made in history.’178 But these particular interpretations do not assume a universal character. Just because the Chinese ‘moralize excellently,’ it does not follow that ‘their state must be a pattern for all states.’179 Herder does not think we can or should copy them. Our

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different historical conditions mean that we cannot succeed in a pursuit of the specific ends of another community. We can learn from their examples and principles, but in order to attain Humanität we need to interpret them for ourselves. Conclusion It follows that Herder is most appropriately seen as a pluralist. The respect we owe others and the demands of historical research require us to assume that all cultures have value and to seek a balanced appraisal of their merits and demerits, which characterize all human institutions and individuals. History also reveals the incommensurability of some values and activities found in different cultures. But Herder does not foreclose the historian’s critical judgment by demanding from the outset that we assume the values and practices of a Volk are equal to those of all others. As Herder was largely on uncharted ground in attempting to go beyond the absolutist–relativist dichotomy, tensions do exist in his thought. But it does not follow that his position is ultimately contradictory. The advantage of Herder’s approach lies in its ability to provide a philosophical explanation for human diversity. The absolutist idea that it is possible to find a single harmonious pattern that reconciles all values simply does not accord with our knowledge of human history. Yet at the same time that he rejects absolutism, Herder acknowledges the existence of certain common human faculties without which cross-cultural communication would be impossible. The fact that he sees some activities and values as incommensurable because they are manifestations of Humanität further means that he develops a weak as opposed to a strong pluralism. His universal principles go beyond Berlin’s recognition of a common ‘human horizon’ in that they possess a normative dimension that limits the options he thinks will enable us to realize our Humanität. Yet without specific historical content, these common values could hardly be said to satisfy an absolutist’s sense of a fully developed morality. While Herder affirms a ‘thin’ universal set of general principles in accordance with a weak pluralism, there is not one true, ‘thick’ morality. This open teleology, which demands that we each interpret Humanität according to our own circumstances, means that Herder is able to go beyond the absolutist–relativist dichotomy by acknowledging the plurality of standards without succumbing to the relativist notion that no transcultural values or ends exist. Despite the

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limitations imposed by our linguistic and historical situatedness, coming to know others in different places and times remains a possibility because central to Herder’s pluralist alternative is the acknowledgment that no matter how different these ends are, they possess certain resemblances with our own ends by virtue of their human character. Respect for cultural differences and the capacity to understand those differences do not, however, exclude criticism. Herder is perfectly aware that not any end that we might choose will advance our Humanität and, hence, the good.

5 Nationalism

Herder has long been seen as a central thinker in the development of a historical and cultural particularity that has fuelled nationalist claims for self-determination. Today his work still provides a powerful theoretical justification for oppressed communities to pursue their cultural and political autonomy. Linguistic and cultural domination of minority communities by the state is conceptualized in Herder’s theory as a fundamental issue of justice. Sovereigns have a duty to tolerate the cultural diversity within their states; indeed, they are obligated to honour that diversity. This chapter demonstrates that this universal principle of respect for cultural diversity distinguishes Herder’s theory from the assimilation drive and centralizing forces of modern nationalism in its ‘official’ forms. His rejection of ahistorical blueprints for societies in all times and places also means he could never have supported a populist ideology that demands that all nations pursue their own independent states. In examining his theory in relation to a number of the leading theories of modern nationalism, I argue that his belief in the value of belonging to and identifying with a cultural community is broader in its application than modern conceptions of nationalism and simultaneously more limited. Herder is neither a cultural nor a civic nationalist as these terms are understood in nationalist studies. Political and Cultural Communities Since different conceptions of the ‘nation’ inform competing theories of nationalism, it is first necessary to clarify the differences between Herder’s concept of Volk and the normative idea of the ‘nation’ held today. His multiple applications of the term Volk, noted in chapter 3,

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have undoubtedly contributed to confusion over its meaning. But so, too, has his tendency to employ Volk in the plural interchangeably with Nation.1 Although Herder draws no semantic distinction between these two terms, important differences do exist between his concept of Volk/ Nation and current conceptions of the ‘nation.’ To avoid confusion I will, therefore, employ the term Volk when referring to Herder’s concept. While disagreement abounds concerning the distinctive features of the modern nation, John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith indicate that it is generally acknowledged that ‘post-eighteenth century nations’ differ in certain crucial respects from earlier communities.2 As an eighteenthcentury thinker, Herder did not make any such distinction, nor could he have. He employs the term Volk when referring to ancient communities as diverse as the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Romans (and the peoples the Romans subjugated), as well as to a variety of communities in the eighteenth century such as the various indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, and the Philippines, and the English, French and Dutch. Of course, Herder’s application of the term Volk to such a broad range of communities does not eliminate the possibility that a significant correlation of meaning exists between his concept and the modern concept of nation. It may be objected from the outset that such a broad application of the term Volk might indicate an attempt by Herder to invent ‘nations’ where they did not exist as part of a design to develop a nationalist historiography of the world. But when the term Volk is applied to tribal communities, his concept is immediately distinguished from the concept of nation employed by those scholars who see it as a unit of human association unique to modernity. According to the well-known scholar and critic of nationalism Elie Kedourie, a nation is based on either a decree of the General Will or legislative reason, whereas ‘the tribesman is such by virtue of his birth, not by virtue of self-determination.’3 Although Ernest Gellner concedes that human beings have always lived in groups with which they identify, he regards nationalism as a particular form of patriotism that exists only in the modern industrial world. Nations are the result of a complex division of labour combined with a cultural homogeneity imposed by the state through a standardized system of education.4 By contrast, Herder’s concept of Volk in no way depends on the state. As Gellner indicates, tribes are too small to require a specialized order-enforcing institution such as the state.5 Herder’s concept, therefore, differs significantly from Anthony Giddens’s definition of the

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‘nation’ as only existing ‘when a state has a unified administrative reach over the territory over which its sovereignty is claimed.’6 Although Gellner, like most modern commentators, recognizes that nations and states are not the same entities, as a modernist he too questions whether the current normative idea of the nation could have existed prior to the modern state.7 Yet Herder’s application of the term Volk is not contingent on a community striving for political autonomy in the form of a sovereign state, which is also a central component of Benedict Anderson’s famous definition of the nation as an ‘imagined political community.’8 He has a far wider understanding of the diverse forms of governance applicable to a Volk depending on its unique circumstances. Far from seeing the state as a universal necessity, Herder congratulates Providence on sparing the greater part of humanity from what he regards as a costly, artificial machine: ‘Millions on this Globe live without states . . . Father and mother, man and wife, child and brother, friend and man – these are natural relationships through which we become happy; what the state can give us is an artificial contrivance; alas, it can also deprive us of something far more essential – rob us of ourselves.’9 This artificiality does not stem from a belief that states are made by humans as opposed to nature. Herder does not accept a nature–culture dichotomy; for him, human beings belong to nature’s plan and are just as responsible for the creation of language and culture as they are for the creation of states. It stems, instead, from the centralizing tendency of the dynastic states to subjugate increasing numbers of Völker under the jurisdiction of a single leader. As we saw in his analysis of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Herder insightfully realizes that such centralization threatens cultural diversity. He further thinks that in an era of monarchical rule, thousands would invariably be exploited for the benefit of the few. Instead of legitimating the modern institution of the ‘nation-state,’ he regards the bureaucratic centralized state as the antithesis of a Volk, which is ‘a plant of nature, like a family; only spread more widely.’10 Modernist theorists of nationalism hotly dispute the primordialist claim that nations are a natural form of social organization. According to Kedourie, the history of Europe is not one of nations slowly emerging and asserting themselves as territorial sovereign states. France, for example, is not a state because the French formed a nation. It is the product of dynastic ambitions. The Roman, Ottoman, and Habsburg

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Empires were powerful and enduring states but they were not ‘nations.’11 Herder makes exactly the same point. In the Ideen, he relates how the Gaels were conquered and culturally dominated by various peoples, as were the Scots and Welsh by the English.12 He knows that military conquests mean that states do not always conform to national divisions; for example, the Habsburg and Prussian Empires in the eighteenth century were conglomerations of various Völker.13 States and Völker often do not coincide, but unlike modernist definitions of the nation, members of a Volk need not be a ‘body of citizens.’14 As we saw in chapter 3, membership in a Volk exists by virtue of one’s birth, education, and level of solidarity with one’s community. Whereas modernists emphasize political and legal components of the nation, a Volk is distinguished by being able to exist independently of those formal political structures that are associated with the modern state. As a Volk can assume various forms of governance, Herder’s concept needs to be sharply distinguished from the correlation between a political community and the state in these modernist conceptions of the nation. It is worthwhile drawing in more detail this distinction between a ‘nation’ as a political community and a Volk as a cultural community. Employing the example of ancient Greece, Smith maintains that while we can speak of an ancient Greek community in a cultural and ethnic sense, we cannot speak of ancient Greece as a ‘nation’ in any political sense because it was a collection of sovereign city-states. It is largely in this cultural sense that Herder also applies the term Volk to ancient Greece. It does not follow that his concept is entirely devoid of political content. As Koepke argues, Herder in his Auch eine Philosophie sees a level of solidarity among the Greeks that transcends the plurality of states.15 But theorists of modern nationalism understand the nation in a very specific political sense based on its possession of common laws and institutions with a single political will, and a well-defined and demarcated territory toward which the members of the community share a sense of belonging. Smith notes that this conception of the nation as a ‘political community’ was first developed by the French philosophes in the eighteenth century.16 Kedourie also sees an implicit, civic conception in Diderot and D’Alembert’s definition of the term ‘nation’ in the Encyclopédie as ‘ “a collective word used to denote a considerable quantity of those people who inhabit a certain extent of country defined within certain limits, and obeying the same government.” ’17 Clearly diverging

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from this conception, Herder argues in his Humanitätsbriefe that neither ‘geographical borders’ nor ‘a parliament of rulers’ alone determines the whole of a ‘Nation,’ or Volk.18 Herder’s concept is far broader than the modernist, civic conception of the nation. To be sure, the modern nation is not always conceived solely in civic and legal terms. A number of scholars employ a twofold classification that distinguishes civic from cultural nationalisms. John Plamentaz’s essay, ‘Two Types of Nationalism,’ was highly influential in popularizing this classification, but Andrew Vincent traces it to the earlier ideas of Hans Kohn, who divided nationalism into Western and Eastern types:19 The former, premised on Enlightenment liberal values of reason and universalist humanism, aimed at a more open, plural, outward-looking society. It tended towards democracy, liberalism and constitutional rule and its communal bonds were envisaged more loosely. Its aim was to liberate the individual. The latter was more overtly authoritarian, closed, inwardlooking, particularist and xenophobic, with more inclusive communal views of the self. Plamentaz echoed this distinction directly.20

For Plamentaz, civic nationalism denotes the more benign and acceptable form of nationalism of the West in contrast to the far more aggressive cultural nationalism emanating from Eastern Europe. Unlike Meinecke’s original application of the idea of an apolitical Kulturnation to Herder’s thought,21 there is nothing apolitical about the way in which cultural nationalism came to be understood in Anglo-American political theory. A more recent version of this twofold classification is found in Smith’s work. For him, the civic notion of the nation with its emphasis on the legal and political equality of its members and a shared civic culture is a particularly Western construction. Although devoid of the value judgments that characterize Kohn and Plamenatz’s classification, he nonetheless follows them in identifying an ‘ethnic,’ non-Western conception of the nation as having emerged in Eastern Europe and Asia. According to Smith, this notion is distinguished from its Western counterpart by ‘its emphasis on community of birth and native culture.’ Law in the Western model is replaced by a focus on linguistic and cultural criteria. Where the Western model sees membership as a voluntary association, the non-Western model sees the individual as having an organic connection to his or her community of birth.22 But while Smith

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sees value in this analytical distinction, he argues that it can be ‘overdrawn,’ with any particular example of a nation often showing features of both models over time.23 Smith’s contribution to nationalist studies lies in his rejection of the modernist view in favour of a conception of nation that places ethnie and ethnic culture as central to the genesis of nations. A number of affinities are evident between this model and the concept of Volk that Herder employs. The question, then, is whether in rejecting the civic definition of nation evident in the views of the philosophes, Herder develops a concept akin to Smith’s model. To answer this question we need to look more closely at Herder’s definition of Volk. Ethnicity, Race, and a Common Descent In accord with Smith’s focus on ethnie, Herder’s familial simile may suggest to some that membership in a Volk is based on kinship relations, which in turn imply a common descent and shared blood.24 The obvious objection to incorporating such factors is that many of the groups Herder refers to as Völker possess no such genetic commonality. The English in the eighteenth century were already, for example, the product of a significant intermixing among different ethnic groups. The focus on hereditary biological traits also raises the spectre of race, which some commentators identify as a particularly pernicious aspect of Herder’s thought. While he nowhere suggests that Germany should rule over other peoples, some have nevertheless seen his ideas as providing a theoretical foundation and inspiration for subsequent Nazi nationalist and racist doctrines.25 There is a considerable degree of common ground between Herder and the eminent English philosopher of history, Collingwood, with their theories of language and their use of empathy as a historical method. But Collingwood distances his historicism from any connection with Herder by attributing to him a racial theory of history. According to Collingwood, Herder categorizes the human species into various races whose different mental and physical characteristics were moulded originally by their environment but once developed constituted permanent types of humanity. He also maintains that Herder designates Europe a privileged region where history continues to evolve toward ever higher forms, in contrast to the static regions of the earth such as China and India. Herder is thus cast as having developed a theory of civilization that takes racial particularities as the

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determining factor in history – a theory that later formed the basis for Nazi doctrines.26 Other influential commentators have drawn a less direct but nonetheless significant connection between Herder’s linguistic doctrine and Nazism. Kedourie writes that it is sometimes argued that there are two or more varieties of nationalism, the linguistic being only one of a number, and the Nazi doctrine of race is brought forward to illustrate the argument that there can be racial, religious, and other nationalisms. But, in fact, there is no definite clear-cut distinction between linguistic and racial nationalism . . . The Nazis only simplified and debased the ideas implicit in the writings of Herder and others.27

Admittedly, Herder indulges at times in an aesthetic categorization that modern readers are bound to find offensively racist. He is by no means entirely free of the prejudices of his times. Thus, for example, unlike the Greeks, whom he says have the ‘perfect human form,’ he finds the Japanese ‘are almost universally ill-made, with thick heads, small eyes, stump noses, flat cheeks, scarcely any beard, and generally bandylegged.’28 Mongolians are subjected to equally unflattering statements about their ‘bow-legs’ and their children having ‘deformed puffed up faces’ until the age of ten.29 When he is quoted out of context and this is combined with his warnings against the intermixing of Völker under a centralized bureaucratic state, these negative judgments have appeared to some to justify a doctrine of racial purity.30 But Herder explicitly opposes the kind of categorization of races as permanent types that the Nazis subsequently developed in order to claim that certain races are anthropologically superior to others. For Herder, race is an irrelevant and falsely applied anthropological concept because it implies incorrectly that human beings can be divided into effectively different species with distinct origins according to either colour or region. In the Ideen, he writes: Some, for instance, have ventured to apply the term of races to four or five divisions originally made according to region or colour; but I see no reason for this designation. Race refers to a difference of origin . . . In short, against the categorisation of humankind into four or five races, there are definitely no exclusive varieties on the earth. The colours fade into one another: the formations conform to the genetic character; and in the

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totality everything becomes at last only shades of one and the same great painting, which widens out through all the spaces and times of the Earth.31

Herder is at pains to discredit the idea of different origins because of its potential to justify the oppression of others. He insists that ‘the human species, destined for humanity, was to be from its origin a brotherly species of one blood . . . branches from one stem, plants from one original garden.’32 He also claims – incorrectly according to modern evolutionary theory – that ‘apes and men never were one and the same genus’ in strengthening his case against the idea that tribal peoples have more in common with apes than with Europeans. ‘O man,’ he writes, ‘honour thyself: neither the pongo nor the gibbon is thy brother: the American and the Negro are: these therefore thou should not oppress, murder, or steal; for they are men, like thee: with the ape thou cannot enter into fraternity.’33 Sonia Sikka argues that there is nothing incompatible between a belief in a common human origin and the idea that races subsequently developed and became fixed. This is, in fact, Kant’s position in his Von den verschiedenen Racen der Menschen (On the Different Races of Man, 1775). But there are four important points to acknowledge with respect to Herder’s theory. First, as Sikka indicates, Herder does not, like Kant, attribute inherent and fixed vices to ‘lower races.’34 All people possess Humanität and hence the propensity for moral development. Second, Herder finds physical traits superficial. He recognizes their hereditary character because they do not change according to the climate when people migrate to different regions, but he does not believe in permanent biological types. In the Ideen, he argues, in particular, against Kant’s views on the fixity of skin colour. His descriptions of transformations in the physical form of various ethnic groups due to intermixing show a remarkable fluidity.35 Third, while he uses the term ‘Negroes’ to denote a certain physical type, he equally notes with respect to Africa that ‘in a diversified part of the world, a diversified human form [Menschengestalt] must occur.’36 Finally, and most significantly for his concept of Volk, while at times he employs that term to refer to ethnic groups such as the Circassians,37 there is no consistent correlation in his work between physical or ethnic types and his designation of a Volk. Despite certain physical commonalities, the indigenous peoples of the Americas are divided into numerous Völker. A Volk is neither a racial type nor necessarily an ethnic group.

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From a hermeneutic perspective, it would be miraculous if Herder was somehow free of any of the prejudices of his day, and the issue of race and ethnicity in his thought is a complex one. He imagines that human beings first arose in Asia, where he locates the origins of most European Völker, and he thinks that Europeans have benefited significantly from the intermixing that occurred with others.38 Nevertheless, in his aesthetic judgments he clearly imposes his own likes and dislikes, preferring delicate features and long noses over the flat noses of ‘Negroes’ and many others. He further accepts Camper’s theory of head diameters that places ‘Negroes’ at the bottom of a hierarchy, Europeans next, and the ancient Greeks at the top while linking them to beauty. Yet immediately afterwards he rejects Camper’s theory of orangutans as ‘manlike apes’ because they do not possess anything like human language. He thus draws a sharp distinction between all humans and apes.39 Most problematically, he posits a climatic superiority and an aesthetic hierarchy whereby nature is said to have ‘placed the negro close to the apes’ and the ‘more genial climates produce a race of finer mould.’ Moreover, he claims that just as ‘all beauty and perfection of order lie in the midst of two extremes; the most beautiful form of reason and humanity must find its place in the temperate middle regions.’40 While it is noteworthy that northern Europeans are never at the top of Herder’s aesthetic hierarchy,41 these judgments nevertheless mean that Herder’s moral pluralism requires adjustment to retain value today. Unlike Anne Löchte,42 I do not however believe that these pose a fundamental challenge to a pluralist interpretation of his work. It is precisely his minimal universalism that overrides the potential implications of these beliefs for the moral status and capacities of all and shows its advantages over a relativist position. Thus Herder subsequently states it is a natural law that everyone can learn ‘reason and justice’ and that ‘endowed with these gifts, and making proper application of them, the Negro may form his society as well as the Greek, the Troglodyte as well as the Chinese.’43 Thus, neither climate nor head diameter determines human actions or moral worth. Herder’s aesthetic judgments nevertheless demonstrate that his inclusion of beauty in his concept of Humanität is highly problematic. Yet unlike justice and equity, beauty can be omitted without rupturing his concept and the role played by its minimal normative commitments in his pluralism. What matters most for Herder’s moral pluralism is that his lack of aesthetic appreciation for many of the physical forms human

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beings assume never challenges his belief in the equal moral status of people. Due to his pluralism, he realizes that human goods do not all come in one form.44 As Barnard maintains, Herder’s humanitarian values combined with his appreciation of Hebrew culture make him entirely unqualified as a precursor to Nazi ideology.45 Blood, for Herder, does not demarcate Völker; rather, it distinguishes human beings from other species. Many commentators nonetheless indicate that the relevant factor in analysing national identity is not the factual existence of a common origin but the role that the myth of shared ancestry plays in national identity. According to Aviel Roshwald, the belief in a common origin and destiny is ‘the most powerful cement holding nations together.’46 While many scholars would undoubtedly dissent from the universal role that Roshwald attributes to these subjective beliefs, it is now commonplace to distinguish ethnic from kinship groups on the basis that the former possess a presumed as opposed to an actual descent.47 Origination myths are also a central feature of Smith’s model of the nation based on ethnie. ‘The nation,’ he writes, ‘is seen as a fictive “super-family,” and it boasts pedigrees and genealogies to back up its claim.’48 To the extent that stories of a common ancestry form a central component of a community’s belief system, Herder too sees them as significant. It is generally acknowledged that one of Herder’s major contributions to the human sciences is his recognition of the important role that mythology plays in the cultural formation of communities. Karl J. Fink shows that Herder is fascinated by the remarkable commonalities in the cosmologies of very different peoples – for example, in the existence of archetypal flood or paradise stories – although each story simultaneously varies in its details.49 Yet in his schema, the significance of folk songs, poetry, and fables is not confined to their role in creating a presumed ancestry. Many myths tell stories about a community’s origins, but many others recount historical events as well as shared experiences and values.50 The relevant factor, for Herder, is the role that myths play in forming and sustaining a Volk through the creation and transmission of certain shared memories.51 He does not specifically identify genealogical over other myths because not even a presumed ethnicity is a defining feature of his concept of Volk. In definitional terms, there is nothing to prevent a group with no ethnic ties from forming a Volk.

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Language, Culture, and Communal Solidarity It is instructive that Herder’s use of the term ‘family’ is metaphorical. A Volk is ‘like a family’ because both are bound together by their members sharing a common history. A feeling of union and solidarity exists among members of a community, even if they are never likely to meet one another, as is the case in any Volk larger than a tribe. This sense of solidarity evolves over time as a result of the members of a community experiencing shared circumstances, events, and historic memories. Herder insists that a culture cannot be forced or imposed from above in an attempt by an elite to create a Volk in an instrumental fashion, because it takes time for genuine communal sentiments and solidarity to emerge among a collection of individuals.52 But this evocation of family ties is not unique to a conception of community that incorporates a common language and culture in its definition. Herder again borrows from the Western, republican tradition with its civic conception of community – a conception that equally employs notions of ‘brotherhood’ and, hence, family ties to distinguish its strong sense of communal identification from liberal contractarian theories. Nor do family ties imply exclusivity. Herder, as noted above, also employs the notions of brotherhood and fraternity to emphasize the connectedness of the entire human species.53 Nevertheless, the fact that Herder incorporates linguistic and cultural criteria does mean that his notion of Volk accords more with Smith’s ethnic model than with the civic model of the nation. It is important to emphasize that Herder’s concept of Volk cannot, however, be reduced solely to linguistic criteria. John Hutchinson indicates that ‘the idea that cultural nationalism is essentially a language movement is pervasive in nationalist scholarship and is symptomatic of a more general assumption that ethnic and linguistic groups are synonymous.’54 Following Kedourie, this view is typically traced to Herder as a prelude to a demonstration of its erroneous nature.55 Notwithstanding the important part that language plays in many nationalist movements,56 scholars of nationalism rightly indicate the problems with relying solely on linguistic criteria in determining national identity. According to Max Weber, a community speaking the same language is neither a sufficient criterion to determine nationality nor a necessary one.57 In multilingual societies, such as Switzerland, many people speak more than one language. Kedourie further argues that

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language is not a gauge of religion, which is often a more decisive force for communal identification. Moreover, the demarcation of languages has been subject to considerable dispute in nationalists’ claims. Thus Kedourie indicates that German nationalists, for example, claimed ‘that Dutch is really a dialect of German and Holland ought therefore to be part of the German nation.’58 It is true that Herder offers no scientific explanation for his delineations between languages and dialects; but implicit in his lamentations over the possibility of the German provinces emerging as distinct Völker is a recognition of difference based on the ability of people to understand one another.59 Dutch is therefore a separate language from German; and Herder, unlike later German nationalists, regards the Dutch as a distinct Volk.60 Along with rejecting a common political system and territory as sufficient criteria for a Volk, in accord with Weber, Herder states explicitly in the Humanitätsbriefe that language alone is an inadequate criterion.61 He realizes that in some cases religion may be an equally decisive factor. This is the case with the Hebrew people in the eighteenth century, whom despite their dispersal across Europe Herder considers a Volk because their ‘national public has not died away.’62 While he thinks their prayer language and songs are instructive in demonstrating the importance of language in the formation of a public, without a common territorial base they no longer possessed the kind of living, community-based language to which he generally refers. He is fully aware that in certain historic circumstances other factors may be more decisive for a durable communal solidarity. Nor is a common language sufficient to refer to the Scots and English as a single Volk. Since Herder also identifies in the Ideen a common environment, history, law, customs, morality, tradition, and religion as contributing factors in the formation of a Volk, rather than a linguistic community, a Volk is more accurately understood as a distinct cultural community.63 This redefinition does not eliminate the problems involved in drawing the boundaries of a Volk. While it acknowledges, contrary to Kedourie’s claims, that Herder does not believe that all people who speak the same language constitute a single Volk, cultural criteria can also be subject to considerable dispute in nationalist claims. This is particularly the case in mixed border areas and when populations share important cultural sites due to their historical experiences.64 Disputes between Jewish Israelites and Palestinians, Ukrainians and Russians, Bosnian Muslims and Serbs, and Kosovar Albanians and Serbs are cases in

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point. We know only too well that unless arrangements can be made so that significant cultural sites need not be owned exclusively by one cultural group, such disputes can often lead to violent conflict. But while claims of ownership over various cultural sites are often subject to intense contestation, these disputes are themselves manifestations of what the members of these different communities perceive as their distinct cultural identities. Nor is Herder alone in failing to provide a definition of Volk / Nation with a definitive and objective set of criteria. Social scientists find the concept of ‘nation’ notoriously difficult to define. Thus Seton-Watson reluctantly concludes ‘that no “scientific definition” of the nation can be devised; yet the phenomenon has existed and exists.’65 Though the question where particular state boundaries ought to be drawn is also the subject of political dispute and evolving processes of renegotiation, we can nevertheless point to where existing state boundaries are drawn. While international law rarely fulfils the requirements of the command theory of classical legal positivists such as John Austin, it nevertheless provides a framework for us to recognize states. The same is not true for determining the existence of nations. Most modern commentators nevertheless agree that the nation and the state are not the same thing and that, given the current international system, the application of the compound term ‘nation-state’ to existing states is a misnomer. In other words, most modern ‘nation-states’ consist of a number of nations or ethnic and cultural groups.66 Without clearly defined boundaries, there is inevitably a degree of indeterminacy involved in defining the membership of such groups. Ultimately if we are to avoid the problem of ascribing a common identity to groups with which their members do not identify – as Kedourie notes was the practice of some German nationalists – we need to accept the use not only of objective criteria such as Herder identifies as contributing to the formation of a cultural community but also of subjective criteria. This is why, in attempting to counteract the essentializing potential of a sole reliance on objective criteria, Ernest Renan famously declared that ‘the desire of nations to be together is the only real criterion that must always be taken into account.’67 It will also be remembered that crucial to the durability of a Volk is a communal solidarity that presupposes a willing identification on the part of its members. This is not to suggest that, contrary to my earlier argument, Herder possesses a voluntaristic notion of consent. Owing to his belief that a

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community is partly constitutive of one’s identity, his concept of Volk still corresponds more closely with the organic conception of community that Smith ascribes to an ethnic model. Yet this correspondence requires significant qualification. Organic conceptions of community are often equated in writings on nationalism with the kind of authoritarianism and closed society that Kohn and Plamentaz associate with the cultural nationalism of Eastern Europe. Here the link Kedourie draws between Herder’s ideas and the linguistic purism he associates with Fichte and the later Romantics also needs to be challenged.68 It should be clear from Herder’s expressivism that if a language is to remain alive, it cannot be placed in a semantic and grammatical straightjacket that is intended to freeze it in time and place. Constant reinterpretation of meanings, the development of new words, and the replacement of old words with new ones are all signs of a healthy, living language and of the culture in which it is spoken.69 It is equally important to note Herder’s opposition to hereditary rule and to feudal hierarchies – an aspect of his thought that I will elaborate on more fully in the next chapter. Suffice here, in order to highlight the chasm that exists between his views and those often imputed to him, to recall his consistent critiques of those of his contemporaries who sought unhistorically to apply earlier artistic forms in modern times or to return to some idealized past way of life.70 Unlike Rousseau (and earlier Plato), Herder’s concern for authenticity does not lead him to adopt a policy of cultural isolation.71 On the contrary, he urges that ‘no Volk of Europe lock itself away from the others and say stupidly “with me alone, with me lives all wisdom.” ’72 Herder thinks that if relations between Völker are conducted in a spirit of cooperation rather than domination, they will be highly advantageous, particularly for developing countries.73 He encourages the Germans to ‘learn from other nations, old and new.’74 While he does not want them to neglect and be ashamed of their language, Herder considers it ‘has noticeably gained a great deal through translations from the French prose of social intercourse’75 and ‘may undoubtedly learn much from many others.’76 This is not an argument for linguistic purism. Herder also hopes that by acquainting themselves with other cultures and broadening their field of vision, Germans will learn to appreciate that African, American, and Oriental Völker possess valuable skills and talents that Europeans do not.77 Contrary to Kedourie’s claim that ‘Herder had argued that for a man to speak a foreign language was to live an artificial life,’78 he advocates

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the learning of several languages. Significantly, in his early essay Über den Fleiß, he directly addresses the potential misinterpretation of his view that every language has its own distinct character as a call to confine oneself to one’s first language. First, he argues that the material conditions pertaining to modern Europe dictate the need to learn other languages, for state policy and commerce mean that individuals from different cultural communities constantly intermingle. Second, he notes the advantages that ensue from knowledge of other languages.79 Given the gross misrepresentations of Herder’s views still evident in recent nationalist studies,80 it is worthwhile quoting him on this point at length: How little progress would we have made, were each nation to strive for learnedness by itself, confined within the narrow sphere of language? A Newton of our land would torture himself striving for a discovery that, for the English Newton, long since had been an unsealed secret. At best he would traverse a course already travelled by the former; he would have to take a thousand footsteps to spur on his flagging pace. – But now, what a treasure of discoveries is contained in each language of learning. Secrets disclosed by the midnight lamp of the ancients now bask in the sunlight of the noon. Treasures that the sweat of a foreign nation dug from the veins of the depths are shared as booty among other peoples through that nation’s language.81

Herder is clearly a supporter of plural-lingualism, a position that also informs his educational programs for schools in which the learning of other languages is central. Rather than Latin being the first language with which to teach children grammar, he argues in his Journal first for the teaching of the mother tongue, which in his case is German, followed by French because it is the most widely spoken European language of the time, then Italian, and fourth, either Latin, ancient Greek, or Hebrew.82 Thus a number of commonalities are evident between Herder’s concept of Volk and the non-Western, ethnic model of the nation; but at the same time, this affinity is limited and mostly superficial. In formulating his conception of community, Herder draws from republican and hence Western traditions. His concept of Volk emphasizes shared cultural experiences over formal political structures but is no less political as a consequence. Since he refers to the Hebrew people as a Volk at a time when they did not possess a territorial base, his concept accords more

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with attributes that Smith ascribes to ethnic communities as opposed to modern nations.83 Although Smith’s model incorporates ethnicity and culture, it remains dependent on a shared territory and is also closely aligned with the state.84 It is thus inapplicable to the Hebrew people in the eighteenth century. Herder’s inclusion of tribal communities also means that his concept is far broader than modern concepts of the nation. Unlike ethnic communities, members of a Volk need not possess a myth of a common ancestry. Culture, not ethnicity, is the defining feature of Herder’s concept. While he recognizes that the specific cultural factors contributing to the unification of a Volk may vary with historical circumstances, its central component is a sense of solidarity among its members. Ultimately a Volk is constituted by the subjective beliefs of its members. Although Herder, unlike liberal contractarians, develops an organic conception of community as partly constitutive of self-identity, he does not advocate the kind of closed and homogeneous society often associated in nationalist scholarship with this organic notion. Herder is neither a linguistic nor a cultural purist. In summary, a Volk is most appropriately defined as a socially cohesive community with shared historic memories, a common culture, and a sense of solidarity and belonging that unites its members.85 This means that in certain contexts a Volk might be a modern ‘nation,’ or a tribe, or an ethnic community, but it is none of these exclusively. The term Volk has a far broader meaning than is encompassed by any of these alternatives. Nationalism Having established that Herder’s concept of Volk applies to a far wider range of communities than the current normative idea of the ‘nation,’ we must immediately challenge the appropriateness of seeing Herder as a nationalist thinker – that is, as either a civic or a cultural nationalist as these notions are currently conceived. Although scholars differ regarding the causes of nationalism and its relationship to modernity and political power, they see it typically as an ideology that legitimates the convergence of a political and cultural unit in the form of a nation-state. At first glance, Herder’s statement that ‘the most natural state is therefore one Volk, with one national character’86 appears to convey a similar nationalist sentiment. Nevertheless, given both his clear antipathy to bureaucratic, centralized states and the wide application of his concept of Volk, the connection is not as clear-cut as it first appears.

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Herder thinks that every Volk is entitled to ‘act, each on its place, without interference, without proud discord.’87 He is vehemently opposed to both economic and cultural imperialism. Without exception, Herder rejects the right of any Volk to subjugate and exploit another. His writings consistently appeal to his contemporaries to treat all Völker with justice, fairness, and equity, which means not only refraining from physical violence and economic exploitation but also giving due respect to the languages and ways of life of indigenous communities.88 In his early Auch eine Philosophie, he attacks the hypocrisy of the incongruity between the stated ideal of his age and the exploitation and subjugation of indigenous peoples by Europe’s ‘enlightened’ empires.89 He is also an impassioned critic of slavery.90 Herder’s commitment to the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other Völker stems from his belief that freedom cannot be imposed on people but must come from within: The happiness of one single people [Volk] cannot be imposed onto, talked onto, loaded onto the other and every other. The roses for the wreath of freedom must be picked by a people’s own hands and grow up happily out of its own needs, out of its own desire and love. The so-called best form of government, which has unfortunately not yet been discovered, certainly does not suit all peoples, at once, in the same way; with the yoke of badly imported freedom from abroad a foreign people would be incommoded in the worst possible way.91

Here Herder applies the liberal idea to cultural communities that while we may be mistaken in the values we adopt, our lives cannot be improved by someone coming along and coercing us to act in another, more virtuous way.92 We may try to convince people that their way of life is coercive, but if we try to force them to conform to our understanding of freedom we in turn become the masters. The best that can be done is to plant in the minds of people the seeds of values or goals, such as freedom, and watch those seeds grow. Imposing foreign values or forms of government may also create greater problems by leading to community breakdown, the result being further alienation and resentment. Herder thinks that any attempt to force a new language or set of beliefs or ideas on indigenous populations without regard to their own way of life is ‘for the most part useless and also harmful.’93 Like Kedourie,94 he knows that national freedom is no guarantee against an oppressive government, but he additionally

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recognizes that oppressive governments are not always maintained simply by the use of military might. Such systems are often upheld by a lack of resistance to them. Subjects sometimes choose to tolerate their situation rather than redress it.95 People come to accept their oppressed status and the values of the system they endure, be it the elitism of the Hindu caste system, the Chinese mandarin bureaucracy, or the feudal serfdom of Europe. Without the tacit support of their subjects, such regimes could not endure. Both bad and good political regimes are in reality created and chosen by the people they govern.96 This does not, for Herder, legitimate oppressive governments, but it does mean that the difficulties and harsh realities people endure in their community should not lead us to underestimate the attachment that members of a community have to their specific way of life: ‘Everyone loves his country, his manners, his language, his wife, his children; not because they are best in the world, but because they are absolutely his own, and he loves himself and his labours in them. Thus men accustom themselves to the most indifferent food, the hardest way of life, the rudest manners of the rudest climate, and find in them pleasure and content.’97 While commentators typically point to the destructive portent of a love of one’s nation in lieu of a higher commitment to universal values, Herder insightfully points to the equally destructive potential of a commitment to abstract liberty as a universal good when it is divorced from a regard for the collective identities of the communities whose lives it is meant to improve. Because it advocates the right of all cultures to determine their own affairs irrespective of their form of government, Herder’s commitment to individual freedom is, in fact, far more thoroughgoing than that contained in the works of many republicans and liberals. As Yael Tamir argues, the alternative is to assert that individuals are only at liberty to choose their own life plans when they follow liberal notions of what is most valuable.98 For Herder, this is an untenable position. He recognizes that if freedom is to have any meaning at all, individuals and communities must also be at liberty to choose less valuable paths and to learn from their mistakes. Otherwise, he warns, ‘freedom, sociability, and equality as they are now sprouting up everywhere – they have caused harm and will cause harm in a thousand misuses.’99 Herder recognizes that a form of government may be effective in one time and place but if introduced in another situation under the wrong circumstances may become malformed.100 His claim that ‘the most

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natural state is therefore also one Volk, with one national character’ is therefore not a call for every Volk to possess a modern state. It instead encapsulates his view that the most appropriate forms of political associations are those that emerge from a community’s culture free from external interference. In short, he favours a communitarian, bottom-up approach to the development of political associations. Although the atrocities committed during the Second World War led most liberal thinkers to abandon any connection with nationalist thought until quite recently, in the nineteenth century many agreed that ‘individual liberty and national independence or unity would go together.’101 John Stuart Mill argues that ‘it is in general a necessary condition of free institutions that the boundaries of governments should coincide in the main with those of nationalities.’102 Mill’s reasoning is based on the democratic principle ‘that the question of government ought to be decided by the governed’103 and by the pragmatic necessity of a ‘united public opinion’ for the effective working of representative government. He acknowledges that a strong national sentiment can exist without a common language, as in the Swiss case; but he also believes that when mutual antipathies exist between groups, representative democracy is impossible, especially without a common language. Nationality is acceptable because it is necessary in order to realize the logically antecedent principles of liberal democracy. This form of civic nationalism also informs recent arguments of liberal nationalists such as David Miller and Maurizio Viroli with his republican patriotism.104 The potential for xenophobia, violence, and bloodshed – typically depicted as natural corollaries of cultural nationalism – is seen to be curtailed if not eliminated by liberal and civic values. My point is not to dispute the real concerns, expressed by many thinkers, that stem from the granting of self-determination to nations irrespective of their internal practices. But the widespread suggestion that civic or liberal nationalism, or republican patriotism, is not only more benign but also more respectful of individual freedom than that which emanates from the kind of priority Herder places on cultural communities, is open to serious question. Mill, for example, believes that it would be ‘a sheer mischief to the human race, and one which civilised humanity with one accord should rise up in arms to prevent,’ if a nationality ‘superior in civilisation’ were subjugated by an ‘inferior’ one. But in the reverse scenario, he thinks ‘there is often a gain to civilisation.’ Significantly, this gain is not the establishment of free institutions. To avoid the ‘evil’ to humanity entailed by the absorption of

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the ‘advanced’ conquerors into the ‘less advanced’ majority that would occur under a democratic system, Mill argues that in cases such as the English in India, the conquerors must govern the majority as subjects.105 Clearly, what some commentators regard as Mill’s ‘philosophically respectable [liberal] nationalism’ does not regard each nation as ‘having their place and, ideally, gaining recognition from other nations in order to maintain their integrity,’ as is often claimed.106 Contrary to Herder’s respect for the diversity of all peoples, Mill’s philosophy (except when it comes to Switzerland and Belgium) is one of assimilation. He is therefore, far more than Herder, a theorist of modern nationalism. Mill, for example, thinks it is indisputable that the absorption of the Bretons and the Basques of the French Navarre into the highly cultivated French people, and the assimilation of the Welsh and Scots into the British nation-state, advanced human civilization.107 He acknowledges, however, the calumnious practices perpetuated by the Saxons on the Irish, and he notes that the Irish were ‘sufficiently numerous to be capable of constituting a respectable nationality by themselves.’ It follows that tribal communities, whose populations are smaller than that of the Irish, would not possess a legitimate claim to self-determination. Nevertheless, Mill thinks it is in the best interests of the Irish to join as fellowcitizens in ‘the wealthiest, and one of the freest, as well as the most civilised and powerful, nations of the earth.’108 There is no recognition here either of the close connection between personal identity and cultural membership or of the destructive legacy left by past practices that would militate against the Irish perceiving their best interests in this way. By way of contrast, Herder points to the harm generated by the past behaviour of the Teutonic knights toward Germany’s Baltic neighbours as well as by recent colonialism: And what good did the crusades do for the Orient? What happiness have they brought to the coasts of the Baltic Sea? The old Prussians are destroyed; Livonians, Estonians and Latvians in the poorest conditions still now curse in their heart their subjugators, the Germans. What, finally, is to be said of the culture that has been brought by the Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, and Dutchmen to the East and West Indies, to Africa among the negroes, into the peaceful islands of the southern world? Do not all these lands, more or less, cry for revenge?109

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Unlike Mill, Herder understands that neither freedom nor justice is advanced through the cultural and political oppression of other peoples – only resentment is. According to Michael Freeden, ‘Mill’s discussion of nationality illustrates that it cannot be removed from a constraining context of “equal justice,” “equal consideration,” “freedom” and “concord” that takes precedence over nationality’ within liberal ideologies.110 Yet one must wonder why Mill does not extend these values to the individual members of the above communities so that they, too, can live within the communities of their choice. Surely as a progressive reformer and philosopher who advances individual freedom and the principle of harm to limit its abuse, Mill could only consistently support such assimilation policies due to a dire lack of understanding of the harm caused by the loss of identity and liberty to those who are denied their cultural attachments. Despite his deep respect for Herder’s historical work, Mill fails to grasp the central point in his political theory. Contrary to common misperceptions, the essential difference between Herder’s philosophy and the civic nationalism of many liberals and republicans does not lie in Herder ignoring the importance of individual freedom. Instead, it lies in his recognition of the radical harm caused to the individuals in communities that are subjected to cultural domination by others. The loss of the capacity of these peoples to pursue freely their own path to Humanität is not a cost that Herder is prepared ethically to endorse, because to do so would violate the very principles of equal justice, equal consideration, and freedom that liberals and republicans value so dearly. If ‘nationalism’ has any meaning in relation to Herder’s thought, it denotes recognition of the value of belonging to and identifying with a cultural community.111 In regions where tribalism remains, individual tribes possess precisely the same legitimate right to cultural and political autonomy and their own unique forms of governance as any modern nation might have.112 Thus, if Herder is seen to be developing a nationalist ideology, it means that those seeking to protect traditional cultures in the rainforests of Brazil as well as those members of communities seeking status as a nation-state are nationalists. There is a tendency in contemporary political theory to use nationalism in this broad way. Kymlicka, for example, employs the term ‘minority nationalisms,’ by which he refers to both ‘stateless nations’ and indigenous tribal communities. As I will discuss in chapter 7, both groups use a

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similar argument in favour of recognition for their collective rights – one that we cannot entirely ignore. The term ‘First Nations’ to refer to indigenous peoples is also now part of our political lexicon, and some argue that seeing indigenous peoples as nations provides them with greater legitimacy. But for scholars of the modern phenomenon of nationalism, such a broad application of the term renders it almost meaningless. Rather than modern nationalism, Herder attempts to explain the far more general occurrence of human identification with and attachment to one’s cultural community, an attachment that Gellner refers to as patriotism. The word ‘patriot’ is derived from the Roman terms patria and patrius, which ‘indicate fatherland, city, native, or familiar place.’113 Thus Herder may be said to be a theorist of patriotism rather than nationalism. However, caution needs to be applied when using the term ‘patriotism’ in reference to Herder’s thought. It had a very different meaning in the eighteenth century, when a patriot was understood in the republican tradition as one who defended constitutional liberty and republican values and who struggled against corruption and centralized power. There are strong and moderate versions of this republican patriotism in contemporary political theory as well, with loyalty to the state a common feature of both.114 Yet the republican concept has in many places been superseded in political rhetoric, with ‘patriotism’ coming to denote an uncritical support for the state and veneration of the nation.115 Herder is neither a patriot nor a nationalist in this sense, and not just because of his views about the state. He often employs the term ‘patriotism’ in its republican sense, but in his Humanitätsbriefe, he directly challenges its positive evaluation. Using the term in a sense that is analogous to modern political rhetoric, he disparagingly declares that ‘the loudest patriots are often the most petty egoists.’116 Indeed, this statement foreshadows one of the earlier recorded usages of ‘nationalism’ cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, from Frazer’s Magazine (1844), in which it is said to be ‘another word for egotism.’117 Herder strongly supported the French Revolution against absolutism, yet he became increasingly concerned about both its internal violence and French imperialism. The French, rather than defending themselves against attack, had begun to take on the role of aggressors. In this context, he writes to his friend Johannes von Müller criticizing the French under Napoleon for their invasion and forceful imposition of a centralized system on the Swiss. Though he incorrectly predicts Switzerland’s annexation to

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France, he hopes that the German-speaking part will, at least, be able to retain its independence because it is so distinct.118 Herder seeks to reform this egoistic patriotism so that it will no longer promote aggression and a sense of superiority in a Volk over others but rather invoke empathy with other Völker and an eagerness to learn from them. A ‘horror of false statecraft,’ a ‘purified patriotism,’ and a ‘feeling of justice toward other nations’ are three of the seven dispositions he considers we need to cultivate to attain peace. He regards national pride as the most foolish of all prides because it fosters erroneous attitudes toward foreign peoples.119 His ideal of a developed national consciousness in Germany and the unification of its provinces into a stable and enduring Volk is also devoid of any aggressive tendencies. Appearing somewhat naive from the vantage of our historical perspective, he confidently claims that Germans have no desire to become ‘conquerors of the world.’120 He believes we should honour and defend our language and culture and promote a sense of public spirit in our community.121 Yet as early as his Auch eine Philosophie, he distinguishes between the kind of national respect he encourages and an uncritical love of one’s country, which he associates with a chauvinistic patriotism, national pride, and ‘eingeschränkten Nationalism!’ (narrow nationalism).122 It must be remembered that the relationship between language and political power was clearly defined in Europe in the eighteenth century. The use of Latin in the affairs of public life effectively excluded the majority of people in European countries from participation in the affairs of their community. Herder realizes that the general population can only gain access to power through the use of their vernacular languages in the public domain.123 This idea had an important influence on the populist character of emerging nationalist movements in Europe during the nineteenth century. The growth in literacy, commerce, trade, and industry created a powerful new movement for the use of vernacular languages in government. Although Latin remained the language of state in the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the early 1840s, the vernacular languages of the rising middle classes increasingly prevailed in business, the press, the sciences, and literature.124 The fact that more than one vernacular language was often spoken within a state meant that the transition from Latin to the language of the people was not, however, a simple one. Anderson indicates that the very legitimacy of the existing dynastic empires was challenged125 because ‘Romanovs ruled over Tatars and Letts, Germans and

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Armenians, Russians and Finns. Habsburgs were perched high over Magyars and Croats, Slovaks and Italians, Ukrainians and AustroGermans. Hanoverians presided over Bengalis, Québécois, as well as Scots and Irish, English and Welsh.’126 The demand for political power on cultural and linguistic grounds was also a demand for the collapse of the dynastic empires that ruled over diverse Völker. But far from adopting Herder’s universal principle of cultural respect, the dynastic monarchies responded by adopting what Seton-Watson refers to as ‘official nationalism.’ Monarchs not only chose a particular vernacular language for official state use from among those spoken in their empire but also began to create for themselves a particular national identity. Hence Hanoverians became English, Hohenzollerns became German, and so forth. The chosen language and culture was then imposed upon the various communities in the empire with little regard for their own languages and cultures. Through this homogenizing process, nations and dynastic empires were merged, often quite ruthlessly, as in the case of Russification.127 This process created the ‘modern institution’ of the ‘nation-state’ and the phenomenon of ‘modern nationalism,’ which scholars characterize as the state seeking ‘to unite the people subject to its rule by means of cultural homogenization.’128 Rather than being responsible for developing a political theory to justify this process of assimilation, it is precisely this kind of ‘official nationalism’ that we have seen Herder oppose in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.129 According to Oscar Jászi, the Habsburgs were not consciously German nationalists. Many of them did not even speak the language. Joseph II was not against the Magyar language as such but rather against the state use of Latin. Concerned with retaining the unity of his empire, he chose German because it was ‘the only one which had a vast culture and literature under its sway and which had a considerable minority in all its provinces.’130 By insisting that it is instead the duty of every sovereign to honour the diversity of languages within his or her state and by questioning the validity of a centralized system of law and education, Herder’s political theory in fact delegitimizes the phenomenon of modern nationalism.131 As Proß further argues, the development of German nationalism in the nineteenth century owes far more to Kant’s and Fichte’s theories of the state than to Herder’s.132 In the context of the political reality of dynastic states, Herder sought to decentralize their reach over the autonomy of cultural communities as much as possible.

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This means that Herder’s position is not simply broader than nationalism because it applies to communities other than modern nations. It is also more limited in its political implications. Most of the ideologies that scholars place under the rubric of modern nationalism do not fulfil Herder’s demand to respect the value of cultural belonging. Movements such as ‘official nationalism,’ imperialist nationalisms, and fascism contradict the basic tenet of Herder’s doctrine by leading to the destruction of other cultures. For Herder, the kind of aggressive nationalism where one ‘fatherland’ battles violently against another is ‘the most evil barbarism in the human vocabulary.’133 Contrary to any nationalist or patriotic idealization of war and heroic glory, Herder promotes the ‘blowing away of the false sparkle’ surrounding the ‘land-conquering heroic spirit,’ which he sees as ‘an angel of death for humanity.’ A ‘horror of war’ and a ‘reduced respect for heroic glory’ are the first two dispositions in his peace plan that he recommends we cultivate. War is only justified when it is ‘enforced self-defence.’ Otherwise ‘it is a mad attack on a peaceful, neighbouring nation, is an inhuman, worse-than-animal thing to start.’134 In Herder’s thought, only those who recognize the importance of cultural membership to individual autonomy and on this basis endorse measures to protect cultural communities and respect their right to determine their own affairs possess legitimacy. In the modern world where states have become the international norm for recognition of communal sovereignty, it is certainly the case that some Völker seeking cultural and political independence could find in Herder’s works a theoretical grounding for their nationalist ambitions. Jan Penrose and Joe May attribute the main tenets of the ideology supporting modern ethnic movements, whose political ambitions have emerged from an earlier move to reclaim their cultural distinctiveness, to Herder’s central ideas.135 Since most modern ‘nation-states’ consist of a number of ‘nations,’ the potential implications of his theory are no less radical today than in the eighteenth century. His opposition to European imperialism can also be seen as providing encouragement to post-colonial nationalist movements. Herder warns that ‘the more we Europeans invent means and tools to subjugate, to deceive, and to plunder you other parts of the world . . . Perhaps it will one day be precisely your turn to triumph!’136 There can be little dispute over Herder’s insights concerning the consequences of racial, cultural, and political oppression. Thus it might be said that, no matter how benign, Herder is a nationalist.137 That his theory of cultural respect is interpreted in modern

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nationalist terms is largely, however, a product of the current international system, one that accords autonomy almost exclusively to states while often failing to accord due respect and public recognition to cultural communities within existing state borders. The impetus for a Volk whose cultural survival is threatened to seek a separate state was no more dramatically displayed than in the urgent desire of the newly independent governments of Croatia and Slovenia to have their countries recognized internationally as ‘nation-states.’ It is also evident in the international community’s general reluctance to intervene in violent conflicts between communities within the territorial boundaries of modern states because of the tendency to perceive such conflicts as civil wars. The recent Chechen case is only one of a host of examples where lack of international status as a nation-state has meant that the international community has ignored a state’s violations of a community’s autonomy. But Herder’s attention to historical and cultural specificity means that his thought provides no basis to support a nationalist ideology that insists that in all cases a Volk must strive for a modern state. A reinterpretation of nationalism as a theory that accords with Herder’s principles by exclusively upholding the value of cultural belonging and respect for other cultures would hold certain advantages. It would mean, for example, that those ideologies currently labelled as fascist, official, or imperialist nationalisms would lose their credibility as nationalist causes. On this basis, the Serbian leadership’s desire for a Greater Serbia – which led to ‘ethnic cleansing’ in BosniaHerzegovina – would be interpreted as aggressive imperialism rather than as a necessary feature of its nationalist commitments. A respect for cultural diversity, as Herder understands it, also means that nationalist movements would retain their legitimacy only if the separatism common to many of them were mitigated by a commitment to respect the linguistic and cultural distinctiveness of those minorities that fall within their territorial boundaries. Respect for languages and cultures, in Herder’s theory, is a universal principle. By contrast, as Neil MacCormick argues, the negative features of nationalism have arisen historically precisely because of a failure to universalize this principle.138 But while it is true that the failure of many ‘nationalists’ to universalize the principle of cultural respect does not in itself discredit nationalism, both its history and the political rhetoric associated with nationalist theory and practice do militate against the viability of reinterpreting nationalism as a doctrine promoting cultural respect and

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diversity within state boundaries. Nor is it an adequate solution to categorize as nationalist both those who seek to uphold the principle of respect for cultures and those who violate it, for the salient difference between them is thereby blurred. As Freeden maintains, while such sweeping generalizations might be a useful ploy in political rhetoric, serious students of politics should heed the complex diversity that characterizes their conceptual configurations.139 Distinctions remain important, not least because all forms of egoistic and aggressive nationalism are the antithesis of Herder’s universal respect for cultural diversity. There is also the additional problem that if nationalism is viewed in such broad terms it becomes difficult to see how anyone who values culture and communal identification could escape the nationalist paradigm. Perhaps the lesson is that in a world of ‘nation-states’ we cannot escape entirely from nationalism. Thus we have seen in recent times some scholars point to the nationalist content of modern communitarianism, while others argue persuasively that liberalism has always taken the nation, albeit unacknowledged, as a given.140 With the recognition during the 1990s that the nation and nationalism were not, as many scholars previously predicted, soon to be historic artefacts, almost everyone now seems, no matter how reluctantly, to acknowledge their nationalist colours. Yet as Vincent maintains, there is something rather trivial in the liberal nationalist claim that ‘all liberals are intrinsically nationalist anyway, whatever their stripe.’141 Though recognition of the tacit role of ‘nationalist’ arguments in liberal thought has been particularly important in opening up serious debate about the importance of community and embeddedness within a liberal paradigm, there is the danger of rendering nationalism useless as a conceptual tool. Conclusion Viewing Herder’s thought through the prism of modern nationalism merely because he supports the principle of cultural self-determination is equally problematic. By its very nature this principle can be, and has been, affiliated with a diverse range of political creeds ranging from Marxism to conservatism. Freeden argues convincingly that nationalism makes a poor example of a distinct and full ideology. We need to recognize the complexity and nuances of claims for cultural self-determination.142 Herder’s recognition of the value of cultural

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membership and the right of communities to self-determination is not the same as the nationalist demand that every community constitute itself politically through a state. The intention here is not to deny that some Völker could still find in Herder’s work a theoretical justification to pursue their own state, if they do so within the limitations imposed by an equal respect for other cultures. But when we apply his concept of Volk to a wider range of cultural communities than is encompassed in the modern concept of ‘nation,’ we find that his demand for cultural and political autonomy is as relevant to tribal communities that do not seek a separate state as it is to modern ‘nations.’ This means that Herder’s theory is far too broad to be seen in modern nationalist terms. It is also more limited, with many of the ideologies and movements that scholars currently place under the rubric of nationalism violating Herder’s universal principle of cultural respect. Whereas many follow an instrumental ‘top-down’ approach to nation building, Herder favours a communitarian bottom-up approach to the development of political associations. He is fully aware of the increasing homogenizing tendencies of the emerging modern state and thus demands that state authorities respect the diversity of languages and cultures within their territorial boundaries. He also applies this principle to relations between Völker and encourages communities to employ empathy in their relations with one another. Thus, as long as those who violate his principle of cultural respect are categorized as nationalists, a strong argument exists for seeing Herder’s position as the antithesis of nationalism. Far from being able to be credited with the development of modern nationalism, Herder’s political theory directly opposes its centralizing and homogenizing character. We also need to remember that Herder’s particularism cannot be divorced from his universalism. Thus his principle of cultural respect cannot be constrained from its universal application by considerations of an ideal form of government. Yet this does not mean he sees cultural self-determination as a good in itself, as do many nationalists. Herder recognizes that the universal application of cultural self-determination is not a sufficient guarantee of individual liberty. Enabling people to live their chosen paths and treating all peoples with justice and equity are, however, necessary prerequisites for the attainment of Humanität. The avoidance of radical harm is central to his considerations. For, once we recognize the harm inflicted upon those peoples whose cultural attachments are denied them, a concern for individual liberty cannot be separated from the fate of cultural communities. Had Herder’s political

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thought been followed in Europe, its history during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries would have been radically different from the ‘nationalist’ violence and bloodshed that ensued. For Herder’s objective is neither the populist nationalist goal to see all Völker attain an independent modern state, nor the official nationalist goal of assimilation and state centralization, but the realization of Humanität.

6 Republicanism

It is hardly surprising, given Herder’s views on the state, that he shows relatively little interest in government and administration. But the fact that Herder’s direct engagement with politics in this narrow sense forms only a small part of his extensive intellectual output has meant that it has often been thought that he ‘was not a political thinker in the true sense of the word.’1 It should be clear that I reject the narrow conception of politics on which this assessment is based, but due to its pervasiveness and misleading nature it needs to be addressed directly.2 Viroli in his highly acclaimed For Love of Country draws a sharp distinction between what he sees as the inherent dangers in Herder’s ‘antipolitical’ ‘nationalism,’ and a philosophically respectable and benign republican patriotism. ‘Herder,’ he asserts, ‘urged his fellows to see the beauty of the spiritual unity of the nation and to love it; but he did not teach them to look at it from the right angle and he did not teach them to love it in the best way.’3 The purpose of this chapter is to show the erroneous nature of these claims. The fact that only Herder’s 1779 prize essay on the reciprocal influence between government and the arts and sciences is devoted exclusively to politics is largely due to the historical and political conditions in which he lived. Barnard explains that with the numerous German states consisting almost entirely of rule by dukes and princes, there was no institutional basis in Germany for the middle classes to engage in active politics.4 French thinkers during most of the eighteenth century also faced strict censorship rules. But Herder’s employment in the Bückeburg and Weimar courts as a preacher and education administrator further restricted his ability to express his views freely. With his employer, Duke Karl August, and Goethe fighting on the monarchist

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and Prussian side against the French Revolution, it was necessary for him to self-censor the most radical parts of his Humanitätsbriefe that he had written in its support.5 Most of Herder’s ideas are thus found either in unpublished drafts or in works without an overt political theme. His historical works nevertheless contain a high level of political analysis and social commentary through his examination of the political economy, social structure, and forms of government existing in various times and places. Many of his works also contain criticisms of the political practices within the various European empires during the eighteenth century and of those empires’ treatment of other peoples. Moreover, his prize essay on government and the arts and sciences provides an extensive argument in favour of free expression. Although Herder challenges the validity of blueprints for an ideal political system suitable to all times and places, his ontology, pluralism, and social commentary do indicate general principles for good governance most conducive to the realization of our Humanität. This is not to say that his ontology of holistic individualism provides us with a definitive range of options that would be meaningful to advocate in a straightforward, casual manner. Nor is this the case with his general moral principles. With his open and dynamic teleology, Herder recognizes that such principles must be interpreted in light of each community’s particular circumstances. The same is true of his republicanism. Nevertheless, he considers it the most conducive political system that human beings have so far developed for individual liberty and the welfare of individuals. The following discussion demonstrates that while Herder rejects the abstract individualism of rights-based theories, central to his vision of the good life is the provision of the conditions necessary for individual self-determination and self-realization. Herder far from ignores the importance of liberty to individual welfare in favour of communal rights, as Viroli claims; indeed, the two are inextricably linked in his thought. At the core of his conception of good governance is the balancing of unity and diversity. With his support for the French Revolution and his democratic leanings, he is one of the more progressive thinkers of his time. Individual Freedom and Public Participation In tandem with his belief that every Volk has the right to determine its affairs free from external interference, Herder insists that this is also

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the case for every individual. Recall from chapter 4 that he makes not only the empirical observation that nature forms human beings with the capacity to choose freely but also the normative claim that controlling one’s life is a vital part of exercising one’s powers and essential to an individual’s self-realization. There is nothing unique in this claim: individual freedom is fundamental to Locke’s political philosophy, and the principle of self-determination forms a central tenet of Kant’s moral philosophy. When Herder, however, applies this principle to the political sphere, he directly opposes Kant’s conception of authority. Although Kant believes that individuals have the capacity to behave morally, he argues in his Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürglicher Absicht (Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose, 1784) that human self-centredness means we need to be subject to the same powerful authority to ensure just treatment of others.6 ‘Man is,’ according to Kant, ‘an animal who needs a master.’7 In the Ideen, Herder argues in reply that ‘the proposition ought to be reversed: a person who needs a master is an animal; as soon as he becomes a person, a master is no longer necessary to him.’8 According to Barnard, Herder differs from many of his contemporaries because even the most progressive of them were more concerned to ensure that people were ruled with benevolence than to empower individuals to rule themselves.9 Herder thinks, as do all liberals, that acts of paternalism toward children are necessary and natural, but he emphatically rejects the idea that it is natural for adults to be either too ‘immature’ to manage their own affairs so that they therefore require a ‘guardian’; or too ‘wild’ so that they therefore ‘need a tamer.’10 Although Kant is, as Muthu indicates, ‘deeply ambivalent’ about state power and equally recognizes the need for restraints on the master through the rule of law, Herder considers that Kant’s proposition illegitimately establishes the inescapable necessity for a ‘despot.’ Kant might therefore be regarded the better political realist, but Herder’s preceding account of governments shows he is cognizant that despots have often ruled in human history. What he challenges is the idea that such relations are natural instead of the result of historical and social conditioning.11 His rejection of conceptions of human nature that attribute specific personality traits to an innate status in favour of a dynamic one that is historically conditioned enables Herder, despite existing political conditions, to envisage alternative ways of being that would enable individuals to be self-determining. Unlike Montesquieu, Herder does not distinguish between despotic and monarchical rule.12 In his early Auch eine Philosophie he is critical of

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the broad, all-encompassing nature of Montesquieu’s category of ‘Oriental despotism,’ which he regards as an abstraction based on the ‘most exaggerated, violent phenomena of realms mostly in a state of decay.’13 He draws a distinction between despotic regimes and parental authority, which he sees as benevolent and advantageous in early human history, although he concedes it often later transformed itself into despotic rule. He thinks both forms of government have characterized the Chinese system at different times, and he credits that system’s parental rule with having produced excellent morals for government.14 Excellent morals do not, however, mean that despotism is necessarily avoided. He writes in his prize essay that Christianity might be ‘intrinsically incompatible with despotism,’ but he acknowledges the close relations, in practice, between European monarchies, state power, and ‘Christian despotism.’ Feudalism is, for Herder, a despotism from which European monarchies are only gradually emerging by first taking on the form of ‘a subtler form of despotism which progressively turned into a more constitutional type of monarchy.’ Except where the rule of law, ‘rather than princes,’ reigns, Herder equates monarchies in Europe and elsewhere with despotism.15 He can find no legitimate reason why anyone should rule over a community by right of birth. Based on the empirical fact that hereditary government has been non-existent for the greater part of human history, he argues that it is evidently not a universal law imposed on humanity by nature.16 He also rejects the notion of the divine right of rule.17 He is not against all systems of leadership. Nor does he believe in absolute equality.18 He recognizes that even in the simplest of tribal societies, leaders are necessary for particular tasks. But this circumstance does not legitimate feudalism or a hereditary legislator and judge. He argues that people should be appointed to such positions on the basis of merit. The hereditary system and its deliberate restriction of social mobility greatly exaggerate natural inequalities. If people are not morally and intellectually developed, the problem lies with their lack of opportunity and thus their oppression. ‘The noblest people,’ Herder writes, ‘quickly loses its dignity under the yoke of despotism; the very marrow of its bones are crushed.’19 Given that the skills and wisdom of a parent do not guarantee the ability of a sibling, Herder dismisses hereditary rule as the very embodiment of human senselessness and ‘one of the darkest formulations of human language.’20 Both the right of hereditary rule and absolute government, Herder explains, are grounded not upon reason or nature but upon traditions

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imposed originally through conquest. But no traditions are given by nature so that Herder considers them authoritative and beyond critique. Communal traditions, he writes in the Ideen, also lose their validity when they hinder ‘the thinking faculty both in politics and education, and prevent all progress of human reason and improvement according to new circumstances and times.’21 Although he greeted Catherine II’s coronation enthusiastically, he soon came to the view that progressive reforms could not be combined with personal absolutism.22 As early as his 1769 Journal he considered that the Empress was wrong to maintain an ‘aristocratic despotism.’23 When later in his Auch eine Philosophie he contemplates the choice between an absolute monarch who governs efficiently and a less ordered government where people participate freely, he resolutely chooses the latter: Now, is it better, is it healthier and more beneficial for humanity, to produce mere lifeless cogs of a great, wooden, thoughtless machine, or to awaken and rouse forces? Even if it should be through so-called imperfect constitutions, disorder, barbaric stickling about honor, savage addiction to quarrelling, and such things – if it achieves the purpose, then it is still definitely better than while alive being dead and moldering.24

This sentiment inspires Herder’s admiration for the Greek republics. He does not think people were necessarily better governed in the Greek republics, for they were often more disordered, but he claims in the Ideen that they allowed people to think for themselves about their political constitution, enabling citizens to become fully responsible adults and self-determined. This attribute of republicanism, while not making it a perfect form of government, means that Herder considers it as providing the greatest opportunity for the realization of Humanität.25 As Koepke further argues, beginning his Humanitätsbriefe by praising the American republican, Benjamin Franklin, is a clear ‘political signal’ of his views.26 The defining feature of a republic is the rule of law. But Herder recognizes in his critique of Montesquieu’s attempt to categorize all forms of government into three or four types that such generalizations obscure the fact that ‘no two republics or monarchies have yet been identical.’27 Republics, he shows in his prize essay, took various forms in ancient Greece, from the democracy of Athens to legislative aristocracies or a mixture of the two, and they have assumed different forms again in the republics of ‘Venice, Florence, Switzerland, England (in so far as it

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can be considered a republic), and Holland.’28 Common to them all are freedoms afforded by the rule of law, but there is no necessary correlation between democratic rule by the people and a desire for republican rule among eighteenth-century thinkers. While Kant, for example, supported the French Revolution and argues in his Zum ewigen Frieden: Ein philosophischer Entwurf (Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, 1795) for a world system of republican states based on free citizens and governed by the rule of law, he rejects democracy – ‘the power of the people’ – as a form of ‘despotism’ because he sees it as conflating the executive and legislative arms of government.29 Scholars indicate that Herder was well known by his contemporaries to have democratic leanings – something that is also evident in his focus on the people or Volk, a category that at times excludes the aristocracy but never the general populace.30 All republics are preferable to monarchical despotism, but his preferred version does not take either an aristocratic or an elite form.31 Although he indicates in his prize essay that no Greek republic ‘remained wholly a stranger to the muses,’32 he finds the democratic republic of Athens the most conducive political system for education and the development of the arts and sciences. The arts of oratory, theatre, philosophy, and historical writing all flourished in Athens and in this respect it served as ‘a counter-image’ to Sparta, ‘the strongest example of the extent to which a state chooses its sciences, forms them and has to keep a tight rein on them.’33 While not excluding concurrent factors such as ‘the national character, language, climate, situation, and historical accident,’ he attributes the creativity that flourished in ancient Athens to the increased freedom that its citizens enjoyed. Conversely, despite other factors remaining the same, he indicates that when measures were later introduced to limit the people’s freedom, the energy previously evident in the sciences and arts soon disappeared.34 Modern Völker should not, however, try to imitate the Athenian citystate and the precise structure of its democratic republic. He admires both Athenian democracy and Roman constitutionalism, but he adds: ‘The popular government of Athens, the constitution of Rome, under which the sciences enjoyed their greatest flowering, had aspects which we would not wish to bring back even for the sake of their orators and poets, and the turbulent times which in Italy produced Dante and Petrarch are equally unenviable.’35 He has no desire to see applied elsewhere those aspects of the Greek system that resulted in the ‘barbaric’ treatment of foreigners

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and colonies or the institution of slavery.36 Nor does he want to reproduce restrictions on citizenship of the sort that existed in ancient Athens (where only males of Athenian parentage were citizens). He views as unjustifiably degrading the traditional subordination of women in many Völker to the slavish role of a ‘domestic animal,’ and with some justification, Forster refers to Herder as a ‘proto-feminist who recognizes women’s potentials and seeks to make possible their realization.’37 Such traditional practices reflect not only irrational superstitions concerning female capacities but also, in Herder’s view, a ‘stupid brutality.’38 He also agrees with Rousseau’s point that Athenian direct democracy could not be practised in the large modern states emerging in eighteenth-century Europe. He considers it impossible for all citizens to participate equally in legislation and political decision making, but he also argues that the general principles of the Athenian system, with its focus on public participation, could be adapted to modern times.39 Following Montesquieu, and like modern liberal-communitarians, he places his faith in local communities as the basis for public participation. He identifies the lack of a public spirit in his own society as partly due to the influence of those who believe that true citizenship lies beyond local communities, with civil servants placing their faith in dynastic empires and philosophers supporting the notion of universal citizenship. Thus local communities have been neglected as sites of public participation.40 Like Kant, he rejects the ideal of a world government, which would only produce further conflict due to its sheer unmanageable size and would be bound to disintegrate into separate states. Such a top-down homogeneous approach to state building would also be a significant threat to cultural diversity and greatly increase the opportunity for despotism.41 Although he concedes that a community-based citizenship is more restricted, he takes from Montsequieu the view that it is precisely this narrowness that would inspire energy and commitment among people.42 Herder’s aversion to centralized administrations and the idea of a world government should not be misunderstood as a one-sided hostility to all unified political structures. As Barnard and Beiser both argue, Herder has anarchist sympathies.43 But the utopianism in Herder’s thought is mediated by his historical and political realism. The Mosaic Constitution is both a source of inspiration for Herder’s preferred political structure and a reminder of the difficulties involved in trying to reconcile diverse centres of control. According to Herder, Moses formed

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a unified territorial region in Israel based on the common culture and religious heritage of the twelve tribes. This new collective followed a legal framework that the people had freely created for themselves; government was an invisible, rational, and charitable power that guided rather than coerced people. There was no single leader and no single focus of power. Power was decentralized to each tribe, with the elders acting as the main legislative body. Unification among the tribes existed at the level of cooperation, without any single permanent administrative body.44 Herder’s ideal, as Barnard argues, is for all Völker to enjoy the same invisible form of government.45 Beiser further indicates that Herder counters Kant’s belief in the desire for the perfect state by arguing in an originally censored passage in the Ideen that ‘ “the most noble end of government is to become dispensable, so that everyone can govern themselves.” ’46 His attraction to the peace treaty between the Delaware Volk and the Iroquois Federation in North America over Kant’s proposal for peace based on the establishment of modern republican states is further confirmation that the state is neither Herder’s ideal form of government nor, in his view, the only form of governance conducive to peace.47 Nevertheless, both Barnard and Beiser fail to acknowledge that Herder also concedes that the Mosaic Constitution was ‘three or four thousand years too early; yes perhaps after six thousand years another Moses will also appear too early.’48 He recognizes that when power is too decentralized, the decline of certain republics into a state of chaos is unavoidable.49 Herder values diversity very highly, but he does not want to promote an atomized and disconnected society. This was precisely the problem afflicting Germany in the eighteenth century. He disapproves of excessive centralization and thinks that local, communal self-government combined with the rule of law could replace the centralized, bureaucratic state. But he equally acknowledges that a one-sided emphasis on excessive decentralization can lead to the disintegration of a Volk. The interpretation of Herder’s political doctrine in terms of anarchopluralist principles can therefore overemphasize his criticisms of central administrative institutions. In Herder’s political thought, the state is by no means a universal necessity or even a desirable unit of association.50 His form of republicanism does not require a state in its modern form, but he recognizes the need for some form of unifying association among the constituent parts of a whole. Far from being absolute opposites, Herder envisages unity and diversity as two sides of the same

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interactive process: ‘In this law: to effect many things in one, and to combine the greatest variety with an unconstrained uniformity: consists the height of beauty.’51 He applies this general principle to his proposal for an academy devoted to German history, philosophy, and language that the liberal margrave, Karl Friedrich of Baden, commissioned in 1785. It was to be the first among a number of institutions designed to promote German unification, although it was never built due to its cost.52 Herder’s plans in his Idee zum ersten patriotischen Institut für den Allgemeingeist Deutschlands (Idea for the First Patriotic Institute for the General Spirit of Germany, 1787) include a main institute in the centre of the country with branches in every province. All officials would receive a salary so that merit rather than personal finances would determine all public positions. Provincial directors would coordinate work among colleagues, while secretaries would communicate with other provinces and the central institute. Provincial directors would also meet together, and every branch would be expected to make an annual report to the central body. Finally, the central body would employ a president and secretary whose principal duty would be to maintain unity among the various branches. While encouraging decentralization of power to the provinces, Herder understands the need for a centralized body.53 The principle function of government, he declares, is to maintain the correct balance between diversity and unity: ‘Unity and diversity are the perfections which mark all enduring works of nature and its imitator, art; thus it is indisputable that also the highest, most difficult and most necessary art of people, the directing of a nation for the general welfare, must strive and strive unnoticed according to these qualities.’54 Herder’s confidence regarding the creation of a unified political system based on the cooperation of diverse groups stems from his belief that a tendency exists in human society, as it does in nature, for unity to develop from diversity.55 But conflict does not cease with the establishment of a republican system. Just as the life force of nature would cease to exist without diversity and conflict, so too would political life.56 For Herder, a uniform society without dissent is not a healthy polity as too much unity can lead to decay through stagnation. Unlike Rousseau, who favours a closely knit and consensual citizenry, Herder believes it is natural for people within a Volk to have a diverse range of opinions and interests. As he writes in his prize essay: ‘No God on earth has ever been able to put everyone in perfect unison; the God of the arts and sciences does not want, nor should it want, to achieve this.’57 From his

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perspective, violation of this diversity is synonymous with a denial of nature and, hence, God. The subtlety of Herder’s view lies in his support for a democratic republic that is not dominated exclusively by the majority within a state. Like Mill, Herder insists that no individual’s view of happiness should dominate another’s. The only exception he stipulates is when the ‘speculative happiness of one’ threatens the ‘well-being’ of others in a manner that brings to mind Mill’s harm principle.58 The republican structure Herder envisages would give sufficient vent to and encourage as many opinions as possible: ‘If the state is, as it is meant to be, the eye of general reason, the ear and heart of general fairness and goodness: thus it will listen to every voice, and it will arouse and encourage the activity of people according to their diverse tendencies, sensitivities, weaknesses, and needs.’59 As Barnard concludes, some combination of representative democracy with universal suffrage is most compatible with Herder’s general principles.60 Yet various arrangements, such as proportional representation, would be necessary to ensure that the majority view did not overpower those of minorities. Diverse, decentralized centres of control would also need to be combined with a central unifying body that would be subject to the rule of law. The precise form these general principles ought to take in particular circumstances is, however, dependent on a Volk’s historical and material conditions. Recent scholarship has suggested that Herder’s ‘long-term project’ was instead to build ‘a Christian commonwealth here on earth’ – specifically a Protestant one.61 If this were the case his commitment to pluralism would be seriously undermined.62 Herder, for example, concludes the Humanitätsbriefe with two letters praising the spirit of Christianity with its ‘sovereign law of freedom’ and stating that ‘Christianity commands the purest humanity on the purest path.’63 But to see Herder as a Protestant ‘missionary,’ as Bohm does,64 is to ignore his preceding and persistent reminders to Europeans regarding their treatment of non-Christians that ‘that nation which you call savage or barbaric is in essentials much more humane than you.’ He also acknowledges that ‘even Christianity, as soon as it had effect on foreign peoples in the form of a state machine, oppressed them terribly.’65 He is highly critical of Christian missionaries and empathetically represents the perspective of those enslaved by Europeans: One human being, goes the saying, is for the other a wolf, a god, an angel, a devil. What are the human peoples that affect each other for each other?

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The negro depicts the devil as white, and the Latvian does not want to enter into heaven as soon as there are Germans there. ‘Why are you pouring water on my head?’ said that dying slave to the missionary. ‘So that you enter into heaven.’ ‘I do not want to enter into any heaven where there are whites’ he spoke, turned away his face, and died. Sad history of humanity!66

Following this statement is a series of poems, the ‘Negro Idylls,’ that relate a number of poignant examples of noble slaves contrasted against the cruelty of their white masters and that ends with a Quaker freeing his slave from Christian duty.67 Herder undoubtedly believes that when it is not misinterpreted or misused, Christianity embodies his principles of Humanität. But it is a contested version that he is attempting to convince his readers to adopt, just as Locke in his Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) argued for a Christianity based on the virtues of ‘Charity, Meekness, and Good-will.’68 At the same time, Herder’s version of Christianity excludes the posibility of ‘missionary impulses.’69 In their place he prioritizes religious tolerance. Nowhere does he suggest that the ideal commonwealth is a Protestant theocracy. Indeed, it is precisely the combination of state power and Christianity that he sees as the cause of the latter’s corruption as a result of the loss of its spirit in ‘its native form.’70 And while he is critical of the hierarchical institution of the pope, as he is of all hierarchies,71 his immense admiration for the ‘noble’ Catholic priests and theologians Bartolomé de Las Casas, the Abbé Saint Pierre, and Fénelon, whom he believes exemplify Humanität in their support for religious tolerance, justice, and peace, demonstrates that he by no means excludes Catholics.72 Without question, Herder is situated within a particular theological and philosophical tradition. But the admiration we have seen he also holds for Hindu tolerance, the peace treaty between the Delaware and Iroquois, and the freedoms in Athenian democracy, shows that he does not view the values embodied in his concept of Humanität as exclusive to Protestant Christianity. The criticism that Herder elevates his own Christian value system to the status of an absolute and universal status holds the most resonance in terms of his inclusive conception of equality. He believes that Christianity concerns ‘the happiness of all’ and that it ‘serves all classes and ranks of humanity’ so that ‘ “no one for himself only, each for all!” is Christianity’s slogan.’73 Such equality, which is not a feature of all religions or traditions, leads him to criticize the Hindu treatment of Untouchables as well as the Athenian treatment of non-

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citizens. But it is also the basis for his critique of Christian, monarchical, and feudal rule and of the European slave trade. Nor is such a conception of equality exclusive to Christianity. Marxist and liberal atheists adhere to it while disagreeing over more substantive conceptions of equality. It is, therefore, possible to uphold the minimal principles embodied in Herder’s concept of Humanität without adopting the ‘thick’ morality of Christian Protestantism. The minimal universals contained in his weak pluralism do mean, however, that he regards certain traditions and forms of governance as detrimental to the realization of Humanität. Foremost among them are hierarchical and exclusionary political systems that prevent people from becoming self-determining. Political Reform Developments during the French Revolution nevertheless led Herder, in the published version of his Humanitätsbriefe, to express wariness of the benefits that might accrue from an immediate transition to popular rule: ‘We want to think about the people more with regret and magnanimity than with pride and confidence. For centuries they have remained uneducated; that they become educated can be our single wish, not that they rule, command or teach. The improvement must come from the head, not the feet and hands; I know of nothing more terrible than an insane people’s rule.’74 While he believes that self-government is an inherent human capacity, he is also cautious about granting political freedom to communities that are unaccustomed to it. He acknowledges that after years of feudal oppression that denied people both an education and political experience, it is possible that granting immediate political power might degenerate into a chaotic and tyrannical mob rule. This would amount to the corruption of the Volk and its transformation into a ‘rabble.’ Little evidence exists to support Barnard’s suggestion that Herder uses the term ‘rabble’ to refer to a people of lower mental outlook.75 Rather, following Luther, Herder defines a ‘rabble’ as a mob that takes law and order into its own hands for the purposes of revenge ‘because unfortunately it is only one thing, the rabble and tyranny, called with two names, like the right and left side.’ By contrast, a healthy society possesses ‘loyalty,’ ‘faith,’ ‘friendship,’ ‘honour,’ ‘government,’ ‘duties and laws.’76 Herder does not entirely rule out revolutionary activity. Although he prefers the more accountable, British constitutional system to an

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absolute monarchy and praises the greater individual freedom it bestows on its subjects, it is evident in the unpublished parts of his Humanitätsbriefe that he is extremely doubtful that a ‘moderate monarchy’ is viable in France. As he can see only despotism as the other realistic alternative, he calls for the earliest possible introduction of a republican system.77 He was appalled by the Jacobin violence of the French Revolution and by the brutality of the execution of Louis XVI in January 1793. We have also seen that as a result of France’s increasing imperialist tendencies, he became a critic of its egoistic patriotism. But he never lost his sympathy for its original republican values and intentions.78 Nevertheless, even in the 1792 unpublished version of the first book of the Humanitätsbriefe, Herder expresses concern that without a transitional period of education and reform toward a republic, France might ultimately fail to achieve its humanitarian goals.79 Clearly, events confirmed this initial doubt, and in the second collection of 1793 onwards, Herder strongly favours a transitional period designed to educate and guide the lower classes toward a higher level of moral and political consciousness.80 The focus of his reform program is the liberation of the most oppressed classes. While not excluding the more enlightened members of the aristocracy, Herder looks in the main to the middle class and intelligentsia for teachers and political leaders during the period of reform. The task of these enlightened ‘aristo-democrats,’ as he refers to them, is to engender self-governance among the general public by helping individuals develop an understanding of the self both as an individual and as a member of a community with ‘a firm sense of justice and duty.’81 The central aim of the school he designed during his early travels is, as Beiser maintains, ‘to develop the autonomy of children, to let them use their own powers of seeing, thinking and feeling.’82 But Herder’s concept of autonomy is not a libertarian one. Far from neglecting to teach people to love their nation in the best way, as Viroli asserts he does, Herder advocates moral and civic education in order to develop good citizens with a strong public spirit. ‘Practical moral enlightenment,’ he writes, ‘is good Volk education.’83 In a healthy polity, people realize that the highest and noblest human endeavours are achieved when free individuals actively cooperate with one another. The autonomous individual also needs to learn to overcome him or herself by accepting the duty Herder believes we each have ‘to come to the assistance of the flawed, the weak and the oppressed.’84

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The weakness in Herder’s approach is most evident in his belief that the aristo-democrats would educate the lower classes to a point where their leadership would be unnecessary. He warns that educators and leaders must be wary of assuming too much responsibility for people following their own paths. Improvement can only come ‘through enlightenment’ based ultimately on free will and not through coercion.85 He is also sufficiently cautious to guard against despotism by advocating a written political constitution where society is based on a codified system of laws. Yet this constitution can only be introduced when the period of educating the majority of people is complete, because Herder democratically believes that all members of the community should be involved in freely adopting it.86 He thinks that the interests of the middle class lay in gaining the popular support of the lower classes to reject the dynastic system while avoiding mob rule. Generally he hopes there will be enough enlightened people among a country’s educated classes to work effectively toward reform. But according to Barnard, he assumes naively that they will relinquish power as quickly as possible.87 Since he develops no mechanism to ensure that they do so, the success of Herder’s reform program ultimately remains dependent on the good nature of his aristo-democrats. But while Herder’s lack of experience in direct political action means he provides insufficient detail as to how the aristo-democrats might attain such power, even as a young man he realizes that democratic reform cannot succeed if it is limited to a process from above.88 His program for world peace in the Humanitätsbriefe, a program that focuses on transforming people’s attitudes and dispositions toward war and other Völker, demonstrates his grasp of political machinations. He admits it will be a slow process, and he doubts whether eternal peace can ever be realized on earth, but he considers the path he suggests to be a surer one than relying on formal peace treaties between state cabinets, in which he holds little confidence.89 For two main reasons, he rejects cosmopolitan plans for peace based on the development of the perfect state. First, the person who focuses on the end point ‘often commits himself too early and too exactly to the definition of the formalities of the outcome, and in the process forgets the essential factor of the means for helping to promote this outcome.’90 Second, when the imagined utopia does not eventuate, as he believes is bound to happen, ‘the deluded person then gives up all hope.’91 Herder nevertheless thinks that every step toward the advancement of Humanität is worthwhile. The empowering feature of Herder’s

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cosmopolitan program lies in not having to wait for others to initiate it or for the realization of just institutions. He argues that irrespective of the state of world politics, if people decide they want peace and justice, every single person can work toward their realization through the transformation of attitudes in themselves and their children.92 The aristo-democrats should therefore encourage and facilitate political reform. Yet Herder understands that this must be combined with increasing political participation by all members of the community as the education of the general public progresses. Progressive reform can only be effective in the long term when it comes from below through the empowerment of individuals. Freedom and Perfectionism Internal, institutional reform away from the arbitrariness of despotism toward the rule of law is, however, vital. Central to Herder’s reform program is the development of laws that guarantee freedom of thought and expression. He argues in his prize essay that a government that rejects something new because it fails to conform to its way of thinking risks damaging the very essence of human creativity. Fully acknowledging the importance of negative liberty, he writes regarding the imposition of external constraints on free expression that all inquisition is prejudicial to the realm of the arts and sciences . . . A book which must first be passed by ten censors before it reaches the light of day is no longer a book but the hackwork of the holy Inquisition, a mutilated thing, scoured with rods, a muzzled wretch and always a slave . . . In the sphere of truth, in the realm of ideas, no earthly power should or can give judgment; the government cannot do it, let alone its cowled censor.93

‘All monopolies of thought’ as well as ‘oppressive guilds and corporations’ are, in his view, ‘pernicious.’ Governments that refuse to admit a science or art because it is different are not, he argues, protective and caring but weak and oppressive. Only dishonest governments, ‘secret evil-doers,’ and ‘tyrants’ have anything to fear from public examination and questioning. A strong and firm state runs little risk of being shaken by the angry pen of a writer or by opposing opinions. It can only benefit in the end from every endeavour to gain greater knowledge and truth.

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‘Freedom of thought,’ he declares, ‘is the fresh air of heaven in which all the plants of a government, especially the sciences, thrive best.’94 Yet Herder equally insists that he is by no means ‘advocating an unbridled licentiousness or moral indifference.’95 When the public’s ‘wellbeing’ is at stake, he claims, ‘it is permissible and even necessary for the state to directly exclude certain sciences as well as certain amusements and occupations.’96 Later in the prize essay he discusses the state allowing the unfettered distribution of blasphemous writings. He does not imagine they would corrupt ‘the thinking, noble, industrious citizen,’ but he acknowledges that they might affect the weak and idle, inexperienced youth and innocent children, who might unwittingly read such material. It is the duty of government, according to Herder, to care for and protect the well-being of those whom it governs. ‘The state is,’ he writes, ‘the mother of all its children; it should care for the health, strength and innocence of all.’97 He further claims that ‘the well-being of many is worth more than the speculative happiness of one.’98 Later in the Humanitätsbriefe, he nonetheless continues to argue that the need to stimulate, and not stifle, writers’ creative impetus means that the public should not determine who should be writers but that ‘the writers should form the public.’99 He is highly critical of the Jesuits’ condemnation of Machiavelli’s The Prince as a corrupting text, even though he thinks it impossible to read it ‘without shivers.’100 Although these two objectives might appear at odds with each other, Herder seeks a balance between the licence to do whatever one wishes and the need for regulation to protect others. He recognizes in his Humanitätsbriefe that irrational passions, left unchecked, could lead to tyranny. He has no desire to eliminate the passionate side of our natures, but he acknowledges that our passions need to be brought under the rule of ‘reason, with actions of justice and goodness.’101 Absolute freedom without law is a fiction: ‘There are no one-sided duties and one-sided laws. Duties and law belong together, like the above and under, like the right and left side.’102 Yet there is nothing anti-liberal about this perspective on the relationship between law and freedom. Locke similarly writes that Law, in its true Notion, is not so much the Limitation as the direction of a free and intelligent Agent to his proper Interest, and prescribes no farther than is for the general Good of those under that Law. Could they be happier without it, the Law, as an useless thing would it self vanish; and that

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ill deserves the Name of Confinement which hedges us in only from Bogs and Precipices.103

The dilemma that nevertheless arises is the extent to which Herder’s notion of the general welfare could be employed to justify the suppression of certain activities and ideas. Herder directly addresses this dilemma in his prize essay. Having admitted that it is permissible to exclude some sciences, he emphasizes that ‘the ruler of the state should be almost neutral in his preferences.’104 He draws an important distinction between regulating existing sciences where ‘the dangers and benefits’ of them are well known ‘and refusing to admit sciences simply because they are new and appear strange.’ And due to the complexity and fine balancing required not to err, he argues that ‘certainly no drowsy censor nor proudly stupid, stupidly proud Inquisitor is a suitable judge.’ Instead, ‘it is better to be free than enslaved.’105 While he thinks it possible to speak the truth without ‘ridiculing’ and doing so ‘angrily’ or ‘blasphemously,’ he rejects the direct banning of dissident material. Prohibition, he notes, could also be counterproductive by creating greater support for a work. At the same time, the state should not provide protection through anonymity to writers who slander others, blaspheme, and act irresponsibly. To guard against abuses of freedom, he recommends that the state demand writers attach their names to their work.106 The idea that the state ought to protect its children and care for people’s welfare returns us to the core of the ‘liberal–communitarian’ debate of the 1980s. According to liberal proponents of the neutral state, the promotion of a paternalistic, perfectionist state that encourages people to adopt certain conceptions of the good and that distributes resources accordingly contradicts the principle of self-determination. It is claimed that without complete neutrality toward different viewpoints and ways of life, citizens are either coercively prevented from choosing their own conception of the good life or are, at the very least, penalized in the distribution of resources for doing so.107 Yet as Raz argues, anti-perfectionists misleadingly confuse the encouragement of desirable action and discouraging of undesirable behaviour with the coercive imposition of a particular conception of the good life.108 They also deal inadequately with issues such as the content of state education, about which governments simply cannot be neutral. Herder makes no pretence of neutrality with regard to his support

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for a state education that promotes the moral and political development of students. He also sees a role for the state in the establishment of academies and professional institutes.109 But he emphatically rejects the kind of coercive perfectionism associated with authoritarian and despotic governments. Government can influence the sciences, he stipulates, ‘in no other way than through licensing, opportunity, education, standards, training and rewards,’ and ‘the best way’ for this is with ‘freedom of thought.’110 While it is possible that Herder qualified his views on the freedom of thought in his prize essay due to censorship concerns, he appears to have a non-coercive perfectionism in mind. Politics and morality, he declares in the Humanitätsbriefe, ‘must become one, or they will both be harmful to one another.’111 But as Raz indicates, perfectionist political action need not lead to the persecution of people with different values and ideas. It may simply recognize institutions with unanimous support in a community or ensure that people have a range of options by allocating grants and loans for certain artistic and community activities that might otherwise not exist if they were to rely solely on the marketplace.112 Herder’s academy, for example, is designed to advance the values of ‘reason, justice and truth’ and to reduce ‘prevailing prejudices’ through ‘the education of the princes, the nobility, the countryman and the citizen’ in a ‘rational political economy and humane political wisdom.’113 The clear objective is to develop Humanität, with him further stipulating in his Humanitätsbriefe that ‘the better is the state, the more appropriately and felicitously it nurtures within it this Humanität; the more inhumane it is, the more it is inappropriate and wicked.’114 The academy would presumably require state funding, but Herder’s approach is not a top-down one where it would be controlled and directed by the state. Its representatives would come from the people, and it would be a relatively autonomous political institution.115 In this vein, Redekop further indicates that Herder opposes the direct involvement of state authorities in the theatre and instead has a ‘republican’ view where artists must be responsible for forming a theatrical and literary public.116 In an emphatic rejection of the state’s coercive imposition of its values upon others in his Humanitätsbriefe, Herder claims that having even the most enlightened censor is fraught with danger.117 Although it may be objected that the non-coercive encouragement of certain activities over others still assumes that certain people have greater insight into the nature of the good life than others do, liberalism

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does not accept that all goals or forms of life are equally valid. Drawing on Kant, modern ‘procedural liberals’ such as Rawls and Ronald Dworkin argue that society is best arranged when governed by principles of justice rather than conceptions of the good.118 But a priority for the right does not necessarily lead to the rejection of a common good per se. Procedural liberals merely have a different conception of the good, one that favours a more neutral over a perfectionist state because the neutral state is, at best, only ever relatively neutral.119 Nor are there any a priori reasons why the good society cannot be a just society. While Mill rejects the priority of the right over the good, he insists, like Herder, that justice is ‘the chief part, and incomparably the most sacred and binding part, of all morality.’120 But unlike proponents of the neutral state, Herder recognizes that procedural fairness and equity do not always produce humane practices. Recall from chapter 4 that cannibals adhered by these principles. To develop a good society he therefore thinks we also need to be concerned with the welfare of others and that government needs to be directed toward the general welfare. Rights and Duties Like all liberals, Herder places very high value on individual diversity, freedom, choice, and equality, as well as on government’s responsibility to the governed. Central components of his republicanism are the rule of law, constitutionalism, and decentralization of power with diverse centres of control. But his political thought is distinguished from the abstract individualism of social contract theories and contemporary libertarianism. He sees the balancing of unity and diversity, rather than a one-sided focus on the one to the neglect of the other, as the key to good governance. As Barnard argues, he also departs deliberately from the ‘natural law’ interpretation of the Mosaic Constitution as a declaration of natural, individual rights.121 As a historian, he insists that Moses could not have thought in terms of his constitution ratifying pre-existent, individual rights. Yet Moses did not neglect the freedom of individuals. Because he attempted to introduce the rule of law, Herder sees him as a protector of individuals from the arbitrary rule of others.122 The notion that there are certain inalienable and absolute rights – one that is embodied in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 – stems from the Lockean view of rights as constraints. In Locke’s

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state of nature, men have a natural right to freedom but freedom is limited by the coexistence of other natural rights, including the right to property and life. When these are respected, there is peaceful coexistence. The need for political society arose only because these rights were insufficiently respected without a judge to arbitrate conflicts. The role of political authority that derives from Locke’s social contract is restricted to the enforcement of our pre-existing natural rights and laws. Any violation of these laws or the rights of individuals by the state means a breach in the social contract and loss of the state’s legitimacy to rule. The attraction of Locke’s theory lies in the limitations it places on political authority by legitimating resistance to absolute power. While there is also a strong legal, positivist tradition in liberal thought that rejects the concept of natural rights, the view underlying most modern rights-based theories still draws on the Lockean notion that individuals possess certain unconditional rights by nature. In rejecting both the assertion of innate individual rights existing prior to the formation of society and the social contract theory of political society, Herder’s arguments are consistent with the communitarian critique of rights-based theories. Alasdair MacIntyre writes: ‘The best reason for asserting so bluntly that there are no such rights is indeed of precisely the same type as the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no witches and the best reason which we possess for asserting that there are no unicorns: every attempt to give good reasons for believing that there are such rights has failed.’123 As individual rights have long been central to the liberal political program, it is perhaps unsurprising that MacIntyre’s claim appears quintessentially anti-liberal to some theorists.124 But many of those who dismissed outright the arguments of MacIntyre and other communitarians during the 1980s failed to answer the real challenge posed by them. MacIntyre does not claim that no rights should exist. He only repudiates the specific claim that human beings have certain universal and absolute rights by nature. There are two related but distinct issues here. One concerns the plausibility of the foundational claim of rights-based political moralities. It is these theories that Herder rejects and that were more recently the focus of criticism from Taylor, MacIntyre and Sandel. The other is the wider issue whether individual rights of any description are inherently incompatible with communitarian values and Herder’s political philosophy. Liberals have good reason to be concerned with individual rights. When we attribute a right to someone, it means we seek to

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respect his or her capacity to act in a certain way, or to own, enjoy, or use something. It also means these capacities are sufficiently valued to justify holding others subject to duties that will either protect or promote them. Rights thus have a prescriptive force. They outline desirable and undesirable forms of behaviour such that their legal recognition can protect both the interest of individuals against possible abuse and exploitation and the values that regulate the political culture of a community as a whole.125 But it does not follow that rights are either absolute or inviolable in the way that rights-based theorists suggest. Freedom of expression is, for Herder, a basic condition of the good life, but he recognizes that conflicts can arise between free expression and the protection of a person’s reputation. Neither personal security nor free expression are, for him, natural rights, but his belief that they are of sufficient moral worth to justify imposing a duty upon government to protect them means that his understanding is consistent with the more general sense of a right outlined above. Irrespective of the terminology, the duties of government are in clear conflict. Since Herder does not believe that people should be allowed to slander others, he considers that the arguments against free expression in this case outweigh those in favour of it. Few liberals would disagree. Thus, if free expression is a right – as it is for many liberals – it is nonetheless a limited right because it is recognized that it can, at times, be legitimately violated in the interest of other considerations and, indeed, other rights.126 It follows that freedom of expression cannot be an absolute right that people possess by nature. Dworkin indicates that the intended prescriptive force behind this claim is such that it places a moral obligation upon the state to respect it in all circumstances and guarantee it against any possible transgression: ‘If someone has a right to something, then it is wrong for the government to deny it to him even though it would be in the general interest to do so.’127 If all natural rights are absolute, the problem is that we have no logical basis for determining which right ought to be limited in circumstances where they conflict. Raz therefore argues that we must conclude either that freedom of expression is not a natural right or that governments are morally wrong to limit free expression even in cases of libel.128 Although a rights-based theorist, Dworkin maintains that the idea of a natural right to liberty is misconceived. Here liberty is understood in a negative sense as an absence of constraints and obstacles to possible choices and activities. It is infringed when we prevent people speaking

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their mind but also when we prevent people from committing murder or theft. All laws, no matter how necessary to protect the liberty or security of others, in some way diminish the capacity of people to do as they wish. Champions of negative liberty have always accepted that such constraints are necessary. But Dworkin claims that when liberty is understood in this way, it is entirely unqualified to assume the status of a natural and basic right that should not to be overridden in any circumstance.129 For Taylor, this is the problem with all rights-based political theories, for theories that take individual rights as their fundamental principle deny the same status ‘to a principle of belonging or obligation.’130 If rights are primary, there is no basis to judge between conflicting rights because they are antecedent to all other moral principles. Their justification is not based on other moral notions, such as virtue, duty, or the common good. Instead, all valid moral views must derive from them. Any obligation to belong to a society, or obey its authorities, is thus derived from a more fundamental principle that ascribes rights to individuals. In Locke’s social contract theory, unless a person agrees to be subjected to a higher authority, no contract is formed and government is illegitimate. The obligations that individuals have to their community are entirely conditional on their consent.131 It does not follow from a rejection of the primacy of rights that the individual is subservient to the community. Herder does not reject all rights. He thinks that all human beings possess the right to selfdetermination. But once it is acknowledged that individual identity is formed within a specific cultural community, it becomes evident that the demand to structure our thinking in terms of a pendulum swinging between the individual on one side and the community on the other is wholly misleading. In the early twentieth century, the liberal thinker Leonard Hobhouse made a similar point: The British nation is not a mysterious entity over and above the forty odd millions of living souls who dwell together under a common law. Its life is their life, its well-being or ill-fortune their well-being or ill-fortune. Thus, the common good to which each man’s rights are subordinate is a good in which each man has a share. This share consists in realizing his capacities of feeling, of loving, of mental and physical energy, and in realizing these he plays his part in the social life, or in Green’s phrase, he finds his own good in the common good.132

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If this is the case, we can no longer see the individual as having primacy over the community. Individual rights, as Hobhouse argues, cannot ‘exist apart from the common good.’133 When we attribute a moral and not just legal right to individuals, we are morally bound not to interfere in the capacities they are designed to protect. But if they are of such moral importance that we are willing to subject others to a duty to respect them, Taylor argues that we also have a moral duty to foster and develop them. Positive rights such as the right to an education are a common feature of modern liberal rights theories. But according to Taylor, any evidence that shows these capacities can only develop in a certain kind of society further demonstrates that we ought to foster that kind of society. It follows that the primacy of rights is spurious.134 For Herder, too, rights and duties cannot be separated: ‘The expression human rights cannot be used without reference to human duties; both relate to one another, and we seek for both just one word.’135 Herder thinks we have an intrinsic duty to ourselves and to others to promote Humanität. We cannot, therefore, be unconcerned about the moral tone of our community and the social context in which our choices and rights are either realized or frustrated. As Taylor also argues, it is important to the free individual that certain activities and institutions flourish in society. It is even of importance to him what the moral tone of the whole society is – shocking as it may be to libertarians to raise this issue – because freedom and individual diversity can only flourish in a society where there is a general recognition of their worth. They are threatened by the spread of bigotry, but also other conceptions of life – for example, those which look on originality, innovation, and diversity as luxuries which society can ill afford given the need for efficiency, productivity, or growth, or those which in a host of other ways depreciate freedom.136

For Herder, the right of someone to do or enjoy something is not limited by the need to protect the general welfare of others because the value of the community is greater than that placed upon the individual. Rather, as Taylor argues, individual rights are meaningless outside a community that respects the capacities they are intended to define. In contrast to Herder’s holistic individualism, rights-based theories usually have an individualistic moral stance. Accordingly, while collective goods are said to have an instrumental value to the extent that they

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contribute to what individuals deem to be in their own best interests, they have no intrinsic value.137 While a tolerant society is thought to be good because individuals are able to choose their own conception of life according to their specific tastes and inclinations, rights-based theories cannot allow governments to sustain or promote any particular conception of the good. The fact that a tolerant society is in the interest of one individual is not generally considered sufficient grounds to impose a duty upon anyone to provide this collective good. No one person has an individual right to a tolerant society. It does not follow that government has no duty to promote a tolerant and humane society or other collective goods. It is simply, as Raz argues, that any such duty is instead grounded in the interests that all members have in the shape and goals of their community.138 This brings us to the core of the problem that Raz identifies with rights-based moralities. Rights-based theories are intended as an outline of the principles that limit the pursuit of an individual’s desires and goals on the basis of others’ rights and interests. A division is thus drawn between one’s own personal goals and the interests of others.139 But it would be both mistaken and limiting to approach the respect due to culturally valuable goods such as a community’s language, or the promotion of the principles in Herder’s concept of Humanität, in terms of restricting an individual’s personal goals and interests. This is not to say that Herder’s understanding of collective goods is entirely non-instrumental. An individual’s interests are served through cultural self-determination, a republican constitution, and the pursuit of the minimal principles embodied in his concept of Humanität. But if we accept the significance that one’s culture and community hold for the development of an individual’s self-respect and identity, it is not possible to divorce the issue of individual self-determination from the context in which an individual develops. Our duties to sustain our community and to respect others’ entitlements to a secure cultural context do not stem from the primacy of rights but from the values that give meaning to our lives. Herder’s approach to rights and duties thus accords with Raz’s view that everyone has an intrinsic duty to respect the values that give meaning to life, even if their own life is not dependent upon them.140 With his desire to encompass rights and duties in one word, Herder has in mind a radically anti-dualist conception of the individual and the community. His thought cannot be categorized neatly on either side of a dichotomy between holism and individualism. The good of

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the community is not a higher priority than the good of the individual. These two goods are mutually dependent. He does not, for example, promote the rights of the community to the neglect of the individual, as Maurice Cranston indicates German nationalists did in their Declaration of Rights of 1844.141 The obligations we owe to our Volk are not derived wholly from our duty to others in our community but from an obligation we also owe to ourselves. It would be incomprehensible to accept that an individual’s cultural community is vital to the development of his or her capacities and unique personal identity and then to treat with indifference the context in which these can be developed and nurtured. Recognizing the worth of these capacities means that we ought to create and sustain the kind of context in which they can be fostered both in others and in ourselves. In this sense we have, as Herder maintains, not just a right to self-determination but also an intrinsic duty to sustain and nurture our Volk and our Humanität. By contributing to the larger community, we simultaneously improve the conditions in which we live as individuals; but irrespective of any direct improvement to our own lives, we still have a duty not to harm others as well as to assist the oppressed and the weak. We also possess a cosmopolitan duty to foster a transnational empathy toward other Völker and not just a duty to respect the right of other Völker to selfdetermination.142 Conclusion In rejecting both abstract individualism and the primacy of rights, Herder’s thought is at odds with an important strand of liberal thought. But it does not follow that his communitarian values cannot be reconciled with liberalism. Mill, Green, Hobhouse, and (in the present day) Raz do not assign a foundational role to individual rights. Raz further indicates that individual rights have often been advocated against a social background that secures collective goods. For example, the right to free religious worship may have been conceived in terms of the interest of individuals, but it secures the right of communities to pursue their own moral convictions and of individuals to belong to such communities. It also serves to protect the public goods of communal peace and toleration. Similarly, the right to economic freedom is intended to secure the public good of a free market but is often pursued against a background where many liberals accept limits upon the market.143 It is

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significant that nineteenth-century liberals were often at the forefront of the struggle to abolish the slave trade, just as Herder was in the eighteenth century. Modern liberal-communitarianism – and the same is true of Herder’s thought – is compatible with the affirmation of individual or collective rights as the corollary of a wider political morality that treats questions about what is a meaningful and good life as fundamental. Logic demands that they are limited, but they are not limited to those rights conferred by positive law. For Herder, morality demands that we respect the right of every individual to pursue his or her own conception of Humanität as well as the collective right of each Volk to determine its own affairs. The advantage of his approach over rights-based theories lies in his recognition of the obligations that arise from belonging to a specific culture. The minimal principles contained in his concept of Humanität are as fundamental as any assertion of individual rights. Rights are meaningless outside the social context in which they can be realized. If we accept Herder’s claim that one’s cultural community is significant for the maintenance of individual identity and autonomy, it follows that one also has to be concerned with the welfare of the community as a whole and not simply with a one-sided focus on the protection of individual rights. It might still be objected that accepting that the right to freedom of expression is neither absolute nor inviolable opens the possibility for the rights of the individual to be jettisoned in favour of the welfare of the community. But no liberal accepts absolute freedom. Nor is the good in Herder’s philosophy simply local and context-relative. The internal practices of a community are grounded in and stem from the need to create the conditions most conducive to the realization of Humanität. Part of our intrinsic duty to our Volk is not to quell internal dissent because that would be bound to lead to its stagnation. We also have a duty to ourselves and our community continually to reinterpret our traditions in light of new circumstances and times. For Herder, the welfare of the community is further served with the simultaneous promotion of individual diversity, which is essential for creativity, and of inclusivity, which is necessary to prevent fragmentation. He thinks that the principles of a democratic republic with its strong public spirit and participatory self-rule would best enable individuals to become self-determining and self-realized. Yet he also reminds us that these objectives can be achieved only if people value

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freedom themselves. Each community also needs to adapt these general principles to suit its own time and place. It is, however, a fundamental principle of good governance to strive for a balance between unity and diversity and not for a one-sided emphasis on one to the neglect of the other.

7 Multiculturalism

With the main tenets of Herder’s moral and political thought now outlined, this chapter applies the central principles of his ontology and his theories of language and culture to a number of issues that have arisen in contemporary political theory with respect to immigrant societies and long-standing communities. It is difficult to dispute that most states in the modern world are multi-cultural in a descriptive sense.1 Despite the centralizing and homogenizing cultural policies of the modern ‘nation-state’ documented by scholars of nationalism like Gellner, many cultural minorities have been remarkably resilient. Typically states are as they were under the dynastic states in Herder’s time composed of two or more Völker. In recent years, with the break-up of former monolithic states such as the Soviet Union, the redrawing of state boundaries has led to the emergence of new minorities. In Africa and Asia, many states are dealing with the arbitrary bringing together of distinct peoples by earlier colonial administrations, which has often led to violent conflict. Post-Second World War mass migration has characterized the development of states built largely on immigration, such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and has also led to considerably increased cultural plurality in European states. In the twenty-first century, the heterogeneity and multi-cultural dimension of modern states can no longer be ignored. In this context questions are often raised about the continued relevance of Herder’s thought. Yet such questions are generally predicated on a limited reading of his work, one that ignores the subtlety and complexity of his theories of language, culture, and identity. Herder supports the cultural and political autonomy of cultural communities, but the precise form this general principle ought to assume is dependent on

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the particular historical circumstances in each time and place. When it is also acknowledged that he is fully aware of the heterogeneous nature of a community’s culture and accepts the political reality of the multiVolk character of existing states, the claimed differences between his theory of culture and that of multicultural theorists, such as Bhikhu Parekh, significantly fade.2 There may, however, be a significant reluctance among some multicultural theorists to accept Herder as an intellectual predecessor. Chapter 5 demonstrated that Herder’s thought gives no credence to a nationalist ideology that claims all Völker must seek a state exclusively their own. Yet in the context of the current international state system, I do not dispute that some Völker could still find in Herder’s work a theoretical justification for seeking an independent state within the limitations imposed by his universal respect for cultural diversity. Multicultural theorists have shown considerable aversion to any suggestion of a link between their concerns and any form of nationalism. As Vincent argues, a common pattern nevertheless underlines them both with their focus on group particularity and the connections they draw among identity, culture, oppression, and recognition.3 This is not to deny the significant differences between those who promote multiculturalism and most forms of nationalism. Nor is it an attempt to discredit multicultural policies by associating them with what is still a highly loaded term of disparagement for many Western scholars. In such a highly polemical terrain, it is understandable that thinkers engaged in providing theoretical justifications for policies designed to promote, rather than suppress, cultural diversity insist that a normative commitment to multiculturalism is the antithesis of all forms of nationalism. Yet while I have argued that this is also largely the case with Herder’s thought, the link Vincent raises between multiculturalism and nationalism still needs to be addressed. What drives cultural minorities to seek public recognition within a culturally diverse society is not qualitatively distinct from what drives cultural communities to seek public recognition in the form of an independent state. Both are particular responses to what these groups perceive as forms of cultural oppression, which has often been accompanied by economic and political oppression. Unless an unquestioned legitimacy and authority is accorded to existing states, those who seek to respect cultural diversity cannot dismiss the claims of cultural communities for their own independent state in an a priori fashion. Just as Herder recognizes the dangers in European

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colonialism of an abstract commitment to liberty when it is unlimited by a respect for cultural difference, those who place value on cultural communities must also reconcile it with the factual abuses of such a commitment by many nationalist movements. An acknowledgment of this link can only help us begin to discern where to place limits on the value of culture in the same way that most thinkers accept limitations are necessary on the value of liberty. It will be recalled that in Herder’s thought there is a clear distinction, based on his universal principle of respect for cultural diversity, between the value he places on the promotion of a community’s culture and all forms of aggressive nationalism and patriotism that foster feelings of superiority toward other peoples. Although the relative success of various multicultural theorists in upholding the principle of cultural respect is open to debate, they do hold in common the attempt to accommodate and promote this principle. The term ‘multiculturalism’ first arose in Canada and was adopted in Australia in the 1970s precisely to denote policies designed to move away from previous assimilation policies, whose goal was to progressively absorb the cultural identities of all minority groups into the state’s dominant culture until their distinctiveness was lost. Thus, while multicultural theorists cannot consistently rule out the claims of cultural communities seeking an independent state in an a priori fashion, contemporary multicultural theories are, as with Herder’s theory, distinguished from all forms of aggressive nationalism that seek to elevate their own cultural identity at the expense of others. It may still be objected that the material conditions pertaining to modern multi-cultural societies are so vastly different from those in the late eighteenth century that Herder’s thought could have little relevance. Yet his experience in the multi-cultural city of Riga as a young man, and his criticisms of the homogenizing tendencies evident in the very early stages of the development of the modern state, mean that his own circumstances are not as divorced from current ones as is generally assumed. Here I am also guided by Herder’s attention to cultural and historical specificity, which leads him to imagine not that the precise structure of the ancient Athenian republican system was appropriate in eighteenth-century Europe but rather that we can adapt its general principles to modern conditions. It is thus possible to take Herder’s theories of language, culture and identity and reinterpret them in light of our own particular historical and cultural circumstances. As multicultural theorists also recognize, the unique histories and traditions of

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multi-cultural societies mean that they demand different public policy responses, but certain general principles are applicable to them in common.4 Indeed, the issues raised by their unique circumstances are so multifarious that they can by no means all be addressed here. This is without doubt the ongoing task of contemporary theorists and policy makers. My aim here is twofold. First, to demonstrate that Herder’s general principles and insights still hold considerable resonance today. Second, to argue that his political thought has far more in common with the recent wave of multicultural theories than with the assimilation drive evident in French republicanism and in David Miller’s liberal nationalism. The Immigrant Case To some extent, distinguishing between the cases of immigrants and those of long-standing communities that happen to find themselves in a minority position owing to historical circumstances is invariably arbitrary. While the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada are generally characterized as having been built on immigration, each has significant long-standing communities within its territorial boundaries whose claims cannot be ignored under the illusion created by referring to these states as either immigrant or settler societies. Many modern states are culturally plural due to both immigration and the coexistence of long-standing communities within a single territorial border. Yet the specific cultural claims these groups make against the state are often very different in kind, as are those between many indigenous communities and stateless nations.5 Thus policy makers in Canada and Australia have developed distinct policies for each group. Following the long-established example of policy making in these countries, I will employ the term multiculturalism in this section in relation to immigrants and in opposition to policies of assimilation. According to Walzer, there are practical considerations as well as an important moral distinction to be made between the obligations incurred by a state toward its newly arrived immigrants and its obligations toward long-standing communities. We could not, for example, expect a state on either moral or practical grounds to carve out separate public spaces for its immigrants of various nationalities. The moral force of this argument derives from the life choices these people have made in voluntarily leaving their own Volk for the perceived advantages of their chosen community.6

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The notion of voluntary choice is highly contestable when it is applied equally to all immigrant groups. I will not, however, apply the category of immigrants to refugees, whose circumstances and needs are fundamentally different. Immigration from previous colonies to a former empire also raises different ethical issues that I cannot address here, and certainly it is the case that the children of immigrants have not chosen to be in a minority position.7 Yet in many instances, second-generation immigrants can still choose to leave their parents’ adopted country and return to their country of origin. While liberal multicultural theorists tend to emphasize the need for a right of exit from one’s cultural community to protect individuals from potential abuses,8 in the stark reality of current immigration laws such an option is a mere abstraction for the great majority of people in the world, who possess no right of entry into another country. These different circumstances are bound to place these groups in a different relationship to the state. According to Ian MacAllister, one of the many reasons behind the bipartite change in Australia from a policy of assimilation to one of multiculturalism in the 1970s lay in the recognition that many disaffected immigrants and their children chose to take up their exit option.9 In the absence of a long-standing territorial affinity, the kind of territorial segregation and political autonomy that might be appropriate in the case of long-standing communities would also in the case of immigrants and their offspring amount to another form of exclusion verging on enforced segregation by the dominant group. The claim by some multicultural theorists that the cultural needs of these different groups are not distinct reflects, moreover, a failure to recognize the particular historical circumstances of long-standing communities.10 As Herder recognizes, caution needs to be applied when gener-alizing about the various groups and strata that comprise a community and about the different communities within a state. The particular historical and cultural circumstances of each group in a community must be recognized if we are to avoid simplistic judgments and overgeneralizations. Nor can public recognition for immigrants in the form of separate selfgovernment be reconciled with Herder’s views, for such a one-sided emphasis on difference would undoubtedly lead to the fragmentation of the established Volk and threaten its cultural survival. The rights and cultural claims of immigrants need to be weighed against those of the established culture(s) in an attempt to balance the diversity and unity that lie at the heart of Herder’s conception of good governance and that

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we find reiterated by recent multicultural theorists.11 Herder is acutely aware that leaving one’s own Volk is never an easy option, for it necessarily involves change and adjustment to a different way of life. Due to his heartfelt descriptions of the longing for home experienced by those forcefully removed and taken elsewhere as slaves, it is often assumed that Herder opposes immigration. Yet he knows that people ‘are not firmly rooted plants’ and that most peoples have at some point in their history due to ‘the calamities of famine, earthquakes, war and the like’ needed to move elsewhere. How well this process goes depends on a number of factors, including ‘the reception they met in their new country.’12 Yet no state can ever eradicate completely the sense of loss that its immigrants experience or compensate entirely for the cultural risks they take in leaving their homeland and the burdens it places on their children. As Herder indicates, no culture can ever be recreated in another time and place: ‘And though they may adhere to manners of their forefathers with an obstinacy almost equal to the brute and even apply to their new mountains, rivers, towns, and establishments, the names of their primitive lands, it would be impossible for them, to remain eternally the same in every respect, under any considerable alteration of soil and climate.’13 Interaction with a different culture and environment necessarily leads to adaptation and change in individuals, who are not static entities with a fixed identity but are in a continual state of becoming. But it does not follow that the obligations of a state toward its immigrants are thereby extinguished. Nor does it mean, as Walzer assumes, that its obligations are reduced to the protection of the political and civil rights of its newly arrived immigrants. Walzer identifies two models that the traditional liberal response to minority groups has assumed. Liberalism #1 adopts a neutral stance toward all cultural groups by refusing to endorse or take an active interest in either the reproduction or the public recognition of any of their ways of life. Liberalism #2, evident in many European states, sees state support for the language, arts, history, and so on of the majority culture as entirely legitimate. At the same time, like liberalism #1, this approach respects cultural differences by tolerating and according to all cultural minorities the right to organize and express their specific values in the private sphere, albeit within the limits of the state’s legal system.14 The advantage of these liberal approaches lies in their protection of the basic political rights of minority groups. In accord with this liberal commitment, we have seen Herder support an inclusive republican

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system. He is critical of the ‘evil and horrible consequences’ that arose in ancient Athens, where resident workers were treated in an exclusionary manner similar to that meted out to ‘guest workers’ in Germany until very recent changes in its naturalization laws.15 It is equally significant that he does not adhere to the kind of fixed, ethnic categorization of a Volk based on blood lineage that operated in ancient Athens and that formed the core of Germany’s citizenship laws. German law, for example, granted citizenship rights to those of German origin irrespective of whether that link was in the distant past or whether they spoke any German. Yet this excluded even the children of Turkish ‘guest workers’ who had been born and educated in Germany and who were in an important sense linguistically and culturally German.16 By contrast, Herder rejects the historical reification involved in such static categories, which defy reinterpretation in light of new circumstances. He also wants to guard against the kind of stratification generated in a community when some groups are excluded from public participation. But notwithstanding the importance of protecting the civil and political rights of immigrants, liberalisms #1 and #2 are both based on an assimilation ideal. It is not the case, as Walzer maintains, that different cultural identities of individuals in ‘settler’ societies such as the United States are all equally at risk as the state supports none of them.17 Such a view is based on an artificial and erroneous separation between the political life of a community and its culture. As we have seen, Herder rejects this dichotomy with his inclusion of politics as part of a community’s culture. As Kymlicka further notes, no state can divorce itself entirely from cultural decisions in the way that religion has been separated from the state in many liberal democracies.18 The state use of a language necessarily privileges the speakers of that language over speakers of other languages. Liberal neutrality also ignores the reality that the modern bureaucratic state extends into the traditionally private realms of family, religion, and morality, as well as the fact that schools transcend the public and private realms.19 It relegates immigrants’ expressions of their cultural values to civil society and the family; meanwhile, it privileges the norms and assumptions of the dominant culture in the public sphere. Without public recognition, the cultural identities of minority groups are thus constantly at risk from the assimilation drive of the dominant culture in liberalism #1, just as they are in liberalism #2, which openly acknowledges state support for the dominant culture.20

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While we have seen that Herder’s thought cannot be reconciled with liberal neutrality, his proposal for an academy to promote German language, literature, and philosophy might suggest to some that it is compatible with liberalism #2. However, in relation to cultural groups in a minority position, the assimilation model as exemplified by French civic republicanism is the antithesis of his ideas. As Miller indicates, the kind of patriotism that characterizes French republicanism was predicated on destroying ‘the various regional dialects and languages that were still in use in large areas of rural France’ by forcing ‘unwilling pupils’ to speak French in schools.21 But unlike Miller, who finds this coercive patriotism unproblematic, Herder imposes a duty on sovereigns to honour the languages of the diverse peoples within their state. Indeed, his concern with Germany in the eighteenth century was directed toward securing the people’s existing language to ensure that the members of the different provinces could still understand one another. His academy was intended to promote a cooperative, non-coercive unity while maintaining regional diversity. It in no way entailed the destruction of any languages.22 It might be objected that within Herder’s framework of thought, his proposal to respect cultural diversity relates to a state with a number of Völker but not to cultural diversity arising from immigration within a Volk. A distinguishing feature of a Volk is, after all, that it shares a common culture. Although Herder does not seek linguistic purity with the rejection of words from foreign languages, an established culture on his theory clearly has a right to ensure the survival of its language. From his perspective it would be a clear failure of respect for newcomers not to recognize the importance of learning the language of their adopted Volk to participate fully in the public domain. It does not follow, however, that the languages of immigrant groups must be extinguished or relegated to the family.23 Recall his argument that it is necessary due to the intermixing of linguistic groups in the modern era for the school curriculum to teach several languages. He therefore provides strong support for a general plural-lingualism in states that have a dominant and long-established language and culture. It further follows from Herder’s universal principle of justice, which entails treating others with both empathy and equity, that children whose first language is different from the dominant one ought to be instructed initially in their own language. In accord with Herder’s insight, it is now increasingly recognized that we need to know our own language well in order to learn other languages more easily. If children

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of immigrants are confronted with a different language when first entering school, their educational progress can be significantly affected. It is thus a far more effective teaching method to introduce children gradually to the language of the dominant culture.24 At the same time, children of the dominant culture should learn other languages so that we will not ‘toil just as fruitlessly as those at the tower of Babel’ but build together with understanding.25 Herder includes French as the second language to be taught in his school curriculum because of its common use in Europe at the time. Basic pragmatics mean that in highly culturally diverse regions, some languages will no doubt be privileged, whatever decision is made concerning which to include as part of a school’s curriculum. Nevertheless, if we are to increase understanding among those who live together in the same community, the languages of the main groups with which children interact can serve as a guide in determining language policy. For Herder, cultural diversity is a good not simply because it creates ‘an aesthetically pleasing and stimulating world,’ as Parekh suggests.26 Just treatment demands that members of an established culture accord the same consideration to others in cultural matters. For an established culture to privilege its cultural values in the public domain while relegating those of immigrants to the private sphere is a clear violation of this principle. Such a violation was evident, for example, when it became apparent to British Muslims over the Rushdie Affair that British anti-blasphemy laws apply only to offences against Christian values. Although Herder is ambiguous in his views on the validity of anti-blasphemy laws,27 his principle of justice is universal. In a context where such laws are accepted by the dominant culture, there is a duty to apply them to all religions. The same principle applies to the public recognition of religious festivals. Practical difficulties might arise if all such festivals were recognized public holidays; but at the very least, provisions need to be made so that those with strong religious ties are not prevented from respecting their commitments irrespective of their particular religion. Treating others in the way we would want to be treated means that equality before the law cannot be interpreted as same treatment before culturally biased laws. If we are to take seriously Herder’s principle of treating members of other cultures and religions with empathy, we need to pay attention to how laws affect different groups.28 For Herder, we have an intrinsic duty to respect our own and other cultures because they are a part of that context which gives meaning to

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our lives and against which we define ourselves. Due to the central role he accords to authenticity, respect for others requires that we come to know them as they are. From this perspective, the demand for immigrants to give up their original cultural identity and assume the culture of their adopted Volk amounts to a significant failure of respect. It also places an unreasonable burden on those individuals. Miller indicates that Norman Tebbit’s famous demand, made when he was a British Member of Parliament, that British immigrants support the ‘English’ cricket team is generally derided as too reactionary, coercive, and unrealistic. The same logic nevertheless underlies French republicanism with its expectation that immigrants assimilate into French culture.29 While individuals can adapt to new circumstances, Herder realizes that they cannot simply erase the cultural values that have played a crucial part in the formation of their personal identity. It follows from this insight that immigrants are bound to fail to meet the expectations that assimilation policies place upon them, even when they do their best to conform. When immigrants are not accepted for who they are, they are necessarily locked into an inferior position. We have also seen that Herder is acutely aware of the harm inflicted on individuals who face cultural domination. Although immigrants are bound to face cultural risks, a community that relegates the expression of their cultural identities entirely to the private sphere significantly increases those risks. Cultural pluralism is tolerated as an act of generosity by the dominant culture, but not in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance and equal consideration, for the power relations are unequal, with the dominant culture privileged in the public sphere.30 When there is no impetus for members of the dominant culture to learn from and come to understand those who belong to minority cultures in their community, the dangers of social exclusion, indifference, and the perpetuation of false stereotypes are heightened. In this way, the withholding of public recognition can inflict actual harm to people’s sense of belonging in a community as well as to their sense of self-worth. As Taylor puts it: ‘Due recognition is not just a courtesy we owe others. It is a vital human need.’31 It follows that a community concerned with the welfare of all its members, such as Herder advocates, cannot ignore its cultural needs, including those of its immigrants and their children. When entitlements to due recognition are being determined, conflicts are bound to arise between a community’s established culture and its immigrants of various nationalities. These conflicts can be addressed

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adequately only through a process of ongoing negotiation that factors in the unique circumstances of the state at hand. Yet we can exaggerate the potential danger of such conflict if we place a one-sided emphasis on stability and unity as collective goods, thus failing to heed Herder’s point that conflict and diversity are intrinsic and inevitable features of nature and political life. While there is no perfect political system, we can strive to achieve a balance between these objectives without ignoring the cultural needs of minority groups in the public realm. Public recognition, which entails the visible expression of cultural identities in the institutional structures of society, can take various forms, including the allocation of resources for community clubs; the provision of additional funds to schools for the teaching of the languages of its pupils of various nationalities; the adaptation of history, literature, and other courses so that they reflect the diversity of backgrounds that constitute a community; public support for cultural festivals; and making access available for different cultural groups to represent themselves on community and public radio, film, and television. Although some critics seriously doubt whether Herder would ever have supported such policies,32 they flow directly from his attention to cultural particularity when combined with equal attention to the universal principles contained in his concept of Humanität. His overriding desire is to eliminate oppression, and his particular contribution to theories of justice lies in his inclusion of the injustice of cultural oppression. Those concerned with the entitlement of existing cultural communities to protect and reproduce their way of life may object that such policies will ultimately lead to the weakening of a community’s identification with its traditional culture. Since much of the force of the case in favour of multicultural policies rests on an acknowledgment of the importance of a secure cultural context for an individual’s self-respect and sense of identity, the desire of an established culture to retain its specific traditions possesses considerable legitimacy.33 Nevertheless, it is equally important to recall Herder’s view that a culture risks its own demise if it fails to adapt to new circumstances and attempts to remain fixed and static. To avoid this fate, we need to adapt to new circumstances and challenges. As Susan Wolf further argues, we have certain obligations to the people whom we have invited into our community, and one of those obligations is to recognize ‘who we as a community are.’34 For Herder, too, failure to recognize who we are amounts to a denial of authenticity. It is no longer an accurate depiction of what

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it means to be British, for example, to say that it entails being white, Christian, and of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic origin. Being British today can just as readily entail being Hindu or Muslim and having Indian, Pakistani, or Jamaican origins, among other possibilities. As Herder writes with respect to immigrant communities, the resulting ‘style would be a compound arising from the ideas imbibed in their original country, and those inspired by the new: and this may commonly be called the youthful bloom of the Völker.’35 Changes in the character of a community’s cultural activities or in the emphasis placed on different activities due to changed conditions are, for Herder, signs of a healthy community and not something to resist simply because they are new. Thus, while it is reasonable for an established community to want in the first instance to focus on the telling of its own history in the school curriculum, it is equally crucial to recognize that in multi-cultural societies an important part of that history includes the experiences and cultural diversity of its minority groups. Nor should an established culture see its obligations toward newcomers in the form of providing additional resources simply as a burden to be endured. Although a national curriculum in certain fundamentals is vital to provide children with equal opportunity, this does not mean that learning about other cultures cannot form a vital part of that curriculum. For Miller, however, rather than a place for ‘pluralism’ as multiculturalists advocate, ‘schools should be seen, inter alia, as places where a common national identity is reproduced and children prepared for democratic citizenship.’36 Herder also sees education as playing a vital role in teaching the values, duties, and responsibilities that enable people to participate fully in their political community. As Miller indicates, it is an important benefit to newcomers if they understand the traditions of the community in which they will live.37 Yet according to Herder, learning about other cultures with empathetic understanding equally enhances our moral development by combating the sense of superiority in a Volk that is typical of an egoistic patriotism and a narrow nationalism. By way of contrast, Miller concedes that teachers can have the scope to include elements that accord with students’ cultural backgrounds, but there is no notion in his form of toleration that there is a positive benefit to be gained in preparing children with the knowledge and understanding of other cultures that will assist them to live in their culturally plural world.38 Miller thinks that by instilling republican and social democratic values in support of the welfare state, the good citizen will naturally support aid to less de-

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veloped nations. But such a relationship toward other nations is invariably limited by being confined to a donor–recipient power relation.39 By acknowledging the significant benefits we attain through a greater knowledge of other cultures, Herder’s political thought is far more cosmopolitan in its outlook.40 Fundamental to Herder’s conception of the good citizen is someone who is eager to learn from other cultures and who treats other cultures with fairness, empathy, and equity. Interaction with and learning about other cultures in a spirit of cooperation is a good because it enables us to increase our understanding of humanity, which also assists in our own intellectual and moral development. Cultivating these dispositions is essential for peace between nations, and Herder believes that doing so has a far greater chance of leading to the diminution of war than formal peace treaties between state cabinets. For peace to have any chance to endure, it needs to come from below, with a change in our basic attitudes toward war and other peoples. At the forefront of our thoughts must be this question: ‘What if that happened to me?’41 Without a willingness to engage in empathetic understanding, our capacity to learn from other cultures and thus our knowledge of the culturally plural world in which we live is seriously diminished. But while the need for empathetic engagement is also central to the arguments of many recent multicultural theorists,42 it plays no role in Miller’s liberal nationalism. There is thus no mechanism for combating the sense of superiority over other Völker that Herder identifies as a potential danger of republican patriotism and nationalism. This does not mean that other cultures must possess something of distinct value for those of the dominant culture in order to warrant public recognition,43 although Herder cannot imagine a culture that is completely devoid of value. He realizes that we cannot begin to make such judgments without first expanding our own horizons by coming to understand other cultures from the perspective of their members. There is no guarantee that we will come to understand others, and an awareness of our own fallibility is crucial to the task Herder sets us.44 But not even attempting to understand those with whom we live, and failing to recognize the importance of their distinctive histories, traditions, and arts to their personal identity, or making no effort to come to know them as they are, reflects a fundamental failure of equal respect as embodied in Herder’s principle of justice. If the various subgroups that compose a community are not to become fragmented such that the community disintegrates, we need to find ways to forge

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communication and understanding among these groups. This means that immigrants need to learn the established state language(s), but it also means that we need to become plural-lingual, as Herder advocates. In its efforts to balance the demands of unity and diversity, a community cannot ignore its cultural diversity merely because some of its members desire to reify certain dominant traditions. A vibrant and strong community is one that reinterprets its traditions in light of new conditions; it follows that we need to adapt our traditions in light of the increasing multi-cultural character of our modern states. Long-Standing Communities Regarding long-standing communities that happen to find themselves due to historical circumstances in a minority position within existing states, Herder would undoubtedly support their right to cultural and political autonomy. Given that most modern states are composed of two or more Völker, Herder’s thought remains in this respect as potentially radical today in its political implications as it was in the eighteenth century. Yet many commentators point to the unrealistic nature of separatist strategies of the kind typically attributed to Herder. If left unqualified, such strategies would mean the break-up of almost every existing state and ‘the creation of mini-states in the thousands.’45 Also, such strategies do not adequately address the intermixing of diverse cultural groups that has resulted from urbanization and economic centralization. Even where cultural communities occupy a relatively separate territorial region, there are often mixed border areas. Thus, if we did divide the world along linguistic and cultural lines, the potential for some groups to be disadvantaged would remain no matter how we decided to draw the boundaries. As was evident with the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the redrawing of state boundaries invariably leads to the creation of new minorities. Given the complexity of the modern world, it is understandable that contemporary thinkers like Parekh regard as ‘naive’ Herder’s belief that the Hebrew people suffering from their experience as a diaspora would benefit from reclaiming their homeland.46 He clearly fails to consider any effects on the Palestinian people. Not all of Herder’s specific proposals are by any means applicable to modern times. Yet it is noteworthy that interculturalists like James Tully and Iris Marion Young also draw on the treaty experiences of indigenous peoples in North America for inspiration to develop models of co-sovereignty that take

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us beyond the idea associated with the modern state of a single and ultimate jurisdiction. Reminiscent of Herder’s critique of the increasing homogenizing and centralizing tendencies of the bureaucratic state, Tully and Young recognize that we need to look beyond these typifying features of the modern state if we are to find more creative ways to accommodate the political and cultural autonomy of the different peoples residing within them.47 Although he was once derided for failing to develop a theory of the state, one advantage of Herder’s theory is that his attention to historical and cultural specificity means he rejects the project of classical political philosophers to derive an ideal political constitution for all times and places.48 Herder does not maintain that indigenous peoples, for example, ought to forsake their own political associations to adopt a modern bureaucratic state. In the context of current times, Kymlicka has argued forcefully that a separatist strategy in the case of Indian and Inuit communities in Canada would further disadvantage these groups as they have insufficient economic resources to form viable states.49 It would have the added drawback of diminishing the Canadian state’s obligation to these groups, whose current disadvantage is the result of previous colonial injustices, for they would cease to be members of that state. Equally important in terms of Herder’s principle of self-determination and concept of community – which is ultimately based on the willing identification of its members – such a strategy is rarely sought by indigenous populations. It is far more common for the desire for self-determination by those Völker – commonly referred to as ‘stateless nations’ – to be interpreted politically as a demand for an independent state. According to Kymlicka, ‘stateless nations were [generally] contenders but losers in the process of European state-formation’ whereas ‘indigenous peoples existed outside this system of European states.’50 While both stateless nations and indigenous populations constitute Völker, or distinct peoples, and thus equally have a right to self-determination in Herder’s schema, we also need to pay attention to their specific circumstances. In examining the issues raised by their different claims, it is therefore useful to separate them. Stateless Nations Admittedly, as we have seen, Herder thinks that multi-Volk states are unnatural aberrations that can only hold together through coercion.

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In his thought, the impetus for secession arises from the observation that Völker always run the risk of losing their cultural distinctiveness in such monolithic states due to the lack of recognition of their rights as distinct cultural units. Scholars of nationalism indicate that the legacy of European state formation in Africa, Asia, and Europe has been the privileging of some languages and cultures and the severe oppression of others, often resulting in violent conflict.51 Herder’s view that such states cannot produce an enduring union is also supported by recent historic examples such as the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Although the USSR was a union of fifteen distinct cultural units, each with a degree of regional autonomy, the domination of Russian and discrimination against local languages and cultures played a significant part in fuelling the secessionist movements of the early 1990s. The unity that previously existed had largely been the result of coercion.52 It may well be the case historically that much of the odium associated with a narrow and chauvinistic nationalism that has led to the cultural oppression of minority groups has been a feature of ‘official’ state nationalisms. Yet the danger also exists for oppressed groups, whose culture is under threat, to respond by defining their identity in crude opposition to their oppressors.53 Separatist movements have a tendency to endeavour by securing their community’s language and culture to enclose and strengthen a specific group identity. The problem is that such a strategy easily lends itself to a simplification of identity that ignores social and cultural differences within a community and that results in either the exclusion or the assimilation of those who do not belong to the dominant culture.54 The danger can be particularly acute when formerly oppressed groups, having won the instrument of oppression by attaining an independent state, then determine how to treat members of minority cultural groups within their territorial borders – especially members of the previously dominant group. Extreme nationalists in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania initially suggested, for example, that Russians be treated in an equivalent manner to the way they had been treated – that is, as second-class or even non-citizens.55 With his support for the liberation of culturally oppressed groups, Herder is certainly open to the charge that he did not sufficiently anticipate or address the potential for newly liberated groups to become future oppressors.56 But as soon as a group adopts a narrow nationalism that fails to respect the cultural needs of others, it loses legitimacy in his thought. All

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groups have boundaries and are to some extent exclusive. The relevant issue is, rather, the extent of this exclusivity. When a community closes in on itself with a one-sided emphasis on unity, it violates Herder’s notion of good governance. It is also self-defeating in his analysis, for the repression of the language and culture of a people will invariably provoke resentment and disunity. It has been suggested, for example, that one factor in the war in Croatia was the belief that the Serb minority had been legally disadvantaged in the newly independent state of Croatia. The 1990 Croatian Constitution guaranteed the rights of individuals to express their cultural identities in civil society and the family in accord with the liberal notion of toleration. The former status of the Serb community as a constituent nation within Croatia was, however, taken away, and Croatian became the state’s only official language. The Serb population was further denied cultural autonomy in areas where they formed a majority, in that they were refused any control over their children’s schooling.57 Just as Herder understands the motives behind Joseph II’s desire for a unified empire, it is possible to understand Croatia’s desire to celebrate and forge a strong national identity in the aftermath of independence. It was, after all, following the path of many modern liberal-democratic states in adopting an assimilation policy toward a significant linguistic minority within its borders. And by tolerating the linguistic and cultural expression of the Serb population in the private sphere, the Croatian government violated no individual rights. Yet it failed to uphold the duty that Herder believes all sovereign powers have to honour the languages of the peoples under their jurisdiction. According to Vernon Van Dyke, the classic liberal approach that confines itself to a two-level analysis between the individual on one level, and the state on the other, focuses on individual rights to a neglect of the rights due to cultural communities within multinational states. To rectify this neglect, we need an approach that recognizes communities with moral and legal rights at an intermediate level between the individual and the state.58 Had the Croatian state publicly recognized at the outset the rights of its Serb minority as a distinct cultural unit, it might have done much to appease their insecurity as well as the power of Serbian propaganda to exploit their fears.59 Herder’s thought is sufficiently flexible to allow for such public recognition. This is evident in his reflections on his travels after leaving Riga. In Barnard’s translation, they read:

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It must not remain a sham republic, but must become a free state with privileges and rank within the larger [Russian] empire, a republic within a republic, as it were. What a happy man he would be who could bring this about! He would be more than Zwingli and Calvin – a liberator and at the same time a citizen! . . . How great if I can make Riga a happy city!60

A more literal translation of the first sentence is: ‘It must not remain a sham republic, no republic in a republic, but must become a maidservant with advantages and rank.’61 Yet due to the metaphor of the maidservant, Barnard’s translation better captures the meaning of Herder’s passage in our terms. He is not suggesting that Riga as a city should become a separate state in the modern sense any more than should the cities of Hamburg, Lübeck, or Danzig, which he equally notes have lost their spirit. He instead envisages Riga as a servant within the larger dynastic state, while having legal rights accorded to it so that it can become a real republic with a strong public sphere and not merely a city that has a militia and walls that cost its citizens money.62 Although Riga possessed relative autonomy at the time under Russian rule, this was clearly insufficient for Herder, given the city’s lack of public spirit. But effectively, in our terms, he is arguing for a real ‘republic within a larger state.’ It is important to acknowledge, too, that Herder’s vehement criticisms of multi-Volk states in the Ideen were directed against the Roman and Persian empires because of their imperialist and despotic nature. It is ‘an empire forced together, consisting of one hundred peoples and a hundred and twenty provinces, that is no body politic [Staatskörper] but a monster.’63 But it does not follow, as some commentators maintain, that he ‘could not conceive of a truly multinational state.’64 He thinks in his Journal that ‘the principles underlying legislation’ in Russia must ‘pay heed to the character’ of its different nations and ‘their multiplicity’ by developing laws most appropriate to each of them.65 There is thus a significant difference between the kind of multi-dimensional and multi-cultural state Herder envisages and the uniform constitutionalism that has dominated modern conceptions of the state. The notion of ‘a republic within a larger state’ allows for the possibility of public recognition of semi-autonomous units with legal rights and distinctions, and opens the door to envisage co-sovereignty arrangements based on consent and cooperation for communities within multi-Volk states.

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Critics argue that a one-sided emphasis on difference can, however, also lead to the kind of ‘logic of identity’ where difference is seen as ‘otherness,’ which can in turn fuel the notion that different cultural groups have insufficient commonalities to reside together within the same territory. The state authority, by conferring rights on groups because they are different, may encourage an accentuation of those differences over the interdependence between groups. The fear that such public recognition of cultural difference will then lead to the break-up of existing states has been one of the strongest justifications for either suppressing or ignoring those differences – responses that history nevertheless shows are ultimately self-defeating. The problem lies, however, in the one-sided nature of both approaches, with the tendency to swing from one side of this either/or equation to the other.66 To be sure, Herder’s suggestion that cohesion in monolithic states can only be attained through force also arises from his view that a common cultural foundation is necessary to ensure sufficient social solidarity to create a strong public sphere. But he simultaneously accepts the ability of Völker to reside together within a larger state and the possibility for republics within a larger state jurisdiction. The main obstacle to achieving this arrangement lies in the desire for a centralized and unified state that one-sidedly seeks unity at the expense of diversity. The kind of respect for cultural diversity that arises in Herder’s thought, from his empathetic recognition that each group within a state needs linguistic and cultural security, has the potential to form a stronger basis for recognition of the rights of minority groups as units and therefore their non-coercive union within a larger state. Such a state may not have the same level of solidarity as a Volk, but mutual interest based on empathy can provide the basis for building cooperative relations from below in a non-despotic fashion. If Völker are going to build together, as Herder desires, and if legal rights are to be accorded to them, we need to search for shared values and identifications. There are signs in Europe that bilateral treaties based on common interests have been one of the more successful mechanisms for securing minority cultural rights. Once known for its chauvinism, more recently, Hungary’s concern for protecting its co-nationals in neighbouring countries has led to an increased recognition of the rights of cultural minorities within its own borders. Now that Hungary’s new constitution guarantees the right of its minorities to cultivate their own cultures, public recognition is being accorded to its various cultural minorities, who now have access to regular radio and television

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broadcasts as well as to first-language schooling in kindergarten and primary and secondary school. Also, an agreement signed by Hungary and Ukraine in May 1991 commits both countries to protect the linguistic, religious, and cultural distinctiveness of their minority groups.67 Although the 1996 Ukrainian constitution reconfirmed Ukrainian as the only official language of state and relegated Russian to minority status, state language policy in Ukraine guarantees the ‘free development of the Russian language, other regional or minority languages, the right to linguistic self-determination and language preferences of every individual.’68 The desire of these states to join the European Union has played an important part in counteracting the potential for them to pursue a narrow nationalism. But it has also arisen from their acknowledgment of the benefits that Herder points to when relations among Völker are conducted in a spirit of cooperation and empathy. All individuals have a common interest in the public recognition of their language and culture. A crucial balancing act undoubtedly needs to be performed if the fostering of the linguistic and cultural distinctiveness of one Volk is not to lead to the repression of the cultural needs of others within multi-Volk states. It would be a serious failure of respect for its internal cultural diversity if the government in Quebec, for example, were to force unwilling children from English-speaking families to attend French-speaking schools in accord with the French civic assimilation model. But it is a qualitatively different proposition for a democratically elected government, through the passage of Bill 101, to promote the linguistic and cultural survival of the Québécois community in schools attended by francophone children and children of immigrants.69 When commentators like Pierre Birnbaum point to the coercive nature of Bill 101 in comparison to an ‘American-style multiculturalism without territory,’70 they fail to acknowledge that American children and the children of immigrants in the United States are compelled for the most part by state provisions to take their schooling in English. While children of francophone and immigrant parents in Quebec are legally compelled to attend francophone public schools, their individual rights are no more violated than those of children in Australia or England, where English is the primary language of the education system. For Herder, the fact that Quebec lacks its own independent state is no basis for denying its unique historical and cultural distinctiveness and the right of its people to decide how best to secure its culture as a collective good for future generations.71 Failure to recognize its distinct status is, in fact, a serious

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failure of respect for Canada’s cultural diversity. And as Taylor further indicates, it is precisely a failure of public recognition that can fuel the desire of minorities to secede.72 Some commentators have charged the politics of recognition with exhibiting a crude essentialism. This criticism is misdirected.73 While a citizenship model of belonging need not require the grasp of a particular language, it is difficult to see how one would feel entirely French, as opposed to having legal status as a French citizen, without speaking French. In practice, most states do require an understanding of their established language, if not for citizenship, then for active public participation.74 Certain scripts are required in order for one to be a fully participating citizen, but it does not follow that there is one single oppressive way of being a German, or a Québécois. For both Herder and Taylor, self-authenticity requires that we not entirely discard or demean our cultural heritage. It is part of our personal identity and provides part of the necessary background that gives meaning to our lives. By denigrating our culture, we denigrate parts of our selves. What is not required is the reification of particular linguistic and cultural traditions or identities, for the principle of authenticity equally requires individuals to interpret for themselves the culture in which they are born and educated. The problem with secessionist movements is that in their mobilization of support they can degenerate precisely into the kind of narrow nationalism and exclusive patriotism that Herder abhors. Thus, despite the commitment of the independence movement in Quebec to an open, plural society, Taylor sensed a dynamic of exclusivity and narrowness harbouring beneath that might, if separation had occurred, have led to a less diverse community.75 Though careful to distinguish his thought from any form of aggressive nationalism, Herder certainly failed to perceive fully the dangers that lay ahead in the development of the modern state and its homogenizing tendencies as nationalism became transformed into a state ideology. We now know that the achievement of political autonomy in the form of an independent modern state by a Volk does not resolve all intercultural tensions and may worsen some. This need not lead us to denounce all claims for secession. Those suffering from cultural, economic, and political discrimination at the hands of a belligerent and oppressive state may have little alternative in the modern state system. Also, many states are the result of arbitrarily drawn divisions by previous colonial administrations that may have little real legitimacy from their citizens’ perspective. But if we are to

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avoid the dangers of an exclusive nationalism and thereby foster a reformed patriotism as Herder advocates, each movement for an independent state needs to be examined on its own merits in terms not only of a group’s grievances against current state arrangements but also in terms of its own inclusivity.76 The claim that the dangers of an exclusive nationalism are the logical consequence of Herder’s thought is seriously mistaken.77 Such dangers can just as readily, if not more so, be seen as a direct result of French republicanism with its civic model of assimilation. Although relatively successful in France in transforming unwilling Basque and Breton students into French speakers without generating violent resistance movements, the ideology of one official language per state has been an abject failure in many parts of the world.78 Contrary to popular misperceptions, such an ideology would only be acceptable within Herder’s framework if it were in fact the case that only one linguistic community resided within the state in question. His analysis alerts us precisely to the resentment and disunity that is generated by a sovereign’s failure to recognize the languages and rights of all cultural communities within multi-lingual and multi-cultural states; it also commits us to respect the internal cultural diversity within them. If we can move beyond the centralization of the modern bureaucratic state, as Herder advocates, and provide public recognition for the diverse cultural identities intermingling within its borders, we may well find far more productive solutions to the current dilemmas of the modern world. Although we may still not be ready historically for Herder’s ideal of a loose federation of communities ruled only by the law, there are signs in Europe that a more fluid conception of the state combined with increased regionalism has the potential to alleviate the nationalist tensions and ambitions of those cultural communities that lost out in the process of European state formation. As the modern state becomes less significant as a site for political and cultural autonomy, so too does the impetus for each Volk to have its own state. Indigenous Communities Arrangements that provide public recognition to different Völker within states exist in some parts of the world in relation to indigenous communities. In the United States, for example, in some respects a semi-autonomous status has been conferred on indigenous tribal

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communities. Thus the U.S. Supreme Court determined in regard to the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 that individual Native Americans must appeal to their tribal courts for both its interpretation and enforcement. In this respect, Native Americans remain citizens of the United States but are subject to the jurisdiction of their tribal courts within their own communities.79 For many liberals, however, the ability of such tribal courts to deny rights otherwise guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to members of their communities within their territorial jurisdiction is of significant concern. Despite, for example, the right to freedom of religion enshrined in the American Bill of Rights, federal courts declined to interfere in the case of Pueblo Indians who had converted to Christianity and were thereby denied communal resources such as housing benefits.80 Such discriminatory practices at an individual level have been justified on the grounds that as a theocracy, the Pueblo Indians view the ‘violation of religious norms . . . as literally threatening the survival of the entire community.’81 While clearly there are Pueblo Indians with different views, those members of the Pueblo community who identify their culture with their traditional religion might well experience intense anguish in accommodating different religious practices within their midst. They may also fear that exposure to alternative religious values might lead others to forsake their traditional practices and result in irrevocable changes in the laws and customs of their community. But cultural claims are not unquestioned in Herder’s thought, and it is possible that some of the fears of the Pueblo Indians were unfounded. A community need not disintegrate unless it is unable to accommodate the values of its members and adapt to new conditions. The narrative constructed by the Pueblo majority is also exclusive. Just treatment, for Herder, demands that individuals have the right to interpret particular cultural practices for themselves. But if some Protestants ‘chose to withdraw from certain communal functions’ that in lieu of taxation they were expected to perform in order to be considered full members of the community and entitled to use the community’s goods, the situation is further complicated.82 Individual rights do not take precedence in Herder’s theory to the neglect of one’s obligations to contribute to one’s community. An interpretative approach can only guide us to take full account of the particular context before weighing up these conflicting rights and duties. Membership issues have also been at the forefront of disputes in Canada. Strategies to prevent overpopulation on indigenous reserves

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have resulted in the loss of membership status for indigenous women who marry non-indigenous men. As indigenous men who marry nonindigenous women do not face similar exclusion, the kind of gender equality that is now guaranteed in most liberal-democratic states has been sacrificed in the interests of the community as a whole.83 The issues raised by this example are complex, and as Avigail Eisenberg argues, a rights-based approach where the issues are framed in terms of a stark choice between women’s equality rights and collective cultural rights ‘obscures the fact that devising legitimate solutions in any context requires that we pay very close attention to the traditions, beliefs and histories of the groups involved.’84 While we have seen that Herder rejects a non-contextualized rights-based approach, the fact that expulsion from the community is not applied equally to men who marry non-indigenous women is a clear violation of his principle of justice. Furthermore, penalizing people who are born into a community due to their interaction with members of other communities promotes an exclusionary isolationism that he rejects. Just because something forms a practice within a community does not on Herder’s theory make it either just or humane. But these sexist membership rules were, in fact, imposed on Aboriginal communities by the Canadian government.85 Although they have been subsequently defended by many Aboriginal organizations, historically the liberal state’s record in protecting individual rights is far from superior. The question thus begs to be asked concerning the appropriate arena to resolve these issues. It will be recalled that Herder’s principle of self-determination involves the notion of non-interference. Freedom for communities and their individual members requires that they make their own decisions and mistakes. Yet self-government is a matter of dispute also among indigenous people. To prevent gender discrimination, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) sought external review of Aboriginal self-government by requesting that the decisions of Aboriginal bands be made subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The problem, however, is that this request conforms to the kind of individualistic pursuit of rights at the expense of the community’s general welfare that Herder could not cogently support. The issue is not that he places priority on community rights over individual rights. The NWAC’s proposal would have effectively prevented their own future ability as women to participate in an autonomous community by institutionalizing a relationship whereby Aboriginal communities would be dependent for their authority upon

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the approval of external institutions. Fulfilment of their request would have perpetuated colonial control over matters of internal concern by subjecting Aboriginal governments to laws imposed from above without their consent.86 For Herder, indigenous communities are distinct Völker with a moral right to self-determination that can take the form of them possessing their own republic with legal rights within the larger Canadian state. Their status as Völker means that relations between Aboriginal communities and the Canadian state need to be conducted on the basis of cooperation and mutual consent between equal partners in the same way that the Canadian state expects other ‘nation-states’ to treat it. This is the case, for example, for the three regions in Belgium. Each region is recognized as an autonomous unit with its own powers invested in it and guaranteed by the Constitution to the point that it possesses the legal power to conduct its own foreign relations. Power at the level of the state over matters such as social security and national defence is simultaneously shared as a consequence of these communities being members of a wider multi-Volk state.87 Importantly, autonomy is not relinquished to a higher and separate power over internal matters in each community, as would be the case if the U.S. or Canadian Supreme Courts remained the arbitrator of indigenous disputes. In a multi-Volk state model, complete sovereignty for the Canadian state so that it has ultimate control over all matters within its territorial region without the consent of its indigenous communities is inappropriate. Similarly, seeing collective rights to land and hunting in indigenous communities in the form of ‘special rights,’ as Kymlicka refers to them, assumes that the ultimate standard of judgment lies with the kind of individual rights embodied in the Canadian Charter from which exemptions have been allowed.88 Equal respect for indigenous communities as distinct Völker requires that jurisdiction be shared and that the powers invested in their communities to make laws over local matters be guaranteed equal status to those of the Canadian state. That Herder is critical of practices within communities that violate just treatment and harm others yet simultaneously upholds the principle of non-interference nevertheless opens him to many of the criticisms made against Kymlicka, in sliding from a critical stance based on liberal principles to a strong variant of multiculturalism. According to Ayelet Shachar and Brian Barry, the principle of non-interference is insupportable, for it defers to a group’s traditions even when those

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traditions entail systematic violations of individuals’ rights, leaving open to abuse the most vulnerable members of the group, such as women and children.89 Yet current disputes over membership are not, as Shachar suggests, necessarily or simply the result of adherence to a ‘group’s established traditions’ that are not subject to public deliberation.90 Audra Simpson shows how the practice of the Mohawks of Kahnawake to require Kahnawakero:non ‘to marry another person who has at least 50 per cent Indian blood’ has been subject to considerable internal debate and disputed on the grounds of their far more inclusive, traditional Iroquois practices.91 Moreover, it is difficult to argue cogently for interference in indigenous communities on the basis of the prevention of harm, given the enormous harm inflicted on members of those communities as a consequence of intervention by the states in question. In Herder’s thought, it is precisely this radical harm that justifies the principle of non-intervention.92 But we also do not need to interpret Herder’s principle of noninterference to mean that communities are self-regarding, isolated entities, as Young understands the traditional concept of state sovereignty.93 If we take seriously both Herder’s idea of a republic within a larger state and his conception of monads as interacting entities, jurisdiction within multi-Volk states will necessarily be shared and the histories of each republic intimately intertwined. Those who are excluded – for example, from Aboriginal communities – still possess an automatic right as Canadian citizens to live within the state’s jurisdiction. The question is therefore not whether the Supreme Court of Canada or Aboriginal communities ought to have sole decision-making power, for both Aboriginal communities and the Canadian state are necessarily involved. If a spirit of cooperation is to be promoted, it follows that issues affecting both parties need to be addressed at intergovernmental forums where negotiations and compromises can be sought through dialogue.94 Given that these laws disproportionately affect women, a strong case exists to include female representatives. If Aboriginal communities fail to do so, the state still has an interest in ensuring female representation. Due to the discriminatory nature of the membership rules, more indigenous women and their children will, for example, require services from the state apart from those provided to Aboriginal communities.95 Nor can the problem of overcrowding on Canadian reserves be divorced from the context that it is one of the many legacies of the usurping of indigenous lands by the Canadian state. The state is, therefore, just as responsible for helping find far more effective solutions in partnership

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with Aboriginal communities than the discriminatory rules it originally imposed upon them. It may still be objected that Herder’s principle of non-interference could not allow a level of cooperation that would limit a Volk’s sole autonomy over such internal matters as community membership. If the Canadian state is unwilling to provide a more effective solution to the problem it originally created, it may well be legitimate for it to lose any jurisdiction over the matter. But in principle, a cooperative attempt to arrive at a solution over a seemingly internal matter can be justified on Herder’s theory, and not only because he encourages cooperation in external relations among distinct Völker. As Andrew Sharp argues with respect to the Pakeha and Maori communities in New Zealand, there is a sense in which these communities are also one people.96 Herder is very aware that communities change over time. Indigenous communities have been significantly altered through colonial practices, and we cannot engage in an ahistorical essentialism that imposes an idealized picture of pre-contact conditions onto present communities.97 To indicate commonalities among these Völker is not to justify a set of homogenizing policies or to suggest that we should ignore the dominance of the Pakeha community over the Maori people. It is fundamental to the principle of respect for cultural diversity that such communities are understood as being different in important ways and as distinct Völker with legal rights accorded to them. But, as Herder insists, we cannot attempt to restore an idealized past. Historical circumstances have dictated that the members of the Pakeha and Maori communities have shared the same territory, have certain historical recollections in common, and in some cases have intermarried and learned each other’s languages. A unity is thus present that cannot be simplistically condemned as an unnatural aberration that has been imposed coercively from above in the way that Herder describes the despotic and tyrannical nature of the Roman and Persian empires. Rather, a certain unity has also emerged due to the shared experiences and common history of these peoples. Just as certain matters that arise within indigenous communities affect the wider state with which they share jurisdiction, indigenous peoples also have an interest in the state in which they are citizens. In public recognition both of their unique historical position as the prior inhabitants of their homeland and of the non-consensual imposition upon them of a minority position within a majoritarian democratic system, a strong case exists for their inclusion in the state’s main

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legislative body through reserved seating. In New Zealand, for example, rather than the state granting only delegated or negotiated power to the Maori constituency, seats are now reserved for Maori Members of Parliament depending on the numbers who voluntary join the Maori electoral list.98 Inclusion at the highest level of government recognizes indigenous peoples as partners sharing jurisdiction. It also provides the opportunity to include the interests not only of those tribal members enjoying forms of Aboriginal self-government on their traditional lands but also those who have been dispossessed and live in urban areas. Such inclusion requires that we recognize, as Herder does in the case of the Hebrew people in the eighteenth century, that a shared territory is not necessary for people to constitute a Volk. It further requires we appreciate that communities and cultural identities are not static entities. While land and community rights are crucial in the attainment of indigenous justice, they do not resolve many of the issues that indigenous peoples confront today. In New Zealand, for example, over 80 per cent of Maori live in urban areas and many no longer identify in their everyday lives with traditional tribal ways. For Herder, though, an authentic self is one that is true to one’s self, not one that conforms to one way of being Maori.99 In the case of long-standing communities, the argument that reserved seating fixes identities is misplaced. The point is precisely the public recognition of the unique status of a community both as a separate and distinct people and as a partner that shares jurisdiction within a single state.100 The Australian federated structure, for example, is based on the union of the six original colonies whereby twelve senators represent each of the six states and two senators represent each of the two territories in the upper house. To extend this system to include twelve senators representing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities would be no more fixing of their identity than the current system fixes the identity of South Australians. Nor should indigenous senators be confined to voting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, any more than South Australians are confined to voting on issues pertaining only to that state.101 The idea that indigenous peoples do not have an interest in wider state issues pertaining, for example, to defence, immigration, or the environment – as any South Australian does – ignores their co-membership in the Australian state. Although it might be objected in the Australian case that the Aboriginal community is composed of a diverse and ‘large range of smaller groups with distinct

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languages, histories and cultural practices,’102 historical circumstances have also dictated that to some extent they have developed a sense of solidarity as a single Volk.103 Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders each, for example, possess their own flag, and while this distinction means that greater diversity would exist in an indigenous constituency than in those based on a single former colony, such diversity reconfirms that there is no fixed or single identity that indigenous representation is meant to mirror. Rather, its purpose lies in the public recognition of the kind of multiple and fluid but not boundless identities that have developed due to the unique historical circumstances in multi-Volk states. Conclusion To be sure, Herder does not examine the implications of our multiple identities in the way that many contemporary theorists are doing in response to our current historical condition of living in modern, multicultural states. Yet Herder acknowledges the heterogeneity of the total culture of communities and that the subgroups within them form cultures that are distinct from the community’s culture as a whole. As individuals are born into a particular linguistic and cultural community, their identities are not boundless; yet at the same time, individuals have an array of influences upon them that they each interpret for themselves. He also recognizes that in historical situations where different peoples intermingle within a state, just treatment requires the public recognition of their diverse cultural identities. This does not mean that every local community requires its own sovereign state. He allows for the possibility of republics with rights accorded to them residing within larger states. Further drawing on the Mosaic Constitution and the peace treaty between the Delaware and Iroquois in North America, Herder envisages a loose federation of local communities that relate in a spirit of cooperation. His principle of non-interference means that each community ought to be autonomous and not subject to the imposition of non-consensual laws from above, but not that they be isolated and self-contained entities. Relations conducted in a spirit of cooperation are mutually beneficial. The precise type of political association and the particular forms of public recognition that are appropriate are, however, dependent on the specific environmental, cultural, and historical circumstances of each community. There is not one form of government suited to all times and places.

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In the modern world we thus need to develop political structures that suit our own unique times. In this chapter I have attempted to show how Herder’s general principles can nevertheless guide us in formulating our responses to some of the issues raised by the particular circumstances in different multi-cultural states. Contemporary theorists have begun to grasp his insight concerning the radical harm inflicted on individuals who face cultural oppression, along with his call for good governance to combine unity with diversity. This does not mean that cultural issues are the only important ones facing us today. But it does mean that those interested in justice, freedom, and equality can no longer ignore the important role that the language and culture in which we are born and educated plays in the formation of our personal identity and in our sense of security and belonging in a community. As complex entities, all cultures have their negative and positive features, and none is above criticism for its individual practices. The culture of our community nonetheless forms part of the important background that gives meaning to our lives. Public recognition of the diversity of cultural identities in modern states enhances both the sense of belonging felt by individuals and their sense of security in being accepted for who they are. In committing us to abandon both the civic model of assimilation and our sense of superiority toward other Völker, Herder’s universal principle of respect for cultural diversity has the potential to offer us far more productive ways to respond to the cultural pluralism of modern times.

Conclusion

Herder’s thought displays a richness and subtlety that with some notable exceptions has been inadequately appreciated in the AngloAmerican tradition. There are now sufficient translations from which it is possible to obtain a far richer grasp of the complexity of his ideas, but there is still considerable work that needs to be done in this regard. This lack is itself indicative of the relatively scant scholarly attention paid in the English-speaking world to one of Germany’s most important thinkers of the eighteenth century. Despite the general acknowledgment of his profound influence on the development of a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, particularly in the field of politics it has often been his fate to be stereotyped, derided, and mocked as the epitome of all that is wrong with nationalism. The view of Herder as a rabid nationalist has been so firmly entrenched that any positive evaluation of his thought can, at times, provoke intense hostility. Since the recent, pluralist turn in Anglo-American political theory, there has been far greater willingness to recognize Herder as one of the first thinkers in the Western tradition to appreciate the importance of cultural diversity for our conceptions of justice. The extent to which an individual’s identity and interests are tied to his or her particular culture; what it means for people to belong to a particular cultural community; the extent to which people can be seen as ‘free agents’ wholly independent of the community in which they are born and educated; and whether people have a legitimate claim to demand the preservation of their language and culture, are all issues at the heart of both Herder’s political philosophy and contemporary debates. There nevertheless remains considerable scope for contemporary theorists to appreciate better his particular approach to these issues.

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Herder scholars have always acknowledged his cosmopolitanism, enormous empathy for the oppressed, and great love of humanity in all its diversity. Yet this appreciation was hampered until recently by a failure to grasp the full implications of his radical anti-dualism for his philosophical thought. Faced with the intense difficulty of neatly fitting his thought into the dualistic categories inherited from ‘the Enlightenment,’ Herder’s commentators often concluded that his thought was contradictory. It is now well recognized that Herder is far from an unsystematic thinker. Nor did he ever reject many of the universal values associated with ‘the Enlightenment’ in favour of a relativist conception of truth. Rather than sliding from one side of a dichotomy to another, Herder’s project is the far more complex and difficult one of attempting to reconcile the universal with the particular without collapsing either into the other. I have further shown that his universals go beyond the factual universals in Berlin’s strong pluralism by containing a clear normative dimension. This means that his thought is most appropriately understood in terms of a weak pluralism that combines a ‘thin’ universal morality with his sustained attention to cultural and historical particularity. I have argued that central to Herder’s pluralism and his conception of culture is his expressivist theory of language. It is impossible to grasp fully the subtlety of his thought without an understanding of his linguistic holism. Herder sees opposites not in a dichotomous sense as mutually exclusive categories but rather as interdependent, with each endowing the other with meaning. This holism permeates his entire work. He therefore consistently attempts in his moral and political thought to give equal emphasis to what have traditionally been seen as antagonistic opposites. To emphasize unity to the neglect of diversity, the individual over the community, rights over duties, or vice versa, is, for Herder, to abstract from the reality of their mutual dependence. Rather than a one-sided emphasis on the one to the neglect of the other, Herder continually aims for a synthesis and balance between what are commonly and mistakenly seen as opposites. He is thus no champion of community over individual rights, nor is he an essentialist as opposed to a non-essentialist; he is both simultaneously. From his perspective, such dichotomous categories fail to capture the complexity of human existence. Thus while Herder remains indebted to his Enlightenment predecessors, his thought also marks a potentially radical undermining of the dichotomous thinking characteristic of ‘the Enlightenment’ legacy.

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Although Kant attempts to reconcile rationalism and empiricism, his thought is imbued with a dualistic separation of reason and emotion that Herder rejects. The empiricists and rationalists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries also increasingly came to recognize the close connection between language and cognition. Yet they continued to see language in representational terms as a tool for communicating ideas and feelings that are fully formed prior to articulation. By rejecting the very possibility of non-symbolic thought, Herder pre-empts the externalism of twentieth-century philosophy and recognizes that language shapes our consciousness. Yet Herder’s holism goes well beyond that contained in analytical philosophy with its continued adherence to the notion that x is not –x. For Herder, human powers do not exist in isolation but are continually interacting. No strict divides exist among the senses, thought, and language. Nor is there any sharp separation in his thought between the literal and the poetic. It is thus thinkers outside the analytic tradition such as the later Wittgenstein, Collingwood, Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Taylor whom I have shown to be more recent intellectual heirs of many of the ideas in Herder’s philosophy of language. For political theorists, the particular importance of Herder’s expressivism lies in its foundational role for those factors he takes as meaningful in accounting for social life. It is crucial, for his move toward a situated conception of the self as language assumes a far greater philosophical significance when its acquisition is no longer seen in terms of merely learning a useful tool that is external to our selves. In learning to speak, we become incorporated into a specific linguistic community with a unique history, culture, and world view. We acquire a particular cognitive horizon and cultural interpretation of the world that penetrates deeply into us and against which we define who we are. Herder is thus able to appreciate the loss that is inflicted on those peoples who face linguistic and cultural domination by others. The suppression of a people’s language and lack of public recognition have the potential to inflict actual harm that goes well beyond the inconvenience of having to learn another language. While Herder radically reconceptualizes consciousness as linguistically bounded, the dynamic nature of his theory means that this social embeddedness does not render us passive receivers of a uniform culture. In drawing a number of links between Herder’s thought and the holistic individualism characteristic of those thinkers labelled as communitarian in the 1980s, I have also sought to challenge a number of misperceptions in the ‘liberal–communitarian’ debate of that

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time. Foremost among them is the general failure of critics to grasp the dynamic and fluid conception of culture and traditions contained in the German hermeneutic tradition. Herder’s expressivism has both a subjective and an objective dimension. Our language and culture are always to a certain extent out beyond us, in part because we are born into a community with a pre-established linguistic structure and cultural heritage. Yet as soon as we recognize that they are also social practices in which we participate, and which we create and interpret for ourselves, the question whether we ought to participate is introduced. Human beings possess an innate capacity to examine and choose, and no two individuals possess precisely the same sensory perceptions. Since cultures are far from homogeneous entities in Herder’s theory, I have shown that he is able to provide us with an account of the self as both situated and critical. It is rarely recognized in the Anglo-American tradition that Herder is cognizant of the diversity existing within any given community. Nor, as is often assumed, does he have a desire to eradicate this diversity through cultural isolation or a linguistic and cultural purism. Few characterizations could, in fact, be more inaccurate. Herder’s contribution to political thought is to delegitimize the centralizing and homogenizing forces characteristic of the institution of the modern state and modern nationalism. He commits us to respect and honour the cultural diversity within existing states. The balancing of diversity and unity is the central principle of his notion of good governance. It has therefore been a major contention of this book that Herder’s thought must be distinguished from all forms of aggressive nationalism in a way that reflects his universal principle of respect for cultural diversity and his cosmopolitan promotion of a transnational empathy between Völker. It is also distinct from the assimilation drive and homogeneity evident in French republicanism and Miller’s liberal nationalism. Herder’s views instead have far more in common with the recent wave of multicultural thinkers. This may not have been surprising to those theorists already aware of Taylor and Dallmayr’s admiration for his work, but it does require some qualification. Herder was one of the first thinkers to grapple seriously and sympathetically with cultural pluralism, so it is hardly surprising that his thought contains certain tensions. Some of his claims about specific cultures in his historical works can be challenged empirically and others might offend modern sensibilities. However, just as multiculturalists urge us to employ empathy as a methodology in our comparative studies of different cultures,

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our appreciation of the complexity and subtlety of the works written by the philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is equally enhanced with this approach. Herder challenges in radical ways many of the assumptions of his contemporaries; yet he, too, is situated in his time, when comparative cultural and linguistic studies were in their infancy. Thus, as with the insights contained in the work of other past thinkers, the continued relevance of his thought requires us to adopt a reinterpretative approach to his general principles. Due to common misperceptions, however, it is important to emphasize that Herder’s respect for cultural traditions does not make him a conservative. Central to his theory is the recognition of the dynamic, changeable nature of history, language, and culture, as well as a focus on the importance of our ability to adapt to new circumstances. Nor, as a republican, does he ignore the conditions that he thinks are most conducive to individual self-realization. Fundamental to his political thought is the desire to eliminate oppression, and in many respects he was one of the most progressive thinkers of his age. But while Herder recognizes the vital importance of overcoming economic and political oppression, his particular contribution to Western ethical and political thought lies in his additional inclusion of the elimination of cultural oppression as a fundamental issue of justice. The fact that he does so without succumbing to an incoherent and politically conservative cultural relativism is due to the way his original and philosophically fertile expressivism informs his ontology, moral pluralism, and historical method. Herder’s radical anti-dualism means that his sustained attention to the particular is combined with the minimal, universal principles contained in his concept of Humanität. While many of his insights have played a significant role in recent debates in political philosophy, his position will not accord with all those who place value on culture. Nevertheless, in my view, the richness of Herder’s general approach to these issues still has much to offer those grappling with cultural diversity. Whatever one’s position in the contemporary debates, it is no longer possible to ignore Herder’s central insight concerning the significant relationship between cultural membership and individual identity. Without it, the linguistic and cultural-political struggles of peoples throughout the world can barely be comprehended, much less resolved. It is thus high time that Herder’s role as one of the most significant intellectual predecessors of what has become an important strand in contemporary social and political theory be, at the very least, fully acknowledged and appreciated.

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Notes

Introduction 1 Andrew Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1. 2 For example, Andreas Herz, Dunkler Spiegel – Helles Dasein: Natur, Geschichte, Kunst im Werk Johann Gottfried Herder (Heidelberg: Winter, 1996), 74. For a negative assessment of Herder as anticipating a number of postmodern ideas, see Brian J. Whitton, ‘Herder’s Critique of the Enlightenment: Cultural Community versus Cosmopolitan Rationalism,’ History and Theory 27, no. 2 (1998): 146–68. 3 Robert E. Norton, ‘The Myth of the Counter-Enlightenment,’ Journal of the History of Ideas 86, no. 4 (2007): 635–58; Sankar Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 210; Benjamin W. Redekop, Enlightenment and Community: Lessing, Abbt, Herder, and the Quest for a German Public (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000), 173. 4 Steven Lestition, ‘Countering, Transposing, or Negating the Enlightenment? A Response to Robert Norton,’ Journal of the History of Ideas 68, no. 4 (2007): 659–81 at 670–1. See also the essays in Joseph Mali and Robert Wokler, eds., Isaiah Berlin’s Counter-Enlightenment, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 93 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2003). 5 Isaiah Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ in Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, vol. 2, ed. Philip P. Wiener (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973), 100–12 at 109. The essay is reprinted in Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 1–24, which was first published by Hogarth, 1979.

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6 Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ 107. 7 Hence, Christoph Bultmann is also critical of Berlin for claiming that Herder ‘sowed the seeds of nationalism,’ as is Samson B. Knoll. See Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ 105–6; Christoph Bultmann, ‘Die Urgeschichte in Herders Geschichtsphilosophie. Anmerkungen zur Sache nach den Ursprüngen des Nationalismus,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 387–94; Samson B. Knoll, ‘Herders Nationalismus: Debatte ohne Ende,’ in ibid., 239–48 at 246. 8 Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ 100–12. For a rebuttal of the view that Herder is an ‘irrationalist,’ see Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke, ‘Introduction,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 1–13 at 7–10; Michael Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought: Unity and Diversity in On Diligence in Several Learned Languages (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1989), 23. Ulrich Gaier argues that Herder provides an ‘irrationalistic complement’ to Kant and a ‘rationalistic compliment’ to Hamann, but the use of the term ‘irrational’ to describe Hamann’s thought is also problematic. It is a term that Berlin consistently applies to Hamann, if not to Herder. See Ulrich Gaier, ‘Der frühe Herder,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder (hereafter Herder, throughout this volume), Frühe Schriften, 1764–1772, ed. Ulrich Gaier, vol. 1 of Werke in zehn Bänden, ed. Günter Arnold et al. (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassik Verlag, 1985), 813–32 at 816–19; Isaiah Berlin, The Magus of the North: J.G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism, ed. Henry Hardy (London: John Murray, 1993). For a critique of the classification of Hamann as an irrationalist, see Andrew Bowie, Introduction to German Philosophy: From Kant to Habermas (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), 43–50. 9 Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: Chatto and Windus, 1980), 153–5. See also Adler and Koepke, ‘Introduction,’ 5; Karl Menges, ‘Particular Universals: Herder on National Literature, Popular Literature, and World Literature,’ in A Companion, 189–213 at 205–7; Elías Palti, ‘The “Metaphor of Life”: Herder’s Philosophy of History and Uneven Developments in Late Eighteenth-Century Natural Sciences,’ History and Theory 38, no. 3 (1999): 322–47; Ernst Behler, ‘Historismus und Modernitätsbewusstsein in Herders Schrift Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menschheit,’ Études Germaniques 49 ( July–September 1994): 267–84; Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges,

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10

11

12

13 14

15

trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 1–25 at 19; Robert E. Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 1–2; Hans Adler, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder’s Concept of Humanity,’ Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 23 (1994): 55–74; Hans Adler, ‘Herders Holismus,’ in Herder Today: Contributions from the International Herder Conference, 5–8 November 1987, ed. Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1990), 31–45; Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought; Michael Maurer, ‘Die Geschichtsphilosophie des jungen Herder in ihrem Verhältnis zur Aufklärung,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder, 1744–1803, ed. Gerhard Sauder (Hamburg: Meiner, 1987), 141–55; Charles Taylor, Hegel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 16–18, 21–4. Jonathan Israel, Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man, 1670–1752 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006); Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire, 1–2, 210, 260–6. See also Jonathan Israel, ‘Enlightenment! Which Enlightenment!?’ Journal of the History of Ideas 67, no. 3 (2006): 523–45. Keith Michael Baker and Peter Hanns Reill, ‘Introduction,’ in What’s Left of Enlightenment: A Postmodern Question, ed. Keith Michael Baker and Peter Hanns Reill (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), 1–4. See also the essays in Daniel Gordon, ed., Postmodernism and the Enlightenment: New Perspectives in Eighteenth-Century French Intellectual History (New York and London: Routledge, 2001); James Schmidt, ‘The Legacy of the Enlightenment,’ Philosophy and Literature 26 (2002): 432–42. For recent examples of this interpretation of Berlin’s term, see Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire, 210; Norton, ‘The Myth of the CounterEnlightenment’; Redekop, Enlightenment and Community, 173n13. Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics, ix. Compare Berlin, Vico and Herder, 206–9, with Isaiah Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism in Eighteenth-Century Thought,’ in The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (London: John Murray, 1990), 70–90. Vico and Herder was first published in 1976 and has most recently been republished in the unfortunately titled Three Critics of the Enlightenment: Vico, Hamann, Herder, ed. Henry Hardy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). ‘Alleged Relativism’ first appeared as ‘Note on Alleged Relativism in Eighteenth-Century Thought,’ British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 3 (1980): 89–106. Wulf Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 94–8; Karl Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit”: The Meaning of “Meaning” in Herder,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and

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Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 157–75 at 159. Recent scholars do not, however, accept the traditional, derisory dismissal of the Metakritik ‘as remaining behind the critical revolution in a hopelessly anachronistic position.’ See Marion Heinz and Heinrich Clairmont, ‘Herder’s Epistemology,’ in A Companion, 43–64 at 53. On its reception recently, see Heinrich Clairmont, ‘ “Metaphysik ist Metaphysik”: Aspekte der Herderschen Kant-Kritik,’ in Idealismus und Aufklärung: Kontinuität und Kritik der Aufklärung in Philosophie und Poesie um 1800, ed. Christoph Jamme and Gerhard Kurz (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1988), 179–200. 16 Edward W. Said, ‘Preface [2003],’ in Orientalism (London: Penguin, 2003), xviii. In the main text first published in 1978, Said claims that the method of empathetic identification developed by Vico and Herder was a crucial element in the development of Orientalism, as evident, for example, in Napoleon’s use of such identification. See Said, Orientalism, 118. 17 Brett Bowden, ‘The Ebb and Flow of Peoples, Ideas, and Innovations in the River,’ in Western Political Thought in Dialogue with Asia, ed. Takashi Shogimen and Cary Nederman (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009), 87–107 at 94–5. The issue of chauvinism is, however, a very complex one in the case of many eighteenth-century thinkers. See Vicki A. Spencer, ‘Viewing Islam through Enlightenment Eyes,’ in ibid., 109–34; Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire; J.J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter between Asian and Western Thought (London and New York: Routledge, 1997). 18 Norton’s article in History of Ideas sparked an intense debate with Steven Lestition’s response, and Norton’s reply. But while Lestition makes many valid points in Berlin’s defence, Norton begins with a striking example of the kind of derogatory portrait of Herder arising from the popular image of him as an anti-rationalist, Counter-Enlightenment thinker – an image that is all too depressingly familiar to Herder scholars. Lestition, moreover, defends Berlin’s categories by pointing to other recent scholars who find them useful, such as Liah Greenfeld. But it is precisely the kind of mistaken image that Greenfeld promotes of Herder as a Romantic with a direct line to German nationalism that is so problematic. See Norton, ‘The Myth of the Counter-Enlightenment,’ 635–37; Lestition, ‘Countering, Transposing, or Negating the Enlightenment?’ 662; Robert E. Norton, ‘Isaiah Berlin’s “Expressionism,” or: “Ha! Du bist das Blöckende!” ’ Journal of History of Ideas 86, no. 4 (2007): 339–47; Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), chapter 4. See also Robert E. Norton, ‘Die anglo-amerikanische HerderRezeption: “Gegenaufklärung” und ihre Befürworter,’ in Vom Selbstdenken:

Notes to pages 6–8 225

19 20

21

22

23

24

25

26 27 28

Aufklärung und Aufklärungskritik in Herders ‘Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit,’ ed. Regine Otto and John H. Zammito (Heidelberg: Synchron, 2001), 215–21. Fred R. Dallmayr, Alternative Visions: Paths in the Golden Village (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998). Fred R. Dallmayr, ‘Comparative Political Theory: What Is It Good For?’ in Western Political Thought, 13–25; ‘Beyond Monologue: For a Comparative Political Theory,’ Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 2 (2004): 249–57; ‘Introduction: Toward a Comparative Political Theory,’ Review of Politics 59, no. 3 (Summer 1997): 421–7. Hans Adler and Ernest A. Menze, ‘Introduction – On the Way to World History: Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder, On World History: An Anthology, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest A. Menze, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 3–19 at 15–18. Redekop, Enlightenment and Community, 170–1, 173, 186. On Hume and Kant, see Heinz and Clairmont, ‘Herder’s Epistemology,’ 43–7. For a reevaluation of Kant and Herder’s relationship, see John H. Zammito, Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002). On Spinoza, see F. MacEachern, The Life and Philosophy of Johann Gottfried Herder (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939), 38–9, 75–81. On Spinoza, Leibniz, and Shaftesbury, see Rudolf Haym, Herder nach seinem Leben und seinen Werken [1875–85], rev. ed., vol. 2 (Berlin: Aufbau–Verlag, 1958), esp. 296–332. Herder, ‘Briefe zu Beförderung der Humanität’ [1793–7],’ (hereafter Humanitätsbriefe), in Sämmtliche Werke, vol. 18 of 33 vols. (hereafter SW), ed. Bernhard Suphan, Carl Redlich, and Reinhold Steig (Berlin: Weidmann’sche Buchhandlung, 1877–1913), 3rd reprint as Sämtliche Werke (Hildesheim: Olms, 1994–95), 237–46; Herder, Briefe zu Beförderung der Humanität, ed. Hans Dietrich Irmscher, vol. 7 of Werke in zehn Bänden, ed. Günter Arnold et al. (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1991), 689–97. Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ 104. See also Berlin, Vico and Herder, 148. Berlin concedes that ‘Herder makes an exception for Diderot.’ Berlin, ‘The Counter-Enlightenment,’ 106. Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 392n1; Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 246n234; Werke in zehn Bänden vol. 7, 696n234. Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire, 153–4. Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 20–1. Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire, 288.

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29 Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 20. 30 Alasdair McIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth, 1981), esp. 51–78. 31 This essay was not published during his lifetime. Herder, ‘Versuch Über das Sein,’ in Frühe Schriften, 1764–1772, ed. Ulrich Gaier, vol. 1 of 10 vols, Werke in zehn Bänden, 9. Also see Ulrich Gaier’s ‘Stellenkommentar,’ in ibid., 850–1328 at 852, 981, 1126; on Hamann arguing that Herder did not heed Aristotle sufficiently in his Abhandlung, see John R. Betz, After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J.G. Hamann (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 149–55. 32 Taylor, Hegel, 15–18, 22–4. Taylor acknowledges other streams within ‘the Enlightenment’ on the issue of nature and the existence of radical and moderate streams. See ibid., 10, 23n1. 33 Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of the Good (London and New York: Routledge, 1970). 34 Charles Taylor, ‘Cross-Purposes: The Liberal–Communitarian Debate,’ in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 159–82 at 163. 35 Will Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 53–7; Amy Gutmann, ‘Communitarian Critics of Liberalism,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (1985): 308–22 at 317; Elizabeth Frazer and Nicola Lacey, The Politics of Community: A Feminist Critique of the Liberal–Communitarian Debate (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993), 152. 36 On modern communitarians, see Georgia Warnke, ‘Feminism and Hermeneutics,’ Hypatia 8, no. 1 (1993): 81–93; Justice and Interpretation (Cambridge and Cambridge, MA: Polity Press and MIT Press, 1992). 37 Stephen Holmes, ‘The Permanent Structure of Anti-Liberal Thought,’ in Liberalism and the Moral Life, 227–53 at 227–9; Alan Ryan, ‘Liberalism,’ in A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, ed. Robert Goodin and Philip Pettit (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1993), 291–311 at 292; Philip Pettit, Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 120. 38 Charles Taylor, ‘From Philosophical Anthropology to the Politics of Recognition: An Interview with Charles Taylor,’ Thesis Eleven 52, no. 1 (1998): 103–12 at 109. 39 Ian Hacking, Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975); Hans Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure: Essays on the Study of Language and Intellectual History (London: Athlone, 1982); Quentin Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes

Notes to pages 10–11

40 41 42 43

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(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Hannah Dawson, Locke, Language, and Early-Modern Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 4. For example, Kate Terezakis, The Immanent Word: The Turn to Language in German Philosophy, 1759–1801 (New York and London: Routledge, 2007). Dawson, Locke, Language, 98. Norton, ‘Isaiah Berlin’s “Expressionism,” ’ 339–47; Berlin, Vico and Herder, 153; Taylor, Hegel, 13. Berlin first used the term in his essay ‘Herder and the Enlightenment,’ in Aspects of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Earl R. Wasserman (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965), 47–104, which was later revised for Vico and Herder. Sabina Lovibond, Realism and Imagination in Ethics (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983); ‘Collingwood on Language and Subjectivity,’ working paper (unpublished, January 1989). Charles Taylor, ‘The Importance of Herder,’ in Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration, ed. Edna Margalit and Avishai Margalit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 40–63; Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), Part III. Kate Terezakis criticizes Taylor’s H-H-H designation for omitting Lessing. See Terezakis, The Immanent Word, 7–9. Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Deutsche Dichter des 18. Jahrhunderts, ed. Benno von Wiese (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1979), 524–50 at 532. Stanley Rosen, Nihilism: A Philosophical Essay (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969), xiii, xvii–xix. For an examination of the ethical implications of Wittgenstein’s later work, see Lovibond, Realism and Imagination. Heidegger’s political associations with the Nazi movement are well known, but he explicitly denied the existence of a social mission in his philosophy. For a discussion of these issues and an analysis that indicates a number of political implications to his work, see Karsten Harries, ‘Heidegger as a Political Thinker,’ in Heidegger and Modern Philosophy: Critical Essays, ed. Michael Murray (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), 304–28. See also Christopher Rickey, Revolutionary Saints: Heidegger, National Socialism, and Antinomian Politics (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2002); the essays in Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg, eds., Martin Heidegger and the Holocaust (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1996); Russell Arben Fox, ‘Herder’s Theory of Language and the Metaphysics of National Community,’ Review of Politics 65, no. 2 (2003): 237–62 at 259–62.

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49 According to Gadamer and Arendt, logos was commonly misinterpreted as referring exclusively to reason and thought in Western philosophy due to its Latin translation as animal rationale or ‘rational animal.’ Dawson indicates, however, that the dual meaning of the Greek term was understood in early modern thought by logicians such as Pierre Gassendi and philosophers including Hobbes. See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans. D.E. Linge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 59; Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), 27; Dawson, Locke, Language, 18. 50 Fred R. Dallmayr, Language and Politics: Why Does Language Matter to Political Philosophy? (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 5. 51 Andrew Bowie uses the example of us now thinking it is unjust for the Turkish government to repress the Kurds’ language to demonstrate the shift in the understanding of language that occurred in Germany with Hamann and then Herder. Although I agree with this assessment, my point is that Herder draws this connection directly in a way Hamann does not. See Bowie, An Introduction to German Philosophy, 41. 52 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso, 1991), 78. 53 Dallmayr, Language and Politics, 4. 54 Vicki A. Spencer, ‘Language, History, and the Nation: An Historical Approach to Evaluating Language Claims,’ Nations and Nationalism 14, no. 2 (2008): 241–60; Jean-Bernard Adrey, ‘Minority Language Rights Before and After the 2004 Enlargement: The Copenhagen Criteria in the Baltic States,’ Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 26, no. 5 (2005): 453–68; Ray Taras, ‘Language Belonging in the New Eastern Europe: The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion,’ in The Politics of Multiple Belonging: Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe and East Asia, ed. Flemming Christiansen and Ulf Hedetoft (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 127–46; Michael Keating, Nations against the State: The New Politics of Nationalism in Quebec, Catalonia, and Scotland, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 77–139; Rob Zaagman, Conflict Prevention in the Baltic States: The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues Monograph #1, 1999). 55 Charles Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘The Politics of Recognition’: An Essay, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 27–73 at 58–9. 56 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–6.

Notes to pages 13–14 229 57 Otto Dann, ‘Herder und die Bewegung,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder, 1744– 1803, 308–40 at 332. 58 In English usage, philology refers to comparative and historical linguistics, whereas Philologie denotes in German the scholarly study of literary texts. In particular, it refers to the study of ancient Greco-Roman texts; but more generally, it involves the study of cultures through literary documents. See R.H. Robins, A Short History of Linguistics, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Longman, 1979), 5. 59 Michael N. Forster, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, Philosophical Writings, vii–xxxv at vii–viii; Adler and Koepke, ‘Introduction,’ 5–7; Bowie, An Introduction to German Philosophy, 50. See also the essays in Michael Mauer, ed., Herder und seine Wirkung / Herder and His Impact (Heidelberg: Synchron, 2010). 60 Norton acknowledges this point, although he sees it as an obstacle. See Robert E. Norton, ‘Herder as Critical Contemporary,’ in A Companion, 351–71 at 352. Berlin’s work is, like Haym’s, a mixed blessing. Unlike Haym, however, Berlin captures much of Herder’s spirit, and he admired him immensely. Herder was also a major influence on the development of Berlin’s own pluralism. On Barnard’s importance and the fact that very little has been written in Germany on Herder’s political thought, see Arnd Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ in A Companion, 277–304 at 278. For German overviews, see Wilhelm Dobbek, ‘Johann Gottfried Herders Haltung im politischen Leben seiner Zeit,’ Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 8 (1959): 321–87; Horst Dreitzel, ‘Herders politische Konzepte,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder, 1744–1803, 267–98. 61 See, for example, Isaac Kramnick, ed., The Portable Enlightenment Reader (London: Penguin, 1995); David Boucher and Paul Kelly, eds., Political Thinkers: Socrates to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). 62 Robert E. Norton, ‘Herder, Johann Gottfried,’ in Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, ed. Alan Charles Kors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), accessed 27 May 2010 at http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY. html?subview=Main&entry=t173.e310; Wolfgang Proß, ‘Nationalism, Anthropology, and Culture,’ in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 218–47, esp. 241, 243, 246–7. 63 Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler, ‘Biographies,’ in ibid., 711–86 at 742; Ian Adams and R.W. Dyson, Fifty Major Political Thinkers (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 90, 93. Amélie Oksenberg Rorty, The Many Faces of Philosophy: Reflections from Plato to Arendt (Oxford: Oxford University Press,

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2003), 261, introduces Herder’s writings with the claim that his influence extended ‘to Heidegger’s nationalistic period,’ thus implying a direct link between Herder and Heidegger’s association with the Nazi party. Melvin Richter, ‘The Comparative Study of Regimes and Societies,’ in The Cambridge History, 147–71 at 169, claims that Herder ‘came to hold an abiding hostility to Montesquieu’ when in fact, in his late Humanitätsbriefe, Herder writes that ‘Montesquieu deserves to be named among the advancers of the good of humankind.’ Herder, Philosophical Writings, 392; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 245; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 696. Taylor, Hegel, 11–25; Forster, ‘Introduction,’ vii; Günter Arnold, Kurt Kloocke, and Ernest A. Menze, ‘Herder’s Reception and Influence,’ in A Companion, 391–419 at 395. Murdoch, The Sovereignty of the Good, 78. Wulf Koepke, ‘Kulturnation and Its Authorization through Herder,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge, ed. Wulf Koepke (Columbia: Camden House, 1996), 177–98 at 178–81. See also Carleton Hayes, ‘Contributions of Herder to the Doctrine of Nationalism,’ American Historical Review 32, no. 4 (1927): 719–36. The classic text linking Herder to German nationalism is Robert Reinhold Ergang, Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931). Hans Kohn, Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origin and Background (New York: Macmillan, 1945); John Plamentaz, ‘Two Types of Nationalism,’ in Nationalism: The Evolution of an Idea, ed. Eugene Kamenka (London: Edward Arnold, 1976), 22–36. For a discussion of the development of this twofold classification, see Andrew Vincent, ‘Liberal Nationalism: An Irresponsible Compound?’ Political Studies 45, no. 2 (1997): 275–95 at 276–7. Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 67–79; Joan Cocks, Passion and Paradox: Intellectuals Confront the National Question (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 99–101; Brian Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001), 260; Damon Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism of J.G. Herder,’ Review of Politics 62, no. 2 (2000): 267–93 at 289–92; Paul Gilbert, The Philosophy of Nationalism (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998), 48–50; Greenfeld, Nationalism, chapter 4; James Tully, Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 70; Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 113–24.

Notes to pages 16–18 231 69 Herder was even accused of plagiarism, although there was no foundation for this claim. See Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 94–5. On Schiller’s derision, see Norton, ‘Herder as Critical Commentary,’ 367. According to Jürgen Trabant, Herder was ‘courageous’ to do what was ‘a kind of suicidal act’ for which ‘philosophy has never forgiven him.’ See Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ in A Companion, 117–39 at 135. 70 Eva Knodt, ‘Hermeneutics and the End of Science: Herder’s Role in the Formation of Natur- und Geisteswissenshaften,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge, ed. Wulf Koepke (Columbia: Camden House, 1996), 1–12 at 2. See also Adler and Koepke, ‘Introduction,’ 1–2. 71 For a discussion of this neglect, see Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, ‘Introduction,’ in Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader, ed. Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1997), 1–9 at 2–5. 72 Hugh Seton-Watson, Nations and States: An Enquiry into the Origins of Nations and the Politics of Nationalism (London: Methuen, 1977). 73 Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationality (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983); Culture, Identity, and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). 74 Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 43, 92–3, 96–7. 75 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58–61; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–6. 76 Arnold, Kloocke, and Menze, ‘Herder’s Reception,’ 411–14; F.M. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 172; Karl Gustav Gerold, Johann Gottfried Herder, trans. Keith Hamnett (Bonn and Bad Godesberg: Inter Nationes, 1978), taken from Herder, Werke in zwei Bänden (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 1953), 23–4; Reinhold Aris, History of Political Thought in Germany, 1789 to 1815 (London: Frank Cass, 1965), 235. On there being no connection, however, between Herder and the promotion of German national superiority, see Adler and Koepke, ‘Introduction,’ 7. 77 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 71, 172; F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History (Montreal and Kingston: McGillQueen’s University Press, 2003), esp. 19–26, 37–49, 64, 74, 178. 78 Berlin, Vico and Herder, 153. 79 For example, Hans S. Reiss, The Political Thought of the German Romantics, 1793–1815 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1955), 3; Aris, History of Political Thought in Germany, 235. 80 Benjamin Redekop has recently emphasized that Herder’s work is ‘consistently “cultural” instead of (overtly) “political,” ’ but Herder would not

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accept this cultural–political dichotomy. See Redekop, Enlightenment and Community, 214. John Stuart Mill, On Bentham and Coleridge, ed. F.R. Leavis (London: Chatto and Windus, 1950), 131. See, for example, Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 73–6; Viroli, For Love of Country, 116–24; Michael Freeden, ‘Is Nationalism a Distinct Ideology?’ Political Studies 46, no. 4 (1998): 748–65 at 762–3; Gilbert, The Philosophy of Nationalism, 53–6. Berlin, Vico and Herder, 176. Frederick C. Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism: The Genesis of Modern German Political Thought, 1790–1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 190. Gerold, Johann Gottfried Herder, 6; Alexander Gillies, Herder (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1945), 27, 53. Menze and Menges, ‘Introduction,’ 5–6. Zammito, Kant, Herder, 318; Forster, ‘Introduction,’ ix–x; Marion Heinz, Sensualistischer Idealismus: Untersuchungen zur Erkenntnistheorie und Metaphysik des jungen Herder, 1763–1778 (Hamburg: Meiner, 1994), xiv; Ulrich Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie und Erkenntniskritik (Stuttgart and Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 1988), 11–13; Frederick C. Beiser, The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 128, 140; Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 10; Gaier, ‘Der frühe Herder,’ 822. For a discussion of this relationship, see Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 12–13. Hans Adler, ‘Herder’s Style,’ in A Companion, 341–7. Michael Forster also notes the ease of reading his texts compared to others from the period. Forster, ‘Introduction,’ vii. By contrast, see Norton, ‘Herder as Critical Contemporary,’ 352. For a detailed discussion of Kant’s review and Haym’s criticism of Herder’s style see Adler, ‘Herder’s Style,’ 331, 334–8. See, for example, Voltaire, Voltaire on Religion, ed. and trans. Kenneth W. Appelgate (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1974). Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 31. On the programmatic nature of his work, see ibid., 8, 11, 20; Herder, ‘Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769’ (hereafter Journal), SW, vol. 4, 353, 401. For the problem of a lack of a definitive work, see Fritz Martini, Deutsche Literaturgeschichte: Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, 17th ed. (Stuttgart: Kröner, 1977), 225–6. For a discussion, see Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 3.

Notes to pages 21–6 233 95 Particularly important is the section on political philosophy in Herder, Philosophical Writings. Letters 114 to 124 of the tenth collection of his Humanitätsbriefe, which are translated by Michael Forster (380–424), provide a succinct summary of his political views developed in earlier works and an outline of his cosmopolitan values, but the entire collection is invaluable. 96 J.E. Malpas, ‘Analysis and Hermeneutics,’ Philosophy and Rhetoric 25, no. 2 (1992): 93–123 at 94. 97 Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 32. 98 On the Cambridge School, see Andrew Vincent, The Nature of Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 43–9. For the classic text, see Quentin Skinner, ‘Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas,’ in Meaning and Context: Quentin Skinner and his Critics, ed. James Tully (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 29–67. 99 Murdoch, The Sovereignty of the Good, 78. 100 Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity, 2. 101 Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ 280. Bohm nonetheless ends with a section on ‘Herder in Current Affairs,’ which he opens with a quotation from Michael Forster that stresses the ‘enduring relevance’ of his ideas. See ibid., 278, 293–4; Forster, ‘Introduction,’ xxx. 102 Mark Philp, ‘Political Theory and History,’ in Political Theory: Methods and Approaches, ed. David Leopold and Marc Stears (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 128–49. 103 Dominic Eggel, Andre Liebich, and Deborah Mancini-Griffoli, ‘Was Herder a Nationalist?’ Review of Politics 69, no. 1 (2007): 48–78 at 77. 104 See, for example, the various practices of the different Herder scholars in Adler and Koepke, eds., A Companion. 1. The Origin of Language 1 Robert E. Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 105–6; Talbot Taylor, ‘Linguistic Origins: Bruner and Condillac on Learning How to Talk,’ Language and Communication 4, no. 3 (1984): 209–24 at 213; Hans Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure: Essays on the Study of Language and Intellectual History (London: Athlone, 1982), 165–73, 191–4; J.H. Stam, Inquiries into the Origin of Language: The Fate of a Question (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 97–100; Pierre Juliard, Philosophies of Language in Eighteenth-Century France (The Hague and Paris: Mouton, 1970), 43. 2 Cited in John R. Betz, After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J.G. Hamann (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 194.

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3 Although the revised version of 1768 was unpublished, I will follow the practice of many scholars by treating it as part of the entirety of the work that was published 1767–8. 4 Betz, After Enlightenment, 145. 5 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 4th ed. [1700], ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 48–103 I.ii–iv, 402 III.i.1–3. 6 Ulrich Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie und Erkenntniskritik (Stuttgart and Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog Verlag, 1988), 143–56, esp. 156. 7 Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 129; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 95. 8 Betz, After Enlightenment, 144. 9 Marion Heinz and Heinrich Clairmont, ‘Herder’s Epistemology,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (New York: Camden House, 2009), 43–64 at 46–7. 10 On the authoritative position of Herder’s text, see Stam, Inquiries into the Origin, esp. 175–6. For exuberant praise, see Emil Adler, Herder und die deutsche Aufklärung (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1968), 129; Hansjörg A. Salmony, Die Philosophie des jungen Herder (Zurich: Vineta Verlag, 1949), 55; Otto Jespersen, Language: Its Nature, Development, and Origins (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1922), 27. For those who argue that Herder repeats already established ideas, see Bruce Kieffer, The Storm and Stress of Language: Linguistic Catastrophe in the Early Works of Goethe, Lenz, Klinger, and Schiller (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1986), 10; Aarsleff, Locke to Saussure, 195–8; Bruce Kieffer, ‘Herder’s Treatment of Süßmilch’s Theory of the Origin of Language in the Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache: A Re-evaluation,’ Germanic Review 53, no. 3 (1978): 96–105. Jürgen Trabant thinks Herder excessively exaggerates his differences with his contemporaries; see Trabant, Apeliotes oder der Sinn der Sprache (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1986), 144n14. For a brief and useful summary of the Port Royalists and their production of a universal, philosophical grammar, see R.H. Robins, A Short History of Linguistics, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Longman, 1979), 123–5. 11 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 65; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 5. For those who see the entire essay as deeply ironic, see Benjamin Bennett, Beyond Theory: Eighteenth-Century German Literature and the Poetics of Irony (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 170–2; Robert S. Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation: Lessing, Herder, Schlegel, and Hermeneutics in Germany, 1750– 1800 (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1994), 211. 12 By contrast, Michael Morton suggests that Herder’s essay is structured around a dialectic of continuity and discontinuity between animal and

Notes to pages 29–30 235

13

14

15 16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26

27 28 29

human language, which Herder resolves implicitly in terms of continuity. See Morton, ‘Herder and the Possibility of Literature: Rationalism and Poetry in Eighteenth-Century Germany,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator through the Ages, ed. Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Bonn: Bouvier, 1982), 41–63 at 49–55. For a critique of this argument, see Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation, 162. Kieffer, ‘Herder’s Treatment,’ 102. On those who fail to acknowledge Süßmilch’s actual contribution to the debate, see Kate Terezakis, The Immanent Word: The Turn to Language in German Philosophy, 1759–1801 (New York and London: Routledge, 2007), 76–9, 100–1; Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics, 106–7, 110; Robins, A Short History of Linguistics, 151; Salmony, Die Philosophie des jungen Herder, 102. Johann P. Süßmilch, Versuch eines Beweises, daß die erste Sprache ihren Ursprung nicht vom Menschen, sondern allein vom Schöpfer erhalten habe (Berlin: 1766), 1. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 72; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 14. Ibid., 40–1. Michael Morton, The Critical Turn: Studies in Kant, Herder, Wittgenstein, and Contemporary Theory (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993), 159. Süßmilch, ‘Vorrede,’ in Versuch, 5. Süßmilch, Versuche, 33–4. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 11. Michael Forster’s translation ‘ “that the sounds of all languages known to us can be reduced to some twenty letters” ’ is in quotation marks. Yet while the Suphan edition provides a footnote to Süßmilch’s text (21), Herder does not use quotation marks as he does elsewhere. See Herder, Philosophical Writings, 69; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 10–11; Süßmilch, Versuch, 21. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 10–13. Süßmilch, Versuch, 20–1. Kieffer, ‘Herder’s Treatment,’ 103. John Lyons, Language and Linguistics: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 92. Süßmilch, Versuch, 109–10. Michael N. Forster, ‘Herder’s Philosophy of Language, Interpretation, and Translation: Three Fundamental Principles,’ Review of Metaphysics 56, no. 2 (2002): 323–56 at 332, 332n28, 337. Herder thinks he has demonstrated what Süßmilch has only explained through logic. See ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 39–40. Süßmilch, ‘Vorrede,’ in Versuch, 5; Versuch, 33–4. Jürgen Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ in A Companion, 117–39 at 133. See also his ‘Inner Bleating: Cognitio and Communication in the Language

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Origin Discussion,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook VI, 2000: Studien zum 18. Jahrhundert, vol. 6, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2000), 1–19 at 5–16. Trabant qualifies this claim, but he still overemphasizes the similarities with Chomsky by drawing a direct connection with Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct. Pinker argues that ‘language is not a cultural artefact that we learn the way we learn to tell the time . . . Instead, it is a distinct piece of biological makeup of our brains.’ It is a strong innate position. As Donald Davidson writes, Pinker thinks that what is ‘genetically programmed – is an internal language of thought, a mentalese.’ See Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 127–8; Stephen Pinker, The Language Instinct (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), 18; Donald Davidson, ‘Seeing through Language,’ in Thought and Language, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 42, ed. John Preston (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 15–27, esp. 19–26. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 158; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 138. Noam Chomsky, ‘Recent Contributions to the Theory of Innate Ideas,’ in The Philosophy of Language, ed. J.R. Searle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 121–9; Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Cartesian Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), esp. 3–5; Language and the Mind, enlarged ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), 5–10. Süßmilch, Versuch, 49. Ibid., 48–9. Wolfgang Proß, ‘Darstellung,’ in Herder, Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache: Text, Materialien, Kommentar, ed. Wolfgang Proß (Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1978), 135–78 at 145. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 5–9. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 74; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 17. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 74; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 17. Ibid., 18–20. Ibid., 20. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ‘A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1755],’ in The Social Contract and Discourses, trans. G.D.H. Cole, rev. J.H. Brumfitt and John C. Hall (London: Dent and Sons, 1973), 27–113 at 79. Herder did not know Rousseau’s Essay on the Origin of Language (1781) at this stage, but it is largely an elaboration of Rousseau’s earlier views. See Jürgen Trabant, ‘Thunder, Girls, Sheep, and the Origins of Language,’ in Origins of Language (Budapest: Collegium Budapest, 1996), 39–67 at 42. Rousseau, ‘A Discourse on the Origin,’ 62. See also his ‘Essay on the Origin of Languages,’ in On the Origin of Language, ed. and trans. J.M. Moran and A. Gore (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1966), 27–113, esp. 11–12, 17, 50–1.

Notes to pages 32–3 237 42 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 77; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 20–1. G.A. Wells draws a connection between Rousseau’s theory of language origination and Herder’s theory – found in his Fragmente – of the development of language from its infancy with the original language of poetry to the later formation of prose. When Christian Graves drew this link in a review, Herder responded by including a passage in the revised edition to distance his position clearly from that of Rousseau. Here it is also clear that Herder does not accept Rousseau’s theory of language development. See Herder, ‘Über die neue Deutsche Literature: Fragmente [1767–8]’ (hereafter Fragmente), SW, vol. 1, 151–5; Wells, The Origin of Language: Aspects of the Discussion from Condillac to Wundt (La Salle: Open Court, 1987), 31; Stam, Inquiries into the Origin, 112–13. 43 Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, An Essay on the Origin of the Human Language: Being a Supplement to Mr. Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding [1756], trans. T. Nugent (Florida: Scholars Facsimiles and Reprints, 1971), 134. 44 Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure, 165–70; Taylor, ‘Linguistic Origins,’ 213. 45 Condillac, An Essay on the Origin, 57–9, 171–81; Taylor, ‘Linguistic Origins,’ 214–25; Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure, 170. 46 Hans Aarsleff writes that this ability is ‘like reason, natural and innate.’ See Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure, 155; Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics, 88. Aarsleff (196) recognizes that Condillac refers to speech whereas Herder refers to the inner word, but he argues that Herder is inconsistent and that he contradicts himself in the second half of the Abhandlung. 47 Taylor, ‘Linguistic Origins,’ 213. 48 Condillac, An Essay on the Origin, 125–9. 49 Ibid., 134. 50 Ibid., 53. Michael Forster argues that Süßmilch has a weaker version of the relationship between reason and language than Herder because it is confined to rational thought. But he also qualifies his initial claim in a footnote, conceding that Süßmilch at times uses thought in a very broad way, like Descartes. See Forster, ‘Herder’s Philosophy of Language,’ 335, 335n43, 338n52. 51 Condillac, An Essay on the Origin, 134. 52 Ibid., 56–7, emphasis added. 53 Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 38. 54 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 78; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 22. 55 Ibid., 23. He repeats this point in Part II; see ibid., 98. 56 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 80; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 26. 57 Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 123.

238 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73

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Notes to pages 34–6

Herder, Philosophical Writings, 68; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 9. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 79; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 24. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 79; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 24. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 80–l; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 26. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 81; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 26. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 83; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 29. Adapted from Herder, Philosophical Writings, 82–3; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 28–9. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 84; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 31. Proß, ‘Darstellung,’ 157. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 84; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 30–1. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 84; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 31. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 86; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 32–3. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 85; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 32. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 88; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 35. Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation, 157; Terezakis, Immanent Word, 88. Forster finds this philosophically objectionable because it is merely a redefinition of language as thought. He notes that Herder rejects it publicly in his Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der menschlichen Seele (1778, hereafter Vom Erkennen). But while Herder places a larger role on the importance of imitation in language acquisition and the awakening of reason and consciousness, it is not a direct refutation of the idea that the first act of recognition requires a characteristic mark: ‘People congenitally dumb and deaf show through strange examples how deeply reason, selfconsciousness, slumbers when they cannot imitate, and I believe (rather contrary to my previous opinion) that such a staff of awakening had to come to the aid of our inner consciousness, as light to the aid of the eye.’ It could instead be a refutation of his previous dismissal of the role of imitation in language acquisition. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 211; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 137. See also Forster, ‘Herder’s Philosophy of Language,’ 339–40. Adapted from Herder, Philosophical Writings, 91; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 39. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 91; ‘Abhandlung’, SW, vol. 5, 39. Robert E. Norton instead claims that Herder refers to a ‘highly deliberate, rational, and calculated decision to create language.’ See Norton, ‘Isaiah Berlin’s “Expressionism,” or: “Ha! Du bist das Blöckende!” ’ Journal of History of Ideas 86, no. 4 (2007): 339–47 at 346. Gaier argues that language is neither discovered nor given but created. See Gaier, Herders Sprachphiloso-

Notes to pages 36–8 239

77 78 79 80 81

82

83 84 85

86 87

88 89

90

91

phie, 107; ‘Herders Theorie der Sprache und Sprachschaffung,’ Recherches germaniques 34 (2006): 81–100. Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 124. Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics, 13–15. Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation, 179. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 29–30. Karl Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit”: The Meaning of “Meaning” in Herder,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: J.B. Metzler Verlag, 1998), 157–75 at 161n18. Martha B. Helfer, ‘Herder, Fichte, and Humboldt’s “Thinking and Speaking,” ’ in Herder Today: Contributions from the International Herder Conference, 5–8 November 1987, ed. Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1990), 367–81 at 371. See Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit,” ’ 161n18. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 83; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 28, my additional emphasis. See also Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Deutsche Dichter des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk, ed. Benno von Wiese (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1977), 524–50 at 530. For a discussion on there being no strict separation between sensuality and reason also in Herder’s Metakritik, see Thomas M. Seebohm, ‘Der systematische Ort der Herderschen Metakritik,’ Kant-Studien 63, no. 1 (1972): 59–73 at 64. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), 399 no. 243. Ibid., 245n199. Debate exists whether he would allow for the possibility of a born Crusoe to develop language. See, for example, Simon Blackburn, Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1984), 84; A.C. Grayling, Wittgenstein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 109–10. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 134–41. Ian Hacking argues that Aarsleff incorrectly includes Herder in this tradition. See Aarsleff, From Locke to Saussure, 27; Ian Hacking, ‘Locke, Leibniz, Language, and Hans Aarsleff,’ Synthese: Thought and Language in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment 75, no. 2 (1988), 135–53 at 152. Condillac was critical of Locke for maintaining that the mind can join and separate ideas without the use of signs, as it implies that ideas exist in the mind that cannot be explained by a response to external stimuli. See Condillac, An Essay on the Origin, 10–15, 134–6. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 129–30; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 96.

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92 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 130; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 98. 93 G.A. Wells thinks that Herder’s views have been completely discredited by scientific work on animal languages. See Wells, The Origin of Language, 43–5; G.A. Wells and D.R. Oppenheimer, ‘A Rational View of Language,’ New Humanist 92, no. 3 (1976): 89–91 at 89. However, Wells’s example of a dog’s ability to generalize is not different from Herder’s example of a dog’s ability to recall threatening gestures. 94 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 131; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 99. 95 Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie, 133. 96 Ibid., 133. 97 Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 125. 98 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 128–9; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 95–6. To emphasize that the distinguishing mark is created by both external and internal drives, Gaier refers to Besinnung as an act of ‘re-recognition.’ Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie, 110. 99 Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 99. 100 Eva Knodt, ‘Hermeneutics and the End of Science: Herder’s Role in the Formation of Natur- and Geisteswissenshaften,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge, ed. Wulf Koepke (Columbia: Camden House, 1996), 1–12 at 3, 5–6. 101 Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 48–50. 102 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 98; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 49. For an extensive discussion of this aspect of his argument, see Jürgen Trabant, ‘Herder’s Discovery of the Ear,’ in Herder Today, 345–66. This focus on hearing challenges the idea that a deaf person would possess language and reason. Herder notes that a ‘blind and dumb’ person ‘would inevitably invent language’ but not if he is also ‘without feeling and deaf.’ Presumably, then, someone blind, deaf, and without feeling would not possess these powers, but it does not follow that a person who is deaf but still has feeling and/or sight would not. In his late Metakritik of 1799, Herder emphasizes the eyes as much as the ears. See Herder, ‘Eine Metakritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft [1799]’ (hereafter Metakritik), SW, vol. 21, 117; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 197. For a discussion of Herder’s sheep example in relation to Plato and Mendelssohn, see Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie, 111–12. 103 Proß, ‘Darstellung,’ 143–5, 157–60. 104 Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie, 122–5. 105 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 97; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 47. 106 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 139; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 112. 107 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 151; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 129.

Notes to pages 40–3 241 108 109 110 111 112 113

114

115

116 117

118

Ibid., 113–15. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 141; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 116. Ibid., 123–4. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 155; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 134. Morton, The Critical Turn, 159. Andrew Bowie, An Introduction to German Philosophy: From Kant to Habermas (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2003), 54; Martin Bollacher, ‘Kommentar,’ in Herder, Ideen der Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, ed. Martin Bollacher, vol. 6 of Werke in zehn Bänden, ed. Günter Arnold et al. (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1989), 899–1155 at 981; Wells, The Origin of Language, 45; Stam, Inquiries into the Origin, 170–4; Edward Sapir, ‘Herder’s “Ursprung der Sprache,” ’ Modern Philology 5, no. 1 (1907): 109–42 at 137–8. Herder, ‘Des Lord Monboddo Werk von dem Ursprunge und Fortgange der Sprache [1784],’ SW, vol. 15, 179–88; ‘Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, 1784–91,’ (hereafter Ideen), SW, vol. 13, 138; Werke, ed. Wolfgang Proß, vol. 3, bk 1 (Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2002), 128. Herder’s criticisms of Monboddo are mild, despite his indebtedness to Rousseau’s social contract theory, the close relation he draws between humans and orangutans, and his attribution of language invention falsely to the Egyptians. But Herder sees these as minor parts of his work. Its value, he says, lies in its comparative, historical approach to different languages and cultures. He also defends Monboddo against ridicule in his ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 286–7, Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 737–9. Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), ix; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 9–10; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 14–15. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 89; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 141; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 130. See also Wolfgang Proß, ‘Das “göttliche Geschenk der Rede” – Hat Herder die Sprachursprungstheorie der Abhandlung in den Ideen revoziert?’ in Sprachsplitter und Sprachspiele: Nachdenken über Sprache und Sprachgebrauch. Festschrift für Willy Sanders, ed. Jürg Niederhauser and Stanislaw Szlek (Bern u.a.: Peter Lang, 2000), 223–33 at 224–5. Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 134–7.

2. Expressivism 1 Robert S. Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation: Lessing, Herder, Schlegel, and Hermeneutics in Germany, 1750–1800 (Berlin and New York: Walter

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6 7 8 9 10

Notes to pages 43–5

de Gruyter, 1994), 11; B. Harrison, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1979), 22. For example, see Jill Vance Buroker, ‘The Priority of Thought in Cartesian Philosophy,’ in Logic and the Workings of the Mind: The Logic of Ideas and Faculty Psychology in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Patricia Ann Easton (Atascadero: Ridgeview, 1997), 97–107 at 97. Jürgen Trabant instead sees Humboldt, ‘not as the inventor of that idea but certainly its first and most complete and philosophically most profound theoretician.’ Trabant, ‘Thunder, Girls, Sheep, and the Origins of Language,’ in Origins of Language (Budapest: Collegium Budapest, 1996), 39–67 at 49. Although Fred R. Dallmayr argues that the term is misleading as it links Herder too closely with the subjectivism characteristic of late Romanticism, for want of a better term that captures all of these different aspects of Herder’s theory I will continue to follow Taylor’s use of it. Also, while Berlin’s explanation of ‘expressionism’ wrongly overemphasizes this subjectivist element, Taylor clearly distinguishes Herder’s constitutive view from this subjectivist idea of expression. Indeed, Kate Terezakis criticizes Taylor’s division between designative and expressivist theories because she thinks his focus on language as constitutive of ideas means that language is too deterministic of our world view, although this criticism is misplaced as Taylor also shows the creative dimension of Herder’s theory. See Dallmayr, Alternative Visions: Paths in the Global Village (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), 24; Terezakis, The Immanent Word: The Turn to Language in German Philosophy, 1759–1801 (New York and London: Routledge, 2007), 9. René Descartes, Meditations, Objections, and Replies, ed. and trans. Roger Ariew and Donald Cress (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006), 104–5. On Descartes’s realism, see Hannah Dawson, Locke, Language, and EarlyModern Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 107–11; Yasuhiko Tomida, ‘Descartes, Locke, and “Direct Realism,” ’ in Descartes’ Natural Philosophy, ed. Stephen Gaukroger, John Schuster, and John Sutton (London: Routledge, 2000), 569–75; John Yolton, ‘Replies to my Fellow Symposiasts,’ in Descartes’ Natural Philosophy, ed. Stephen Gaukroger, John Schuster, and John Sutton (London: Routledge, 2000), 576–87. Descartes, Meditations, 105. Philip Pettit, Made with Words: Hobbes on Language, Mind, and Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 29. Ibid., 30. Descartes, Meditations, 104. Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 204; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 189.

Notes to pages 45–6 243 11 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan [1651] ed. C.B. Macpherson (London: Penguin, 1968), 101 I.iv. Dawson thinks that Hobbes ‘is not being strictly frank’ here because she thinks he completely severs language both from the mind and the world, and dissolves the link between the mind and the world, not because she thinks, like Pettit, that he sees language as essential to thought. See Dawson, Locke, Language, 27, 126–8. Pettit’s subsequent discussion further shows that Hobbes still adheres to the idea of thought existing prior to language. See Pettit, Made with Words, 39. 12 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 4th ed., ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 405 III.ii.1. Ian Hacking indicates that modern theories of meaning cannot be applied to thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. According to William Aston’s classification, the view that the meaning of a word is the idea in our mind for which it stands is called an ideational theory, while a referential theory claims that the meaning of a word is an actual object or event. Enlightenment thinkers often made both claims, which in modern terms are incompatible. Rather than a theory of meaning, Ian Hacking argues that these thinkers possess a theory of signification. See Hacking, Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 18–23. 13 Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole, Logic or the Art of Thinking, ed. Jill Vance Buroker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 28. 14 Ibid., 23–4. 15 Ibid., 23. On Descartes and the Port-Royalists, see Buroker, ‘The Priority of Thought,’ 97–107. 16 George Berkeley, The Principles of Human Knowledge, ed. C.M. Turbayne (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965), 17–18 section 20. 17 Original language was, for James H. Brown, ‘an abrupt outburst in simultaneous poetry, song, and dance.’ Brown’s work was translated into German, French, and Italian. For a commentary, see James H. Stam, Inquiries into the Origin of Language: The Fate of a Question (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 73. Stam (68–9) also indicates that Robert Wood’s work, An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer (1769), in which he portrayed Homer’s poetry as a holistic, creative process, influenced both Herder and Goethe. For Herder’s commentary on Brown, see ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 59. On the French anti-classicist movement, see Rene Welleck, A History of Modern Criticism, 1750–1950, vol. 1 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1955), 72–4. 18 Hacking, Why Does Language Matter, 27–8. 19 Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 162–5. On Berkeley’s rejection of abstract ideas and links with materialism, see Thomas M. Lennon, ‘Berkeley and the

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21 22 23

24

25

26 27 28 29 30 31

32 33 34

Notes to pages 46–8

Ineffable,’ Synthese: Thought and Language in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment 75, no. 2 (1988): 231–50 at 233, 235, 237–42; Hacking, Why Does Language Matter, 39–42. René Descartes, ‘Rules for the Guidance of Our Native Powers,’ in Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: Modern Library, 1958), 1–89 at 7–10 III, 13–15 IV. For an unconventional argument that in his scientific work ‘Descartes unequivocally advanced the claim that there is no thought without language’ (30) and that there are thus no private perceptions, see John Cottingham, ‘ “The only sure sign . . .”: Thought and Language in Descartes,’ in Thought and Language, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 42, ed. John Preston (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 29–50. Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, 19, section 22. Quoted in Simon Blackburn, Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 8. René Descartes, ‘Descartes to Mersenne, 20 November 1629,’ in Philosophical Letters (of ) Descartes, trans. Anthony Kenny (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), 3–6 at 5–6. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, New Essays on Human Understanding, trans. Peter Remnant and Jonathan Bennett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 275; G. MacDonald Ross, Leibniz (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), 63–4; H. Ishiguro, Leibniz’s Philosophy of Logic and Language (London: Duckworth, 1972), 45; Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms: Language, vol. 1, trans. Ralph Manheim (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955), 129–30. Jürgen Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 117–39 at 122. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 196; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 179–80. Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, 133–40. Locke, An Essay, 476–7 III.ix.4–5. Dawson, Locke, Language, 185–6. Locke, An Essay, 439 III.vi.2. Michael Ayers, Locke: Ideas and Things (London: Phoenix, 1997), 7; Bob Chase, ‘John Locke and Cultural Relativism,’ Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 25, no. 1 (1997): 59–90 at 71. Locke, An Essay, 455–6 III.vi.28; J.L. Mackie, Problems from Locke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), 94. Locke, An Essay, 288 II.xxii.1, 477–9 III.ix.6–7. Ibid., 479 III.ix.8.

Notes to pages 48–50 245 35 Ibid., 477 III.ix.5–20. For an argument that the result is potential perennial miscommunication, see Hannah Dawson, ‘Locke on Language in (Civil) Society,’ History of Political Thought 26, no. 3 (2005): 397–425 at 398. 36 Locke, An Essay, 509 III.xi.2. 37 Ibid., 471–2 III.vii.2, 509–16 III.xi.3–5. 38 Dawson, ‘Locke on Language,’ 399. 39 Locke, An Essay, 407 III.ii.6. 40 Ibid., 476 III.ix.9–10. 41 Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 20–1. 42 Ibid., 102–3. See also ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 358–9; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 317–18. 43 R. Bauman and C.L. Briggs, ‘Language Philosophy as Language Ideology: John Locke and Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities, ed. Paul Kroskrity (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2000), 139–204 at 149; Pierre Juliard, Philosophies of Language in Eighteenth-Century France (The Hague and Paris: Mouton, 1970), 84. 44 Leibniz, New Essays, 285. On Leibniz’s historical linguistics, see Ian Hacking, ‘Locke, Leibniz, Language, and Hans Aarsleff,’ Synthese: Thought and Language in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment 75, no. 2 (1988): 135–53 at 145–9. 45 Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 115; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 167. See also Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang. Zurückbehaltene und “abgeschnittene” Briefe. 1792–1797 [Meist ungedruckt]’ (Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang), SW, vol. 18, 337. 46 Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 19–20. Donald Donaldson argues that language is not a ‘mirror’ and that it is a misleading metaphor because it suggests that ideas are fully formed prior to language, in which they are then reflected. To the extent that Herder retains this notion, a trace of the representational theory might be seen in his work, but as I will show, he goes beyond it. See Davidson, ‘Seeing through Language,’ in Thought and Language, 15–27 at 17–18. 47 Herder, Selected Early Works, 32; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 5–6. Michael Morton has shown that this work contains ‘in latent form’ many of the ideas Herder later develops. See Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought: Unity and Diversity in On Diligence in Several Learned Languages (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1989), 16. By contrast, Robert E. Norton claims that Herder only came to this view in the revised edition of his Fragmente. See Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 99.

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Notes to pages 50–3

48 Herder, Selected Early Works, 33; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 147; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 6. 49 Herder, Selected Early Works, 101; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 147; ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 19. 50 In the Metakritik he writes that language is the ‘organ of our reason.’ Ibid., 20. 51 Herder, Selected Early Works, 101–2; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 147. The idea that it is our nursemaids who first teach us logic in teaching us language is a direct repetition of a point he made in ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 6. 52 Herder, Selected Early Works, 196; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 386. 53 Herder, Selected Early Works, 197; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 386–7. 54 Dorothea E. von Mücke, ‘Language as the Mark of the Soul: Herder’s Narcissistic Subject,’ in Herder Today: Contributions from the International Herder Conference, 5–8 November 1987, ed. Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1990), 331–44 at 333; Wulf Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 13; Hinrich C. Seeba argues for the same reason that Herder’s theory of language is distinguished from modern semiotics; see Seeba, ‘Word and Thought: Herder’s Language Model in Modern Hermeneutics,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator through the Ages, ed. Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Bonn: Bouvier, 1982), 35–40. 55 Herder, Selected Early Works, 204; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 396–7. 56 For a discussion of the way Herder brings together four dominant theories of language – namely the rationalist, empiricist, mystical, and humanist – with the use of these metaphors, see Ulrich Gaier, ‘Herders Theorie der Sprache und Sprachschaffung,’ Recherches Germaniques 34 (2006): 81–100 at 85–9. 57 On the ‘mysterious’ and ‘magical’ element of language in Herder’s theory, see Dallmayr, Alternative Visions, 27; Charles Taylor, Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 237. On Herder’s understanding of the soul as the human psyche, see Katherine Arens, ‘Kant, Herder, and Psychology,’ in Herder Today, 190–206 at 193. 58 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 48; ‘Fragmente [1768],’ rev. ed., SW, vol. 2, 16–17. 59 Taylor, Human Agency and Language, 233. For the argument that there is no difference between Herder’s notion of expression and Condillac’s, see Robert E. Norton, ‘Isaiah Berlin’s “Expressionism,” or: “Ha! Du bist das Blöckende!” ’ Journal of History of Ideas 86, no. 4 (2007): 339–47, esp. 344–6. 60 Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, An Essay on the Origin of the Human Language: Being a Supplement to Mr. Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding [1756],

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65 66 67

68 69

70 71 72

73 74

75 76

trans. T. Nugent (Florida: Scholars Facsimiles and Reprints, 1971), 57–9, 171–81, 283–4. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 34; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 197; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 357; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 317. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 183. Ibid., 183–4. As ‘cognition [is] never without sensation,’ for Herder, I use the term cognition in his non-dualistic sense. See Herder, Philosophical Writings, 179; ‘Vom Erkennen und Empfinden den zwo Hauptkräften den Menschlichen Seele [1775]’ (hereafter Vom Erkennen [1775]), SW, vol. 8, 264. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 211; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 197. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 181; ‘Vom Erkennen [1775],’ SW, vol. 8, 265. Adapted Herder, The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, vol. 2, trans. James Marsh (Burlington: Edward Smith, 1883), 7–8; ‘Vom Geist der Ebräischen Poesie [1782, 1787]’ (hereafter ‘Vom Geist’), SW, vol. 12, 7. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 212; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 198, 197. For a psychoanalytic examination of the narcissism in his theory of language, see von Mücke, ‘Language as the Mark of the Soul,’ 331–44. I am using the word in its ordinary sense. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 214; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 200. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 166. Humans are not, then, ‘the measure of all things’ as Marchand argues. See James W. Marchand, ‘Herder: Precusor of Humboldt, Whorf, and Modern Language Philosophy,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator, 20–34 at 21. For a discussion of his rejection of Egoism and Idealism in his early Versuch über das Seyn, see Robert S. Leventhal, ‘Critique of Subjectivity: Herder’s Foundation of the Human Sciences,’ in Herder Today, 173–89 at 177–9. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Philosophical Hermeneutics, trans. D.E. Linge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 64–6. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. F.M. Barnard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 107; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 423. Michael N. Forster indicates that the idea of meaning being dependent on word usage was already evident in biblical hermeneutics with Johann J. Wettstein in 1756 and Ernesti in 1761. See Forster, ‘Herder’s Philosophy of Language, Interpretation, and Translation: Three Fundamental Principles,’ Review of Metaphysics 56, no. 2 (2002): 323–56 at 345. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 2nd ed., trans. G.E.M. Anscombe (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), 89. Taylor, Human Agency and Language, 261.

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Notes to pages 56–7

77 Adapted from Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 233; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 357; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 316–17. 78 Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 135; Seeba, ‘Word and Thought,’ 37. 79 Michael Morton argues that they have far more in common than either of these two thinkers even realized as Herder’s linguistic turn also amounts to a critical turn. Yet, he also recognizes, Herder’s commitment to ‘concretely lived experience’ is open to less misinterpretation than Kant’s. It is not possible for me to enter this complex debate here. I only wish to emphasize that Herder’s focus on language is an important difference irrespective of any other commonalities. See Morton, The Critical Turn: Studies in Kant, Herder, Wittgenstein, and Contemporary Theory (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993), esp. 185–6; Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 131. For a critique of his argument, see Robert S. Leventhal, ‘The Critique of the Concept: Lessing, Herder, and the Semiology of Historical Semantics,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1996, vol. 3, ed. Wilfred Malsch, Hans Adler, and Wulf Koepke (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1997), 93–110 at 103–9; Karl Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit”: The Meaning of “Meaning” in Herder,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: J.B. Metzler Verlag, 1998), 157–75. For Morton’s reply to Leventhal, see Michael Morton, ‘Critical Realism and the “Critique of the Concept,” ’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 177–89. On Kant paving the way for the twentieth-century linguistic turn, see Buroker, ‘The Priority of Thought,’ 103–4. On Kant’s concern for language ‘only as a means of signification, not of cognition’ in contrast to Herder, see Joseph Simon, ‘Herder and the Problematization of Metaphysics,’ in Herder Today, 108–25 at 112. 80 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 49; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 2, 17. Also see Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Deutsche Dichter des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk, ed. Benno von Wiese (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1977), 524–50 at 532. 81 One issue is whether Herder is a precritical thinker or if he presents a more radical problematization of metaphysics, one that pre-empts Heidegger’s critique of Husserl. For the radical perspective, see Simon, ‘Herder and the Problematization of Metaphysics,’ in Herder Today, 108–25; Karl Menges, ‘ “Seyn” und “Daseyn,” Sein und Zeit: Zu Herders Theorie des Subjekts,’ in Herder Today, 138–57; Michael Morton, ‘Changing the Subject: Herder and the Reorientation of Philosophy,’ in Herder Today, 158–72. By contrast,

Notes to pages 57–9 249

82

83 84 85 86

87 88

89 90

91

92 93

94 95 96 97 98

although he thinks that Herder’s approach might prove more sustainable than the critical Kant, John Zammito depicts Herder as developing Kant’s precritical project. See Zammito, Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 7–8. For the classic representation of Herder as a precritical thinker, and therefore a lesser one who could not understand Kant’s transcendental thought, see Rudolf Haym, Herder nach seinem Leben und seinen Werken [1875–85], rev. ed. (Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, 1958), vol. 1, 45–65, vol. 2, esp. 714–26. Herder, ‘Versuch über das Sein,’ in Frühe Schriften, 1764–1772, ed. Ulrich Gaier, vol. 1 of Werke in zehn Bänden, ed. Günter Arnold et al. (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1991), 14. Manfred Baum, ‘Herder’s Essay on Being,’ in Herder Today, 126–37 at 137. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 152. On space and time, see ibid., 47–69. Herder, ‘Fragmente,’ rev. ed., SW, vol. 2, 98. Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit,” ’ 163. As with Menges, my concern here is not with the inaccuracy of Herder’s characterization of Kant, a point I conceded in the introduction. Menges argues, however, that language, for Herder, is only a tool of communication. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 19. Trabant, ‘Herder and Language,’ 136–7; Gaier, Herders Sprachphilosophie und Erkenntniskritik (Stuttgart and Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog Verlag, 1985), 196–7. Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 135–6. Charles Taylor, ‘The Importance of Herder,’ in Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration, ed. Edna Margalit and Avishai Margalit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 40–63 at 55. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 49; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 2, 8–9. On the critique of knowledge reconceptualized by Herder as a critique of language, see Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ 532. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 202–3. Bob Chase argues that Locke does not, like Herder, render languages untranslatable and is, therefore, not a linguistic relativist. He thus implies that Herder is a linguistic relativist who must think languages are untranslatable. See Chase, ‘John Locke,’ 72–5. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 207. Herder, ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 178. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 160; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 600. Locke, An Essay, 432–33 III.v.8. Ibid., 433 III.v.8. On this difference between Locke and Herder, see Hacking, ‘Locke, Leibniz,’ 152. See also Chase, ‘John Locke,’ 73–7.

250 99 100 101 102

103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112

113 114 115 116

Notes to pages 59–61 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 422–3. Herder, Selected Early Works, 187; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 274. Herder, Selected Early Works, 122; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 178. Wilhelm von Humboldt, On Language: The Diversity of Human LanguageStructure and Its Influence on the Mental Development of Mankind, trans. P. Heath (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 49. On Humboldt not being the first to develop this idea as linguists often suppose and on Herder instead developing it, see Marchand, ‘Herder,’ 26. Dawson indicates that a number of alternative grammarians in early modern thought understood language in dynamic historical terms and as ‘products of popular use.’ See Dawson, Locke, Language, 59–63. On how limited this focus was within the broader rational framework of thinkers like John Wilkins, on whom Dawson focuses, see Murray Cohen, Sensible Words: Linguistic Practice in England, 1640–1785 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977), esp. 25–34. He pinpoints a major change in Britain toward a historical approach in the second half of the eighteenth century, particularly with Samuel Johnson (68–99). Adapted from Herder, Selected Early Works, 104; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 151–2. Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 422. Herder, Selected Early Works, 134; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 194–5. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd ed. (London: Sheed and Ward, 1979), 404–5. Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: Chatto and Windus, 1980), 171. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 179. Ibid., 179. Ibid., 180, 182. Ibid., 181. Jonathan Culler, Saussure (London: Fontana, 1986), 48. On the importance of Herder’s idea for linguistics, see Taylor, ‘The Importance of Herder,’ 58. Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, trans. W. Baskin, rev. ed. (London: Fontana Collins, 1974), 120. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 179. Saussure, Course, 121–2; Culler, Saussure, 48. Humboldt, On Language, 69. Aarsleff denies this influence while Helfer provides a convincing case that Herder significantly influenced Humboldt. See Martha B. Helfer, ‘Herder, Fichte, and Humboldt’s “Thinking and Speaking,” ’ in Herder Today, 367–81; Hans Aarsleff, From Locke to

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123

124

125

126

Saussure: Essays on the Study of Language and Intellectual History (London: Athlone, 1982), 335–55. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 96. Herder, Selected Early Works, 203; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 394–5. Humboldt, On Language, 51, 69, 128. Johann Georg Hamann, Hamann’s Socratic Memorablia, trans. J.C. O’Flaherty (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967), 166. Herder, ‘Von der Ausbildung der Rede und Sprache in Kindern und Jünglingen [1796],’ SW, vol. 30, 223. One of Robert Clark’s major contributions was to challenge this influence. See Robert T. Clark, Herder: His Life and Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955), 47–9, 136, 153–70. Wolfgang Proß says that Hamann is therefore the more revolutionary innovator against the Enlightenment, but as Hamann admired Hume considerably, this is slightly misleading. Hamann’s main objection was to rationalist philosophy, although his mysticism stands opposed to all forms of secularism, including what he saw as Herder’s in his Abhandlung. See Proß, ed., ‘Darstellung,’ in Abhandlung über den Ursprung der Sprache: Text, Materialien, Kommentar (Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1978), 135–78 at 137–8. On Herder’s central ideas about humanity being strongly opposed to Hamann, see Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ 531. Johann Georg Hamann, ‘Aesthetica in Nuce,’ Sämtliche Werke, vol. 2, Schriften über Philosophie/Philologie/Kritik, 1758–63, ed. Joseph Nadler (Vienna: Thomas-Morus-Presse Verlag Herder, 1950), 195–223 at 198–9. According to Terence German, ‘Hamann is in love with the act of communication.’ See Terence J. German, Hamann on Language and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 42, 38–41; Martin Seils, ‘Wirklichkeit und Wort bei Johann Georg Hamann,’ in Johann Georg Hamann, ed. Reiner Wild (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978), 314–39 at 330, 335–6. See Luanne Frank, ‘Herder and the Maturation of Hamann’s Metacritical Thought: A Chapter in the Pre-History of the Metakritik,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator, 157–89. On their differences and critique of each other through their correspondence, see also Renate Knoll, ‘Herder als Promotor Hamanns: Zu Herders früher Literaturkritik,’ in Herder Today, 207–27. On Hamann not being the source for Herder’s ideas that meaning is usage and that language is bounded, see Forster, ‘Herder’s Philosophy of Language,’ 324–30, 343–5, 348. Adapted from Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 72; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 357.

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Notes to pages 63–5

127 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 172; ‘Über Thomas Abbts Schriften [1786],’ SW, vol. 2, 265. 128 Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought, 147–8. For a very different view of Herder’s hermeneutics, see Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation, 195–201. I will discuss the issues in more depth in chapter 4 when I examine Herder’s historiography. 129 Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 11, 227; ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 106. 130 Herder, ‘Über die Würkung der Dichtkunst auf die Sitten der Völker in alten und neuen Zeiten [1878]’ (hereafter ‘Über die Würkung’), SW, vol. 8, 339, 346, 396–8. 131 Ibid., 340. 132 Hobbes, Leviathan, 114–15. 133 John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, ed. John W. Yolton and Jean S. Yolton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 325, 230. For a discussion, see Bauman and Briggs, ‘Language Philosophy as Language Ideology,’ 230. For the claim that Locke regards ‘all higher thought processes as being ultimately metaphorical in nature,’ see Chase, ‘John Locke,’ 77–8. 134 Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays (London and New York: Methuen, 1962), esp. 226–9. For a more general discussion on the philosophical prejudice against figurative language, see Fred R. Dallmayr, Language and Politics: Why Does Language Matter to Political Philosophy? (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 151–2. On the prejudice against using figurative language outside its ‘proper domain’ as the underlying motivation behind Kant’s critique of Herder’s Ideen, see Walter Moser, ‘Herder’s System of Metaphors in the Ideen,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator, 102–24 at 103. 135 Herder, The Spirit, vol. 2, 19; ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 17. 136 Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 12–16. 137 Ibid., vol. 11, 271–2. 138 Ibid., vol. 12, 11–12. 139 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 189; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 171. 140 Paul Ricoeur argues, for example, that Susanne Langer characterizes the poet’s task as the recreation of events so that the reader may live and feel them as a ‘piece of virtual life.’ According to this view, the poet recreates the appearance of life and, hence, an illusion that one is directly experiencing life, rather than a literal representation of an event or object characteristic of pure description. But to say this, in Ricoeur’s view, is to remain within a verifiable–unverifiable dichotomy whereby poetry, to be seen as meaningful, must be verifiable in the same way as a scientific or historical statement. See Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor (London: Routledge

Notes to pages 65–9 253

141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151

and Kegan Paul, 1978), 226–8; Susanne K. Langer, Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953), 212, 234. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 188; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 170. See also ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 178–84. Herder, ‘Studien und Entwürfe zur Plastik [1768–9],’ SW, vol. 8, 96. R.G. Collingwood, Principles of Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938), 226. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 188; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 170. Ricoeur, The Rule of Metaphor, 221, 227–31. Ulrich Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology, New Mythology,’ in A Companion, 165–88 at 167–8. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 120. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 188; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ 170. Herder, ‘Über die Würkung,’ SW, vol. 8, 342–3. Ibid., 362. For a fuller discussion, see Alan Corkhill, ‘Herder and the Misuse of Language,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1996, vol. 3, ed. Wilfred Malsch, Hans Adler, and Wulf Koepke (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1997), 81–92.

3. Culture, Identity, and Community 1 Here I follow Charles Taylor, who indicates that ontological issues ‘concern what you recognize as factors you will invoke to account for social life’ and ‘advocacy issues concern the moral stand or policy one adopts.’ Taylor, ‘Cross-Purposes: The Liberal–Communitarian Debate,’ in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 159–82 at 159. 2 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1971), 560. Rawls modified this position in his later works in response to communitarian criticisms. In his ‘Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (1985): 223–51, he argues that his original position does not entail any substantive conception of the self or a metaphysical conception of the person. It is a matter of debate whether this argument fundamentally changes his abstract individualism, given that his original position still relies on abstracted selves that are effective decision makers. See Sandra A. Rosenthal, ‘The Self, Community, and Time: A Shared Society,’ Review of Metaphysics 50, no. 1 (1996): 101–19 at 102; John Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 4–5.

254

Notes to pages 69–72

3 Elizabeth Frazer and Nicola Lacey, The Politics of Community: A Feminist Critique of the Liberal–Communitarian Debate (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993), 152. 4 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 228; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 598. It was not until the nineteenth century that the current spelling Kultur was used in German. 5 Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 6, Wolff to Kant (London: Burnes and Oates, 1960), 167–8. 6 Sankar Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 7. On Herder using the word culture in the plural, see also Hans-Jakob Werlen, ‘Multikulturalismus, Postmoderne, und Herder,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 307–17 at 308–9; Ingeborg H. Solbrig, ‘American Slavery in Eighteenth-Century German Literature: The Case of Herder’s “Neger-Idyllen,” ’ Monatshefte 82, no. 1 (1990): 38–49 at 40. 7 Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, rev. ed. (Glasgow: Fontana, 1983), 87–9. 8 Ibid., 89. 9 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 9–10. 10 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 10. 11 Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 419; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 290; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 741. 12 Williams, Keywords, 90. On Herder coining the term ‘political culture,’ see F.M. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 118–19. 13 See, for example, Benjamin W. Redekop, Enlightenment and Community: Lessing, Abbt, Herder, and the Quest for a German Republic (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000), 214. 14 Marion Heinz, ‘Kulturtheorien der Aufklärung: Herder und Kant,’ in Nationen und Kulturen, 139–52 at 142–6. 15 Williams, Keywords, 89–90. 16 Adapted from Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 219; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 333; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 298. 17 Herder, Outlines, 218–19; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 333; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 298. See also ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 333–4, vol. 14, 83; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 298, 465. 18 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 297; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 509. 19 Ibid., 491–2, 507; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 161–2; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 173–4; Robert E. Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics and the European

Notes to pages 72–5 255

20

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

37 38 39 40 41

42

Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 129; Robert L. Clark, Herder: His Life and Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955), 81. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 491, 506; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 124, 228; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 502–3, 598; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 247–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 698–700. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 10. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 118–19. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 310; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 276–7. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 35; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 419. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 66–7; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 449–50; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 209–10. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 294; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 505–6. Ibid., 508; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 121; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 499. Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 73. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 195; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 178. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 161; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 142. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 299; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 513, see also 511–12. Ibid., 511, 524–6. For a similar argument stating that every culture is to a degree multicultural, see Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 163. Herder, Outlines, 451–2; Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597. Herder, Outlines, 452; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227–8; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597–8. C. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, ed. and trans. Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, and Harold Samuel Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 310. Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 148–9, see also 73–5. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227–8; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597–8. Herder, ‘Über die Würkung,’ SW, vol. 8, 348–58, 365–9, 376, 386–7. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 239; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 367; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 324–5. R.G. Collingwood, Principles of Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938), 229; Charles Taylor, Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 269. Herder, ‘Kritische Wälder. Oder Betrachtungen über die Wißenschaft und Kunst des Schönen [1769],’ SW, vol. 4, 62.

256 43 44 45 46 47 48

49 50 51 52 53 54 55

56 57 58 59 60 61

62 63 64 65

66

Notes to pages 76–80

Herder, Outlines, 297; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 14; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 401. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 142; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 116. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 337. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 363–4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 322. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 148; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 125. Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 115–16; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 168. Herder, Selected Early Works, 115; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 168; Philosophical Writings, 148; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 125. See also ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 363–4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 322. Herder, Outlines, 473–4; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 265–6; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 629–30. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 293. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 237; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 363; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 322. Herder, Selected Early Works, 31–2; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 4–5. Charles Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘The Politics of Recognition’: An Essay, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 25–73 at 29–32. Herder, Selected Early Works, 32; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 5. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 336–7. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 288–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 306. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 288–90; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 307–8. On the role of conversation in Herder’s thought, see Taylor, Human Agency and Language, 234. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 286–7; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 304–5. Wulf Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 11. Redekop, Enlightenment and Community, 181–2. Herder, Selected Early Works, 57; ‘Haben wir noch jetzt das Publikum und Vaterland der Alten? Eine Abhandlung zur Feier der Beziehung des neuen Gerichtshauses [1765],’ SW, vol. 1, 18–19. Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 422–3; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 11; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 19.

Notes to pages 80–2 257 67 Plato, Phaedrus, trans. C.J. Rowe (Warminster: Aris Philips, 1986), 121–9 20.v.274b-78b. For the claim that Herder ‘prioritized the exchange of spoken language over the written one,’ see Russell Arben Fox, ‘Herder’s Theory of Language and the Metaphysics of National Community,’ Review of Politics 65, no. 2 (2003): 237–62 at 248. 68 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 366; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 324–5; Christina Howells, Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), 49. 69 Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Herder über das Verhältnis des Autors zum Publikum,’ in Bückeburger Gespräche über Johann Gottfried Herder 1975, ed. J.G. Maltusch (Rinteln: Bösendahl, 1976), 99–138. For a commentary on this interpretation, see Redekop, Enlightenment and Community, 182n47. 70 Herder, ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 194, 231. 71 Herder, ‘Über die Würkung,’ SW, vol. 8, 433. 72 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 384; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 375–6. 73 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 340–1; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 304–5. 74 On the political importance of this distinction, see Will Kymlicka, Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 135–6, 177–8, 222–31. 75 Ulrich Gaier contrasts Herder’s use of das Volk with his use of the plural Völker to denote nations. See Gaier, ‘Herders Volksbegriff und seine Rezeption,’ in Herder im Spiegel der Zeiten: Verwerfungen der Rezeptionsgeschichte und Chancen einer Relektüre, ed. Tilman Borsche (Munich: W. Fink Verlag, 2006), 32–57 at 34, 37. Also see Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology, New Mythology,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 165–88 at 169–70. Anne Löchte identifies Herder’s use of the term Volk to refer to a stately unity irrespective of people’s origins, to denote a group with a common language and history, and when referring to minor societal classes. See Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder: Kulturtheorie und Humanitätsidee der Ideen, Humanitätsbriefe und Adrastea (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2005), 79. On das Volk, see also Karl Menges, ‘Particular Universals: Herder on National Literature, Popular Literature, and World Literature,’ in A Companion, 189–213 at 197–9. 76 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 57–8, 393–5; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–6; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 34–5; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 419–20. 77 Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 73. 78 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 74. 79 Martin Schütze, ‘The Fundamental Ideas in Herder’s Thought: III,’ Modern Philology 19, no. 2 (1921): 113–30 at 118.

258

Notes to pages 82–4

80 Compare Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 57–8; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–6; with Herder, ‘Über die Würkung,’ SW, vol. 8, 348–9, 353–4, 358. 81 Gaier, ‘Herders Volksbegriff,’ 37. 82 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 352–4, 388; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 372–4, 408–9. 83 Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 115. As the tendency now is to regard Shakespeare as high culture, it is noteworthy that the French regarded Shakespeare’s work as crude and unrefined for a considerable period of time. It was not until the late 1770s that it became popular in the French theatre. See Rene Welleck, A History of Modern Criticism, 1750–1950, vol. 1 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1955), 74. 84 Herder, ‘Von Deutscher Art und Kunst [1773],’ SW, vol. 5, 164–5, 182–3; Schütze, ‘The Fundamental Ideas,’ 119–25. 85 Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 115. 86 Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology,’ 170. 87 Herder, ‘Über die Würkung,’ SW, vol. 8, 412–16; Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 22. 88 Herder, ‘Von Deutscher Art und Kunst,’ SW, vol. 5, 168; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 364. Contrary to Arthur Lovejoy’s claims, in the Journal, Herder clearly criticizes Rousseau’s idealization of primitive societies and rejection of European society. See Arthur O. Lovejoy, Essays in the History of Ideas (New York: George Braziller, 1955), 167. 89 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 324; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 545. 90 Ibid., 564–5; ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 11, 292; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 99–100, 113, 237; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 479–80, 492, 606; Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 314; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 332. For a fuller discussion of the differences between Hamann and Herder on this issue, see Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics, 64–9. 91 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 369; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 113; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 492. 92 Herder, ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 433–41. 93 Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology,’ 170. 94 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 204–5, 227–8, Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 577–8, 597–8; Frank E. Manuel, ‘Editor’s Introduction,’ in Herder, Reflections on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind, ed. Frank E. Manuel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), ix–xxv at xviii–ix. 95 Herder, ‘Aus Herders Frühzeit: V. Von der Verschiedenheit des Geschmacks und der Denkart unter den Menschen,’ SW, vol. 32, 27.

Notes to pages 84–7 259 96 For the conservative implications of the communitarian focus on the positive role of traditions, see Amy Gutmann, ‘Communitarian Critics of Liberalism,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (1985): 308–22 at 309; Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell, ‘Introduction: Beyond the Politics of Gender,’ in Feminism as Critique: Essays on the Politics of Gender in LateCapitalist Societies, ed. Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1987), 1–15 at 12–13; Sabina Lovibond, ‘Feminism and Postmodernism,’ New Left Review 178 (September–October 1989): 5–28 at 23–4. By contrast, Georgia Warnke stresses the hermeneutic understanding of tradition in communitarian thought. See Warnke, ‘Feminism and Hermeneutics,’ Hypatia 8, no. 1 (1993): 81–98, esp. 89. 97 Herder, ‘Einzelne Blätter zum “Journal der Reise,” ’ SW, vol. 4, 466–8. 98 F.M. Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. F.M. Barnard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 3–60 at 7. 99 Michael Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 148. 100 Taylor, ‘Cross-Purposes,’ 166. 101 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 345–7. 102 Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, 150. 103 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597; Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 36. 104 Aristotle, De Anima, trans. R.D. Hicks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907), 51 II.1.412b12–15. 105 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 336–7. 106 Sabina Lovibond, Realism and Imagination in Ethics (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 117–23. 107 J. Peter Euben, ‘Corruption,’ in Political Innovation and Conceptual Change, ed. Terence Ball, James Farr, and Russell L. Hanson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 220–46 at 222. 108 H.P.P. Lotter, ‘Personal Identity in Multicultural Constitutional Democracies,’ South African Journal of Philosophy 17, no. 3 (1998): 179–97; Sélim Abou, ‘The Metamorphoses of Cultural Identity,’ Diogenes 45, no. 177 (1997): 3–15; Kymlicka, Liberalism, 175–6; Frances Svensson, ‘Liberal Democracy and Group Rights: The Legacy of Individualism and Its Impact on American Indian Tribes,’ Political Studies 27, no. 3 (1979): 421–39 at 436. 109 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 399–400; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 419–20; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 3; ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 19. 110 Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice, 150; Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth, 1981), 202–6.

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111 Kymlicka, Liberalism, 53–7; Gutmann, ‘Communitarian Critics of Liberalism,’ 317. 112 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 157–8; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 597. 113 Kymlicka, Liberalism, 53. Kymlicka recognizes it is not possible to erase one’s upbringing entirely even in this early work (175–6), but he is highly critical from a Rawlsian perspective of Sandel’s and Taylor’s ‘communitarian’ approach. I am unclear how his early and later views are reconcilable, but in more recent years the differences between them are less obvious, with Kymlicka endorsing Taylor’s ‘deep diversity’ approach. See Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 189–90. 114 Adapted from Herder, Philosophical Writings, 156; ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 136. 115 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 147; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 585. 116 Sabina Lovibond makes this point in connection with Collingwood’s philosophy of language. See Lovibond, ‘Collingwood on Language and Subjectivity,’ working paper (unpublished, January 1989), 8. 117 Lovibond, Realism, 123. 118 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 310; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 527. 119 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 147; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 585. 120 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 213; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 198. 121 Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 511–13. 122 Herder, ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 3–4. 123 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 205; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 190. For a detailed discussion of Herder’s theory of psychology, see Katherine Arens, ‘Kant, Herder, and Psychology,’ in Herder Today: Contributions from the International Herder Conference, 5–8 November 1987, ed. Kurt Mueller-Vollmer (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1990), 190–206 at 192–5. 124 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 204; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 188–9. 125 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 236; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 226. 126 Herder, ‘Kritische Wälder,’ SW, vol. 4, 12–15. For a comprehensive discussion of Herder’s psychology of aesthetic perception that also argues Herder rejects a subjectivist conception of taste, see Norton, Herder’s Aesthetics, 164–6, 172–6. 127 Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 207. 128 Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 73; Elie Kedourie, Nationalism, 3rd ed. (London: Hutchinson, 1966), 64.

Notes to pages 90–3 261 129 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 437. 130 Ibid., 426; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 288–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 305–7; ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ vol. 18, 336–7, 345–8. 131 See, for example, Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition’; James Tully, Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 56, 183; Lotter, ‘Personal Identity,’ 191–2; Abou, ‘The Metamorphoses,’ 11. For a critical discussion of this recent trend in political theory, see Andrew Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 182–6. 132 Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 29–32. 133 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 211; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 197. 134 Herder, Selected Early Works, 33; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 6. 135 Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 25–6; Lotter, ‘Personal Identity,’ 191–2. 136 Herder, ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 186. 137 Herder, Selected Early Works, 128; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 186; Pierre Juliard, Philosophies of Language in Eighteenth-Century France (The Hague and Paris: Mouton, 1970), 84. 138 Herder, Selected Early Works, 165; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 240. 139 Lotter, ‘Personal Identity,’ 191; Ross Poole, Nation and Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), esp. chapter 2. 140 MacIntyre, After Virtue, 205. 141 Adapted from Herder, Philosophical Writings, 219; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 209. 142 Lotter, ‘Personal Identity,’ 191–2. 143 These immigrant Lebanese, for example, chose to live in an exclusively French area in Montreal to integrate quickly but found ‘on their own admission, they imperatively needed prolonged visits with compatriot friends, at least twice a week.’ Abou, ‘The Metamorphoses,’ 10. 144 Ibid., 9. As people are not completely determined by their culture, Abou claims that his work supports Kant’s transcendental conception of the self. Yet his research shows that it is only with the children of migrants that the new cultural code becomes the point of reference for the original cultural code. He does not show it is possible to abstract from any cultural code to engage in pure reason. See ibid., 9–12. 145 Herder, Selected Early Works, 32–3; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 5–6. 146 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 216; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 202. 147 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 95; G.A. Wells, Herder and After: A Study in the Development of Sociology (Gravenhage: Mouton Wells, 1959), 259–60.

262 148 149 150 151 152 153 154

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Notes to pages 93–6 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 215; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 201–2. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 146–7; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 135–6. Clark, Herder, 313; Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 95. Kymlicka, Liberalism, 173. G.C. MacCallum, ‘Negative and Positive Freedom,’ Philosophical Review 76 (1967): 312–34 at 322. Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), 122. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 177, vol. 14, 209–11; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 163, 582–3; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 275, 283; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 727, 734. Charles Taylor, ‘What’s Wrong with Negative Liberty?’ in The Idea of Freedom: Essays in Honour of Isaiah Berlin, ed. Alan Ryan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 175–93 at 179. This is not to deny that certain emotions, such as spite or bitterness, can be an integral part of a person’s identity and that it would be positive to overcome them. The evidence suggests that the actual end point of cultural assimilation, however, can negatively cause various forms of identity crisis detrimental to those affected. See Abou, ‘The Metamorphoses,’ 11. For a full discussion of the failure of the concept of negative liberty to recognize these kinds of internal constraints, see Taylor, ‘What’s Wrong with Negative Liberty?’ 187–93.

4. The Pluralist Alternative 1 For example, George Crowder, Liberalism and Value Pluralism (London and New York: Continuum, 2002); John Gray, Two Faces of Liberalism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000) and Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age (London and New York: Routledge, 1995); William Galston, Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defence of Pluralism and Equality (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983). 2 Richard J. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 18. 3 Friedrich Meinecke, Historism: The Rise of a New Historical Outlook, trans. J.E. Anderson, rev. H.D. Schmidt (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972), 309–10.

Notes to pages 96–7 263 4 See, for example, Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 75–6; Enno Rudolph, ‘Eröffnungsvortrag: Kultur als höhere Natur: Herder als Kritiker der Geschichtsphilosophie Kants,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 13–25 at 17; Brian J. Whitton, ‘Herder’s Critique of the Enlightenment: Cultural Community versus Cosmopolitan Rationalism,’ History and Theory 27, no. 2 (1988): 146–68; Kai Nielson, ‘Cultural Identity and Self-Definition,’ Human Studies 10, nos. 3–4 (1987): 383–90 at 383–4; F.M. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 90, 97, 149; Robert T. Clark, Herder: His Life and Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955), 56, 251; F. MacEachran, The Life and Philosophy of Johann Gottfried Herder (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939), 33. 5 Clark, Herder, 371. 6 Meinecke, Historism, 354, 366–8. 7 For evidence of a more direct tendency toward a pluralist interpretation, see Anne Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder: Kulturtheorie und Humanitätsidee der Ideen, Humanitätsbriefe und Adrastea (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2005), 203–21; Damon Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism of J.G. Herder,’ Review of Politics 62, no. 2 (2000): 267–93; Karl J. Fink, ‘The Politics of Herder’s Pluralism,’ European Legacy 1, no. 1 (1996): 262–9; and ‘Storm and Stress Anthropology,’ History of the Human Sciences 6, no. 1 (1993): 51–71; Vicki A. Spencer, ‘Beyond Either/Or: The Pluralist Alternative in Herder’s Thought,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 53–70; Fred R. Dallmayr, Alternative Visions: Paths in the Global Village (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998); Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake, 136; Isaiah Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism in Eighteenth-Century Thought,’ in The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas, ed. Henry Hardy (London: John Murray, 1990), 70–90. See also Charles E. Larmore, Patterns of Moral Complexity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 93–9, although Larmore fails to see that Herder also understands the pluralism existing within societies. Frederick C. Beiser argues that Herder avoids the danger of relativism and is instead a cultural pluralist, but he thinks Herder sees all cultures as having ‘equal value,’ which is a relativist proposition, as opposed to the pluralist claim that all cultures possess value. Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism: The Genesis of Modern German Political Thought, 1790–1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 207–9.

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8 For an excellent discussion of the problems raised for my interpretation by Herder’s normative commitments, although she still finds a pluralist interpretation useful, see Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder, 205–21. I will attempt to answer her challenges in the following two chapters. See also Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism,’ 267–93, who in my view misinterprets Herder’s theory of monads and historical laws. 9 Martha Nussbaum’s capability approach, which is pluralist in intent, has been criticized for elevating the liberal ideal of practical reason to universal status. See Martha Nussbaum, Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); David Miller and Cécile Fabre, ‘Justice and Culture: Rawls, Sen, Nussbaum, and O’Neill,’ Political Studies Review 1, no. 1 (2003): 4–17 at 13; George Crowder, ‘Value Pluralism and Liberalism: Berlin and Beyond,’ in The One and the Many: Reading Isaiah Berlin, ed. George Crowder and Henry Hardy (New York: Prometheus Books, 2007), 207–30 at 218–20. For criticism of Raz’s inclusion of autonomy in his value pluralism, see Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake, 83. 10 Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: Chatto and Windus, 1980), 206, 208–9. 11 Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism,’ 74–90. For a discussion of the impetus behind this change, see Steven Lukes, Liberals and Cannibals: The Implications of Diversity (London: Verso, 2003), 101–3. 12 Damon Linker interprets Berlin in these ways in his analysis of Herder. See Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism,’ 268–93. George Crowder thinks it is difficult to distinguish Berlin’s formulation of pluralism from relativism. See Crowder, ‘Value Pluralism,’ 217. For a defence of Berlin, see Jason Ferrell, ‘The Alleged Relativism of Isaiah Berlin,’ Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11, no. 1 (2008): 41–56; ‘Isaiah Berlin: Liberalism and Pluralism in Theory and Practice,’ Contemporary Political Theory 8, no. 3 (2009): 295–316. 13 For example, see F.M. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, Humanity, and History (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003), where he first refers to ‘Herder’s pluralist approach’ and then in the next sentence to ‘his cultural relativism’ (103), and still later to his ‘relativist, pluralist, and process-centred approach,’ (134) and his ‘relativist and pluralist conception of culture’ (145). See also John H. Zammito, Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), where he attributes a radical ‘relativism’ to Herder’s thought (335) and then later refers to his ‘pluralism’ (345). See also Fink, ‘Storm and Stress Anthropology,’ 65, where he refers to Herder’s ‘theory of cultural pluralism’ (55) and then to Herder’s ‘cultural relativism’; and Gerald Broce’s

Notes to pages 98–100 265

14 15

16

17 18 19 20

21 22

observation that ‘Herder had a relativistic and pluralistic conception of culture.’ Broce, ‘Herder and Ethnography,’ Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 22, no. 2 (1986): 150–70 at 150. This confusion is equally evident with Whitton, who refers to ‘Herder’s relativistic conception of cultural community’ but says he intends to outline the basic contradictions in ‘such radical arguments for cultural pluralism.’ Whitton, ‘Herder’s Critique of the Enlightenment,’ 147. See also Sonia Sikka, ‘Enlightened Relativism: The Case of Herder,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism 31, no. 3 (2005): 309–41, esp. 331, where she says his thought is ‘best described as a form of relativism – rather than, say pluralism, although Herder is a pluralist as well.’ Ernest A. Menze fully acknowledges that Herder combines the particular and the universal but retains the category of relativism to describe his thought. See Menze, ‘Königsberg and Riga: The Genesis and Significance of Herder’s Historical Thought,’ in Herder Today: Contributions from the International Herder Conference, 5–7 November 1987, ed. Kurt MuellerVollmer (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1990), 97–107. Bernard Williams, Morality: An Introduction to Ethics (New York: Harper and Row, 1972), 20. Ibid., 20–1. For a more sophisticated version, see W.V. Quine, ‘Three Indeterminancies,’ in Perspectives on Quine, ed. Robert B. Barrett and Roger F. Gibson (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 1–16. James Rachels, The Elements of Moral Philosophy, 5th ed., ed. Stuart Rachels (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007), 16–21, 32; Ernst Gellner, Relativism and the Social Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 84; Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism, 11–12; W. Newton-Smith, ‘Relativism and the Possibility of Interpretation,’ in Rationality and Relativism, ed. Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982), 106–22 at 107; Williams, Morality, 20–1; J.L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977), 14, 18. Rachels, The Elements, 32–3; Newton-Smith, ‘Relativism,’ 107; Mackie, Ethics, 22–3; Williams, Morality, 28. Barry Barnes and David Bloor, ‘Relativism, Rationalism, and the Sociology of Knowledge,’ in Relativism and Rationalism, 21–47 at 27–8. Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism, 8. J.S. Fishkin, Beyond Subjective Morality: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 11–12, 86–8; David B. Wong, Moral Relativity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 1. Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth, and History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 163–7. Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism,’ 74–89.

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23 Isaiah Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), li. 24 Ibid., xlix–liii. For additional commentaries on Berlin’s pluralism, see George Crowder, Isaiah Berlin: Liberty and Pluralism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004), esp. chapters 6 and 7; Bernard Williams, ‘Conflict of Values,’ in The Idea of Freedom: Essays in Honour of Isaiah Berlin, ed. Alan Ryan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), 221–32, esp. 221, 224. 25 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 395–9. 26 See ibid., 369–95. 27 Michael Walzer, Thick and Thin: Moral Arguments at Home and Abroad (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 11–12. 28 For the problems with this aspect of Berlin’s value pluralism, see Crowder, ‘Value Pluralism,’ 209, 215. 29 Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes, ‘Introduction,’ in Rationality and Relativism, 1–20 at 2; Barnes and Bloor, ‘Relativism,’ 21–2. 30 Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 491–2. On the link between his critique of Winkelmann and his historical method, see Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Grundzüge der Hermeneutik Herders,’ in Bückeburger Gespräche über Johann Gottfried Herder, 1971, ed. Johann G. Maltusch (Bückeburg: Grimme, 1973), 17–57 at 31–2. 31 For commentaries see Berlin, Vico and Herder, 190; Meinecke, Historism, 57–80; F.E. Manuel, Shapes of Philosophical Inquiry (London: George Allen and Unwin 1965), 103. 32 Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 392; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 145; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 522; Meinecke, Historism, 259; Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 110–11; G.A. Wells, Herder and After: A Study in the Development of Sociology (Gravenhage: Mouton, 1959), 42. 33 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 392; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 145; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 522. 34 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 85–6; Werke, vol. 3, bk. 1, 466–7. 35 Herder, ‘Auch Eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 508. 36 George G. Iggers, The German Conception of History: The National Tradition of Historical Thought from Herder to the Present (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1968), 29. 37 A.N. de Condorect, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of Human Mind [1756], trans. J. Barraclough (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1955), 9–12; Donald R. Kelley, Faces of History: Historical Inquiry from Herodotus to Herder (London: Yale University Press, 1998), 256.

Notes to pages 102–3 267 38 Hume also exposed many of the problems with the method of induction in the eighteenth century. 39 Martin Schütze, ‘The Fundamental Ideas in Herder’s Thought: V (Continued),’ Modern Philology 21, no. 2 (1923): 113–32 at 130. 40 Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 292–3; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 504–5. 41 Herder, ‘Denkmal Johann Winkelmanns [1768],’ SW, vol. 8, 466n1. Barnard considers this recognition of subjectivity ‘Herder’s chief contribution to historiography.’ See F.M. Barnard, ‘Herder’s Treatment of Causation and Continuity in History,’ Journal of the History of Ideas 14, no. 2 (1963): 197–212 at 199. 42 H.B. Nisbet points out the fallacy of a positivist interpretation also of Herder’s scientific method as he acknowledges a subjective element in scientific inquiries. See Nisbet, Herder and the Philosophy of Science (Cambridge: Modern Humanities Association Dissertation Series, 1970), 22, 24–5. More recent scholarship argues that contrary to Wilhelm Dilthey’s interpretation of Herder developing an alternative method for historical research to that for scientific research, there is no such dichotomy in Herder’s thought. See Eva Knodt, ‘Hermeneutics and the End of Science: Herder’s Role in the Formation of Natur- and Geisteswissenshaften,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge, ed. Wulf Koepke (Columbia: Camden House, 1996), 1–12 at 2–6; Peter H. Reill, ‘Herder’s Historical Practice and the Discourse of Late Enlightenment Science,’ in ibid., 13–21. In the twentieth century, Karl Popper showed that within the field of natural sciences, researchers rarely derive their theories from observation and sense data. They are conceived instead in various ways, including inspiration and intuition. It has been for some time widely (although by no means entirely) accepted that the method of induction also in the sciences is based on a naive belief in an unprejudiced use of an observer’s senses. See Bryan Magee, Popper, rev. ed. (London: Fontana, 1982), 19–31; Alan F. Chalmers, What Is This Called Science? 2nd ed. (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1982), 2. For the view that Herder and historicism develop a different model to the scientific one, see Paul Hamilton, Historicism, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 3–17. 43 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 292; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 502. 44 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 292; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 503. Vico developed a similar method before Herder but remained a relatively

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Notes to pages 103–4 unknown thinker. It is generally recognized that Herder was unaware of Vico’s work until many years after he first espoused the theory himself. Ulrich Gaier attributes Herder’s acquaintance with Vico’s work to his travels to Italy in the 1780s. Herder subsequently bestowed high praise on Vico in his Humanitätsbriefe. See Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology, New Mythology,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 165–88 at 186n4; Berlin, Vico and Herder, 187; Against the Current: Essays in the History of Idea, ed. Henry Hardy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991; first published by Hogarth, 1979), 108; Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 245–6; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 697. Michael Morton, Herder and the Poetics of Thought: Unity and Diversity in On Diligence in Several Learned Languages (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1989), 147. Barnard, Herder on Nationality, 5–6. In contrast to Morton, Barnard uses the term Einfühlungsvermögen. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 502–3. Berlin, Vico and Herder, 192. Robert S. Leventhal, The Disciplines of Interpretation: Lessing, Herder, Schlegel, and Hermeneutics in Germany, 1750–1800 (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1994), 196. In criticizing Michael Morton, Leventhal denies that Herder develops any such method of sympathetic identification and that he is instead being ironic in Auch eine Philosophie as such a method would attribute ‘superhuman powers to the individual.’ See Leventhal, ‘The Critique of the Concept: Lessing, Herder, and the Semiology of Historical Semantics,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1996, vol. 3, ed. Wilfred Malsch, Hans Adler, and Wulf Koepke (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1997), 93–110 at 108; Michael Morton, The Critical Turn: Studies in Kant, Herder, Wittgenstein, and Contemporary Theory (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993), 208. Leventhal’s interpretation is an interesting and unique one that is influenced by Foucault. But while the passage in question does lend itself to this reading, Herder does not go that far, given he clearly states on numerous occasions that we can know those in other periods and, with no hint of irony, that he seeks the truth. Instead, Herder is attempting to go beyond the dichotomy that we are either completely bounded linguistically so that universals are impossible or that it is possible to be entirely neutral, objective observers. For a defence of his interpretation, see Morton, ‘Critical Realism and the “Critique of the Concept,” ’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 177–89 esp. 183–9.

Notes to pages 104–7 269 50 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 111. 51 Ernest A. Menze, ‘Herder and Prejudice: Insights and Ambiguities,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 2002, vol. 6, ed. Karl Menges and Regine Otto (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 2002), 83–96 at 83–4; Karl Menges, ‘ “Sinn” and “Besonnenheit”: The Meaning of “Meaning” in Herder,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4 (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 157–75 at 167–8; ‘Vom Vorteil des Vorurteils: Zur Rehabilitierung eines kritischen Aufklärungsbegriffs,’ in Begegnung mit dem ‘Fremden’: Grenzen, Traditionen, Vergleiche. Akten des VIII. Internationalen Germanisten Kongresses, Tokyo 1990, ed. Eijiro Iwasaki, vol. 10, ed. Yoshinori Shichiji (Munich: Iudicium, 1991), 161–70 at 161–2. 52 Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 180; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 265. 53 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 276–7; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 482. 54 Menze, ‘Herder and Prejudice,’ 86. 55 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 341; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 566. 56 Hans Dietrich Irmscher, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder,’ in Deutsche Dichter des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben und Werk, ed. Benno von Wiese (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 1977), 524–50 at 532; Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd ed. (London: Sheed and Ward, 1979), 329, 321, 324–5, 330. 57 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 420; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 295; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 746. 58 Gadamer, Truth and Method, 236–9, 246–7, 271–3. 59 See, for example, Kelley, Faces of History, 241–2; Hamilton, Historicism, 27. 60 Rachels, The Elements, 19. 61 Barnes and Bloor, ‘Relativism,’ 22. Also on its problems, see Charles Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘The Politics of Recognition’: An Essay, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 25–73 at 63, 68–73. 62 Hamilton, Historicism, 17. 63 Putnam, Reason, Truth, and History, 168; Patrick Gardiner, ‘Introduction,’ in The Philosophy of History, ed. Patrick Gardiner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), 1–15 at 10–11. 64 Martin Hollis, ‘The Social Destruction of Reality,’ in Rationality and Relativism, 69–86 at 79. 65 Not all relativists agree with this version of the equivalence postulate. For a weaker version, see Barnes and Bloor, ‘Relativism,’ 22–3.

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66 Hollis, ‘The Social Destruction of Reality,’ 79. 67 Williams, Morality, 156–9. 68 Charles Taylor, Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 117–19. 69 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 56–7; Werke in zehn Bänden vol. 7, 63–4. 70 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58–61; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–8. 71 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 59; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. 72 On the link between historicism and relativism so that such evaluations are considered invalid, see Hamilton, Historicism, 17. William Walsh criticizes R.G. Collingwood’s method of emphatic identification and argues that those historians who confine their task to ‘rethinking’ the thoughts of their subjects, while ignoring the effects of their acts, fail to perform their ‘proper duties as a historian.’ It was Collingwood who was largely responsible for introducing this historicist insight into England early in the twentieth century. See Walsh, ‘Colligatory Concepts in History,’ in The Philosophy of History, 127–44 at 128–9; Collingwood, ‘Human Nature and Human History,’ in ibid., 17–40 at 26. For a detailed commentary on the connections that have historically between made between historicism, relativism, and Herder’s thought, see Wolfgang Proß, ‘Die Ordnung der Zeiten und Räume: Herder zwischen Aufklärung und Historismus,’ in Vernunft, Freiheit, Humanität: Über Johann Gottfried Herder und einige seiner Zeitgenossen, Festgabe für Günter Arnold zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Günter Arnold and Claudia Taszus (Eutin: Lumpeter und Lasel, 2008), 9–73, esp. 35–42. 73 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 59; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. 74 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 59; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. 75 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 295; ‘Auch Eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 507. Forster notes that ‘iron animal’ was a phrase that referred to the Roman Empire. See Herder, Philosophical Writings, 295n37. 76 Ibid., 295; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 508. 77 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 294; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 506. 78 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 309; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 526. 79 Wulf Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 31. 80 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 307–8; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 30–1; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 415–16. 81 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 309; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 31; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 416–17.

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82 Patrick Gardiner claims that the relativist criticism of modern historiography for questioning agents’ conceptions of themselves and their actions is reminiscent of Herder’s historical procedure. See Gardiner, ‘Introduction,’ 11. 83 Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism,’ 77. 84 For a recent argument that conflates historicism and relativism, see Hamilton, Historicism, 17. 85 Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 22–5, 30–1, 98–9. 86 Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism,’ 79–80. 87 Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty, lii–liii. 88 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 138; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 148. 89 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 154; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 142–3. 90 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 137–8; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 147–8; Hans Adler, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder’s Concept of Humanity,’ Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 23 (1994): 55–74 at 63–5; Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 91. 91 Adler, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder’s Concept of Humanity,’ 65. 92 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 156–8, vol. 14, 230–1; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 144–6, 600–1; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 137–8; Werke in zehn Bänden vol. 7, 147–8. 93 Adler, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder’s Concept of Humanity,’ 63. 94 Herder, Outlines, 86; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 137; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 126. 95 Herder, Outlines, 92; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 146; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 135. 96 Herder, Outlines, 86; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 138; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 127. See also Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 59–61. 97 On the problem of Hume’s law in relation to Berlin’s factual universals, see Crowder, ‘Value Pluralism,’ 211, 215. 98 By contrast, Samson B. Knoll claims it is ‘free of normative commitments.’ See Knoll, ‘Herder’s Concept of Humanität,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator Through the Ages, ed. Wulf Koepke with Knoll (Bonn: Bouvier, 1982), 9–19 at 9. On its normative dimension, see also Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder, 65–70. 99 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 187, 189; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 172, 174. Barnard sees it as ‘one of the chief weaknesses of Herder’s philosophy of history that he did not keep these two considerations apart’ – that is, his empirical claims about human nature and ‘man’s moral orientation.’ See Barnard, ‘Herder’s Treatment of Causation,’ 197. 100 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 154, 161, 164–5; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 142, 149, 151–2. For an interpretation that emphasizes the religiosity of this concept, see Knoll, ‘Herder’s Concept of Humanität,’ 11; Ursula Cillien,

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108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115

116 117 118 119

Notes to pages 114–17 Johann Gottfried Herder: Christlicher Humanismus (Ratingen, Kastellaun, and Düsseldorf: A. Henn Verlag, 1972). On its connection with this concept and his ambivalence toward Christianity, see Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder, 70–1. Herder, ‘Metakritik,’ SW, vol. 21, 152–3. Adler, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder’s Concept of Humanity,’ 62–3. Herder, Outlines, 123; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 190; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 175. For a discussion of the problems with Plato’s theory, see Sabina Lovibond, ‘Plato’s Theory of Mind,’ in Companions to Ancient Thought 2: Psychology, ed. S. Everson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 33–55 at 44–5. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 128; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 197; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 181. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 194–7; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 179–81. Herder, On World History: An Anthology, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest A. Menze, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 100; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 115; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 123–4. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 138; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 148. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 207–8; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 580–1. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 115, 122; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 126, 131. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 440; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 210; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 582. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 209–10; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 581–2. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 113–14; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 122–3. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 241; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 609; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 120; vol. 18, 284; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 128, 734–5. Herder, ‘Humanitätbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 295–7; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 746–8. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 155; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 143. Herder, On World History, 102; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 119; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 128. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 160; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 143. For a more detailed discussion of this aspect of his concept, see Hans Adler, ‘Herder’s Concept of Humanität,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried

Notes to pages 117–19

120 121 122 123 124 125

126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138

139

273

Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 93–116 at 108–11. Hans Dietrich Irmscher sees reason and Billigkeit as synonymous terms; see Irmscher, ‘Herders “Humanitätsbriefe,” ’ in Herder, Briefe zu Beförderung der Humanität, ed. Irmscher, vol. 7 of Werke in zehn Bänden (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1991), 809–40 at 830–2. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 271–2; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 723–4. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 121–2; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 130–1. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 134. Aristotle, Ethics, trans. J.A.K. Thomson (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976), 91 II.i.1103a14–b25. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 138; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 148. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ‘A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1755],’ in The Social Contract and Discourses, trans. G.D.H. Cole, rev. J.H. Brumfitt and John C. Hall (London: Dent and Sons, 1973), 27–113 at 53–4. Herder, On World History, 106; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 138; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 148. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 122; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 131. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 161; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 148. Crowder, ‘Value Pluralism,’ 211, 214–15. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 354; vol. 18, 237–44; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 374, 689–95. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 138; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 148. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 334; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 557. Ibid., 488, 495, 498. Herder, Outlines, v; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 3–4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 9. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 137–8; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 515–16. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 195; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 168. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 250; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 617. Herder, Outlines, 210; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 322; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 287. On the progress of good, see also ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 235; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 604. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 262–74; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 713–26. On his peace plan, see J.M. van der Laan, ‘Johann Gottfried Herder on War and Peace,’ Monatshefte 101, no. 3 (2009): 335–46; John Pizer, ‘The German Response to Kant’s Essay on Perpetual Peace: Herder

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142

143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152

Notes to pages 119–21 Contra the Romantics,’ Germanic Review 82, no. 4 (2007): 358–63; Karla L. Schultz, ‘Herders indianische Friedensfrau,’ Monatshefte 81, no. 4 (1989): 416–24. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 532–3. Haym marks the Humanitätsbriefe as the beginning of a decline in Herder’s intellectual powers, while Lovejoy criticizes his analysis for a general neglect of the role of revolts and revolutions in historical change. For a discussion of these views, see Wells, Herder and After, 132–5. Günter Arnold sees an early change from Voltaire’s influence to Montesquieu’s, and also argues that Herder’s late views were affected by censorship due to the French Revolution. See Arnold, ‘Wandlungen von Herders Revolutionsbegriff,’ in Herder–Kolloquium 1978: Referate und Diskussionsbeiträge, ed. Walter Dietze with Hans-Dietrich Dahnke et al. (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1980), 164–72 at 165–8; Meinecke, Historism, 354; Arthur O. Lovejoy, Essays in the History of Ideas (New York: George Braziller, 1955), 181. For example, Ernst Hannemann, ‘Kulturelle Osmose und nationale Identität in Herders politischem Denken,’ in Nationen und Kulturen, 177–90 at 190. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 409; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 274; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 726. Herder, Philosophical Writings, 145; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 274; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 726. Wells, Herder and After, 135. Translation from Wells, Herder and After, 13; Herder, ‘Gott: Eine Gespräche [1787],’ (hereafter Gott), SW, vol. 16, 556. Herder, ‘Gott,’ SW, vol. 16, 569–70. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 213–17, 227, 233; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 585–8, 597, 602–3. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosphie,’ SW, vol. 5, 511–13. Herder, Outlines, 226; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 346; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 308. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 465; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 247; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 615. Wells, Herder and After, 268–9. Wells refers to Herder as a ‘determinist’ but argues that this does not make individual human action meaningless. It only entails, as with Hume’s position, that ‘action is the result of antecedents, among which – in the words of Hume – “motives and tempers” are to be included, as well as external circumstances.’ See Wells, ‘Herder’s Determinism,’ Journal of the History of Ideas 19, no. 1 (1958): 105–13 at 109, also 106, 108–10. Here he (111–13) thinks Herder is less consistent on

Notes to pages 121–4 275

153 154 155

156 157

158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167

fatalism, although he also sees him following Montesquieu. Yet where Herder writes that ‘this is what he is to be and nothing else is possible for him,’ which Wells employs as evidence of fatalism (111), the full sentence reads: ‘Let everyone therefore strive in his place, to be what he can be in the course of things: this he will be, and to be anything else is impossible.’ He is simply stating that no one can be other than they are. It, therefore, does not undermine human self-determination. See Herder, Outlines, 395; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 149; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 526. For an emphasis on the differences between Herder and Hume, see Barnard, ‘Herder’s Treatment,’ 201–4. Mackie, Ethics, 216–17, 221. Translation adapted from Wells, Herder and After, 268–9; Herder, ‘Zerstreute Blätter: Erste Sammlung [1785],’ SW, vol. 15, 270. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 147. Barnard ascribes a historical fatalism to Herder due to his ‘providential’ theory in ‘Herder’s Treatment,’ 200. I employ the term ‘determinist’ here in J.L. Mackie’s sense of a ‘compatibilist’ as opposed to an ‘incompatiblist.’ The ‘compatibilist’ does not, according to Mackie, challenge our fundamental moral ideas concerning choice and responsibility. Though Herder, for example, does not think human beings are free in an absolute sense as our choices are limited by our natures and by the material conditions confronting us, as Mackie states, this kind of soft determinism ‘does not relevantly undermine their reality as choices or their moral significance.’ See Mackie, Ethics, 220–3. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 112. John R. Milton, ‘The Origin and Development of the Concept of the “Laws of Nature,” ’ Archives européennes de sociologie [European Journal of Sociology] 22, no. 2 (1981): 173–95 at 191–5. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 513, 586. See also ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 67–71; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 66–9. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 527. Herder, Outlines, 92; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 146; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 135. Herder, Outlines, 440; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 209; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 582. Herder, Outlines, 457; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 235; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 604. Herder, Outlines, 438; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 207; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 580. Berlin, ‘Alleged Relativism,’ 79–80. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 393; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 345. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 255; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 393; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 345. Herder, Outlines, 255; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 394; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 345.

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168 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 255; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 393; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 345. For a similar argument, see Rachels, The Elements, 23–5. 169 Herder was influenced by Leibniz’s theory of monads, but in some recent literature this influence has been overestimated. See Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism,’ 280; Elías Palti, ‘The “Metaphor of Life”: Herder’s Philosophy of History and Uneven Developments in Late EighteenthCentury Natural Sciences,’ History and Theory 38, no. 3 (1999): 322–47 at 324; Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 68. For a highly useful discussion of the differences between Herder’s and Leibniz’s theories of monads, see Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 37. Also see Beate Monika Dreike, Herders Naturauffassung in ihrer Beeinflußung durch Leibniz’ Philosophie (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1973); Zammito, Kant, Herder, 171, 316. 170 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 2nd ed., trans. G.E.M. Anscombe (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), 31–2 no. 66. 171 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 124–5; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 502–3. 172 Herder, Outlines, 377; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 124; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 502. 173 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 235–8; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 604–6. 174 Herder, Outlines, 452; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 228; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 538. 175 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 322. 176 Ibid., 343. 177 Ibid., 344. 178 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 227; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 597. 179 Herder, Outlines, 453; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 229; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 599. 5. Nationalism 1 Ulrich Gaier, ‘Herders Volksbegriff und seine Rezeption,’ in Herder im Spiegel der Zeiten: Verwerfungen der Rezeptionsgeschichte und Chancen einer Relektüre, ed. Tilman Borsche (Munich: W. Fink Verlag, 2006), 32–57 at 37; Wulf Koepke, ‘Kulturnation and Its Authorization through Herder,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Academic Disciplines and the Pursuit of Knowledge, ed. Wulf Koepke (Columbia: Camden House, 1996), 177–98 at 182; Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, ‘Elemente von Herders Nationenkonzept,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 27–34 at 30; Birgit Nübel, ‘Zum Verhältnis von “Kultur” und “Nation” bei Rousseau und Herder,’ in ibid., 97–109 at 101; Bernd Springer, ‘Sprache, Geschichte, Nation und Deutschlandbilder bei Herder,’ in Poetisierung–Politisierung: Deutschlandbilder in der Literatur bis 1848, ed. Wilhelm Gossmann and Roth Klaus-Hinrich (Paderborn: Schoningh, 1994), 33–62 at 39; Michael

Notes to pages 130–2 277

2

3

4 5

6 7 8 9

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Zaremba, Johann Gottfried Herders humanitäres Nations- und Volksverständnis: ein Beitrag zur politischen Kultur der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Berlin: Oberhofer, 1985), 119; Rudolf Große, ‘Zur Verwendung des Wortes Volk bei Herder,’ in Herder Kolloquium 1978, ed. Walter Dietze with Hans-Dietrich Dahnke et al. (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlhaus, 1980), 304–14 at 308. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, ‘The Rise of Nations: Introduction,’ in Nationalism, ed. John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 132–3 at 132. Elie Kedourie, Nationalism, 3rd ed. (London: Hutchinson, 1966), 75. See also 75–8 for his commentary on the tendency of nationalist historiography to distort the past. Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationality (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 137–8. Ibid., 6. Peter Worsley argues that tribes do not differ from modern nations simply by virtue of their size. Criticizing those thinkers who draw an analogy between the tribe and the modern nation, he writes: ‘The creation of the nation-state involves not only the economic centralization of the market, the concentration of political power in the hands of a dominant class and the creation of a centralized bureaucracy, but also the imposition of cultural standardization and the subordination of “subaltern ethnic” communities. That is, the nation is opposed to the tribe.’ Peter Worsley, ‘Three Modes of Nationalism,’ in The Challenge of Social Change, ed. Orlando Fals Borda (London: Sage, 1985), 39–56 at 39. Anthony Giddens, ‘The Nation as Power-Container,’ in Nationalism, 34–5 at 34. Gellner, Nations and Nationality, 6. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso, 1991), 7. Adapted from Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 223–4; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 341; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 304. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 384; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 337. Kedourie, Nationalism, 77–8. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 263; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 628. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 377–81; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 332–5. John Breuilly, Nationalism and the State (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1982), 55. Koepke, ‘Kulturnation,’ 183. Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (London: Penguin, 1991), 8–9. Quoted in Kedourie, Nationalism, 14.

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Notes to pages 133–5

18 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe, SW, vol. 17, 257; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 276. For an emphasis on territory, see Karol Sauerland, ‘Herders Auffassung von Volk und Nation,’ in Interkulturalität und Nationalkultur in der deutschsprachigen Literatur, ed. Maja Razbojnikova-Frateva and Hans-Gerd Winter (Dresden: Thelem, 2006), 21–34 at 27; Rainer Baasner, ‘Geographische Grundlagen von Herders Geschichtsphilosophie – am Beispiel der Begriffe “Kultur” und “Nation,” ’ in Nationen und Kulturen, 111–20 at 120. 19 Andrew Vincent, ‘Liberal Nationalism and Communitarianism: An Ambiguous Association,’ Rethinking Nationalism, ed. Vicki Spencer, Martin Griffiths, and Michael Sullivan, Australian Journal of Politics and History 43, no. 1 (1997), 14–27 at 15; ‘Liberal Nationalism: An Irresponsible Compound?’ Political Studies 45, no. 2 (1997): 275–95 at 276–7. 20 Vincent, ‘Liberal Nationalism and Communitarianism,’ 15. 21 For criticisms of Meinecke, see Koepke, ‘Kulturnation,’ 179–80; Springer, ‘Sprache, Geschichte,’ 41. 22 Smith, National Identity, 9–13. 23 Anthony D. Smith, ‘History and National Destiny: Response and Clarification,’ Nations and Nationalism 10, nos. 1–2 (2004): 195–209 at 203. 24 For the claim that a Volk is a relatively homogeneous ethnic group, see Wilfried Malsch, ‘Nationen und kulturelle Vielfalt in Herders Geschichtsphilosophie,’ in Nationen und Kulturen, 121–9 at 121. For a discussion of the connection between kinship groups and the notion of a common descent, see Walker Connor, ‘A Nation Is a Nation, Is a State, Is an Ethnic Group, Is a . . .’ Ethnic and Racial Studies 1, no. 4 (1978): 377–400 at 380. 25 For example, Joan Cocks, Passion and Paradox: Intellectuals Confront the National Question (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 100–1; Brian Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001), 260–1; Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), chapter 4; Paul Gilbert, The Philosophy of Nationalism (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998), 48–9, 52; Ernest Gellner, Culture, Identity, and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 88; Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. 2, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 1952), 52. For a summary of the German material during the Nazi era, see Sonia Sikka, ‘Herder and the Concept of Race,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 2006, vol. 8, ed. Wulf Koepke and Karl Menges (Heidelberg: Synchron, 2006), 133–57 at 134. 26 R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1946), 89–92. 27 Kedourie, Nationalism, 71–2.

Notes to pages 135–6 279 28 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 144, 139; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 225, 218; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 202, 196. 29 Herder, Outlines, 138; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 215–16; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 194. 30 For a discussion of this material, see H.B. Nisbet, Herder and the Philosophy of Science (Cambridge: Modern Humanities Association Dissertation Series, 1970), 230. 31 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 166; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 257; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 231. 32 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 264; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 405; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 356. 33 Herder, Outlines, 166; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 257; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 230–1. See also Nisbet, Herder and the Philosophy of Science, 254–7. Debate nevertheless exists concerning Herder’s evolutionary views. While Lovejoy regards Herder, particularly in contrast to Condillac, as antievolutionary, others, like Salmon, suggest that Herder was ambiguous on the issue. Although Nisbet dismisses the idea of Herder being a precursor to Darwin, he indicates that Herder held a number of Lamarckian ideas on evolution. More recently, John H. Zammito has argued that nobody articulated the continuity of humans and nature with ‘more breadth and vivacity’ than Herder. Despite his explicit repudiation of the idea that humans were once apes, according to Zammito, ‘this could not disguise for Kant the radical potential latent in Herder’s text . . . for a transmutation theory that led to his critique.’ See Zammito, ‘ “Method” versus “Manner”? Kant’s Critique of Herder’s Ideen in Light of the Epoch of Science, 1790–1820,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook 1998, vol. 4, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Stuttgart and Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 1998), 1–25 at 10, 18; Nisbet, Herder and the Philosophy of Science, 220–4; Paul Salmon, ‘Herder’s Essay on the Origin of Language, and the Place of Man in the Animal Kingdom,’ German Life and Letters: A Quarterly Review 22 (1968–69): 59–70; Arthur O. Lovejoy, ‘Some Eighteenth-Century Evolutionists,’ Popular Science Monthly 65 (1904): 328–36. 34 Sikka, ‘Herder and the Concept of Race,’ 145–6, 149–51. 35 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 233; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 209; Nisbet, Herder and the Philosophy of Science, 230. On the differences between Kant and Herder, see Robert Bernasconi, ‘Who Invented the Concept of Race? Kant’s Role in the Enlightenment Construction of Race,’ in Race, ed. Robert Bernasconi (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2001), 11–36 at 14, 23, 27–8. Whereas Bernasconi attributes the development of the concept of race in its modern form to Kant and sees its influence on his Critique of Judgment, Sankar Muthu claims that Kant did not use the concept from the time of his critical

280

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38 39 40 41

42

43 44

45

Notes to pages 136–8

turn in 1781. See Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 182–4. See also Zammito, ‘ “Method” versus “Manner,” ’ 8–11; Manfred Riedel, ‘Historizismus und Kritizimus: Kants Streit mit G. Forster und J.G. Herder,’ Kant-Studien 72 (1981): 41–57. And more generally on the link with Kant’s moral theory, see Sikka, ‘Herder and the Concept of Race,’ 152–3. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 147; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 230; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 206. Herder, Outlines, 142; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 223; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 200. The Circassians are indigenous peoples of the Caucasus, which was conquered by the Russians. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 406, 228; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 357, 204. Herder, Outlines, 84, 88; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 134–5, 140; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 124–5, 129–30. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 441; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 211; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 583. Sonia Sikka states that ‘he tends towards a Eurocentrism.’ See Sikka, ‘Enlightened Relativism: The Case of Herder,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism 31, no. 3 (2005): 309–41 at 327–8. Anne Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder: Kulturtheorie und Humanitätsidee der Ideen, Humanitätsbriefe und Adrastea (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2005), 219–21. I am, however, highly grateful to her for making this important challenge to my earlier analysis. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 455; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 233; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 602. For a similar argument see Sikka, ‘Herder and the Concept of Race,’ 153. Neo-Kantian moral philosophers, for example, find that Kant’s work provides a valuable basis for their universalism, despite his racial theory. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 71. Readers of Herder will also find statements about European Jews as ‘cunning usurers’ who held many countries’ trade in their power in the contemporary reality of eighteenthcentury Europe, but he fully acknowledges that this is due to Christian oppression. When taken out of context of his critique of all other peoples in a state of diaspora, it might, however, appear anti-Semitic. Yet he also writes: ‘Ingenious, adroit, laborious, the Jews have always born themselves up under the severest oppression from other nations.’ His position is not without its problems, but as Daniel Chirot maintains, Herder’s ‘argument about Jews might easily be turned into a support for Zionism and shows no hint of the racism that characterized later German and European

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50

51 52 53

54

anti-Semitism.’ See Herder, Outlines, 355; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 65–6; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 448–89; Daniel Chirot, ‘Herder’s Multicultural Theory of Nationalism and Its Consequences,’ East European Politics and Societies 10, no. 1 (1995): 1–15 at 8. Aviel Rothswald, ‘Untangling the Knotted Cord: Studies of Nationalism,’ Journal of Interdisciplinary History 24, no. 2 (1993): 293–303 at 302. Connor, ‘A Nation Is a Nation,’ 387. Smith, National Identity, 12. Karl J. Fink, ‘Herder’s Theory of Origins: From Poly- to Palingenesis,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator through the Ages, ed. Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Bonn: Bouvier, 1982), 85–101 at 90–1. Herder was not, however, the first to see the importance of mythology; see Ulrich Gaier, ‘Myth, Mythology, New Mythology,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 165–88. See Herder, ‘Excerpts from a Correspondence on Ossian and the Songs of Ancient Peoples’ and ‘On Contemporary Uses of Mythology’ in The Rise of Modern Mythology: 1680–1860, ed. and trans. Burton Feldman and Robert D. Richardson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972), 229–32; Martin Schütze, ‘The Fundamental Ideas in Herder’s Thought: III,’ Modern Philology 19, no. 2 (1921): 113–30 at 119–25. Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 11, 271–2, vol. 12, 11–12. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 59; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. More recently, Sandel has drawn an analogy between the family and his ideal of community in an attempt to distinguish a liberal-communitarian conception of community from the contractual concept found in the work of procedural liberals such as John Rawls. As Herder’s metaphor may provoke objections similar to those levelled at Sandel’s analogy, it is important to note that neither Sandel nor Herder claims that a successful community requires the same kind of close relationships present in an ideal family. Indeed, if they had made such an elementary error, their theories would at best apply only to village or tribal communities. For a defence and clarification of Sandel’s position, see Charles Taylor, ‘Cross-Purposes: The Liberal–Communitarian Debate,’ in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 159–82 at 161–2. For a critique, see Amy Gutmann, ‘Communitarian Critics of Liberalism,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 14, no. 3 (1985): 308–22 at 309. John Hutchinson, ‘Reinterpreting Cultural Nationalism,’ Australian Journal of Politics and History 45, no. 3 (1999): 392–407 at 393.

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55 For a recent example of the claim that Herder sees language as the sole determining factor of nationality, see David Miller, ‘The Ethical Significance of Nationality,’ Ethics 98, no. 4 (1988): 647–62 at 652n22. 56 See, for example, Jan Blommaert, ‘Language and Nationalism: Comparing Flanders and Tanzania,’ Nations and Nationalism 2, no. 2 (1996): 235–56; Jan Blommaert and Jef Verschueren, ‘The Role of Language in European Nationalist Ideologies,’ Pragmatics: Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association 2, no. 3 (1992): 355–75. Also see my Introduction to this volume, note 54. 57 Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. and trans. H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1948), 172–3. 58 Kedourie, Nationalism, 123. 59 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 288; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 305. 60 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 284, 286; vol. 14, 16; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 254, 255, 403. 61 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 257; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 276. 62 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 286; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 304. Herder subsequently says that each Volk has the kind of public the Hebrews have ‘through its language,’ but it is nonetheless a different form of language that he is referring to. 63 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 388; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 340. 64 Hutchinson, ‘Reinterpreting Cultural Nationalism,’ 395. 65 Hugh Seton-Watson, Nations and States: An Enquiry into the Origins of Nations and the Politics of Nationalism (London: Methuen, 1977), 5. 66 Connor, ‘A Nation Is a Nation,’ 379–83; Hutchinson, ‘Reinterpreting Cultural Nationalism,’ 404; Lowell W. Barrington, ‘ “Nation” and “Nationalism”: The Misuse of Key Concepts in Political Science,’ Political Science and Politics 30, no. 4 (1997): 712–17. 67 Ernest Renan, ‘Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?’ in Nationalism, 17–18 at 17. 68 Kedourie, Nationalism, 62–6. The erroneous tendency to classify Herder as a Romantic continues in writings on nationalism. See Greenfeld, Nationalism, chapter 4, esp. 322–52; Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 199–24. Sue Wright implies that Herder adheres to ‘the idea that belonging to the nation comes first and foremost from biological ties.’ See Wright, ‘Language as a Contributing Factor in Conflicts between States and within States,’ Current Issues in Language and Society 4, no. 3 (1997): 215–37 at 223–4.

Notes to pages 142–4 283 69 Herder, ‘Abhandlung,’ SW, vol. 5, 134–5; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 147; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 585; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 422. 70 Contrary to Kohn, Gellner, and many others, who have viewed cultural nationalism as an essentially reactionary movement composed of an educated, middle-class elite that seeks to halt modernization in favour of an idealized ‘folk museum,’ John Hutchinson describes ‘cultural nationalists as moral innovators, providing new directions at times of social crisis’ with the underlying and dynamic aim of reforming tradition in light of modernization. Hutchinson, ‘Reinterpreting Cultural Nationalism,’ 401. See also his Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism: The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State (London and Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1987), 30–40. 71 F.M. Barnard, Self-Direction and Political Legitimacy: Rousseau and Herder (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 235; G.A. Wells, Herder and After: A Study in the Development of Sociology (Gravenhage: Mouton, 1959), 189–90. 72 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 212; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 226. 73 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 355–6. 74 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 212; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 226. 75 Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 149; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 216. See also Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 206; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 655. 76 Herder, Selected Early Works, 165; ‘Fragmente,’ SW, vol. 1, 240. 77 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 248; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 699–700. 78 Kedourie, Nationalism, 64. 79 Herder, ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 2–3. 80 For the argument that Herder advocates a strict policy of cultural purity and isolation, see Viroli, For Love of Country, 118–24. 81 Herder, Selected Early Works, 31; ‘Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 3–4. 82 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 388–9, 393, 395, 399–400. 83 Smith, National Identity, 21–3. 84 Smith, ‘History and National Destiny,’ 197. For an analysis of Smith’s earlier and more recent definitions and their relationship to the state, see Monteserrat Guibernau, ‘Anthony D. Smith on Nations and National Identity: A Critical Assessment,’ Nations and Nationalism 10, nos. 1–2 (2004): 125–41 at 127–31, 133–4.

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85 This is a modification of my very early definition of a Volk as an ‘imagined cultural community,’ which was indebted to Anderson’s famous definition noted earlier. This change has resulted from further reflection on Herder’s application of his concept to tribes, which Anderson distinguishes from his notion of ‘imagined communities.’ See Vicki A. Spencer, ‘Towards an Ontology of Holistic Individualism: Herder’s Theory of Identity, Culture, and Community,’ History of European Ideas 22, no. 3 (1996): 245–60 at 252. 86 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 249; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 384; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 337. 87 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 212; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 226. 88 Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 579; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 271, 282; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 723, 733–4. 89 Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 546–54. 90 Ibid., 550; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 262–3; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 235–6. 91 Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 413; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 283; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 734. 92 For a discussion of this idea in liberal thought at the individual level, see Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 12; Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 291–2. 93 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 220; ‘Vom Erkennen,’ SW, vol. 8, 210. 94 Kedourie, Nationalism, 107–9. 95 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 212; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 584. 96 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 381–3; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 335–7. 97 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 10; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 26; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 29. 98 Yael Tamir, Liberal Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 30–2. 99 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 350; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 576. 100 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 283; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 734. 101 Seton-Watson, Nations and States, 443. 102 John Stuart Mill, ‘Considerations on Representative Government,’ in Utilitarianism, On Liberty, and Considerations of Representative Government, ed. H.B. Acton (London: Dent and Sons, 1972), 363. 103 Ibid., 361.

Notes to pages 147–51 285 104 David Miller, On Nationality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), esp. 22–3n10. 105 Mill, ‘Considerations,’ 364. 106 Omar Dahbour, ‘Introduction: National Identity as a Philosophical Problem,’ Philosophical Forum 28, nos. 1–2 (1996–7): 1–20 at 5. 107 Mill, ‘Considerations,’ 363–4. For the link with current arguments for liberal nationalism, see Miller, On Nationality, 98–9. 108 Mill, ‘Considerations,’ 365. 109 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 381; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 222; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 672. 110 Michael Freeden, ‘Is Nationalism a Distinct Ideology?’ Political Studies 46, no. 4 (1998): 748–65 at 759. 111 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 211–12; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 225–6; Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: Chatto and Windus, 1980), 153. 112 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 340–1; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 304–5. 113 Andrew Vincent, ‘Patriotism and Human Rights: An Argument for Unpatriotic Patriotism,’ Journal of Ethics 13, no. 4 (2009): 347–64 at 348–9. 114 Ibid., 352–3. 115 Mary G. Dietz, ‘Patriotism,’ in Political Innovation and Conceptual Change, ed. Terrence Ball, James Farr, and Russell L. Hanson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 177–93. 116 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 95; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 104. 117 Dietz, ‘Patriotism,’ 189n18. 118 Wilhelm Dobbek, ‘Johann Gottfried Herders Haltung im politischen Leben seiner Zeit,’ Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 8 (1959): 321–87 at 350–3. Dominic Eggel, Andre Liebich, and Deborah Mancini-Griffoli use this letter to criticize my argument that Herder supported cultural autonomy for communities within states, but Herder is not recommending that the French-speaking part of Switzerland become a part of France, as they imply. The letter needs to be seen in the context of Napoleon and the French invasion of Switzerland. See Eggel, Liebich, and Mancini-Griffoli, ‘Was Herder a Nationalist?’ Review of Politics 69, no. 1 (2007): 48–78 at 77. 119 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 405–6; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 211–12; vol. 18, 270–1; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 225–6, 721–3. 120 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 299; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 317. 121 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 398–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 419–20; ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ vol. 18, 345–7.

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122 Adapted from Herder, Philosophical Writings, 297; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 510. Berlin claims that Herder ‘seems to have coined the word Nationalismus,’ while Carleton Hayes earlier noted that ‘Herder was the first German writer, as far as I know, who employed the word Nationalismus.’ He does so in his ‘Christliche Schriften,’ 5th collection [1798], SW, vol. 20, 234. Despite the Oxford English Dictionary placing the first recorded usage of ‘nationalism’ in 1798, Herder’s adaptation of the English term in 1774 suggests that it was in usage earlier. See Berlin, Vico and Herder, 181; Carleton Hayes, ‘Contributions of Herder to the Doctrine of Nationalism,’ American Historical Review 32, no. 4 (1927): 719–36 at 722n7; Ioannis D. Evrigenis and Daniel Pellerin, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political Writings, ed. and trans. Ioannis D. Evrigenis and Daniel Pellerin (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004), xxiin46. 123 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 415; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 759–60. 124 Anderson, Imagined Political Communities, 67–8. 125 Ibid., 67–8, 77–8, 83. 126 Ibid., 83. 127 Seton-Watson, Nations and States, 85–7. See also Anderson, Imagined Communities, 83–111. 128 Guibernau, ‘Anthony D. Smith,’ 132. 129 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 65–6. 130 Oscar Jászi, The Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929), 71. 131 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 58–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 66. 132 Wolfgang Proß, ‘Nationalism, Anthropology, and Culture,’ in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 218–47 at 243, 246–7. 133 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 319; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 388. 134 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 404–5; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 268–9; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 720–1. 135 Jan Penrose and Joe May, ‘Herder’s Concept of Nation and Its Relevance to Contemporary Ethnic Nationalism,’ Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 18, nos. 1–2 (1991): 165–78 at 174. 136 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 352; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 579. 137 For example, Daniel Chirot finds Herder’s support for communities desiring their cultural and political autonomy in the context of modern

Notes to pages 154–9 287

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139 140

141 142

society ‘unrealistic’ and problematic because the state demands homogenization. See Chirot, ‘Herder’s Multicultural Theory of Nationalism and Its Consequences,’ East European Politics and Societies 10, no. 1 (1995): 1–15. On the same criticism generally made against cultural nationalism, see Hutchinson, ‘Reinterpreting Cultural Nationalism,’ 392–407. Neil MacCormick, ‘Is Nationalism Philosophically Credible?’ in Issues of Self-Determination, ed. William Twining (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1991), 17. Freeden, ‘Is Nationalism a Distinct Ideology?’ 748–65, esp. 765. On communitarianism and nationalism, see Tamir, Liberal Nationalism, 14; Vincent, ‘Liberal Nationalism and Communitarianism,’ 14–27. On liberalism assuming the nation as a given, see Margaret Canovan, Nationhood and Political Theory (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1996), 1–2, 41, 101, 122. Vincent, ‘Liberal Nationalism,’ 288. See also Tamir, Liberal Nationalism, 139. Freeden, ‘Is Nationalism a Distinct Ideology?’ 748–65. See also Michael Billig’s critique of Richard Rorty’s assumption that community necessarily entails the nation. Billig, Banal Nationalism (London: Sage, 1995), 167–8.

6. Republicanism 1 Reinhold Aris, History of Political Thought in Germany, 1789 to 1815 (London: Frank Cass, 1965), 235. See also Hans S. Reiss, The Political Thought of the German Romantics, 1793–1815 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1955), 2; Isaiah Berlin, Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas (London: Chatto and Windus, 1980), 153. 2 For a discussion that also challenges this assessment, see Ioannis D. Evrigenis and Daniel Pellerin, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political Writings, ed. and trans. Evrigenis and Pellerin (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004), ix–xxxix, esp. xxi–xxiv. 3 Maurizio Viroli, For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 124. 4 F.M. Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. Barnard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 3–60 at 3–6. 5 It was, however, banned in Austria due to his criticisms of the Emperor, Joseph II. See Wulf Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder (Boston: Twayne, 1987), 842–4; Samson B. Knoll, ‘Herder’s Concept of Humanität,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder: Innovator through the Ages, ed. Wulf Koepke with Samson B. Knoll (Bonn: Bouvier, 1982), 9–19 at 16–17; Richard Critchfield, ‘Revolution and the Creative Arts: Toward a Reappraisal

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Notes to pages 160–1

of Herder’s Defense of the French Revolution,’ in ibid., 190–206 at 191–3. Howard Williams, Kant’s Political Philosophy (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), 11. Immanuel Kant, Kant’s Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss, trans. H.B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 46. Adapted from Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 249; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 383; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 337. Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ 10. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 383–4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 336–7. Sankar Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 156–7; Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 383–4; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 336–7. C. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, ed. and trans. Anne Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, and Harold Samuel Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 17–20. Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 276; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 482. Despite Herder’s implied criticism that Montesquieu’s category of despotism is essentially one of Oriental despotism, Montesquieu, in fact, considers such Christian countries as Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Russia to have despotic systems to varying degrees. See Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, 18–20, 59–60. Herder, ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 482–4; ‘Vom Einfluß der Regierung auf die Wissenschaften, und der Wissenschaften auf die Regierung [1780]’ (hereafter Vom Einfluß), SW, vol. 9, 323; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 229; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 599. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. F.M. Barnard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 250; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 374. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 332–3; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 296–7. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 385–6; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 338–9. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 126–7; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 135–6. For the view that Herder desires a classless society, see Horst Dreitzel, ‘Herders politische Konzepte,’ in Johann Gottfried Herder, 1744–1803, ed. Gerhard Sauder (Hamburg: Meiner, 1987), 267–98 at 275. Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 248; ‘Ideen,’ vol. 13, 381; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 335.

Notes to pages 161–3 289 20 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 377; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 332. 21 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 352; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 89; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 470. 22 Herder, ‘Auf Katharinens Thronbesteigung [1765],’ Herders Poetisches Werke, SW, vol. 29, 24–7. 23 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 105; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 420. 24 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 301; ‘Auch eine Philosophie,’ SW, vol. 5, 516; F.M. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 191. See also Herder’s criticism of Joseph II as a ‘despot.’ Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 60–1; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 68–9. 25 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 118; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 496–7. 26 Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 84. 27 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 248; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 372. 28 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 249; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 373. 29 Kant, Kant’s Political Writings, 99–101. John Pizer indicates that in response to Kant’s essay, Schlegel substituted his republican ideal with representative democracy. See Pizer, ‘The German Response to Kant’s Essay on Perpetual Peace: Herder Contra the Romantics,’ Germanic Review 82, no. 4 (2007): 343–67 at 347, 352–4. By contrast, Muthu equates Kant’s ‘defence of republicanism with what we would now call a representative democracy.’ Muthu, Enlightenment against Empire, 162. Kant certainly supports a representative government and the separation of powers, but he says that both an ‘autocracy and aristocracy,’ unlike a democracy, accord ‘with the spirit of a representative system’ (101). 30 See Pizer, ‘The German Response,’ 361; Critchfield, ‘Revolution and the Creative Arts,’ 200–1; Hans Adler, ‘Nation: Johann Gottfried Herders Umgang mit Konzept und Begriff,’ in Unerledigte Geschichte: der literarische Umgang mit Nationalität und Internationalität, ed. G. Von Essen and H. Turk (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2000), 39–56 at 54; Wilhelm Dobbek, ‘Johann Gottfried Herders Haltung im politischen Leben seiner Zeit,’ Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 8 (1959): 321–87 at 369; Jürgen Teller, ‘Nachteil und Nutzen in der Unschärfe des Herderschen Volksbegriffes,’ in Herder Kolloquium 1978: Referate und Diskussionsbeiträge, ed. Walter Dietze with HansDietrich Dahnke et al. (Weimar: Verlag Hermann Böhlhaus, 1980), 299–303 at 301; Dreitzel, ‘Herders politisches Konzepte,’ 274; Anne Löchte, Johann

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39 40 41 42 43

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Notes to pages 163–5 Gottfried Herder: Kulturtheorie und Humanitätsidee der Ideen, Humanitätsbriefe und Adrastea (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2005), 93; Hermann Strobach, ‘Herders Volksliedbegriff: Geschichtliche und gegenwärtige Bedeutung,’ Jahrbuch für Volkskunde und Kulturgeschichte 21 (1978): 9–55 at 34, 44–5. See his criticism of the possibility in Russia, at best, of a ‘democraticaristocratic despotism.’ Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 105; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 420. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 239; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 328. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 236; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 324. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 239; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 329. Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 252; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 376–7. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 121; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 499. Michael N. Forster, ‘Introduction,’ in Herder, Philosophical Writings, vii–xxxv at xxxiii. Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 324–26; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 289–91. From a feminist perspective, far less encouraging are his comments on the ‘weak female’ and her propensity to be corrupted by blasphemous texts compared to the ‘lawful man,’ although I agree that compared to many male philosophers of the time, he was highly progressive with regard to women. See Herder, ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 400. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 126–7; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 135–6. See also Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 81. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 399; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 419–20. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 124–5; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 134. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 399; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 420. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 65–6; Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ 7–8; Frederick C. Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism: The Genesis of Modern German Political Thought, 1790–1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 211–14. Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 115–17. Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ 7.

Notes to pages 165–7 291 46 Quoted in Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism, 212. 47 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 262–5; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 714–17. 48 Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 117. 49 Ibid., 120. Also see ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 321–2, where it is clear that it is Moses’ legal constitutionalism he finds most admirable. 50 See also Alexander Schmidt, ‘Herder und die Idee der Nation,’ in Weimar als politische Kulturstadt: ein historisch-politischer Stadtführer, ed. Klaus Dicke and Michael Dreyer (Berlin: Verlag Jena 1800, 2006), 94–102 at 100. 51 Herder, Outlines, 10; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 26; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 29. 52 Koepke, Johann Gottfried Herder, 44. Harro Müller-Michaels further argues that the decentralized structure was unacceptable to the authorities. See Müller-Michaels, ‘Herder in Office: His Duties as Superintendent of Schools,’ in A Companion to the Works of Johann Gottfried Herder, ed. Hans Adler and Wulf Koepke (Rochester: Camden House, 2009), 373–90 at 387–8. 53 Herder, ‘Idee zum ersten patriotischen Institut für den Allgemeingeist Deutschlands [1787]’ (hereafter ‘Idee zum ersten patriotischen Institut’), SW, vol. 16, 606–16. 54 Ibid., 600. 55 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 13, 26, 255, vol. 14, 213–15; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 28, 229, 585–7. 56 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 469; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 122; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 131. 57 Herder, ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 352. See also F.M. Barnard, Self-Direction and Political Legitimacy: Rousseau and Herder (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 244. 58 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 358; John Stuart Mill, ‘On Liberty,’ in Utilitarianism, On Liberty, and Considerations on Representative Government, ed. H.B. Acton (London: Dent and Sons, 1972), 73. 59 Adapted from Herder, On World History: An Anthology, ed. Hans Adler and Ernest A. Menze, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (Armonk and London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997), 104; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 122; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 131. 60 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 81. 61 Arnd Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ in A Companion, 277–304 at 280, 285–7. Bohm (288) also argues that despite their un-Christian foundations, Herder most admired the Greek republics as ‘the example of ideal states where genuine virtue flourished in a democracy.’

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62 Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder, 70, 219; Damon Linker, ‘The Reluctant Pluralism of J.G. Herder,’ Review of Politics 62, no. 2 (2000): 267–93 at 281–5. For the argument that Herder embeds diversity in an absolute and universal Christian value system, see Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, ‘Elemente von Herders Nationenkonzept,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 27–34 at 33–4; Friederich Wilhelm Graf, ‘Recht auf Eigensinn: Die Schwierigkeiten der Intellektuellen mit der Prägekraft der Religionen,’ in Sichtweisen: Die Vielheit in der Einheit, ed. Stiftung Weimarer Klassik and DG Bank (Frankfurt: Edition Weimarer Klassik, 1994), 67–82 at 70. I do not wish to undermine the importance of Herder’s radical variant of Christianity in his theological writings, although I am unqualified to comment on it. My argument is only that it does not undermine the minimal universalism of his weak pluralism. 63 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 421, 424; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 296, 301; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 747, 752. See also ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 121; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 130, where he states in point 30 that Christ’s teachings as he practised them ‘was Humanität itself,’ followed by point 31, where he claims that the better the state, the more it will adhere to these principles. 64 Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ 287. 65 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 386, 381; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 237, 222; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 671, 688. 66 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 383; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 224; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 674. 67 For an extensive commentary on these poems, see Ingeborg H. Solbrig, ‘American Slavery in Eighteenth-Century German Literature: The Case of Herder’s “Neger-Idyllen,” ’ Monatshefte 82, no. 1 (1990): 38–49. 68 John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration, ed. James Tully (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1983), 23. 69 Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ 287. Bohm (284) argues that Herder’s program conformed to the ‘Fraternity of the Rosy Cross’ that wanted to assimilate all sciences and social institutions to Christ’s teachings. For a commentary that argues Herder struggled with these conflicting impulses, see Dreitzel, ‘Herders politische Konzepte,’ 279–80. 70 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 421; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 296; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 747. 71 Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ 282. 72 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 237–43; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 689–94.

Notes to pages 168–72 293 73 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 424; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 301; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 752. 74 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 96; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 105. 75 Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 74. 76 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 91; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 99. 77 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 317; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 785; Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 80. 78 Löchte, Johann Gottfried Herder, 94; Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism, 219–20. 79 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 313; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 779. On Herder’s uncertainty in these unpublished letters, see also Alice A. Kuzniar, ‘Kant and Herder on the French Revolution,’ in The French Revolution and the Age of Goethe, ed. Gerhart Hoffmeister (Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1989), 15–29 at 28–9. 80 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 96–7, 406; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 105, 427–8. 81 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 395, 406; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 413–14, 426; ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 331. 82 Beiser, Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism, 200. For Herder’s emphasis on moral education, see also Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought, 77–82; Dreitzel, ‘Herders politische Konzepte,’ 291, 295. 83 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 392; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 412. 84 Herder, On World History, 104; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 121; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 130. 85 Herder, ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 358. 86 Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 117–18. 87 Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ 8–9; Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe. Anhang,’ SW, vol. 18, 331–2. 88 Barnard, ‘Introduction,’ 5. 89 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 263; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 717. 90 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 409; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 274; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 726. 91 Herder, Philosophical Writings, 409; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 275; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 727. 92 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 267–74; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 719–26. 93 Adapted from Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 357–8.

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Notes to pages 173–5

94 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 247; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 360–1. 95 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 358. 96 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 358. 97 Ibid., 401. 98 Adapted from Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 358. 99 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 308; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 326–7. 100 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 321–5, vol. 18, 281; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 340–3, 733. 101 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 119; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 128. 102 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 91; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 99. 103 John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett, rev. ed. (New York and Cambridge: Mentor and Cambridge University Press, 1963), 347–8 §57, 12–19. 104 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 247; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 361. 105 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 245–6; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 359–60. 106 Herder, ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 401–2. 107 Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 199–207. 108 Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 161. 109 Herder, ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 374. On Herder’s support for state and not church education because the Church had abused its privilege, see Adler, ‘Nation,’ 384. On his teaching method and moral objectives, see Müller-Michaels, ‘Herder in Office,’ 384–6. 110 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 244–5; ‘Vom Einfluß,’ SW, vol. 9, 357. 111 Herder, On World History, 103; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 121; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 130. 112 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 161. 113 Herder, ‘Idee zum ersten patriotischen Institut,’ SW, vol. 16, 609. 114 Adapted from Herder, On World History, 103; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 121; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 130.

Notes to pages 175–80 295 115 Herder, ‘Idee zum ersten patriotischen Institut,’ 609. Also see Bohm, ‘Herder and Politics,’ 291–2; Drietzel, ‘Herders politische Konzepte,’ 295. 116 Benjamin W. Redekop, Enlightenment and Community: Lessing, Abbt, Herder, and the Quest for a German Republic (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000), 189–90. On his support for the democratization of the arts during the French Revolution, see also Critchfield, ‘Revolution and the Creative Arts,’ 194. 117 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 306–7; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 324–5. 118 John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971); Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, rev. ed. (London: Duckworth, 1981). 119 William Galston, Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 92. 120 Mill, ‘Utilitarianism,’ in Utilitarianism, 55. 121 Barnard, Self-Direction, 265–7. 122 Herder, ‘Vom Geist,’ SW, vol. 12, 117. 123 Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth, 1981), 69. 124 Stephen Holmes, ‘The Permanent Structure of Anti-Liberal Thought,’ in Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Nancy L. Rosenblum (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 227–53 at 244. 125 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 166–7, 170–1, 262; Norberto Bobbio, Liberalism and Democracy, trans. M. Ryle and K. Soper (London and New York: Verso, 1990), 5–6. 126 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 184. 127 Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, 269. 128 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 168–70. 129 Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, 266–71. 130 Charles Taylor, Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 188. 131 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 193–4; Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, 172–3; Bobbio, Liberalism and Democracy, 8. 132 Leonard T. Hobhouse, Liberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), 68–9. 133 Ibid., 68. 134 Taylor, Philosophy and the Human Sciences, 193–8. 135 Herder, On World History, 106; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 17, 137; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 147. 136 Taylor, Philosophy and the Human Sciences, 207.

296

Notes to pages 181–8

137 138 139 140 141

Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, 172–4. Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 198–203. Ibid., 213–16. Ibid., 215. Maurice Cranston, What Are Human Rights? (London: Hedley Bull, 1973), 3. 142 Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 271–2; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 723–4. 143 Raz, The Morality of Freedom, 250–5. 7. Multiculturalism 1 I will employ the hyphenated term ‘multi-cultural’ in a descriptive sense to denote culturally diverse states, and no hyphen when referring to theories and policies designed to promote cultural diversity. 2 For previous recognition of Herder’s link with multiculturalism, see, for example, Vicki A. Spencer, ‘In Defense of Herder on Cultural Diversity and Interaction,’ Review of Politics 69 (2007): 79–105; ‘Difference and Unity: Herder’s Concept of Volk and Its Relevance for Contemporary Multicultural Societies,’ in Nationen und Kulturen: Zum 250. Geburtstag Johann Gottfried Herders, ed. Regine Otto (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 1996), 295–305; Andrew Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 183–4; Fred R. Dallmayr, Alternative Visions: Paths in the Global Village (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), chapter 1; Charles Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘The Politics of Recognition’: An Essay, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 25–73 at 30–1; Hans-Jakob Werlen, ‘Multikulturalismus, Postmoderne, und Herder,’ in Nationen und Kulturen, 307–17. Bernd Fischer argues that the term ‘transculture’ better captures Herder’s thought because he mistakenly thinks labelling it multicultural would deny that Herder’s particularism is based on universal values. See Fischer, ‘Herder heute? Überlegungen zur Konzeption eines transkulturellen Humanitätsbegriffs,’ Herder Jahrbuch / Herder Yearbook VIII 2006, vol. 8, ed. Wulf Koepke and Karl Menges (Heidelberg: Synchron, 2006), 179–93 at 182–5. 3 Vincent, Nationalism and Particularity, 159–90. 4 Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 206; John Rex, Ethnic Minorities in the Modern Nation State: Working Papers in the Theory of Multiculturalism and Political Integration (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996), 131.

Notes to pages 188–90 297 5 Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 15. In his first work, Liberalism, Community, and Culture (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), Kymlicka tended to collapse the claims of immigrant groups and long-standing communities such that the claims of the latter depended on establishing the rights of the former. For a critique, see John R. Danley, ‘Liberalism, Aboriginal Rights, and Cultural Minorities,’ Philosophy and Public Affairs 20, no. 2 (1991): 168–85. 6 Michael Walzer, ‘Comment,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 99–103 at 101–3. Kymlicka also adopts this argument in Multicultural Citizenship, although he draws very different conclusions than Walzer. See Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 62–3. For a critique of it, see Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 103. 7 Duncan Ivison, Paul Patton, and Will Sanders, ‘Introduction,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ed. Duncan Ivison, Paul Patton, and Will Sanders (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 1–21 at 19–20. 8 For supporters of the exit option, see Jeff Spinner-Halev, ‘Autonomy, Association, and Pluralism,’ in Minorities within Minorities: Equality, Rights, and Diversity, ed. Avigail Eisenberg and Jeff Spinner-Halev (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 157–71 at 159–67; Chandran Kukathas, The Liberal Archipelago (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003); William Galston, Liberal Pluralism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 123 and ‘Two Concepts of Liberalism,’ Ethics 105, no. 3 (1995): 516–34 at 528; Chandran Kukathas, ‘Are There Any Cultural Rights?’ Political Theory 20 (1992): 105–39 at 128. For liberal critics, see Daniel M. Weinstock, ‘Liberalism, Multiculturalism, and the Problem of Internal Minorities,’ in Multiculturalism and Political Theory, ed. Anthony Simon Laden and David Owen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 204–45; Susan Moller Okin, ‘ “Mistresses of Their Own Destiny”: Group Rights, Gender, and Realistic Rights of Exit,’ Ethics 122, no. 2 (2002): 205–30; Robert Reich, ‘Minors within Minorities: A Problem for Liberal Multiculturalists,’ in Minorities within Minorities, 209–26. 9 Ian MacAllister, ‘Public Opinion, Multiculturalism, and Political Behaviour in Australia,’ in Multicultural Citizens: The Philosophy and Politics of Identity, ed. Chandran Kukathas (New South Wales: Centre for Independent Studies, 1993), 49–73 at 51. 10 See, for example, Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 103–4; Dallmayr, Alternative Visions. 11 Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 196, 343.

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Notes to pages 190–3

12 Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, trans. T. Churchill (London: Printed for J. Johnson by Luke Hansard, 1800), 349; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 84–5; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 466–7. 13 Herder, Outlines, 349; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 85; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 466. 14 Walzer, ‘Comment,’ 100–1. 15 Herder, ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 121; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 499. 16 Sue Wright, ‘Language as a Contributing Factor in Conflicts between States and within States,’ Current Issues in Language and Society 4, no. 3 (1997): 215–37 at 224. 17 Walzer, ‘Comment,’ 111. 18 Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 111. 19 Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 199–203; Rex, Ethnic Minorities, 20–1. 20 Iris Marion Young, ‘Together in Difference: Transforming the Logic of Group Political Conflict,’ Political Theory Newsletter 4, no. 1 (1992): 11–26 at 17; Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 32–5, 37–44. 21 Miller, On Nationality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 143. Following the French Revolution, French was the language of state administration but was spoken by only 50 per cent of the population, a figure that includes its various dialects. See Jan Blommaert and Jef Verschueren, ‘The Role of Language in European Nationalist Ideologies,’ Pragmatics: Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association 2, no. 3 (1992): 355–75 at 364. 22 Sue Wright notes that in contrast to the pressures of language standardization in France and England, there is still considerable acceptance in Germany of the heterogeneity of dialects. See Wright, ‘Language as a Contributing Factor in Conflicts,’ 224–5. 23 Multicultural policies are also pursued by contemporary states in conjunction with integration policies that encourage identification with the larger political community. See Keith G. Banting and Will Kymlicka, ‘Do Multicultural Policies Erode the Welfare State?’ in Cultural Diversity versus Economic Solidarity, ed. Phillipe Van Parijs (Brussels: Deboeck University Press, 2004), 227–84, esp. 251–2; and the essays in Banting and Kymlicka, eds., Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). 24 Rex, Ethnic Minorities, 24. Miller thinks we should treat such claims with scepticism, as the children of immigrants are often extremely keen to be incorporated into the language of the dominant culture. This is evident, he argues, in the fact that primary school students of Maghrebin origin in France are deserting classes in classical Arabic for classes in German or Latin, which are the language prerequisites for admission to a good lycée. It is difficult to see, however, how children of initial school age, when the

Notes to pages 193–4 299

25

26 27 28

29

30

31

advantage of instruction in their own language would be greatest, could make such an informed decision on their future. Also, the results might differ significantly if such linguistic discrimination did not exist at higher educational levels. See Miller, On Nationality, 143–4. Herder, Selected Early Works, 1764–1767: Addresses, Essays, and Drafts; Fragments on Recent German Literature, ed. Ernest A. Menze and Karl Menges, trans. Ernest A. Menze with Michael Palma (University Park: Penn State University Press, 1992), 31; Über den Fleiß,’ SW, vol. 1, 4. Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 166. On the promotion of a secular society with no anti-blasphemy laws not being culturally neutral, see Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 258–60. For an argument that most of the claims championed by multicultural theorists can be accommodated with equal treatment, see Miller, On Nationality, 148. For an argument that we need a subtler notion of equal opportunity, see Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 243–7. See also Brian Barry for a critique of Parekh, a defence of equal treatment, and the development of a rule-and-exemption approach to these issues. Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001), 32–62. Rex, Ethnic Minorities, 15, 110; Miller, On Nationality, 143. Miller also supports Mill’s version of liberal nationalism that, as we saw in chapter 5, has a strong assimilation drive. See Miller, ‘In Defence of Nationality,’ Journal of Applied Philosophy 10, no. 1 (1993): 137–50 at 145–6. See also his argument for ‘national identity’ ‘overriding lesser identities.’ Although he claims it is not an argument ‘for national loyalties’ or ‘for abandoning ethnicity in favor of nationality,’ it is difficult to see how indigenous communities would have a basis for political autonomy within his framework. Miller, ‘The Ethical Significance of Nationality,’ Ethics 98, no. 4 (1988): 647–62 at 657–9. And for his continued support for the ‘French version of citizenship,’ which he contrasts favourably with the German model though failing to note its assimilation drive, see Miller, Citizenship and National Identity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000), 88–9. For a similar reading of the homogeneous nature of Miller’s liberal nationalism, see Margaret Moore, ‘Miller’s Ode to National Homogeneity,’ Symposium on David Miller’s On Nationality, ed. Brendon O’Leary, Nations and Nationalism 3, no. 3 (1996): 423–9. Anne Phillips, ‘The Politicisation of Difference: Does This Make for a More Intolerant Society?’ in Toleration, Identity, and Difference, ed. John Horton and Susan Mendus (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1999), 126–45 at 127–8. Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 26.

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Notes to pages 195–7

32 Dominic Eggel, Andre Liebich, and Deborah Mancini-Griffoli, ‘Was Herder a Nationalist?’ Review of Politics 69, no. 1 (2007): 48–78 at 77. 33 These concerns also make admission policies a volatile site of contestation, although they are beyond the scope of the present examination as they are unique to the modern international state system with which Herder had no familiarity. For some of the issues involved, see Jürgen Habermas, ‘Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic State,’ in Charles Taylor et al., Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Gutmann (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 107–48 at 135–48; Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defence of Pluralism and Equality (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983), chapter 2. 34 Susan Wolf, ‘Comment,’ in Multiculturalism and ‘the Politics of Recognition,’ 85. 35 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 349; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 85; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 466. 36 Miller, On Nationality, 142. 37 Ibid., 137–9. 38 Ibid., 143. 39 Miller, Citizenship and National Identity, 31–2, 39, 42, 172, 174, 176–9. 40 More recently, Miller has argued with respect to immigrants that policies encouraging national identity ‘should be accompanied by others that recognize and support the native cultures of the incoming groups’ on the basis of equal treatment; he now argues for schools that foster ‘understanding and trust between ethnic and religious groups.’ But in opposing faith-based Muslim schools, he fails to oppose current state funding in Britain for Christian schools. Although he has moved considerably closer to a greater acceptance of multiculturalism, having recognized pragmatically its importance in creating social cohesion now that cultural diversity is a reality, I would still contend that Herder’s notion of a good citizen includes a far stronger moral duty to recognize other cultures than does Miller’s. See Miller, ‘Immigrants, Nations, and Citizenship,’ Journal of Political Philosophy 16, no. 4 (2008): 371–90 at 385–7. 41 Herder, Philosophical Writings, ed. and trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 406–7; ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 271–2; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 722–4. 42 Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 67, 71–3. Parekh also shows the problems created by the prejudicial and false views concerning Islam held by many in the debates in Britain over the Rushdie Affair and in France over schoolgirls wearing headscarves. But while the idea of ‘sympathetic identification’ forms a central part in his argument, he denies its central role

Notes to pages 197–200 301

43 44

45 46 47

48

49 50 51

in Herder’s thought. See Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 67, 249–54, 295–313. Wolf, ‘Comment,’ 75–85; Habermas, ‘Struggles for Recognition,’ 128–35. For more recent discussions of the obstacles entailed in coming to understand others, as well as the need, at least, to attempt to do so, see James Tully, Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 132–4; Lawrence M. Thomas, ‘Moral Deference,’ in Theorizing Multiculturalism: A Guide to the Current Debate, ed. Cynthia Willet (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), 359–81 at 360–2; A.T. Baumeister, ‘Multicultural Citizenship, Identity, and Conflict,’ in Toleration, Identity, and Difference, 87–102 at 96–7. Vernon Van Dyke, ‘The Individual, the State, and Ethnic Communities in Political Theory,’ World Politics 29, no. 3 (1977): 343–69 at 367. Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, 75. Herder, ‘Humanitätsbriefe,’ SW, vol. 18, 262–5; Werke in zehn Bänden, vol. 7, 713–17; Tully, Strange Multiplicity, 117–21; Iris Marion Young, ‘Hybrid Democracy: Iroquois Federalism and the Postcolonial Project,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 237–58 at 253. For a similar approach in contemporary theory, see John Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 4–6, 126; Tully, Strange Multiplicity. Kymlicka, Liberalism, 288. Will Kymlicka, ‘American Multiculturalism and the “Nations Within,” ’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 216–36 at 221. This is not to infer that such conflict has always been a direct consequence of past decisions by colonial administrations to adopt a particular language of state. In Sri Lanka, the decision to give Sinhalese exclusive official status occurred after independence. By contrast, in India, the decision postindependence to maintain the imperial language of English has meant it has avoided the same kind of linguistic civil war. The point instead refers to the colonial practice of elevating one cultural community within a territorial state to a privileged status, which has led to the continued oppression of others in, for example, many African states. It also refers to the centralizing and homogenizing process of state formation within Europe that led, for example, to the privileging of Spanish identity over a Catalan or Basque identity, Russian over Lithuanian, and so on. See I.J. Shivji, ‘The Right of Peoples to Self-Determination: An Africa Perspective,’ in Issues of Self-Determination, ed. William Twining (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1991), 33–48 at 38; Eric Hobsbawn, ‘Language, Culture, and National Identity,’ Social Research 63, no. 4 (1996): 1065–80 at 1074.

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Notes to pages 200–4

52 Blommaert and Verschueren, ‘The Role of Language,’ 370–3; Peter Hill, ‘National Minorities in Europe,’ Journal of Intercultural Studies 14, no. 1 (1993): 33–48 at 40. 53 Joxerramon Bengoetxea, ‘Nationalism and Self-Determination: The Basque Case,’ in Issues of Self-Determination, 133–48 at 134. 54 Young, ‘Together in Difference,’ 18–23. 55 Ray Taras, ‘Nations and Language-Building: Old Theories, Contemporary Cases,’ Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 4, no. 3 (1998): 79–101 at 90. 56 I do not which to suggest that this possibility eventuated in the Baltic states. The situation of post-colonial states is a highly complex one, and affirmative measures to assist a formerly oppressed language are often legitimate. For a full discussion, see Vicki A. Spencer, ‘Language, History, and the Nation: An Historical Approach to Evaluating Language Claims,’ Nations and Nationalism 14, no. 2 (2008): 241–60 at 249–56. 57 M. Glenny, ‘The Massacre of Yugoslavia,’ New York Review, 30 January 1992, 30–5 at 30. 58 Van Dyke, ‘The Individual,’ 363–8. For acknowledgment of the advantage of Herder’s thought over the traditional liberal response in this respect, see Gray, Enlightenment’s Wake, 136. 59 Hill, ‘National Minorities in Europe,’ 38. 60 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, ed. and trans. F.M. Barnard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 96; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 408. 61 Herder, ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 408. 62 Ibid., 407–9. 63 Adapted from Herder, Outlines, 325; ‘Ideen,’ SW, vol. 14, 52; Werke, vol. 3, bk 1, 436, emphasis added. 64 Eggel, Liebich, and Mancini-Griffoli, ‘Was Herder a Nationalist?’ 65. 65 Herder, J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, 93; ‘Journal,’ SW, vol. 4, 404. 66 See Ayelet Shachar, Multicultural Jurisdictions: Cultural Differences and Women’s Rights (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), esp. chapter 2. 67 Hill, ‘National Minorities in Europe,’ 39. 68 European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), ‘Draft Law on Languages in Ukraine,’ Strasburg, 7 January 2011, accessed 20 July 2011 at http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2011/CDL-REF(2011)001e.pdf. See also U.S. English Foundation Inc., ‘Ukraine – Language Research: 1. Legislation: legislation dealing with the use of language,’ accessed 20 July 2011 at http://www.usefoundation.org/view/618; Taras, ‘Nations and Language-Building,’ 93. 69 In examining this case in more depth elsewhere, I have argued that many of the subsequent modifications to this bill were nevertheless crucial to

Notes to pages 204–6 303

70 71

72

73

74

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ensure equal opportunity. A strong case can also be made for special assistance in the case of the children of immigrants from non-Frenchspeaking backgrounds. See Spencer, ‘Language, History, and the Nation,’ 245–9. Pierre Birnbaum, ‘From Multiculturalism to Nationalism,’ trans. Tracy B. Strong, Political Theory 24, no. 1 (1996): 33–45 at 40–1. Also see Barry, Culture and Equality, 65. These critics also ignore the linguistic privileges that English speakers enjoyed in the economic sphere that had severely disadvantaged the ability of French speakers to advance to managerial positions. Since Bill 101 has determined that businesses employing more than 50 people must conduct their business in French, income disparities between the English and French have significantly decreased. See Michael Keating, Nations against the State: The New Politics of Nationalism in Quebec, Catalonia, and Scotland, 2nd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 104–6; Monteserrat Guibernau, Nations without States: Political Communities in a Global Age (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999), 58. Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition,’ 64. It explains in large part the exceedingly close referendum on secession in 1995 following the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, which would have enshrined Quebec’s distinct status constitutionally, although the Canadian Parliament has subsequently provided such public recognition. See Ray Taras and Rajat Ganguly, Understanding Ethnic Conflict: The International Dimension, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 2006), 160–3. See Birnbaum, ‘From Multiculturalism to Nationalism,’ 41; Kwame Anthony Appiah, ‘Identity, Authenticity, Survival: Multicultural Societies and Social Reproduction,’ in Multiculturalism, 149–63 at 162–3. For an excellent overview of the general debate over culture being essentialist, see Andrew Mason, ‘Multiculturalism and the Critique of Essentialism,’ in Multiculturalism and Political Theory, ed. Anthony Simon Laden and David Owen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 221–43. Although translation services are provided – for example, in Australia, where voting in state and federal elections is compulsory – English is a standard requirement by default for someone to have a realistic chance of being elected as a Member of Parliament. Charles Taylor, ‘Charles Taylor Replies,’ in Philosophy in the Age of Pluralism: The Philosophy of Charles Taylor in Question, ed. James Tully (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 213–57 at 254. For an interesting discussion based on identity, narrative, and performance in evaluating the legitimacy of cultural claims made by different groups, see Louise du Toit, ‘Cultural Identity as Narrative and Performance,’ South African Journal of Philosophy 16, no. 3 (1997): 85–93.

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77 See, for example, Daniel Chirot, ‘Herder’s Multicultural Theory of Nationalism and Its Consequences,’ East European Politics and Societies 10, no. 1 (1995): 1–15. 78 For a discussion of the brutal consequences of linguistic assimilation, see Hobsbawn, ‘Language, Culture, and National Identity,’ 1065–80. 79 Kymlicka, Liberalism, 197, 204; Van Dyke, ‘The Individual,’ 438. 80 Kymlicka, Liberalism, 196–7; Multicultural Citizenship, 40. 81 Frances Svensson, ‘Liberal Democracy and Group Rights: The Legacy of Individualism and Its Impact on American Indian Tribes,’ Political Studies 27, no. 3 (1979): 421–39 at 433. 82 Ibid., 432. 83 Kymlicka, Liberalism, 148–9, 157. 84 Avigail Eisenberg, ‘Diversity and Equality: Three Approaches to Cultural and Sexual Difference,’ Journal of Political Philosophy 11, no. 1 (2003): 41–64 at 44. 85 Ibid., 47. 86 Kymlicka and Eisenberg raise similar problems with the NWAC’s approach. See ibid., 47–8; Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 39. For an analysis of continuing internal colonialism in Canada, see also Tully, ‘The Struggles of Indigenous Peoples for and of Freedom,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 36–59 at 56–8. 87 Portal belgium.be, Official Information and Services, ‘Belgium. A Federal State,’ accessed 26 July 2007 at http://www.belgium.be/en/about_ belgium/ government/federale_staat. 88 Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship, 39. 89 Shachar, Multicultural Jurisdictions, 37; Barry, Culture and Equality, 131–47. 90 Shachar, Multicultural Jurisdictions, 49. She argues (48–9) that if harm instead results from the social consequences of a community’s democratic decision to establish, for example, a casino, then it is legitimate. 91 Audra Simpson, ‘Paths Toward a Mohawk Nation: Narratives of Citizenship and Nationhood in Kahnawake,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 113–36 at 128, 129–34. 92 Barry, Culture and Equality, 149. 93 Young, ‘Hybrid Democracy,’ 251–3. 94 I have drawn here from Young’s ‘decentered diverse democratic federation’ and her argument that where others can show that an issue materially affects them, they have a right to be involved in the decision-making process. See ibid., 253–4. 95 In the 1978 Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez case (436 US 49) referred to by Shachar, the main problem concerned the U.S. government’s role in

Notes to pages 211–13

96

97 98 99 100

101

102

103

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determining the recipients of federal services. Julia Martinez’s children were denied access to U.S. federal services such as Indian Health Services and education and housing assistance because she had been denied membership in the Santa Clara Pueblo tribe as a result of marrying someone outside the tribe. However, if federal services are provided not only on the basis of past cultural oppression but also on the basis of the economic discrimination and disadvantage that accompanies that oppression, a duty lies with the U.S. government to ensure that such services are provided to individuals irrespective of the membership criteria employed by tribes. See Shachar, Multicultural Jurisdictions, 18–20. Andrew Sharp, ‘Representing Justice and the Maori: On Why It Ought Not to Be Construed as a Postmodernist Text,’ Political Theory Newsletter 4, no. 1 (1992): 27–38 at 35. Manuhuia Barcham, ‘(De)Constructing the Politics of Indigeneity,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 137–51. Roger Maaka and Augie Fleras, ‘Engaging with Indigeneity: Tino Rangatiratanga in Aotearoa,’ in ibid., 89–109 at 104–5. Barcham, ‘(De)Constructing the Politics of Indigeneity,’ 142. In a reversal of her earlier views, Young criticizes reserved seating on this basis. See Iris Marion Young, Inclusion and Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 149–50. To discredit Kymlicka’s argument in favour of seeing Quebec and Canada as two nations, Brian Barry refers to the question raised in Britain by the Scottish MP for East Lothian, who, due to Scottish devolution, questioned why he should have a vote in the Westminster Parliament on matters that do not affect Scots. See Barry, Culture and Equality, 311–13. John Bern and Susan Dobbs, ‘On the Plurality of Interests: Aboriginal Self-Government and Land Rights,’ in Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 163–79 at 163. Henry Reynolds, Aboriginal Sovereignty: Three Nations, One Australia? (St Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1996). For a response to the criticism that these kinds of measures amount to assimilation, see John Borrows’s argument for Aboriginal control of Canadian affairs. Borrows, ‘Landed Citizenship: Narratives of Aboriginal Political Participation,’ in Citizenship in Diverse Societies, ed. Will Kymlicka and Wayne Norman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 326–42.

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Index

Abbt, Thomas, 7 Abou, Sélim, 92, 94 absolutism, 21, 96, 97, 99, 127, 150, 161 – 2 Africa, 130, 136, 142, 148, 185, 200 aid to less developed nations, 196 – 7 animals: humans distinguished from, 34 – 41, 112, 113 – 14; language, 31, 32, 33 – 4, 36, 56 Aristotle, 8, 12, 17, 36, 85, 117; definitions of human beings, 11 arts: ability of humans to create, 113; Greece, 82, 83, 101, 118, 126; Herder’s appreciation of, 75, 175; role in development of culture, 87 – 8 Asia, 73, 125, 133, 137, 142, 185, 200 assimilation, 77, 85, 187, 204, 206, 214; French republicanism, 188, 192, 206, 218; immigrants, 92, 188, 189, 191, 192, 194; nationalism, 129, 148, 149, 152, 157, 200, 201, 218 Austin, J.L., 11 Austin, John, 141

Australia, 185, 187, 188, 189; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 212 – 13 Austro-Hungarian Empire, 79, 82, 108 – 9, 151, 152, 201 autonomy of communities, 13, 16, 17, 81, 129, 131, 149–50, 152, 156, 185–6, 189, 199, 213; children, 170; development of, 170–2, 199; ethnic independence movements, 153, 154; harm caused by denial of, 95; lessening significance of state, 206; long-standing communities, 198–9, 200, 201, 202, 205–6; violation of, 16, 154, 155. See also assimilation Bacon, Francis, 10 Baltic states, 12, 148, 200 Barnard, Frederick M., 14, 18, 103, 121 – 2, 138, 158, 160, 164, 165, 167, 169, 171, 176, 201 – 2 Basque nationalists, 12, 13, 148, 206 beauty, 52, 113, 121, 126, 137 – 8 Berkeley, George, 10, 46 – 7

340

Index

Berlin Academy of Sciences and Letters, 26 – 7, 28, 36, 192 Berlin, Isaiah, 4, 5, 7, 10, 18, 97, 98, 100 – 1, 111, 112, 118, 127; admiration for Herder’s thought, 19 Besinnung, 34, 37, 38, 39, 40 Besonnenheit, 34 – 5, 37, 38 – 9, 112 Bohm, Arnd, 23, 167 Brown, John, 46 Buchstaben, 30 Cambridge School, 22, 23 Canada, 185, 187, 188; Aboriginal communities, 207 – 9, 210 – 11; friction between English- and French-speaking communities, 12, 13, 204 – 5; immigrants, 185, 188; Lebanese immigrants in Quebec, 92; multiculturalism, 187; censorship, 174, 175 children: autonomy of, 170; protection of, 174 China, 30, 73, 74 – 5, 126 – 7, 134, 137, 146, 161 Chomsky, Noam, 30 – 1, 36 Christianity, 122, 161, 167 – 9, 193, 207 Churchill, T., 70 – 1 civic (liberal) nationalism, 15, 17, 24, 129, 132 – 3, 134, 139, 144, 147, 148, 149, 188, 192, 197, 204, 206, 214, 218 collective goods, 180 – 1, 182, 195, 204 – 5, 207 Collingwood, R.G., 10, 11, 44, 65, 75, 134, 217 colonialism/imperialism, 17, 19, 145, 148 – 9, 150 – 2, 153, 170, 187, 202, 211

communitarianism, 3, 8, 9, 68 – 9, 85, 87, 155, 164, 174, 177, 182, 183, 217 – 18 communities. See cultural communities Condillac, Étienne Bonnet de, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 – 3, 36, 38, 53 conservatism, 19 conversation, 79 – 80 corruption, 86, 150, 168, 169 co-sovereignty arrangements, 198 – 9, 202 ‘Counter-Enlightenment,’ 4 – 6, 14; as the ‘Anti-Enlightenment,’ 5–6 Croatia, 154, 201 cross-cultural communication, 104, 112 cultural communities: Herder’s respect for, 17, 19, 23, 57 – 8, 81, 109, 129, 148, 152, 153 – 5, 156, 186 – 7, 193 – 4, 214, 218; historical and cultural circumstances of groups within, 189; identification with and attachment to, 8, 18, 82, 129, 132, 144, 149, 150, 153, 154, 155 – 6, 194, 214; and identity, 3, 8, 85 – 7, 179, 181, 182, 183, 190, 191, 194, 200, 215, 219; individual rights versus community welfare, 179 – 80, 181 – 4, 207, 208, 216; political and cultural, 18, 129 – 34; public participation in, 164, 172, 191; role of mythology in cultural formation of, 138; and the self, 84 – 94; solidarity of, 139 – 44; spirit of, 74 – 5, 202; tribal, 81, 107, 130, 136, 144, 148, 149 – 50, 156, 161, 206 – 7, 212. See also autonomy

Index of communities; ethnicity, race, and nation; indigenous communities; language and culture; long-standing communities; minority cultures; Volk cultural diversity, 23, 68, 70, 71 – 2, 126 – 8, 148, 155, 165, 186 – 7, 193, 214, 215; between cultures, 15, 17, 23, 72, 73, 94, 192; within cultures, 15, 68, 72 – 3, 88 – 9, 94, 192; fear that recognition will lead to break-up of states, 203; homogenizing and centralizing tendencies of modern state, 23, 131, 135, 144, 150 – 1, 152, 156, 157, 185, 187, 199, 205, 206, 211, 218; liberal response to, 190 – 2; states’ duty to honour, 17, 129, 152, 192, 201, 202, 206, 213, 214, 218 cultural nationalism, 14, 15, 17, 129, 133, 139, 142, 147; disputes, 140 – 1 cultural relativism. See relativism cultural self-determination, 22, 24, 127, 129, 130, 147, 148, 155 – 6, 179, 181, 182, 183, 208 – 9, 212. See also nationalism culture: authenticity to one’s own time and place, 84; avoidance of modern standards to judge earlier cultures, 125 – 6; and civilization, 70 – 1; connections between cultures, 73 – 4, 124 – 5; cross-cultural communication, 104, 112; cultural change, 84, 88 – 9; deculturation, 92; definitions of, 70 – 1; and freedom, 92 – 4, 199; indigenous, 12, 87, 145; non-comparability of

341

cultures, 126 – 7; political, 71, 72, 81, 178; rejection of, 90, 94; role of the arts in development of, 87 – 8; subcultures, 72; value of all cultures, 70 – 1, 94; willing identification with, 88 – 9, 150. See also cultural communities; ethnicity, race, and nation; language and culture; Volk Dallmayr, Fred R., 6, 23, 43, 218 democracy, 133, 147, 148, 159, 163 – 4, 167; democratic reform, 169 – 72 Derrida, Jacques, 80 Descartes, René, 37, 38, 47; absolutism, 96; Meditations, 44 – 5; mind – body dualism, 36, 37, 46; theory of innate ideas, 30, 31; designative theory of signification, 43 – 53, 54, 57 despotism, 119, 160 – 2, 163, 164, 170, 171, 172, 175, 202, 211 determinism, 121 – 2 Diderot, Denis, 59, 88, 120, 132 divine power and purpose, 122; language origins, 26, 27 – 8, 29 – 30, 31, 41, 62 dualism, 36, 37, 46. See also Herder, Johann Gottfried, anti-dualism Dworkin, Ronald, 176, 178 – 9 dynastic states, 81, 131 – 2, 151 – 2, 164, 171, 185, 202 education: language of schooling, 204; moral and civic, 170 – 2; in multicultural societies, 196 – 7; right to, 180; schools transcend

342

Index

public and private realms, 191; state, 174 – 5 emotions: eighteenth-century thinkers’ views on, 6, 46, 217; and language, 10, 46, 65 empiricism, 5 – 6, 24, 32 – 3, 43, 48 – 9, 50, 51, 217 England, 70, 77, 80, 130, 132, 134, 140, 148, 152, 162 – 3 ‘Enlightenment,’ 3, 4, 5, 7, 14, 16, 96, 133, 216 – 17; stereotype of, 5 ethical theory, 13 ethnicity, race, and nation, 133, 134 – 8, 139, 143 – 4; independence movements, 153, 154. See also indigenous communities; minority cultures; multiculturalism ethnocentrism, 6, 71, 101 Euben, J. Peter, 86 Europe, 146; bilateral treaties based on common interests, 203 – 4; centralization of states, 23, 109; culture, 71, 119, 123 – 4, 134, 137, 142, 185; dynastic empires, 81, 131 – 2, 145, 151 – 2, 159, 161; Eastern Europe, 12, 133, 142; feudal serfdom, 146, 161; fluid conception of state combined with regionalism, 206; imperialism, 153, 159, 167 – 8, 187; languages, 12, 46, 143, 151 – 2; nationalism, 157, 199, 200; stratification of societies, 83 expressivism, 10 – 11, 38, 103; theory of language, 10 – 11, 38, 51, 53 – 67, 88, 94, 142, 216, 218 externalism, 43, 64 family, metaphorical, 124 – 5, 131, 138, 139

fatalism, 15, 121, 122 feudal hierarchies, 142, 146, 161, 169 Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, 4, 142, 152 figurative language, 11, 44, 64 – 6 First Nations, 150 folk literature, 82 – 3 France, 46, 70, 88, 90, 131, 148; Enlightenment, 4; French Revolution, 150, 158 – 9, 163, 169, 170; philosophers, 7, 26, 43, 49, 90 – 1, 132, 158; republicanism, 188, 192, 194, 206, 218 free will, 35, 122, 171 freedom: abuses of, 174; economic, 182 – 3; individual, 92 – 4, 147, 149, 159 – 69, 170, 176, 180; and law, 173 – 4; limited by rights, 177; national, 145 – 6, 148, 149; negative and positive, 93 – 4; and perfectionism, 172 – 6; of thought and expression, 159, 172 – 3, 177, 178, 183 Frege, Gotlob, 43, 64 French language, 9 – 10, 12, 13, 59, 79, 87, 90 – 1, 143 French Revolution, 150, 158 – 9, 163, 169, 170 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 10, 11, 55, 104, 105, 217 Gellner, Ernest, 16, 130, 131, 150, 185 Germany: citizenship laws, 191; and the Dutch, 140; French derision of literature and language, 90 – 1; Herder’s encouragement to learn from other nations, 142; lack of understanding between people, 79; nationalism, 14, 140, 141, 151, 152, 182; Nazism, 106,

Index 107, 134, 135, 138; neglect of language in eighteenth century, 90, 91, 142; no institutional basis for political activity by middle classes, 158; path to literary renaissance, 83 – 4; public sphere, 80 God’s power and purpose, 122; language origins, 26, 27 – 8, 29 – 30, 31, 41, 62 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 4, 7, 82, 158 governments. See political regimes grammar, 59, 81 Greece, ancient, 103, 105, 125 – 6, 135, 137; arts, 82, 83, 101, 118, 126; characterization of a Volk, 84, 130, 132, 191; colonies, 73, 163 – 4; Greek mythology, 62; poetry, 74 – 5; public speaking, 79; republicanism, 23, 162, 190 – 1 group particularities, 3, 6, 14, 15, 22, 216 Hamann, Johann Georg: break from ‘Enlightenment’ thinking, 4; influence on Herder, 7, 62; and language, 3, 10, 11, 27 – 8, 61, 62, 66, 83; Metakritik of Kant, 62; and poetry, 66; Socratic Memorabilia, 61 happiness, 71 – 2, 109 – 10, 116, 145, 167, 168 Haym, Rudolf, 16 Hebrew people, 29, 72, 74 – 5, 119, 138, 140, 143 – 4, 198, 212 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 14 – 15, 74 Heidegger, Martin, 6, 10, 11, 20, 105 Helfer, Martha B., 37

343

Herder, Johann Gottfried: absolutism, 21, 96, 127, 150, 161 – 2; affinities with Aristotle’s ideas, 8; affinities with communitarians, 3, 8, 9, 68; and anthropology, 13, 28, 81; anti-dualism, 5, 8, 11, 21, 22, 28, 36, 37, 42, 69, 97, 181 – 2, 216, 217, 219; appreciation of art forms, 75; and break from ‘Enlightenment’ thinking, 4, 216 – 17; Christianity, 122, 158, 161, 167 – 9; complexity of thought, 19 – 20, 21, 22; conception of nature, 8, 15, 34, 39, 41 – 2, 122; conception of the self, 8 – 9, 69 – 70; differences and disagreements with Kant, 3, 7 – 8, 16, 20, 28, 56 – 7, 105, 217; and freedom, 93 – 4, 145 – 6, 147, 149, 159 – 69, 170, 172 – 6; historical method, 13, 96 – 7, 98, 99, 101 – 6; holistic thinker, 25, 44, 67, 68, 97, 216, 217; human distinctiveness, 34 – 41, 113 – 14; Humanität, 7, 96, 100, 112 – 18, 159, 216; and individualism, 9, 22, 68 – 9, 89, 121, 146, 149, 159 – 69, 176, 181 – 2, 207, 208; influences on, 7, 49 – 50, 62; legacy of, 13 – 22, 217; metaphorical style, 19 – 20; and morality, 159; not a ‘CounterEnlightenment’ thinker, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14, 22, 96; opposition to hereditary rule and feudal hierarchies, 142; optimism, 119, 120, 122; pluralism, 18, 21, 97 – 101, 112, 118 – 28, 159, 165, 167, 214, 215, 218; pragmatism, 17, 119, 120; proto-feminism, 164; rationalism, 6, 20, 31, 36, 50, 51, 62, 96; rejection of a priori

344

Index

truths, 57, 110; relativism, 5, 14, 21, 30, 101 – 12, 127 – 8, 216, 219; universal values, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 – 1, 112 – 18, 127, 137, 154, 156, 195, 216, 219 – philosophy of language: advocates learning several languages, 17, 142 – 3; centrality of culture and language to identity, 3 – 4, 8, 12, 13, 17 – 18, 52, 57 – 8, 67, 77, 90 – 4, 191, 200, 204 – 5, 214, 219; connection with politics, 11 – 12, 13, 151 – 2; constitutive role, 52 – 3, 55 – 7, 64, 75 – 6; critique of contemporaries, 28 – 34; delineations between languages and dialects, 140; designative theory, 50 – 1; dialogical nature of language, 40, 61 – 3, 66, 67, 90; dichotomy between figurative and literal language, 11, 44, 64 – 6; diversity of languages, 40 – 1, 67; dynamic process, 59, 61 – 2; effects of denial and loss of language, 77 – 9, 86 – 7, 92, 95, 108 – 9, 151 – 2, 192, 201, 206, 217; expressivist theory of language, 10 – 11, 38, 44 – 5, 51, 53 – 67, 88, 94, 142, 216, 218; grammar, 59; holism, 44, 60 – 1, 216; and human creation of own world, 54 – 5; identification of thought with action, language with activity, 59 – 60, 63; imitation of divinity, 54; immigrant groups, 192 – 3; informs ontological position, 11 – 12; interactive structural relationships, 60 – 1; misuse of language, 49, 57, 58, 66, 67; and nationalism, 139 – 44;

and Nazism, 135; necessary to appreciate Herder’s political thought, 18; the particular and the general, 58, 97 – 8; plurallingualism, 143, 192 – 3, 198; private language, 37 – 8; and questions of ‘the good,’ 11, 12; readability of texts, 20 – 1; relationship of reason (thought) and language, 7, 27, 28, 29, 32 – 3, 34 – 6, 38 – 9, 42, 46 – 7, 50 – 6, 59 – 60, 65, 217; shaping of consciousness, 50, 51, 52 – 3, 55 – 6, 77 – 8, 95, 217; social context of language, 39, 40, 41, 55, 56, 61 – 2, 67; spiritual dimension, 52; subjective and objective dimensions, 44, 55, 87 – 8, 218; tool of communication, 10 – 11, 12 – 13, 40, 50 – 1, 52, 217; translation, 58 – 9, 61, 77, 78 – political thought, 13 – 14, 18 – 19; anarchist sympathies, 164, 165; ‘anti-political,’ 18 – 19, 158; colonialism, 17, 19, 145; democracy, 159, 163 – 4, 167, 169 – 72; despotic rule, 160 – 2, 163, 164, 170, 171, 172, 175, 202, 211; feudalism, 142, 146, 161, 169; governance, 19, 23, 81, 131, 149, 159, 165, 179, 184, 189 – 90, 201, 214, 218; justice, 4, 7, 12, 70, 80, 113, 119, 122, 129, 137, 145, 149, 151, 156, 170, 172, 173, 176, 192, 193, 195, 208, 214, 219; multiVolk states, 199 – 200, 201 – 2, 203, 204 – 5, 210; nationalism, 13, 14, 15, 16 – 18, 21, 23, 30, 129 – 38, 144 – 57, 158, 200 – 1, 204, 205, 206, 215; political culture, 71,

Index 72, 199; republicanism, 18 – 19, 159 – 84, 187, 191, 192, 210, 213; restricted by conditions in which he lived, 158 – 9; unified political system, 165 – 6 – theory of culture, 70 – 1; avoidance of modern standards to judge earlier cultures, 125 – 6; community and the self, 84 – 94; connections between cultures, 73 – 4, 124 – 5; cultural change, 84, 88 – 9; cultural diversity, 17, 23, 68, 70, 71 – 2, 73, 126 – 8, 129, 148, 155, 165, 186 – 7, 192, 193, 213, 214, 215, 218; diversity within cultures, 68, 72 – 3, 192; ethnicity, race, and a common descent, 134 – 8; immigration, 189 – 98; indigenous communities, 130, 199, 207 – 13; language and culture, 12, 13, 17 – 18, 49 – 50, 57 – 8, 67, 75 – 95, 191, 200, 201; long-standing communities, 198; and multiculturalism, 6, 17, 23, 185 – 8, 209, 213, 218 – 19; non-comparability of cultures, 126 – 7; political and cultural communities, 129 – 34; respect for cultural communities, 17, 19, 23, 57 – 8, 81, 109, 129, 148, 152, 153 – 5, 156, 186 – 7, 193 – 4, 214, 218; spirit of communities, 74 – 5; value of all cultures, 70 – 1, 94 – works: Abhandlung über den Urspung der Sprache (Treatise on the Origin of Language), 6, 27, 28 – 42, 46, 55, 58, 73, 76, 112; Älteste Urkunde des Menschengeschlechts (Oldest Document of the Human Race), 20; Auch eine Philosophie

345

der Geschichte (Yet Another Philosophy of History), 6, 73, 83, 101, 104, 109, 114, 118, 119, 120, 122, 132, 145, 151, 160 – 1, 162; Briefe zu Beförderung der Humanität (Letters for the Advancement of Humanity), 7, 79, 80, 105, 108, 115, 118, 119, 140, 150, 159, 162, 167, 169, 173, 175; Fragmente über die neuere deutsche Literatur (Fragments on Recent German Literature), 26, 49 – 50, 51, 52, 57, 80, 91, 104; Haben wir noch jetzt das Publikum und Vaterland der Alten? (Do We Still Have the Public and Fatherland of the Ancients?), 80; Ideen zum ersten patriotischen Institut für den Allgemeingeist Deutschlands (Idea for the First Patriotic Institute for the General Spirit of Germany), 166; Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Ideas for the Philosophy of History), 20, 41, 56, 70 – 1, 73, 74, 101, 110, 112 – 13, 114 – 15, 119, 120, 122 – 3, 132, 135 – 6, 140, 160, 162, 165, 202; Journal meiner Reise im Jahr 1769 (Journal of my Journey in the year 1769), 55, 162; Kritische Wälder (Critical Forests), 89; Metakritik zur Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Metacritique of the Critique of Pure Reason), 6, 42, 50, 55, 57, 58, 59 – 60; prize essay on government and the arts and sciences, 158, 159, 161, 162, 163, 166 – 7, 172, 173, 174; Über den Fleiß in mehreren gelehrten Sprachen (On Diligence in Several Learned

346

Index

Languages), 50, 51, 78, 92, 143; Versuch über das Sein (Essay on Being), 8, 28, 57; Volkslieder (Folk Songs), 82 – 3; Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der menschlichen Seele (On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul), 45, 55, 73 hereditary rule, 142 hermeneutics, 6, 21, 52, 62 – 3, 103 – 5, 218 Hindu doctrines, 110 – 11, 126, 146, 168 historical progress, 118 – 23 historical studies: and conflicting moral values, 106 – 12; empathy in, 13, 16, 103, 104, 107 – 8, 111, 134; Herder’s method, 13, 96 – 7, 98, 99, 101 – 6, 108 – 12; limited to narration, 106, 107, 111; objective of seeking ‘strictest truth,’ 102, 104; scientific methods applied to, 102 – 3; sociological approach, 13, 106 Hobbes, Thomas, 10, 18; designative view of language, 44 – 5; Leviathan, 20, 63; metaphors, 63; negative conception of freedom, 93; social contract theory, 84 – 5 Hobhouse, Leonard, 179 – 80, 182 Homer, 62, 64 – 5, 72, 82 Humanität, 96, 112 – 18, 136, 149, 216; basic principles, 100 – 1, 116 – 17, 169, 181, 183, 195, 219; and beauty, 113, 137 – 8; and Christianity, 168, 169; definition of, 112 – 13; development of, 175; duty to promote, 180; and human fallibility, 119 – 20; and inhumane practices, 73, 106 – 7, 117, 122, 123 – 4, 125; loss of capacity to pursue, 149; and mis-

use of human powers, 119; and non-comparability of cultures, 126 – 7; realization of, 122 – 3, 127 – 8, 156 – 7, 162, 183; right of individuals to pursue, 183 Humboldt, Wilhelm von, 9, 59, 61 Hume, David, 7, 10, 73, 101, 120 Hungary, 203 – 4 Idealism, 46 identity: and cultural community, 3, 8, 85 – 7, 179, 181, 182, 183, 190, 191, 194, 200, 215, 219; and recognition, 3, 90, 91 – 2, 194 – 5, 213, 214, 218; relationship to culture and language, 3 – 4, 8, 12, 13, 17 – 18, 52, 57 – 8, 67, 77, 90 – 4, 191, 200, 204 – 5, 214, 219 imagination, 44, 45, 53, 56, 62, 75, 103, 125 ‘immaterialism,’ 46 immigrants, 188 – 98; adaptation and change, 190, 195, 197 – 8; assimilation policies, 92, 188, 189, 191, 192, 194; and dominant culture, 92, 194 – 6, 197 – 8; language, 192 – 3, 198; and multiculturalism, 188, 189, 195 – 8; recognition and respect for culture of, 193 – 5; rights and cultural claims of, 189 – 90, 195 – 6; separation of world into primary and secondary spheres, 92; states built on immigration, 185, 188; state’s obligations towards, 188 – 9, 190 – 2; and voluntary choice, 189 imperialism/colonialism, 17, 19, 145, 148 – 9, 150 – 2, 153, 170, 187, 202, 211 incommensurability, 126, 127

Index India, 110 – 11, 126, 134, 146, 148, 168 indigenous communities, 206 – 13; and colonialism, 19, 145 – 6, 148 – 9, 151 – 2, 210 – 11; cosovereignty, 198 – 9, 210 – 13; Herder’s application of term Volk, 130; language, 12, 17, 87, 90, 108 – 9, 145 – 6, 151 – 2; ‘minority nationalisms,’ 149 – 50; noninterference in, 145, 209 – 10, 211; political representation, 211 – 13; rights, 17, 209, 210, 211, 212; separatism, 199, 200; traditions that violate individuals’ rights, 209 – 10. See also ethnicity, race, and nation; tribal communities individualism: and Herder, 9, 22, 68 – 9, 89, 93, 94 – 5, 121, 146, 149, 159 – 69, 176, 181 – 2, 207; individual rights versus community welfare, 179 – 80, 181 – 4, 207, 208, 216; and Kant, 4; and rightsbased theories, 180 – 1 inhumane practices, 73, 106, 107, 117, 122, 123 – 4, 125 Ireland, 148 Israel, Jonathan, The Enlightenment Contested, 5 Italy, 162, 163 Joseph II, Emperor of AustriaHungary, 79, 82, 108 – 9, 152, 201 justice: dependence on public, 80; and government, 176; and Humanität, 113, 118, 119, 122, 137, 149, 156, 168, 173, 175; indigenous, 212; and language and culture, 4, 12, 129, 145, 149, 192, 193, 195, 197, 208, 214, 219; and morality, 176; and peace, 7, 151,

347

168, 172; Rawls, John, Theory of Justice, 3, 69, 85, 176; and self, 69, 70, 170, 172 Kant, Immanuel: and culture, 71; differences and disagreements with Herder, 3, 7 – 8, 16, 20, 28, 56 – 7, 105, 217; dominance in philosophy, 22; Hamann’s Metakritik of, 62; Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürglicher Absicht (Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose), 160; and individualism, 4, 69, 160; influence of, 14 – 5; Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason), 56; moral concepts, 99; racist paradigm, 16; theory of state, 152, 164, 165; Von den verscheidenen Racen der Menschen (On the Different Races of Man), 136; Zum ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace), 163 Kedourie, Elie, Nationalism, 15, 130, 131 – 2, 135, 139 – 40, 141, 142 – 3, 145 – 6 Koepke, Wulf, 15, 82, 162 Kohn, Hans, 15, 133, 142 Kühl, Carl Erik, 21 Kymlicka, Will, 87, 88, 149, 191, 199, 209 language: ambiguity of, 47, 48; of animals, 31, 32, 33 – 4, 36, 56; and consciousness, 50, 51, 52 – 3, 55 – 6, 67, 77 – 8, 95, 217; constitutive role for, 43, 47, 52, 55 – 7, 64, 75 – 6; designative theory of signification, 44 – 53, 54, 57; dialogical nature of, 40,

348

Index 61 – 3, 66, 67, 79, 90; dichotomy between figurative and literal language, 11, 44, 64 – 6; diversity of, 40 – 1, 67; divine or human origins, 26, 27 – 8, 29 – 30, 31, 41, 62; dynamic process of, 59, 61 – 2; emotive dimensions of, 10, 46, 65; expressivist theory of, 10 – 11, 38, 51, 53 – 67, 88, 94, 142, 216, 218; grammar, 59, 81; historical linguistics, 49 – 50, 76, 77, 83; holism, 44, 60 – 1, 216; and human creation of own world, 54 – 5; imitation of divinity, 54; indigenous, 12, 17, 87, 90, 108 – 9, 145 – 6; interactive structural relationships, 60 – 1; linguistic self-determination, 12, 13, 22; linguistic-political conflicts, 12, 22, 67, 77 – 9, 145 – 6, 151 – 2, 217; misuse of, 49, 57, 58, 66, 67; own language a reference point for understanding others, 92, 93; the particular and the general, 58, 97 – 8; philosophers’ interest in origins of, 26 – 34, 49 – 50; and politics, 11 – 12, 13, 151 – 2; private language, 37 – 8; and questions of ‘the good,’ 11, 12, 67; and representative democracy, 147; role in human development and cognition, 10 – 11, 50, 51, 53 – 4, 57, 217; social context of, 39, 40, 41, 55, 56, 61 – 2, 67, 79 – 84; spiritual dimension, 52; subjective and objective dimensions, 44, 48, 55, 87 – 8; tool of communication, 10, 12 – 13, 40, 50 – 1, 52, 61, 217; translation, 58 – 9, 61, 77, 78; universal, 30 – 1,

32, 47 – 9, 55; written, 80 – 1. See also words language acquisition, 29, 30 – 1, 54, 58, 67, 76, 90, 217, 238n73 language and culture, 17 – 18, 49 – 50, 57 – 8, 67, 75 – 9; centrality to identity, 3 – 4, 8, 12, 13, 17 – 18, 52, 67, 77 – 9, 85 – 7, 90 – 4, 191, 200, 204 – 5, 214, 219; and community, 79 – 84; economic factors in language variations, 76; effects of denial and loss of language, 77 – 9, 86 – 7, 92, 95, 108 – 9, 151 – 2, 192, 201, 206, 217; effects of derisory attitudes, 90 – 1; environmental factors in language variations, 76; immigrants, 192 – 3; and justice, 4, 12, 129, 145, 149, 192, 193, 195, 197, 208, 214, 219; and nationalism, 139 – 44, 151 – 2; one official language per state, 206; plurallingualism, 192 – 3, 198; relationship factors in language variations, 76; and the self, 84 – 95 language, relationship to reason, 7, 27, 28, 29, 32 – 3, 42, 45 – 8, 50 – 1; in cultures, 75 – 6; human distinctiveness, 34 – 9; identification of thought with action, language with activity, 59 – 60, 63; impossibility of nonsymbolic thought, 36, 42, 43, 56, 217; language, thought, and senses, 48, 53, 54, 65, 75, 217; thought and expression, 51, 53 – 6 Latin, 12, 58, 79, 108, 143, 151, 152 law, and freedom, 173 – 4

Index Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 7, 10, 49, 65, 73, 120; Universal Characteristic, 47 – 8, 49 Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, 7 liberal (civic) nationalism, 15, 17, 24, 129, 132 – 3, 134, 139, 144, 147, 148, 149, 188, 192, 197, 204, 206, 214, 218 liberal-communitarianism, 3, 9, 24, 68 – 9, 85, 155, 164, 174, 177, 183, 217 – 18 liberty, right to, 178 – 9 linguistics, comparative and historical, 13 literal language, 11, 44, 64 – 6 Locke, John, 7, 10, 20, 27, 38, 45, 48 – 9, 104, 160; Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 49; Letter Concerning Toleration, 168; and poetry, 63 – 4, 67; relationship between law and freedom, 173 – 4; and translation, 58; view of rights as constraints, 176 – 7 logos, definition of, 11 long-standing communities, 185, 188, 198 – 213; state’s obligation to, 188, 189. See also indigenous communities; stateless nations Machiavelli, Niccolò, The Prince, 173 MacIntyre, Alasdair, 8, 69, 91, 177 Malpas, J.E., 21 Maori, 211, 212 Maupertius, Pierre Moreau de, 26 Meinecke, Frederick, 15, 96, 133 Menges, Karl, 37, 57 metaphors, 19 – 20, 63, 65 – 6 Middle Ages, 73 – 4, 110

349

Mill, John Stuart, 19, 147 – 9, 167, 176, 182; On Liberty, 21 Miller, David, 24, 147, 188, 192, 194, 196 – 7, 218 mind – body dualism, 36, 37, 46 minority cultures: domination by state, 129; emergence of new minorities, 185, 198; liberal response to, 190 – 2; linguistic and cultural distinctiveness, 154; ‘minority nationalisms,’ 149 – 50, 186 – 7; political rights, 190 – 2, 201 – 4; potential for newly liberated groups to become oppressors, 200 – 1; separation of world into primary and secondary spheres, 92. See also autonomy of communities; cultural diversity; immigrants; indigenous communities; long-standing communities monarchies, 160 – 2, 169, 170 Montaigne, Michel de, 19, 88, 120 Montesquieu, 20, 70, 74, 84, 102, 160 – 1, 162 morality: Herder’s principles of, 159, 216; historical studies and conflicting moral values, 106 – 12; inhumane practices, 73, 106, 107, 117, 122, 123 – 4, 125; and justice, 176; Kant’s concepts of, 99; and learning about other cultures, 196 – 7; moral and civic education, 170 – 2; moral development, 117, 118; moral principles, and poetry, 64 – 5; rights-based moralities, 177 – 82, 183 Mosaic Constitution, 164 – 5, 176, 213

350

Index

multiculturalism: and Herder, 6, 17, 23, 185 – 8, 209, 213, 218 – 19; and immigrants, 188, 189, 195 – 8; and nationalism, 186 – 7, 196. See also ethnicity, race, and nation; minority cultures multi-Volk states, 149 – 50, 186, 188, 199 – 206, 209, 210 Muthu, Sankar, Enlightenment Against Empire, 5, 7, 8, 70, 160 mythology, role in cultural formation of communities, 138 naming objects and concepts, 49, 66 nationalism: ‘another word for egotism,’ 150, 151; consequences of, Second World War, 14; cultural, 14, 15, 17, 129, 133, 139, 140 – 1, 142, 147; differences between Herder’s concept of Volk and normative idea of ‘nation,’ 129 – 34; difficulty in defining ‘nation,’ 141; difficulty in defining nationalism, 141; ethnicity, race, and nation, 134 – 8, 139, 143 – 4, 153, 154; ethnie and ethnic culture, and genesis of nations, 133, 134, 139, 143 – 4; extreme, 23, 200 – 1, 205, 218; Germany, 14, 140, 141, 151, 152, 182; and Herder, 13, 14, 15, 16 – 18, 21, 23, 30, 129 – 38, 144 – 57, 158, 200 – 1, 204, 205, 206, 215; homogenizing and centralizing tendencies of modern state, 19, 23, 129, 131, 135, 144, 150 – 1, 152, 156, 157, 164, 165, 185, 187, 199, 205, 211, 218; as identity politics, 15; language, culture, and

solidarity, 139 – 44; liberal (civic), 15, 17, 24, 129, 132 – 3, 134, 139, 144, 147, 148, 149, 188, 192, 197, 204, 206, 214, 218; ‘modern nationalism,’ 14, 16 – 17, 129, 132, 148, 150, 152 – 3, 155 – 6, 218; and multiculturalism, 186 – 7, 196; narrow, 151, 196, 200 – 1, 204, 205, 206; nation as political community, 132 – 3; ‘official nationalism,’ 16, 129, 152, 153, 154, 200; and superiority, 135, 147 – 8, 151, 187, 197, 214; Western and Eastern types, 133 – 4, 143 – 4. See also patriotism; stateless nations; Volk ‘nation-state,’ 141, 144, 149, 152, 153, 154, 155, 185 Native Americans, 165, 168, 207, 210, 213; peace treaty between the Delaware and Iroquois, 165, 168, 213 Native Women’s Association of Canada, 208 – 9 naturalism, 31, 32 – 3 Nazism, 106, 107, 134, 135, 138 New Zealand, 185, 188 non-interference, 145, 209 – 10, 211 Oakeshott, Michael, 64 objectivism. See absolutism oppression, 3, 17, 129, 136, 145 – 6, 149, 153, 161 – 2, 216; and Christianity, 167 – 8; cultural, 186, 195, 200, 205, 214, 219; duty to help oppressed and eliminate oppression, 117, 170, 182, 195, 219; economic and political, 186, 205; Hindu social system, 110 – 11; internalization of negative self-

Index image, 92; and ‘monopolies of thought,’ 172; newly liberated groups as future oppressors, 200; Roman, 109; toleration of, 146 oral history, 77 ‘Oriental despotism,’ 161 paradigmatic relationships, 61 Parekh, Bhikhu, 74, 186, 193, 198 patriotism, 130, 153, 170, 192, 196, 197, 205, 206; aggressive, 187, 205, 218; republican, 147, 150 – 1, 158, 192, 197; uncritical support for state and veneration of nation, 150 – 1 peace, 117, 119, 165, 171, 197; seven ‘dispositions’ for achieving, 119 – 20, 151, 197. See also war perfection, 115 – 16, 118; and freedom, 172 – 6 Pettit, Philip, 44 Philologie, 13 Plamentaz, John, ‘Two Types of Nationalism,’ 15, 133, 142 Plato, 39, 44, 49, 52, 55, 67, 80, 89, 115, 142 pluralism, 5, 18, 21, 96, 97 – 8, 100, 112, 123 – 8, 159, 165, 167, 194, 214, 215, 218; historical progress, 118 – 23; key concepts, 98 – 101. See also relativism; universalism poetry, 61, 63 – 7, 74 – 5, 78, 81, 83, 87 political culture, 71, 72, 81, 178 political regimes: centralization of power, 16, 19, 23, 129, 131, 135, 144, 150 – 1, 152, 156, 157, 164, 165, 185, 199, 205, 206, 211, 218;

351

communitarian, bottom-up approach, 145 – 7, 156; corruption, 86, 150, 168, 169; decentralization of power, 152, 165, 166, 167, 176; despotism, 119, 160 – 2, 163, 170, 171, 172, 175, 202, 211; duties regarding rights, 176 – 9; duty to care for and protect citizens, 173, 174, 176; dynastic states, 81, 131 – 2, 151 – 2, 164, 171, 185, 202; imposition of values, 174 – 6, 181; language and political power, 151 – 2; political reform, 169 – 72; public participation in, 159 – 69, 172, 191; representative democracy, 147; restraints on power through rule of law, 160, 162 – 3, 165, 167, 172, 176, 206; revolutions, 169 – 70. See also oppression political theory, 13 – 14, 23 ‘populism,’ 18 Port-Royal rationalists, 32, 45 – 6 postmodernism, 3, 4, 5 prejudice, 104 – 5, 111, 135 ‘procedural liberals,’ 176 Proß, Wolfgang, 14, 25, 35, 39, 152 public speaking, 80 Pueblo Indians, 207 Quebec, 9 – 10, 12, 92, 204 – 5 ‘rabble,’ 169 race, ethnicity, and nation, 133, 134 – 8 rationalism, 5 – 6, 27, 30 – 1, 32, 36, 43 – 4, 45 – 6, 47 – 8, 50, 51, 62, 96, 99, 104, 217; Wolffian school of, 26, 36

352

Index

Rawls, John, Theory of Justice, 3, 69, 85, 176 Raz, Joseph, 100, 126, 174, 175, 178, 181, 182 reading, 62 – 4, 105 reason: complex ideas, 48; designative theory of signification, 44 – 5, 54, 57; and imagination, 44, 45. See also language, relationship to reason recognition: of different Völker within states, 18, 205, 206, 213; and identity, 3, 90, 91 – 2, 194 – 5, 213, 214, 217 reflection, 9, 32 – 3, 35, 36 refugees, 189 relativism, 5, 14, 21, 30, 96, 97, 100, 101 – 12, 127 – 8, 216, 219; definition, 98 – 9; equivalence postulate, 106 – 7, 110; and moral conflicts between different belief systems, 106 – 7, 124 religion, 114, 140, 182, 191, 193, 207. See also Christianity republicanism, 18 – 19, 187, 190 – 1; freedom and perfectionism, 172 – 6; French, 192, 194, 206, 218; individual freedom and public participation, 159 – 69; political reform, 169 – 72; republic within larger state, 202 – 3, 210, 213; rights and duties, 176 – 82 revolutions, 169 – 70 Ricoeur, Paul, 65 – 6, 217 Riga, 187, 201 – 2 rights and duties, 176 – 82, 216; freedom limited by, 177; immigrants, 189 – 90, 195 – 6; indigenous communities, 17, 209, 210, 211, 212; individual rights versus community welfare,

179 – 80, 181 – 4, 207, 208, 216; minority cultures, 190 – 2, 201 – 4; rights-based moralities, 177 – 82, 183; women’s equality rights and collective cultural rights, 208, 210 Robertson, William, 73, 101 Romanticism, 14, 43, 142 Rome, ancient, 73, 75, 78, 80, 83, 84, 105, 109, 119, 126, 130, 131 – 2, 163, 202, 211 Rosen, Stanley, 11, 12 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 7, 10, 18, 28, 31 – 2, 35, 46, 83, 88, 90, 117, 142, 164, 166 rule of law, 160, 162 – 3, 165, 167, 172, 176, 206 Said, Edward, 6 Sandel, Michael, 9, 69, 177; classification of community, 84 – 5 Saussure, Ferdinand de, 59, 60 – 1 Scotland, 77, 132, 140, 148, 152 secessionist movements, 200, 205 self: and community, 84 – 94; embedded (situated), 9, 39, 58, 68, 69 – 70, 91, 93, 94, 217, 218; transformation of, 91 – 2; unencumbered, 3, 69 – 70, 218 self-determination: cultural, 22, 24, 127, 129, 130, 147, 148, 155 – 6, 179, 181, 182, 183, 208 – 9, 212; individual, 159, 160, 174, 179, 181, 183. See also nationalism self-feeling, 55, 58, 65 self-realization, 9, 54, 84, 93, 94, 115, 116 – 17, 159, 160, 183, 219 Serb community, 140 – 1, 154, 201 Serbia, 154, 201 Shakespeare, William, 65, 82 Skinner, Quentin, 22

Index slavery, 118, 145, 164, 167 – 8, 183, 190 Slavs, Herder’s influence on, 17 Slovenia, 154 Smith, Anthony D., 130, 132, 133 – 4, 138, 139, 142, 144 social contract theory, 84 – 5, 176, 177 social equilibrium, 120 social interactions, 39, 40, 41, 55, 58, 61 – 2; socially situated self, 9, 39, 58, 68, 69 soul, 89; Platonic idea of, 52 Soviet Union, collapse of, 12, 185, 198, 200 speech, 80 – 1 Spinoza, Benedict de, 7 state. See political regimes stateless nations, 149 – 50, 186, 188, 199 – 206, 209, 210 subcultures, 72 subjectivism, 99 Suphan, Bernard, 24 – 5 Süßmilch, Johann, 26, 27, 28, 29 – 30, 31, 32, 39, 40 Switzerland, 139, 147, 148, 150 – 1, 162 syntagmatic relationships, 61 Taylor, Charles, 8, 9 – 10, 11, 53, 56, 68 – 9, 90, 107, 217; admiration for Herder’s thought, 19, 23, 218; and language as expressive form, 75; and recognition, 194, 205; and rights, 177, 179; and situated self, 69 thought: non-corporeal, 45; nonsymbolic, 42, 43, 47 tolerant society, 181, 182 Trabant, Jürgen, 36, 39 translation, 58 – 9, 61, 77, 78

353

tribal communities, 81, 107, 130, 136, 144, 148, 149 – 50, 156, 161, 206 – 7, 212 truth, 102, 104 Ukraine, 204 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, 176 United States, 185, 188, 191, 204; indigenous communities, 165, 168, 206 – 7 universalism, 3, 4, 8, 21, 22, 96, 97, 98; Herder’s universal values, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 – 1, 112 – 18, 127, 137, 154, 156, 195, 216, 219; language, 30 – 1, 32, 47 – 9, 55 verbs, 63 Vico, Giambattista, 3, 4, 6, 13, 15, 16, 111 Volk: as cultural community, 18, 132 – 3, 143 – 4, 149, 150, 152, 192; definition of, 18, 81 – 2, 144; differences between Herder’s concept and normative idea of ‘nation,’ 129 – 34; diverse range of opinions and interests, 124 – 5, 166 – 7; duty to sustain and nurture, 181 – 2; empathy between, 182, 192, 193, 196, 197, 203, 204, 218; ethnic characterization of, 191; Herder’s concept and usage of, 71, 81 – 2, 83, 93, 97, 111, 123, 142, 144 – 5, 147, 163; individual members’ relationship to the whole, 85 – 9, 103; interpretation of Humanität, 116; kinship relations, 134 – 8, 144; language, culture, and solidarity, 139 – 44; life cycle of, 84; moral and civic education,

354

Index

170 – 2; multi-Volk states, 149 – 50, 186, 188, 199 – 206, 209, 210; and nationalism, 129 – 34, 186; recognition of different Völker within states, 18, 205, 206, 213; sympathetic identification with, 109 – 10. See also autonomy of communities; cultural communities; culture; indigenous communities; language and culture; long-standing communities; minority cultures; multiculturalism Voltaire, 7, 20, 70, 73, 88, 101, 106, 120 Wales, 77, 132, 148, 152

war, 14, 89, 114, 119, 153, 154, 171, 190, 197, 200, 201. See also peace Williams, Bernard, 98 – 9, 107 Williams, Raymond, 70, 71 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 10, 11, 20, 37, 43, 55, 56, 124, 217 women: equality rights and collective cultural rights, 208, 210; subordination of, 164 words: ambiguity of, 47, 48; designative view of, 43, 54; domination of ideas by, 49; formation of, 40; interactive relationships between, 60 – 1; representation of essence of things, 48, 49, 53, 55 written language, 80 – 1