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American, French and German Philosophy

Oisín Keohane

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Interrogates the rise of national philosophies and their impact on cosmopolitanism and nationalism

The idea of national philosophy carries in it a strange contradiction. We talk about 'German philosophy' or 'American philosophy'. But philosophy has always pictured itself to be the project of universality. It presents itself as something that takes place outside or beyond the national – detachable from language, culture and history.

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1. Introduction

2. The Making of Brothers: Kant the Nationalist, the Internationalist and the Cosmopolitan

3. The Presentation of National Philosophies: Kant on the French and German National Character

4. The Metaphysics of Nationalism: Fichte and the German Language as a National Philosophical Idiom

5. Philosophical Rights-of-Way: Tocqueville and the American Philosophical Method

6. The Transcendental Declaration of Independence: Emerson and American Philosophy



About the Author

Oisín Keohane is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dundee. Previously, he was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, IASH Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and NRF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Johannesburg.


This unfailingly intelligent, rigorous and intellectually honest book gives perhaps the first extended philosophical account of what its title calls 'cosmo-nationalism', namely the philosophical claim that one nation or another preponderantly or uniquely embodies the value of cosmopolitanism. Keohane’s book is intellectually demanding, but highly readable and also very timely, as philosophers begin to grapple with the philosophically scandalous insistence of nationalism in philosophy.

- Geoffrey Bennington, Emory University

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