Walter Benjamin’s first philosophy: towards a constellational definition of experience

  • This essay argues for the philosophical standing of Walter Benjamin’s early work and posits a deeper continuity between this early work as a philosopher and the subsequent development of his work as a writer. When these fragments are read in proper relation to each other, they reveal for the first time many of the key innovations of Benjamin as a philosopher, as well as his points of influence on Horkheimer and Adorno. His early ‘Program’ critiques the Enlightenment conception of experience as a means for gaining empirical knowledge, and announces the need for a new concept of experience. Benjamin follows through on this program with a method of philosophical enquiry that is by turns fragmentary and constellational, developing a series of provisional notions of experience, which form a constellation with one another: perception, mimesis, language as a medium of experience, observation and memory.

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Author:Nathan Ross
Parent Title (German):Open Philosophy
Publisher:De Gruyter
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/02/20
Date of first Publication:2020/02/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/11/19
Tag:Critical Theory; Experience; German Romanticism; Memory; Perception; Proust; Surrealism; Walter Benjamin
Page Number:21
First Page:81
Last Page:101
Institutes:Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Philosophie und Geschichtswissenschaften / Philosophie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Institut für Sozialforschung (IFS)
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 10 Philosophie / 100 Philosophie und Psychologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0