Historicity, Heritage, and Historical Method

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Why and how does innovation come about? How is the new anchored in what is familiar? How are historical traditions and cultural heritages formed and transformed? How do the trajectories of transmitting these ideas throughout history, and through different fields, affect our understanding of them? And how can we make sense of the tension between the historical situatedness of ideas and claims to universal validity?  

We investigate the ways in which philosophers have thought about history and historical change, including how they have related to the history of their own discipline. We trace the complex histories of philosophical concepts, the ways in which philosophical traditions and cultural heritages are formed, and the lineages of reception through which ideas get transformed and re-interpreted in ever-changing contexts.  

We study, for example, how the concept of “modernity” was formed, how Kantianism was transformed into a philosophy of culture, how philosophical ordering concepts and labels, such as "realism” or “empiricism,” have received their meaning. Our research is informed by a self-reflexive interest in questions of historical method and historical objectivity.