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8 Conring on History

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Chapter Summary

Hermann Conring was born in 1606 and died in 1681. His professional life was spent teaching and writing at the University of Helmstedt, where he came to be the dominant figure. This chapter illustrates how Conring conceived the systematic relationship between the common good, prudence, and history. The most important feature of the views presented by Conring in his preface to the Germania is the tension between a simple and explicit theory according to which knowledge consists in empirical data in conjunction with rational principles and the apparent impossibility of arriving at such knowledge. Finally, a few equally speculative remarks about a possible place for Conring's thought in intellectual history. In general, the thought of Conring can be characterized as a response to the growth of written culture that Humanism and printing had promoted.

Keywords: Germania; Germany; Helmstedt; Hermann Conring; humanism



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