Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 9, Issue 1, Fall 2004

Across the Tradition of Philosophy

Roy Brand
Pages 37-52

Schlegel’s Fragmentary Project

This paper investigates the new form of writing—the fragmentary project—that Friedrich Schlegel developed in response to Kant’s systematic philosophy. The fragments, I argue, are not anti-systematic; rather, they elucidate the idea that philosophy, like the modern work of art, no longer represents the unity of a closed system but a unity beyond the system. The fragmentary project is an ambitious attempt to find a form of philosophical coherence beyond the compulsion of a system. In contrast to the traditional view which regards the fragment as expressing relativistic, skeptic, and at bottom, anarchic sentiments, this account views the fragment as a figure of writing that does not represent but itself enacts the movement toward greater coherence and communication.