Volume 30, 1998
Philosophy of History
Historia y filosofía de la historia en el Benjamin tardío
(History and Philosophy of History in late Benjamin)
This paper deals with Walter Benjamin’s text largely known as "Theses on the Philosophy of History," and disputes its classification under that rubric. The circumstances of the elaboration and, more important, the explicit destination assigned to the reflections of the "Theses," require a consideration of its content and its relation to the historical studies the author was engaged in concerning the "prehistory" of modernity, especially of the remnants of the Parisian nineteenth century: the commonly known work "The Arcades Project." The relevance of a sameness in the language used in the two writings, particularly the resort to images, metaphors and the technique of montage, is stressed. It is argued that Benjamin’s philosophical style was always imagistic and that this fact is particularly relevant to the reflections on the concept of history. Philosophers and historians are both concerned by the historical research and concept construction of a thinker like the late Walter Benjamin. It is therefore desirable to compare and contrast their views.