Frederick C. Beiser

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Frederick Charles Beiser (/ˈbzər/; born November 27, 1949), one of the leading scholars of German Idealism writing in English, is a Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University. In addition to his writings on German Idealism, Beiser has also written on the German Romantics and 19th century British philosophy. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research in 1993[1] and received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015.[2]


Beiser received his first bachelor's degree from Shimer College, a Great Books college then located in Mount Carroll, Illinois, in 1971.[3][4] His second bachelor's was from Oriel College of Oxford University, which he received in 1974.[5] He subsequently studied at the London School of Economics from 1974 to 1975.[5]

Beiser earned his DPhil degree from Wolfson College of Oxford University in 1980,[5] under the direction of Charles Taylor and Isaiah Berlin.


Prior to joining Syracuse in 2001, he was a member of the faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington where he received a 1999-2000 NEH Faculty Fellowship. He has also taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Harvard, and Yale.[5]

Beiser's first book, The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte (Harvard, 1987) cast new light on German Idealism. In this book, Beiser sought to reconstruct the background of German Idealism through the narration of the story of the Spinoza or Pantheism controversy. Consequently, a great many figures, whose importance was hardly recognized by the English speaking philosophers, were given their proper due. The volume won the 1985 Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize for best first book.[6]

Beiser has edited two Cambridge anthologies on Hegel, The Cambridge Companion to Hegel (1993) and The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (2008).

Beiser is notable amongst English-language scholars for his defense of the metaphysical aspects of German Idealism (e.g. Naturphilosophie), both in their centrality to any historical understanding of German Idealism, as well as their continued relevance to contemporary philosophy.[7]


Edited works


  1. ^ Guggenheim Foundation. "Frederick C. Beiser". Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  2. ^ "A Life Devoted to Philosophy - Germany honors Professor Frederick Charles Beiser". Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Shimer College (1972). "The Students". Shimer College Catalog 1972-1973. p. 109. 
  4. ^ Shimer College (2000). Shimer College Faculty & Alum Directory 2000. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Curriculum Vitae: Frederick Charles Beiser" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  6. ^ Harvard University Press. "The Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize". Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  7. ^ Beiser, Frederick. "Hegel and Naturphilosophie." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34.1 (2003): 135-147.

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