The Philosophy of Money 3rd by David Review 2019


The Philosophy of Money 3rd by David Frisby Review 2019 Read books online

The Philosophy of Money 3rd by David Review 2019

Preface to the Third Edition


The human gaze has the power of conferring value on things; but it makes them cost more too. (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 1984, Chicago University Press)
Since the last additions to this edition of Simmel’s Philosophy of Money were made in 1991, there have been several new investigations of aspects of this important philosophical, sociological and economic work. In addition, the existing history of the emergence and early reception of Simmel’s study can also be amplified in several respects. Further, the fact that The Philosophy of Money had as a guiding thread a theory of objective culture should make us aware that Simmel’s study had an influence not merely upon a philosophy or sociology of culture, including the culture of modernity, but also had an impact upon cultural production itself. From a wider perspective, Simmel’s philosophy, aesthetics and sociology can be traced in many artistic fields such as art, architecture and literature. Because this has been somewhat neglected in the previous introduction and preface to this work, some instances will be outlined below, and especially where the impact of his Philosophy of Money can be confirmed and elaborated. Finally, since this is the second preface to this work, the reader approaching this volume for the first time might wish to commence with my original introduction (1978) followed by the first preface (1990) before turning to this new preface.
I The first known outline of some of the central themes of Simmel’s Philosophy of Money—aside from his earlier presentation on the psychology of money in Gustav Schmoller’s seminar in 1889—is to be found in his lecture given in Vienna on 24 March 1896 to the Society of Austrian Economists (whose number included Carl Menger, Friedrich von Wieser and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk), a version of which was published in
the economic section of the leading Viennese liberal newspaper, the Neue Freie Presse in August of the same year.1 Through Simmel’s correspondence with the legal theorist Georg Jellinek, we now know that his lecture in Vienna coincided with his attempts to secure a professorship of philosophy or ethics and sociology at the University of Vienna.2 The lecture itself was facilitated by Isidor Singer (also an editor of the newly founded liberal weekly journal Die Zeit in which Simmel frequently published) and the economist Eugen von Philippovich. For his lecture to the Society of Austrian Economists, Simmel offered the titles ‘Psychology of Socialism’ and ‘Psychology of Money’, before the actual title was decided upon. Writing to Jellinek on the day after the lecture, Simmel declared that:
Yesterday’s lecture was not well attended because of all kinds of other meetings at the same time.… Nonetheless it was a great success, I had almost stormy and evidently spontaneous applause.… In general I am astonished by how many people relatively know of me here. The whole manner in which I have been received here has really made me aware of the unworthy situation in which I find myself in Berlin.3
The lecture’s success was not matched by Simmel gaining a professorship in Vienna or even, as was also under discussion, in Czernowitz. Only in 1914 did he secure a chair of philosophy at Strasbourg University. What the correspondence does suggest is that although his interests at that time were primarily philosophical and sociological, he also had contact with economists outside Berlin too. From the proceedings of the Society, we know that Simmel commenced his lecture on ‘Money in Modern Culture’—described as a ‘lecture on the money economy from a philosophical standpoint’—with some general remarks not subsequently published in the newspaper version or elsewhere. The minuted summary of Simmel’s opening remarks reads as follows:
Economics has supplied a much greater contribution to the knowledge of this century than has philosophy. But nonetheless philosophy still has a few words to contribute. It investigates the subterranean connections between the isolated spheres of knowledge, connects them to a higher entity and draws attention to their common roots. Just such a philosophical project, with respect to both its content and scope, will be presented here in which the connection between the whole character of the modern period and that grounded in its predominantly money economy will be drawn. In so doing, no new facts will be put forward, but an attempt will merely be made to establish new connections between already known ones.4

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