Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Zachary Sng

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770170

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

The Madness of the Middle

The Madness of the Middle

Chapter:
(p.106) Four The Madness of the Middle
Source:
The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804770170.003.0005

This chapter examines the significance of error in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's novel of subject-formation, The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, in which he claims in relation to Bildung that knowledge is attained when error cancels itself out through further errance. Both teacher and pupil are then required to let error run its course and complete its work of self-correction. The chapter analyzes this understanding of error in connection with Aristotle's concept of the virtuous middle and its influence on Adam Smith's arguments on sympathy. The theatricality of Smith's moral sentiments highlights two forms of the middle—moderation and mediality—that work in harmony to give rise to the possibility of sympathy. However, Smith also insists that fashion and utility adversely affect judgment, implying a middle associated with a certain mechanistic efficacy and momentum which disrupts the relationship between means and ends, particular and general.

Keywords:   error, Goethe, Wilhelm Meister, knowledge, errance, self-correction, Aristotle, middle, Adam Smith, sympathy

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.