Paul Franks on the dangerous of anachronism

One cannot undertake to revitalize the past without running the risk of anachronism. And the danger of anachronistic history of philosophy is not solely the danger of inaccurate history, for philosophy’s interest in its history is not solely historical. In the attempt to understand an alien past by overcoming the present, we can discover not only new answers to familiar questions, but also new possibilities for philosophical questioning. Anachronism precludes such discoveries.

Paul Franks, “The Origins of Post-Kantianism” in Transcendental Arguments: Problems and Prospects, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 111-112.

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