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This book project examines the concept of the self in Coleridge’s late philosophy. It makes the case that coleridge's aim was to stake out a middle position, one which accepted the advances of scientific method and the validity of discursive reason, whilst at the same time valuing the tradition of theology and philosophy supported by speculative reason. The possibility of holding both of these together was necessary to maintain the freedom of the individual. Coleridge defended this position by maintaining that human beings were fundamentally incomplete, and that this incompleteness was not something to be overcome, but to be defended.


His concern was that both materialist forces on the one side, and religious development on the other were undermining this notion of human completeness leading to a kind of self alienation that negated human freedom and stifled human inquiry. What was necessary was for the human being to understand the finitude of their own understanding. Awareness of this finite condition arose through rational intuition, something which manifested itself in the notion of Divine presence, human morality, and aesthetic desire.


Coleridge’s late philosophy, particularly in the Opus Maximum, illustrates how the self exists in a dynamic relationship between finite and infinite poles.  The individual’s task is to accept this incomplete condition, in effect to be faithful to those aspects of the self that cannot comprehend, and therein to choose freedom which necessitated both faith and rational and discursive reason. 

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