The Age of German Idealism (Routledge History of Philosophy, Volume 6)
Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen Marie Higgins
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Robert C. Solomon, Kathleen Marie Higgins (eds.)
The turn of the nineteenth century marked a rich and exciting explosion of philosophical energy and talent. The enormity of the revolution set off in philosophy by Immanuel Kant was comparable, by Kant's own estimation, with the Copernican Revolution that ended the Middle Ages. The movement he set in motion, the fast-moving and often cantankerous dialectic of `German Idealism', inspired some of the most creative philosophers in modern times: including G.W.F. Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer as well as those who reacted against Kant - Marx and Kierkegaard, for example.
This volume traces the emergence of German Idealism from Kant and his predecessors through the first half of the nineteenth century, ending with the irrationalism of Kierkegaard. It provides a broad, scholarly introduction to this period for students of philosophy and related disciplines, as well as some original interpretations of these authors. Each chapter is written by a distinguished scholar in the field. A glossary of technical terms together with a chronological table of philosophical, scientific and other important cultural events are provided.
metaphysics possible? He asked: “Are the times right for systems of philosophy? Can one be more than an observing philosophical raisonneur?”54 Since Wolff, special metaphysics had been about either spiritual substances (God and the soul) or material substance. Rational theology, rational psychology, and rational cosmology each has its own fundamental concepts and principles, but they share some in common. Tetens calls the study of these common elements transcendent philosophy because it
observes, involves concepts; all concepts, in turn, “rest on functions,” “bringing various representations under one common representation” (A 68, B 93). The representations united in a concept may be sensible intuitions or other concepts. Kant here makes an important concession to empiricists such as Hume: the content of concepts traces ultimately to sensation. Kant makes much of this in the Transcendental Dialectic to refute the transcendence thesis. In deriving the categories, however, he
approach to what he calls “objective finality in nature,” Kant distinguishes between the notions of “external” and “internal” purposiveness. With reference to the first of these, he points out that various natural products may be regarded as being designed either for our own benefit or else for the use and advantage of other living creatures. For example, grass may be said to exist in order to support herbivores like sheep or cattle, and the existence of the latter may in turn be viewed as
to the I’s striving, a “check” which manifests itself within consciousness as “feeling.” Though Fichte certainly demonstrates that such an Anstoß must in fact occur if self-consciousness is to be actual, he never claims that such a limitation is produced by the self-positing I, though he does, of course, observe that a limitation cannot exist (as a limitation of the I) unless it is “posited” as such (i.e. taken up into consciousness) by the I. On the other hand, Fichte steadfastly opposes all
various ways of viewing the separation of the subjective and the objective within consciousness, and, in turn, the union of both” (I, 5:21): hence the explicitly “dialectical” structure of the argument, which constantly oscillates between moments of relative identity and moments of relative difference. Next come what Fichte terms the various “real” philosophical sciences which make up the further subdivisions of the entire Wissenschaftslehre. There are three such systematic subdivisions: