Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 31

Thread: German Idealism

  1. #11
    Senior Member Prussian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 12:49 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Nordid+East Baltic
    Country
    Germany Germany
    Location
    By the shore of the Baltic
    Gender
    Age
    41
    Politics
    Progressive Nationalism
    Posts
    671
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Post AW: German Idealism

    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


    G. W. F. Hegel was born in Stuttgart, Germany, the son of a government official. He studied theology at the University of Tubingen. After serving as a tutor at Bern and Frankfurt, he was a lecturer and then a professor at the University of Jena (1801-06), headmaster of a school in Nuremberg (1808-16), and professor at Heidelberg (1816-18) and Berlin (1818-31). He died in Berlin, during a cholera epidemic, on Nov. 14, 1831. He was an idealist philosopher who has influenced many areas of modern philosophy; his strongest influence was on Karl Marx, and he had a negative influence on Søren Kierkegaard, whose rebellion against his objective systematizing began the school of existentialism.

    Hegel wrote books on philosophy, religion, and history. His most important works include the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), the Science of Logic (1816), the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1817), the Philosophy of Right (1821), and the Philosophy of History (from lectures in 1822), all of which have been translated into English.

    According to Hegel, reality is Absolute Mind, Reason, or Spirit, which manifests itself in history. Whether the Spirit is human spirit or an alias of God he doesn't make clear. This Mind is universal, the World Mind (Weltgeist), which cannot be identified with any particular person, indeed all rational activity of each person is merely a phase of the Absolute. The Mind is dialectical in that one concept, the thesis, is followed by its opposite, the antithesis, which conflict and produce a higher concept, the synthesis. Hegel claimed that "the real is rational and the rational real," which can be understood as an expression of the identity of reality and the rational process. Because reality is rational, it acts in accordance with the laws of reasoning. To understand the nature of thought is to understand the nature of reality. Nature itself can be studied rationally because it manifests the dialectical activity of Mind.

    The Mind also manifests itself in human affairs. Art is the sensuous expression of creative Spirit and is a rational process, and the philosopher can study art for the representation of reality that it really is. The philosopher can study religion and see that it is the highest nonrational manifestation of the Mind. In Christianity, the highest evolution of religious expression, the incarnation symbolically reflects the truth that the infinite is manifest in the finite and not distinct from it. In philosophy, Reason is revealed as the rational process. Through the concepts of philosophy the philosopher may know Reason as it has been and as it is in itself. The history of philosophy thus reveals the development of Mind itself in its quest for its own unification and actualization. The greater the historical perspective accorded the philosopher, the greater and richer the vision of the system and of Reason's own self-comprehension in the system.

    Absolute Mind also manifests itself in the individual, who develops from a subjectivistic state to an objective rational consciousness through developmental phases of family, society, and state. To Hegel human history is the progression from bondage to freedom. Freedom is achieved as the desires of the individual are integrated into the unified system of the state, in which the will of one is replaced by the will of all. This theory is shown in his division of history into three stages, the first of which is in the ancient orient where only the ruler was free, the second in Greece and Rome where some were free, and modern world where all are considered free. This view of history divided Hegel's followers into left- and right-wing camps, with leftists like Marx turning the dialectic of Spirit into the dialectic of economic conditions and rightists stressing the unity of the state and breathing new life into Protestantism.

    Perhaps no other thinker since Kant has had a comparable influence on philosophy, art, religion, and literature.
    ...where the Absolute Truth is living and enjoying. G.W.F Hegel

    "Thus the life of God and divine cognition may well be spoken of as a disporting of Love with itself; but this idea sinks into mere edification, and even insipidity, if it lacks the seriousness, the suffering, the patience, and the labor of the negative." G.W.F. Hegel
    Principle Works of Hegel




    Logic: Part One - Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830)

    Philosophy of Nature Part Two - Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1817)

    Philosophy of Mind: Part Three - Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830)


    The Philosophy of History: Introduction (1837)



    ~Resources~




    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Prussian; Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 at 09:29 AM.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  2. #12
    Senior Member Prussian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 12:49 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Nordid+East Baltic
    Country
    Germany Germany
    Location
    By the shore of the Baltic
    Gender
    Age
    41
    Politics
    Progressive Nationalism
    Posts
    671
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Post AW: German Idealism

    ...further resources dedicated to various thinkers & concepts of German Idealism, more specifically in this case Kant & Hegel.

    Journals:

    Kantian Review: aims to publish the best contemporary work on Kant and Kantian issues and will place an emphasis on those current philosophical debates which reflect a Kantian influence.

    The Owl of Minerva: publishes articles, notes, discussions, reviews, and translations which pertain directly to Hegel, as well as those which bear upon his contemporaries, his successors, his influence today, and the latest scholarly developments.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  3. #13
    Senior Member Oriana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Last Online
    Wednesday, May 10th, 2006 @ 09:11 PM
    Country
    United States United States
    Location
    more detailed states of america
    Gender
    Occupation
    student/freelance writer
    Politics
    other.
    Posts
    70
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Post Re: German Idealism

    We are all Kanteans.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Prussian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 12:49 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Nordid+East Baltic
    Country
    Germany Germany
    Location
    By the shore of the Baltic
    Gender
    Age
    41
    Politics
    Progressive Nationalism
    Posts
    671
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Post AW: German Idealism

    Freidrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling




    Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854) is, along with J.G. Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel, one of the three most influential thinkers in the tradition of ‘German Idealism’. Although he is often regarded as a philosophical Proteus who changed his conception so radically and so often that it is hard to attribute a clear philosophy to him, Schelling was in fact often an impressively rigorous logical thinker. In the era during which Schelling was writing, so much was changing in philosophy that a stable, fixed point of view was as likely to lead to a failure to grasp important new developments as it was to lead to a defensible philosophical system. Schelling's continuing importance today relates mainly to three aspects of his work. The first is his Naturphilosophie, which, although its empirical claims are largely indefensible, opens up the possibility of a modern hermeneutic view of nature that does not restrict nature's significance to what can be established about it in scientific terms. The second is his anti-Cartesian account of subjectivity, which prefigures some of the best ideas of thinkers like Nietzsche and Jacques Lacan, in showing how the thinking subject cannot be fully transparent to itself. The third is his later critique of Hegelian Idealism, which influenced Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and others, and aspects of which are still echoed in contemporary thought by thinkers like Jacques Derrida.
    ...Career.


    Schelling was born in Leonberg near Stuttgart on 27 January 1775. He attended a Protestant seminary in Tübingen from 1790 to 1795, where he was close friends with both Hegel and the poet and philosopher Friedrich Hölderlin. He moved to Leipzig in 1797, then to Jena, where he came into contact with the early Romantic thinkers, Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, and, via Goethe's influence, took up his first professorship from 1798 to 1803. From 1803 to 1806 he lived in Würzburg, whence he left for Munich, where he mainly lived from 1806 onwards, with an interruption from 1820 to 1827, when he lived in Erlangen. He moved to Berlin in 1841 to take up what had, until Hegel's death in 1831, been Hegel's chair of philosophy. Although his lectures in Berlin were initially attended by such luminaries as Kierkegaard, Engels, Bakunin, Ranke, Burkhardt, and Alexander von Humboldt, he soon came to be largely ignored by most of the leading thinkers of the day. It is clear, however, that his philosophical thought still influenced many who rejected him on mainly political grounds. He died on 20 August 1854 in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. Schelling's influence on many directions in modern philosophy has been seriously underestimated in the English-speaking world, though this underestimation is now beginning to be countered by renewed attention to his work.
    ...Transcendental Philosophy & Naturphilosophie


    The significance of the work of the early Schelling (1795-1800) lies in its attempts to give a new account of nature which, while taking account of the fact that Kant has irrevocably changed the status of nature in modern philosophy, avoids some of the problematic consequences of Kant's theory. For the Kant of the Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787) nature is largely seen in the ‘formal’ sense: nature is that which is subject to necessary laws. These laws are accessible to us, Kant argues, because cognition depends on the subject bringing necessary forms of thought, the categories, to bear on what it perceives. The problem this leads to is how the subject could fit into a nature conceived of in deterministic terms, given that the subject's ability to know is dependent upon its ‘spontaneous’ self-caused ability to judge in terms of the categories. Kant's response to this dilemma is to split the ‘sensuous’ realm of nature as law-bound appearance from the ‘intelligible’ realm of the subject's cognitive and ethical self-determination. However, if the subject is part of nature there would seem to be no way of explaining how a nature which we can only know as deterministic can give rise to a subject which seems to transcend determinism in its knowing and in its ethical doings. Kant himself sought to bridge the realms of necessity and spontaneity in the Critique of Judgement (1790), by suggesting that nature itself could be seen in more than formal terms: it also produces self-determining organisms and can give rise to disinterested aesthetic pleasure in the subject that contemplates its forms. The essential problems remained, however, that 1) Kant gave no account of the genesis of the subject that transcends its status as a piece of determined nature, and 2) such an account would have to be able to bridge the divide between nature and freedom. The tensions in Schelling's philosophy of this period, which set the agenda for most of his subsequent work, derive, then, from the need to overcome the perceived lack in Kant's philosophy of a substantial account of how nature and freedom come to co-exist. Two ways out of Kantian dualism immediately suggested themselves to thinkers in the 1780s and 90s. On the one hand, Kant's arguments about the division between appearances and things in themselves, which gave rise to the problem of how something ‘in itself’ could give rise to appearances for the subject, might be overcome by rejecting the notion of the thing in itself altogether. If what we know of the object is the product of the spontaneity of the I, an Idealist could argue that the whole of the world's intelligibility is therefore the result of the activity of the subject, and that a new account of subjectivity is required which would achieve what Kant had failed to achieve. On the other hand, the fact that nature gives rise to self-determining subjectivity would seem to suggest that a monist account of a nature which was more than a concatenation of laws, and was in some sense inherently ‘subjective’, would offer a different way of accounting for what Kant's conception did not provide. Schelling seeks answers to the Kantian problems in terms that relate to both these conceptions. Indeed, it is possible to argue that the conceptions are in one sense potentially identical: if the essence of nature is that it produces the subjectivity which enables it to understand itself, nature itself could be construed as a kind of ‘super-subject’. The main thinkers whose work establishes these alternatives are J.G. Fichte, and Spinoza.

    The source of Schelling's concern with Spinoza is the ‘Pantheism controversy’, which brought Spinoza's monism into the mainstream of German philosophy. In 1783 the writer and philosopher F.H. Jacobi became involved in an influential dispute with the Berlin Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn over the claim that G.E. Lessing had admitted to being a Spinozist, an admission which at that time was tantamount to the admission of atheism, with all the dangerous political and other consequences that entailed. In his On the Doctrine of Spinoza in Letters to Herr Moses Mendelssohn, (1785, second edition 1789), which was influenced by his reading of Kant's first Critique, Jacobi revealed a problem which would recur in differing ways throughout Schelling's work. Jacobi's interpretation of Spinozism was concerned with the relationship between what he termed the ‘unconditioned’ and the ‘conditioned’, between God as the ground of which the laws of nature are the consequent, and the linked chains of the deterministic laws of nature. Cognitive explanation relies, as Kant suggested, upon finding a thing's ‘condition’. Jacobi's question is how finding a thing's condition can finally ground its explanation, given that each explanation leads to a regress in which each condition depends upon another condition ad infinitum. Any philosophical system that would ground the explanation of a part of nature thus ‘necessarily ends by having to discover conditions of the unconditioned’. For Jacobi this led to the need for a theological leap of faith, as the world's intelligibility otherwise threatened to become a mere illusion, in which nothing was finally grounded at all. In the 1787 Introduction to the first Critique Kant maintains this problem of cognitive grounding can be overcome by acknowledging that, while reason must postulate the ‘unconditioned (...) in all things in themselves for everything conditioned, so that the series of conditions should thus become complete’, by restricting knowledge to appearances, rather than allowing it to be of ‘things in themselves’, the contradiction of seeking conditions of the unconditioned can be avoided. As we have already seen, though, this gives rise precisely to the problem of how a subject which is not conditioned like the nature it comes to know can emerge as the ground of knowledge from nature.

    The condition of the knowledge of appearances for Kant is the ‘transcendental subject’, but what sort of ‘condition’ is the transcendental subject? The perception that Kant has no proper answer to this problem initially unites Schelling and Fichte. Fichte insists in the Wissenschaftslehre (1794) that the unconditioned status of the I has to be established if Kant's system is to legitimate itself. He asserts that ‘It is (...) the ground of explanation of all facts of empirical consciousness that before all positing in the I the I itself must previously be posited’, thereby giving the I the founding role which he thought Kant had failed adequately to explicate. Fichte does this by extending the consequences of Kant's claim that the cognitive activity of the I, via which it can reflect upon itself, cannot be understood as part of the causal world of appearances, and must therefore be part of the noumenal realm, the realm of the ‘unconditioned’. For Fichte the very fact of philosophy's existence depends upon the free act of the I which initiates the reflective questioning of its own activity by the I.

    Schelling takes up the issues raised by Jacobi and Fichte in two texts of 1795: Of the I as Principle of Philosophy or on the Unconditional in Human Knowledge, and Philosophical Letters on Dogmatism and Criticism. In a move which prefigures aspects of Heidegger's questioning of the notion of being, he reinterprets Kant's question as to the condition of possibility of synthetic judgements a priori as a question about why there is a realm of judgements, a manifest world requiring syntheses by the subject for knowledge to be produced, at all. In Of the I Schelling puts Kant's question in Fichtean terms: ‘how is it that the absolute I goes out of itself and opposes a Not-I to itself?’. He maintains that the condition of knowledge, the ‘positing’ by the I of that which is opposed to it, must have a different status from the determined realm which it posits: ‘nothing can be posited by itself as a thing, i.e. an absolute/unconditioned thing (unbedingtes Ding) is a contradiction’. However, his key worry about Fichte's position already becomes apparent in the Philosophical Letters, where he drops the Fichtean terminology: ‘How is it that I step at all out of the absolute and move towards something opposed (auf ein Entgegengesetztes)?’. The problem Schelling confronts was identified by his friend Hölderlin, in the light of Jacobi's formulation of the problem of the ‘unconditioned’. Fichte wished to understand the absolute as an I in order to avoid the problem of nature ‘in itself’ which creates Kantian dualism. For something to be an I, though, it must be conscious of an other, and thus in a relationship to that other. The overall structure of the relationship could not, therefore, be described from only one side of that relationship. Hölderlin argued that one has to understand the structure of the relationship of subject to object in consciousness as grounded in ‘a whole of which subject and object are the parts’, which he termed ‘being’. This idea will be vital to Schelling at various times in his philosophy.

    In the 1790s, then, Schelling is seeking a way of coming to terms with the ground of the subject's relationship to the object world. His aim is to avoid the fatalist consequences of Spinoza's system by taking on key aspects of Kant's and Fichte's transcendental philosophy, and yet not to fall into the trap Hölderlin identified in Fichte's conception of an absolute I. In his Naturphilosophie (philosophy of nature), which emerges in 1797 and develops in the succeeding years, and in the System of Transcendental Idealism of 1800, Schelling wavers between a Spinozist and a Fichtean approach to the ‘unconditioned’. In the Naturphilosophie the Kantian division between appearing nature and nature in itself is seen as resulting from the fact that the nature theorised in cognitive judgements is objectified in opposition to the knowing subject. This objectification, the result of the natural sciences' search for fixed laws, fails to account for the living dynamic forces in nature, including those in our own organism, with which Kant himself became concerned in the third Critique and other late work, and which had played a role in Leibniz's account of nature. Nature in itself is thought of by Schelling as a ‘productivity’: ‘As the object [qua ’conditioned condition’] is never absolute/unconditioned (unbedingt) then something per se non-objective must be posited in nature; this absolutely non-objective postulate is precisely the original productivity of nature’. The Kantian dualism between things in themselves and appearances is a result of the fact that the productivity can never appear as itself and can only appear in the form of ‘products’, which are the productivity ‘inhibiting’ itself. The products are never complete in themselves: they are like the eddies in a stream, which temporarily keep their shape via the resistance of the movement of the fluid to itself that creates them, despite the changing material flowing through them.

    Schelling next tries to use the insights of transcendental philosophy, while still avoiding Kant's dualism, to explain our knowledge of nature. The vital point is that things in themselves and ‘representations’ cannot be absolutely different because we know a world which exists independently of our will which can yet be affected by our will:


    <B>
    one can push as many transitory materials as one wants, which become finer and finer, between mind and matter, but sometime the point must come where mind and matter are One, or where the great leap that we so long wished to avoid becomes inevitable.
    The Naturphilosophie includes ourselves within nature, as part of an interrelated whole, which is structured in an ascending series of ‘potentials’ that contain a polar opposition within themselves. The model is a magnet, whose opposing poles are inseparable from each other, even though they are opposites. As productivity nature cannot be conceived of as an object, since it is the subject of all possible real ‘predicates’, of the ‘eddies’ of which transient, objective nature consists. However, nature's ‘inhibiting’ itself in order to become something determinate means that the ‘principle of all explanation of nature’ is ‘universal duality’, an inherent difference of subject and object which prevents nature ever finally reaching stasis. At the same time this difference of subject and object must be grounded in an identity which links them together, otherwise all the problems of dualism would just reappear. In a decisive move for German Idealism, Schelling parallels the idea of nature as an absolute producing subject, whose predicates are appearing objective nature, with the spontaneity of the thinking subject, which is the condition of the syntheses required for the constitution of objectivity, thus for the possibility of predication in judgements. The problem for Schelling lies in explicating how these two subjects relate to each other.</B>


    In the System of Transcendental Idealism Schelling goes back to Fichtean terminology, though he will soon abandon most of it. He endeavours to explain the emergence of the thinking subject from nature in terms of an ‘absolute I’ coming retrospectively to know itself in a ‘history of self-consciousness’ that forms the material of the system. The System recounts the history of which the transcendental subject is the result. A version of the model Schelling establishes will be adopted by Hegel in the Phenomenology of Mind. Schelling presents the process in terms of the initially undivided I splitting itself in order to articulate itself in the syntheses, the ‘products’, which constitute the world of knowable nature. The founding stages of this process, which bring the world of material nature into being, are ‘unconscious’. These stages then lead to organic nature, and thence to consciousness and self-consciousness. Schelling claims, in the wake of Fichte, that the resistance of the noumenal realm to theoretical knowledge results from the fact that ‘the [practical] act [of the absolute I] via which all limitation is posited, as condition of all consciousness, does not itself come to consciousness’. He prophetically attempts to articulate a theory which comes to terms with the idea that thought is driven by forces which are not finally transparent to it, of the kind later to become familiar in psychoanalysis. How, though, does one gain access by thought to what cannot be an object of consciousness? This access is crucial to the whole project because without it there can be no understanding of why the move from determined nature to the freedom of self-determining thinking takes place at all.

    Schelling adopts the idea from the early Romantic thinkers Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, whom he knew in Jena at this time, that art is the route to an understanding of what cannot appear as an object of knowledge. Philosophy cannot represent nature in itself because access to the sphere of the unconscious must be via what appears to consciousness in the realm of theoretical knowledge. The work of art is evidently an empirical, appearing object like any other, but if it is not more than what it is qua determinable object it cannot be a work of art, because this requires both the free judgement of the subject and the object's conveying of something beyond its objective nature. Although the System's own very existence depends upon the transition from theoretical to practical philosophy, which requires the breaking-off of Jacobi's chain of ‘conditions’ by something unconditioned, Schelling is concerned to understand how the highest insight must be into reality as a product of the interrelation of both the ‘conscious’ and the ‘unconscious’. Reality is not, therefore, essentially captured by a re-presentation of the objective by the subjective. Whereas in the System nature begins unconsciously and ends in conscious philosophical and scientific knowledge, in the art work: ‘the I is conscious according to the production, unconscious with regard to the product’. The product cannot be understood via the intentions of its producer, as this would mean that it became a ‘conditioned’ object, something produced in terms of a pre-existing rule, and would therefore lack what makes mere craft into art. Art is, then, ‘the only true and eternal organ and document of philosophy, which always and continuously documents what philosophy cannot represent externally’. The particular sciences can only follow the chain of conditions, via the principle of sufficient reason, and must determine any object via its place in that chain, a process which has no necessary end. The art object, on the other hand, manifests what cannot be understood in terms of its knowable conditions, because an account of the materials of which it is made or of its status as object in the world does not constitute it as art. Art shows what cannot be said. Philosophy cannot positively represent the absolute because ‘conscious’ thinking operates from the position where the ‘absolute identity’ of the subjective and the objective has always already been lost in the emergence of consciousness.

    Although Schelling's early work did not fully satisfy either himself, or anybody else, it manages to address, in a cogent and illuminating fashion, a great deal of topics which affect subsequent philosophy. The model presented in the System impresses not least because, at the same time as establishing the notion of the history of self-consciousness that would be decisive for Hegel, it offers, in a manner which goes beyond its sources in Fichte, a model of the relationship between the subject and its conceptually inaccessible motivating forces which would affect significant parts of nineteenth century thought from Schopenhauer, to Nietzsche, to Freud.
    ...Identity Philosophy.
    Although the period of Schelling's ‘identity philosophy’ is usually dated from the 1801 Presentation of My System of Philosophy until sometime before the 1809 On the Essence of Human Freedom, the project of that philosophy can be said to be carried on in differing ways throughout his work. The identity philosophy derives from Schelling's conviction that the self-conscious I must be seen as a result, rather than as the originating act it is in Fichte, and thus that the I cannot be seen as the generative matrix of the whole system. This takes him more in the direction of Spinoza, but the problem is still that of articulating the relationship between the I and the world of material nature, without either reverting to Kantian dualism or failing to explain how a purely objective nature could give rise to subjectivity.

    Schelling's mature identity philosophy, which is contained in the System of the Whole of Philosophy and of Naturphilosophie in Particular, written in Würzburg in 1804, and in other texts between 1804 and 1807, breaks with the model of truth as correspondence. It does so because:


    <B>
    It is clear that in every explanation of the truth as a correspondence (Übereinstimmung) of subjectivity and objectivity in knowledge, both, subject and object, are already presupposed as separate, for only what is different can agree, what is not different is in itself one.
    The crucial problem is how to explain the link between the subject and object world that makes judgements possible, and this cannot be achieved in terms of how a subject can have thoughts which correspond to an object essentially separate from it. For there to be judgements at all what is split and then synthesised in the judgement must, Schelling contends, in some way already be the same. This has often been understood as leading Schelling to a philosophy in which, as Hegel puts it in the Phenomenology, the absolute is the ‘night in which all cows are black’, because it swallows all differentiated knowledge in the assertion that everything is ultimately the same, namely an absolute which excludes all relativity from itself and thus becomes inarticulable. This is not a valid interpretation of Schelling's argument, and Hegel's remark seems, incidentally, not to have been directed against Schelling anyway.</B>


    In order to try to get over the problem in monism of how the One is also the many, Schelling, following the idea outlined above from Hölderlin, introduces a notion of ‘transitive’ being, which links mind and matter as predicates of itself. Schelling explains this ‘transitivity’ via the metaphor of the earth:


    <B>
    you recognise its [the earth's] true essence only in the link by which it eternally posits its unity as the multiplicity of its things and again posits this multiplicity as its unity. You also do not imagine that, apart from this infinity of things which are in it, there is another earth which is the unity of these things, rather the same which is the multiplicity is also unity, and what the unity is, is also the multiplicity, and this necessary and indissoluble One of unity and multiplicity in it is what you call its existence (...) Existence is the link of a being (Wesen) as One, with itself as a multiplicity.
    ‘Absolute identity’ is, then, the link of the two aspects of being, which, on the one hand, is the universe, and, on the other, is the changing multiplicity which the knowable universe also is. Schelling insists now that ‘The I think, I am, is, since Descartes, the basic mistake of all knowledge; thinking is not my thinking, and being is not my being, for everything is only of God or the totality’, so the I is ‘affirmed’ as a predicate of the being by which it is preceded. In consequence he already begins to move away, albeit inconsistently, from the German Idealist model in which the intelligibility of being is regarded as a result of its having an essentially mind-like structure.</B>


    Schelling is led to this view by his understanding of the changing and relative status of theoretical knowledge. It is the inherent incompleteness of all finite determinations which reveals the nature of the absolute. His description of time makes clear what he means: ‘time is itself nothing but the totality appearing in opposition to the particular life of things’, so that the totality ‘posits or intuits itself, by not positing, not intuiting the particular’. The particular is determined in judgements, but the truth of claims about the totality cannot be proven because judgements are necessarily conditioned, whereas the totality is not. Given the relative status of the particular there must, though, be a ground which enables us to be aware of that relativity, and this ground must have a different status from the knowable world of finite particulars. At the same time, if the ground were wholly different from the world of relative particulars the problems of dualism would recur. As such the absolute is the finite, but we do not know this in the manner we know the finite. Without the presupposition of ‘absolute identity’, therefore, the evident relativity of particular knowledge becomes inexplicable, since there would be no reason to claim that a revised judgement is predicated of the same world as the preceding -- now false -- judgement.

    Schelling summarises his theory of identity as follows:


    <B>
    for being, actual, real being is precisely self-disclosure/revelation (Selbstoffenbarung). If it is to be as One then it must disclose/reveal itself in itself; but it does not disclose/reveal itself in itself if it is not an other in itself, and is in this other the One for itself, thus if it is not absolutely the living link of itself and an other.
    The link between the ‘real’ and the ‘ideal’ cannot be regarded as a causal link. Although there cannot be mental events without physical events, the former cannot be reduced to being the causal results of the latter: ‘For real and ideal are only different views of one and the same substance’. Schelling wavers at this time between a ‘reflexive’ position of the kind which Hegel will soon try to articulate, in which, in Schelling's terms, ‘the sameness of the subjective and the objective is made the same as itself, knows itself, and is the subject and object of itself’, in the ‘identity of identity and difference’, and the sense that this position cannot finally circumscribe the structure of the absolute. The structure of reflection, where each aspect reflects itself and then is reflected in the other, upon which this account of the identity of subject and object relies, must be grounded in a being which carries it:</B>



    <B>
    reflection (...) only knows the universal and the particular as two relative negations, the universal as relative negation of the particular, which is, as such, without reality, the particular, on the other hand, as a relative negation of the universal.(...) something independent of the concept must be added to posit the substance as such.
    Without this independent basis subject and object would merely be, as Schelling thinks they are in Fichte, relative negations of each other, leading to a circle ‘inside which a nothing gains reality by the relation to another nothing’. Schelling prophetically distinguishes between the cognitive -- reflexive -- ground of finite knowledge and the real -- non-reflexive -- ground that sustains the movement of negation from one finite determination to another. As a two-sided relationship reflection alone always entails the problem that the subject and the object in a case of reflection can only be known to be the same via that which cannot appear in the reflection. If I am to recognise myself as myself in a mirror, rather than see a random object in the world, I must already be familiar with myself before the reflection, in a way which is not part of the reflection. This means a complete system based on reflection is impossible, because, in order for the system to be grounded, it must presuppose as external to itself what it claims is part of itself. Schelling will, in his philosophy from the 1820s onwards, raise this objection against Hegel's system of ‘absolute reflection’.</B>


    Schelling's own dissatisfaction with his early versions of identity theory derives from his rejection of Spinozism. Spinoza regards the move from God to the world of ‘conditions’ as a logical consequence of the nature of God. Schelling becomes convinced that such a theory gives no reason why the absolute, the ‘unconditioned’, should manifest itself in a world of negative ‘conditions’ at all. Schelling is therefore confronted with explaining why there is a transition from the absolute to the finite world. In Philosophy and Religion, of 1804, he claims, like Jacobi, that there is no way of mediating between conditioned and unconditioned, and already makes the distinction between ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ philosophy, which will form the heart of his late work. Explicating the structure of the finite world leads to ‘negative philosophy, but much has already been gained by the fact that the negative, the realm of nothingness, has been separated by a sharp limit from the realm of reality and of what alone is positive’. The question which comes to concern Schelling is how philosophy can come to terms with a ground which cannot be regarded as the rational explanation of the finite world.
    ...the 'Ages of the World'.
    Schelling's work from his middle period (1809-1827) is usually referred to as the philosophy of the Ages of the World (WA = Weltalter), after the title of the unfinished work of that name he worked on in the period 1809-1827. The work characteristic of this period begins with the 1809 On the Essence of Human Freedom (FS = Freiheitsschrift) (written in Stuttgart). The WA philosophy is an attempt to explain the emergence of an intelligible world at the same time as coming to terms with mind's inextricable relation to matter. The initial concern is to avoid Spinoza's fatalism, which renders the human freedom to do good and evil incomprehensible. Schelling's crucial objection is to the idea that evil should be understood as merely another form of negativity which can be comprehended by insight into the inherent lack in all finite parts of a totality, rather than as a positive fact relating to the nature of human freedom. He now sees the fundamental contradictions of the Naturphilosophie in terms of the relationship of the intelligibility of nature and ourselves to a ground without which there could be no intelligibility, but which is not the explicable cause of intelligibility. In an attempt to get to grips with the problem of the ground of the finite world Schelling introduces a Kant-derived conception of ‘willing’ in the FS which will be influential for Schopenhauer's conception of the ‘Will’: ‘In the last and highest instance there is no other being but willing. Willing is primal being, and all the predicates of primal being only fit willing: groundlessness, eternity, being independent of time, self-affirmation’. Schelling now establishes a more conflictual version of the structure of the identity philosophy. The ‘ground’ is ‘groundless’ -- in the sense of ‘uncaused’ -- and it must be understood in terms of freedom if a Spinozist determinism is to be avoided. This means there cannot be an explanation of the finite world, because that would entail taking the ground as a cause and thus rendering freedom non-existent.

    At the same time Schelling insists there must be that against which freedom can be manifest -- a being which is not free and is therefore necessitated -- for it to be meaningful freedom at all. The theory is based on the antagonisms between opposing forces which constitute the ‘ages of the world’, the past, present, and future. He argues that the world whose origins the WA wishes to understand must entail the same conflicting forces which still act, though not necessarily in the same form, in this world, of which the mind is an aspect: ‘Poured from the source of things and the same as the source, the human soul has a co-knowledge/con-science (Mitwissenschaft) of creation’. Schelling suggests that there are two principles in us: ‘an unconscious, dark principle and a conscious principle’, which must yet in some way be identical. The same structure applies to what Schelling means by ‘God’. At this point his account of the ground is not consistent, but this inconsistency points to the essential issue Schelling is trying to understand, namely whether philosophy can give a rational account of the fact of the manifest world. As that which makes the world intelligible, God relates to the ground in such a way that the ‘real’, which takes the form of material nature, is ‘in God’ but ‘is not God seen absolutely, i.e. insofar as He exists; for it is only the ground of His existence, it is nature in God; an essence which is inseparable from God, but different from Him’. The point is that God would be meaningless if there were not that which He transcends: without opposition, Schelling argues, there is no life and no sense of development, which are the highest aspects of reality. The aim of the move away from Spinoza is to avoid the sense of a world complete in itself which would render freedom illusory because freedom's goal would already be determined as part of the totality. Schelling starts to confront the idea that the reconciliation of freedom and necessity that had been sought by Kant in the acknowledgement of the necessity of the law, and which was the aim of German Idealism's attempt to reconcile mind and nature, might be intrinsically unattainable.

    Wolfram Hogrebe has convincingly claimed that the WA philosophy is an ontological theory of predication. Being, as initially One and enclosed within itself, is not manifest, and has no reason to be manifest. Hogrebe terms this ‘pronominal being’. The same being must also, given that there is now a manifest world, be ‘predicative being’ (ibid.), which ‘flows out, spreads, gives itself’. The contradiction between the two kinds of being is only apparent. Schelling maintains, in line with the identity philosophy, that the ‘properly understood law of contradiction really only says that the same cannot be as the same something and also the opposite thereof, but this does not prevent the same, which is A, being able, as an other, to be not A’. One aspect of being, the dark force, which he sometimes terms ‘gravity’, is contractive, the other expansive, which he terms ‘light’. Dynamic processes are the result of the interchange between these ultimately identical forces: if they were wholly separate there would either be no manifest universe or the universe would dissipate at infinite speed. If something is to be as something it must both be, in the positive sense in which everything else is, which makes it indeterminately positive, pronominal, and it must have a relationship to what it is not, in order to be determinate, which brings it into the realm of predication by taking it beyond itself. In the WA the One comes into contradiction with itself and the two forces constantly vie with each other. Differences must, however, be grounded in unity, as otherwise they could not be manifest at all as differences. The ground is now increasingly regarded as the source of the transitory nature of everything particular, and less and less as the source of tranquil insight into how we can be reconciled to finite existence. The mood of the WA is summed up in Schelling's reference to the ‘veil of melancholy which is spread over the whole of nature, the deep indestructible melancholy of all life’. The source of this melancholy is that everything finite must ‘go to ground’ and that we are aware of this.

    The abandonment of his residual Spinozism leads Schelling to a growing concern with the tensions which result from contradictions that are also embodied in human beings. The ages of the world are constituted by the development of forms and structures in the material and the mental world. This development depends upon the expanding force's interaction with the contracting force's slowing of any expansion, which allows transient but determinate forms to develop. This process also gives rise to language, which Schelling regards as the model for the development of the whole world because it manifests how expansion and the release of tension can lead to intelligibility, rather than mere dissipation:


    <B>
    It seems universal that every creature which cannot contain itself or draw itself together in its own fullness, draws itself together outside itself, whence e.g. the elevated miracle of the formation of the word in the mouth belongs, which is a true creation of the full inside when it can no longer remain in itself.
    Language as ‘contracted’ material signifier, and ‘expanding’ ideal meaning repeats the basic structure of the WA, and Schelling insists that, like the material world without the ‘ideal’ capacity for expansion, language can become ‘congealed’. This interaction between what is contained in itself and what draws something beyond itself is also what gives rise to consciousness, and thus to an inherent tension within consciousness, which can only be itself by its relation to an other. Hegel uses a related model of subjectivity, but Schelling will come to reject Hegel's model for its conjuring away of the ultimately irresolvable tension in all subjectivity. Schelling's later philosophy will present a subject whose origin prevents it from ever achieving the ‘self-presence’ Hegel thinks he can explicate via the completed structure of ‘self-reflection’ in the other. Schelling's WA philosophy is never completed: its Idealist aim of systematically unifying subject and object by comprehending the real development of history from the very origins of being founders on problems concerning the relationship between philosophical system and historical contingency which do not admit of solutions. Furthermore, the structures he develops lead him to ideas which take him beyond Idealism and make him one of the crucial precursors of existential and other non-Idealist forms of modern philosophy.
    ...Positive & Negative Philosophy, and the critique of Hegel.</B>

    Schelling has usually been understood as providing the transitional ‘objective idealist’ link between Fichte and Hegel. By regarding Hegel's system as the culmination of German Idealism this interpretation fails to do justice to Schelling's real philosophical insights. Many of these insights, particularly in the later philosophy (1827-1854), directly and indirectly influenced the ideas of thinkers, like Feuerbach, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, who were critical of Hegel's claim to articulate a complete philosophical system.

    The differences between Hegel and Schelling derive from their respective approaches to understanding the absolute. For Hegel the absolute is the result of the self-cancellation of the finite. It can therefore be presented in the form of the successive overcoming of finite determinations, the ‘negation of the negation’, in a system whose end comprehends its beginning. For Hegel the result becomes known when the beginning moves from being ‘in itself’ to being ‘for itself’ at the end of the system, thus in a process in which it reflects itself to itself. Schelling already becomes publicly critical of Hegel while working on a later version of the WA philosophy in Erlangen in the 1820s, but makes his criticisms fully public in lectures given in Munich in the 1830s, and in the 1840s and 1850s as professor in Berlin. The aim of the Idealist systems was for thought to reflect what it is not -- being -- as really itself, even as it appears not to be itself, thereby avoiding Kant's dualism. The issue between Schelling and Hegel is whether the grounding of reason by itself is not in fact a sort of philosophical narcissism, in which reason admires its reflection in being without being able fully to articulate its relationship to that reflection. Like Hegel, Schelling argues that it is not the particular manifestation of knowledge which tells me the truth about the world, but rather the necessity of moving from one piece of knowledge to the next. However, a logical reconstruction of the process of knowledge can, for Schelling, only be a reflection of thought by itself. The real process cannot be described in philosophy, because the cognitive ground of knowledge and the real ground, although they are inseparable from each other, cannot be shown to reflect each other.

    Dieter Henrich characterises Hegel's conception of the absolute as follows: ‘The absolute is the finite to the extent to which the finite is nothing at all but negative relation to itself’. Hegel's system depends upon showing how each particular way of conceiving of the world has an internal contradiction. This necessarily leads thought to more comprehensive ways of grasping the world, until the point where there can be no more comprehensive way because there is no longer any contradiction to give rise to it. The very fact of the finite limitations of empirical thought therefore becomes what gives rise to the infinite, which, in Hegel's terms, is thought that is bounded by itself and by nothing else.

    Schelling accepts such a conception, to which he substantially contributed in his early philosophy, as the way to construct a ‘negative’ system of philosophy, because it explains the logic of change, once there is a world to be explained. The conception does not, though, explain why there is a developing world at all, but merely reconstructs in thought the necessary structure of development on the basis of necessities in thought. Schelling's own attempt at explaining the world's ontological and historical facticity will lead him to a ‘philosophical theology’ which traces the development of mythology and then of Christian revelation in his Philosophy of Mythology and Philosophy of Revelation, which, like all his substantial works after 1811, are not published in his lifetime. The failure of his philosophical theology does not, though, necessarily invalidate his philosophical arguments against Hegel. His alternative to the ‘common mistake of every philosophy that has existed up to now’ -- the ‘merely logical relationship of God to the world’ (ibid.) -- Schelling terms ‘positive philosophy’. The ‘merely logical relationship’ entails a reflexivity, in which the world necessarily follows from the nature of God, and God and the world are therefore the ‘other of themselves’. Hegel's system tries to obviate the facticity of the world by understanding reason as the world's immanent self-articulation. Schelling, in contrast, insists that human reason cannot explain its own existence, and therefore cannot encompass itself and its other within a system of philosophy. We cannot, he maintains, make sense of the manifest world by beginning with reason, but must instead begin with the contingency of being and try to make sense of it with the reason which is only one aspect of it and which cannot be explained in terms of its being a reflection of the true nature of being.

    Schelling contends that the identity of thought and being cannot be articulated within thought, because thought must presuppose that they are identical in a way which thought, as one side of a relation, cannot comprehend. By redefining the ‘concept’ in such a way that it is always already both subject and object, Hegel aims to avoid any presuppositions on either the subject or the object side, allowing the system to complete itself as the ‘self-determination of the concept’. Schelling presents the basic alternative as follows:


    <B>
    For either the concept would have to go first, and being would have to be the consequence of the concept, which would mean it was no longer absolute being; or the concept is the consequence of being, then we must begin with being without the concept.
    Hegel attempts to merge concept and being by making being part of a structure of self-reflection, rather than the basis of the interrelation between subject and object. He invalidly assumes that ‘essence’, which is one side of the relationship between being and essence, can articulate its identity with the other side in the ‘concept’, because the other side is revealed as being ‘nothing’ until it has entered into a relationship which makes it determinate as a knowable moment of the whole process.</B>


    The problem which Hegel does not overcome is that this identity cannot be known, because, as Schelling claims of his concept of being, ‘existing is not here the consequence of the concept or of essence, but rather existence is here itself the concept and itself the essence’. The problem of reflection cannot be overcome in Hegel's manner: identifying one's reflection in a mirror as oneself (understood now as a metaphor for essence) entails, as we saw above, a prior non-reflexive moment if one is to know that the reflection is oneself, rather than a random reflected object. How far Schelling moves from any reflexive version of identity philosophy is evident in the following from the Introduction to the Philosophy of Revelation or Foundation of the Positive Philosophy of 1842-3:


    <B>
    our self-consciousness is not at all the consciousness of that nature which has passed through everything, it is precisely just our consciousness (...) for the consciousness of man is not = the consciousness of nature (...) Far from man and his activity making the world comprehensible, man himself is that which is most incomprehensible.
    Schelling refuses to allow that reason can confirm its status via its reflection in being:</B>



    <B>
    what we call the world, which is so completely contingent both as a whole and in its parts, cannot possibly be the impression of something which has arisen by the necessity of reason (...) it contains a preponderant mass of unreason.
    Schelling is, then, one of the first philosophers seriously to begin the destruction of the model of metaphysics based on the idea of representation, a destruction which can be seen as one of the key aspects of modern philosophy from Heidegger to the later Wittgenstein and beyond. He is, at the same time, unlike some of his successors, committed to an account of human reason which does not assume that reason's incapacity to ground itself should lead to the Nietzschean abandonment of rationality. This is one of the respects in which Schelling has again become part of contemporary debate, where the need to seek means of legitimation which do not rely on the notion of a rationality inherent in the world remains a major challenge. Schelling's account of mind and world, particularly his insistence on the need not to limit our conception of nature to what is accessible to objectifying forms, is, in the light of the ecological crisis, proving to be more durable than his reception might until recently have suggested.
    </B>
    "All existence must be conditioned in order that it may be actual, that is, personal, existence. God's existence, too, could not be personal if it were not conditioned, except that he had the conditioning factor within himself and not outside himself....Man never gains control over the condition even though in evil he strives to do so; it is only loaned to him independent of him; hence his personality and selfhood can never be raised to complete actuality. This is the sadness which adheres to all finite life....Activated selfhood is necessary for life's intensity; without there would be complete death, goodness slumbering; for where there is no battle there is no life. The will of the depths is therefore only the awakening of life, not evil immediately and for itself....Whoever has no material or force for evil in himself is also impotent for good.....The time of merely historical faith is past, as soon as the possibility of immediate knowledge is given." -Friedrich Schelling


    Principle Works of Schelling

    Philosophical Letters on Dogmatism and Criticism (1795)


    Ideas Concerning a Philosophy of Nature (1797)


    On the World-Soul (1798)

    ~Resources~


    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Prussian; Tuesday, May 31st, 2005 at 09:33 AM.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  5. #15
    Senior Member Prussian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Last Online
    Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 12:49 PM
    Ethnicity
    German
    Subrace
    Nordid+East Baltic
    Country
    Germany Germany
    Location
    By the shore of the Baltic
    Gender
    Age
    41
    Politics
    Progressive Nationalism
    Posts
    671
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Post AW: German Idealism

    Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher
    Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834) probably cannot be ranked as one of the greatest German philosophers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (like Kant, Herder, Hegel, Marx, or Nietzsche). But he is certainly one of the most interesting of the second-tier philosophers of the period. Nor was he only a philosopher; he was also an eminent classicist and theologian. Much of his philosophical work was in the philosophy of religion, but from a modern philosophical point of view it is probably his hermeneutics (i.e. theory of interpretation) and his theory of translation that deserve the most attention. This article will attempt to provide a fairly broad overview of his philosophical thought. One thing which will emerge when this is done is that although he has important philosophical debts to many predecessors and contemporaries (including Spinoza, Kant, Friedrich Schlegel, and Schelling), he was above all following in the philosophical footsteps of one predecessor in particular: Herder.
    ...Life & Works.
    Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768-1834) was born 1768 in Breslau as son of a reformed clergyman. His earlier education took place in institutions of the Moravian Brethren (Herrnhuter), a strict pietist sect, where he also pursued broader humanistic interests however. Largely as a result of skepticism about certain Christian doctrines taught there, in 1787 he moved to the more liberal University of Halle. However, he continued in theology (with philosophy and classical philology as minor fields). He passed his theological examinations in Berlin in 1790. This was followed by a period as a private tutor, which ended in 1793, partly it seems due to friction caused by his sympathy with the French Revolution (to which his employer was opposed).
    During the periods just mentioned he was heavily occupied with the study and criticism of Kant's philosophy. This work culminated in several unpublished essays -- On the Highest Good (1789), On What Gives Value to Life (1792-3), and On Freedom (1790-3) -- which rejected Kant's conception of the “summum bonum [highest good]” as requiring an apportioning of happiness to moral desert, rejected Kant's connected doctrine of the “postulates” of an afterlife of the soul and God, and developed an anti-Kantian theory of the thoroughgoing causal determination of human action but of the compatibility of this with moral responsibility. In 1793-4 he wrote two essays about Spinoza: Spinozism and Brief Presentation of the Spinozistic System. The main catalyst of these essays was Jacobi's 1785 work On the Doctrine of Spinoza, in Letters to Mr. Moses Mendelssohn, which was highly critical of Spinozism, but they also show the influence of Herder's 1787 work God. Some Conversations, which championed a modified form of Spinozism. In his two essays Schleiermacher himself embraces a modified form of Spinozist monism similar in character to Herder's (in particular, like Herder, he inclines to substitute for Spinoza's single substance the more active principle of a single fundamental force). He also attempts to defend this position by showing it to be reconcilable with central features of Kant's theoretical philosophy (notably, Kant's doctrine of things in themselves). This neo-Spinozistic position would subsequently be fundamental to Schleiermacher's most important work in the philosophy of religion, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers (1799). However, in thus rejecting Jacobi's anti-Spinozism, Schleiermacher seems also to have absorbed something from Jacobi which would be no less important for his future philosophy of religion: the idea (for which his pietist background no doubt made him receptive) that we enjoy a sort of immediate intuition or feeling of God.

    During the period 1794-6 Schleiermacher served as a pastor in Landsberg. In 1796 he moved to Berlin, where he became chaplain to a hospital. In Berlin he met Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel and other romantics, became deeply engaged in the romantic movement, and collaborated with the Schlegel brothers on the short-lived but important literary journal Athenaeum (1798-1800). Among Schleiermacher's contributions to this journal was a short proto-feminist piece Idea for a Catechism of Reason for Noble Ladies. During 1797-9 he shared a house with Friedrich Schlegel. Encouraged by the romantic circle to write a statement of his religious views, in 1799 he published his most important and radical work in the philosophy of religion, On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers (revised editions: 1806, 1821, the latter including significant “explanations,” and 1831). This work sought to save religion in the eyes of its cultured despisers (prominent among them some of the romantics) by, inter alia, arguing that human immortality and even God are inessential to religion, diagnosing current religion's more off-putting features in terms of its corruption by worldly bourgeois culture and state-interference, and arguing that there are an endless multiplicity of valid forms of religion. The book won Schleiermacher a national reputation. In the same year (1799) he also published an essay on the situation of the Jews in Prussia, Letters on the Occasion of the Political-Theological Task and the Open Letter of Jewish Householders. In this work he rejected a proposed expedient of effecting the Jews' civil assimilation through baptism (which would, he argues, harm both Judaism and Christianity) and instead advocated full civil rights for them (on certain reasonable conditions). The same year also saw Schleiermacher's composition of the interesting short essay Toward a Theory of Sociable Conduct, which is important as his first significant discussion of the art of conversation (an art which would later be central to his dialectics lectures). Finally, 1799 also saw his publication of a highly critical review of Kant's Anthropology. This review in particular takes Kant to task for his dualistic philosophy of mind, and his superficial, disparaging attitude towards women and other peoples.

    During the following several years Schleiermacher complemented On Religion with two substantial publications which were more ethical in orientation: the especially important Soliloquies (1800; second edition 1810) and the Outlines of a Critique of Previous Ethical Theory (1803). In 1800 he also defended his friend Friedrich Schlegel's controversial and (it is widely agreed) pornographic novel Lucinde of the same year in his Confidential Letters Concerning Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde -- a shared proto-feminism constituting a large part of his reason for sympathy with Schlegel's book. During the period 1799-1804 Schleiermacher developed with Schlegel the project of translating Plato's dialogues. As time went on, however, Schlegel left this work to Schleiermacher (which contributed to increasingly difficult relations between the two men after 1800). Schleiermacher's translations appeared during the period 1804-28 (though not all of the dialogues were translated in the end), and are still widely used and admired today.

    While in Berlin Schleiermacher developed romantic attachments to two married women, Henriette Herz and Eleonore Grunow -- the latter of which attachments led to scandal and unhappiness, eventually encouraging Schleiermacher to leave the city. He spent the years 1802-4 in Stolpe. By 1804 he was teaching at Halle University. In the period 1804-5 he began lecturing on ethics (as he would do repeatedly until 1832). In 1805 he also began his famous and important lectures on hermeneutics (which he delivered repeatedly until 1833). In 1806 he published the short book Christmas Eve, a literary work which explores the meaning of Christian love by depicting a German family's celebration of Christmas Eve (in keeping with On Religion's ideal of (Christian) religion as family- rather than state-centered). In 1806-7 he left Halle as a result of the French occupation, and moved to Berlin. From this time on he began actively promoting German resistance to the French occupation, and the cause of German unity. In 1808 he married Henriette von Willich (a young widow), with whom he had several children. In 1808-9 he became preacher at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, in 1810 professor of theology at the University of Berlin, and by 1811 he was also a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

    After becoming a member of the Academy he often delivered addresses before it, among which several on ethics and one from 1831 on Leibniz's idea of a universal language are especially significant. In 1811 he lectured on dialectics for the first time (as he would do repeatedly until his death, at which time he was in the early stages of preparing a version for publication). In 1813 he published the shortish essay On the Different Methods of Translation -- a very important work in translation theory deeply informed by his experience as a translator. In 1818 he lectured on psychology for the first time (as he would do repeatedly until 1833-4). In 1819 he lectured on aesthetics for the first time (as he subsequently did on two further occasions, the last of them in 1832-3). In the same year he also began lecturing on the life of Jesus (as he did again on four further occasions over the following twelve years), thereby inaugurating an important genre of literature on this subject in the nineteenth century. In 1821-2 he published his major work of systematic theology, The Christian Faith (revised edition 1830-1). In 1829 he published two open letters on this work (nominally addressed to his friend Lücke), in which he discusses it and central issues in the philosophy of religion and theology relating to it in a concise and lucid way. He died in 1834.

    As can be seen even from this brief sketch of his life and works, a large proportion of Schleiermacher's career was taken up with the philosophy of religion and theology. However, from the secular standpoint of modern philosophy it is his work in such areas as hermeneutics (i.e. the theory of interpretation) and the theory of translation that is more interesting. Accordingly, this article will begin with these more interesting areas of his thought, only turning briefly to his philosophy of religion at the end.
    Source

    ~Resources~
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  6. #16
    Senior Member Gornahoor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Last Online
    Friday, September 30th, 2011 @ 05:06 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Nordic
    Ancestry
    Sicily, Normandy
    Subrace
    Mediterranid
    Country
    Confederate States Confederate States
    State
    Florida Florida
    Location
    Far West
    Gender
    Family
    Platonic love
    Occupation
    Translator, Publisher
    Politics
    Counterrevolutionary
    Religion
    Traditionalist
    Posts
    33
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Post Re: German Idealism

    Since German idealism all started with Kant, and it may be little known that H. Stuart Chamberlain was much influenced by Kant, here follows a brief review of Chamberlain's two volume work on Kant.

    (Copied from the Stewart Chamberlain web site ( http://www.hschamberlain.net/kritisc...h_century.html )

    KANT IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    FROM THE LONDON TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, EDITION OF JUNE 18TH 1914

    Readers of Mr. Chamberlain’s “Foundations of the Nineteenth Century” will remember how much was there made of Kant as the law-giver for all modern thought, or at least as much of it as obeys any true law. In the present work, which Lord Redesdale’s translation has been made into a piece of English literature, Mr. Chamberlain seeks to justify formally the towering position which he assigned to Kant, and to show what it is that Kant has established for all time in the realm of philosophic thought.
    His method of entering on his task is to take a number of the greatest thinkers — Goethe, Leonardo da Vinci, Descartes, Giordano Bruno, and Plato — and to see how Kant looks when set beside each of these; what they have in common with Kant, where they differ from him, how they supplement, where they contradict. Mr. Chamberlain sets great value on what he calls schematization. To understand anything you must compare it with something else; that something else may be a concrete fact, or it may be — in true philosophic thinking it must be — a schema, an ideal conception which you can apply to facts and which enables them to be coordinated and mastered. So he sets Kant in a constellation of other luminaries, all of which together form a kind of schema of human genius, and shows him in the varying lights reflected from this side and that.
    The result is that we have a book which teems with interest; but it must be said that it presupposes a considerable amount of information on the reader’s part about Goethe, Descartes, Plato, and the rest. Systematic in plan, it is extremely discursive in execution; and we can imagine the reader to whom the name, say, of Plato does not convey a pretty clear idea of a definite system of thought and of a supreme literary achievement feeling that he has not learned much more about Plato from the chapter devoted to him in this book than would a traveler of a country which he had only passed through at night in a thunderstorm. This book also presupposes a faculty for abstract thought, or at least for comprehending it, for relating it with life, which is not a common possession of culture. But this is a book, if ever there was one, which should fire the mind of the reader with the desire to be at home in the region of which it treats. No one could read without catching some glow of the author’s enthusiasm, the fine passage at the close of the chapter on Bruno where he endeavors to make clear the kind of position which Kant holds in the history of human thinking. Let us suppose, he writes, a man born in the valleys of the Maritime Alps. His home is girdled by range on range of snow-clad peaks from which descend all the never-failing waters that turn the mills, irrigate the fields, and supply the homes of the people. The mountains receive these waters from the clouds, but whence do the clouds obtain it in such inexhaustible measure?

    Among the dwellers in the valley all sorts of theories are current. The pastor teaches that God in his mercy is forever creating new rain-clouds — especially if his flock are diligent in their attendance at church. The apothecary has made up a highly complicated scientific theory of a catalytic combination of oxygen and hydrogen in the low pressure of the highest regions of the air under the influence of the sun’s rays. The school-master is busy hunting up explanations in the classical authors… meanwhile, our friend actively climbs uphill, is undaunted by failures and fatigue, and at last, thanks to his practice in mountaineering, reaches close to the highest peak. Not more than two or three had got so high before him; but these few, keenly absorbed in their search after causes which seemed plausible to them, had clung to the rocks, and tried to shovel away the snow in order to see what lay underneath. They thought that if they found a spring breaking out of the rocks everything would be explained. They were mere empirics. But he thinks otherwise, and when he has climbed as high as his strength will carry him, he turns round. He turns his back to the brook and the glacier and looks up at the succession of echeloned mountains, and there, further than he had ever allowed his thoughts to range, there in all its glory, there in the golden reflection of the midday sun, lies the immeasurable sea. He sees the rivers hurrying to it from all sides, and he sees the mist rising from its waves, consolidated into clouds, and flying with the evening breeze to the mountains.

    That, says Chamberlain, is something like the position of Kant among thinking men. But the metaphor must be a little elaborated. The essential point in Kant is the “turning around as it were on the pivot of the intellect” so as to obtain a sight of that which was hitherto unsuspected. It was, as Kant knew, the Copernican way; Copernicus solved the problem of the heavens simply by looking for the solution in a new direction.

    Now at one stroke the whole problem is solved, or rather shewn to be non-existent. The water was returning whence it came, and came from whither it went; it did not spring from the hidden bowels of the earth, nor did it flow into boundless space. At the same time however, there was an end of all hope of an absolute “explanation” such as had flitted before the minds of the simple folk.

    That last sentence is in the highest degree important. Kant never pretended to “explain the Universe”; such explanations, whether theistic or Gnostic or materialist, have only to be pushed to their conclusions to topple into the abyss of unreason. His philosophy might be called a higher Pragmatism. He gives us a hold upon things, a standpoint from which to think and to act with an energy untroubled on the one hand by the Hirngespinnste of abstract thinking divorced from reality, and on the other by the tyranny of blind material forces. On one side he rooted all knowledge in experience, on the other he showed how all experience is conditioned by the schemata which we ourselves supply for it, and which alone enable us to make anything of it either for material or for ethical ends. “Man,” as Chamberlain puts it, “legislates for Nature.”

    It is in Plato that the author finds the true forerunner of Kant; and the chapter on this thinker is (to the qualified reader) the most richly interesting in the two volumes. Plato’s doctrine of Ideas is here treated in a fashion which ought to defend it from the host of shallow objections which have been brought against it from the time of Aristotle down to Zeller. He shows that the loose and shifting expressions in which Plato has been charged with clothing his doctrine do not arise from a lack of clear vision. Exactly the same charge with exactly the same foundation has been made against Kant himself. Each of these thinkers — if we may put the matter in our own words, which are not Mr. Chamberlain’s — was intent upon a reality, each of them strove to bring his readers face to face with that reality, each of them, with a sovereign indifference to meticulous criticism, tried different avenues of approach — each meant to satisfy the searcher with that reality, not with a clever formula. The Platonic Ideas are very much the same things as the Kantian categories. They organize the world of sense. We should have welcomed here some discussion of Schopenhauer’s conception of the Platonic Ideas as the object of art, but art, except perhaps in the case of music, does not appear to interest Mr. Chamberlain very much, at least, in spite of the devotion of a chapter to Leonardo, we hear little from him about this branch of spiritual activity. On the other hand, the ethical element in Kant’s teaching is again and again insisted upon, and is developed in various applications to the life of our day. The assertion of man’s freedom, of man’s sovereignty and responsibility, is regarded as in some sense Kant’s crowning achievement. Kant altogether repudiates the idea that we should study the question, “What is a man?” merely by investigating his comparative anatomy; rather are man’s real essence and importance to be found “in his dealings whereby he reveals his character.” Here is Kant’s great message for our time — a time, the author says, which ought to make any man who understands its menace “tremble to the marrow of his bones.” North European culture is threatened, and what weapons have we wherewith to face the enemy?

    In a country like Germany, where famous specialists possess each such enormous influence, the unhappy dilettantism of these people who have left their retorts and microscopes, in order to develop systems of philosophy in the course of a night, is apt to grow into a cultural danger. So it is here. Kant was a pioneer of freedom; his life-work of criticism is such a fruitful destroyer of all superstitions that Rome herself trembles before this man. But now our freedom, our innermost freedom, the release from the delusions of many thousand years, is once more being cruelly threatened; the enemy is under arms all along the line. We Teutons have not only subjected the whole surface of the planet to our commerce, but have determined to rise to new ideals, worthy of free men, to ideals purged of Judaism and Egyptology: but how are we to conquer if, to the religious fables of antiquity, and the grandiose thought-structures of the clerical philosophers, we have nothing better to oppose than the poor stammerings of the Ostwalds and Haeckels?

    Though we wholly believe that Mr. Chamberlain has the root of the matter in him, there is no doubt that his impassioned style sometimes leads him into exaggerations. We cannot always follow his frequent denunciations of Monism, the less as he appears himself to be a kind of Monist. Occasionally he falls into flat absurdity, as, for instance, when he permits himself to talk of the “soul-less yellow race, the race of Laotse, of Komio, of Ashikaga art! But the supreme example is to be found in a reference to the anthropologist E. D. Cope, of whom it is written that “he had seen enormously, perhaps more than any other living man of his craft, and he, as a free American, pondered without prejudice on what he had seen.” Surely the words we have italicized are schematization run mad! Mr. Chamberlain may think that Americans ought to be more “free” than other people in their intellectual activity; we do not see why, but certainly it is not a fact that they are so, rather the contrary. We must not conclude our very inadequate account of it without a reference to the merits of this translation of Lord Redesdale, who also contributes an interesting introduction. The book teems with references to almost every field of human thought — science, history, philosophy, literature — and must have demanded throughout the most painstaking observance of delicate shades of meaning. These have been rendered, so far as we have been able to test them, with faultless accuracy, yet in a style full of individuality and animation.
    Liber esse, scientiam acquirere, veritatem loquor

    http://www.gornahoor.net

  7. #17
    "Du bist das Bild, das ich in mir barg..."
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Siegmund's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Last Online
    Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 @ 10:14 PM
    Ethnicity
    Germanic
    Gender
    Politics
    Folkish
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    Post Johann Gottfried von Herder

    One of the giants of German - indeed all Germanic - philosophy from whom later giants such as Hegel, Schleiermacher and Nietzsche got their bearings and found their own voice. Long article, but well worth reading and further study.


    Johann Gottfried von Herder

    Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) is a philosopher of the first importance. This claim depends largely on the intrinsic quality of his ideas (of which this article will try to give an impression). But another aspect of it is his intellectual influence. This has been immense both within philosophy and beyond (much greater than is usually realized). For example, Hegel's philosophy turns out to be an elaborate systematic development of Herderian ideas (especially concerning God, the mind, and history); so too does Schleiermacher's (concerning God, the mind, interpretation, translation, and art); Nietzsche is deeply influenced by Herder (concerning the mind, history, and values); so too is Dilthey (in his theory of the human sciences); even J.S. Mill has important debts to Herder (in political philosophy); and beyond philosophy, Goethe was transformed from being merely a clever but conventional poet into a great artist largely through the early impact on him of Herder's ideas.

    Indeed, Herder can claim to have virtually established whole disciplines which we now take for granted. For example, it was mainly Herder (not, as is often claimed, Hamann) who established fundamental ideas about an intimate dependence of thought on language which underpin modern philosophy of language. It was Herder who, through the same ideas, his broad empirical approach to languages, his recognition of deep variations in language and thought across historical periods and cultures, and in other ways, inspired W. von Humboldt to found modern linguistics. It was Herder who developed modern hermeneutics, or interpretation-theory, in a form that would subsequently be taken over by Schleiermacher and then more systematically formulated by Schleiermacher's pupil Böckh. It was Herder who, in doing so, also established the methodological foundations of nineteenth-century German classical scholarship (which rested on the Schleiermacher-Böckh methodology), and hence of modern classical scholarship generally. It was arguably Herder who did more than anyone else to establish the general conception and the interpretive methodology of our modern discipline of anthropology. Finally, Herder also made vital contributions to the progress of modern biblical scholarship.

    1. Life and Works

    Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) was born in Mohrungen in East Prussia. His father was a school teacher and he grew up in humble circumstances. In 1762 he enrolled at the University of Königsberg, where he studied with Kant, who accorded him special privileges because of his unusual intellectual abilities. At this period he also began a lifelong friendship with the irrationalist philosopher Hamann. In 1764 he left Königsberg to take up a school-teaching position in Riga. There he wrote the programmatic essay How Philosophy Can Become More Universal and Useful for the Benefit of the People (1765); published his first major work, on the philosophy of language and literature, the Fragments on Recent German Literature (1767-8); and also an important work in aesthetics, the Critical Forests (1769). In 1769 he resigned his position and travelled -- first to France, and then to Strasbourg, where he met, and had a powerful impact on, the young Goethe. In 1771 Herder won a prize from the Berlin Academy for his best-known work in the philosophy of language, the Treatise on the Origin of Language (published 1772). From 1771-6 he served as court preacher to the ruling house in Bückeburg. The most important work from this period is his first major essay on the philosophy of history, This Too a Philosophy of History for the Formation of Humanity (1774). In 1776, partly through Goethe's influence, he was appointed General Superintendant of the Lutheran clergy in Weimar, a post he kept for the rest of his life. During this period he published an important essay in the philosophy of mind, On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul (1778); a seminal work concerning the Old Testament, On the Spirit of Hebrew Poetry (1782-3); his well-known longer work on the philosophy of history, the Ideas for the Philosophy of History of Humanity (1784-91); an influential essay in the philosophy of religion, God. Some Conversations (1787); a work largely on political philosophy, written in response to the French Revolution, the Letters for the Advancement of Humanity (1793-7); a series of Christian Writings (1794-8) concerned with the gospels of the New Testament; and two works opposing Kant's critical philosophy, the Metacritique (1799) (against the theoretical philosophy of the Critique of Pure Reason) and the Calligone (1800) (against the aesthetics of the Critique of Judgment). In addition to the works mentioned, Herder wrote many others during his career as well.

    2. Philosophical Style

    In certain ways Herder's philosophical texts are easier to read than others from the period. For example, he avoids technical jargon, his writing is lively and rich in examples rather than dry and abstract, and he has no large, complex system for the reader to keep track of. But his texts also have certain peculiarities which can impede a proper understanding and appreciation of his thought, and it is important to be alerted to these.

    To begin with, Herder's writing often seems emotional and grammatically undisciplined in a way that might perhaps be expected in casual speech but not in philosophical texts. This is intentional. Indeed, Herder sometimes deliberately "roughed up" material in this direction between drafts. When writing in this way he is actually often using grammatical-rhetorical figures which can easily look like mere carelessness to an untutored eye but receive high literary sanction from classical sources and are employed artfully (e.g. anacoluthon). Moreover, he has serious philosophical reasons for writing in this way rather than in the manner of conventional academic prose, including: (1) This promises to make his writing more broadly accessible and interesting to people -- a decidedly non-trivial goal for him, since he believes it to be an essential part of philosophy's vocation to have a broad social impact. (2) One of his central theses in the philosophy of mind holds that thought is not and should not be separate from volition, or affect, that types of thinking which aspire to exclude affect are inherently distorting and inferior. Standard academic writing has this vice, whereas spontaneous speech, and writing which imitates it, do not. (3) Herder is opposed to any grammatical or lexical straightjacketing of language, any slavish obedience to grammar books and dictionaries. In Herder's view, such straightjacketing is inimical, not only to linguistic creativity and inventiveness, but also (much worse), because thought is essentially dependent on and confined in its scope by language, thereby to creativity and inventiveness in thought itself.

    Another peculiarity of Herder's philosophy is its unsystematic nature. This is again deliberate. For Herder is largely hostile towards systematicity in philosophy (a fact reflected both in explicit remarks and in many of his titles: Fragments . . . , Ideas . . . , etc.). He is in particular hostile to the ambitious sort of systematicity aspired to in the tradition of Spinoza, Wolff, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel: the ideal of a theory whose parts form and exhaust some sort of strict overall pattern of derivation. He has compelling reasons for this hostility: (1) He is very skeptical that such systematic designs can be made to work (as opposed to creating, through illicit means, an illusion that they do so). (2) He believes that such system-building leads to a premature closure of inquiry, and in particular to the disregarding or distorting of new empirical evidence. Scrutiny of such systems amply bears out these concerns. Herder's well-grounded hostility to this type of systematicity established an important countertradition in German philosophy (which subsequently included e.g. F. Schlegel, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein).

    On the other hand, unlike Hamann, Herder is in favor of "systematicity" in a more modest sense: the ideal of a theory which is self-consistent and maximally supported by argument. He by no means always achieves this ideal (so that interpreting him requires more selectivity and reconstruction than is the case with some philosophers). But his failures to do so are often more apparent than real: First, often when he may seem to be guilty of inconsistency he really is not. For he is often developing philosophical dialogues between two or more opposing viewpoints, in which cases it would clearly be a mistake to accuse him of inconsistency in any usual or pejorative sense; and (less obviously) in many other cases he is in effect still working in this dialogue-mode, only without bothering to distribute the positions among different interlocutors explicitly, and so is again really innocent of inconsistency (examples occur in How Philosophy and This Too). Moreover, he has serious motives for this method of (implicit) dialogue: (1) Sometimes his motive is simply that when dealing with religiously or politically delicate matters it permits him to state his views but without quite stating them as his own and therefore without inviting trouble. But there are also philosophically deeper motives: (2) He takes over from the precritical Kant an idea (inspired by ancient skepticism) that the best way for the philosopher to pursue the truth is by setting contrary views on a subject into opposition with one another in order to advance towards, and hopefully attain, the truth through their mutual testing and modification. (3) Also, he develops an original variant of that idea on the socio-historical plane: analogously, the way for humankind as a whole to attain the elusive goal of truth is through an ongoing contest between opposing positions, in the course of which the best ones will eventually win out (this idea anticipates, and inspired, a central thesis of J.S. Mill's On Liberty). This yields a further motive for the dialogue-method (even where it does not lead Herder himself to any definite conclusion), in effect warranting the rhetorical question, And what does it matter to the cause of humankind and its discovery of truth whether those various opposing positions are advanced by different people or by the same person? Second, Herder's appearance of neglecting to give arguments is often, rather, a principled rejection of arguments of certain sorts. For example, he has a general commitment to empiricism and against apriorism in philosophy which leads him to avoid familiar sorts of apriorist arguments in philosophy; and a commitment to non-cognitivism in ethics which leads him to refrain from familiar sorts of cognitivist arguments in ethics.

    3. General Program in Philosophy

    Hamann's influence on Herder's best thought has been greatly exaggerated. But Kant's was early, fundamental, and enduring. However, the Kant who influenced Herder in this way was the precritical Kant of the early and middle 1760's, not the critical Kant (against whom Herder later engaged in the -- distracting and rather ineffective -- public polemics mentioned above). Some of Kant's key positions in the 1760's, sharply contrasting with those which he would later adopt in the critical period, were: a (Pyrrhonist-influenced) skepticism about metaphysics; a form of empiricism; and a (Hume-influenced) non-cognitivism in ethics. Herder took over these positions in the 1760's and retained them throughout his career. It should by no means be assumed that this Herderian debt to the early Kant is a debt to a philosophically inferior Kant; a good case could be made for the very opposite.

    Herder's 1765 essay How Philosophy is a key text for understanding both his debt to Kant and the broad orientation of his philosophy. The essay was written under strong influence from Kant, especially, it seems, Kant's 1766 essay Dreams of a Spirit Seer, which Kant sent Herder before its publication.

    Herder's essay answers a prize question set by a society in Bern: "How can the truths of philosophy become more universal and useful for the benefit of the people?" This question is conceived in the spirit of the Popularphilosophie that was competing with school-philosophy at the time. Kant himself tended to identify with Popularphilosophie at this period, and Herder's selection of this question shows him doing so as well, though in his case the identification would last a lifetime. Philosophy should become relevant and useful for the people as a whole -- this is a basic ideal of Herder's philosophy.

    Largely in the service of this ideal, Herder's essay argues for two sharp turns in philosophy, turns which would again remain fundamental throughout the rest of his career. The first involves a rejection of traditional metaphysics, and closely follows an argument of Kant's in Dreams of a Spirit Seer. Herder's case is roughly this: (1) Traditional metaphysics, by undertaking to transcend experience (or strictly, and a little more broadly, "healthy understanding," which includes, in addition to empirical knowledge, also ordinary morality, intuitive logic, and mathematics), succumbs to unresolvable contradictions between claims, and hence to the Pyrrhonian skeptical problem of an equal plausibility on both sides requiring a suspension of judgment. Moreover (Herder adds in the Fragments), given the truth of a broadly empiricist theory of concepts, much of the terminology of traditional metaphysics turns out to lack the basis in experience that is required in order even to be meaningful, and hence is meaningless (the illusion of meaningfulness arising through the role of language, which spins on, creating illusions of meaning, even after the empirical conditions of meaning have been left behind). (2) Traditional metaphysics is not only, for these reasons, useless; it is also harmful, because it distracts its participants from the matters which should be their focus: empirical nature and human society. (3) By contrast, empirical knowledge (or strictly, and a bit more broadly, "healthy understanding") is free of these problems. Philosophy should therefore be based on and continuous with this.

    Herder's second sharp turn concerns ethics. Here he remains indebted to Kant, but also goes further beyond him. Herder's basic claims are these: (1) Morality is fundamentally more a matter of sentiments than of cognitions (Herder's sentimentalism is not crude, however; in subsequent works he stresses that cognition plays a large role in morality as well). (2) Cognitivist theories of morality -- of the sort espoused in this period by Rationalists like Wolff, but also by many other philosophers before and since (e.g. Plato and the critical Kant) -- are therefore based on a mistake, and so useless as means of moral enlightenment or improvement. (3) But (and here Herder's theory moves beyond Kant's), worse than that, they are actually harmful to morality, because they weaken the moral sentiments on which it really rests. In This Too and On the Cognition Herder suggests several reasons why: (a) Abstract theorizing weakens sentiments generally, and hence moral sentiments in particular. (b) The cognitivists' theories turn out to be so strikingly implausible that they bring morality itself into disrepute, people reacting to them roughly along the lines: If this is the best that even the experts can say in explanation and justification of morality, then morality must certainly be a sham, and I may as well ignore it and do as I please. (c) Such theories distract people from recognizing, and working to reinforce, the real foundations of morality: not an imaginary theoretical insight of some sort, but a set of causal mechanisms for inculcating the moral sentiments. (4) More positively, Herder accordingly turns instead to determining theoretically and promoting in practice just such a set of causal mechanisms. In How Philosophy he mainly stresses forms of education and an emotive type of preaching. But he elsewhere also identifies and promotes a much broader set of mechanisms, including: the influence of morally exemplary individuals; morally relevant laws; and literature (along with other art forms). Literature is a special focus of Herder's theory and practice here. He sees it as exerting moral influence in various ways -- e.g. not only through fairly direct moral instruction, but also through the literary perpetuation (or creation) of morally exemplary individuals (e.g. Jesus in the New Testament), and the exposure of readers to other people's inner lives and a consequent enhancement of their sympathies for them (a motive behind Herder's publication of Volkslieder, or popular songs, from peoples around the world). Herder's development of this theory and practice of moral pedagogy was lifelong and tireless.

    4. Philosophy of Language and Interpretation

    On the Origin is Herder's best known work in the philosophy of language, but it is in certain respects unrepresentative and inferior in comparison with other works such as the Fragments and should not monopolize attention. On the Origin is primarily concerned with the question whether the origin of language can be explained in purely natural, human terms or (as Süßmilch had recently argued) only in terms of a divine source. Herder argues for the former position and against the latter. His argument is quite persuasive, especially when supplemented on its positive side from the Fragments. But this argument is unlikely to constitute a modern philosopher's main reason for interest in Herder's ideas about language (deriving its zest, as it does, from a religious background that is no longer ours).

    Of much greater modern relevance is Herder's theory of interpretation, including his account of the relation between thought and language. This theory is scattered through a large number of works. The following are its main features:

    Herder's theory rests on, but also in turn supports, an epoch-making insight: (1) Such eminent Enlightenment philosopher-historians as Hume and Voltaire had still believed that, as Hume put it, "mankind are so much the same in all times and places that history informs us of nothing new or strange." What Herder discovered, or at least saw more clearly and fully than anyone before him, was that this was false, that peoples from different historical periods and cultures often vary tremendously in their concepts, beliefs, (perceptual and affective) sensations, and so forth. He also noted that similar, albeit usually less dramatic, variations occur even between individuals within a single culture and period. (These two positions are prominent in many works, including e.g. On the Change of Taste (1766) and On the Cognition.) Let us call this twofold principle the principle of radical difference.

    (2) Given such radical difference, and the gulf that consequently often divides an interpreter's own thought from that of the person he wants to interpret, interpretation is often an extremely difficult task, requiring extraordinary efforts from the interpreter. (Herder does not draw the more extreme -- and misguided -- conclusion to which some recent philosophers have been tempted that it would be impossible.)

    (3) In particular, the interpreter often faces, and needs to resist, a temptation falsely to assimilate the thought which he is interpreting to someone else's, especially his own. (This theme is prominent in This Too, for example.)

    How is the interpreter to meet the challenge? Herder advances three theses concerning thought and language which underpin the rest of his theory of interpretation (and the first two of which in addition founded the philosophy of language as we know it today):

    (4) Thought is essentially dependent on, and bounded in scope by, language -- i.e. one can only think if one has a language, and one can only think what one can express linguistically. (Herder, to his credit, normally refrains from a more extreme, but philosophically untenable, version of this thesis, favored by some of his successors, which identifies thought with language, or with inner language.) One consequence of this thesis for interpretation is that an interpreted subject's language is a reliable indicator of the scope of his thought.

    (5) Meanings or concepts are not to be equated with the sorts of items, in principle autonomous of language, with which much of the philosophical tradition has equated them -- e.g. the referents involved, Platonic forms, or "ideas" of the sort championed by the British empiricists and others. Instead, they consist in usages of words. Consequently, interpretation will essentially involve pinning down word-usages. (Positions (4) and (5) are already embraced by Herder in the 1760's, e.g. in the Fragments.)

    (6) Conceptualization is intimately bound up with (perceptual and affective) sensation. More specifically, Herder develops a quasi-empiricist theory of concepts according to which sensation is the source and basis of all our concepts, though we are able to achieve non-empirical concepts by means of a sort of metaphorical extension from the empirical ones -- so that all of our concepts ultimately depend in one way or another on sensation. This position carries the important consequence for interpretation that any understanding of a concept must somehow capture its basis in sensation. (For this position, see e.g. On the Cognition.)

    Herder also has two further basic principles in interpretation-theory:

    (7) A principle of secularism in interpretation: the interpretation of texts must never rely on religious assumptions or means, even when the texts are sacred ones. (This principle is already prominent in works from the 1760's.)

    (8) A principle of methodological empiricism in interpretation: interpretation must always be based on, and kept strictly faithful to, exact observations of linguistic (and other relevant) evidence. (This principle is again already prominent in the 1760's, e.g. in the Fragments and On Thomas Abbt's Writings (1768).)

    Beyond this, Herder also advances a further set of interpretive principles which can easily sound much more "touchy-feely" at first hearing (the first of them rather literally so!), but which are in fact on the contrary quite "hard-nosed":

    (9) Herder proposes (prominently in This Too) that the way to bridge radical difference when interpreting is through Einfühlung, "feeling one's way in." This proposal has often been thought (e.g. by Meinecke) to mean that the interpreter should perform some sort of psychological self-projection onto texts. But that is emphatically not Herder's idea -- for that would amount to exactly the sort of assimilation of the thought in a text to one's own which he is above all concerned to avoid. As can be seen from This Too, what he has in mind is instead an arduous process of historical-philological inquiry. What, though, more specifically, is the cash value of the metaphor of Einfühlung? It has at least five components: (a) Note, first, that the metaphor implies (once again) that there typically exists radical difference, a gulf, between an interpreter's mentality and that of the interpreted subject, making interpretation a difficult, laborious task (it implies that there is an "in" there which one must carefully and laboriously "feel one's way into"). (b) It also implies (This Too shows) that the "feeling one's way in" should include thorough research not only into a text's use of language but also into its historical, geographical, and social context. (c) It also implies a claim - based on Herder's quasi-empiricist theory of concepts -- that in order to interpret a subject's language one must achieve an imaginative reproduction of his (perceptual and affective) sensations. (d) It also implies that hostility in an interpreter towards the people he interprets will generally distort his interpretation, and must therefore be avoided (though Herder is equally opposed to excessive identification with them for the same reason). (e) Finally, it also implies that the interpreter should strive to develop his grasp of linguistic usage, contextual facts, and relevant sensations to the point where this achieves something like the same immediacy and automaticness that it had for a text's original audience when they understood the text in light of such things (so that it acquires for him, as it had for them, the phenomenology more of a feeling than a cognition).

    (10) In addition, Herder insists (e.g. in the Critical Forests) on a principle of holism in interpretation. This principle rests on several motives, including: (a) Pieces of text taken in isolation are typically ambiguous in various ways (in relation to background linguistic possibilities). In order to resolve such ambiguities, one needs the guidance provided by surrounding text. (b) That problem arises once a range of possible linguistic meanings, etc. is established for a piece of text. But in the case of a text separated from the interpreter by radical difference, knowledge of such a range itself presents a problem. How, for example, is he to pin down the range of possible meanings, i.e. possible usages, for a word? This requires collation of the word's actual uses and inference from these to the rules that govern them, i.e. to their usages, a collation which in turn requires looking to remoter contexts in which the same word occurs (other parts of the text, other works in the author's corpus, works by other contemporaries, etc.), or in short: holism. (c) Authors typically write a work as a whole, conveying ideas not only in its particular parts but also through the way in which these fit together to make up a whole (either in instantiation of a general genre or in a manner more specific to the particular work). Consequently, readings which fail to interpret the work as a whole will miss essential aspects of its meaning -- not only the ideas in question themselves but also meanings of the particular parts on which they shed important light.

    (11) In On Thomas Abbt's Writings, On the Cognition, and elsewhere Herder makes one of his most important innovations: interpretation must supplement its focus on word-usage with attention to authorial psychology. Herder implies several reasons for this: (a) As already mentioned, Herder embraces a quasi-empiricist theory of concepts which implies that in order to understand an author's concepts an interpreter must recapture his relevant sensations. (b) As Quentin Skinner has recently stressed, understanding the linguistic meaning of an utterance or text is only a necessary, not a sufficient, condition for understanding it tout court -- one needs, in addition, to establish the author's illocutionary intentions. For example, a stranger tells me, "The ice is thin over there"; I understand his linguistic meaning perfectly; but is he simply informing me?, warning me?, threatening me?, joking? . . . (c) Skinner implies that one can determine linguistic meanings prior to establishing authorial intentions. That may sometimes be so (e.g. in the example just given). But is it generally? Herder implies not. And this seems right, because commonly the linguistic meaning of a formula is ambiguous (in terms of background linguistic possibilities), and in order to identify the relevant meaning one must turn, not only (as previously mentioned) to larger bodies of text, but also to hypotheses, largely derived therefrom, about the author's intentions (e.g. about the subject-matter he intends to treat). This is a further reason why interpreters must invoke psychology. (d) Herder also (as recently mentioned) stresses that an author often conveys ideas in his work, not explicitly in its verbal expressions, but rather via these and the way in which they are put together to form a textual whole (either in instantiation of a general genre or in a manner more specific to the particular text). It is necessary for the interpreter to capture these ideas both for their own sakes and because doing so is often essential for resolving ambiguities at the level of particular verbal expressions. (e) Herder also refers to the second limb of his doctrine of radical difference -- individual variations in mode of thought even within a single culture and period -- as a source of the need for psychological interpretation. Why does any special need arise here? Part of the answer seems to be that when one is dealing, for example, with a concept that is distinctive of a particular author rather than common to a whole culture, one typically faces a problem of relative paucity and lack of contextual variety in the actual uses of the word available as empirical evidence from which to infer the rule for use, or usage, constitutive of its meaning. Hence one needs extra help -- and the author's general psychology may provide this.

    (12) In the same works Herder also indicates that interpretation, especially in its psychological aspect, requires the use of divination. This is another principle which can sound disturbingly "touchy-feely" at first hearing -- in particular, it can sound as though Herder means some sort of prophetic process that has a religious basis and is perhaps even infallible. However, what he really has in mind is (far more sensibly) a process of hypothesis, based on meager empirical evidence, but also going well beyond it, and therefore vulnerable to subsequent falsification, and abandonment or revision if falsified.

    (13) Finally, a point concerning the general nature of interpretation and its subject-matter: After Herder, the question arose whether interpretation was a science or an art. Herder does not really address this question. But his inclination would clearly be to say that it is like rather than unlike natural science (pace a reading in the German secondary literature which makes him out to be a sort of proto-Gadamer). There are several reasons for this: (a) He assumes (as did virtually everyone at this period) that the meaning of an author's text is as much an objective matter as the subjects addressed by the natural scientist. (b) The difficulty of interpretation that results from radical difference, and the consequent need for a methodologically subtle and laborious approach to it in many cases, make for another point of similarity between interpretation and natural science. (c) The essential role of "divination" qua hypothesis in interpretation constitutes a further point of similarity between it and natural science. Moreover, (d) even the subject-matter of interpretation is not, in Herder's view, sharply different from that dealt with by natural science: the latter investigates physical processes in nature in order to determine the forces that underly them, but similarly interpretation investigates human verbal (and non-verbal) physical behavior in order to determine the forces that underly it (Herder explicitly identifying mental conditions, including conceptual understanding, as "forces").

    Herder's theory owes many debts to predecessors. Hamann has commonly been credited with introducing the revolutionary doctrines (4) and (5). But that seems a mistake; Herder was already committed to them in the 1760's, Hamann only later. Herder's debts are rather to a group of authors influenced by Wolff including Abbt and Süßmilch (for (4)) and especially Ernesti (for (1), (2), (5), (7), (8), and (10)). However, Herder's borrowings incorporate important refinements, and his overall contribution is enormous.

    Herder's theory was taken over almost in its entirety by Schleiermacher in his hermeneutics lectures. Schleiermacher's theory is also directly influenced by sources shared with Herder, especially Ernesti. But such fundamental and famous positions in it as Schleiermacher's supplementing of "linguistic" with "psychological" interpretation and identification of "divination" as the method especially of the latter are due entirely to Herder. Moreover, where Herder and Schleiermacher do occasionally disagree, Herder's position is almost always philosophically superior.

    5. Philosophy of Mind

    Herder in On the Cognition and elsewhere also develops an extremely interesting and influential position in the philosophy of mind. The following are some of its central features.

    Herder's position is uncompromisingly naturalistic and anti-dualistic in intent. In On the Cognition he tries to erase the division between the mental and the physical in two specific ways: First, he advances a theory that minds consist in forces [Kräfte] which manifest themselves in people's bodily behavior -- just as physical nature contains forces which manifest themselves in the behavior of bodies. (Note that the general notion of mental "forces" can already be found before Herder in Rationalists such as Wolff and Süßmilch.) He is officially agnostic on the question of what force is, except for conceiving it as something apt to produce a type of bodily behavior, and as a real source thereof (not something reducible thereto). This, strictly speaking, frees the theory from some common characterizations and objections (e.g. vitalism). But it also leaves the theory with enough content to have great virtues over rival theories: (1) The theory ties mental states conceptually to corresponding types of bodily behavior -- which seems correct, and therefore marks a point of superiority over dualistic theories, and indeed over mind-brain identity theories as well. (2) On the other hand, it also avoids reducing mental states to bodily behavior -- which again seems correct, in view of such obvious facts as that we can be, and indeed often are, in mental states which happen to receive no behavioral manifestation, and hence marks a point of superiority over outright behaviorist theories.

    Second, Herder also tries to explain the mind in terms of the phenomenon of irritation [Reiz], a phenomenon recently identified by Haller and exemplified by muscle fibers contracting in response to direct physical stimuli and relaxing upon their removal -- in other words, a phenomenon which, while basically physiological, also seems to exhibit a transition to mental characteristics. There is an ambiguity in Herder's position here: usually, he wants to resist physicalist reductionism, and so would resist saying that irritation is purely physiological and fully constitutes mental states. But in the 1775 draft of On the Cognition and even in parts of the published version this is his position. And from a modern standpoint, this is a further virtue of his account (though we would certainly today want to recast it in terms of different, and more complex, physiological processes than irritation). This line of thought might seem at odds with his first one (forces). But it need not be. For, given his official agnosticism about what forces are, it could, so to speak, fill in the "black box" of the hypothesized real forces, namely in physicalist terms. In other words, it turns out (not as a conceptual matter, but as a contingent one) that the real forces in question consist in physiological processes.

    Herder's philosophy of mind also holds that the mind is a unity, that there is no real division between its faculties. This position contradicts theorists such as Sulzer and Kant. However, it is not in itself new with Herder (or Hamann), having already been central to Rationalism, especially Wolff. Where Herder (with Hamann) is more original is in rejecting the Rationalists' reduction of sensation and volition to cognition; establishing the unity thesis in an empirical rather than apriorist way; and adding a normative dimension to it -- this is not only how the mind is but also how it ought to be. This last feature can sound incoherent, since if the mind is this way by its very nature, what sense is there in prescribing to people that it should be so rather than otherwise? But Herder's idea is in fact the coherent one that, while the mind is indeed this way by its very nature, people sometimes behave as though one faculty could be abstracted from another, and try to effect that, and this then leads to various malfunctions, and should therefore be avoided.

    Herder's whole position on the mind's unity rests on three more specific doctrines of intimate mutual involvements between mental faculties, and of malfunctions that arise from striving against these, doctrines which are in large part empirically motivated and hence lend the overall position a sort of empirical basis:

    A first concerns the relation between thought and language: Not only does language of its very nature express thought (an uncontroversial point), but also (as noted earlier) for Herder thought is dependent on and bounded by language. Herder bases this further claim largely on empirical grounds (e.g. about how children's thought develops with language acquisition). The normative aspect of his position here is that attempts (in the manner of some metaphysics) to cut language free from the constraints of thought or (a more original point) vice versa lead to nonsense.

    A second area of intimate mutual involvement concerns cognition and volition, or affects. The claim that volition is and should be based on cognition is not particularly controversial. But Herder also argues the converse, that all cognition is and should be based on volition, on affects (and not only on such relatively anemic ones as the impulse to know the truth, but also on less anemic ones). He is especially concerned to combat the idea that theoretical work is or should be detached from volition, from affects. In his view, it never really is even when it purports to be, and attempts to make it so merely impoverish and weaken it. His grounds for this whole position are again mainly empirical.

    A third area of intimate mutual involvement concerns thought and sensation. Conceptualization and belief, on the one hand, and sensation, on the other, are intimately connected according to Herder. Thus he advances the quasi-empiricist theory of concepts mentioned earlier, which entails that all our concepts (and hence also all our beliefs) ultimately depend in one way or another on sensation. And conversely, he argues -- anticipating much recent work in philosophy -- that there is a dependence in the other direction as well, that the character of our sensations depends on our concepts and beliefs. Normatively, he sees attempts to violate this interdependence as inevitably leading to intellectual malfunction -- e.g., as already mentioned, metaphysicians' attempts to cut entirely free from the empirical origin of our concepts lead to meaninglessness. His grounds for this whole position are again largely empirical.

    In a further seminal move Herder also argues that (linguistic) meaning is fundamentally social -- so that thought and other aspects of human mental life (as essentially articulated in terms of meanings), and therefore also the very self (as essentially dependent on thought and other aspects of human mental life, and defined in its specific identity by theirs), are so too. Herder's version of this position seems meant only as an empirically-based causal claim. It has since fathered attempts to generate more ambitious arguments for stronger versions of the claim that meaning -- and hence also thought and the very self -- is socially constituted (e.g. by Hegel, Wittgenstein, Kripke, and Burge). However, it may well be that these more ambitious arguments do not work, and that Herder's version is exactly what should be accepted.

    Herder also, in tension though not contradiction with this, holds that (even within a single culture and period) human minds are as a rule deeply individual, deeply different from each other -- so that in addition to a generalizing psychology we also need a psychology oriented to individuality. This is an important idea which has strongly influenced subsequent thinkers (e.g. Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Proust, Sartre, and Manfred Frank). Herder advances it only as an empirical rule of thumb. By contrast, a prominent strand in Schleiermacher and Frank purports to make it an a priori universal truth. But Herder's position is again arguably the more plausible one.

    Finally, like predecessors in the Rationalist tradition and Kant, Herder sharply rejects the Cartesian idea of the mind's self-transparency -- instead insisting that much of what occurs in the mind is unconscious, so that self-knowledge is often deeply problematic. This is another compelling position which has had a strong influence on subsequent thinkers.

    This whole Herderian philosophy of mind owes much to predecessors, especially in the Rationalist tradition. But it is also in many ways original. The theory is important in its own right. And it also exercised enormous influence on successors (e.g. on Hegel in connection with anti-dualism, the role of physical behavior in mental conditions, faculty-unity, and the sociality of meaning, thought, and self; on Schleiermacher in connection with anti-dualism and faculty-unity; and on Nietzsche in connection with the interdependence of cognition and volition, or affects, the individuality of the mind and the need for an individualistic psychology, and the mind's lack of self-transparency).

    6. Aesthetics

    In the Critical Forests (1769, though the important fourth part was not published until the middle of the nineteenth century) Herder sets out to argue for the following aesthetic theory: whereas music is a mere succession of objects in time, and sculpture and painting are merely spatial, poetry has a sense, a soul, a force; whereas music, sculpture, and painting belong solely to the senses (to hearing, feeling, and vision, respectively), poetry not only depends on the senses but also relates to the imagination; whereas music, sculpture, and painting employ only natural signs, poetry uses voluntary and conventional signs. This theory was taken over (with minor modifications) by Schleiermacher in his aesthetics lectures, and it has sometimes been touted as Herder's main achievement in aesthetics. But it is a naive theory, and his real achievements in aesthetics are other than and contrary to it.

    As noted earlier, Herder's philosophy of language is committed to the two doctrines that thought is essentially dependent on and bounded by language, and that meaning is word-usage. This invites certain questions: These doctrines plausibly break with an Enlightenment assumption that thought and meaning are in principle autonomous of whatever material, perceptible expressions they may happen to receive. Following Charles Taylor, we might call such a move one to "expressivism." But what form should expressivism take exactly? Is the dependence of thought and meaning on external symbols strictly one on language (in the usual sense of "language")? Or is it not rather a dependence on a broader range of symbolic media including, besides language, also such things as painting, sculpture, and music, so that a person might be able to entertain thoughts which he was not able to express in language but only in some other symbolic medium? Let us call the former position narrow expressivism and the latter broad expressivism.

    Also, is Herder's own position narrow expressivism or broad expressivism? It might seem at first sight that his two doctrines themselves already answer this question in favor of narrow expressivism because of their reference to "language" and "words." However, matters are not quite so simple. For one thing, such terms easily lend themselves to broadened uses which might include media beyond language in the usual sense. For another, precisely such a broadening actually occurs in a philosopher closely connected with Herder: Hamann. In his Metacritique (1784), Hamann is just as much verbally committed to the two doctrines in question as Herder. But he embraces broad expressivism. And he does so quite consistently, because he understands the terms "language" and "word" as they occur in the doctrines in unusually broad senses -- for example, he explicitly includes as forms of the "language" on which he says thought depends not only language in the usual sense but also painting, drawing, and music.

    Nonetheless, Herder's considered position is in fact the narrow expressivism that his two doctrines initially seem to suggest (so that his verbal sharing of these doctrines with Hamann masks an important difference of philosophical position between them).

    Moreover, after much wrestling with the subject, Herder eventually developed a particularly compelling version of narrow expressivism. The key work in this connection is the Critical Forests. By the time of writing this work, Herder was already committed to the two doctrines mentioned, and, as this would suggest, from the start in the Critical Forests he is committed to narrow expressivism. However, his commitment to it is initially unsatisfactory and inconsistent. For one thing, it initially takes the extreme and implausible form of denying to the non-linguistic arts any capacity to express thoughts autonomously of language by denying that they can express thoughts at all. This is the force of the naive theory described earlier which the work sets out to develop. Adding inconsistency to this unsatisfactoriness, Herder is from the start in the work also committed to saying (more plausibly) that visual art does express thoughts -- e.g. he intervenes in a quarrel between Lessing and Winckelmann on the question of whether linguistic art (especially poetry) or visual art (especially sculpture) is expressively superior in ways which tend to support Winckelmann's case for visual art. This unsatisfactoriness and inconsistency result from the fact that Herder has not yet realized that it is perfectly possible to reconcile narrow expressivism with the attribution of thoughts to non-linguistic art, namely by insisting that the thoughts expressed by non-linguistic art must be derivative from and bounded by the artist's capacity for linguistic expression. However, by the time Herder writes the later parts of the Critical Forests, he has found this solution. Thus in the third part, focusing on a particularly instructive example, he notes that the pictorial representations on Greek coins are typically allegorical. And by the fourth part he is prepared to say something similar about much painting as well, writing, for example, of "the sense, the allegory, the story / history which is put into the whole of a painting." By 1778 he extends this account to sculpture as well. Thus in the Plastic of 1778 he abandons the merely sensualistic conception of sculpture that dominated the Critical Forests and instead argues that sculpture is essentially expressive of, and therefore needs to be interpreted by, a soul, but this no longer forces him into unfaithfulness to his principle that thought is dependent on, and bounded by, language, for he now conceives the thoughts expressed by sculpture to have a linguistic source: "The sculptor stands in the dark of night and gropes towards the forms of gods. The stories of the poets are before and in him." Subsequently, in the Theological Letters (1780-1) and the Letters for the Advancement of Humanity, Herder extends the same solution to music as well.

    Herder also in his considered position implies that "non-linguistic" art is dependent on thought and language in another way: In the fourth part of the Critical Forests he develops the point (mentioned earlier) that human perception is of its nature infused with concepts and beliefs, and consequently with language -- which of course implies that the same is true of the perception of "non-linguistic" artworks in particular. So "non-linguistic" art is really doubly dependent on thought and language: not only for the thoughts which it expresses but also for those which it presupposes in perception.

    With Herder's achievement of this refined form of narrow expressivism and Hamann's articulation of broad expressivism, there were two plausible but competing theories available. Nineteenth-century theorists (e.g. Hegel, Schleiermacher, and Dilthey) would subsequently be deeply torn between them, and the dispute remains a live and important one today.

    Because for Herder thought and language play important roles not only in linguistic but also in "non-linguistic" art, both for him present similar interpretive challenges, requiring similar interpretive solutions. One aspect of this which deserves special emphasis is genre.

    Herder believes, plausibly, that a work of art is always written or made to exemplify a certain genre, and that it is vital for the interpreter to identify its genre in order to understand it. Herder's basic conception of genre is that it consists in an overall purpose together with certain rules of composition dictated thereby. For Herder, genres are in large measure socially pregiven, but they always play their role in a work via authorial intention (not autonomously thereof), and are not something the individual artist is inexorably locked into but something he can and often does modify.

    Why does Herder believe that it is vital to define a work's genre-conception correctly in order to understand the work properly? He has two main reasons (both good ones): First, because an author intends his work to exemplify a certain genre, there will normally be aspects of his meaning in the work which are expressed, not explicitly in any particular part or parts of it, but rather through its intended exemplification of the genre. For instance, Lessing had argued that the function of Aesop's fables as a genre was to illustrate through a concrete example a universal moral principle, whereas Herder argues that it was rather to illustrate general rules of life, experience, or prudence -- so the full interpretation of any particular fable must include either a universal moral principle (if Lessing is right) or a general rule of life, etc. (if Herder is right). Or to cite a "non-linguistic" case, Herder argues that Egyptian sculpture (unlike Greek) had a function as a genre of expressing certain ideas about death and eternity -- so that the full interpretation of a piece of Egyptian sculpture must include this aspect of meaning deriving from the general genre. Second, correctly identifying the genre is also vitally important for correctly interpreting things which are expressed explicitly in parts of a work. Hence, for example, in the Critical Forests Herder argues that in order to achieve a proper understanding of "ridiculous" passages in Homer (such as the Thersites episode in Iliad, book 2) it is essential to understand them in light of the nature of the whole text and their contribution thereto.

    Just as Herder insists on a scrupulous methodological empiricism in interpretation generally, so he insists on it in connection with defining genres in particular. He therefore sharply rejects apriorism here -- both the absolute apriorism of refusing in one's definition of a genre to be guided by the observation of examples at all, and the more seductive relative apriorism of allowing oneself to be guided by the observation of examples but excluding from these particular cases, or even whole classes of cases, to which the resulting genre-conception is to be applied in interpretation. The latter procedure is still disastrous, in Herder's view, because the superficial appearance of a similar genre shared by different historical periods or cultures, or even by different authors within one period and culture, or even by a single author in one work and the same author in another, usually masks vitally important differences. Herder identifies a misguided apriorism in the definition of genres in many areas of interpretation. For example, the essay Shakespeare (1773) finds it in the French critics' approach to tragedy, an approach which assumes the universal validity of Aristotelian genre-rules which were originally derived exclusively from ancient tragedies (sometimes even overlooking this empirical derivation), and consequently assumes that they provide an appropriate yardstick for interpreting Shakespearean tragedy, whose genre-conception is in fact quite different. And This Too and other pieces find it in Winckelmann's treatment of Egyptian sculpture: Winckelmann implicitly assumes the universal validity of a genre-conception for sculpture which he has derived from the Greeks, namely one dominated by the genre-purpose of a this-worldly portrayal of life and beauty, and he then applies this in the interpretation of Egyptian sculpture, where the genre-conception is in fact quite different, in particular involving a contrary genre-purpose of conveying ideas of death and eternity.

    Moreover, Herder stresses that getting questions of genre right is vitally important not only for the correct interpretation of artworks, but also for their correct critical evaluation. The French critics not only make an interpretive mistake when they go to Shakespeare with a genre dogmatically in mind that was not his, but they also, on this basis, make an evaluative one: because they falsely assume that he somehow must be aspiring to realize the genre-purpose and -rules which Aristotle found in ancient tragedy, they fault him for failing to realize them, while at the same time they overlook the quite different genre-purpose and -rules to which he really aspires and his success in realizing these. Similarly, Winckelmann not only makes an interpretive mistake when he implicitly imputes to the Egyptians a Greek genre-purpose and -rules for sculpture that were not theirs, but he also, on this basis, makes an evaluative one: because he falsely assumes that the Egyptians somehow must be aspiring to realize the Greek genre-purpose and -rules, he faults them for failing to realize them, and at the same time he overlooks their success in realizing the very different genre-purpose and -rules which they really do aspire to realize.

    Nothing has yet been said about beauty, which philosophers often think of as the central concern of the philosophy of art. Herder strikingly, and plausibly, argues that, on the contrary, beauty is not nearly as essential to art as it is often taken to be. He makes this point in the Calligone, for example, where he argues that art is much more essentially a matter of Bildung -- i.e., roughly, cultural formation or education (especially in moral respects).

    A further claim which he makes about beauty (both in art and more generally) is that standards of beauty vary greatly from one historical period and culture to another. This is his usual position, from early works such as On the Change of Taste to late works such as Calligone (where he invokes it against Kant's Critique of Judgment). There is also an occasional counterstrand in which he argues for a deeper unity in standards of beauty across historical periods and cultures (e.g. in the Critical Forests). However, the former position is his considered one, and seems much the more plausible one.

    Finally, in close connection with the point mentioned above that the fundamental role of the arts is one of Bildung, Herder in On the Effect of Poetic Art on the Ethics of Peoples in Ancient and Modern Times (1778) and in Calligone argues more specifically that the fundamental role of the arts both has been historically and moreover should be one of moral character formation.

    Herder has a fairly nuanced account of how the arts do and should perform this function. For example, On the Influence of the Beautiful Sciences on the Higher Sciences (1781) specifies three ways in which poetry and literature promote moral character formation: First, they do so "through light rules," in other words through conveying ethical principles in explicit or implicit ways. Second, and more important, they do so by presenting in an attractive light good moral examples for people to emulate: "still better, through good examples." Third, they also convey a broad range of practical experience relevant to the formation of moral character which would otherwise have to be acquired, if at all, by the more arduous route of first-hand experience. In Calligone Herder also notes the power that music has to affect moral character for good or ill depending on the principles with which it is associated, and the power of visual art to make moral ideals attractive by presenting them blended with physical beauty.

    Herder's conception that it should be the primary function of art to form moral character also serves him as a criterion for evaluating artworks. Thus when he observes in On the Effect that in contrast to earlier poetry modern poetry has typically lost this function, he means this as a serious criticism of modern poetry. He even applies this criterion as a ground for criticizing certain works by his friends Goethe and Schiller which he considers amoral or immoral in content.

    7. Philosophy of History

    Herder's philosophy of history appears mainly in two works, This Too and the later Ideas. His fundamental achievement in this area lies in his development of the thesis mentioned earlier -- contradicting such Enlightenment philosopher-historians as Hume and Voltaire -- that there exist radical mental differences between historical periods, that people's concepts, beliefs, sensations, etc. differ in important ways from one period to another. This thesis is already prominent in On the Change of Taste (1766). It had an enormous influence on successors such as Hegel and Nietzsche.

    Herder makes the empirical exploration of the realm of mental diversity posited by this thesis the very core of the discipline of history. For, as has often been noted, he takes little interest in the so-called "great" political and military deeds and events of history, focusing instead on the "innerness" of history's participants. This choice is deliberate and self-conscious. Because of it, psychology and interpretation inevitably take center-stage in the discipline of history for Herder.

    Herder has deep philosophical reasons for this choice, and hence for assigning psychology and interpretation a central role in history. To begin with, he has negative reasons directed against traditional political-military history. Why should history focus on the "great" political and military deeds and events of the past? There are several possible answers: (1) A first would be that they are fascinating or morally edifying. But Herder will not accept this. For one thing, he denies that mere fascination or curiosity is a sufficiently serious motive for doing history. For another, his antiauthoritarianism, antimilitarism, and borderless humanitarianism cause him to find the acts of political domination, war, and empire which make up the vast bulk of these "great" deeds and events not morally edifying but morally repugnant.

    This leaves two other types of motivation which might be appealed to for doing the sort of history in question: (2) because examining the course of such deeds and events reveals some sort of overall meaning in history, or (3) because it leads to efficient causal insights which enable us to explain the past and perhaps also predict or control the future. Herder is again skeptical about these rationales, however. This skepticism is clearest in the Older Critical Forestlet (1767-8) where, in criticism of rationale (2), he consigns the task of "the whole ordering together of many occurrences into a plan" not to the historian but to the "creator, . . . painter, and artist," and in criticism of rationale (3), he goes as far as to assert (on the basis of a Hume- and Kant-influenced general skepticism about causal knowledge) that with the search for efficient causes in history "historical seeing stops and prophecy begins." His later writings depart from this early position in some obvious ways, but also in less obvious ways remain faithful to it. They by no means officially stay loyal to the view that history has no discernible meaning; famously, This Too insists that history does have an overall purpose, and that this fact (though not the nature of the purpose) is discernible from the cumulative way in which cultures have built upon one another, and the Ideas then tells a long story to the effect that history's purpose consists in its steady realization of "humanity" and "reason." However, Herder clearly still harbors grave doubts just below the surface. This is visible in This Too from the work's ironically self-deprecating title; Pyrrhonian-spirited motto; vacillations between several incompatible models of history's direction (progressive?, progressive and cyclical?, merely cyclical?, even regressive?); and morbid dwelling on, and unpersuasive attempt to rebut, the "skeptical" view of history as meaningless "Penelope-work." (A few years later Herder would write that history is "a textbook of the nullity of all human things.") It is also visible in the Ideas from the fact that Herder's official account of the purposiveness of history gets contradicted by passages which insist on the inappropriateness of teleological (as contrasted with efficient causal) explanations in history. Herder's official position certainly had a powerful influence on some successors (especially Hegel), but it is this quieter counterstrand of skepticism that represents his better philosophical judgment. Concerning efficient causal insights, Herder's later works again in a sense stay faithful to his skeptical position in the Older Critical Forestlet -- but they also modify it, and this time for the better philosophically speaking. The mature Herder does not, like the Herder of that work, rest his case on a general skepticism about the role or discernibility of efficient causation in history. On the contrary, he insists that history is governed by efficient causation and that we should try to discover as far as possible the specific ways in which it is so. But he remains highly skeptical about the extent to which such an undertaking can be successful, and hence about how far it can take us towards real explanations of the past, and towards predicting or controlling the future. His main reason for this skepticism is that major historical deeds and events are not the products of some one or few readily identifiable causal factors (as political and military historians tend to assume), but rather of chance confluences of huge numbers of different causal factors, many of which, moreover, are individually unknown and unknowable by the historian (e.g. because in themselves too trivial to have been recorded, or, in the case of psychological factors, because the historical agent failed to make them public, deliberately misrepresented them, or was himself unaware of them due to the hidden depths of his mind).

    Complementing this negative case against the claims of traditional political-military history to be of overriding importance, Herder also has positive reasons for focusing instead on the "innerness" of human life in history. One reason is certainly just the sheer interest of this subject-matter -- though, as was mentioned, that would not be a sufficient reason in his eyes. Another reason is that his discovery of radical diversity in human mentality has shown there to be a much broader, less explored, and more intellectually challenging field for investigation here than previous generations of historians have realized. Two further reasons are moral in nature: (1) He believes, and plausibly so, that studying people's minds through their literature, visual art, etc. generally exposes one to them at their moral best (in sharp contrast to studying their political-military history), so that there are benefits of moral edification to be gleaned here. (2) He has cosmopolitan and egalitarian moral motives for studying people's minds through their literature, visual art, etc.: (in sharp contrast to studying unedifying and elite-focused political-military history) this promises to enhance our sympathies for peoples and for peoples at all social levels, including lower ones. Finally, doing "inner" history is also an important instrument for our non-moral self-improvement: (1) It serves to enhance our self-understanding. One reason for this is that it is by, and only by, contrasting one's own outlook with the outlooks of other peoples that one recognizes what is universal and invariant in it and what by contrast distinctive and variable. Another very important reason is that in order fully to understand one's own outlook one needs to identify its origins and how they developed into it (this is Herder's famous "genetic method," which subsequently became fundamental to the work of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Foucault). (2) Herder believes that an accurate investigation of the (non-moral) ideals of past ages can serve to enrich our own ideals and happiness. This motive finds broad application in Herder. An example is his exploration of past literatures in the Fragments largely with a view to drawing from them lessons about how better to develop modern German literature.

    Herder's decision to focus on the "innerness" of history's participants, and his consequent emphasis on psychology and interpretation as historical methods, strikingly anticipated and influenced Dilthey. So too did Herder's rationale for this, as described above, which is indeed arguably superior to Dilthey's, especially on its positive side.

    Finally, Herder is also impressive for having recognized, and, though not solved, at least grappled with, a problem that flows from his picture of history (and intercultural comparisons) as an arena of deep variations in human mentality. This is the problem of skepticism. He tends to run together two problems here: (1) the problem of whether there is any meaning to the seemingly endless and bewildering series of changes from epoch to epoch (or culture to culture); (2) the problem that the multiplication of conflicting viewpoints on virtually all subjects that is found in history (or in intercultural comparisons) causes, or at least exacerbates, the ancient skeptic's difficulty of unresolvable disputes forcing one to suspend belief on virtually all subjects. Problem (1) has been discussed. Here it is problem (2) that concerns us. This is a problem that Troeltsch would make much of in the twentieth century. But Herder had already clearly seen it.

    Herder is determined to avoid this sort of skepticism. He has two main strategies for doing so, but they are inconsistent with each other, and neither in the end works: His first is to try to defuse the problem at source by arguing that, on closer inspection, there is much more common ground between different periods and cultures than it allows. This strategy plays a central role in the Ideas, where in particular "humanity" is presented as a shared ethical value; and it is also present in the Critical Forests, where (as mentioned earlier) Herder argues that standards of beauty have an underlying unity. Herder's second strategy is rather to acknowledge the problem fully and to respond with relativism: especially in This Too he argues that -- at least where questions of moral, aesthetic, and prudential value are concerned -- the different positions taken by different periods and cultures are equally valid, namely for the periods and cultures to which they belong, and that there can be no question of any preferential ranking between them. The later Letters vacillates between these two strategies.

    Neither of these strategies is satisfactory in the end. The first, that of asserting deep commonalities, is hopeless (notwithstanding its seemingly eternal appeal to empirically underinformed Anglophone philosophers). It flies in the face of the empirical evidence -- e.g. Herder in this mode sentimentally praises Homer for his "humanity," and thereby lays himself open to Nietzsche's just retort in Homer's Contest that what is striking about Homer and his culture is rather their cruelty. Moreover, it flies in the face of Herder's own better interpretive judgments about the empirical evidence -- e.g. his observation in On the Change of Taste that basic values have not only changed through history but in certain cases actually been inverted (an observation which strikingly anticipates a brilliant insight of Nietzsche's concerning an inversion of ethical values that occurred in antiquity).

    Herder's alternative, relativist, strategy, is more interesting, but is not in the end satisfactory either (even concerning values, where its prospects seem best). There are several potential problems with it. One, which is of historical interest but probably not in the end fatal, is this: Hegel in the Phenomenology of Spirit and then Nietzsche in his treatment of Christian moral values saw the possibility that one might accept Herder's insight that there were basic differences in values but nonetheless avoid his relativism by subjecting others' values to an internal critique, a demonstration that they were internally inconsistent. For example, Nietzsche (whose version of this idea is the more plausible) traced back such Christian values as forgiveness to a contrary underlying motive of resentment [ressentiment]. However, in order to work, such a response would need to show that the inconsistency was essential to the values in question, not merely something contingent that could disappear leaving the values consistently held -- and this it probably cannot do. A more serious problem with the strategy is rather a twofold one, which Nietzsche again saw: First, we cannot in fact sustain such a relativist indifference vis-à-vis others' values. Do we, for example, really think that a moral rule requiring the forcible burning of dead men's wives is no better and no worse than one forbidding it? Second, nor does the phenomenon of fundamental value variations require us to adopt such an indifference. For, while it may indeed show there to be no universal values, it leaves us with a better alternative to indifference: continuing to hold our values and to judge others' values in light of them only now in a self-consciously non-universal way. (As Nietzsche puts it, "My judgment is my judgment." Or if we reject Nietzsche's extreme individualism, "Our judgment is our judgment," for some less-than-universal us.)

    8. Political Philosophy

    Herder is not usually thought of as a political philosopher. But he was one, and moreover one whose political ideals are more admirable, theoretical stances more defensible, and thematic focus of more enduring relevance than those of any other German philosopher of the period. His most developed treatment of political philosophy occurs late, in a work prompted by the French Revolution of 1789: the Letters (including the early draft of 1792, important for its frank statement of his views about domestic politics).

    What are the main features of Herder's political philosophy? We should begin with his political ideals, first in domestic and then in international politics: In domestic politics, the mature Herder is a liberal, a republican, a democrat, and an egalitarian (this in circumstances where such positions were by no means commonplace, and were embraced at a personal cost). His liberalism is especially radical in advocating virtually unrestricted freedom of thought and expression (including freedom of worship). He has several reasons for this position: (1) He feels that such freedom belongs to people's moral dignity. (2) He believes that it is essential for individuals' self-realization. (3) As mentioned earlier, he believes that human beings' capacities for discerning the truth are limited and that it is through, and only through, an ongoing contest between opposing viewpoints that the cause of truth gets advanced. (J.S. Mill would later borrow these considerations -- partly via intermediaries such as von Humboldt -- to form the core of his case for freedom of thought and expression in On Liberty.) Herder is also committed to republicanism and democracy (advocating a much broader franchise than Kant, for example). He has several reasons for this position, ultimately deriving from an egalitarian concern for the interests of all members of society: (1) He thinks it intrinsically right that the mass of people should share in their government, rather than having it imposed upon them. (2) He believes that this will better serve their other interests as well, since government by also tends to be government for. (3) He in particular believes that it will diminish the warfare that is pervasive under the prevailing autocratic political régimes of Europe, where it benefits the few rulers who decide on it but costs the mass of people dearly. Finally, Herder's egalitarianism also extends further. He does not reject class differences, property, or inequalities of property outright. But he opposes all hierarchical oppression; argues that all people in society have capacities for self-realization, and must receive the opportunity to realize them; and insists that government must intervene to ensure that they do, e.g. by guaranteeing education and a minimum standard of living for the poor.

    Concerning international politics, Herder often gets classified as a "nationalist" or (even worse) a "German nationalist." Some other philosophers from the period deserve this slur (e.g. Fichte). But where Herder is concerned it is deeply misleading and unjust. On the contrary, his fundamental position in international politics is a committed cosmopolitanism, an impartial concern for all human beings. This is a large part of the force of his ideal of "humanity." Hence, for example, in the Letters he approvingly quotes Fénelon's remark, "I love my family more than myself; more than my family my fatherland; more than my fatherland humankind." Moreover, unlike Kant's cosmopolitanism, Herder's is genuine. Kant's cosmopolitanism is vitiated by a set of empirically ignorant and morally inexcusable prejudices which he harbors -- in particular, racism, antisemitism, and misogyny. By contrast, Herder's is entirely free of these prejudices, which he indeed works tirelessly to combat.

    Herder does also insist on respecting, preserving, and advancing national groupings. But this is unalarming, for the following reasons: (1) For Herder, this is emphatically something that must be done for all national groupings equally (not just or especially Germany!). (2) The "nation" in question is not racial but linguistic and cultural (Herder rejects the very concept of race). (3) Nor does it involve a centralized or militaristic state (Herder advocates the disappearance of such a state and its replacement by loosely federated local governments with minimal instruments of force). (4) In addition, Herder's insistence on respecting national groupings is accompanied by the strongest denunciations of military conflict, colonial exploitation, and all other forms of harm between nations; a demand that nations instead peacefully cooperate and compete in trade and intellectual endeavors for their mutual benefit; and a plea that they should indeed actively work to help each other.

    Moreover, Herder has compelling reasons for his insistence on respecting national groupings: (1) The deep diversity of values between nations entails that homogenization is ultimately impracticable, only a fantasy. (2) Such diversity also entails that, to the extent that it is practicable, it cannot occur voluntarily but only through external coercion. (3) In practice, attempts to achieve it, e.g. by European colonialism, are moreover coercive from, and subserve, ulterior motives of domination and exploitation. (4) Real national variety is moreover positively valuable, both as affording individuals a vital sense of local belonging and in itself.

    It might be objected that all this does not yet really amount to a political theory -- such as other philosophers have given, including some of Herder's contemporaries in Germany. In a sense that is true, but philosophically defensible; in another sense it is false. It is true in this sense: There is indeed no grand metaphysical theory underpinning Herder's position -- no Platonic theory of forms, no correlation of political institutions with "moments" in a Hegelian Logic, no "deduction" of political institutions from the nature of the self or the will à la Fichte and Hegel, etc. But that is deliberate, given Herder's skepticism about such metaphysics. And is it not indeed philosophically a good thing? Nor does Herder have any elaborate account purporting to justify the moral intuitions at work in his political position as a sort of theoretical insight (in the manner of Kant's theory of the "categorical imperative" or Rawls's theory of the "original position," for example). But that is again quite deliberate, given his non-cognitivism in ethics, and his rejection of such theories as both false and harmful. And is he not again right about this, and the absence of such an account therefore again a good thing? Nor is Herder sympathetic with such tired staples of political theory as the state of nature, the social contract, natural rights, the general will, and utopias for the future. But again, he has good specific reasons for skepticism about these things. This, then, is the sense in which the objection is correct; Herder does indeed lack a "political theory" of these sorts. But he lacks it on principle, and is arguably quite right to do so.

    On the other hand, he does have a "political theory" of another, and arguably more valuable, sort. For one thing, consistently with his general empiricism, his position in political philosophy is deeply empirically informed. For instance, as can be seen from the Dissertation on the Reciprocal Influence of Government and the Sciences (1780), his thesis about the importance of freedom of thought and expression, and the competition between views which it makes possible, for producing intellectual progress is largely based on the historical example of ancient Greece and in particular Athens (as contrasted with societies which have lacked the freedom and competition in question). And in the 1792 draft of the Letters he even describes the French Revolution and its attempts to establish a modern democracy as a sort of "experiment" from which we can learn (e.g. whether democracy can be successfully extended to nations much larger than ancient Athens). For another thing, conformably with his general non-cognitivism about morals, he is acutely aware that his political position ultimately rests on moral sentiments -- his own and, for its success, other people's as well. For example, the 10th Collection of the Letters stresses the fundamental role of moral "dispositions" or "feelings" as required supports for his political position's realization. As was mentioned, this standpoint absolves him of the need to do certain sorts of theorizing. However, it also leads him to engage in theorizing of another sort, namely theorizing about how, and by what means, people's moral sentiments should be molded in order to realize the ideals of his political position. His discussion of moral "dispositions" in the 10th Collection is an example of such theorizing (concerning the how rather than the means; his theorizing about causal means has been sketched earlier in this article). These two sorts of theorizing are deeply developed in Herder. And they are arguably much more pointful than the sorts which are not.

    In short, to the extent that Herder's political philosophy really is theoretically superficial, it is arguably, to borrow a phrase of Nietzsche's, "superficial -- out of profundity" (whereas more familiar forms of political philosophy are profound out of superficiality). And in another, more important, sense it is not theoretically superficial at all.

    9. Philosophy of Religion

    In Herder's day German philosophy was deeply committed to a game of trying to reconcile the insights of the Enlightenment, especially those of modern science, with religion, and indeed with Christianity. Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Schleiermacher, and many others played this game -- each proposing some new reconciliation or other. Herder was part of this game as well. This was not a good game for philosophers to be playing. But it was only in the nineteenth century that German philosophy found the courage to cut the Gordian knot and turn from apologetics for religion and Christianity to thoroughgoing criticism of them (prime examples being Marx and Nietzsche). This situation imposes limits on the interest of Herder's philosophy of religion, as on that of the other reconciling philosophers mentioned.

    Also, while Herder's philosophy of religion was extremely enlightened and progressive in both his early and his late periods, there was a spell in the middle, the years 1771-6 in Bückeburg, during which he fell into the sort of religious irrationalism more characteristic of his friend Hamann. This happened as the result of what we would today classify as a mild nervous breakdown (documentable from his correspondence at the time), and should be discounted.

    Despite these qualifications, Herder did make important contributions to the philosophy of religion -- i.e. important in terms of their influence, their intrinsic value, or both. One of these (important for its influence) is his neo-Spinozism, expounded in God. Some Conversations of 1787. In this work he develops a version of "Spinozism" which consciously modifies the original in important respects. He shares with Spinoza the basic thesis of monism, and like Spinoza equates the single, all-encompassing principle in question with God. But whereas Spinoza characterized it as substance, Herder prefers to characterize it as force, or primal force. Moreover, this modification involves further ones which Herder finds attractive, including: (1) Spinoza's theory had rejected conceptions of God as a mind, as a being who thinks or has purposes. Given Herder's general philosophy of mind and its identification of the mind with force, his identification of God with force imports a claim that God is in fact a mind -- hence in works such as On the Spirit of Christianity (1798) he describes God as a Geist, a mind or spirit. Accordingly, Herder claims that God does think, and even have purposes. (2) Herder believes that Spinoza's original theory contains a residue of objectionable dualism, inherited from Descartes, in its conception of the relation between God's two known attributes, thought and extension (and similarly, in its conception of the relation between finite minds and bodies). By contrast, the conception of God as a force (and of finite minds as likewise forces) overcomes this residual dualism. For forces are of their very nature expressed in extended bodies. From around the time of God. Some Conversations until well into the nineteenth century a wave of neo-Spinozism swept through German philosophy: Goethe, Schelling, Hegel, Schleiermacher, and lesser figures such as Hölderlin, Novalis, and F. Schlegel. This wave was mainly the result of Herder's embrace of neo-Spinozism in that work, and took over his modifications of Spinoza's position.

    However, Herder's most intrinsically valuable contribution to the philosophy of religion concerns the interpretation of the bible. In this connection, as previously mentioned, he champions a strict secularism. This was already his position in the 1760's. At that period he argued vigorously, in the spirit of Galileo, for disallowing revelation any jurisdiction over natural science -- though he did so not in an anti-religious spirit but in the hope and expectation that an autonomous natural science would confirm religion. And he made a parallel case for the autonomy of interpretation: Religious assumptions and means have no business interfering in the interpretation of texts either, even when the texts are sacred ones. Instead, biblical texts must be interpreted as the works of human beings, and by means of the same sorts of rigorous hermeneutical methods that are employed for interpreting other ancient texts -- any religious enlightenment coming as a result of such interpretation, not entering into the process itself. This whole position remained Herder's considered stance in his later period as well.

    The general idea that the bible should be interpreted in the same way as other texts was by no means the commonplace in Herder's day that it has since become, but nor was it new with him. In adopting this principle he was self-consciously following the lead of several recent bible scholars -- in particular, Ernesti, Michaelis, and Semler. However, Herder's secularism is more consistent and radical than theirs.

    This can be illustrated by a comparison with Ernesti (the most important of the scholars just mentioned, and the one most consistently admired by Herder). Ernesti's great work, Institutio interpretis Novi Testamenti (1761), which Herder singles out for special praise, is a key statement of the sort of secularism in question. Initially, this work seems to advocate a secularism identical in spirit to Herder's, arguing that we must interpret biblical books in the same way as profane texts, and thereby learn whatever religious truth they contain. However, as the work develops, matters become much cloudier. In this connection, it is important to distinguish two questions which can be asked concerning divine inspiration and interpretation: (1) May readers of sacred texts rely on a divine inspiration of themselves (e.g. by the Holy Spirit) bringing them to a correct interpretation rather than on more usual interpretive means? (2) May they assume in interpretation that because the texts' authors are divinely inspired the texts must be completely true and therefore also (a fortiori) completely self-consistent? When Ernesti develops the details of his position it becomes clear that he has really only advanced as far towards secularism as consistently answering question (1) in the negative, not question (2). His failure to give a consistently negative answer to question (2) lands him in flat contradiction with his official commitment to interpreting sacred texts in exactly the same way as profane texts (for of course, as he indeed himself implies, in interpreting profane texts we may not assume that the texts are throughout true and therefore also self-consistent). It also seems intellectually indefensible in itself -- merely a rather transparent refusal to stop, so to speak, "cooking the books" in favor of the bible when interpreting it. By contrast, the young Herder advances in his secularism beyond Ernesti because he consistently answers both questions in the negative, and thereby, unlike Ernesti, achieves a position which is both self-consistent and otherwise intellectually defensible. Moreover, Herder's actual interpretations of the bible admirably conform to this theoretical position, not only refraining from any reliance on divine inspiration and instead employing normal interpretive techniques, but also frequently attributing false and even inconsistent positions to the bible (both to the Old and to the New Testaments).

    Another noteworthy feature of Herder's secularism is his insistence that interpreters of the bible must resist the temptation to read the bible as allegory (except in those few cases -- e.g. the parables of the New Testament -- where there is clear textual evidence of a biblical author's intention to convey an allegorical meaning). Herder gives a perceptive general diagnosis of the temptation to allegorical interpretation: over the course of history people's beliefs and values change, leading to discrepancies between the claims made by their traditional texts and their own beliefs and values, but they expect and want to find their traditional texts correct, and so they try to effect a reconciliation with their own beliefs and values by means of allegorical readings.

    Herder's theoretical commitment to strict secularism in biblical interpretation led him to interpretive discoveries concerning the bible which were in themselves of epoch-making importance. For example, concerning the Old Testament, his commitment to applying normal hermeneutical methods enabled him to distinguish and define the different genres of poetry in the Old Testament in a way that was superior to anything done before him. Also, that commitment, and in particular his consequent readiness to find falsehood and even inconsistency in the bible, allowed him to make such important interpretive observations as that the ancient Jews' conceptions about death, afterlife, mind, and body, had changed dramatically over time. (For these two achievements, see especially On the Spirit of Hebrew Poetry.) Again, that commitment, and in particular Herder's consequent rejection of unwarranted allegorical interpretations, allowed him to substitute for the prevailing interpretation of the Song of Solomon as religious allegory an interpretation of it as simple erotic love poetry which is today generally accepted as correct. Similarly concerning the New Testament, Herder's commitment to applying normal hermeneutical methods, including his consequent readiness to recognize falsehood and inconsistency, enabled him to treat the authors of the four gospels as individual human authors instead of as mere mouthpieces of the deity, to perceive inconsistencies between their accounts, to establish the relative dates of the gospels correctly for the first time (Mark first, Matthew and Luke in the middle, John last and late), and to give a broadly correct account of their genesis in oral sermon and their likely relations to each other -- achievements attained above all in two late works from 1796-97, On the Savior of Mankind and On God's Son, the World's Savior.

    Herder's strict secularism in interpretation would later be replicated by Schleiermacher, who similarly embraces the principle that the interpretation of sacred texts must treat them as the works of human authors and by means of exactly the same interpretive methods as are applied to profane texts, and similarly follows through on this commitment, in particular finding not only falsehoods but also inconsistencies in the bible.

    Herder's achievements in this area have something of the character of the early acts of an inexorable tragedy, however. As was mentioned, he by no means intended his championing of the cause of intellectual conscience in insisting on the autonomy of natural science and interpretation to undermine religion in general or Christianity in particular; on the contrary, his hope and expectation was that both sorts of autonomy would in the end support religion and Christianity. However, this hope has been sorely disappointed. Autonomous natural science has increasingly made religion generally and Christianity in particular look untenable. And Herder's policy of reading the bible as a collection of human texts, with all the foibles of human texts, has increasingly led to an undermining of the bible's claims to intellectual authority. Much of what Herder has ultimately achieved in this area would therefore be deeply unwelcome to him.

    Bibliography

    Primary Texts

    There are two main German editions of Herder's works:
    Johann Gottfried Herder Sämtliche Werke, B. Suphan, et al. (eds.), Berlin, 1887-.
    Johann Gottfried Herder Werke, U. Gaier, et al. (eds.), Frankfurt am Main, 1985-.
    The latter edition includes very helpful notes.

    Translations

    Adler, H., and Menze, E.A., On World History, Armonk, 1996.
    (Contains short excerpts on history from a variety of works, prominently including the Ideas.)
    Barnard, F.M., J.G. Herder on Social and Political Culture, Cambridge, 1969.
    (Includes (partial) translations of Herder's 1769 Journal, On the Origin, This Too, the Dissertation on the Reciprocal Influence of Government and the Sciences, and the Ideas, plus a very good introduction.)
    Burkhardt, F.H., God. Some Conversations, New York, 1940.
    Churchill, T., Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, London, 1800.
    (A translation of the Ideas.)
    Forster, M.N., J.G. Herder: Philosophical Writings, Cambridge, 2001/2.
    (Contains full translations of How Philosophy, On the Origin, On the Cognition, and This Too, as well as other pieces.)
    Marsh, J., The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, Burlington, Vt., 1833.
    Menze, E.A., Menges, K., and Palma, M., Johann Gottfried Herder: Selected Early Works, 1764-7, Pennsylvania, 1992.
    (Contains some early essays and selections from the Fragments.)
    Moran, J.H., and Gode, A., On the Origin of Language, Chicago, 1986.
    (Contains a partial translation of On the Origin.)
    Nisbet, H.B., German Aesthetics and Literary Criticism: Winckelmann, Lessing, Hamann, Herder, Schiller, Goethe, Cambridge, 1985.
    (Contains two pieces of Herder's in aesthetics, including his important essay Shakespeare.)

    Secondary Literature in German

    By far the most helpful single item remains:
    Haym, R., Herder nach seinem Leben und seinen Werken, Berlin, 1880.
    (A classic, detailed intellectual biography.)

    Two useful recent collections of essays covering a broad range of topics are:
    Sauder, G. (ed.), Johann Gottfried Herder 1744-1803, Hamburg, 1987.
    Bollacher, M. (ed.), Johann Gottfried Herder: Geschichte und Kultur, Würzburg, 1994.

    H.D. Irmischer has written several important articles on topics covered here, including:
    Irmischer, H., "Grundzüge der Hermeneutik Herders," in Bückeburger Gespräche über J.G. Herder 1971, Bückeburg, 1973.
    Irmischer, H., "Grundfragen der Geschichtsphilosophie Herders bis 1774," in Bückeburger Gespräche über J.G. Herder 1983, Bückeburg, 1984.

    A helpful treatment of Herder's interest in world literature, and in particular his theory and practice of translation, is:
    Kelletat, A.F., Herder und die Weltliteratur, Frankfurt am Main, 1984.

    A good treatment of Herder's approach to the Old Testament:
    Willi, T., Herders Beitrag zum Verstehen des Alten Testaments, Tübingen, 1971.

    Secondary Literature in English

    General treatments:
    Berlin, I., Vico and Herder, New York, 1976.
    (Concise and excellent.)
    Clark Jr., R.T., Herder: His Life and Thought, Berkeley, 1955.
    (Detailed and useful but unimaginative.)
    Beiser, F.C., The Fate of Reason, Cambridge, Mass., 1987.
    (Ch. 5 covers several topics helpfully, including Herder's philosophies of language, mind, and religion.)

    Herder's general program and debts to the precritical Kant:
    Zammito, J.H., Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology, Chicago, 2001.

    Philosophy of language:
    Forster, M. N., "Herder's Philosophy of Language, Interpretation, and Translation: Three Fundamental Principles," forthcoming. The Review of Metaphysics.
    Taylor, C., "The Importance of Herder," in E. and A. Margalit eds., Isaiah Berlin: A Celebration, Chicago, 1991.
    Taylor, C., "Language and Human Nature," in C. Taylor, Human Agency and Language: Philosophical Papers 1, Cambridge, 1996.

    Aesthetics:
    Norton, R.E., Herder's Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment, Ithaca, 1991.
    (Helpful both on aspects of Herder's aesthetic theory and on Herder's general relation to the Enlightenment.)

    Philosophy of history:
    Lovejoy, A.O., "Herder and the Enlightenment Philosophy of History," in Essays on the History of Ideas, Baltimore, 1948.
    (A helpful short treatment.)
    Meinecke, F., Historism: The Rise of a New Historical Outlook, London, 1972.
    (Ch. 9 is very helpful.)

    Political Philosophy:
    Ergang, R., Herder and the Foundations of German Nationalism, New York, 1931.
    (Helpful both on Herder's political thought and on his general intellectual influence.)
    Barnard, F.M., Herder's Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism, Oxford, 1965.
    (Chs. 3-5 deal with Herder's political thought.)
    Beiser, F.C., Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism, Cambridge, Mass., 1992.
    (Ch. 8 on Herder's political philosophy is excellent.)

    Other Subjects:
    Nisbet, H.B., Herder and the Philosophy and History of Science, Cambridge, Mass., 1970.
    (An excellent account of Herder's stance towards science.)
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/herder/

  8. #18
    "Du bist das Bild, das ich in mir barg..."
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Siegmund's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Last Online
    Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 @ 10:14 PM
    Ethnicity
    Germanic
    Gender
    Politics
    Folkish
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    Post Ludwig Feuerbach

    Philosophical rebel known especially for his criticism of Hegel, Christianity, and the traditional alliance of church and state in Prussia. Another must-read for anyone interested in the history of German philosophy.


    Ludwig Feuerbach

    Ludwig Feuerbach, along with Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche, must be counted among those philosophical outsiders who rebelled against the academic philosophy of the 19th century and thought of themselves as reformers and prophets of a new culture. Although he began his career as an enthusiastic follower of Hegel, he emerged in the 1840's as a leader of the Young Hegelians, a group of radicals who, inspired by the revolutionary political spirit sweeping over Europe, employed the critical side of Hegel's philosophy to undermine the reactionary alliance of philosophy, State, and Christianity in Prussia. But confronted by censorship, the police, and reprisals against them in the universities they turned against Hegel's philosophy altogether. Expelled from the faculties for which they were trained, many of them became pamphleteers, journalists, revolutionaries, and independent scholars.

    Feuerbach is best known for his criticism of Idealism and religion, especially Christianity, written in the early forties. He believed that any progress in human culture and civilization required the repudiation of both. His later writings were concerned with developing a materialistic humanism and an ethics of human solidarity. These writings have been more or less ignored until recently because most scholars have regarded him primarily as the bridge between Hegel and Marx. With the recent publication of a new critical edition of his works, however, a new generation of scholars have argued that his mature views are philosophically interesting in their own right.

    1. Life

    Ludwig Feuerbach, (1804-1872) was born in Landshut, Bavaria into a distinguished family of five sons and three daughters. The father, who dominated the family, was a famous professor of jurisprudence who, although a political liberal and a Protestant, was knighted by the Bavaria court and revised its legal code. The eldest son, Joseph Anselm, became a noted archaeologist and was father of the famous German painter, Anselm Feuerbach, The second son, Edward, became a professor of jurisprudence, and the third, Karl, became a mathematician after whom a proof was named.

    As a child Ludwig was very religious, but while attending the Gymnasium in Ansbach he was introduced by his tutor to the speculative Christian theology propounded by the Hegelian theologian Karl Daub at Heidelberg University. Determined to study theology, Feuerbach, with his father's permission, entered Heidelberg in 1823. The father, who despised Hegelianism, hoped that his son would become disenchanted with it when he encountered the teachings of his friend and rationalistic theologian, H.E.G. Paulus. But Feuerbach was immediately captured by the Hegelian project of Daub and disgusted with the lectures of Paulus. Still, he was troubled by the inability to reconcile his belief in a personal deity with the pure Vernunft of Hegelian philosophy. His sympathetic professor, Daub, recommended he resolve them by studying with the master in Berlin.

    Apprehensive about gaining his father's permission to study with Hegel, Feuerbach pretended that he wanted to matriculate in Berlin in order to study with the famous theologian, Friedrich Schleiermacher. The father reluctantly agreed and Feuerbach arrived there in the Spring of 1824. It was indicative of the repressive ethos of the time that he found himself under police surveillance because of his suspected membership in one of the subversive groups of the Burschenshaft movement and he was unable to matriculate until the matter was resolved. Meanwhile, his brother Karl had been put in prison in 1824 for the same reason and after several transfers from one prison to another had attempted suicide unsuccessfully.

    Feuerbach sat through Hegel's summer semester lectures of 1824 in Logic and Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Religion and this experience, he wrote later, became the turning point of his life. After a brief semester, he transferred to the philosophy faculty over the objections of his father. For financial reasons, Feuerbach was forced to transfer to Erlangen where he commenced to study anatomy, botany and physiology while working on his dissertation, De ratione, una, universali, infinitata, (On the infinitude, unity, and commonality of Reason). The argument in the thesis reflects its title: Reason is the unified and general ground of all individuals. Feuerbach sent a copy of the dissertation to Hegel hoping for his approval but inadvisably added a letter in which he offered the very unHegelian opinion that the attempt to comprehend Christianity as the consummate religion, as Hegel had done, was bound to fail. Christianity, he wrote, "is the religion of the pure self."

    After successfully defending his dissertation in 1828, Feuerbach was appointed Privatdozent at Erlangen and began lecturing on topics in the history of philosophy as well as on logic and metaphysics. He published three books between the years 1833-1837: The History of Modern Philosophy from Bacon to Spinoza (1833), The Presentation and Development and Criticism of Leibniz's Philosophy (1837), and Pierre Bayle (1838). These books established his reputation as a rising young scholar and by 1837 he was contributing to the most influential Hegelian journal, the Jahrbücher für wissentschaftliche Kritik.

    Feuerbach had hoped his publications might gain him an offer from some other university less conservative than Erlangen. They might have except that against his father's wishes he had also published anonymously in 1830 a book entitled Thoughts on Death and Immortality that argued that individual human consciousness is part of a infinite consciousness into which it will be absorbed at death and that belief in a personal deity and immortality is merely an expression of egoism. This thesis alone might have occasioned censorship but Feuerbach unwisely appended a series of satiric epigrams and aphorisms making fun of popular religious doctrines. The book was confiscated. When he refused to swear that he was not the anonymous author, he was dismissed. Unable to find employment in another university, his academic career was ruined as his father had predicted.

    Happily, Feuerbach had fallen in love with a wealthy young woman, Berthe Löw, who was part owner of a small porcelain factory in Bruckberg near Ansbach in Bavaria. They married in 1837 and he retired to Bruckberg to assume the life of an independent scholar in contact with other scholars only through correspondence or when visiting his philosopher friend, Christian Kapp, in Heidelberg. Shortly after his retirement to Bruckberg, Feuerbach made contact with Arnold Ruge, who, with Theodore Echtermeyer, was the co-editor of a new journal, the Hallische Jahrbücher für deutsche Wissenschaft und Kunst, dedicated to using the critical aspects of Hegel's philosophy to bring about social and cultural reform. The editors assumed that Germany under Prussian leadership was on the brink of world leadership in philosophy, religion, and politics if it could only realize the liberal elements inherent in Hegelian philosophy. But by 1839 it became clear to the editors that the progress they envisioned was being hampered by the Prussian state and its resistance to reform in both religion and politics. Threatened by censorship, the Journal moved in 1840 from Prussia to Dresden in Saxony and began to attack openly the governmental system as a reactionary combination of Christianity, Hegelian philosophy, and authoritarian ideology. By 1843, the Journal was publishing the radical attacks of Bruno Bauer and was confiscated, forcing the editors to take it first to Switzerland, where it changed its name to the Deutsche Jahrbücher, and then to Paris, where in 1844 it became the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher under the editorship of Ruge and Karl Marx.

    Feuerbach had already achieved some favorable attention by virtue of his "Critique of Hegelian Philosophy" published in the Hallische Jahrbücher in 1839. But it was the publication in 1841 of The Essence of Christianity that established him in the minds of his contemporaries as an intellectual leader of the Left Hegelians. He had, to paraphrase the words of Engels, "exploded the System and broken its spell." The book is still regarded as the precursor of all projection theories of religion.

    After emerging from the various controversies swirling around The Essence of Christianity — some radicals, like Max Stirner, thought the book was still too "religious" — Feuerbach revised The Essence of Christianity and then wrote two philosophical manifestos, Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy (1842) and Principles of the Philosophy of the Future (1843) as well as a little book on Luther. The two earlier works argued that a cultural epoch has come to an end with Hegel and that the truth in Hegel could only be realized in a "new philosophy" that was atheistic. The manifestoes were filled with bold and radical ideas but Feuerbach never systematically developed them and, consequently, never fulfilled the expectations many had for his philosophical career. He returned again to the interpretation of religion in 1845 with Das Wesen der Religion, in which, as we shall see, he significantly revised the position presented in The Essence of Christianity.

    In 1848 and at the height of his influence, he became enthusiastic about the revolutions in France and its inevitable impact on Europe. He decided to attend the Frankfurt Assembly as an observer. While there he was invited to give a series of public lectures on the nature of religion by the students of Heidelberg who were eager to have him called to the philosophy faculty. The university not only resisted the pressure of the students but denied him university facilities in which to speak so that the lectures were delivered in the city hall. Disappointed by the failure of the Frankfurt Assembly and the political reaction to it, he returned to the isolation of Bruckberg where he began to dabble in geology at which he could at best be only amateur and by the 1850's he was no longer a dominate philosophical presence in Germany.

    The porcelain factory declared bankruptcy in 1860. In poverty and forced to move to Rechenberg near Nürnberg, he was financially supported by friends and by donations from the Social Democratic Workers Party. Although he worked on philosophical issues concerning the freedom of the will and ethics, he published little after 1857 except still another interpretation of religion entitled Theogonie. After a lingering illness he died in 1872 and was buried in Nürnberg.

    His private life was marred by three painful events: the death of an infant daughter, a severely wounded relationship with his wife after 1849 because of his infatuation with Johanna Kapp, the daughter of his best friend, and an intrusive search of his house and rifling of his papers and correspondence by the state secret police looking for his connection to a young radical.

    2. Early Idealistic Phase

    Feuerbach emerged from his doctoral training in 1828 as a speculative German idealist deeply influenced by Hegel whom he called his second father; but like many of the young Hegelians, he found himself involved only a decade later in an Oedipal rebellion. By the end of his career in 1871, he regarded himself as an atheist, materialist, and communist. Because his philosophical views changed so radically over the course of his career, there have been many conflicting scholarly attempts to distinguish periods in his philosophical development. In what follows I do not intend to propose another such periodization but will simply attempt to isolate those most important moments in his career with which any interpreter should be familiar.

    Between 1827 and 1839 Feuerbach wrote one dissertation and published four books, three of them histories of philosophy. His dissertation and the Thoughts on Death and Immortality (1830) are normally taken as the most systematic statements of his idealistic period. Interpreters disagree as to how independent from Hegel this position really is. S. Rawidowicz, for example, argues that both texts are "thoroughly Hegelian." The controversy swirls around Feuerbach's use of "Vernunft," "Geist," "Aufhebung", his conception of nature, the relationship of philosophy to religion, and, in the Thoughts, the concept of love.

    Both texts rest on the assumption of the identity of thought and being, and both rest on the claim that both nature and consciousness are grounded in Infinite Spirit which constitutes the self-identical actuality of all beings. One might even say that human reason is simply a mode of infinite reason. Nevertheless, there are Feuerbachian themes that will later prove distinctive: the notion that every self is driven by an inexorable desire to unite with another; that this desired relation of an I with a Thou leads to the apprehension of the species concept, that this species concept is reason, or, in the case of Thoughts, love, and, hence, that this species nature is identical in all human beings and constitutes their unity.

    Much of the argumentation of the dissertation is so abstract and complex, as Feuerbach himself later acknowledged, that it is difficult to make it intelligible within a brief compass. The stated aim is to show that by considering pure thought, knowing, and the unity of thinking and knowing, one must conclude that there is one, universal, and infinite reason which constitutes the essence of human beings. This entails arguments (a) that reason cannot be regarded as simply a tool or an instrument of the individual; (b) that contrary to Kant reason is only limited in individuals and not in the species; (c) that since individual sense experience and feelings cannot be communicated in concepts or universals, only thought can enable humans to communicate directly; (d) that since thinking constitutes the self that with which one encounters in another is also thought; and (e) that since reason constitutes the essence of the species, "insofar as I think, I am Thou or insofar as I think, I am all men" (GW I:19).

    Most of the complex, abstract argument arises from Feuerbach's attempts to differentiate between the thought of individuals, which is determinate and finite, and that mode of thought which he wants to claim is one, universal, and infinite. To do this, he first distinguishes between consciousness and self-consciousness. The former is purely formal and empty. But when the self becomes self-conscious, which is to say, has its own empty form as its own object — thought thinking itself — it is "infinite" in the then technical sense that it is not determined from without.

    This distinction is then overlaid with another: between thought (Denken) and knowing (Erkenntnis). Thought may be said to be consciousness that is unmediated. Knowing, by contrast, is thought that has become concrete, which is to say, is "characterized by its relation to specific, individual things … " (GW I: 37). Here Feuerbach places his emphasis on the I-thou relationship which is to play such a large role in his later thought, although differently conceived. When the I encounters the other, it comes to the dual consciousness of being both an I and a member of the species, which is to say that the notion of self-identity is twofold: the recognition of one's own species nature and the recognition that the other is also a member of the species. This species notion is an abstraction, exemplified abstractly only in numerous individual beings that pass away. And so, just as the species in nature is constituted by the coming-to-be and passing away of individuals, so self-consciousness has its present existence only in the finite and individual "knowings" which constitute its knowing activity. Still, self-consciousness dissolves all that is individual and determinate equally into nothing. Thought takes only its own essence as its object. Thought thinks itself.

    Even friendly commentators on this argument have argued that it is confused; for example, Wartofsky notes that the other is not a particular individual but only thought itself. From an historical standpoint, however, it is important to point out that at this point in his career Feuerbach wanted to establish the activity of thinking as the essential form of human existence and that it is thought which constitutes the basis of human community. Although the arguments are frequently metaphysical and speculative, there is an anthropological and even a political thrust; namely, it is only in reasoning activity that the unity of human beings consist.

    Feuerbach's argument that Reason is one, universal, and infinite raises the question whether is appropriate to say that this infinite Reason is the metaphysical correlate of the Christian idea of God, as Hegel seemed willing to say. Even though it is clear from Feuerbach's letter to Hegel accompanying the dissertation that he wanted to be acknowledged as a worthy proponent of the Hegelian project, it is also clear that he differed from his "second father" in one important respect: namely, that the aim of philosophy should now be not only to develop "the concept in the form of its universality," but to destroy the prevailing notions of time, death, "and the person beyond finitude viewed as absolute … namely God" (GW XVII:106-108).

    It was the function of Feuerbach's first book Thoughts on Death and Immortality (1830) to demonstrate this incompatibility between Christianity and idealism and to show that the latter offered a way in which communal human life, though finite, could be more radically affirmed. But unlike the dissertation, the Thoughts was addressed not to other philosophers but to believers whom Feuerbach addressed in a near sermonic mode with the familiar German "Du". The hope for personal immortality, he insisted, is nothing but an expression of egoism, and the belief in a an absolute person is a rejection of infinite Spirit. In the culture of pre-March Germany, these attacks on popular Christian beliefs might have proved damaging enough, but Feuerbach then brashly added a series of satiric epigrams poking fun at pietists and naïve believers. He was dismissed and never again held an academic position.

    To minimize the charge that the book was heretical, Feuerbach's initial strategy was to argue (with some historical justification) that it was only in the modern Protestant period that the belief in personal immortality acquired the importance it had for Western religion and culture. He argued that it was not to be found in the Roman and Greek periods nor even in Middle Ages, in which the belief in immortality was only one article of faith among others. Only in the modern Protestant age, he claimed, had it acquired such overwhelming importance. This importance, in turn, is rooted in the Protestant emphasis on the union of the person with the historical person of Christ which over time focused everything on the feelings and deposition of the believer. The result was that "pure naked personhood" was regarded as the only substantial reality.

    There are three reasons this belief is so important. First of all, since personhood is restricted on all sides by nature and culture, the pietist has to believe that this life is unsatisfactory and, consequently, there must be a second better life. Secondly, the pietist believes that moral perfection is the essence of personality and since time is required to achieve this perfection, there must be an endless time to achieve it. And finally, since only personhood has absolute reality for the pietist, only the subjective and the individual may be considered real.

    Feuerbach's rhetorical strategy was not to attack these beliefs from a rationalistic and skeptical posture but to try to convince his religious readers that these popular beliefs do not exemplify "true religion." True religion, true humility, will not be concerned about individual salvation but should be "a matter of God, of the will of God, of God in and for himself" (GW I:201; TDI 18). And he argued that there are two crucial determinates of the concept of God which, when analyzed, the pietists must acknowledge are incompatible with their traditional beliefs: God is love, and God is infinite spirit.

    To confess that God is love, Feuerbach argued, is already to transcend the popular conception of God as absolute person. And whereas in the Dissertation he had appealed to the unity and universal identity of reasoning, here he used the language of love. Love, he argued, is the unity of personhood and when one enters into the bond of love "essence becomes object of essence, essence touches essence, and in this unity of essence, the separated individual and particular being of both of you disappear with all distinctions and divisions in and between you" (GW I:227; TDI 38). True religion, then is to understand that the desire for a separate life after death is egoism and to embrace death as the total dissolution of the self. Death is the place, so to speak, in God where all particular beings become one, where they are consumed and abolished.

    Further, to claim that God is an absolute person is inevitably to conceive of God as finite, as one being existing alongside of other beings. It is to deny God as Spirit for God cannot be Spirit if he is distinguished from nature because then nature falls outside of his essence. Rather God can be Spirit only if nature is included with the divine being. Spirit is the unity of nature and personhood. "God is everything, his essence and being are all essences, not the being of something" (GW I:212; TDI 27).

    But to argue that God as Spirit is infinite is to add another reason for the finality of death. If one accepts infinite spirit as pouring its life out into the finite, then God is the ground of this transitoriness and finitude. Consequently, Feuerbach concluded, if you acknowledge God to be the ground of your existence then you must also acknowledge God to be the ground of your finitude, your not-being. All determination and limits are a form of not-being, hence your existence is possible only together with the condition of death (GW I: 233; TDI 42).

    Much of the text is less explicitly religious and more metaphysical. There are long sections attempting to show that determinate life is necessarily spread out in space and time and is embodied, and that human beings are both conscious and spirit but that this consciousness is only possible because the "universal essence is an object to you" This series of arguments is often compounded with subsidiary arguments that a modern readers can only call "quaint", as one commentator does. For example, at one point Feuerbach argues that "it is absolutely certain that, in all of creation, there exists but one animated and ensouled point, and that this point is the earth, which is the soul and purpose of the great cosmos" (GW I: TDI 62). But the overall thrust of the text is clear: all creatures share an identical essence, a pure Spirit which is universal and self-identical in all persons and that although individual and particularity disappear at death, the human essence remains. And in the final pages, Feuerbach returns to the religious rhetoric once more:

    God is life, love, consciousness, Spirit, nature, time, space, everything, in both its unity and its distinction. As a loving being, you exist in the love of God; as a conscious being, you exist in the consciousness of God; as a thinking being, you exist in the Spirit of God; as a living being, you exist in infinite life itself … . (GW I 405; TDI 173)

    It is not surprising, perhaps, that some contemporary liberal Christian theologians have attempted to extract the "existential" religious truths of Feuerbach's argument from the abstruse speculative idealism in which they are imbedded. They note his critique of modernity's preoccupation with personal immortality and the individualism upon which it rests, his insistence on the embodied nature of human life and the rejection of a soul-body dualism which is implied in the doctrine of immorality, his communal understanding of human nature, and, above all, his opposition to life after death because of its depreciation and affirmation of this life. It is true, that Feuerbach makes these points, but it is also the case that at this stage in his thought, they required the vehicle of Idealism. In retrospect, what is interesting is how they increasingly will seem to him to require naturalism.

    3. Criticism of Hegel

    As late as the middle thirties Feuerbach was widely regarded in Hegelian circles as one of their rising stars. The Thoughts seemed to confirm this as did the several articles he wrote for the Berliner Jahrbücher, one of which was a defense of Hegel against the anti-Hegelians. Nevertheless, there was one important point on which Feuerbach had always differed from his master: the relation of Idealism to Christianity. Hegel had argued that his philosophy only brought to clarity in the form of ideas (Begriffe) which Christian theology had expressed in the form of imaginative symbolism (Vorstellung). Consequently, Hegel could consider Christianity to be the "Consummate Religion". Feuerbach, by contrast, regarded Christianity as a religion of "pure selfhood." A "true religion" would abandon both of those doctrines so dear to the heart of the naïve Christian believer: the doctrines of immortality and of a personal deity.

    Feuerbach's suspicion that Hegelianism was incompatible with Christianity received support from D.F. Strauss' The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835). The book was devastating on two fronts: first, it showed in great historical detail that most of the traditional Christian claims about Jesus' supernatural activity were mythical and could not support Christian doctrine. Second, given these facts, it was impossible to claim, as Hegel did, that the Idea was fully embodied in an individual. For Strauss, the Idea cannot lavish its fullness on one exemplar. Moreover, Feuerbach's conviction that Christian faith was inimical to reason and philosophy had been deepened by his own studies of the history of modern philosophy, especially his studies of Leibniz and Pierre Bayle.

    Sometime around 1837 or 1838, Feuerbach was rethinking his relationship to Hegel specifically and to Idealism in general. The public break came in 1839 with the essay "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy" in Arnold Ruge's Jahrbücher, then published in Zurich to avoid censorship. The difficulty with Hegel's philosophy, Feuerbach argued, is that everything in nature and history is seen from the standpoint of development and in such a way that the last stage of this development is regarded as a totality that includes in itself all the previous stages. The result is a not only a complete misrepresentation of nature but of culture and religion, because it ignores all their variety and particularities. It is in this way, for example, that Christianity is determined as the Absolute religion.

    The same error is made in philosophy. Hegel's own philosophy is exempt from the assumption that governs the treatment of others; namely, as the perspective of one philosopher whose problems are cast up by his immediate predecessors and, hence, has its own presuppositions and problems. Rather, Hegel, by virtue his claim of beginning only with the structure of Reason itself as manifested in his Logic, regards himself as the "speculative Dalai Lama," the incarnation of Geist itself. But just as Strauss has shown that there can be no incarnation in history so there can be no perfect manifestation of the universal in one philosophy. Indeed, "incarnation and history are absolutely incompatible" (GW IX: 21; Hanfi, p. 57).

    Another difficulty inherent in Hegel's philosophy is that because his Logic is thought both to describe the structures of reality itself as well as govern the dialectical form which the philosopher uses to explicate it, Hegel confuses the demonstration of his ideas with the substance of philosophy. Demonstration is merely the means by which a philosopher strips the form of "mine-ness" so that the other person may understand it. But the form which a philosopher uses to demonstrate is not the subject matter itself, but only the medium. Hegel, by contrast, has made the form into the essence.

    Then there is Hegel's unremitting concern with abstractions which ignore the concreteness of sensuous reality; for example, the notion of "pure being" and the equally vacuous "nothingness," which if it signifies anything only signifies the limits of thought. Granted that language employs universals, this does not mean that what the sensuous consciousness encounters is not the particular. Sensuous consciousness does not deal with universals but concrete, individual reality. For sensuous consciousness, all words are merely signs by which it achieve its aims in the shortest possible way. Here, language is irrelevant.

    All these problems in Hegel, Feuerbach concluded, are rooted in his assumption of Absolute identity, an assumption which is beyond criticism and which he had made from the very beginnings of his philosophical career. Idealism is committed to the unity of subject and object, spirit and nature, thought and being. And the way idealists handle the problem of the objectivity of nature is to appeal to an Absolute subject in which the predicates "nature" and "spirit" are simply attributes of the same thing, the Absolute. Hegelian philosophy is really a "rational mysticism", which both attracts us and repels. The entire enterprise completely ignores the system of secondary causes that constitutes what we call nature and which can only be grasped empirically. Nature is the proper concern of human knowledge and all speculation that seeks to go beyond nature is futile.

    Three years later, the criticism of Hegel has been embodied in a manifesto, Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, which was aimed at nothing less than the overthrow of speculative philosophy and the establishment of a "new philosophy" based on empiricism and "sensuousness". The Principles, which itself is a revision of an early monograph, Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy, contains a highly compressed interpretation of the history of the modern philosophy, an analysis of the contradictions in Hegelianism, as well as a brief statement of the new philosophy, all in the space of a few pages. Even though commentators acknowledge the essay is confusing, the criticisms of Hegel are clear.

    Feuerbach argues that Hegel's speculative metaphysics of "pure spirit" really must be understood as the culmination of movement that originated in the speculative theology of the Middle Ages when the naïve notion of a personal deity was conceptualized as an infinite, omniscient, omni-benevolent, necessary being. Although this theism permitted the naïve believer to conceive of the deity as a sensuous, loving, personal being, the god of the metaphysicians like Descartes and Leibniz was a pure mind abstracted and separated from all material beings. Since this pure mind, unlike human minds, was not involved in the obscure conceptions that arise by being determined by matter, it is thought thinking itself. "Absolute idealism is nothing but the realized divine mind of Leibnizian theism…" (GW IX:227; PPF 14).

    The problem faced by both the earlier theism and the new speculative philosophy, however, is the existence of matter, which is conceived as the opposite of mind or spirit. Theism is perplexed by how it is possible for God to be infinite and yet removed from matter which is outside of it and limits it. And speculative philosophy is also puzzled by how spirit can produce matter. The only consistent answer to this problem, Feuerbach argued, was Spinoza's pantheism, in which matter and spirit were viewed as two of the infinite number of divine attributes. To say this, however, is to say that pantheism is the necessary result of theism, is consistent theism. But if pantheism is the logical development of theism, then it is indistinguishable from atheism because matter is made an attribute of God. Theism, which considered God to be immaterial spirit, has been transformed into "theological materialism."

    The ingenious aspect of Hegel's treatment of this issue, Feuerbach claimed, is his treatment of matter, the Achilles' heel of all Idealism. Hegel argued that the divine Subject objectifies itself in nature and then struggles with this nature in order to achieve self-conscious freedom. Matter is the self-expression (Selbstentäussserung) of Spirit. Matter is taken up as only one moment in the struggle of the divine life. But however ingenious this solution, it is unstable. Hegel, Feuerbach argued, as did Bruno Bauer, may be read either as a theist who recognizes the truth of materialism by viewing the history of nature and humanity as the life of God or, on the other hand, he may be seen as a friend of theology because he negates the truth of atheism by having God take up matter into his own life. He "negates the negation" and the negation of the negation is the affirmation of God. Thus, Feuerbach concluded, we are in the end once more back in the bosom of Christianity theology.

    The Hegelian philosophy is the last magnificent attempt to restore Christianity, which was lost and wrecked, through philosophy and, indeed, to restore Christianity — as is generally done in the modern era — by identifying it with the negation of Christianity. (GW IX: PPF 34)

    Compounded with this argument are criticisms of Hegel that arise from Feuerbach's own "new philosophy" that is based on sensuousness and the encounter with the concreteness of reality. For Hegel, the identity of thought and being is the central assumption, and thought can only deal with abstraction. But Feuerbach argues that thought cannot produce existence and that real objects are given only when a being affects us, when our self-activity finds a boundary or resistance in the activity of another being (GW IX:316; PPF 34). And these encounters take place in space and time where space is not considered merely as "negative determination", as Hegel does. It follows that one should not think of the human primarily as the bearer of reason but as an embodied being in concrete and sensuous relationships with other embodied beings.

    These criticisms bring us to a consideration of Feuerbach's own philosophy which has Sinnlichkeit (sensuousness) at its core, a notion that itself raises philosophical issues but which may best be discussed when we return to Feuerbach's mature point of view.

    4. The Interpretation of Religion

    Feuerbach is best known for his book The Essence of Christianity which burst like a bombshell on the German intellectual scene in the early Forties and was soon translated into English by the English novelist, George Eliot. It quickly became like a Bible to an entire generation of intellectuals who thought of themselves as reformers and revolutionaries, including Arnold Ruge, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Richard Wagner, and David F. Strauss, who wrote that the book was the "truth for our times."

    Superficially, the central thesis is deceptively simple: the self comes to consciousness over against another self and in the process of self-differentiation realizes that it is a member of a species. The imagination under the pressure of wish, feeling, and the imagination seizes on the idea of the species and converts it into an individual being.

    Man — this is the mystery of religion — objectifies his being and then again makes himself an object to the objectivized image of himself thus converted into a subject … . (GW 5:71; EC 29f).

    But this simplicity vanishes as soon as the reader turns to the first chapter. There one is confronted with argumentation and terminology that are obscure and speculative by contemporary standards. It is argued that (a) religion is identical with self-consciousness, (b) that consciousness is in the strict sense identical with the "infinite nature of consciousness," and (c) that a limited consciousness is no consciousness. These sweeping assertions are then interwoven with such claims as "man is nothing without an object" or that "the object to which a subject necessarily relates is nothing else than the subjects own objective nature" (GW V:28-32; EC. 1-4). The reader, hoping to understand the ramifications of the simpler thesis, is suddenly wrestling with obscure arguments that seem to be the tip of a greater conceptual iceberg.

    The analogy of an iceberg is apt because as Marx Wartofsky has shown, the allusive nature of the book is best accounted for if one understands that it is only intelligible against its Hegelian background; more particularly, The Phenomenology of Spirit. Not only does it recapitulate the theory of self-differentiation in that work but the central ideas of objectification, alienation, and reconciliation are drawn from it. Indeed, what made Feuerbach's book appear to be "the truth for our times" was that it enabled an entire generation of young intellectuals to appropriate the most important elements of Hegel's philosophy of Spirit without accepting his metaphysics and his endorsement of Christianity. Feuerbach, it is said, simply stood Hegel's philosophy of Spirit on its head. Just as Absolute Spirit achieved self-knowledge by objectifying itself in the finite world, so the finite spirit comes to self-knowledge by externalizing itself in the idea of God and then realizing that this externalization is only the form in which the human spirit discovers its own essential nature.

    So considered, the argument is an example of Feuerbach's "transformative method," which he first stated in his Vorläufige Thesen and which Karl Marx thought was Feuerbach's contribution to philosophy. The method states that Hegel's philosophy is based on the reification of abstract predicates like "thought" which are then treated as agents. Since this is the clue to understanding Hegel, it follows that what is valid in Hegel can be appropriated by inverting the subject and predicate and restoring them to their proper relationship. For example, instead of construing the predicate "thinking" as an agent, one transforms the equation and asserts that thinking is the activity of existing individuals. Thought comes out of being, not being out of thought.

    Although the central argument is undoubtedly influenced by Hegel, there are other important elements intertwined with it that make it misleading to say that the book is simply an inversion of the Hegelian paradigm. One of the most important of these elements is Feuerbach's interpretation of the role of feeling. Unlike Hegel who regarded religion as basically the apprehension of ideas in symbolic form, Feuerbach believed, with Schleiermacher, that religion was principally a matter of feeling which then manifests itself in longing. Moreover, he regarded feeling as "unrestricted subjectivity;" that is, as unfettered by reason or nature. It assumes the deepest wishes of the heart to be true.

    Longing is the necessity of feeling, and feeling longs for a personal God. But this longing after the personality of God is true, earnest, and profound only when it is the longing for one personality… Longing says: There must be a personal God, i.e., it cannot be that there is not; satisfied feeling says he is. (GW V:257f; EC 146)

    It is in the chapters dealing with feeling that Feuerbach that strike the modern reader as most contemporary because what we find there is a picture of the human self in the grip of the rage to live and longing for a reality that can grants its deepest wishes. In feeling "the whole world, with all its pomp and glory, is nothing weighed against human feeling" (GW V:220; EC 121). This "omnipotence of feeling" breaks through all the limits of understanding and manifests itself in several religious beliefs, all of which Feuerbach explored: the faith in providence, which is a form of confidence in the infinite value of one's own existence; faith in miracle, the confidence that the gods are unfettered by natural necessity and can realize one's wishes in an instant; and faith in immortality, the certainty that the gods will not permit the individual to perish.

    Feeling, however, is not the only faculty involved in the religious objectification. The second is imagination (Phantasie) which Feuerbach argued is the original organ of religion. It is original for three reasons. First of all, the imagination, unlike abstract thought, produces images that have the power to stir the feelings and emotions. Human beings are sensuous creatures who require sensuous images as vehicles for their hopes and dreams. Second, the imagination corresponds to personal feelings because it can set aside limits and all laws painful to the feelings. It can make objective to man the immediate, absolutely unlimited satisfactions of his subjective wishes. Third, the imagination, unlike feeling, can deal with abstractions taken from the real world. In this sense it is a mode of representation, but, unlike thought, drapes its abstractions in sensuous imagery.

    The imagination, however, is deceptive in the nature of the case, especially when it becomes allied with feeling and wish. It can cheat the reason. It can screen contradictions and set aside limits. It can exercise its deceptive power by confusing the abstract with the concrete, which is precisely what has happened in the Christian religion. The imagination has taken the species characteristics of human consciousness — thought, will, and feeling — and unified them in a single, perfect divine being.

    God is the idea of the species as an individual…freed from all limits which exist in the consciousness and feeling of the individual … . (GW V:268f; EC 153)

    The strategy of Feuerbach's book is to convince his readers that this explanation best accounts for the form and content of Christian doctrines and practices as well as the contradictions in them. In Part I, which he regards as positive, he attempts to show how each Christian doctrine — creation, Incarnation, Logos, Trinity, immortality — is best understood either as an objectification of some distinctively human predicate or as an imaginative expression of wish and feeling. The doctrine of God and of the Trinity are examples of the former and the practice of prayer and the belief in providence and immortality are examples of the latter. In Part II, "The False or Theological Essence of Religion," he attempts to show what is harmful in Christianity when it transforms its naïve expressions into theology.

    One of the most sensational chapters in the book has to do with Feuerbach's interpretation of the doctrine of the Incarnation. He had argued that Christians assign to the deity those predicates which are the perfections of the human species and which are absolute for it. A predicate is not divine because God possesses it; rather, God possesses it because it is in itself thought to be divine. Without these predicates, God would be a defective being. Consequently, when Christians affirm that God is love, it is the predicate that is decisive. The Christian could not permit the possibility of a subject behind the predicate, so to speak, who could or could not love. But if love is the defining predicate, and if the Christian is affirming that God renounced his Godhead for the sake of humanity, then Feuerbach argued that this is an unconscious confession that love is more important than God.

    Who then is our Saviour and Redeemer? God or Love? Love; for God as God has not saved us, but Love, which transcends the difference between the divine and human personality. As god has renounced himself out of love, so we, out of love, should renounce God; for if we do not sacrifice God to love, we sacrifice love to God, and in spite of the predicate of love, we have the God — the evil being — of religious fanaticism. (GW V:109; EC 53)

    Just as Hegel held that the Absolute alienates itself when it objectifies itself in creation, Feuerbach argued that the human alienates itself when it objectifies its nature in the Divine. He argued, first, that the very act of attributing human predicates to an external divine being necessarily withdraws these same predicates from the human species to which they properly belong by denying to itself what it attributes to God. Secondly, he argues that when individual feeling is the focus of religion there is a loss of species consciousness and, consequently, a loss of unity with nature and other human beings. It involves a discrepancy between a given individual and his/her essential nature. The only valid object of human veneration should be the species/being.

    This argument will probably be convincing only to those who embrace the Hegelian notion of Spirit. But in the second part of his book, Feuerbach leveled a number of criticisms at Christianity that do not depend on this paradigm. Here the crucial term is not "alienation" but "contradictions" and the latter arise when the naïve and involuntary projection of religion is made into an intentional object of theology. Among these contradictions are those doctrines that exhibit the paradoxes of the religious illusion, logical contradictions which arise out of mutually incompatible predicates attributed to the deity, and, finally, incompatible virtues that are inherent in religious faith. For example, Feuerbach argues that one of the contradictions in Christianity is that it teaches that the truth will make human beings free but it also corrupts the "sentiment of truth" by claiming that God revealed himself only at a particular time and place and enables some to believe and not others. This necessarily leads to superstition and sophistry.

    Two of these contradictions are especially important. The first is that the theological notion of God contains two incompatible types of predicates: metaphysical and personal. On the one hand, the divine being is said to be omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and impassible; on the other hand, this God is a loving, compassionate being moved by human suffering. Contemporary critics of theism have often remarked on this, especially process philosophers, but Feuerbach tried to explain why the contradiction is inherent in theistic religions. He argues that the metaphysical predicates spring out of the objectification of the human attribute of reason while the personal predicates arise out of the projection of love. The second contradiction is not so much intellectual as psychological. It is the "inward disunion" that arises out of the difference between faith and love. Faith, Feuerbach argued, depends on a determinate intellectual judgment as to what is true and false. The concept of heresy is inherent in a religion when faith is made the primary virtue. It follows that those who do not accept the Christian revelation are not merely in error but damned. Faith is essentially partisan. This is why Christians have a special obligation to evangelize non-believers and to reject those among themselves who do not adhere to correct belief, to dogma. But so construed, faith stands opposed to love because love is by its very nature universal and inclusive. This contradiction accounts for why Christian theologians themselves have from the beginning attempted to soften or marginalize the concept of Hell.

    Feuerbach was willing to acknowledge that Christian faith does give "a person a peculiar sense of his own dignity and importance" (GW V:413; EC 249). In this sense he might have agreed with Kierkegaard who later argued that the notion of an individual recognized by the Creator of the Universe stretches individual consciousness to its extreme limits. But he also argued that this same belief is not only narcissistic but contributes to the arrogance and fanaticism of Christianity. Furthermore, this dignity is conveyed circuitously, so speak. Believers do not possess dignity in themselves but only acquire it mediated through a deity just as a servant sometimes identifies himself with the social class of the employer.

    Feuerbach's book received criticism from two quarters: expectedly from Christian theologians but surprisingly, from the atheists Max Stirner and Bruno Bauer. A well-known Protestant theologian argued that Feuerbach's thesis might apply to Catholicism but not to Protestantism, and Stirner complained that despite Feuerbach's criticism of Idealism, he had merely substituted another abstraction, the human essence, as the basis of morality and veneration. Both criticisms forced Feuerbach to shift his position although the latter criticism shook Feuerbach most deeply. He took care of the Protestant criticism by writing a small book on Luther that enabled him to emphasize even more than he had that the certitude of Christian faith is grounded in a sensuous anthropomorphism in which human welfare is the aim of the Divine. For Luther, everything depends on the conviction that God became man "for us". To believe in Christ, he argued, is to believe that God has presented mankind with a visible exact image of himself. And as against Stirner, Feuerbach moved towards nominalism and conceded that in his book he had been "still haunted by the abstract Rational Being…as distinct from the actual sensuous being of nature and humanity" (GW X: 188). From this point on, his writings emphasized human sensuousness, the concreteness of experience, and the rejection of any dualism of spirit and matter.

    Perhaps smarting from these criticisms, Feuerbach once more revised his explanation of religion in 1845 with a small book entitled Das Wesen der Religion which then became the basis for his Heidelberg Lectures on the Essence of Religion in 1848. Although he sought to convey the impression that his revisions were only minor, a careful reading reveals that he no longer appeals to the Hegelian paradigm of Spirit coming to itself but argues that the origin and ground of religions is the encounter with nature. The human self is an embodied sensuous being immersed in a field of natural beings that impinge on it and upon which it is dependent. Because the human being does not first relate to nature through abstract thought but is concerned with those qualities of nature that strike it emotionally, it does not perceive an objective nature determined by laws but the physiognomic character of things. Things in nature appear to it as beautiful or disturbing or comfortable or threatening. Indeed, it takes considerable social conditioning and education for these perceived quality of nature to be treated as merely subjective. The imagination or Phantasie of archaic humanity fastens on these immediate qualities and under the pressure of desire and wish transforms the beings of nature into ensouled beings, beings that have intentions. Thrown into a world in which it does not feel at home, the human self wishes to change the uncanny being of nature into a known and comfortable nature. Monotheism arises when civilizations sufficiently evolve to regard nature as a whole.

    The tendency to personify nature is reinforced by the fact that the imagination is in the service of egoism and the drive-to-happiness (Glückseligkeitstrieb). Impelled by the love of life, the humans self instinctively transforms its desires into a being capable of granting them, into a subjective, feeling being. Religious faith is basically the confidence that the gods are concerned with the well-being of human beings in general and the individual in particular. But the imagination does not create out of nothing. It requires raw materials, whether these be the impressionable events and being in nature, sense impressions, or even abstractions that the mind has drawn from sensuous experience.

    The differences among religions are due in part to the difference in the raw materials upon which the imagination works. In archaic times, the imagination took flight from natural objects and things — earth, fire, animals, and astronomical bodies. But the imagination can also be fueled by historical personages, such as the Buddha or Jesus, or, indeed, by abstractions themselves, such as "the whole" or "Being as such". For example, Feuerbach explained the difference between polytheism and monotheism as a result of the imagination being fascinated by the multiplicity of beings, in the former case, and by the coherence and unity of the world, in the latter case.

    There are even different ways in which a given abstraction, such as the coherence of nature, can provide fuel for the imagination. One can distinguish two types of monotheism, the metaphysical, which is characteristic of Christianity, and the practical-poetic, which is characteristic of the Hebrew Bible and the Koran. In the latter, the activity of God is indistinguishable from the activity of nature so that it is indifferent whether one says that God or nature provides food, makes the rain to fall, or endows creatures with sight. Because nature is omnipresent, God is omnipresent; because nature is all-powerful, God is all-powerful. The Christian imagination, however, closes its eyes to nature, separates the personified essence of nature entirely from sense perception and transforms what was originally nature into an abstract unified metaphysical being. Consequently, while there is something lively and animated about Yahweh and Allah, the god of the Christians is a "withered, dried-out God in whom all traces of His origin in nature is effaced" (GW VI: 362; LER 321).

    Whereas Feuerbach had sought in The Essence of Christianity to show how every Christian doctrine could be explained as a projection of the species concept or as a wishful illusion, the burden of his Lectures is to reveal the intellectual errors arising from the misinterpretations of nature and, especially, the misinterpretation of monotheism; that is, when Christians unify the whole of nature under the abstraction "Being". Consequently, many of the lectures are discussions of the so-called "proofs" for the existence of God and they plod unimaginatively over ground that has been packed down by philosophers such as David Hume. But there are some interesting lectures based on the assumption that the secret of metaphysics and theology is the transformation of names and universals into causes. And there is also an interesting lecture on how the dualism of soul and body arises where he argued, among other things, that our sense of two distinct ontological realms arises because we utilize two distinct linguistic categories for thinking about each sphere. But it does not follow that because we use one sort of language to talk about the body and another about the mind that they are separable. The distinction has to do with the perspectives we are compelled to adopt, and not with reality itself.

    Just as the explanation of religion is different in the Lectures from what it is in the Essence of Christianity, so, too, are the criticisms. In the earlier work, Christianity was a form of alienation from the human essence. In the latter, Christianity is a disorder of the desires and, hence, a grotesque form of self-understanding. The Christian's desires, unlike the pagan's, "exceed the nature of man, the limits of this life, of this real sensuous world" (GW VI: 259; LER 231). Christians do not accept and affirm themselves as parts of nature. And this reveals itself in two forms: (a) the wish not to be bound by the causal nexus, as seen in the importance given to miracles, and (b) the desire for immortality, a personal existence free from necessity. For a Christian, the "only guarantee that his supernatural desires will be fulfilled lies in his conviction that nature itself is dependent on a supernatural being and owes its existence solely to the arbitrary exercise of this being's will" (GW VI: 262; LER 234). Christianity is a form of diseased Eros resulting in fantastic and unearthly wishes that involve a rejection of embodied, sensuous existence.

    It could be argued, as Van Harvey has, that the explanation and interpretation of religion in these later works is a more adequate and less speculative than proposed in the Christianity, with one exception. In the earlier view, Feuerbach attributed the psychological hold of Christianity on humans to lie in its assurance of personal recognition by the Divine and the hope of immortality. Consequently, Feuerbach concedes that religion serves an existential function that no other human practice has yet filled; and he argued that it can only be banished if human beings were to give up their narcissistic hope for recognition and their desire to live forever. But if, as he seems to argue in these later works, religion is simply a misinterpretation of how to use nature, then it will diminish as our understanding of nature increases. Religion, in short, is a prescientific mode of thought. Anthropology and psychology, I think, tend to support the earlier view.

    Feuerbach returned once again to the interpretation of religion in 1857 and published Theogonie nach den quellen des hebräischen und christlichen Altertums. A second, unchanged version appeared in 1866 under a slightly altered title. Here Feuerbach concentrated upon the subjective grounds of religion. The argument is that the gods do not spring out of the human feeling of dependence or the encounter with nature but are, rather, the reified wishes of humankind. As a conscious being bent on its own fulfillment, the person has purposes, needs, and desires, the shadowside of which is the awareness that these may be frustrated. Hence, all wishes are accompanied by anxiety and fear, a pervading sense of the nothingness that clings to all human activity. With the wish that this nothingness be removed, the conception of the gods arises. When one sees the many intermediate links in the chain between the wish and the realization of that wish the imagination seizes upon the notion of a being that is not subject to limitation and failure, a being that can do what it wishes to do. The gods represent the unity of willing (Wollen) and being able to succeed (Können). A god is simply a being in which this distinction has been annulled. "Where there are no wishes there are no gods". One might call the book a phenomenology of the wish because the discussion ranges imaginatively over the relationship between the fundamental wish for happiness and such cultural phenomena as systems of morality, law, conscience, the taking of oaths, dreams, miracles, pain, the desire for immortality, and, of course, religion. The arguments are copiously illustrated from classical Greek, Hebraic, and early Christian sources. Indeed, one of the defects of the book is that the arguments tend to deteriorate into a mass of learned historical and philological discussion, a defect the Bolin and Jodl edition of Feuerbach's works in 1907 tried to remedy by the dubious device of eliminating the illustrative materials.

    5. The "New" Philosophy

    Until two decades ago, Feuerbach's criticism of Hegel and his interpretation of religion were regarded as the high point of his philosophical development and everything after this was viewed as philosophically uninteresting. Sidney Hook could regard his theory of religion as still "the most comprehensive and persuasive hypothesis available for the study of comparative religion" (Hook, 221) but discuss his later views under the rubric "degenerate sensationalism". Marx Wartofsy, otherwise one of Feuerbach's most charitable interpreters, would write over 340 pages devoted to assessing Feuerbach's development up to The Essence of Christianity but after two chapters conclude that the later works were vague, sketchy, and fragmentary.

    In the last quarter of a decade, however, there has been a renewed interest in several themes in Feuerbach's later thought: his social theory of the self, his emphasis on the embodied character of the human organism and the implications of this for the theory of concept formation; the similarity of his theory of species-being to that of the young Marx. In his book Emancipatorische Sinnlichkeit: Ludwig Feuerbach's Anthropologischer Materialismus , Alfred Schmidt, for example, argues that Feuerbach's materialist realism is not just one realism among others but has important implications for the aims and methods of philosophy in general, especially his emphasis on praxis, daily life, and the human need for external objects. Unlike other philosophers before him who emphasized self-consciousness, Feuerbach, it is said, regarded the I as a bodily, temporal, spatially conditioned thing, only an abstraction from materiality, and this, in turn, has important implications for understanding human nature, the aims of society, and the conditions for human liberation.

    It is difficult to provide a brief, not to speak of critical, commentary of Feuerbach's "new philosophy" for several reasons. First of all, just as he went through several phases in his idealist period, so also he continued to modify his empiricism. The early treatment of the role of the senses, for example, is different in important respects from the discussion in the later essay "Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism" (1863-4). More importantly, his position on materialism itself seems to waver: sometimes he repudiated a reductionist view but at least at one famous point he embraced it, as in the endorsement of Moleschott's "food chemistry," the view that differences in human cultures are determined by diet and which prompted the infamous sentence "Man is what he eats." Secondly, there is the matter of philosophical style. It is not only that in his later writings he was determined to avoid professional philosophy and a precise vocabulary, but he often avoided what some would say is the necessary condition of philosophy: arguments rather than bare assertions. Whereas in those writings critical of Hegel, there are often sophisticated philosophical arguments, the later writings are often rhetorical and vague on crucial issues; for example, the relationships among immediacy, perception, thought, and truth.

    Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental themes that occur again and again in the later Feuerbach, even though, as we shall see, commentators have differed among themselves concerning the interpretation of these themes, differences occasioned in part by Feuerbach's own ambiguities and sometimes by his changing views. Chief among these themes are: (1) that the human organism is related to the world through its body and the senses (Sensuousness); (2) that the species-being (essence) of man is contained only in community which, however, "rests on the reality of the distinction between I and thou" (GW IX: 339; PPF 91); (3) that mind and body are just two aspects of one material organism; (4) that this organism is animated by an overwhelming drive for fulfillment (Glückseligkeitstrieb) which, in turn, manifests itself in needs and desires. Of these needs, the need for human community is fundamental as are also certain biological needs. Given these themes, the two dominant philosophical problems that emerge are (a) how to delineate the relationship between perception and thought in order to give an intelligible account of knowing and (b) how, after basing human nature on a drive to fulfillment, he can reconcile this with his ethics of altruism.

    The first systematic articulation of these themes occurred in the two monographs published in 1842 and 1843: Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy, and Principles of the Philosophy of the Future. Both are brief and although the criticisms of Hegel are clearly intelligible, the statements constituting the "new philosophy" are often rhetorical and aphoristic, which is one of the reasons they are often judged to be unsatisfactory as philosophy. For example, "Love is objectively as well as subjectively the criterion of being, of truth, and of reality" (GW IX:319; PPF 54). Nevertheless, one may discern the outlines of a position that some recent commentators have thought worth developing. If some of the elements of this outline now sound commonplace, it is worth reminding the reader how powerful they seemed to a generation struggling to formulate an alternative to the dominant, institutionalized Hegelianism.

    Many of the themes are, of course, formulated in antithesis to idealism and, hence, an affirmation of some mode of materialism. The argument is that modern philosophy in its search for something immediately certain founded itself on self-consciousness, that is, the thinking ego. But this self-consciousness was only a being conceived and mediated through abstraction. The new philosophy claims that "certainty and immediately are only given by the senses, perception, and feeling" (GW IX: 320; PPF 55). Only the sensuous is clear and certain. Hence, "the secret of immediate knowledge is sensuousness" (GW IX: 321; PPF 55).

    Whereas the old philosophy started by saying, "I am an abstract and merely a thinking being to whose essence the body does not belong," the new philosophy, on the other hand, begins by saying, "I am a real, sensuous being and indeed, the body in its totality is my ego, my essence (Wesen) itself." (GW IX: 320; PPF 54)

    Consequently, the new philosopher thinks in harmony and peace with the senses. If the old philosophy thought in terms of that "realization" of the idea, the new philosophy argues that the realization of the idea can only mean that it makes itself an object of the senses. If the old philosophy thought the knowledge could only be conveyed in universals, the new philosophy is concerned with concrete individuals, with "this" and "that." The new philosophy is dedicated to thinking of the concrete not in an abstract but concrete manner. If the old philosophy was concerned with Being as such, the new philosophy considers "being as such" as only the name for the totality of interacting beings, and these beings are given as really existing beings.

    Being as the object of being-and this alone is truly, and deserves the name of being-is sensuous being; that is the being involved in sense perception, feeling, and love. (GW IX: 317; PPf 52)

    As I have noted, the anthropology that underlies the new philosophy is one of the elements that some contemporaries have found interesting. The human body is said to be the way in which the human organism is in the world. It is through the body that the "I" is related to the environment impinging upon it and through which the world is defined and appropriated. The body is always situated in some definite time and space. Consequently, Feuerbach argued that time and space are not mere forms of appearance but are conditions of being, laws of existence.

    To-be-here (Dasein) is the primary being, the primary determination. Here I am — this is the first sign of a real, living being. (GW IX:327; PPF 62)

    And Dasein, in turn, is constituted by its own unique constellation of senses for mediating the world to consciousness. Each human sense organ has its own unique need for satisfaction and, hence, experiences joy as well as pain, and each is an instrument of consciousness. One might even say that the body is constituted in its mode of being as feeling (Empfindung). Sinnlichkeit, then, is the link between the body and the psyche.

    Although the human being is embodied in the world and has this world given to it through the senses. Feuerbach, like Nietzsche, argued that the human being has a species-specific perspective on the world. But unlike Nietzsche, Feuerbach argued that the human being unlike the animal, is not a particular but a universal being. He meant by this that by possessing consciousness, the human organism is not a "limited and restricted being" but rather an unlimited and free being, for universality, unlimitedness, and freedom are inseparable" (GW IX: 335f; PPF 69). This universality does not consist in some special faculty such as reason but because "this freedom and this universality extend themselves over man's total being."

    It is just this language, which may strike some modern readers as arcane, that has proved interesting to neo-Marxists because in his discussion of alienated labor in the Paris Manuscripts of 1844, Marx had also appealed to the "universality" of the human "species-being (Gattungswesen). He had argued that although human beings were physical beings and live in relation to organic nature, they possess consciousness and therefore the realm in which man lives is more universal. He meant by this that all of "inorganic nature" can be assimilated by human consciousness and transformed by natural science so that it becomes integral to human life and activity. The universality of the human species consists in the fact that the whole of nature can serve not only as a direct means of life but as the object and instrument of its own distinctive life activity. Neo-Marxists, like J. Schmidt, have argued that Feuerbach was a precursor of Marx in this important respect. Man is a universal being in the sense that any given sense is elevated by consciousness above its bondage to a particular need and attains independent and theoretical significance. Even the lowest senses of smell and taste "elevate themselves in man to intellectual scientific acts" (GW IX:336; PPF 69).

    Feuerbach's notion that sensuousness is the unique way in which persons related to the world is at once his most distinctive idea and the most difficult to render intelligible, not to speak of precise. Not surprisingly, commentators have assessed it quite different. Alfred Schmidt, H. J. Braun and Michael von Gagern tend to regard this idea as Feuerbach most important contribution to modern philosophy. But Marx Wartofsky argued that although there is an interesting core to Feuerbach's argument that can be salvaged, the category of sensuousness is treated so loosely by him that it is inconsistent at the most crucial points. The most obvious ambiguity consists in the apparent inconsistency between his criticism of Hegel's rejection of sense certainty and immediacy in early pages of the Phenomenology and his own argument that there can be no uninterpreted perception and, hence, that all knowledge in some sense is mediated by thought.

    In trying to make sense of his position, it would be anachronistic to interpret Sinnlichkeit as meaning what some modern empiricists would name "sense data." Although it is clear that the thrust of his later thought is towards an empiricism of some sort, it is also obvious that "sensuousness" includes much more than "sense data". It includes, for example, what we normally call perception and sensation but it also encompasses much that can not be so classified; for example, he wrote as though feelings and the apprehension of the feelings and intentions of others are perceived by sense. It is not only external objects that are experienced by the senses, he wrote, but

    Man, too, is given to himself only through the senses; he is an object of himself only as an object of the senses. (GW IX: 323; PPF 58)

    Or again,

    we feel not only stones and lumber, flesh and bones; we also feeling feelings, in that we press the hands or lips of a feeling being. (Ibid.)

    He even stated that not only flesh but the mind and the I are objects of the senses. "Everything is, therefore, sensuously perceptible,' he wrote in a rhetorical flourish, "and although not always immediately so, yet it is perceived through mediation" (GW IX: 324; PPF 58).

    It would seem, then, that Feuerbach's position on this matter of mediation is not as far from Hegel's position as he claimed. And this seems to be born out by one paragraph in the Principles in which he writes that

    The sensuous is not, in the sense of speculative philosophy, the immediate; namely, it is not the profane, obvious, and thoughtless that is understood by itself. Immediate, sensuous perception comes much later than the imagination and the fantasy. The first perception of man is merely the perception of the imagination and the fantasy. The task of philosophy and of science in general consists, therefore, not in leading away from the sensuous, that is, real, objects, but rather in leading toward them, not in transforming objects into ideas and conceptions, but rather in making visible, that is, in objectifying objects that are invisible to ordinary eyes. Men first see the objects only as they appear to them and not as they are…. Only now, in the modern era, has mankind arrived again…at the sensuous, that is, the unfalsified and objective perception of the sensuous, that is, of the real … (GW IX: 325; PPF 59f).

    But if the sensuous is not the immediate and requires philosophy and science to arrive at the objectively real in what sense can be made of the sentence "Truth, reality, and sensation are identical" (GW IX: 316; PPF 51)? It is this oscillation between immediacy and mediation that led Wartofsy to argue that Feuerbach's position is basically unsatisfactory.

    Another related ambiguity in Feuerbach's later thought is how we are to understand his materialism. In the Fifties, he was obviously so determined to ground the human organism in nature that he succumbed to what Sidney Hook called "degenerate sensationalism". In a review of Moleschott's Theory of Nutrition (1850) Feuerbach argued that the natural sciences were the key to understanding the preconditions for revolution because food chemistry, as one of those sciences, had established that the character of societies and cultures was determined by diet. Potatoes, for example, were the diet of the working class in Europe but since potatoes lack phosphorescent fat and protein necessary for the brain, the working class could only hope for revolution by a change in diet. The foodstuff that seems to provide the most promise for revolution is beans.

    A much saner and more interesting essay is "The Dualism of Body and Soul, Flesh and Spirit" (1846) In this essay, he presented some of the then-current thinking in both psychology and physiology and argued that our sense of two distinct and separate ontological realms of mind and body arises from the two distinct linguistic categories our minds employ when thinking about them. When we use the language of psychology, for example, we refer to sensations, feelings, perceptions, intentions, and not to nerves, brain, stomach or the heart. But in the realm of physiology, we need to refer to nerves, blood, oxygen, and the brain and not to perceptions and intentions and the like. We have, in effect, two discrete spheres of discourse about one organism.

    These two distinct spheres of discourse reflect the subjective perspective of consciousness itself. When we think from the standpoint of the subject, we know nothing about the genealogy of our feelings and strivings, just as in indulging in eating we are unaware of the workings of the digestive system. But it does not follow from this that because we can think of ourselves as distinct from the body that there is, in fact, an incorporeal reality called the mind which exists independent of it. To conclude this would be analogous to arguing that because we cannot feel within ourselves that we have parents we are, therefore, self-created and owe our existence to no one. The distinction has to do with the perspectives we are compelled to adopt, our mode of knowing and not with reality itself.

    Feuerbach had concluded from this that one of the most important philosophical and cultural tasks of his generation was to revise the way human beings thinking about the relationship of mind to nature because it was the notion of "spirit" that was crucial to both idealism and Christianity. Indeed, the most powerful popular intuition undergirding belief in God was the conviction that spirit could not rise from unconscious nature. The educational system should train students to understand that the mind develops along with the body. Spirit is rooted in the brain, and it is intolerable to think that skull and brain originated in nature but the mind was a supernatural creation. Whatever is the source of the skull and brain must also be the source of the mind, and if nature is the source of the former, then it must also be the source of the latter.

    The second major issue dominating Feuerbach's late writing is the formulation of an ethic. This was especially important to him because from the beginning of his career he, like the other Young Hegelians, was primarily concerned with social and political reform. His criticism of religion and of idealism were motivated by the desire to replace an other-worldly type of practice and belief with a this-worldly, humanistic engagement with repressive social conditions. The outlines of a position appear in two monographs, one finished in the early Sixties entitled "Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism," and the other unfinished entitled "On Eudäimonism". Informing both of them are two fundamental principles. The first is one to which Feuerbach had long been wedded and that reflects the lingering influence of Hegel; namely, that human self-consciousness only emerges in relationship to another self-consciousness. To use Feuerbach's formulation, the I (Ich) only emerges along with a Thou (Du). This means that only a social person is a person, that the Gattung is exemplified in community. The second principle is that every living organism, including the human, is in the grip of a drive towards self-fulfillment. The object of this drive, Glückseligkeit, is normally translated "happiness" but it is clear from its explication that Feuerbach means something more like Aristotle's "well-being."

    Those contemporary German scholars interested in re-appropriating Feuerbach tend to emphasize the priority of the Ich-Du principle but in the two writings above the Ich-Du relationship is explicated in the context of the Glückseligkeitstrieb. And the reason for this seems to be that Feuerbach wished to argue against those theorists who postulate the existence of an independent and free will, on the one hand, and those, on the other hand, who will not permit self-interest in on the ground floor of moral theory.

    Although Feuerbach sometimes refers to the Glückseligkeitstrieb as the basic drive (Grundtrieb), he also employs the term to refer to the aggregate of all human drives, needs, and predispositions. In his 1848 lectures on religion, it is defined as "that necessary, indispensable egoism — not moral but metaphysical, i.e., grounded in man's essence without his knowledge or will — the egoism without which man cannot live…that egoism inherent in the very organism … " (GW VI: 61; LER 50). Although every drive is in some sense a drive-to-happiness, not all drives are of equal importance, and the function of reason and will are to direct these drives in the interest of the entire organism. The will is not an independent and autonomous faculty but another name for the seat of Empfindung (feeling). It follows that there is no freedom of the will in the sense of an affectless faculty that springs into action at the direction of the reason. It is itself part of the Glückseligkeitstrieb. Feuerbach wrote that it is a property of the body serving the well-being of the organism and within the conditions of natural necessity." It is free when it can serve the drive to happiness without hindrance.

    The Glückseligkeitstrieb is not itself subject to moral judgments; rather, it is the presupposition of any theory of morality, that which must be taken into account when one makes moral judgments. Morality only arises when one considers the effects of one's actions arising from the drive-to-happiness on others. And in reflecting on these effects, morality does not require that one set aside happiness as a criterion guiding one's actions. It only requires that one consider the happiness of others. "Morality…cannot abstract from the principle of happiness; even if it repudiates its own happiness, then it must recognize the other's happiness...otherwise the ground and object of the duty to others falls away, as does even the basis of morality … " (GW X: 75).

    To write that the morality cannot abstract from the principle of happiness, of course, does not answer the question how to adjudicate conflicts that arise when one's self-interest or drive-to-happiness seems incompatible with others' self-interest; i.e., when persons differ as to what their happiness consists in. Feuerbach seems to argue that just as a single individual can bring his own individual conflicting drives into some sort of unified and rational agreement, so, too, conflicting individual interests are reconcilable. Indeed, he argues in what seems to be a naïve fashion that "nature solves the problem" (SW X: 270). And it does so because nature is so structured that one's own drive-to-happiness can only be satisfied by the welfare of the others. "Happiness is the principle of morality, not the happiness concentrated in one and the same person, but rather than divided among various persons, encompassing I and thou, thus not the one-sided but rather the two-or-all-sided happiness. The duty "towards self" has its ground and object in personal self-love, but the duty towards others has the self-love in the person of others for its ground and object" (GW XI: 75).

    The difficulty here is how to understand how, if one is naturally and inevitably driven to serve one's own interest, the concept of duty towards oneself can even arise and how this, then, can then be said to have its ground and object in the service of others. Feuerbach's answer seems to lie in his extension of the I-Thou relationship. His argument is that the I-Thou relationship as exemplified in the sexual relationship is the Grundmodell of ethics because in the sexual relationship the giving of happiness to the other is also the source of happiness in oneself. What one finds to be the good for oneself is then good for the other. The Golden rule is the kernel of all ethics: do not do to others what one would not want done to oneself (SW X: 276). He then generalizes from this to argue that the well-being of an individual (Ich) finds its satisfaction in the well-being of the neighbor (thou). Indeed, the phenomenon of conscience is the awareness of I in the thou of the other. It tells me that the other is my Du that I belong to him and him to me. Consequently, solidarity is the aim of human action.

    But this argument still does not address the issue of how an "ought" can be derived from a natural drive. Nor does it explain how one can move from a personalist model of I-Thou to the notion of solidarity with a community of many "Thous" to whom the I stands in no immediate relationship and whose well-being may not be reconcilable with mine.

    Feuerbach might have argued that that ethics requires some sort of rational anthropology that casts up some normative goals and ends. But it is characteristic of his writings that he does not analyze these matters carefully. He does not dwell on the difficulty inherent in first claiming that the individual is driven by the urge to happiness and then claiming that this happiness includes the happiness of others or how, if this is so, duty arises against inclination. It is enough for him to argue that in daily life, we already find ourselves in families, professions, and institutions. Here sympathy and duties and feelings naturally arise. It is here where love tends to reciprocate love and where if one's own self-interests are pursued at the expense of one's companions, this is met with disapproval and punishment. It is in this concrete life that we realize that Mitmenschlichkeit is where our well-being is realized.

    Bibliography

    Primary Sources

    Primary Sources in the Original German

    There are two editions of Feuerbach's work in German but none in English. The first, Sämtliche Werke, is the Bolin-Jodl edition published in ten volumes between 1903 and 1922 by Frommann Verlag in Stuttgart. These ten plus two additional volumes were then reprinted in facsimile between 1960 and 1964 under the editorship of Hans-Martin Sass. The eleventh volume contains Feuerbach's inaugural dissertation in Latin, his Thoughts on Death and Immortality, and an extensive bibliography of Feuerbach scholarship. The twelfth is a double volume containing an expanded version of Bolin's selected correspondence from and to Ludwig Feuerbach together with some of Bolin's memoirs. Since the new critical edition does not yet include Feuerbach's late writings on ethics, I have used volume 10 of the Bolin-Jodel edition and used the abbreviation SW X.

    A new critical edition of Feuerbach's work begun in 1981 under the editorship of Werner Schuffenhauer and published by Akademie-Verlag in Berlin has now reached nineteen volumes. Indispensable for scholarly work, it presents the textual variations of the various editions, restores the original text of the Theogonie, and includes his correspondence. Citations are to this edition, volume, and page; i.e., GW X.126. Corresponding English translations are cited with the keys below.

    Primary Sources In English Translation

    EC The Essence of Christianity, translated by George Eliot, with an introductory essay by Karl Barth and foreword by H. Richard Niebuhr (New York: Harper & Row, 1957). This is a translation of the second edition and was first published in 1854.

    EFL The Essence of Faith According to Luther, translated and with an introduction by Melvin Cherno (New York: Harper & Row, 1967). This is a translation of the slightly worked over edition that Feuerbach himself prepared for the first volume of his collected works in 1846.

    FB The Fiery Brook: Selected Writings of Ludwig Feuerbach, with an introduction by Zawar Hanfi (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1972). In addition to other selections this paperback volume contains translations of the important "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy" (1839) as well as "Preliminary theses on the Reform of Philosophy," and "Principles of the Philosophy of the Future."

    LER Lectures on the Essence of Religion, translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

    PPF Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, translated with an introduction by Manfred H. Vogel, Library of Liberal Arts (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966). This is a translation of the text that appeared in the Bolin-Jodl edition and the paragraph numbers very slightly from those in the new critical edition.

    TDI Thoughts on Death and Immortality from the Papers of a Thinker, along with an Appendix of Theological-Satirical Epigrams, Edited by one of his friends, translated with an introduction and notes by James A. Massey (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980).

    Secondary Literature

    There are four extensive bibliographies in addition to the one published by Hans-Martin Sass in volume XI of the Sämtliche Werke. The first is an enlargement by Sass of his earlier one and appears as an appendix to Hermann Löbbe and Hans-Martin Sass (eds.) in Atheismus in der Diskussion, Kontroversen um Ludwig Feuerbach (Grunewald: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1975). The second is compiled by Uwe Schott in Die Jugendentwicklung Ludwig Feuerbachs biz zum Fakultätwechsel 1825 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1973). The third is by Erich Schneider in Die theologie und Feuerbachs Religionskritik: Die Reaktion der theologies des 19. Jahrhunderts auf Luwig Feuerbachs Religionskritik mit ausblicken auf das 20 Jahrhundert und einem Anhang über Feuerbach (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1972). The fourth was compiled by Scott Stebelman covering English-language material published from 1873-1991 in Walter Jaeschke (ed.), Sinnlichkeit und Rationalität: Der Umbruch in der Philosophie des 19. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Akademie-Verlage, 1992). There is also a useful annotated bibliography in Michael von Gagern, Ludwig Feuerbach: Philosophie-und-Religionskritik Die 'Neue" Philosophie (Munich: Anton Pustet, 1970).

    Barth, Karl, 1959, "Feuerbach," in Protestant Thought: From Rousseau to Ritschl, translation of eleven chapters of Die protestantische Theologie im 19. Jahrhundert. trans. Brian Cozzens, New York: Harper & Row.
    Biedermann, Georg, 1998, Zum Begriff der Atheismus bei Ludwig Feuerbach Neustadt: Angelika Lenz Verlag.
    Braun, Hans-Jörg, 1972, Die Religionsphilosophie Ludwig Feuerbach: Kritik und Annahme des Religiösen, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Friedrich Frommann Verlang.
    Braun, Hans-Jörg, 1971, Ludwig Feuerbachs Lehre vom Menschen, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Friedrich Frommann Verlag.
    Brazill, William J., 1970, The Young Hegelians, New Haven: Yale University Press.
    Cherno, Melvin, 1955, "Ludwig Feurbach and the Intellectual Basis of Nineteenth Century Radicalism" Ph.D dissertation, Stanford University.
    Fiorenza, Francis Schössler, 1979, "Feuerach's Interpretation of Religion and Christianity," The Philosophical Forum, 11(2): 161-181.
    von Gagern, Michael, 1970, Ludwig Feuerbach: Philosophie-und Religionskritik "Die neue" Philosophie, Munich: Anton Pustet.
    Glasse, John, 1972, "Why did Feuerbach concern himself with Luther?" Revue internationale de philosophie, 26(101): 364-385.
    Harvey, Van A., 1995, Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    -----, 1991, "Feuerbach on Religion as Construction" in Theology at the End of Modernity: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Kaufman, (ed) Sheila Greeve Davaney, Philadelphia: Trinity Press International. 249-268.
    -----, 1998, "Feuerbach on Luther's Doctrine of Revelation," The Journal of Religion, LXXVIII(1): 3-17.
    -----, 1986, "Ludwig Feuerbach and Karl Marx" in Religious Thought in the West, Vol 1, (eds.) Ninian Smart, Patrick Sherry and Steven T. Katz, London & New York: Cambridge University Press. 291-328.
    Hook, Sidney, 1950, From Hegel to Marx: Studies in the Intellectual Development of Karl Marx, New York: the Humanities Press.
    Jaeschke, Walter (ed.), 1992, Sinnlichkeit und Rationalität: der Umbruch der Philosophie der 19. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992).
    Johnston, Larry, 1995, Between Transcendence and Nihilism: Species-Ontology in the Philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, New York: Peter Lang.
    Kamenka, Eugene, 1970, The Philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
    Löwith, Karl, 1967, From Hegel to Nietzsche: the Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Thought, trans. David E. Green, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.
    Löbbe, Hermann and Sass, Hans-Martin (eds.), 1975, Atheismus in der Diskussion: Kontroversen um Ludwig Feuerbach, Systematische Beiträge, no. 17, Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag.
    McLellan, David, 1969, The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx New York: Praeger.
    Massey, Marilyn Chapin, 1985, "Censorship and the Language of Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity (1841)" in The Journal of Religion, 65(2):173-195.
    Rawidowicz, S., 1964, Ludwig Feuerbachs Philosophie: Ursprung und Schicksal, 2nd ed, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
    Reitmeyer, Ursala, 1988, Philosophie der Leiblichkeit: Ludwig Feuerbachs Entwurf einer Philosophie der Zukunft Frankfurt am Main: Surkamp.
    Sass, Hans-Martin, 1978, Ludwig Feuerbach in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten dargestellt, Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag.
    Schmidt, Alfred, 1973, Emanzipatorische Sinnlichkeit: Ludwig Feuerbachs anthropologischer Materialismus, Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag.
    Toews, John Edward, 1980, Hegelianism: The Path Toward Dialectical Humanism, 1805-1841, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Tomasoni, Francesco, 1990, Ludwig Feuerbach und die nicht-menschliche Natur. Das Wesen der Religion: Die Enstehungsgeschichte des Werks, rekonstruiert auf der Grundlage unveröffentlichter Manuskripte, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog.
    Wahl, Wolfgang, 1998, Feuerbach und Nietzsche: die Rehabilitierung der Sinnlichkeit und des Leibes in den deutschen Philosophie der 19.Jahrhundert, Würzburg: Ergon.
    Wartofsky, Marx, 1977, Feuerbach, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Wilson, Charles A., 1989, Feuerbach and the Search for Otherness, New York: Peter Lang.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ludwig-feuerbach/

  9. #19
    "Du bist das Bild, das ich in mir barg..."
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Siegmund's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Last Online
    Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 @ 10:14 PM
    Ethnicity
    Germanic
    Gender
    Politics
    Folkish
    Posts
    1,029
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    10 Posts

    German Idealism

    Nice summary.

    The Movement Characterized. The term "German Idealism" refers to a phase of intellectual life that had its origin in the Enlightenment as modified by German conditions. English and French representatives of the Enlightenment, giving precedence to sensation, had become empiricists and skeptics. They viewed the world as a great machine, adopted hedonism as their ethics, and interpreted history from a subjective-critical point of view. The situation in Germany was just the reverse. There thought was given precedence over sensation, and, instead of empiricism, idealism was dominant. Ethics was based on norms of universal validity, instead of on individual whim. History was interpreted genetically as a rational process; and in place of the mechanical conception of the world, an organic or dynamic view was substituted. Nature was seen to be spiritual, as well as spatial, and was interpreted teleologically. In the hands of Jacobi and Kant, Hume's skepticism became the weapon that destroyed the influence of empiricism and thus paved the way for idealism. For the Germans, at least, Rousseau's radicalism brought into question the value of the culture-ideals of the Enlightenment, and impelled them to seek the basis of culture in the creative power of the mind. For the philosopher German idealism usually means the philosophy of Kant and his immediate followers, while for the historian of literature it may seem little more than the personality of Goethe; and it is not usual to characterize the literary aspect of the movement as neo-humanism. However, there is a unity in the movement that cannot be ignored. All its varied manifestations, whether in science, philosophy, literature, art, or social life, are properly treated under the title German Idealism
    [More]

  10. #20
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Last Online
    Tuesday, January 31st, 2006 @ 03:17 AM
    Subrace
    Don't know
    Country
    Australia Australia
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Family
    Currently dating
    Occupation
    Student
    Politics
    Libertarian, Nationalist
    Religion
    Agnostic
    Posts
    10
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: German Idealism

    I am pretty much suspicious of any 'idealistic' philosophey, as it is based on dualisms that I don't think make any sense. I admire German Idealism decause of its dedication to culture (German). But as for philosophy propor (which is what it purported to be) I just don't really think it was right. It was an end result of Descartes' dualism which I believe lead philosophy in the wrong direction. There is no split between mind and matter.

    Shoppenheur is the only post Kantian that I really relate to. Him and Nietzsche are together my favourite philosophers. The former, I believe, had some of his premises muddled, as they were Kantian, but I still find his aproach to life charming.

    Hegel was the biggest Idiot in philosophy apart from Sartre.

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Materialism Versus Idealism
    By Hanna in forum Modern
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Monday, July 13th, 2009, 04:32 AM
  2. Idealism/ Materialism
    By Ederico in forum Metaphysics
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Friday, November 18th, 2005, 09:06 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •