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Absolute idealism is an ontologically monistic philosophy "chiefly associated with Friedrich Schelling and G. W. F. Hegel, both German idealist philosophers of the 19th century, Josiah Royce, an American philosopher, and others, but, in its essentials, the product of Hegel". [ citation needed ]It is Hegel's account of how being is ultimately comprehensible as an all-inclusive whole ( das Absolute ). Hegel asserted that in order for the thinking subject (human reason or consciousness) to be able to know its object (the world) at all, there must be in some sense an identity of thought and being. Otherwise, the subject would never have access to the object and we would have no certainty about any of our knowledge of the world. To account for the differences between thought and being, however, as well as the richness and diversity of each, the unity of thought and being cannot be expressed as the abstract identity "A=A". Absolute idealism is the attempt to demonstrate this unity using a new "speculative" philosophical method, which requires new concepts and rules of logic. According to Hegel, the absolute ground of being is essentially a dynamic, historical process of necessity that unfolds by itself in the form of increasingly complex forms of being and of consciousness, ultimately giving rise to all the diversity in the world and in the concepts with which we think and make sense of the world.
The absolute idealist position dominated philosophy in nineteenth-century England and Germany, while exerting significantly less influence in the United States. The absolute idealist position should be distinguished from the subjective idealism of Berkeley, the transcendental idealism of Kant, or the post-Kantian transcendental idealism (also known as critical idealism)of Fichte and of the early Schelling.
For Hegel, the interaction of opposites generates in dialectical fashion all concepts we use in order to understand the world. Moreover, this development occurs not only in the individual mind, but also through history. In The Phenomenology of Spirit , for example, Hegel presents a history of human consciousness as a journey through stages of explanations of the world. Each successive explanation created problems and oppositions within itself, leading to tensions which could only be overcome by adopting a view that could accommodate these oppositions in a higher unity. At the base of spirit lies a rational development. This means that the absolute itself is exactly that rational development. The assertion that "All reality is spirit" means that all of reality rationally orders itself and while doing so creates the oppositions we find in it. Even nature is not different from the spirit since it itself is ordered by the determinations given to us by spirit. Nature, as that which is not spirit is so determined by spirit, therefore it follows that nature is not absolutely other, but understood as other and therefore not essentially alien.
The aim of Hegel was to show that we do not relate to the world as if it is other from us, but that we continue to find ourselves back into that world. With the realisation that both the mind and the world are ordered according to the same rational principles, our access to the world has been made secure, a security which was lost after Kant proclaimed the 'thing-in-itself' to be ultimately inaccessible.
Neo-Hegelianism is a school (or schools) of thought associated and inspired by the works of Hegel.
It refers mainly to the doctrines of an idealist school of philosophers that were prominent in Great Britain and in the United States between 1870 and 1920. The name is also sometimes applied to cover other philosophies of the period that were Hegelian in inspiration—for instance, those of Benedetto Croce and of Giovanni Gentile.
Although Hegel died in 1831, his philosophy lived on. In politics, there was a developing schism, even before his death, between right Hegelians and left Hegelians.
In the philosophy of religion, Hegel's influence soon became very powerful in the English-speaking world. The British school, called British idealism and partly Hegelian in inspiration, included Thomas Hill Green, Bernard Bosanquet, F.H. Bradley, William Wallace, and Edward Caird. It was importantly directed towards political philosophy and political and social policy, but also towards metaphysics and logic, as well as aesthetics.
America saw the development of a school of Hegelian thought move toward pragmatism.
In Germany there was a neo-Hegelianism (Neuhegelianismus) of the early twentieth century, partly developing out of the Neo-Kantians. Richard Kroner wrote one of its leading works, a history of German idealism from a Hegelian point of view.
Exponents of analytic philosophy, which has been the dominant form of Anglo-American philosophy for most of the last century, have criticised Hegel's work as hopelessly obscure. Existentialists also criticise Hegel for ultimately choosing an essentialistic whole over the particularity of existence. Epistemologically, one of the main problems plaguing Hegel's system is how these thought determinations have bearing on reality as such. A perennial problem of his metaphysics seems to be the question of how spirit externalises itself and how the concepts it generates can say anything true about nature. At the same time, they will have to, because otherwise Hegel's system concepts would say nothing about something that is not itself a concept and the system would come down to being only an intricate game involving vacuous concepts.[ citation needed ]
Schopenhauer noted[ where? ] that Hegel created his absolute idealism after Kant had discredited all proofs of God's existence. The Absolute is a non-personal substitute for the concept of God. It is the one subject that perceives the universe as one object. Individuals share in parts of this perception. Since the universe exists as an idea in the mind of the Absolute, absolute idealism copies Spinoza's pantheism in which everything is in God or Nature.[ citation needed ]
Famously, G. E. Moore’s rebellion against absolutism found expression in his defense of common sense against the radically counter-intuitive conclusions of absolutism (e.g. time is unreal, change is unreal, separateness is unreal, imperfection is unreal, etc.). G. E. Moore also pioneered the use of logical analysis against the absolutists, which Bertrand Russell promulgated and used in order to begin the entire tradition of analytic philosophy with its use against the philosophies of his direct predecessors. In recounting his own mental development Russell reports, "For some years after throwing over [absolutism] I had an optimistic riot of opposite beliefs. I thought that whatever Hegel had denied must be true." (Russell in Barrett and Adkins 1962, p. 477) Also:
G.E. Moore took the lead in the rebellion, and I followed, with a sense of emancipation. [Absolutism] argued that everything common sense believes in is mere appearance. We reverted to the opposite extreme, and thought that everything is real that common sense, uninfluenced by philosophy or theology, supposes real.— Bertrand Russell; as quoted in Klemke 2000, p.28
Particularly the works of William James and F. C. S. Schiller, both founding members of pragmatism, made lifelong assaults on Absolute Idealism. James was particularly concerned with the monism that Absolute Idealism engenders, and the consequences this has for the problem of evil, free will, and moral action. Schiller, on the other hand, attacked Absolute Idealism for being too disconnected with our practical lives, and argued that its proponents failed to realize that thought is merely a tool for action rather than for making discoveries about an abstract world that fails to have any impact on us.
Absolute idealism has greatly altered the philosophical landscape. Paradoxically, (though, from a Hegelian point of view, maybe not paradoxically at all) this influence is mostly felt in the strong opposition it engendered. Both logical positivism and Analytic philosophy grew out of a rebellion against Hegelianism prevalent in England during the 19th century.Continental phenomenology, existentialism and post-modernism also seek to 'free themselves from Hegel's thought'. Martin Heidegger, one of the leading figures of Continental philosophy in the 20th century, sought to distance himself from Hegel's work. One of Heidegger's philosophical themes was "overcoming metaphysics".
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher and an important figure of German idealism. He achieved recognition in his day and—while primarily influential in the continental tradition of philosophy—has become increasingly influential in the analytic tradition as well. Although Hegel remains a divisive figure, his canonical stature in Western philosophy is universally recognized.
In philosophy, idealism is the diverse group of metaphysical philosophies which asserts that "reality" is in some way indistinguishable or inseparable from human understanding and/or perception; that it is in some sense mentally constituted, or otherwise closely connected to ideas. According to Immanuel Kant, a pioneer of modern idealist thought, idealism does “not concern the existence of things”, but asserts only that our “modes of representation” of them, above all space and time, are not “determinations that belong to things in themselves” but essential features of our own minds. Kant called this position “transcendental” and “critical” idealism, since it describes the way in which "reality" is utterly transcended by, and cannot be thought separate from, the categories with which they are structered by and in human understanding.
A subject is a being who has a unique consciousness and/or unique personal experiences, or an entity that has a relationship with another entity that exists outside itself.
German philosophy, here taken to mean either (1) philosophy in the German language or (2) philosophy by Germans, has been extremely diverse, and central to both the analytic and continental traditions in philosophy for centuries, from Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz through Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein to contemporary philosophers. Søren Kierkegaard is frequently included in surveys of German philosophy due to his extensive engagement with German thinkers.
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Johann Gottlieb Fichte, his mentor in his early years, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, his one-time university roommate, early friend, and later rival. Interpreting Schelling's philosophy is regarded as difficult because of its evolving nature.
In the 19th century, the philosophies of the Enlightenment began to have a dramatic effect, the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau influencing new generations of thinkers. In the late 18th century a movement known as Romanticism began; it is strong emotion as an authentic not of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror and terror and awe. Key ideas that sparked changes in philosophy were the fast progress of science; evolution, as postulated by Vanini, Diderot, Lord Monboddo, Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Goethe, and Charles Darwin; and what might now be called emergent order, such as the free market of Adam Smith within nation states. Pressures for egalitarianism, and more rapid change culminated in a period of revolution and turbulence that would see philosophy change as well.
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with Romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment. The best-known thinkers in the movement, besides Kant, were Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the proponents of Jena Romanticism. August Ludwig Hülsen, Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gottlob Ernst Schulze, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Salomon Maimon, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Arthur Schopenhauer also made major contributions.
Pseudophilosophy is a philosophical idea or system which does not meet an expected set of standards.
Continental philosophy is a set of 19th- and 20th-century philosophical traditions from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and traditions outside the analytic movement. Continental philosophy includes German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, French feminism, psychoanalytic theory, and the critical theory of the Frankfurt School and related branches of Western Marxism.
A subset of absolute idealism, British idealism was a philosophical movement that was influential in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The leading figures in the movement were T. H. Green (1836–1882), F. H. Bradley (1846–1924), and Bernard Bosanquet (1848–1923). They were succeeded by the second generation of J. M. E. McTaggart (1866–1925), H. H. Joachim (1868–1938), J. H. Muirhead (1855–1940), and R. G. Collingwood (1889–1943). The last major figure in the tradition was G. R. G. Mure (1893–1979). Doctrines of early British idealism so provoked the young Cambridge philosophers G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell that they began a new philosophical tradition, analytic philosophy.
Objective idealism is an idealistic metaphysics that postulates that there is in an important sense only one perceiver, and that this perceiver is one with that which is perceived. One important advocate of such a metaphysics, Josiah Royce, wrote that he was indifferent "whether anybody calls all this Theism or Pantheism". It is distinct from the subjective idealism of George Berkeley, and it abandons the thing-in-itself of Kant's dualism.
The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's most widely discussed philosophical work; its German title can be translated as either The Phenomenology of Spirit or The Phenomenology of Mind. Hegel described the work as an "exposition of the coming to be of knowledge". This is explicated through a necessary self-origination and dissolution of "the various shapes of spirit as stations on the way through which spirit becomes pure knowledge".
Modern philosophy is philosophy developed in the modern era and associated with modernity. It is not a specific doctrine or school, although there are certain assumptions common to much of it, which helps to distinguish it from earlier philosophy.
Robert Buford Pippin is an American philosopher. He is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago.
Western philosophy refers to the philosophical thought and work of the Western world. Historically, the term refers to the philosophical thinking of Western culture, beginning with Greek philosophy of the pre-Socratics such as Thales and Pythagoras, and eventually covering a large area of the globe. The word philosophy itself originated from the Ancient Greek philosophía (φιλοσοφία), literally, "the love of wisdom".
In idealist philosophy, the Absolute is "the sum of all being, actual and potential". In monistic idealism, it serves as a concept for the "unconditioned reality which is either the spiritual ground of all being or the whole of things considered as a spiritual unity.
Tom Rockmore is an American philosopher. Although he denies the usual distinction between philosophy and the history of philosophy, he has strong interests throughout the history of philosophy and defends a constructivist view of epistemology. The philosophers whom he has studied extensively are Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Marx, Lukács, and Heidegger. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1974 and his Habilitation à diriger des recherches from the Université de Poitiers in 1994. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Duquesne University, as well as Distinguished Humanities Chair Professor at Peking University.
The following is a list of the major events in the history of German idealism, along with related historical events.
Hegelianism is the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel which can be summed up by the dictum that "the rational alone is real", which means that all reality is capable of being expressed in rational categories. His goal was to reduce reality to a more synthetic unity within the system of absolute idealism.
Paul Redding is an Australian philosopher and professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney. He is known for his research on Kantian philosophy and the tradition of German idealism and its relation to analytic philosophy and pragmatism. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.