Focusing on Schelling's self-critique in early identity philosophy the author rejects those criticisms of Schelling made by both Hegel and Heidegger. This work significantly redraws the boundaries of metaphysical thinking, arguing for a dialogue between rational philosophy, mythology and cosmology. Friedrich Schelling in 19th Century Philosophy.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte in 19th Century Philosophy. Edit this record. Mark as duplicate. Find it on Scholar. Request removal from index. Revision history. From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server Configure custom proxy use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy. Configure custom resolver.
Jason Wirth - - Philosophy Compass 6 9 Peter Graham Thielke - - Philosophy Compass 5 5 Kant and German Idealisms. The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism. Karl Ameriks ed. German Idealism. Author unknown - - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. German Idealist Philosophy.
Peter Koslowski ed. But as we have just seen, he did not himself unequivocally affirm idealism, and as we will shortly see subsequent Leibnizians such as Alexander Baumgarten argued for dualism and for a corresponding interpretation of pre-established harmony. His further doctrine that the mind sees all things in God, however, depends on his particular view of what modifications the mind undergoes in perception.
He holds that sensations are literally modifications in the mind, but that they are highly indeterminate, or in later terminology lack determinate intentional objects, and that genuine understanding occurs only when and to the extent that the determinate ideas in the perfect intellect of God are disclosed to finite, human minds, to the extent that they are.
He then supposes that human thought is intelligible to the extent that these ideas are disclosed to it, on the occasion of various sensations themselves occasioned by God but not literally through those sensations. The crucial point is that genuine understanding consists in the apprehension of ideas, even though these are literally in the mind of God rather than of individual human beings, rather than of physical objects, even though the latter do exist.
Malebranche had significant influence on both Berkeley and Hume, though neither the former and certainly not the latter accepted his position in its entirety. His position that knowledge consists in individual minds apprehending ideas in some greater mind would also be recreated by idealists as late as T. Green and Josiah Royce in the second half of the nineteenth century, as we will later see.
Before we turn to British or Anglophone versions of idealism, earlier or later, one last word about idealism within pre-Kantian rationalist philosophy is in order. Baumgarten accepts that the ultimate constituents of the world must be simples, hence monads of some kind. But he does not suppose that monads are necessarily minds or intellects, hence a dualism of monads is at least possible. Baumgarten follows Wolff in distinguishing between two possible forms of idealism, first egoism, which admits the existence of only one spirit, that of the person contemplating such a doctrine, and then idealism proper, which allows the existence of multiple spirits.
But both are refuted by the same argument. This argument builds on a Leibnizian principle not hitherto mentioned, the principle of plenitude, or the principle that the perfection of the most perfect world, which is the one that God created, consists in the maximal variety of the universe compatible with its unity or coherence e. Baumgarten then argues simply that a universe that contains not only more substances but also more kinds of substances rather than fewer is a more perfect universe, and necessarily exists in preference to the other; and a universe that contains not only multiple minds rather than a single mind but also bodies in addition to minds is therefore a more perfect universe than either of the former would be, and is the kind that actually exists.
No one outside of the immediate sphere of Leibnizianism would ever again proffer such a refutation of idealism. The relation between ontological and epistemological idealism is complex. Ontological idealism can be argued for on its own, and bring epistemological idealism in its train. Epistemological idealism can be argued for independently of ontological assumptions but lead to ontological idealism, especially in the hope of avoiding skepticism. Or epistemological idealism can be the basis for rejecting any pretenses to ontology, including ontological idealism.
The first option may have been characteristic of some rationalists, such as Leibniz in his more strictly idealist mood. Both of the latter two are found within early modern British philosophy. We find considerations pushing toward epistemological idealism in both Hobbes and Locke in spite of the avowed materialism of the first and dualism of the second, who therefore obviously did not call themselves idealists. Berkeley argues for epistemological idealism and then adds ontological idealism in order to avert skepticism, although he calls his position immaterialism rather than idealism.
All of these movements fed into the general movement of rationalism, while the British philosophers, typically lumped together under the rubric of empiricism in spite of their own differences, all believed, albeit for different reasons, that the doctrines put forward by dogmatic metaphysicians rest on a totally unfounded conception of knowledge and cannot survive rational scrutiny empiricists might themselves be considered critical rationalists. Thus the primary task of philosophy for these philosophers became that of providing a theory of knowledge based on an adequate assessment of the constitution of human nature, for they were interested in knowledge only as a human achievement.
However, it is not human nature in general that is of interest in this context but the workings of those human powers or faculties that are responsible for our human ability to relate to the world in terms of knowledge-claims. Reflections on the conditions of the possibility of knowledge led Hobbes and Locke to what might be considered forms of epistemological idealism in spite of their ontological commitments to materialism or dualism respectively, while Berkeley concluded that their epistemological idealism would lead to a skepticism that could be avoided only by his own more radical ontological idealism.
This is easily confirmed by looking briefly at some of their main convictions concerning knowledge, starting with Thomas Hobbes — He describes the details of this process most succinctly in a short passage in chapter 6 of the first part Human Nature of his The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic , his first major philosophical work. The message is straightforward with respect to both the basis and the formation of knowledge: senses sensations are basic to our acquisition of knowledge in that they lead to conceptions representations to which we attach names concepts which we then put together into propositions which, if true, already constitute knowledge, and from which there arise further knowledge if we draw conclusions in an orderly way from them.
Though the account given by Hobbes of the origin and the formation of knowledge is rightly called empiricist because it traces all knowledge back to the senses or sensations and their non-sensory causes, i. Nevertheless, his account may lead to an early form of epistemological idealism.
II, VII, 1.
In spite of a pre-reflective disposition toward dualism, an explicit argument for an agnostic attitude with respect to the ultimate constitution of reality, thus a form of epistemological idealism without any argument for ontological idealism, is also characteristic of John Locke — I, 2; s. XXI, Such an investigation presupposes an acquaintance with our own minds, and thus according to Locke the most pressing task is to understand the mind or the understanding itself.
Though his description of these processes differs in some interesting ways from the model Hobbes proposes, in the end both Hobbes and Locke share the view 1 that whatever we can know depends on our having ideas which must be somehow based in sensation, 2 that there must be some external cause Hobbes or some source of affection Locke which gives rise to sensory ideas, yet 3 ultimately we are ignorant about the real constitution of these causes and these sources.
What we know is the content and structure of our own ideas epistemological idealism , although we have no reason to deny the existence of external objects thus to assert ontological idealism and even assume that in some regards external objects resemble our ideas of them in the case of primary qualities. This is indicated especially well by his theory of substance and his remarks concerning the limits of knowledge. Though Locke thinks of these reasons as totally compelling, he sees quite well that they do not justify any claim as to what a substance or a thing really is, what its nature or constitution consists in.
Thus he never gets tired of emphasizing that we only have a confused idea of substance a claim also made by Leibniz about three-quarters of our knowledge, although he held that we have a clear concept of what substance is , and repeats quite often at least three times in Book II, chap. This criticism of any metaphysical claims concerning the ultimate constitution of reality is accompanied by a more general warning against the overstepping of the natural limits of our cognitive faculties. According to Locke it is just a fact about human nature that there are limits to the powers of the understanding.
If therefore the nature and the constitution of substances both corporeal and spiritual are beyond our cognitive grasp then we should take this to be a hint that God has set limits to what we can know because he sees no reason for us to know everything. Even if the powers He endowed on us would be magnified infinitely we still would remain clueless as to what substances really are because we still would be stuck in a world of qualities this is one way of reading II, XXIII, Thus, in the end metaphysical knowledge of any kind is meant to be beyond our reach.
For Locke, epistemological idealism combined with ontological agnosticism is an expression of piety. In his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge he raises doubts about whether an agnostic stance along the lines of Hobbes and Locke can be upheld consistently if one thinks about the origin and the properties of ideas the way they do. His arguments in favor of ontological idealism based on the acceptance of ideas as the objects of human knowledge are rather straightforward, turning on presuppositions which he at least considered uncontroversial.
Already here Berkeley has the means in place to cast into doubt the meaningfulness of the assumption that there might exist unperceived objects or things. This is due to his restriction of existence to what is perceivable or, even narrower, to what is perceived: If the only objects that exist for a mind—whether it is my own mind or the mind of other human beings or the divine mind—are ideas because there is nothing else that can exist for the mind, then the very concept of something that exists but is not for the mind or is unperceived is a contradiction in terms.
Thus if, as Berkeley supposes Locke does, one thinks of things as consisting of collections of ideas, he asks how could one take a thing to be something other than ideas and nevertheless to exist? The reasoning on which this claim is based seems to be the following: For two items to stand in the relation of likeness they must have something in common. Again, I ask whether those supposed originals or external things, of which our ideas are the pictures or representations, be themselves perceivable or no?
This is the claim 3 that ideas are passive and causally inert, i. Again the primary function of this claim is to discredit a Lockean view according to which we have to think of the primary qualities of things—which are contents of the most fundamental ideas we have of them—as the causes of sensations or of sensory ideas. However, the basic outline of his overall argument can be sketched thus: If existence is restricted to ideas and minds and if, what is undoubtedly the case, things or substances exist, then things or substances must be ideas or minds too.
Now, as Locke has convincingly shown, we can have ideas of particular things or substances, e. But if we cannot have any ideas of things or substances other than our ideas of their properties, which clearly exist in minds, then the only clear ideas of things that we have is as ideas, and in that case, if they do not seem to exist in our own individual, human minds, then things or substances must be ideas in some other non-human, i. Therefore, the very fact that we take things or substances to be real commits us to the claim that things are ideal entities perceived by the mind of God.
Ontological idealism, one could say, is the only tenable basis for a realistic stance for Berkeley, but it leads to a realism about minds, human and divine, rather than of what he always calls material substance. Treatise, I, 65 f. But again, for Berkeley epistemological idealism without ontological idealism, the theory that all that exists are minds and their ideas, would be a form of skepticism. We will later see that the tendency to preserve both the impulse to idealism and the conviction that there is something more than ordinary human minds by positing a more than human mind is characteristic of many versions of idealism until the end of its glory days at the beginning of the twentieth century.
This tendency is decidedly absent from the philosophy of David Hume, however. But depending on how he is read, Hume either accepts the skepticism about possible external objects that Berkeley tries to avoid with an ontological idealism that renders any external objects other than other human or divine minds impossible, or else holds that even if there are valid arguments for skepticism it is psychologically impossible for human beings to remain in a skeptical frame of mind, thus we naturally even if not rationally believe in the existence of objects apart from our ideas of them.
Hume accepted from Locke and Descartes before him that the immediate objects of consciousness are what they had called ideas, although he reserves that word for copies or subsequently recalled perceptions rather than the originally experienced perceptions that he calls impressions. He also adopts the view of his predecessors that knowledge lies in the recognition of relations among impressions, ideas, or both, and divides those relations into two kinds, philosophical and natural. Philosophical relations are those immediately evident on reflection on or comparison of particular ideas, and include resemblance, identity, spatial and temporal relations such as above and below or before and after, number and degree, and logical contrariety Treatise of Human Nature , I.
Several things may be noted about this theory. This is what pushes Hume towards his own form of ontological idealism. That is, although we naturally speak of perceptions as being of objects and in or by the mind, on the view that all knowledge is founded on perception and that in perception we are immediately acquainted with nothing but perceptions, it becomes problematic how we could have knowledge either of the mind itself or of any object of perceptions distinct from those perceptions.
Without saying that the objects of perception are also nothing but bundles of related perceptions, Hume presents a similar account of how the idea of objects distinct from our perceptions of them is generated by our impression of continuity among perceptions: although only philosophers reflect on this, in fact we know that perceptions are fleeting and transitory; we mistake continuity among them for enduring identity; and we then invent something other than perceptions, something not fleeting and transitory, to which to ascribe that enduring identity Treatise, I.
In neither case, however, do we actually have a clear idea of any object or substance distinct from our perceptions: we do not have such an idea of external objects or their substance, but neither do we have a clear idea of the mind or its substance. The only ideas we have are copies of our impressions, or perceptions. At the same time, he does not seem to think that we are forced into skepticism about either minds or external objects by his approach, that is, into a position that there may really be minds and external objects but we cannot know that fact or their real qualities; yet he still has a lingering worry that although there are psychological mechanisms leading us to form the fictions of minds and bodies beyond perceptions, we do not really know what we are talking about when we talk about such things, and thus cannot even coherently doubt whether we have knowledge of them—our talk about them is explicable but meaningless.
Hume thus seems to end up with an uneasy compromise between epistemological idealism and ontological agnosticism, on the one hand, and his own form of ontological idealism on the other. He was more generally impressed by the empiricist argument that our knowledge of objects depends upon experience of them. However, he thought that both the Leibnizian and the Humean approaches failed to account for the possibility of synthetic a priori knowledge, that is, knowledge that goes beyond the mere analysis of concepts, thus does more than merely unpack explicit or tacit definitions, but yet legitimately claims universal and necessary validity.
But, unlike Plato, the original apriorist avant la letter , he does not see synthetic a priori knowledge as leading to realism about objects having the features that we know a priori , nor, like Malebranche, the theological Platonist, does he see such knowledge as knowledge of the mind of God; rather, he sees it as providing the conclusive argument for epistemological idealism through the premise that we can only know to be necessary and therefore universally valid the forms that we ourselves impose upon our experience.
At the same time, even though when he wrote his main works he was not well-informed on the aporia about subjects and objects about which Hume had ultimately thrown up his arms in the Treatise , which has here been characterized as the tension in Hume between agnosticism and ontological idealism, Kant recognized that we cannot talk about what he called appearances without conceding the real existence of subjects to which objects appear as well as the objects that appear to such subjects.
Neither would he even be happy to call that part of his position ontological idealism in the sense in which we have been using that terminology here, because it is part of his position that, at least from a theoretical point of view, we cannot suppose that even our own minds are really as they appear to us, nor can we assert that the reality that ultimately underlies the appearance of minds is essentially different from the reality that ultimately underlies the appearance of bodies.
But he is confident that we are entitled to assert the existence of some sort of reality underlying the appearance of both minds and bodies, so that epistemological idealism must be accompanied by some sort of ontology, even if only an indeterminate one. Indeed, Kant continued to struggle with the clarification of his own position to the end of his life, attempting a restatement of transcendental idealism in the uncompleted material for a final book that has come down to us under the name of the Opus postumum.
He gives a direct argument for it in the Transcendental Aesthetic, supplemented by the Transcendental Analytic, and he gives an indirect argument for it in the Transcendental Dialectic by arguing that only his transcendental idealism can allow us to avoid the paradoxes or confusions of traditional metaphysics. But how does this lead to idealism?
The decisive point of this argument is the following: although because of our forms of intuition our particular representations necessarily have spatio-temporal structure, any objects that had that structure independently of our so representing them would at best have such structure contingently , and thus the supposedly synthetic a priori propositions about space, time, and their mathematics would not be necessarily true throughout their domain.
Kant makes this key point several times.
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So, Kant concludes, in order to be necessarily true throughout their domain, the synthetic a priori propositions about space and time—and this includes not just the specific propositions of geometry or mathematics more generally but also the general propositions derived in the metaphysical expositions, such as that space and time are infinite singular wholes with parts rather than instances—must be true only of the representations on which we impose our own forms of intuition, and cannot be true of things as they are in themselves.
Nevertheless, Kant reaffirms transcendental idealism during the course of the Transcendental Analytic. The Transcendental Dialectic, the second half of the Critique of Pure Reason in which Kant provides the critique of traditional metaphysics is explicitly intended to give an indirect proof of transcendental idealism B xx. These ideas, according to Kant, may be useful as guidelines for scientific research and even necessary for the purposes of practical reason, but they outrun the limits of intuition and therefore theoretical cognition. This general claim itself does not entail transcendental idealism, that is, it does not identify space and time with our own forms of intuition.
In the case of the first two antinomies he argues that both sides essentially concern space and time or the things in them, and that since space and time as forms of intuition are indefinitely extendable and divisible, both sides of the debates, the theses and the antitheses, are false: space and time and thus the totality of things and events in them the world are neither bounded and finite or unbounded and infinite but indefinite even though particular things within space or periods within time may have determinate boundaries.
In the case of the third and fourth antinomies, however, Kant argues that the distinction between appearances and things in themselves that is at the heart of transcendental idealism makes it possible for both sides to be considered true, since they concern different objects: in the empirical world of experience, there are only ever indefinitely extending chains of causes and effects, each moment of which is necessary relative to its causal laws the third antithesis but contingent because no antecedent cause is absolutely necessary or necessary considered in itself, but outside of the empirical world there is nothing to prevent there being an absolutely necessary thing in itself God nor acts of absolute spontaneity on the part of that absolutely necessary being or even lesser beings, such as finite agents.
But it was clearly controversial whether the antinomies in fact required the distinction between appearances and things in themselves; Hegel, for example, surely thought not. For the argument that only transcendental idealism can resolve the antinomies seems to be circular: unless one assumes that our representations of space and time give us not only reliable but also complete information about the nature of space and time and all things in them, there is no reason to assume that the limits of our representations of space and time—their indefiniteness and the contingency of any starting- or stopping-point in them—are also in fact true of space and time and everything in them in themselves.
Kant himself did not think so, of course. He was utterly committed to transcendental idealism. When confronted with the challenge that transcendental idealism was nothing but Berkeleianism, however, that is, the reduction of all reality to ideas and the minds that have them, he recoiled. This objection was made in the first substantial review of the first edition of the Critique , written from an empiricist point of view by Christian Garve and then redacted by J.
Feder in in Sassen Accordingly, I by all means avow that there are bodies outside us, i. Can this be called idealism? By the time of the second edition of the Critique , however, Kant must have come to see the need for a positive defense of the assumption of the existence of things in themselves that ground our spatio-temporal representations of body although, since those things in themselves are not supposed to be spatio-temporal and causality is supposed to be a spatio-temporal relation, they cannot precisely be said to cause our spatio-temporal representations.
This concern began with the famous objection of F. Jacobi, made in the appendix to his book on David Hume, that without the assumption of things in themselves he could not enter into the critical system, but that with it he could not remain within the system; that is, he felt that once the distinction between appearances and things in themselves was made all ground for the assumption of the existence of things other than our own representations was removed even if Kant had made no explicit argument against that existence.
Kant can thus be seen to have made two major points concerning epistemological and ontological idealism, although again these are not his terms. Nor can we know whether whatever we experience as an object is in the end some mental product of a divine mind having creative powers totally different from those we can make sense of. Thus we are bound to be agnostic with regard to any metaphysical theoretical claims as to the real constitution of the world, and this implies that there is no way to convince us of either ontological idealism or determinate ontological realism.
Whenever we talk about objects of cognition, i. This means, according to Kant, that idealism in epistemology is inescapable, because the assumption of the conceptual constitution of objects of cognition is unavoidable. According to this conception, reality has to be conceived as a result of an activity paradigmatically manifested in the unique manner in which consciousness of oneself arises.
In order to find out the true nature of reality one has to gain insight into the operations of this activity. This approach to answering fundamental metaphysical questions by casting into doubt the traditional distinction between ontology and epistemology not only leads to a different conception of what idealism is all about. Above all, it means that one has to sketch out the difference between idealism and whatever is taken to be its opposite realism, naturalism, materialism, sensualism etc.
Although the overcoming of the distinction between ontological and epistemological idealism by means of relying on self-relating activities might be seen as a common goal of all the major German idealistic thinkers, they pursued this project in very different directions. The first post-Kantian philosopher who embarked explicitly on the project to elaborate a dynamic idealistic conception of reality built on a specific conception of self-consciousness was Johann Gottlieb Fichte — while he was a professor at the university of Saxe-Weimar in Jena from to His starting point is an epistemological question: how does it come that we cannot help but experience objective reality the way we do, i.
Where do these representations of objects, of relations and especially the belief that they exist come from? The first states that self-consciousness or the I is a spontaneous unconditioned act that in taking place creates or posits the I as having existence or being ein Akt, der im Vollzug sein eigenes Sein schafft. The second principle postulates a necessary act of counter-positing Entgegensetzen to the self-positing activity of the I resulting in what Fichte calls a Non-I.
The third principle shows how to mediate between the self-positing and the counter-positing acts of the I by reciprocal limitation, thereby introducing a subject-object opposition within the I. A consequence that Fichte explicitly draws from this understanding of idealism is that one can no longer think of realism as a position that is opposed to idealism. He avoids that conception by introducing what could be called an ontology of pure action. In this he was followed by Hegel. In order to connect a monistic ontology to idealism, one has to somehow identify the activities at work in the constitution of the world-whole with mental or spiritual elements that are supposed to give conceptual structure to reality.
This can be and was done by Schelling at different stages of his philosophical career in different ways. This claim is not meant to state a reciprocal relation of dependence between nature and mind and their characteristic features, i. He rather wants us to think of nature and mind, matter and concept as being identical in the sense of being the same: the one is the other and vice versa.
IP 39; SW 1, when looking at reality—thus Schelling sees dualism as a psychological tendency but not a philosophical option. As a systematic counterpart to the construction of the phenomena of nature out of different dynamic factors forces, activities , in Schelling presented his System of Transcendental Idealism.
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Here he set out to demonstrate the development of mental phenomena out of these factors which he here calls the unconscious and the conscious activity starting with sensation Empfindung and intuition Anschauung until he arrives via acts of willing at the aesthetic activity manifested in works of art. He thinks of these transcendental idealistic demonstrations as a necessary complement to his philosophy of nature cf.
SW III, f. It is disclosed in two fundamentally different forms, one of which is characterized by the prevalence of subjectivity whereas in the other form objectivity prevails. This act is pure activity of knowing that creates its objects in the very act of cognition by giving them a form. Because reality is conceived thus as a dynamic self-organizing cognitive process that lies at the basis of even the most fundamental opposition between subject and object, Schelling thinks of his ontological monism as a version of idealism.
Although Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel — too embraces a dynamical conception of reality in the spirit of Fichte and Schelling, he deviates from both of them by not relying on mental activities of some subject or other or on some primordial subjectless cognitive act as the most basic features of reality. Given his deep distrust of irreconcilable dichotomies, of anything unmediated and one-sided, one cannot expect Hegel to be an advocate of an idea of idealism that is conceived of in terms of an alternative to or an opposition against realism or materialism or whatever else.
He thus shares with Fichte and Schelling the hostility against any attempts to privilege idealism over and against realism or something else or the other way round, but avoids the suspicion of a reversion to ontological idealism in a monistic guise better than either of his predecessors. GW 6, ff. His objections to and his contempt for both idealism and realism in their mutually exclusive forms are well documented in almost all of his writings throughout his philosophical career.
Rather, he must mean by idealism a philosophical outlook that is immune against the charge of grounding a philosophical system in a conception of reality that is committed to the acceptance of any irreconcilable oppositions. Now, for Hegel the most fundamental opposition both from a systematic and a historical perspective is the opposition between thinking and being. Looked at from a systematic perspective, this opposition is fundamental because of its apparent unavoidability, already at a descriptive level, when it comes to an assessment of the ultimate characteristics of reality: after all, we want to be able to hold fast to the distinction between what is only in our subjective thought and what is objectively the case.
Considered from a historical point of view it shows that—at least within the tradition of occidental philosophy—the opposition between thinking and being lies at the bottom of the most influential attempts with very few exceptions like Parmenides and possibly Spinoza to give a philosophical account of the essence of reality and its multifarious ways of appearing to us. The traditional conviction of the fundamental and irreconcilable opposition between thinking and being finds expression in many different ways.
These ways include the belief that there is being that is totally independent of or without any relation to thinking, or the conviction that thinking is somehow external to being in that being is just the self-standing provider of material on which a by itself contentless inhaltslos thinking imposes a certain conceptual form, or the assumption that even if there were no thinking there would be being and vice versa.
However, according to Hegel it can be demonstrated that to think of thinking and being as fundamentally opposed in any of these ways leads to inconsistencies resulting in contradictions, antinomies and other bewildering deficiencies. Hence an idealistic philosophical system that is to overcome these deficiencies has to get rid of the underlying fundamental opposition and to show that thinking and being are not opposed but ultimately the same.
Thus, while accepting monism and rejecting Kantian dualism, Hegel refuses to accept an absolute distinction between mind and non-mind and thus refuses to make his monism mentalistic in the way that he believes both Fichte and Schelling ultimately did, even if their mentalistic conceptions were activity- rather than substance-based. It is important to notice however, that an ontological monism conceived along these lines is not meant to translate directly into the claim according to which reality because of its opposition-transcending nature is characterized by oneness, individuality or singularity.
According to him, it makes no sense to divorce thinking from being in our conception of objects because every object is best understood as an original unity of both thought-determinations and specific ways of being. His monism thus is not founded primarily in a conviction as to the ultimate constitution of reality conceived of as an all-encompassing totality or as a quasi-Spinozistic substance although in the end he will extend his monism to apply even to traditional totalities , but relates first of all to his belief in the ontological inseparability of thinking and being in an individual object.
In later years, Hegel seems to have been well aware that it might be a bit confusing to call a position which refuses to draw a sharp distinction between thinking and being an idealistic position.
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Ohlert: Der Idealrealismus. Erster Theil. Der Idealrealismus als Metaphysik. Although this impression is by no means entirely groundless, it is still misleading because it does not do justice to the ontological connotations that Hegel wants to connect with this claim. For Hegel it is indeed essential to convince us that it is a demonstrable fact that objects in the world are realized concepts. And so it is. However, although these examples can throw some light on why Hegel might think of his approach as leading to an ideal-realistic conception of reality, the idealistic aspect of his view strictly speaking has to do with his theory as to what these concepts of which every object is a realization are supposed to be.
Here the Concept is conceived of as providing something like the master plan or the universal structure that governs not only the conceptual structure of individual kinds of objects but the structure of individual objects as well. This universal structure comes about by means of a process of conceptual self-determination that results in a complete exposition of the conceptual elements contained in the Concept. This process of self-determination is understood by Hegel as the way in which the Concept realizes itself.
After all, the Concept, being a thought-object or an object-thought itself, must also have reality or being and thus has to realize itself. In this way, Hegel does try to reconcile the need for conceptual elements constitutive of traditional epistemological idealism with most of the categorical commitments characteristic of traditional ontological idealism yet in a way that no longer requires the opposition between epistemology and ontology. Arthur Schopenhauer — heaped a great deal of invective on Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.
Schopenhauer puts forward his theory in his main work The World as Will and Representation , first published in December, with an date on its title page , and then in a much-expanded second edition in and yet another expanded edition in This book had been preceded by a doctoral dissertation On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason , which Schopenhauer subsequently regarded as the introduction to his magnum opus.
This simple and perhaps inescapable thought may be regarded as the most fundamental motivation for any form of epistemological idealism. Schopenhauer also does not doubt that there is something other than the representing subject beyond what it represents, an underlying reality beginning with its own body as it is rather than as it merely appears.
What Schopenhauer means is that although we have an experience of our own bodies, as it were from the outside, through the same forms of space, time, and causality through which we experience all other bodies, including other animate bodies, and in this regard we experience all bodies including our own as mere appearance through the forms we impose on experience, we also have another experience, each of us of his or her own body, as it were from the inside, namely we have an experience of willing an action and of our bodies as the instruments of our wills, with no separation between will and action and thus no relevance of spatial separation, temporal succession, or difference between cause and effect.
However—and this is the argument of Book II—our immediate experience of our own bodies as instruments of our wills is an experience of our actions being immediately determined by desire rather than by reason. Trying to truly satisfy desire is the height of irrationality, but for Schopenhauer there is nothing else we can will—we can at best try to escape from the clutches of will altogether, whether through art, asceticism, or compassion. But of course, if the underlying nature of reality, the thing in itself, is nothing other than will, than escape from its clutches should not really be possible but should at most be apparent.
Schopenhauer devotes many pages to empirical descriptions of the similarities between the forces at work throughout the rest of nature and the merely apparently rational but really non-rational character of our own behavior, but of course the character of things in themselves cannot be inferred directly from any amount of empirical data; Schopenhauer derives his conclusion not from all this empirical illustration but rather from our allegedly immediate rather than empirical insight into the character of our own wills and the very problematic premise that at bottom everything is essentially one.
It may seem far-fetched to think of Friedrich Nietzsche — as an idealist. After all, he presented himself as an almost fanatical anti-idealist throughout his life. Considerations like these suggest that in spite of his protests, idealistic modes of thinking are not alien to Nietzsche. At least some of his beliefs are compatible with what has been called here epistemological idealism although Nietzsche himself would have taken these beliefs to express a form of realism.
Philosophy in this traditional shape he took to be a somewhat enigmatic endeavor to pursue the mutually excluding tasks of culture-forming art and religion on the one hand and of cognition-focused science on the other s. Notebook 19, , , ; KSA 7. It is doomed to failure because of two fundamental shortcomings. The first is that it gives a privileged status to truth in that it declares truth to be the ultimate goal at which it aims.
This preoccupation with truth is based on the implicit assumption that truth has some overriding value. This assumption has never been justified, not even addressed by any philosopher. Because the ascetic ideal has so far been lord over all philosophy, because truth was set as being, as god, as the highest authority itself, because truth was not allowed to be a problem. It is the tendency of philosophers to deny the obvious, to neglect surfaces in favor of what is allegedly behind them, out of habitual weakness and anxiety to prefer the stable and immutable over and against change and becoming.
This critical sentiment Nietzsche expresses quite often at different places in many of his published and unpublished writings. This world is apparent—consequently there is a true world. This world is conditioned—consequently there is an unconditioned world. This world is full of contradiction—consequently there is a world free from contradiction. This world is becoming—consequently there is an existing [ seiende ] world. All false inferences blind trust in reason: if A is, there must be its opposing concept B. Yet Nietzsche seems undecided how to evaluate the real motives that led Plato to his idealism.
Sometimes he wants to distinguish Plato from other idealists by crediting him with some obscure positive reason for endorsing idealism. Ecce Homo. KSA 6. The influence of fearfulness. What has been most feared, the cause of the most powerful suffering the lust for domination, sexual lust, etc. Thus they have step by step wiped out the affects—claimed God to be the opposite of the evil, i. Likewise they hate the irrational, the arbitrary, the accidental as the cause of countless physical suffering.
A playful being overladen with power would call precisely the affects, unreason and change good in an eudaimonistic sense, together with their consequences, with danger, contrast, dissolution, etc. This Nietzschean view can give rise to the impression that in the end he might have been closer to endorsing some form of epistemological idealism, maybe even some form of metaphysical idealism as he himself realizes. This leads to the topics of perspectivism and interpretation Auslegung in Nietzsche. This view, according to which, further, the world each of us is experiencing is the product of an interpretation forced on us by some unconscious overriding drive Trieb that is the formative mark of the individual character of each of us, might be seen as endorsing a version of epistemological idealism if, as it is here, epistemological idealism is understood as the claim that what appears to be known as it is independent of the mind is in the end inescapably marked by the creative, formative, constructive activities of human mind, whether individual or collective.
However, it is far from clear whether Nietzsche wants us to think of this process of interpretation which leads to a specific perspective as a mind-dependent activity. Sometimes it seems as if he is favoring a quasi-Humean view according to which the intellect operates in the service of some anonymous affective and emotional drives in such a way that it just provides a set of necessary means to consciously realize what drives force us to do. KSA In other passages Nietzsche seems to be more in line with a by and large Kantian view according to which the intellect provides some rules of transformation of what is given by the senses as individual and discrete data into more general representations.
Be this as it may, at least as far as epistemological idealism is concerned it is by no means obvious that either his explicit criticism of idealism or his remarks on the ways we make up epistemic worlds prevent Nietzsche from coming close to an idealist position himself. This is so because in epistemology his main enemy does not seem to be idealism but all forms of realism. Although his proximity to epistemological idealism does not directly imply any ontological claims, one could be tempted to see Nietzsche as toying with some ontologically idealistic fantasies.
His speculations concerning the will to power as the ultimate dynamic foundation of all reality fall into this category. Thus, in the end there are no real obstacles to thinking of Nietzsche as an ontological as well as epistemological idealist, although the speculations that lead him in the former direction may be separable from the latter. Interest in ontological idealism waned in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, although it remained lively in other parts of Europe for example, in Italy, in the person of Benedetto Croce.
This had to do on the one hand with a certain aversion against what was taken to be an excessive and extravagant usurpation of all fields of intellectual discourse by the classical German philosophers under the pretext of idealism and on the other hand with the rise of Neo-Kantianism which also at least partly came into being as a reaction against the German idealists, although insofar as Neo-Kantianism was a reaction to absolute idealism it could not entirely reject epistemological idealism.
Things were different in the English-speaking world, where idealism became an important topic in a wide spectrum of philosophical discussions ranging from metaphysics via aesthetics to moral and social theories. In philosophical Britain, that is to say, England and Scotland, an idealism that was ultimately both epistemological and ontological became the dominant approach to philosophy for several decades, while in the United States idealism could not monopolize philosophy, having to share the stage with and ultimately reach an accommodation with pragmatism, but it nevertheless also flourished for several decades.
The best known and most outspoken spokesmen in favor of idealistic conceptions in metaphysics and elsewhere in Britain in these years were T. Green and F. Bradley at Oxford and J. In fact, these philosophers were more willing to call themselves idealists than had been the earlier German idealists who supposedly inspired them, but who as has been argued were just as interested in escaping as in accepting the label. This is shown most tellingly insofar as their approach to a defense of idealism goes back to a state of the discussion characteristic of the period prior to Hegel and German idealism in general, rather connecting more directly to an understanding of idealism influenced by eighteenth-century disputes in the wake of Berkeley.
None of these figures except perhaps Royce continued to explore a dynamic conception of idealism distinctive of Hegel and the other German idealists—Royce in fact wrote more extensively and insightfully on Hegel and his immediate predecessors than any of the others.
These philosophers were thus more willing to identify themselves as ontological idealists than had been their predecessors; our opening definition of ontological idealism from Royce may be seen as coming from this background. However, these philosophers were not all equally monists. And it might further be suggested that a wide variety of other paradigmatic analytic philosophers, such as Rudolf Carnap and even nominalists such as Nelson Goodman and W.
Quine, incorporated some aspects of epistemological idealism into their thought. Thomas Hill Green —82 was the first of the great Oxford idealists. He is best remembered for a lengthy polemic with Hume that he published in the form of an introduction to a collected edition of Hume that he co-edited and for his posthumously published Prolegomena to Ethics , which is a polemic against utilitarianism from the point of view of a perfectionism inspired by Kant as well as by Hegel.
Green also left behind a set of Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation that form one of the crucial documents of the political and social philosophy of British idealism and of idealism in the broadest sense mentioned at the outset of this entry.
German Idealism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
First, and here much influenced by Kant, he argues that knowledge never consists in the mere apprehension of discrete items, but in the recognition of order or relation, and that such order or relation is not given but is constituted by and in consciousness. Francis Herbert Bradley — , however, argued for a more exclusive spiritualism, or ontological idealism. Bradley presents his metaphysical views on the constitution and the main characteristics of reality most explicitly in Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay, which was first published in and reprinted many times during his lifetime.
He substantiates this claim by examining a range of central concepts from metaphysics and epistemology, among them the concepts of primary and secondary qualities, of substance and attribute, of quality and relation, space and time, of causality as well as the concept of a thing and that of the self. The result of this examination consists in the verdict that all attempts to capture the true nature of reality in terms of these categories are futile because all these concepts are unintelligible, inconsistent and in the end self-contradictory.
This means that what is designated by means of them cannot be real, but can only reflect the way the world appears to us, not the way it really is. However, to be just appearance is not to be unreal in the sense of an illusion. Yet since appearance always proves to be an inadequate way in which reality is present to us, the question inevitably arises whether it is beyond our means ever to become acquainted with the true essence of ultimate reality or whether we can avoid skepticism and claim that it is indeed possible for us to have access to the constitutive nature of reality.
Bradley emphatically endorses the latter possibility. According to him, the self-contradictoriness of what is appearance already implies that there is positive knowledge of reality: reality has to be One in the sense that it does not allow discord and it must be such that it can include diversity cf.
This character of reality as an internally diversified individual system is revealed to us in sentient experience. The material basis of sentient experience is exhausted in feeling, thought, and volition. Thus reality consists in what has to be taken as the undifferentiated unity of these modes of sentient experience before these modes make their appearance as different aspects of experience. This leads Bradley to assume that what is ultimately real is just what gives rise to appearances where appearances have to be understood as specific forms under which the underlying undifferentiated unity appears in each of these different aspects of experience.
The identification of idealism with spiritualism, thus again an ontological interpretation of idealism, is most explicit in the works of John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart — The problem of the first is to prove that reality is not exclusively matter. The problem of the second is to prove that reality is exclusively spirit. He takes spirit to be the sum total of individual spirits or selves connected by the relation of love and bases this conviction on the claim that only this conception of what ultimate reality consists in allows us to overcome unavoidable contradictions connected with all other attempts to reconcile unity and diversity as the distinguishing marks of reality.
Harmony between unity and diversity can be established only on the basis of an all-encompassing relation of love between all the characteristic elements of reality, which in turn presupposes thinking of ultimate reality as a community of spirits or as Spirit.
These—as McTaggart himself admits ibid. In his earliest writing he relies heavily on views held by Bradley to the effect that we have to accept that contradictions are a criterion for non-reality. However, he does not employ this criterion as a logical maxim but transforms it into some kind of ontological principle according to which everything that prevents harmony cannot be real.
It is interesting to note that McTaggart does not believe that his metaphysical ontological spiritual idealism excludes a realistic stance in epistemology. This is so because he characterizes epistemological realism as a position that is based on a correspondence theory of truth according to which a belief is true if it corresponds to a fact. Because everything that is real is a fact and according to McTaggart nothing is unreal although it may not exist , all beliefs about something are beliefs about facts and consequently about something that is epistemologically real.
Although this concept of epistemological realism is vague, it suggests that McTaggart thought of idealism not primarily in opposition to realism but much more in terms of a doctrine that is opposed to materialism, that is, as an ontological rather than epistemological doctrine. But his insistence that his view is a form of realism may be taken as an extreme form of the usual distinction between epistemological idealism and any view that our knowledge is merely illusory, an aspect of epistemological idealism that goes back to Berkeley and Kant although Kant thought that Berkeley had failed to establish it.
But the leading American idealist was Josiah Royce — A prolific author who published fifteen books before his early death at sixty, Royce launched his defense of idealism in his first book, The Religious Aspect of Philosophy In this work he introduced his first novel argument, for idealism, what he called the argument from error.
This account does not yet make clear why Royce thought that epistemological idealism must lead to ontological idealism; that becomes clearer in his subsequent works. Here Royce gives a clear definition of his conception of idealism and adds to the previous argument from error a second argument, from meaning. The core of this argument is that the intended object of an expression or thought must itself be conceived or understood in some way, so that we always mean what are in some sense our own ideas, although of course at any particular moment we hardly know or understand everything about the object to which we refer; that is why the idea that is the ultimate object of reference may be much greater than the idea that refers.
Royce develops an even more systematic argument for an idealism that is both epistemological and ontological in his magnum opus , the two volumes of his — Gifford lectures published as The World and the Individual —as the title suggests, a major theme of that work is explicating in detail the relationship between underlying reality and ordinary individual, conscious human selves. The second conception of being is the mystical conception. As the defining notion of the realist conception was independence, the defining notion of mysticism is the opposite, namely immediacy, the idea that thought and its object must be one.
The fourth conception of being is a fuller development of the conception of meaning that Royce had introduced in The Spirit of Modern Philosophy. He now links meaning to purpose, and his thought is that the meaning of a term is an intended purpose, a problem to be solved, for example a mathematical problem to be solved or object to be constructed, and that in using a term the user already has some approach to solving the problem in mind but the full solution remains to be developed, may never be fully developed in the life of a particular individual, but is in some sense already included in the larger thought that constitutes reality.
Reaching back to both Hegel and Kant, Royce conceives of the progress of knowledge as making the meaning of our ideas more determinate. Epistemological idealism begins with the insight that our knowledge in some way or another always reflects the structure of our own consciousness and thought. But the difference between what any particular individual believes or even knows at any particular time and what may be true and be known as a whole, at a time or over time, is too great to ignore, and must be modeled within epistemological idealism.
But once it has been assumed that thought or mind itself is the proper object of knowledge, the only way to do this is to make a contrast between individual thought and some sort of supra-individual thought. At the outset of modern idealism, in Berkeley, that takes the form of the infinite mind, God, contrasted to individual, human minds; in later forms, such as those of Green and Royce, the supra-individual mind is not always identified with God, but plays the same role. In the cases of both Green and Royce, the union of epistemological and ontological idealism also provided the basis for a moral idealism based on an insistence upon the underlying commonality of individual human selves in the larger self that Royce called the Absolute.
But we will not be able to trace that line of thought here, and will instead conclude with the suggestion that many subsequent philosophers drew back from the full-blooded combination of epistemological and ontological idealism offered by Green, Bradley, McTaggart, and Royce to what was ultimately a more purely epistemological form of idealism.
This might seem a surprising claim, since the immediate response both to the British idealists and to Royce in the U. Nevertheless, it might be argued that even after it lost the dignity of appearing under its own name, epistemological idealism remained a dominant mode of philosophy in the twentieth century, even if not especially within analytic philosophy, although not many of its practitioners would have admitted that.
A case in point would be Bertrand Russell. Holt and his younger Harvard colleague Ralph Barton Perry, and later Roy Wood Sellars the father of Wilfrid Sellars, who later moved back to a form of Kantianism, and thus became one of the leading crypto-epistemological idealists of the twentieth century , and Arthur Lovejoy. But both Moore and Russell had more of an enduring influence on the course of analytic philosophy than the American New Realists, but also reveal the continuing impulse to idealism in spite of their own efforts, so we will focus on them.
Both of them take idealism to be spiritualism in the spirit of Berkeley and Bradley neither of them mentions their Cambridge tutor McTaggart! Although their attack was so influential that even more than years later, any acknowledgment of idealistic tendencies is viewed in the English-speaking world with reservation, it is by no means obvious that they actually thought they had disproved idealism. On the contrary, neither Moore nor Russell claimed to have demonstrated that the universe or what exists or can be known to exist is not spiritual or mental.
All that they take themselves to have shown is that there are no good philosophical in contradistinction to, e. Moore especially is very explicit about this point. Moore and Russell found two main arguments for idealism to be fallacious. Their criticism of the first as well as their rebuttal of the second argument stems from certain convictions they share as to the nature of knowledge, and is meant to discredit both epistemological and ontological idealism.
Their main objection against the two idealistic arguments seems to be that they rely on unjustly presupposing that the mental act of relating to an object perceiving, thinking, knowing, experiencing is a necessary condition for the existence of this object.
Challenges to German Idealism
As soon as this identification is given up and that distinction is made it is at least an open question whether things exist independently of the mind, and idealism insofar it neglects this distinction and holds fast to that identification is refuted because based on an invalid argument. Whether this line of criticism of idealistic positions is indeed successful might be controversial, and even if it strikes home against Berkeley the charge that they simply conflate knowledge and object hardly seems to do justice to the elaborate arguments of the late nineteenth-century idealists.
However, if one is convinced of the correctness of this criticism as no doubt Moore and Russell were then it makes way for interesting new perspectives in epistemology and metaphysics. This is so because if this criticism is taken to be successful it permits us to explore the possibility of a theory of knowledge that starts from the assumptions a that objects exist independently of us and b that to know an object means to be immediately related to the object as it is in itself i.
The basic idea of this Platonic atomism seems to be the following: Knowledge consists in standing in an immediate relation to an independent individual object assumption b. Knowledge basically is knowledge of something or non-propositional knowledge. However, although this rather frugal conception of knowledge might be sufficient to give an account of the possibility of non-propositional knowledge, it is not that easy to see how such a conception can give a sensible explanation of propositional knowledge, i.
Moore and Russell seem to have been acutely aware of this difficulty as is documented in their very explicit efforts to avoid it.
It might have been their different reactions to this difficulty which in the years to come led them to proceed on diverging routes in philosophy. As is easy to imagine, there are two obvious reactions to the problem of propositional knowledge provided that assumption b is agreed upon. The second is to broaden the concept of knowledge by not restricting knowledge to knowledge by acquaintance but to allow for other forms of knowledge as well.
According to Moore a proposition is composed out of concepts. If we are to be acquainted with propositions we have to take their elements, i. A proposition is composed not of words, nor yet of thoughts, but of concepts. Concepts are possible objects of thought; but that is no definition of them. It merely states that they may come into relation with a thinker; and in order that they may do anything, they must already be something. It is indifferent to their nature whether anyone thinks them or not.
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They are incapable of change; and the relation into which they enter with the knowing subject implies no action or reaction. It is a unique relation which can begin to cease with a change in the subject; but the concept is neither cause nor effect of such a change.
The difference between a concept and a proposition, in virtue of which the latter alone can be called true or false, would seem to lie merely in the simplicity of the former. A proposition is a synthesis of concepts; and, just as concepts are themselves immutably what they are, so they stand in infinite relations to one another equally immutable. A proposition is constituted by any number of concepts, together with a specific relation between them; and according to the nature of this relation the proposition may be either true or false.
Moore also is very well aware that his view of the nature of concepts commits him to the claim that the world insofar as it is an object of propositional knowledge consists of concepts because these are the only things one can be acquainted with if acquaintance is a condition of knowledge. These are the only objects of knowledge. They cannot be regarded fundamentally as abstractions either from things or from ideas; since both alike can, if anything is to be true of them, composed of nothing but concepts.
A thing becomes intelligible first when it is analyzed into its constituent concepts. The material diversity of things, which is generally taken as starting-point, is only derived; and the identity of the concept, in several different things, which appears on that assumption as the problem of philosophy, will now, if it instead be taken as the starting-point, render the derivation easy.
Two things are then seen to be differentiated by the different relations in which their common concepts stand to other concepts. And indeed one wonders whether such an account does not raise more problems than it answers. Fortunately we do not have to be concerned with this question here. After all, to claim that only concepts are real, that they have a mode of being outside of space and time, that they are non-physical and completely unaffected by any activity of a thinking subject, does not sound very different from statements that can rightly be attributed to, e.
Although Moore might avoid epistemological idealism by his insistence upon the metaphysical independence of concepts, he comes dangerously close to the point where the difference between ontological idealism and ontological realism vanishes and this distinction becomes a question of terminology. Russell chooses a different path in the attempt to somehow reconcile the idea that knowledge has to be understood as a relation of acquaintance with objects with the phenomenon of propositional knowledge.
He is more flexible both with respect to kinds of knowledge and with respect to kinds of objects with which we can be acquainted than Moore is. First of all, he distinguishes between knowledge of things and knowledge of truths. He recognizes two kinds of knowledge of things: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. Knowledge of truths is distinguished from these two kinds of knowledge of things. Examples of truths that can be known this way are logical principles, the principle of induction, and everything we know a priori.
This taxonomy of kinds of knowledge, Russell believes, can account both for the possibility of non-propositional and propositional knowledge and at the same time retain the claim as to the primacy of the acquaintance-relation for knowledge. The obvious question now is: if all knowledge is ultimately based on acquaintance, what is it we can be acquainted with, i. Because universals and particulars alike are possible objects of acquaintance both have to be real.
However, according to Russell they are real in a different sense. Particulars have existence in time whereas universals have timeless being. The first ones exist, the other subsist. As in the case of Moore it is tempting to interpret his commitment to a timeless world of universals as pointing if not to an endorsement at least to a toleration of a position that is difficult to distinguish from some version of an ontological idealism.
But again one has to acknowledge that such a verdict is not very significant because one could as well describe this position as a version of ontological realism. It just depends on what is claimed to be the distinctive feature of idealism. If ontological idealism is a position characterized by taking for granted the reality of conceptual entities that are not mind-dependent then both Moore and Russell endorse ontological idealism. If idealism is meant to be a position which takes conceptual items to be mind-dependent then both are realists with respect to concepts. However, it is hard to see how Russell can avoid epistemological idealism given his views about physical objects.
This is so because of his sense-datum theory, according to which what is immediately present to us, i. Physical objects are constructions we form out of sense-data together with some descriptive devices, and only with respect to these constructions can we have knowledge by description, i. If epistemological idealism is understood as has been done here as involving the claim that what we take to be objects of knowledge are heavily dependent on some activity of the knowing subject, then the very idea of an object as a construction guarantees the endorsement of epistemological idealism.
Thus, in contrast to their self-proclaimed revolt against the idealism of Berkeley and Bradley, the positions of both Moore and Russell are by no means free of traits that connect them rather closely to well known currents in modern idealism; and these features, above all the supposition that knowers may be immediately presented with some sorts of informational atoms, whether properties, sense-data, or whatever, but that all further knowledge, or all knowledge beyond immediate acquaintance, involves constructive activities of the mind, are common throughout a great deal of recent philosophy.
To trace the subterranean presence of at least epistemological idealism throughout the remainder of twentieth-century philosophy would exceed the brief for this entry. There is room here for just a few hints of how such an account would go. Neo-Kantianism in turn influenced the broader stream of analytic philosophy through the person of Rudolf Carnap, whose Logical Construction of the World analyzes knowledge in terms of relations constructed on perceived similarities in qualities of objects, thus taking a subjectivist starting-point and then adding constructive activities of the mind to it—a form of epistemological idealism.
Even W. Analytical philosophy has been overwhelmingly influenced by the paradigm of the natural sciences, and often committed to some form of naturalism; but as the examples of Green and Royce as well as earlier idealists such as Schelling make clear, there is no necessary incompatibility between idealism and some forms of naturalism. One might even get the impression that in contemporary scientifically-oriented philosophy idealism is no longer considered a threat.
But then again, this underlying idea of the Heideggerian approach to philosophy may already be suggested in the work of Schelling, so perhaps the fundamental debate within twentieth-century philosophy has taken place within a framework itself inspired by a form of idealism. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, idealism, understood as a philosophical program, may be sharing the fate of many other projects in the history of modern philosophy. Originally conceived in the middle of the eighteenth century as a real alternative to materialistic and naturalistic perspectives, it may now become sublated and integrated into views about the nature of reality that ignore metaphysical oppositions or epistemological questions connected with the assumption of the priority of mind over matter or the other way round.
We also owe thanks to Justin Broackes for his participation in the seminar we gave at Brown University in Spring and Fall where we also discussed much of this material. Idealism First published Sun Aug 30, Introduction 2. Idealism in early modern Rationalism 3. Idealism in early modern British philosophy 4. Kant 5. German Idealism 6. Schopenhauer 7. Nietzsche 8. British and American Idealism 9. Idealism in early modern Rationalism Prior to Wolff, neither defending nor refuting ontological idealism seems to have been a central issue for rationalist philosophers, and none of them called themselves idealists.
Idealism in early modern British philosophy The relation between ontological and epistemological idealism is complex. German Idealism Kant can thus be seen to have made two major points concerning epistemological and ontological idealism, although again these are not his terms. Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer — heaped a great deal of invective on Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.