German idealism

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

German idealism was a speculative philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was a reaction against Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and was closely linked with both Romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment. The most notable thinkers in the movement were Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Schelling and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, while Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gottlob Ernst Schulze, Karl Leonhard Reinhold and Friedrich Schleiermacher also made major contributions.


  • Kant himself says that he is drawing the limits of knowledge to make space for religious faith, but it is now pretty clear that the modern world has been unable to fill that space. In the philosophy of J. G. Fichte, F. W. J. Schelling and G. W. F. Hegel, known as 'German Idealism', which begins in the 1790s, the space is often filled with aspects of what Kant proposes which are given a more emphatic status than Kant himself thinks possible. Fichte, for example, will make the activity of the I the source of the world's intelligibility in a way that Kant rejects. Development of some of these thinkers' ideas will be germane to Schopenhauer, Ludwig Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche, who, though, reject many of the central philosophical contentions of German Idealism. However, the structures which inform much of what these thinkers say still depend upon what might initially appear to be rather specialized aspects of Kant's philosophy.
    • Andrew Bowie, Introduction to German Philosophy: From Kant to Habermas (2003), Ch. 1. The Kantian Revolution
  • German Idealism seems to have exerted another enduring influence on Weber, discernible in his ethical worldview more than in his epistemological position. This was the strand of Idealist discourse in which a broadly Kantian ethic and its Nietzschean critique figure prominently.
    • Sung Ho Kim, "Max Weber", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
  • The story of German idealism is the story of Kant and the aftermath.
    • Merold Westphal, "Kierkegaard and Hegel", in The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard (1998)
  • So much the worse for the facts!
    • A supposed idealist retort against factual contradiction, attributed by György Lukács to Fichte, but by others to Hegel or an unnamed follower.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: