German classical philosophy

German classical philosophy is an influential stream of philosophical thought of the New Age . She summarizes its development in this segment of Western European history. The philosophical doctrine of I. Kant , I. Fichte , G. Hegel , F. Schelling , L. Feuerbach belongs to this current. They posed in a new way many philosophical and worldview problems that neither rationalism, nor empiricism, nor enlightenment could solve. These thinkers are united by common ideological and theoretical roots, continuity in the formulation and resolution of problems. By “classical” is meant the highest level of its representatives and the significance of the problems solved by this philosophy.

The formation of the classical form of philosophy in one of the textbooks is considered, starting with Descartes, and this has its own logic. The authors of the textbook distinguish the following areas in the classical philosophical tradition

I. Philosophy of Enlightenment (XVII - XVIII century.)

1. Rationalism: R. Descartes, B. Spinoza, G.V. Leibniz.

2. Empiricism: T. Hobbes, J. Locke and others.

3. French Enlightenment: F.М. Voltaire, C. Montesquieu, J.J. Russo, J.O. La Mettrie, P. Holbach, K. Helvetius, D. Didro and others.

II. German idealism (XVIII - XIX centuries): I. Kant, I.G. Fichte, F.V. Schelling, G.V.F. Hegel and others

Here, as we see the philosophy of the seventeenth century , i.e. the era of the formation of the philosophy of the New Age is attributed by the authors to the philosophy of Enlightenment. The authors are certainly right and there is no contradiction, since the rationalist philosophy and the philosophy of empiricism of the New Age era had a kind of enlightening character. Moreover, over the course of the 17th-19th centuries, with all the variety of philosophical concepts, the model of a philosophical approach to the world dominated, which could be described as “rationalism and enlightenment”. But as for classical German philosophy, it is only with it that the shift of emphasis begins from the analysis of nature to the study of man, the human world, and history. For the first time, representatives of German classics realize that a person does not live in the natural world, but in the world of culture. Further, in the postclassical period, the epistemological and ontological vector moves to a greater extent to the problem of the essence and being of man.

The characteristic features of classical philosophy are: firstly, rational-theoretical consciousness, with the help of which one can explain the most diverse phenomena of spirit and reality; secondly, a systematic and holistic explanation of the world, which is based on the natural ordering and harmony of the world (accessible to rational understanding); thirdly, since the world is dominated by a natural order, caused by interdependent processes (the knowledge of which a person should be engaged), the entire historical and philosophical process also has a certain integrity.


On this occasion, Hegel wrote , "the history of philosophy shows ... that the seemingly different philosophical teachings represent only one philosophy at various stages of its development ...". The natural (given by being) ordering of the world was the subject and purpose of cognition. From the point of view of classical philosophy, man is incomparably higher than the world and being, for he is capable of rational knowledge. To the surprise of many, the world, in fact, turned out to be what human thought created it according to a predetermined plan (in which man is likened to God). This made it possible to assert that philosophical conclusions regarding the structure of the world have the same degree of accuracy as the conclusions of geometry or mathematics. It is no accident that mathematical terminology was introduced into philosophy: the “geometric method” of Spinoza, the methods of Locke’s exact sciences, the mathematical method of Descartes, mathematical natural science and a priori schemes of Kant, Fichte’s intellectual intuition, etc.

The role of reason (the mind of the knowing subject) in classical philosophy is so high that reality (as something independent of man) and its construction by the mind coincide. In the classical era, a categorical apparatus and technique of philosophical thinking was developed, special methods of argumentation and proof that are different from the concrete scientific and characterize precisely the philosophical approach to experience. A feature of rational philosophical systems is their desire for comprehensiveness. This was manifested to a greater extent in Hegel's philosophical system.

The peak of the development of world philosophical thought is considered the achievements of German classical philosophy of the late XVIII - first half of the XIX centuries. German classical philosophy created a universal and comprehensive picture of the world, systematized the basic knowledge of mankind about nature, society, and the process of cognition. The highest achievements of philosophical classics belong to the work of Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804) and George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) .

Characteristic features of German classical philosophy:

1. A special understanding of the role of philosophy in the history of mankind, in the development of world culture. Classical German philosophers believed that philosophy was designed to be a critical conscience of culture, the "soul" of culture.

2. Not only human history was studied, but also human essence.

3. All representatives of classical German philosophy regarded philosophy as a special system of philosophical ideas.

4. Classical German philosophy develops a holistic concept of dialectics.

5. Classical German philosophy emphasized the role of philosophy in the development of the problems of humanism and made attempts to comprehend human life [3].

It can be argued that representatives of classical German philosophy followed the enlighteners of the 18th century and, above all, the French enlighteners, proclaiming man as the lord of nature and spirit, affirming the power of reason. At the same time, they also expressed the socio-economic, political and spiritual atmosphere that surrounded them: the feudal fragmentation of Germany, the lack of national unity, the orientation of the developing bourgeoisie to various compromises, (because after the French Revolution, it was afraid of any revolutionary development ); desire to have strong monarchical power and military power.

Immanuel Kant

I. Kant , the founder of classical German philosophy, made a revolution in philosophy, the essence of which is to consider cognition as an activity proceeding according to its own laws. The main works are - "Criticism of pure reason" (theory of knowledge), "Critique of Practical mind (ethical teaching)," Criticism of the ability of judgment ( aesthetics ).

Kant's work is divided into two periods: subcritical (from 1746 to the 1770s) and critical (from the 1770s until his death). In the subcritical period, Kant dealt mainly with cosmological problems, i.e. questions of the origin and development of the universe. In his work “Universal Natural History and Theory of the Sky”, Kant substantiates the idea of ​​the self-education of the Universe from the “original nebula”. Kant gave an explanation of the origin of the solar system, based on Newton's laws. According to Kant, Cosmos (nature) is not a constant, non-historical formation, but is in constant motion, development. Kant's cosmological concept was further developed by Laplace and went down in history under the name “Kant – Laplace hypotheses”.

The second, most important, period of Kant's activity is connected with the transition from ontological, cosmological problems to epistemological and ethical issues. This period is called “critical”, because it is connected with the release of two of Kant's most important works - Critique of Pure Reason, in which he criticized the cognitive abilities of man and Critique of Practical Mind, which analyzes the nature of human morality. In these works, Kant formulated his main questions: “What can I know?”, “What should I do?” And “What can I hope for?” The answers to these questions reveal the essence of his philosophical system.

In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant defines metaphysics as a science of the absolute, but within the boundaries of the human mind. Kant knowledge is based on experience and sensory perception. Kant questioned the truth of all knowledge of mankind about the world, believing that a person is trying to penetrate the essence of things, he knows it with distortions that come from his senses. He believed that in the beginning it is necessary to investigate the boundaries of cognitive abilities of a person. Kant argued that all our knowledge of objects is not knowledge of their essence (to indicate which the philosopher introduced the concept of “thing in himself”), but only knowledge of the phenomena of things, i.e. about how things reveal themselves to us. The "thing in itself", according to the philosopher, is elusive and unknowable. In historical and philosophical literature, Kant's epistemological position is often called agnosticism .

Kant's theory of knowledge is based on the recognition of the existence of experimental knowledge or a priori knowledge that is innate. The first experimental forms of consciousness are space and time. Everything that a person knows, he knows in the forms of space and time, but they are not inherent in the "things in themselves". From the senses, the process of cognition passes to reason, and from it to reason. Reason that goes beyond its borders, i.e. the boundaries of experience are already the mind. The role of the mind, according to Kant, is higher than other cognitive abilities of man. The ability to supersensory knowledge, he called transcendental apperception . This meant that a person already at birth was given the ability to orientate in space and time. And even animals have innate instincts (for example, little ducklings go to the water and start swimming without any training). Thanks to transcendental apperception in the human mind, a gradual accumulation of knowledge, a transition from innate ideas to ideas of rational knowledge is possible.

Kant 's philosophical system is also called critical, or transcendental idealism . Transcendental (from Lat. Transcendere - to cross) are experimental, supersensible concepts that are known only intuitively.

At the stage of cognition of the world through practical reason, a person, according to I. Kant, uses the knowledge gained with the help of “pure” or theoretical reason . Practical mind orientates a person to his behavior in society, in life in general. The basis of the subject’s behavior is “autonomous will” and the rules, or maxims , developed in society. Autonomous will encourages a person to act - good or evil. The most significant regulator of people's behavior, limiting their will, is the moral law, according to Kant a categorical imperative .

For Kant, human behavior should be based on three maxima:

1. Act according to rules that may become universal law.

2. In actions proceed from the fact that a person is of the highest value.

3. All actions should be done for the benefit of society.

Kant's ethical doctrine has enormous theoretical and practical significance; it orientates man and society on the values ​​of moral norms and the inadmissibility of neglecting them for the sake of selfish interests.

Thus , all morality in society should be based on the observance of a sense of duty: a person should show himself to other people as a rational, responsible, and strictly observing moral rules being.

I. Kant also proposed , based on the categorical imperative, to change the lives of people in society, to create a new "ethical social system."

He believed that people live as if in two dimensions:

1) among regulation and establishment, in the state;

2) in the process of his life in society, in the world of morality.

The world, officially regulated by the state and the church, was not considered by I. Kant to be a truly human world, since such a world, in his opinion, is based on superstitions, deceits and remnants of animal drives in a person.

Only a society in which human behavior will be governed by the voluntary execution of moral laws, and above all the categorical imperative, can give true freedom to man. Kant, formulating a moral law - a moral imperative “act so that your behavior can become a universal rule”, put forward the idea of ​​“eternal peace” based on economic disadvantage and the legal prohibition of war.

The ideas of Kant were continued and developed by the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814). His concept was called "Science." He believed that philosophy is a fundamental science that helps to develop a unified method of cognition. The main thing in philosophical knowledge is intellectual intuition. In the process of cognition, the subject interacts with the object, his consciousness acts as an active and creative principle.

The process of cognition, according to Fichte, goes through three stages:

1) “I” affirms itself, creates itself;

2) “I” contrasts itself with “Not-I”, or the object;

1) “I” and “Not-I”, restricting each other, form a synthesis.

To the natural question: “Does an object exist without a subject or not?” - Fichte's philosophy answers that without a subject there is no object. That is, only the active "I", or the will of the subject, through interaction with the object, is able to change the world and establish itself in it.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

G. Hegel is one of the most prominent philosophers of his time, a representative of German classical idealism. Hegel's philosophy is considered to be the completion of the entire Western history of philosophy, the completion of the philosophy of the New Age and classical German idealism.

The main philosophical works. Hegel: "Philosophy of the Spirit", "Science of Logic", "Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences". Accordingly, the philosophical system consists of three parts: logic, philosophy of nature and philosophy of spirit. According to Hegel, logic is the most important part of the system, this is the area of ​​"pure thought" that exists before the subject and object. Logic precedes history and nature, it creates them. Logic is divided into three parts: the doctrine of being, of essence and concept. According to Hegel, subjective logic (the doctrine of human thinking) should be preceded by objective logic - the doctrine of the dialectical self-development of the Absolute Idea (World Spirit, God ). The main thing in Hegel's philosophy is to prove that consciousness, the life of spirit and thought determine the laws of nature and society. Spirit at its highest stage of development (in art, religion, philosophy) only embodies what is inherent in thinking.

Hegel believes that thanks to thinking, a person discovers the identity of a subject and an object. Hegel calls this identity the idea. The discovery of ideas, a person's understanding of their merits, forces one to start philosophizing not from the subject, but from the ideas themselves. Philosophy is the comprehension of the world in ideas. In order to elevate philosophy to the level of science, Hegel builds a system of ideas and tries to derive the next from one idea. Hegel's philosophy becomes the science of ideas, the logic of the movement of ideas, dialectical logic.

The reason for the movement of ideas are contradictions. The contradictions are ineradicable and inherent in every idea, it is they that force a person to go from one idea to another more perfect, not abstract, but concrete. Hegel goes from logic to the philosophy of nature. The creator of nature is an idea, it creates nature. Nature developed in stages: mechanism, chemistry, organism. Thanks to the depth and power of dialectical thought, Hegel in his “Philosophy of Nature” expressed a number of valuable guesses about the mutual relationship between the individual steps of organic and inorganic nature and the laws of all phenomena in the world.

Hegel's greatest merit is in the development of the problems of dialectics. He led the doctrine of dialectical development as a qualitative change, the transition of the old to the new, the movement from higher to lower forms. He discovered the relationship between all processes in the world. Hegel created an unsurpassed system of categories of dialectics and discovered the connection between them: essence, content, general, necessary, law, phenomenon, form, unit, random, - these categories organically pass into each other. The essence of Hegel's dialectical method is expressed in a scheme called a triad (since it has three main elements).

The basic laws of dialectics :

1) the law of transition of quantitative changes to qualitative ones;

2) the law of unity and struggle of opposites;

3) the law of negation of negation.

In the field of socio - philosophical concepts, Hegel expressed a number of valuable ideas: on the meaning of history, on the understanding of historical laws, on the role of the individual in history. Hegel had the greatest influence on the field of state philosophy and the philosophy of history. General world history is regarded by him as a process of self-consciousness of the world spirit and at the same time as "progress in the consciousness of freedom." Freedom consists in the fact that a person cognizes his identity with the absolute and identifies himself with the formation of an objective spirit (state and law).

The followers of Hegel, who adopted his dialectical method, began to be called Young Hegelians. They wanted a change in the state system, they wanted state reforms. Сторонники сохранения старых форм жизни - старогегельянцы - оправдывали разумностью действительность феодально-сословного государства. В 30-е - 40-е годы XIX века в Германии, как и в других странах Европы, шла теоретическая борьба между двумя этими ветвями послегегелевской философии. В ней отражались и сила воздействия гегелевских идей на общество, и общественная потребность в реализации прогрессивных идеалов.

К школе младогегельянцев в первоначальный период своей философской деятельности принадлежал Людвиг Фейербах (1803-1872).

Л. Фейербах в ряду немецких философов является представителем материалистического направления. Подвергнув критике идеализм, он выдвинул целостную и последовательную материалистическую картину мира. Он рассматривает материю как природное объективное начало мира, глубоко анализирует такие свойства материи, как движение, пространство и время. Он разработал теорию познания, в которой выступает как сенсуалист, высоко оценивая роль чувств в познании. Он полагал, что человек познает мир через свои ощущения, которые рассматривал как проявление природы. Фейрбах обосновал с высокой оценкой роли чувств в познании. Фейербах обосновал объективную ценность человека в системе мира, критикуя религиозные представления о человеке как творении Бога; разработал основные принципы гуманизма, исходя из представлений о том, что человек совершенная часть природы.

Фейербах является родоначальником антропологического материализма , но в то же время он оставался идеалистом в понимании общества. Он утверждал, что исторические эпохи различаются переменами в религиозном сознании. Христианство провозглашает любовь как главную творческую духовную силу, изменяющую мораль, отношение человека к человеку. По Фейербаху, любовь к богу выражает и любовь к человеку, так как бог есть отчужденная сущность человека. Через религию человек выражает свое чувство любви, устремленное к бессмертию. В этом духовном стремлении выражены и родовая сущность человека, и его идущая от родовой сущности идеальная сущность. Нравственное перерождение людей для Фейербаха становится движителем общественного развития. Его философия завершила классический этап немецкой философии и заложила основы немецкого материализма.

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