Immanuel Kant's Critique Of German Idealism

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Immanuel Kant, and his Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787) sparked a new movement among many European philosophers, known as the age of German Idealism. Names such as Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel are all in the realm of German Idealism, each bringing their own ideas to complete the system of philosophy itself, and specifically destroy, defend, or further develop the concept of human rationalism. There is an agglomeration of world-renowned philosophers in the era of German Idealism, but this essay will focus on only two, Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854). After reading parts of two major writings by Fichte, Review of Aenesidemus (1794), and, On the Concept of the Wissenschaftslehre, it is …show more content…
Fichte is a supporter of “Criticism,” therefore is an idealist who thinks that one’s consciousness is the key to knowledge, and denies the existence of any outside matter. Schelling is a supporter of “Dogmatism,” therefore is a realist who thinks that objects only exist independently of the mind. Fichte would agree that anything outside of the mind is simply absurd, and Schelling argues that outside objects are things in themselves. Fichte clearly argues against Schelling’s system of identity when he writes that, “No proposition is possible without both content and form” (Fichte, I, 49). This is also addressed in Fichte’s, Review of Aenesidemus, when he writes that, “we must have a real principle… not have to express a fact just as content [eine Tatsache, actual fact]; it can also express a fact as performance [eine Tathandlung, actual deed] (Fichte, 141). Schelling’s dogmatic view, in which he showed that outside objects are “things in themselves,” comes from Spinoza’s determinist views that focused on a reason and cause relationship. By denying the plurality of entities, Spinoza’s realism clearly tries to negate idealism, and therefore creates a major significant difference between Schelling and …show more content…
They both laid various influential foundations that will help further transform philosophy into the science of all sciences. After giving a brief context to Fichte’s and Schelling’s writings, this essay has shown the major contrasting ideas of these two philosophers and the similarities that they share concerning an absolute principle. In Fichte’s, Review of Aenesidemus, and, On the Concept of the Wissenschaftslehre, he sides with Reinhold, showing that the freedom of consciousness is not a fact, but an act, and wants to promote that philosophy could be structured on a circular single absolute first principle, the self-positing of the I. In Schelling’s Philosophical Letters on Dogmatism and Criticism, he explains the origin of the distinction of dogmatism and criticism, while addressing problems such as a moral God and the deeper and profound meaning of Kant’s, Critique of Pure Reason. The major difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s writings is based on their specific systems of philosophy. Fichte supports criticism, therefore focuses on the subject and rejects things in themselves, while Schelling supports dogmatism, therefore focuses on the object and argues for things in themselves. For similarities, Fichte and Schelling both support the idea of a first absolute principle that is the solid foundation for all of philosophy. Philosophy deserves to be recognized

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