19th-century philosophy

In the 19th century, the philosophies of the Enlightenment began to have a dramatic effect, the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau influencing new generations of thinkers. In the late 18th century a movement known as Romanticism began; it validated strong emotion as an authentic not of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror and terror and awe. Key ideas that sparked changes in philosophy were the fast progress of science; evolution, as postulated by Vanini, Diderot, Lord Monboddo, Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Goethe, and Charles Darwin; and what might now be called emergent order, such as the free market of Adam Smith within nation states. Pressures for egalitarianism, and more rapid change culminated in a period of revolution and turbulence that would see philosophy change as well.

Brief historical outline

With the tumultuous years of 1789–1815, European culture was transformed by revolution, war and disruption. By ending many of the social and cultural props of the previous century, the stage was set for dramatic economic and political change. European philosophy reflected on, participated in, and drove, many of these changes.

Influences from the late Enlightenment

The last third of the 18th century produced a host of ideas and works which would both systematize previous philosophy, and present a deep challenge to the basis of how philosophy had been systematized. Immanuel Kant is a name that most would mention as being among the most important of influences, as is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. While both of these philosophers were products of the 18th century and its assumptions, they pressed at the boundaries. In trying to explain the nature of the state and government, Rousseau would challenge the basis of government with his declaration that "Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains". Kant, while attempting to preserve axiomic skepticism, was forced to argue that we do not see true reality, nor do we speak of it. All we know of reality is appearances. Since all we can see of reality is appearances, which are subject to certain necessary and subjective forms of perceptions, Kant postulates the idea of an unknowable (while at the same time limiting our use of science and the principle of causality to the appearances). Hegel's distinction between the unknowable and the circumstantially unknown can be seen as the beginnings of Hegel's rational system of the universe.

Yet another philosopher of the late Enlightenment that was influential in the 19th century was Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827), whose formulation of nomological determinism is famous up to this day.

Philosophical schools and tendencies

This is a partial list of schools of 19th-century philosophy (also known as late modern philosophy).

German idealism

One of the first philosophers to attempt to grapple with Kant's philosophy was Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose development of Kantian metaphysics became a source of inspiration for the Romantics. In Wissenschaftslehre, Fichte argues that the self posits itself and is a self-producing and changing process.

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, a student of Fichte, continued to develop many of the same ideas and was also assimilated by the Romantics as something of an official philosopher for their movement. But it was another of Fichte's students, and former roommate of Schelling, who would rise to become the most prominent of the post-Kantian idealists: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. His work revealed the increasing importance of historical thinking in German thought.

Arthur Schopenhauer, rejecting Hegel and also materialism, called for a return to Kantian transcendentalism, at the same time adopting atheism and determinism, amongst others. His secular thought became more popular in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, which coincided with the advents of Darwinism, positivism, Marxism and philological analysis of the Bible.

In the second half of the 19th century, an even more orthodox return to Kantian thought was espoused by a number of Neo-Kantian philosophers based in two main locations: the Marburg School and the Baden School. This trend of thought survived into the beginning of the next century, influencing 20th century philosophical movements such as Neopositivism and Phenomenology.

One of the most famous opponents of idealism in the first half of the German 19th century was Ludwig Feuerbach, who advocated materialism and atheism.

Utilitarianism

In early 19th century Britain, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill promoted the idea that actions are right as they maximize happiness, and happiness alone.

Marxism

Developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-to-late-19th Century, Marxism is a sociopolitical and economic view based on the philosophy of dialectical materialism, which opposes idealism in favour of the materialist viewpoint. Marx analysed history itself as the progression of dialectics in the form of class struggle. From this it is argued that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." According to Marx, this began with the phase of primitive communism (hunter-gatherer society), after which the Neolithic Revolution gave way to slave societies, progressing into the feudal society, and then into his present era of the Industrial Revolution, after which he held that the next step was for the proletariat to overthrow the owners of industry and establish a socialist society, which would further develop into a communist society, in which class distinctions, money, and the state would have withered from existence entirely.

Marxism had a profound influence on the history of the 20th Century.

Existentialism

Existentialism as a philosophical movement is properly a 20th-century movement, but its major antecedents, Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche wrote long before the rise of existentialism. In the 1840s, academic philosophy in Europe, following Hegel, was almost completely divorced from the concerns of individual human life, in favour of pursuing abstract metaphysical systems. Kierkegaard sought to reintroduce to philosophy, in the spirit of Socrates: subjectivity, commitment, faith, and passion, all of which are a part of the human condition.

Like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche saw the moral values of 19th-century Europe disintegrating into nihilism (Kierkegaard called it the levelling process). Nietzsche attempted to undermine traditional moral values by exposing its foundations. To that end, he distinguished between master and slave moralities, and claimed that man must turn from the meekness and humility of Europe's slave-morality.

Both philosophers are precursors to existentialism, among other ideas, for their importance on the "great man" against the age. Kierkegaard wrote of 19th-century Europe, "Each age has its own characteristic depravity. Ours is perhaps not pleasure or indulgence or sensuality, but rather a dissolute pantheistic contempt for the individual man."

Positivism

Auguste Comte, the self-professed founder of modern sociology, put forward the view that the rigorous ordering of confirmable observations alone ought to constitute the realm of human knowledge. He had hoped to order the sciences in increasing degrees of complexity from mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and a new discipline called "sociology", which is the study of the "dynamics and statics of society".[1]

Pragmatism

The American philosophers Charles Sanders Peirce and William James developed the pragmatist philosophy in the late 19th century.

British idealism

The twilight years of the 19th century in Britain saw the rise of British idealism, a revival of interest in the works of Kant and Hegel.

Transcendentalism

Transcendentalism was rooted in Immanuel Kant's transcendence and German idealism, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The main belief was in an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions.

Social Darwinism

"Social Darwinism" refers to theories that apply the evolutionary concept of natural selection to human society.

See also

References

  1. ^ Comte, Auguste. Course on Positive Philosophy.

Further reading

  • Baird, Forrest E. Philosophic Classics: 19th Century Philosophy. ISBN 0-13-048550-0
  • Gardiner, Patrick. {ed.} 19th-century Philosophy. ISBN 978-0-02-911220-5
  • Shand, John. Central Works of Philosophy. Vol. 3. The Nineteenth Century. ISBN 978-0-7735-3053-9

External links

Death of God theology

Death of God theology refers to a range of ideas by various theologians and philosophers that try to account for the rise of secularity and abandonment of traditional beliefs in God. They posit that God has either ceased to exist or in some way accounted for such a belief. Although theologians since Friedrich Nietzsche have occasionally used the phrase "God is dead" to reflect increasing unbelief in God, the concept rose to prominence in the late 1950s and 1960s, before waning again. The Death of God movement is sometimes technically referred to as theothanatology, deriving from the Greek theos (God) and thanatos (death). The main proponents of this radical theology included the Christian theologians Gabriel Vahanian, Paul Van Buren, William Hamilton, John Robinson, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Mark C. Taylor, John D. Caputo, Peter Rollins, and the rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein.

Destiny

Destiny, sometimes referred to as fate (from Latin fatum – destiny), is a predetermined course of events. It may be conceived as a predetermined future, whether in general or of an individual.

Doxa

Doxa (ancient Greek δόξα; from verb δοκεῖν dokein, "to appear", "to seem", "to think" and "to accept") is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion. Used by the Greek rhetoricians as a tool for the formation of argument by using common opinions, the doxa was often manipulated by sophists to persuade the people, leading to Plato's condemnation of Athenian democracy.

The word doxa picked up a new meaning between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC when the Septuagint translated the Hebrew word for "glory" (כבוד, kavod) as doxa. This translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was used by the early church and is quoted frequently by the New Testament authors. The effects of this new meaning of doxa as "glory" is made evident by the ubiquitous use of the word throughout the New Testament and in the worship services of the Greek Orthodox Church, where the glorification of God in true worship is also seen as true belief. In that context, doxa reflects behavior or practice in worship, and the belief of the whole church rather than personal opinion. It is the unification of these multiple meanings of doxa that is reflected in the modern terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. This semantic merging in the word doxa is also seen in Russian word слава (slava), which means glory, but is used with the meaning of belief, opinion in words like православие (pravoslavie, meaning orthodoxy, or, literally, true belief).

Existentialism

Existentialism () is a tradition of philosophical inquiry associated mainly with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity. In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.Søren Kierkegaard is generally considered to have been the first existentialist philosopher, though he did not use the term existentialism. He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or "authentically". Existentialism became popular in the years following World War II, and strongly influenced many disciplines besides philosophy, including theology, drama, art, literature, and psychology.

Goethean science

Goethean science concerns the natural philosophy (German Naturphilosophie "philosophy of nature") of German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Although primarily known as a literary figure, Goethe did research in morphology, anatomy, and optics. He also developed a phenomenological approach to natural history, an alternative to Enlightenment natural science, which is still debated today among scholars.

His works in natural history include his 1790 Metamorphosis of Plants and his 1810 book Theory of Colors. His work in optics, and his polemics against the reigning Newtonian theory of optics, were poorly received by the natural history establishment of his time.

Henry E. Allison

Henry E. Allison is an eminent scholar of Immanuel Kant. He is Emeritus Professor of the University of California, San Diego, and Boston University. His interests are Immanuel Kant, Baruch Spinoza, German idealism, 18th and 19th century philosophy.

Italian philosophy

Italy over the ages has had a vast influence on Western philosophy, beginning with the Greeks and Romans, and going onto Renaissance humanism, the Age of Enlightenment and modern philosophy.

List of Slovene philosophers

Slovene philosophy includes philosophers who were either Slovenes or came from what is now Slovenia.

List of philosophers born in the 19th century

Philosophers born in the 19th century (and others important in the history of philosophy), listed alphabetically:

For the history of philosophy in the 19th century, see 19th-century philosophy.Note: This list has a minimal criterion for inclusion and the relevance to philosophy of some individuals on the list is disputed.See also:

List of philosophers born in the centuries BC

List of philosophers born in the 1st through 10th centuries

List of philosophers born in the 11th through 14th centuries

List of philosophers born in the 15th and 16th centuries

List of philosophers born in the 17th century

List of philosophers born in the 18th century

List of philosophers born in the 19th century

List of philosophers born in the 20th century

Naïve realism

For the psychological theory called "naïve realism", see naïve realism (psychology)

In philosophy of mind, naïve realism, also known as direct realism, common sense realism or perceptual realism, is the idea that the senses provide us with direct awareness of objects as they really are. Objects obey the laws of physics and retain all their properties whether or not there is anyone to observe them. They are composed of matter, occupy space and have properties, such as size, shape, texture, smell, taste and colour, that are usually perceived correctly.

In contrast, some forms of idealism claim that no world exists apart from mind-dependent ideas, and some forms of skepticism say we cannot trust our senses. Naïve realism is known as direct as against indirect or representational realism when its arguments are developed to counter the latter position, also known as epistemological dualism; that our conscious experience is not of the real world but of an internal representation of the world.

Philosophical Radicals

The Philosophical Radicals were a philosophically-minded group of English political radicals in the nineteenth century inspired by Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) and James Mill (1773–1836). Individuals within this group included Francis Place (1771–1854), George Grote (1794–1871), Joseph Parkes (1796–1865), John Arthur Roebuck (1802–1879), Charles Buller (1806–1848), John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), Edward John Trelawny (1792–1881), and William Molesworth (1810–1855).

Several became Radical members of Parliament, and the group as a whole attempted to use the Westminster Review to exert influence on public opinion.

They rejected any philosophical or legal naturalism and furthered Jeremy Bentham's utilitarian philosophy. Utilitarianism as a moral philosophy argues that maximizing happiness should be the moral standard by which our actions should be measured. It thereby stands in contrast to the rationalistic ethics of Immanuel Kant as well as to the convictions of idealism, amongst others.

Philosophy of Max Stirner

The philosophy of Max Stirner is credited as a major influence in the development of individualism, nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism (especially of egoist anarchism, individualist anarchism, postanarchism and post-left anarchy). Max Stirner's main philosophical work was The Ego and Its Own, also known as The Ego and His Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum in German, or more accurately The Individual and his Property). Stirner's philosophy has been cited as an influence on both his contemporaries, most notably Karl Marx (who was strongly opposed to Stirner's views) as well as subsequent thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Enrico Arrigoni, Steven T. Byington, Benjamin R. Tucker, Emile Armand, Albert Camus and Saul Newman.

Philosophy of the Unconscious

Philosophy of the Unconscious: Speculative Results According to the Induction Method of the Physical Sciences (German: Philosophie des Unbewussten) is an 1869 book by the philosopher Eduard von Hartmann. The culmination of the speculations and findings of German romantic philosophy in the first two-thirds of the 19th century, Philosophy of the Unconscious became famous. By 1882, it had appeared in nine editions. A three volume English translation appeared in 1884. The English translation is more than 1100 pages long. The work influenced Sigmund Freud's and Carl Jung's theories of the unconscious.

Positivism

Positivism is a philosophical theory stating that certain ("positive") knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. Thus, information derived from sensory experience, interpreted through reason and logic, forms the exclusive source of all certain knowledge. Positivism holds that valid knowledge (certitude or truth) is found only in this a posteriori knowledge.

Verified data (positive facts) received from the senses are known as empirical evidence; thus positivism is based on empiricism.Positivism also holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as are metaphysics and theology because metaphysical and theological claims cannot be verified by sense experience. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society, and further developed positivism into a Religion of Humanity.

Relationship between Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Stirner

The ideas of 19th-century German philosophers Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche have often been compared and many authors have discussed apparent similarities in their writings, sometimes raising the question of influences. In Germany, during the early years of Nietzsche's emergence as a well-known figure the only thinker discussed in connection with his ideas more often than Stirner was Arthur Schopenhauer. It is certain that Nietzsche read about Stirner's book The Ego and Its Own (Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, 1845), which was mentioned in Friedrich Albert Lange's History of Materialism and Critique of its Present Importance (1866) and Eduard von Hartmann's Philosophy of the Unconscious (1869), both of which young Nietzsche knew very well. However, there is no irrefutable indication that he actually read it as no mention of Stirner is known to exist anywhere in Nietzsche's publications, papers or correspondence.Yet as soon as Nietzsche's work began to reach a wider audience, the question of whether or not he owed a debt of influence to Stirner was raised. As early as 1891 (while Nietzsche was still alive, though incapacitated by mental illness), Eduard von Hartmann went so far as to suggest that he had plagiarized Stirner. By the turn of the century, the belief that Nietzsche had been influenced by Stirner was so widespread that it became something of a commonplace, at least in Germany, prompting one observer to note in 1907 that "Stirner's influence in modern Germany has assumed astonishing proportions, and moves in general parallel with that of Nietzsche. The two thinkers are regarded as exponents of essentially the same philosophy".Nevertheless, from the very beginning of what was characterized as "great debate" regarding Stirner's possible influence on Nietzsche—positive or negative—serious problems with the idea were noted. By the middle of the 20th century, if Stirner was mentioned at all in works on Nietzsche, the idea of influence was often dismissed outright or abandoned as unanswerable.However, the idea that Nietzsche was influenced in some way by Stirner continues to attract a significant minority, perhaps because it seems necessary to explain in some reasonable fashion the often-noted (though arguably superficial) similarities in their writings. In any case, the most significant problems with the theory of possible Stirner influence on Nietzsche are not limited to the difficulty in establishing whether the one man knew of or read the other. They also consist in establishing precisely how and why Stirner in particular might have been a meaningful influence on a man as widely read as Nietzsche.

Scientism

Scientism is an ideology that promotes science as the purportedly objective means by which society should determine normative and epistemological values. The term scientism is generally used critically, pointing to the cosmetic application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method or similar scientific standards.

In the philosophy of science, the term scientism frequently implies a critique of the more extreme expressions of logical positivism and has been used by social scientists such as Friedrich Hayek, philosophers of science such as Karl Popper, and philosophers such as Hilary Putnam and Tzvetan Todorov to describe (for example) the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measured or confirmatory.More generally, scientism is often interpreted as science applied "in excess". The term scientism has two senses:

The improper usage of science or scientific claims. This usage applies equally in contexts where science might not apply, such as when the topic is perceived as beyond the scope of scientific inquiry, and in contexts where there is insufficient empirical evidence to justify a scientific conclusion. It includes an excessive deference to the claims of scientists or an uncritical eagerness to accept any result described as scientific. This can be a counterargument to appeals to scientific authority. It can also address the attempt to apply "hard science" methodology and claims of certainty to the social sciences, which Friedrich Hayek described in The Counter-Revolution of Science (1952) as being impossible, because that methodology involves attempting to eliminate the "human factor", while social sciences (including his own field of economics) center almost purely on human action.

"The belief that the methods of natural science, or the categories and things recognized in natural science, form the only proper elements in any philosophical or other inquiry", or that "science, and only science, describes the world as it is in itself, independent of perspective" with a concomitant "elimination of the psychological [and spiritual] dimensions of experience". Tom Sorell provides this definition: "Scientism is a matter of putting too high a value on natural science in comparison with other branches of learning or culture." Philosophers such as Alexander Rosenberg have also adopted "scientism" as a name for the view that science is the only reliable source of knowledge.It is also sometimes used to describe universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or the most valuable part of human learning—to the complete exclusion of other viewpoints, such as historical, philosophical, economic or cultural worldviews. It has been defined as "the view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge and, in particular, that they alone can yield true knowledge about man and society". The term scientism is also used by historians, philosophers, and cultural critics to highlight the possible dangers of lapses towards excessive reductionism in all fields of human knowledge.For social theorists in the tradition of Max Weber, such as Jürgen Habermas and Max Horkheimer, the concept of scientism relates significantly to the philosophy of positivism, but also to the cultural rationalization for modern Western civilization. British novelist Sara Maitland has called scientism a "myth as pernicious as any sort of fundamentalism."

Scottish common sense realism

Scottish Common Sense Realism, also known as the Scottish School of Common Sense, is a realist school of philosophy that originated in the ideas of Scottish philosophers Thomas Reid, Adam Ferguson, James Beattie, and Dugald Stewart during the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment. Reid emphasized man's innate ability to perceive common ideas and that this process is inherent in and interdependent with judgement. Common sense therefore, is the foundation of philosophical inquiry. Though best remembered for its opposition to the pervasive philosophy of David Hume, Scottish Common Sense philosophy is influential and evident in the works of Thomas Jefferson and late 18th-century American politics.

Viktor Lennstrand

Viktor Emanuel Lennstrand (30 January 1861 - 31 October 1895) was a Swedish Freethought activist and writer.

A former evangelical Christian, Lennstrand gave up his religious doctrines while studying 19th-century philosophy at the University of Uppsala in the 1880s, from which he resigned as an outspoken atheist in 1887. He became committed to the cause of secularism and spent most of the last ten years of his life writing pamphlets, lecturing against Christianity, and campaigning for the abolition of the state church.

A friend of Swedish Social Democratic Party leader Hjalmar Branting and a supporter of the Swedish workers' movement, Lennstrand actively supported universal suffrage and participated in Swedish political life as a Social Democrat in the 1890s.

Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland

Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland (On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany) is a three-part essay by Heinrich Heine, each part referred to as a "book". He wrote them in exile in Paris in 1833/34. They were initially published in French, titled De L'Allemagne depuis Luther (Germany after Luther), in the magazine Revue des deux Mondes in 1834. The first publication in German was as part of Der Salon. Zweiter Band the same year.

Heine hoped for a revolution in Germany and looked at a history of emancipation in that country, beginning with the Reformation and followed by the philosophy of Kant and Hegel, among others.

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