Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

Hegel’s social and political philosophy was of profound importance in mid nineteenth century Germany, especially within the Kingdom of Prussia where he spent his latter days.  It is sometimes said that Hegel believed Prussia was the end of history, that Prussia was the fulfillment of the socio-political, constitutional, and ethical progression of the Spirit in … Continue reading Hegel’s Social and Political Theory

The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

In-of-itself, Romanticism is not a fascist movement or philosophy.  But fascism drew upon the rich intellectual traditions of Romanticism, even if it distorted it some very important and meaningful ways.  So what is Romanticism? Philosophical Romanticism was a counterrevolutionary intellectual and artistic movement that arose in the late Enlightenment.  It was starkly opposed to Enlightenment … Continue reading The Anatomy and Specters of Fascism, II: Romantic Antecedents

Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

In his series of lectures on the philosophy of mythology, published as the Historical Critical Introduction to the Philosophy of Mythology, Friedrich Schelling achieves a paradigmatic revolution in German Romantic and idealistic thought that would be influential for later German philosophy and influential upon the psychologist Carl Jung.  Schelling, a student and pupil of Fichte and Hegel, … Continue reading Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

Johann Hamann: Poetry, Language, and Human Nature

Johann Hamann is one of the most understudied and unknown philosophers, especially in the English-speaking world.  A figure of tremendous importance to history, who was called the “brightest star” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hamann came to be an influential father of the Sturm und Drang  movement in Germany, a key father figure in the litany … Continue reading Johann Hamann: Poetry, Language, and Human Nature

John Keats’ “Lamia”: The Banishing of Love, Or Aristophanes vs. Socrates

John Keats’ “Lamia” was the last of his four grand poetic romances. The poem tells the story of the tragic woman Lamia, who in Greek mythology had been transformed into a serpent-like creature who devours children after the goddess Hera—oh those trouble-making Greek gods again—destroyed her children. Hera punished Lamia further by making her sleepless … Continue reading John Keats’ “Lamia”: The Banishing of Love, Or Aristophanes vs. Socrates

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 5: Hegel

While Johann Fichte and Friedrich Schelling were luminaries of German idealism in their time, the most famous son of German Idealism known to posterity is Georg W.F. Hegel. Hegel did not share the same early fame as Fichte and Schelling and only became a major figure in German philosophy with the publication of his famous … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 5: Hegel

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 4: Friedrich Schelling

While influenced by Kant and Fichte, Schelling deviates from them insofar that he does not start with mind (as Kant and Fichte) but with nature (per Goethe). Therefore, Schelling’s axiomatic foundation is not the mind, the rational (or transcendental) but the natural; nature. The mind, for Schelling, is an outgrowth of the forces of conflict … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 4: Friedrich Schelling

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 3: Herder and Goethe

Two figures stand in importance to understanding Schelling; Johann von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Herder is important for having recontextualized and published his philosophy of consciousness through the “Great Chain of Being.” The Great Chain of Being was an ancient Greek to Christian understanding of wholeness in the world. Man, of course, being … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 3: Herder and Goethe

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 2: Johann Fichte

Johann Fichte was a student of Kant’s philosophy. Although little known in the English-speaking world, Fichte was one of the most important philosophers in 1790s and early 1800s until his death in 1814. If English-speakers have any awareness of Fichte, it will likely be through his “Address to the German Nation,” given during the Napoleonic … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 2: Johann Fichte

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 1: Kant

The world of philosophy that German Idealism is responding and reacting against is the world of the so-called new science, Enlightenment philosophy, which can roughly be said to have begun with the publication of Sir Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum, the New Science, in 1620. Tied to the new science is Rene Descartes and his Meditations … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 1: Kant