Category: 19th Century Philosophy

Karl Marx: Theses On Feuerbach. 1845

Karl Marx wrote his “Theses on Feuerbach” in the Spring of 1845. Friedrich Engels made some editing changes, and the short and sketchy text was published much later (after Marx’s death) as an appendix to Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy in 1888.  Source: Marx/Engels Selected Works, Volume One, p. 13 – 15. Introduction The “Theses on Feuerbach” are eleven short philosophical notes that were meant to outline the first chapter of the book The German Ideology. The 11th thesis became famous and was used on Marx’s grave. “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various...

Hegelian Concepts

Source: Hegel for Beginners, by Llyod Spencer and Andrzej Krauze, Published by Icon Books. In 1808, Hegel still talked of constructing some sort of bridge between traditional logic set out in classical form by Aristotle and his own. Aristotlean logic had been the standard for 2,000 years. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) perfected a form of deductive argument called the syllogism. “Classical reasoning assumes the principle of logical identity: A = A or A is not non-A”. Why did Hegel need a different logic? Perhaps you may already have seen the answer to this in Hegel’s Phenomenology. Hegel usually...

Hegel: Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. 1830.

Part One: Introduction §1 Philosophy misses an advantage enjoyed by the other sciences. It cannot like them rest the existence of its objects on the natural admissions of consciousness, nor can it assume that its method of cognition, either for starting or for continuing, is one already accepted. The objects of philosophy, it is true, are upon the whole the same as those of religion. In both the object is Truth, in that supreme sense in which God and God only is the Truth. Both in like manner go on to treat of the finite worlds of Nature and the...

Philosophy in the 19th Century

In the 19th century the philosophies of the Enlightenment began to have a dramatic effect, the landmark works of earlier philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau influences the 19th century generation of thinkers. In the late 18th century a movement known as Romanticism began; it inspires music, literature, and philosophy. The early 19th century is dominated by Hegel and German Idealism. Napoleon brought political turmoil to Europe, and the old monarchies are slowly crumbling. Key ideas that sparked changes in philosophy were the fast progress of science and the idea of evolution. We can also find the emergent economic theories...

Hegel Glossary

It is extremely useful to have access to a guide to Hegel’s philosophical terminology. The glossary below is drawn from various  sources. (Inwood: A Hegel Dictionary, R. Solomon, In the Spirit of Hegel, “Notes to the Glossary” in Hegel’s “The Encyclopaedia Logic.”) ABSOLUTE adj., n. (absolut, das Absolute). Complete, self-contained, all-encompassing. Per Inwood, the Absolute ‘is not something underlying the phenomenal world, but the conceptual system embedded in it’. ABSTRACT (abstrakt). One-sided, empty, devoid of content. Opposed to: concrete. For Hegel, a particular, as well as a universal, may be ‘abstract’, meaning (per Inwood) cut off from thought or other...

Friedrich Schelling: System of Transcendental Philosophy. 1800

About Schelling “Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) is, along with Fichte and Hegel, one of the three most influential thinkers in the tradition of ‘German Idealism’. Since he changed his conception of philosophy often, it is hard to attribute a  clear philosophical conception to him. Schelling was a rigorous logical thinker, but in the era during which he was writing, there was so much change in philosophy that a stable, fixed point of view was impossible. Schelling’s continuing importance today is based on three aspects of his work. Schelling’s Naturphilosophie. His empirical claims are largely indefensible, but his approach...

Hegel: Phänomenologie des Geistes. (1807)

Sektion 4, A und B. IV. Die Wahrheit der Gewißheit seiner selbst In den bisherigen Weisen der Gewißheit ist dem Bewußtsein das Wahre etwas anderes als es selbst. Der Begriff dieses Wahren verschwindet aber in der Erfahrung von ihm; wie der Gegenstand unmittelbar an sich war, das Seiende der sinnlichen Gewißheit, das konkrete Ding der Wahrnehmung, die Kraft des Verstandes, so erweist er sich vielmehr nicht in Wahrheit zu sein, sondern diesAn-sich ergibt sich als eine Weise, wie er nur für ein Anderes ist; der Begriff von ihm hebt sich an dem wirklichen Gegenstande auf, oder die erste unmittelbare Vorstellung in der Erfahrung,...

Hegel Quotes

The website Marxists.org has an extensively researched collection of Hegel texts. The following quotes from Hegel are linked to these texts, so you can read each quote in the context in which it was written, which is very helpful.   When philosophy paints its grey in grey, one form of life has become old, and by means of grey it cannot be rejuvenated, but only known. The owl of Minerva, takes its flight only when the shades of night are gathering. Preface to The Philosophy of Right (1821) The spirit of a nation is reflected in its history, its religion, and the degree of...

Nietzsche: Apollonian and Dionysian.

The following quote is from “The Birth of Tragedy,” (1872), Sections 1 and 2. Nietzsche discusses the two faces of art, The Apollonian and the Dionysian, but it is striking that his analysis can also be seen as a forerunner of Freud’s drive theory: Eros and Thanatos, or as Lacan’s distinction between desire and jouissance. Here is the text: “We shall have gained much for the science of aesthetics when we have come to realize, not just through logical insight but also with the certainty of something directly apprehended (Anschauung), that the continuous evolution of art is bound up with...

Marx: Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844)

The 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts remained unpublished during Marx’s lifetime and did not surface until 1927, about 44 years after his death. These manuscripts illustrate the young Marx’s transition from philosophy to political economy. Marx’s emerging interest in the economy is apparent – an interest that distinguishes him from other followers of Hegel – but his writing in these texts is much more philosophical, abstract, and speculative than his later works. For example, the concept of a species, of what it means to belong to the human species, is essentially a philosophical question. He also develops a concept of alienation that is...

Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph (1809-1865)

Proudhon was from humble origins but had become a well-known French social theorist during the 1840s. A printer by trade, he was an exponent of socialism, with a political preference for anarchism. His most famous book was his second one, Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (1840) (his brief answer it is theft). Before 1848 he also published De la célébration du Dimanche (1839), De la création de l’ordre dans l’humanité (1843) and Système des contradictions économiques, ou philosophie de la misère, (in 2 volumes, 1846). He criticized the French July Monarchy, but he was nonetheless surprised by the outbreak of hostilities in...

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was an American philosopher and political theorist. He is also knows as an abolitionist, a naturalist, a critic of development, and he resisted paying taxes. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. (See below). He lived in a cabin in the woods. (you can see what was left of it in 1908.) His ideas were not popular during his lifetime, but later they influenced Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Leo Tolstoy. Quotes:...

John Stuart MILL: UTILITARIANISM (1863)

A brief overview of the reading: Jeremy Bentham’s (1748-1832) principle of utility is open to the objection that it may well sacrifice the rights of the minority for the sake of the happiness of the majority. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), himself a utilitarian, sought to rescue utilitarianism from this and other objections. In his essay Utilitarianism, Mill argues that respect for individual rights as “the most sacred and binding part of morality” is compatible with the idea that justice rests ultimately on utilitarian considerations. But is Mill right to be confident? Can the principle of utility support the notion that some...

Charles Peirce: How to Make our Ideas Clear. 1878

Source: How to make our Ideas Clear (1878), from: Writings of Charles S Peirce, Volume 3, Indiana University Press. I am quoting sections 2,3, and 4. II The principles set forth in the first of these papers lead, at once, to a method of reaching a clearness of thought of a far higher grade than the “distinctness” of the logicians. We have there found that the action of thought is excited by the irritation of doubt, and ceases when belief is attained; so that the production of belief is the sole function of thought. All these words, however, are too...

John Dewey: The Ego as Cause. 1894

This short article by Dewey was first published in Philosophical Review, 3, 337-341. Pretty much all libertarians nowadays insist that their doctrine of freedom of will is quite distinct from the older theory of indifferent choice. They suggest that their opponents are quite out of date in devoting their attention to the latter doctrine, which, under present conditions, is wholly a man of straw; they profess themselves quite as devoted adherents of the doctrine of causation as are the determinists, holding that the sole difference is as to the nature of the cause involved in volition.[1] Now, in one sense,...

Auguste Comte: What is Positivism? (1856)

Source: General View of Positivism (1830-42). from A General View of Positivism, translated by J H Bridges, Robert Speller and Sons, 1957. The excerpt is from Chapter 1: “Its Intellectual Character.“ Our doctrine, therefore, is one which renders hypocrisy and oppression alike impossible. And it now stands forward as the result of all the efforts of the past, for the regeneration of order, which, whether considered individually or socially, is so deeply compromised by the anarchy of the present time. It establishes a fundamental principle by which true philosophy and sound polity are brought into correlation; a principle which can...

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Along with J. G. Fichte and F. W. J. von Schelling, Hegel  (1770-1831) belongs to the period of “German idealism” in the decades following Kant. The most systematic of the post-Kantian idealists, Hegel attempted, throughout his published writings as well as in his lectures, to elaborate a comprehensive and systematic ontology from a “logical” starting point. He developed a dialectical method, which can be seen as an extended version of logic. He is perhaps most well-known for his teleological account of history, an account which was later taken over by Marx and “inverted” into a materialist theory of an historical development...

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

The following list summarizes the life of Karl Marx in the context of major poltical events during that time. I more consistent summary is below, followed by some famous quotes. Karl Marx and his time. Marx born in 1818. Karl is born May 5, 1818, in Trier, Prussia – what is now Germany. In 1835, (at 17 years old) he became a student of philosophy and literature, where he began participating in radical activities (father compelled him to move to the University of Berlin for more serious study). Engaged to Jenny Von Westphalen in 1836 in Trier on a break...

Friedrich Nietzsche – German Texts

Nietzsche is a deeply emotional philosopher. He is a prophet of the coming changes for Europe. He critically reflects on the foundations of Western philosophy, searching for what went wrong long before the breakdown of Europe begins. He died in 1900 after a long mental illness, but he belongs into the 20th century philosophy. Alle Lust will Ewigkeit O Mensch! Gib acht! Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht? “Ich schlief, ich schlief -, Aus tiefem Traum bin ich erwacht: – Die Welt ist tief, Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht. Tief ist ihr Weh -, Lust – tiefer noch als Herzeleid:...