Classical German Philosophy

The classical German Philosophy elaborated the problems of materialism and dialectics in greater depth. They formulated a number of problems of theory of knowledge and rekindled an interest in dialectics. They devoted much attention to the problems of natural science. They elaborated a hypothesis on the natural formation of the solar system from original masses of dispersed matter. This hypothesis made a breach in the metaphysical view of the world.

Their philosophical system is the reconciliation of materialism with idealism, a compromise between the two, the combination within one system of heterogeneous and contrary philosophical trends. They recognised the objective existence of matter but believed that the world was chaotic, without any uniformity, and that only man introduced some order into chaos in the process of cognition by arranging all phenomena in space and time and investing them with necessity, uniformity and causal connections. Man himself created the world of phenomena and the laws operating in that world. Here a switch from materialist to idealist position has been found. Sensation was recognised as the only source of knowledge and the essence of objects and phenomena was unknowable. A philosophical system which combined the idealist view of the world with the dialectical method was elaborated. It was believed that the essence and basis of the world was an Absolute Idea or Spirit which existed outside man and was independent of him. Absolute Idea is in effect human consciousness itself separated from man and enshrined as supernatural reason.

The system of objective idealism contained a subtle apology of religion regarding the material world as something secondary as a derivative of the ideal. The idea of development runs through this philosophy. The fundamental laws of dialectics were discovered and formulated, elaborating the idea that the source of development is a struggle of opposites, that internal contradictions inherent in objects and phenomena are the root of all motion and life.

The flaws of this method could be overcome and it could be further developed only on the basis of materialism which would rely on science and present the world as it really is without any extraneous additions. That is why the objective demand facing philosophers at that time was to go over to materialist positions and make a critical review of the achievements of the idealist philosophy on a materialist basis.

Another philosopher took a resolute stand in defence of materialism and showed that Absolute Idea was nothing but the human mind divorced from its vehicle-man-and turned into an independent creative source of the external world.

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