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Richard Falckenberg

From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time

by Richard Falckenberg

Translated by A.C. Armstrong, Jr.


In his period of vigorous creation Schelling was the center of an animated philosophical activity. Each phase of his philosophy found a circle of enthusiastic fellow-laborers, whom we must hesitate to term disciples because of their independence and of their reaction on Schelling himself. Only G.M.

The aim of this translation is the same as that of the original work. Each is the outcome of experience in university instruction in philosophy, and is intended to furnish a manual which shall be at once scientific and popular, one to stand midway between the exhaustive expositions of the larger histories and the meager sketches of the compendiums. A pupil of Kuno Fischer, Fortlage, J.E.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was born at Stuttgart on August 27, 1770. He attended the gymnasium of his native city, and, from 1788, the Tuebingen seminary as a student of theology; while in 1793-1800 he resided as a private tutor in Berne and Frankfort-on-the-Main. In the latter city the plan of his future system was already maturing.

In no other department is a thorough knowledge of history so important as in philosophy. Like historical science in general, philosophy is, on the one hand, in touch with exact inquiry, while, on the other, it has a certain relationship with art. With the former it has in common its methodical procedure and its cognitive aim; with the latter, its intuitive character and the endeavor to compass the whole of reality with a glance. Metaphysical principles are less easily verified from experience than physical hypotheses, but also less easily refuted.

In Fries, Herbart, and Schopenhauer a threefold opposition was raised against the idealistic school represented by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. The opposition of Fries is aimed at the method of the constructive philosophers, that of Herbart against their ontological positions, and that of Schopenhauer against their estimate of the value of existence.

The essays at philosophy which made their appearance between the middle of the fifteenth century and the middle of the seventeenth, exhibit mediaeval and modern characteristics in such remarkable intermixture that they can be assigned exclusively to neither of these two periods. There are eager longings, lofty demands, magnificent plans, and promising outlooks in abundance, but a lack of power to endure, a lack of calmness and maturity; while the shackles against which the leading minds revolt still bind too firmly both the leaders and those to whom they speak.

With Hegel the glorious dynasty which, with a strong hand, had guided the fate of German philosophy since the conclusion of the preceding century disappears. From his death (1831) we may date the second period of post-Kantian philosophy,[1] which is markedly and unfavorably distinguished from the first by a decline in the power of speculative creation and by a division of effort.

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