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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

Transition to the post kantian philosophy


(2.)

_Dialectic._--The dialectic of the teleological faculty of judgment, has to adjust this opposition between this mechanism of nature and teleology. On the one side we have the thesis: every production of material things must be judged as possible, according to simple mechanical laws. On the other side we have the antithesis: certain products of material nature cannot be judged as possible, according to simple mechanical laws, but demand the conception of design for their explanation. If these two maxims are posited as constitutive (objective) principles for the possibility of the objects themselves, then do they contradict each other, but as simply regulative (subjective) principles for the investigation of nature, they are not contradictory. Earlier systems treated the conception of design in nature dogmatically, and either affirmed or denied its essential existence in nature. But we, convinced that teleology is only a regulative principle, have nothing to do with the question whether an inner design belongs essentially to nature or not, but we only affirm that our faculty of judgment must look upon nature as designed. We envisage the conception of design in nature, but leave it wholly undecided whether to another understanding, which does not think discursively like ours, nature may not be understood, without at all needing to bring in this conception of design. Our understanding thinks discursively: it proceeds from the parts, and comprehends the whole as the product of its
parts; it cannot, therefore, conceive the organic products of nature, where the whole is the ground and the prius of the parts, except from the point of view of the conception of design. If there were, on the other hand, an intuitive understanding, which could know the particular and the parts as co-determined in the universal and the whole; such an understanding might conceive the whole of nature out of one principle, and would not need the conception of end.

If Kant had thoroughly carried out this conception of an intuitive understanding as well as the conception of an immanent design in nature, he would have overcome, in principle, the standpoint of subjective idealism, which he made numerous attempts, in his critick of the faculty of judgment, to break through; but these ideas he only propounded, and left them to be positively carried out by his successors.

SECTION XXXIX.

TRANSITION TO THE POST-KANTIAN PHILOSOPHY.

The Kantian philosophy soon gained in Germany an almost undisputed rule. The imposing boldness of its standpoint, the novelty of its results, the applicability of its principles, the moral severity of its view of the world, and above all, the spirit of freedom and moral autonomy which appeared in it, and which was so directly counter to the efforts of that age, gained for it an assent as enthusiastic as it was extended. It aroused among all cultivated classes a wider interest and participation in philosophic pursuits, than had ever


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