- Wirkliche Sittlichkeit und ästhetische Illusion: Die Fichterezeption in den Fragmenten und Aufzeichnungen Friedrich Schlegels und Hardenbergs (review)
- Journal of the History of Philosophy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 15, Number 3, July 1977
- pp. 351-353
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- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS 351 serious attempt to retrace the tortuous path leading from contemporary politics to its hidden philosophical foundation. This comparative type of argumentation is rarely to be found in present literature on Kant, because it demands a considerable level of scientific and philosophical competence. Galston's study as a whole satisfies these demands. KLAUSHEDWIG Louvain/Freiburg Wirkliche Sittlichkeit und i~sthetische Illusion: Die Fichterezeption in den Fragmenten und Aufzeichnungen Friedrich Schlegels und Hardenbergs. By Stefan Summerer. Abhandlungen zur Philosophie, Psychologie und Padagogik, vol. 78. (Bonn: Bouvier Verlag Herbert Grundmann, 1974. Pp. 294.) In a study of the impact of a major philosopher on leaders in another enterprise who are not themselves philosophers in the narrow sense, the temptation is for the interpreter to slip away from the problems of philosophy into the mode of presentation characteristic of that other discipline. This is emphatically not so with Friedrich Summerer's book, which is addressed to the philosopher and not to the student of literature. He brings the aesthetic theories of Novalis (Hardenberg) and Friedrich Schlegel into play chiefly as expressions of a philosophical stance, and refers scarcely at all to their actual poetry or literary essays as such. Summerer's purpose is to scrutinize each as an incipient philosopher of consciousness who developed his theories in the wake of the earliest presentation of Fichtean idealism, more specifically "to show the development of Romantic speculation as consequence of a particular understanding of the 1794 Wissenschaftslehre [WL]" (p. 10). The period selected for analysis is 1795-1798, with a few additional forays into Schlegel's papers of 1799-1800. On center stage are (among others) Novalis's "Philosophical Studies" and "Fragments of 1798," and various works by Schlegel, including the "Lyceum" and "Athenaeum" fragments, the "Spirit of the Fichtean WL," and the "Dialogue on Poetry." The first three chapters furnish an extended introduction to the philosophical aesthetics of the two great Romantics. The opening discussion of Kant pinpoints the mediatorial role of productive imagination in connecting sensibility to the conceptual categories as a persistent problem for the post-Kantians. Then the author pits Fichte's development of the transcendental perspective in his first WL of 1794 against its chief rival, the Spinozism prominent in German thought due to its revival several decades earlier by Lessing and its popularization by Herder. He first displays the Spinoza-Fichte rivalry via a sketch of Jacobi's self-appointed mission as an interpreter/critic of these two philosophies as inverted forms of one another. Whereas Schelling (who along with H61derlin had numerous affinities with Novalis and Schlegel) attained a metaphysical and epistemological accommodation of Spinoza and Fichte in his own philosophy of nature and "transcendental idealism," Summerer sets out to demonstrate exhaustively how Novalis and especially Schlegel paralleled this achievement aesthetically . Because for them Fichte is the earlier and more powerfully felt influence, Fichte is the central theme of this study and Spinoza is relegated to a lesser role. The author spares us no detail in his resum6 of the young Fichte's dialectic of consciousness and self-consciousness. The abstractions of the WL in Fichte's account of the I's self-positing, its foundation in moral self-determination, and its consequence in theoretical knowing, as well as Novalis's and Schlegel's extensive ruminations on these same texts, are laid before the reader in a manner requiring total concentration. A fundamental problem for Fichte in the first WL is how, in the structure of the selfpositing I, to maintain the unity of the intuited morally self-determining I (which is the ground of knowing but not itself an object of reflection) with the I as thinker (producer of theoretically known objects). The burden is carried by productive imagination, which for 352 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Fichte mediates between the I as intelligence and the underlying moral self. In this way Fichte initiates the post-Kantian trend whereby productive imagination displaces Kant's transcendental unity of apperception as the central and highest power of human consciousness. Summerer suggests (pp. 58 f.) that Fichte's later declaration, in the 1797 introduction to the WL, of an immediate unity of intuitive and reflective moments serves to emphasize retroactively...