Objective idealism

From AnthroWiki

Objective idealism is a worldview in which material being is based on spiritual being. As a philosophical conception, it is ontologically opposed to materialism. At the same time, it must be distinguished from spiritualism.

While subjective idealism emphasises the dependence of reality on subjective consciousness, objective or absolute idealism understands reality as a form of the spiritual-ideal and considers the grasp of an objective reality by thinking consciousness to be possible.

Plato's philosophy and German idealism are exemplary for this variant of idealism. Important philosophers of German Idealism in the succession of Immanuel Kant are Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling as objective idealists, while Johann Gottlieb Fichte represented a subjective idealism.

Modern representatives of objective idealism are, for example, Vittorio Hösle and Dieter Wandschneider. In his book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, the US philosopher Thomas Nagel also advocates an objective idealism conceived as neutral monism.

In 1925, Rudolf Steiner retrospectively described his own philosophical position as objective idealism as well.

„Schröer was an idealist; and the world of ideas as such was for him that which acted as a driving force in the creation of nature and man. To me, the idea was the shadow of a fully alive spiritual world. At that time I even found it difficult to put into words for myself the difference between Schröer's way of thinking and mine. He spoke of ideas as the driving forces in history. He felt life in the existence of ideas. For me, the life of the spirit was behind the ideas, and these only their appearance in the human soul. At that time I could find no other word for my way of thinking than "objective idealism". By this I meant that for me the essential thing about the idea is not that it appears in the human subject, but that it appears in the spiritual object as, for instance, colour does in the sense being, and that the human soul - the subject - perceives it there as the eye perceives colour in a living being.“ (Lit.:GA 28, p. 93)

„The cognitive faculty appears to man as subjective only so long as he does not notice that it is nature itself which speaks through it. Subjective and objective meet when the objective world of ideas comes to life in the subject, and that which is active in nature itself lives in the spirit of man. When this is the case, then all opposition of subjective and objective ceases. This opposition only has a meaning as long as man artificially maintains it, as long as he regards the ideas as his thoughts, through which the essence of nature is represented, but in which it is not itself active. Kant and the Kantians had no idea that in the ideas of reason the essential being of things is directly experienced. For them, everything ideal is merely subjective.“ (Lit.:GA 6, p. 55f)

See also


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.