chapter  7
14 Pages

Idealism: Schopenhauer, Schiller and Schelling


Philosophy of art in nineteenth-century German idealism is divided into distinct schools corresponding to their author’s characteristic metaphysical principles. Aesthetics in this tradition, despite basic points of agreement, radiates outward in different directions from a convergent source in Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement (1978). Kant’s critical idealism in metaphysics and epistemology sets the stage for the aesthetic philosophies, among others, of G. W. F. Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Schopenhauer, Schiller and Schelling. All of these post-Kantian thinkers are idealists, yet there are substantial differences in their interpretations of art, reflecting underlying differences in the specific forms of idealism they approve. What they share in common, despite significant disparities in their views, is a commitment to the problem set by Kant of trying to reconcile the fundamental opposition between freedom and necessity.