Karl Leonhard Reinhold
(26 October 1757 – 10 April 1823) was an Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...
. He was the father of Ernst Reinhold
Ernst Christian Gottlieb Reinhold was a German philosopher. He was the son of Karl Leonhard Reinhold. He at first lectured on philosophy at the University of Kiel, and afterwards was appointed professor of logic and metaphysics at the University of Jena...
, also a philosopher.
Reinhold was born in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...
. At the age of fourteen he entered the Jesuit college of St. Anna, on the dissolution of which (1773) he joined a similar college of the order of St. Barnabas. Finding himself out of sympathy with monastic life, he fled in 1783 to North Germany, and settled in Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...
, where he became Christoph Martin Wieland
Christoph Martin Wieland was a German poet and writer.- Biography :He was born at Oberholzheim , which then belonged to the Free Imperial City of Biberach an der Riss in the south-east of the modern-day state of Baden-Württemberg...
's collaborator on the German Mercury
(Der Teutsche Merkur
Der teutsche Merkur was a literary magazine published and edited by Christoph Martin Wieland. The first issue appeared in 1773. Wieland used the Merkur as an organ to advance the Enlightenment...
), and eventually his son-in-law.
In the German Mercury
he published, in the years 1786-87, his Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie
(Letters on the Kantian Philosophy
), which were most important in making Kant
KANT is a computer algebra system for mathematicians interested in algebraic number theory, performing sophisticated computations in algebraic number fields, in global function fields, and in local fields. KASH is the associated command line interface...
known to a wider circle of readers. As a result of these Letters
, Reinhold received a call to the University of Jena, where he taught from 1787 to 1794.
In 1788, Reinhold published Hebräischen Mysterien oder die älteste religiöse Freymaurerey
(The Hebrew Mysteries
or The Oldest Form of Freemasonry
) under the pseudonym Decius
. The fundamental idea of this work is that Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...
derived his system from the Egyptian priesthood. He presented them in the form of two lectures in Leipzig that year.
In 1789 he published his chief work, the Versuch einer neuen Theorie des menschlichen Vorstellungsvermögens
(Essay towards a New Theory of the Faculty of Representation
), in which he attempted to simplify the Kantian theory and make it more of a unity by basing it on one principle, Reinhold's Principle of Consciousness. In 1794 he accepted a call to Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...
, where he taught till his death in 1823, although his independent activity had come to an end.
In later life he was powerfully influenced by Fichte, and subsequently, on grounds of religious feeling, by F. H. Jacobi and Bardili. His historical importance belongs entirely to his earlier activity. The development of the Kantian standpoint contained in the New Theory of Human Understanding (1789)
, and in the Fundament des philosophischen Wissens
(1791), was called by its author Elementärphilosophie
"Reinhold lays greater emphasis than Kant upon the unity and activity of consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...
. The principle of consciousness tells us that every idea is related both to an object and a subject, and is partly to be distinguished from and partly united to both. Since form cannot produce matter and a subject cannot produce an object, we are forced to assume a thing-in-itself. This is a notion which is self-contradictory if consciousness were to be essentially a relating activity. There is therefore something which must be thought and yet cannot be thought."
Letters on the Kantian Philosophy
As a former Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...
priest, Reinhold retained the values of Christian morality and individual dignity. The basic Christian doctrines of a transcendent God and an immortal human soul were presuppositions in his thinking. However, he disagreed with Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was an influential German philosopher, literary figure, socialite and the younger brother of poet Johann Georg Jacobi...
, who thought that the only way to avoid nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...
Fatalism is a philosophical doctrine emphasizing the subjugation of all events or actions to fate.Fatalism generally refers to several of the following ideas:...
, and atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...
was to believe in the religious morality that was revealed by God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....
. Reinhold tried to show that Kant's philosophy provided an alternative to either religious revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...
or philosophical skepticism
Philosophical skepticism is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt...
and fatalistic pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...
. But Kant's Critique of Pure Reason
was a difficult and confusing book. It was not widely read and had little influence. Reinhold decided to write his comments on it in the literary journal The German Mercury
. He skipped over the beginning and middle of the book and started at the end. Reinhold showed that the book was best read backwards, that is, starting with the end section. The last part of the Critique is where Kant discussed the issues of morality and their relation to the Rational Ideas of God, Free Will, and life after death. These issues were Reinhold's main concern. By presenting these concerns to the public, instead of the extremely difficult epistemology that took up most of the beginning and middle of the book, Reinhold aroused great interest. As a result, Kant's Critique immediately became a book of great importance.
According to editor Karl Ameriks
Karl P. Ameriks is an American philosopher. He is the McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Ameriks studied at Yale University, A.B., summa cum laude , Ph.D. , where he wrote his thesis under the direction of Karsten Harries...
, "...Fichte, Hegel, Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Fichte, his mentor prior to 1800, and Hegel, his former university roommate and erstwhile friend...
, Schiller, Hölderlin, Novalis
Novalis was the pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg , an author and philosopher of early German Romanticism.-Biography:...
, and Friedrich Schlegel all developed their thought in reaction to Reinhold's reading of Kant...." There is a Faust
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical...
ian tendency in Reinhold's assertion that a person can hope for a future reward only because that person is constantly striving to be good. It is not moral to be good merely in the hope of reward. Reinhold's emphasis on history is evident in his declaration that philosophies and religions are to be judged on the way that they respond to the needs of reason in a particular era. Philosophical development, to him, has an underlying rationality. New philosophies are fated to struggle repeatedly in order to survive in a dialectic of history in which progress is unconsciously occurring. With regard to a transcendent God, the human internal moral law is externalized in such a deity. This extreme otherness or alienation is part of a rational process. It makes possible a subsequent deeper regaining of the self through something other than the self.
Establishing Kant on Secure Ground
Kant's critical philosophy was not being accepted as the final truth. According to Professor George di Giovanni, of McGill University, Reinhold tried to provide a foundation for Kant's philosophy in order to remedy this situation. Reinhold distinguished two levels of philosophy. The most basic level was the concern with consciousness and the representations that occurred in it. The second, less basic, level, was the concern with the possibility and structure of the known or desired objects.
Kant's important realization was that the possibility of metaphysics can be established. This can be done only by describing what occurs when the mind is conscious of objects. Kant's weakness was in being overly concerned with the objects themselves. He remained at the second, less basic, level of philosophy. He rarely examined what occurred in consciousness, which is the basic level of philosophy. Kant did not provide a phenomenological description of consciousness. Reinhold was convinced that Kant should have identified the fundamental fact of consciousness that was essential in making cognition itself possible.
Reinhold's Essay towards a New Theory of the Human Faculty of Representation
is a description of the main parts and attributes of consciousness. In writing this book, Reinhold turned his attention from the moral issues that Kant addressed in the end section of his Critique of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is considered one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant's "first critique," it was followed by the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgement...
to the epistemological concerns of the beginning and middle sections.
- General Theory of Representation
- The thing-in-itself necessarily exists, but cannot be known.
- Human knowledge is restricted to appearances only.
- Reinhold's Principle of Consciousness - The thinking subject distinguishes, in his/her consciousness, the representation or mental image from both the observing subject and the observed object.
- This is a certain fact of consciousness.
- The observing subject is the location of the representation or mental image.
- The observed object is anything that is represented as being present to the mind of the observing subject.
Reinhold examined the necessary conditions of representation, such as subject and object, that must exist in order for an object to be consciously present.
- Representation's Material and Form
- The representation's material ('Stoff') is a given or received manifold of sensation which is unified when it is attributed to a transcendental object. It allows the thinking subject to distinguish a thing-in-itself.
- The representation's form is a spontaneous unifying act which occurs according to the subject's conditions. It allows the thinking subject to distinguish a self-in-itself.
- The self-in-itself and the thing-in-itself must be assumed in order for the thinking subject to be able to make a distinction between consciousness itself and the object of consciousness.
- We can never know anything in itself, that is, as not representation. An object-in-Itself or subject-in-itself does not have matter (sensation) or representational form, so they cannot be known. Only that which is represented can be known
- Consciousness must contain representation.
- An empirical representation takes its material from a source that is supposed to be external to it.
- A pure representation takes its material by reflecting on consciousness
- A clear and distinct consciousness of an object is an awareness that consciousness itself is a representation in a subject of an external object.
- Special Theory of Cognition
- Cognition is clear, distinct knowledge that consciousness contains a representation of an object.
- Cognition is consciousness's awareness that its own content is a subject's representation of an object.