Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 2

The apologia of reason in J. Chr. Gottsched’s classicistic system: On the 250th anniversary of the philosopher’s death


This article revisits the ratio-centric system developed by the prominent exponent of the German enlightenment J. Chr. Gottsched (1700—1766). The authors examine the problem of the ontological argument in the context of the current civilizational crisis of consciousness, which arose against the background of the 20th century crisis of objectivist methodology of modern natural sciences. Such a methodology is incapable of solving the problem of an accurate description of the reality, in particular, as regards the ontological status of a wave function. This poses a serious ontological challenge to the entire scientific paradigm of today’s natural science standard. It is stressed that, in the context of the problem of consciousness and being symmetry/asymmetry, the ontological argument brings to the fore questions about the current place of modern civilizational process, which shows distressing symptoms of existential foundation deficiency. The authors reconsider the historical and philosophical significance of Gottsched’s Enlightenment classicism to estimate the danger of the de-ontologisation of reason, which leads to the loss of reality. The phenomenon of Gottsched is considered within the hermeneutic discourse of the so-called mystery of the German spirit. It is stressed that Gottsched was committed to a well-reasoned apologia of reason as a mediator between the reality and the spirit — a mediator that acts through the mystery of imagination and the psychology of unconscious interest. The authors examine relevant aspects of Gottsched’s rational aesthetics in his struggle against pre-Romanticism theories. Attention is paid to the ideational proximity between Gottsched’s ideas and Kant’s regulative principles of practical reason. The authors emphasise the significance of Gottsched’s philosophy of language and his connection with the tradition of ontological theory of language in the context of modern hermeneutic research.

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