Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. №2

Back to the list Download the article

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.


1. Weidle V. 2000, Umiranije iskusstva. Razmyishleniya o sudbe literaturnogo i hudozhestvennogo tvorchestva. Glava 4. Umiranie iskusstva [The dying of art. Reflections on the fate of  literary and artistic creation. Chapter 4. The dying of art]. In: Samosoznanie kulturyi i iskusstva XX veka. Zapadnaya Evropa i SShA [Self-awareness of culture and art of the twentieth century. Western Europe and the USA]. Moscow; SPb., pp. 352—378.
2. Goethe J. W. 1969, Poeziya i pravda [Poetry and truth], Moscow, 606 p.
3. Goethe J. W. 1976, Sobranie sochineniy [Collected works], v 10 t., Moscow.
4. Heisenberg W. 1989, Fizika i filosofiya. Chast i tseloe [Physics and Philosophy. Part and whole], Moscow, 400 p.
5. Gilmanov, V. H. 2005, «Krestovye pohody» I. G. Gamana protiv Prosveshhenija [“The Crusades“ of I. G. Haman against the Enlightenment], Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Moscow State University], Ser. Philosophy, no. 3, pp. 14—26.
6. Gilmanov, V. H. 2007, Simon Dah i tayna barokko [Simon Dach and the Baroque Mystery], Kaliningrad, 312 p.
7. Humboldt, V. fon. 1984, Izbrannye trudy po jazykoznaniju [Selected works on linguistics], Moscow, 400 p.
8. Istoriya nemetskoy literaturyi 1985, [History of German literature], v 3 t., Moscow. 
9. Kant, I. 1994, Sobranie sochinenij v 8 tomah. Jubilejnoe izdanie 1794—1994 [Works in 8 volumes. Jubilee Edition 1794—1994], Gulygi, A. В. (ed.), Moscow.
10. Lavrinovich K. K. 1996, Albertina. Ocherki istorii Kenigsbergskogo universiteta [Essays on the history of the University of Königsberg], Kaliningrad, 415 p.
11. Lektsii po istorii estetiki. Filosofskiy fakultet. 1972 [Lections on the history of aesthetics]. Filosofskiy fakultet. Kniga 1. Izd-vo LGU im. A. A. Zhdanova, Leningrad. 206 p.
12. Lyotard, J.-F. 1998, Sostoyanie Postmoderna [Postmodern Condition], Moscow, SPb, 160 p.
13. Mamardashvili M. K. 1996, O soznanii [About consciousness] In: Neobhodimiost sebya (Lektsii. Stati. Filosofskie zametki) [The necessity of self (Lections, articles, Philosophical notes)], Moscow, pp. 214—228.
14. Mihailov A. V. Poetika barokko: zavershenie ritoricheskoi epokhi [The poetics of the Baroque: the end of the rhetorical era]. In: Mikhailov, A. V. Iazyki kul’tury [Languages of culture], Moscow, pp. 112—175.
15. Romanovskaya, T. B. 2000, Inaya realnost i problemyi interpretatsii v fizike [Another reality and problems of interpretation in physics]. In: Kontseptsiya virtualnyih mirov i nauchnoe poznanie [The concept of virtual worlds and scientific knowledge], SPb.
16. Heidegger, M. 1988, Pis'mo o gumanizme [Letter on Humanism]. In: Problema cheloveka v zapadnoy filosofii [The problem of man in Western philosophy]. Moscow, pp. 314—356.
17. Chalmers, D. 2013, Soznayushchii um: v poiskakh fundamental’noi teorii [The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory], Moscow, 512 pp.
18. Schweitzer, А. 1996, Hristianstvo i mirovyie reli [Christianity and world religions]. In: Zhizn i myisli [The life and thought], Moscow.
19. Schrödinger, E. 2000, Razum i materiya [Mind and matter], Izhevsk. 
20. Yung, K. G. 2000, Psikhologiya i poeticheskoe tvorchestvo (fragmentyi) [Psychology and Poetry (fragements)], In: Samosoznanie kul'tury i iskusstva XX veka. Zapadnaya Evropa i SShA [Self-awareness of culture and art of the twentieth century. Western Europe and the USA], SPb, pp. 114—130.
21. Yazyik i nauka kontsa 20 veka. 1995, [Language and science of the late 20th century], Moscow, 432 p.
22. Gottsched Ch. Gesammelte Schriften: in 6 Bd. Berlin, 1903—1906.
23. Lindney D. The end of Physics: The Myth of a Unified Theory. New York, 1994.
24. Sedlmayr H. Der Tod des Lichtes. Salzburg, 1964.