The Christian or revealed religion is the religion of truth, of freedom, of spirit. Its content is the unity of the divine nature and the human, God as knowing himself in being known of man+; the knowledge of God is God’s self-knowledge. Its fundamental truths are the Trinity (signifying that God differentiates and sublates the difference in love), the incarnation (as a figure of the essential unity of the infinite and finite spirit), the fall, and Christ’s atoning death (this signifies that the realization of the unity between man and God presupposes the overcoming of naturality and selfishness).
(3) Philosophy.—Finally the task remains of clothing the absolute content given in religion in the form adequate to it, in the form of the concept. In philosophy absolute spirit attains the highest stage, its perfect self-knowledge. It is the self-thinking Idea.
Here we must not look for further detailed explanations: philosophy is just the course which has been traversed. Its systematic exposition is encyclopaedia; the consideration of its own actualization, the history of philosophy, which, as a “philosophical” discipline, has to show the conformity to law and the rationality of this historical development, to show the more than mere succession, the genetic succession, of systems, as well as their connection with the history of culture. Each system is the product and expression of its time, and as the self-reflection of each successive stage in culture cannot appear before this has reached its maturity and is about to be overcome. Not until the approach of the twilight does the owl of Minerva begin its flight.
THE OPPOSITION TO CONSTRUCTIVE IDEALISM: FRIES, HERBART, SCHOPENHAUER.
In Fries, Herbart, and Schopenhauer a threefold opposition was raised against the idealistic school represented by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. The opposition of Fries is aimed at the method of the constructive philosophers, that of Herbart against their ontological positions, and that of Schopenhauer against their estimate of the value of existence. Fries and Beneke declare that a speculative knowledge of the suprasensible is impossible, and seek to base philosophy on empirical psychology; to the monism (panlogism) of the idealists Herbart opposes a pluralism, to their philosophy of becoming, a philosophy of being; Schopenhauer rejects their optimism, denying rationality to the world and the world-ground. Among themselves the thinkers of the opposition have little more in common than their claim to a better understanding of the Kantian philosophy, and a development of it more in harmony with the meaning of its author, than it had experienced at the hands of the idealists. Whoever fails to agree with them in this, and ascribes to the idealists whom they oppose better grounded claims to the honor of being correct interpreters and consistent developers of Kantian principles, will