Friedrich Hölderlin and the German idealist philosophy of his day
Simpson, David L.
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The present thesis takes its original impetus from the author's conviction that the German philosophy of the "Goethezeit" represents a peak of metaphysical insight and achievement comparable with the original flowering of European philosophical thought in the age of Plato and Aristotle. Until recently, it was fashionable to regard Kant and Hegel as the two 'giants' of this second flowering and to consign other philosophers, such as Fichte and Schelling, to the role of supporting figures. However, in recent years, the pioneer efforts of such scholars as Walter Schulz, plus the interest shown by modern philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, have drawn attention to depths in the philosophy of Schelling which had been ignored by the leading exponents of Idealist philosophy, due to their sympathy for the ideas of Kant and/or Hegel. In addition, again due partly to the insights of Heidegger, there has developed a realisation among ever widening circles that Friedrich Holderlin was also one of these 'giants' of metaphysics. His strictly philosophical works are limited in number and in length. However, his contribution cannot be measured in terms of quantity: I would maintain, and have tried to show in the present work, that it was his original insight and inspiration which formed the basis for all of Schelling's work as of the late 1790's. In the process, I have followed Holderlin 's thought back to what I see as its roots: the ideas of the Presocratics, early Plato and Kant's third "Kritik'.'