PL 3363: Late Modern Philosophy


“Late Modern Philosophy” refers to the philosophy of the nineteenth century. Varieties of idealism, realism, materialism, naturalism, positivism, utilitarianism, and pragmatism all thrived in Europe and the United States during this period. Many of these philosophies were products of the academic culture of the universities; however, at the same time, academic philosophy was being challenged by new developments in politics and economics, science and technology, religion and culture. This made the nineteenth century a tumultuous and even revolutionary period in the history of philosophy.

Because the expanse of nineteenth century philosophy is too great to cover in one semester, we will focus on the emergence and development of idealism in German philosophy during this period. We will begin with the transcendental idealism of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, its reception, and the radicalization of Kant’s idealism in Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre. After that, we will study Schelling’s elaboration of Fichte and his attempt to incorporate a philosophy of nature into German idealism. Having familiarized ourselves with the absolute idealism of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, we will consider criticisms of idealism advanced by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Feuerbach and Marx.


– Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Edited and Translated by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

– Reinhold, K.L., Schulze, G.E., et al. Between Kant and Hegel: Texts in the Development of Post-Kantian Idealism, Edited and Translated by George di Giovanni and H.S. Harris (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2000).

– J. G. Fichte, Introductions to the Wissenschaftslehre and Other Writings, Edited and Translated by Daniel Breazeale (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1994).

– G.W.F. Hegel, The Difference Between Fichte’s and Schelling’s System of Philosophy, Translated by H.S. Harris and Walter Cerf (Albany: SUNY Press, 1977).


-Selections from Jacobi, Reinhold, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche.


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