DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC092-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 17, 2022, from

Article Summary

Naturphilosophie refers to the philosophy of nature prevalent especially in German philosophy, science and literary movements from around 1790 to about 1830. It pleaded for an organic and dynamic worldview as an alternative to the atomist and mechanist outlook of modern science. Against the Cartesian dualism of matter and mind which had given way to the mechanist materialism of the French Encyclopedists, Spinoza’s dual aspect theory of mind and matter as two modes of a single substance was favoured. The sources of this heterogeneous movement lie in the philosophy of German idealism as well as in late classicism and Romanticism. The leading figure, Schelling, assimilated and stimulated the major trends and ideas through his work.

After the death of Hegel (1831) and of Goethe (1832), Naturphilosophie quickly disappeared from the mainstream. Yet it survived in various different forms, especially as an undercurrent of German culture and science, until the twentieth century.

    Citing this article:
    Heidelberger, Michael. Naturphilosophie, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC092-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
    Copyright © 1998-2022 Routledge.

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