Romanticism, German

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC094-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

Because Romanticism has many meanings which vary according to time and place, it is best to examine the movement in a specific culture and period. Of all the phases of Romanticism, early German Romanticism is of special importance in the history of Western philosophy. The early German Romantics – Friedrich Schlegel, Friedrich von Hardenberg, Schleiermacher and Schelling – developed influential ideas in the fields of metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics and politics. The aim of their movement was essentially social and political: to overcome the alienation and disenchantment created by modernity, and to restore unity with oneself, others and nature. In accord with this aim, the Romantics advocated an ethics of love and self-realization, in opposition to hedonism and the Kantian ethic of duty. They championed an ideal of community against the competitive egoism of modern society; and, finally, they developed an organic concept of nature against the mechanistic worldview of Cartesian physics. Romantic ethics, politics and aesthetics should all be seen in the light of their essential cultural goal: to cure humanity of homesickness and to make people feel at home in the world again.

    Citing this article:
    Beiser, Frederick. Romanticism, German, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC094-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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