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LECTURE I NOTE A.—P. 3.
THE IDEA ON THE “WELTANSCHAUUNG.”
The history of this term has yet to be written. I do not know that Kant uses it, or the equivalent term “Weltansicht,” at all—it is at least not common with him. The same is true of Fichte, Schelling, and generally of writers till after the middle of this century.855855But Fitche has the equivalent “Ansicht der Welt,” and occasionally “Weltansicht.” See especially his Die Anweisung zum seligen Leben (1806), Lect. V. “Weltansicht” is Schopenhauer’s word. Yet Kant above all gave the impulse to its use, both by his theoretic “Idea” of the world, and by his practical philosophy, which results in a “Weltanschauung” under the idea of the moral. Hegel, however, has the word, e.g., “As man, religion is essential to him, and not a strange experience. Still the question arises as to the relation of religion to the rest of his ‘Weltanschauung,’ and philosophical knowledge relates itself to this subject, and has to do essentially with it.”—Religionsphilosophie, i. p. 7. Within the last two or three decades the word has become exceedingly common in all kinds of books dealing with the higher questions of religion and philosophy—so much so as to have become in a manner indispensable. Thus we read of the “Theistic,” “Atheistic, “Pantheistic,” “Realistic,” “Materialistic, “Mechanistic,” “Buddhistic,” “Kantian” Weltanschauungen; and a multitude of similar phrases might be cited.
The best special contribution to the discussion of the idea
I have met with is in a book entitled Die Weltanschauung des Christenthums,
by August Baur (1881), which I regret I did not come across till my own work was
finished.856856 The headings of
the chapters of Baur’s book will suffice to show its importance for our subject.
1. The general notion of the “Weltanschauung.”
2. Characterisation and criticism of the objections of the modern spirit against religion and the religious “Weltanschauung.”
3. Possibility and necessity of an ideal, supersensible “Weltanschauung.”
4. The supersensible, ideal “Weltanschauung” according to its essence, and us its transition to the religious “Weltanschauung” generally.
5. The “Weltanschauung” of Christianity.
In theology A. Baur is a follower of Alex. Schweizer, of whom a good notice may be seen in Pfleiderer’s Development of Theology, pp. 125–130. In this work the author expresses 366his surprise that more has not been done for the elucidation of a term which has become one of the favourite terms of the day; and alludes to the absence of any explanation of it (a fact which had struck myself) in books professedly dealing with the terminology of philosophy and theology, as, e.g., Rud. Eucken’s Geschichte und Kritik der Grundbegriffe der Gegenwart (1878), and Geschichte der philosophischen Terminologie (1879).857857Eucken himself, however, uses it, as when be says, “Bohme strives after an expression for the notion of consciousness and self-consciousness, which has a central place within his “Weltanschauung” (Gesch. der phil. Term. p. 128); and has recently published an admirable historical and critical work, bearing the kindred title, Die Lebensanschauungen Denker (1890). This work contains a valuable section on “Die christliche Welt and die Lebensanschauungen Jesu” (pp. 154–205). The same writer has contributed an article on “The Notion and Ground-plan of the ‘Weltanschauung’ generally, and of the Christian in particular,” to the Jahrbucher d. prot. Theologie, vol. iii. A valuable examination of the subject is contained also in an able work published in 1887, Das menschliche Erkennen, Grundlinien der Erkenntnisstheorie und Metaphysik, by Dr. A. Dorner. I might further refer to Hartmann’s Religionsphilosophie, Zweiter Theil: Die Religion des Geistes, which, on this particular subject, contains a good deal of most suggestive matter (pp. 1–55). As may be gathered from the remarks in the close of the Lecture, the idea has a large place in the writings of the Ritschlian school. It is discussed with special fulness and care in Herrmann’s Die Religion im Verhältniss zum Welterkennen und zur Sittlichkeit, the last section of which bears the heading, “The Task of the Dogmatic Proof of the Christian ‘Weltanschauung.’” Lipsius also devotes considerable attention to it in the first part of his Dogmatik (sects. 16–115).
It is characteristic of the Ritschlian school that it will allow no origin for the “Weltanschauung” but that which springs from religion or morality. Ritschl, e.g., traces the tendency to the formation of general views of the world solely to the religious impulse. Philosophy also, he says, “raises the claim to produce in its own way a view of the world as a whole; but in this there betrays itself much more an impulse of a religious kind, which philosophers must distinguish from their method of knowledge.”—Die christ. Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versohnung, iii. p. 197 (3rd ed.). This is connected with his view that religion itself originates in the need which man feels of help from a supernatural power to enable him to maintain his personality against the limitations and hindrances of natural existence.858858Cf. Recht. und Ver. iii. p. 189. Since, however, he allows that philosophy has as part of its task “the aim of comprehending the world-whole in a highest law,” and that “the thought of God which pertains to religion is also employed in some form in every philosophy which is not materialistic” (p. 194), what he really contends for would seem to amount to no more than this, that theoretic knowledge alone cannot attain to that highest view of God which is given in the Christian religion, and which is necessary for the completion of a after 367satisfactory view of the universe as a whole.859859Ritschl’s own words, with which we heartily agree, are: “If theoretical thought is ever to solve the problem of the world as a whole, it will have to fall back on the Christian view of God, of the world, and of human destiny” (2nd ed. p. 210). The truth is, Ritschl’s views vary very widely on these topics in the different editions of his chief work, and it is no easy task to reduce his statements to unity.
In quite a similar spirit to Ritschl, his disciples Herrmann and Kaftan conceive of the “Weltanschauung” as due only to the operation of the practical or religious motive.860860With the Ritschlian theologians religion and morality sustain only an external relation to each other. The deepest impulse is not religion, but self-maintenance (Herrmann), or self-satisfaction (Kaftan). Religion is but means to this end. The peculiarity of the Christian “Weltanschauung” Kaftan sums up in the two positions—“that the world is perfectly dependent on God, and that He orders everything in it in conformity with the end of His holy love.”861861 Das Wesen d. christ. Religion, p. 393.
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