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History of Philosophy|
German Illumination -- Transition to Kant
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)
 Cf. Falckenberg, op. cit.; also Zeller, Die
deutsche Philosophie seit Leibniz especially pp. 195-273.
PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
During the seventeenth century Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-1694),
who aimed at mediating between Grotius and Hobbes, and Christian
Thomasius (1655-1728), who is considered the first of the German
Illuminati, appeared as representatives of a new philosophy of
law. They investigated the foundations of natural right, and formulated
theories in accordance with the changed political conditions of Europe.
It was the aim of many of the philosophical writers of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries to free philosophy from the technical
difficulties which rendered it inaccessible to the generality of
readers, and in this way to reach the people, as the French authors of
the Encyclopaedia were doing. Walther von Tschirnhausen
(1651-1708), Johann Nicolas Tetens (1736-1805), and Moses
Mendelssohn (1729-1786) represent different phases of this movement
in different departments of thought, -- physical science, mental
science, and religious philosophy. To the same period belongs the
so-called Pietistic movement which aimed at counteracting the
rationalistic tendency by quickening religious feeling.
During the storm and stress movement of the last decades of the
eighteenth century, when rationalism was at its height, Gotthold
Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), the philosopher-poet, expounded a system of
religio-philosophical thought which may be said to be a system of
natural religion, based partly on the pantheism of Spinoza's
Ethica, and partly on the theism of Leibniz'
Théodicée. To the same period belongs Johann
Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), whose Ideen zur Philosophie der
Geschichte der Menschheit  marks an epoch in the history of the
philosophy of history. In this work Herder interprets history from the
point of view of the organic unity of the human race.
 Translated by T. Churchill, Outlines of a Philosophy of the
History of Man, London, 1800. Herder's complete works were
published at Stuttgart in 60 vols., 1827-1830. cf. Francke,
Social Forces in German Literature (New York, 1897), pp.
Christian von Wolff (1679-1754) is of special importance on
account of the influence which he exercised on Kant's early training.
He attempted to reduce Leibniz' philosophy to a systematic form,
but in doing so he modified the essential tenets of his predecessor,
restricting the doctrine of preëstablished harmony to the
explanation of the relations of soul and body, and so changing the
doctrine of the dualism of the monad as practically to restore the
Cartesian antithesis of mind and matter. He devoted special attention
to philosophic method. Indeed, he sometimes carried method to the
extent of formalism. Wolff is the author of the well-known division of
metaphysics into ontology, cosmology, psychology, and