German Idealism In the Context of Light Metaphysics

Idealistic Studies 2 (1):16-38 (1972)
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Abstract

An essential trait distinguishing the history of occidental thought from the leading trends of American and Asian philosophies may be found in a rather curious fact. The entire fabric of development and all progress of European philosophy, emerging and uniting out of numerous components, has always taken place as a kind of regress; that is, as a return to the past which sought in every epoch to ascertain its ancient, Greek origins. Continuity, in this connection, means less the identity of philosophical problems and themes than the constant return and effort of a reflective recovery of ancient culture as the immanent basis of all further developments. Hence λόγοσ, νοῦσ and ἰδέα have remained the main criteria with respect to which empirical reality and human comportment sought their truth and justification. It is this decisive reference of ἀλήθεια which from the beginnings of European thinking until our day has been developed in the framework and according to the model of light. As sense structure of truth, light has served as the metaphor in relation to which the sense of being is open, graspable, transparent—that is, dominated by insight.

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