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From Epistemology to Ontology:

From Epistemology to Ontology:

The Lectures on Transcendental Idealism

(p.98) Chapter Six From Epistemology to Ontology:
The Romantic Absolute
Dalia Nassar
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the transition in Schlegel’s thought from transcendental philosophy or epistemology to ontology. In contrast to widespread interpretations of Schlegel as an epistemologist, the chapter illustrates that Schlegel’s goal was to develop a philosophy of life and nature. It locates the transition in Schlegel’s thought in his 1800-1801 Jena Lectures on Transcendental Idealism. In addition, the chapter argues that Schlegel’s conceptions of truth and knowledge are not— as has been widely thought— skeptical, but idealistic, and proposes that Schlegel develops a “hermeneutic idealism,” in which truth and knowledge are not simply determined within a context, but also realized through the work of a creative mind. It explores Schlegel’s notion of mind as the ground of both the subjective or reflective intellect and objective reality, and illustrates how, through the notion of a universal consciousness, Schlegel makes the transition from epistemology or transcendental philosophy to ontology or metaphysics.

Keywords:   Friedrich Schlegel, transcendental idealism, Fichte, Kant, German idealism, German romanticism, hermeneutics, history of philosophy, the absolute

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