- The process of the development of philosophy from its inception in ancient China, India, Greece and until today;
- The part of philosophical knowledge that arose in antiquity, which in time has turned into a special philosophical discipline, the subject of which is the reconstruction, description, theoretical comprehension of both the given process as a whole and its stages and formations.
Some authors believe that the history of philosophy as a special section originated with the philosophy itself and was embodied already in the first reflections of ancient thinkers about their predecessors. However, before Plato and Aristotle, the “historical and philosophical” excursions were neither extensive nor orderly. The reflections on the philosophers of the past that appeared in Plato’s dialogues also played an auxiliary role. Yes, and Aristotle, who is considered one of the first historians of philosophy, digressions in the history of thought (in Book I, 3-10 chapters and in book III, 4-5 chapters of Metaphysics), for all their unprecedented for the antiquity systematized, hardly were an independent history of philosophy. Its beginning can be conditionally attributed to the time of the emergence of special historical and philosophical works, the first of which is the work of Diogenes Laertius (1st half of 3rd century) “On the life, teachings and sayings of famous philosophers” in 10 books, containing many useful empirical data about ancient philosophy, but devoid of theoretical, conceptual reflections; this is also characteristic of other doxographers of ancient philosophy – Sextus Empiricus, Cicero, Tertullian, Stobie, and others.
In medieval philosophy, the history of philosophy as an independent discipline has not yet developed. Interest in the historical thinking material was due to the reverence of medieval authors to “authorities”, i.e., to the greatest thinkers-theologians. The problem of the authenticity of the texts was paid little attention (for example, for a long time they operated on a set of works attributed to Aristotle without going into the question of their authenticity); there was considerable freedom in interpreting and criticizing the texts of predecessors, determined by the content-problem side of the matter; when referring to historical material medieval thinkers – with the possible exception of Thomas Aquinas – did not show a tendency to systematize it; in fact, the history of philosophy almost did not separate from the history of theology. In the “era of translations” (12-13 centuries.) Many texts of ancient and early medieval thought are introduced into circulation (acquaintance with the historical and philosophical sections of Aristotle’s writings is felt in historical excursions of many medieval authors).
The heyday of historical and philosophical knowledge falls on the New Time. At the same time about the history of philosophy in the 17th century we can distinguish three main approaches:
- for Descartes does not have an independent value; references to the works of other authors are few; the positions of the predecessors are presented in the most generalized form. The same is the position of the history of philosophy in the basic works of Kant;
- Leibniz’s main work “New Experiments …” is constructed as a kind of antithesis to Locke‘s Theory of Human Understanding;
- the actual historical and philosophical works are becoming more thorough, and the number of them is constantly growing; most notable among them in the 17th century: G. Foss, “On Philosophy and the Schools of Philosophers” (1658); T. Stanley, “The History of Philosophy” in 3 volumes (1655-61); G. Horn, “History of Philosophy” (1655). These works have a expressed theological character: the development of philosophical doctrines before the emergence of Christianity is subordinate to the movement toward Christianity, and after its emergence – to the service of Christian dogma. And although the basic idea of some historical and philosophical works of the 18th century is the same, there are also new moments that accentuate “secular” cultural and ideological ideas and teachings; the history of philosophy begins to be linked with the history of human consciousness and cognition. The most famous works of the 18th century: J. Brucker “Critical History of Philosophy from the Creation of the World to Our Days” in 5 volumes (1742-44); Deland, “Critical History of Philosophy” in 3 volumes (1737); I. Eberhard, “The General History of Philosophy for Use in Academic Lectures” (1788). Formed at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and developed in the early XIX century historical and philosophical doctrines were embodied in the following works: Bule, “Textbook on the History of Philosophy and its Critical Literature” in 8 volumes (1796-1804); D. Tidemann, “The Spirit of Speculative Philosophy” (1791), V. Tennemann, “The History of Philosophy” in 11 volumes (1798-1819); F.Ast, “Essay on the History of Philosophy” (1807); T. Rixner, “Guide to the History of Philosophy” in Zt. (1822-1823); H. Ritter, “History of Ionian Philosophy” (1821); F.V. Schelling, lectures of the “History of the New Philosophy” (1827). In these historical and philosophical writings, written by Hegel’s contemporaries, the spirit of historicism begins to invade, the idea of development penetrates; a requirement is made to carefully investigate the sources and trace the dependence of each philosophical doctrine on the preceding and contemporary ideas. Tennemann and Tidemann (on which Hegel refers) emphasized the role of logical principles in the evaluation of the history of philosophy. Ast and Rixner believed that in every philosophical system there is a grain of eternal truth.
The most significant phenomenon in this series of searches was the history of Hegel’s philosophy, most deeply developed by him in the Berlin period. The history of philosophy is organically included in the development of the absolute spirit and its manifestation in history as a “world spirit”. The historical-philosophical process appears in Hegel as the product of a certain Zeitgeist, as an expression of the spirit of his epoch, the “spirit of the people” (Volksgeist), as the completion of a certain epoch (the image of the owl of Minerva flying out into the twilight); As an integral part of culture along with art and religion. By the unity of the logical and historical order of following the systems of philosophy in its history, Hegel has the same logic as the logical adherence to the conceptual definitions of the idea; later teachings, especially widely differentiated and systematized, appear as a dialectical “removal” of the previous ones. The history of philosophy in Hegel is also an ascension along the steps of scientific character, and just as “speculative logic in the dialectical sense indicates the ideal constituents of this science up to the self-knowledge of the idea, so the history of philosophy discovers – and also dialectically – the formation of this science in time” (Düsing K. Hegel und Die Geschichte der Philosophie, Darmstadt, 1983, S. 28). The history of Hegel’s philosophy had a profound stimulating effect on the whole subsequent development of philosophical thought.
The philosophers of the Hegelian school created a number of valuable historical and philosophical works: E. Zeller wrote The Philosophy of the Greeks (1844-52); K. Prantl – “The History of Logic” (vol 1-2, 1858-70); K. Fisher created a fundamental work entitled “The History of a New Philosophy” (Vol 1-8, 1854-77); L. Feuerbach, who adhered to the Hegelian views while writing the “History of a New Philosophy from Bacon to Spinoza,” then criticized the all-power of panlogism in Hegelian philosophy, including and his history of philosophy.
On the 19 and in the 20 century the history of philosophy becomes more and more concrete and systematized knowledge. The attention is paid to the primary sources, specialized textology and hermeneutics of the texts of ancient and medieval philosophy are being created, a collection of fragments of pre-Socratics G. Dils (Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 1903, edited and reprinted by V.Krantz from 1934-37); texts of the Stoics (von Arnim’s collection in 3 volumes, 1903-05), etc. The history of medieval philosophy (work by E. Jilson) makes considerable progress. Increased interest in the history of Eastern philosophy (Indian, Chinese, Arabic), which in the end. 19 and early. 20th century becomes an independent field of historical and philosophical research (the works of P.Doyssen, S.Dasgupta, S.Radhakrishnan, P.Hacker, K.Potter, Max Müller, J.Legg, E.W. Graham, J. Nidam,).
The history of individual areas of philosophical knowledge is actively developed. A special field of history of philosophy is textology (the scientific attribution of texts, the identification of exact chronology, the evaluation of traditional versions and comments), historical and philosophical hermeneutics, the problem of translating philosophical texts from one language to another.
It is characteristic that many leading representatives of the most important philosophical trends in the 20th century became the authors of special and, as a rule, fundamental historical and philosophical works (V. Windelband, P. Natorp, E. Kassirer, V. Dilthey, K. Jaspers, B. Russel, E. Husserl, F. Kopleston and many others). At present, the history of philosophy is one of the most ramified areas of philosophical knowledge.
Theoretical and methodological problems
Historically, these forms of philosophy, embodied in a uniquely personal form, are not “removed” by the subsequent process and are hardly reducible to brief impersonal formulas like mathematical ones. The history of philosophy as a special discipline, which has its objective historical process of the development of philosophy, has long been asked by the question: is this process a natural one, and if so, what are these patterns?
To their number, many researchers (after Hegel and Marx) include:
- the birth and development of philosophy in the integral context of civilization and culture; the dependence of this development on the character of this or that epoch and the reverse effect of philosophy on the epoch, its values and culture;
- the ability of ideas and values of philosophy to step over the boundaries of time and the social space of their birth.
These laws have the appearance of a kind of unsharable living antinomies that permeate the whole historical process of the development of philosophy. Born in its original unity with the proto-scientific knowledge, philosophy then separates itself from science into a relatively independent field of knowledge, and finds ways to a more solid alliance with science. Beginning with modern times, a philosophy very often thinks and constitutes itself as a science, but in its composition there constantly arise and exist forms of knowledge consciously building themselves in contrast to science and even in opposition to it. Therefore, the history of philosophy as a process differs in many forms: they include scientific and scholastic forms, and religious-type philosophies, and mystical-irrationalist concepts.
Typologization forms of philosophy
There are private and general typologies of the history of philosophy, based on certain criteria and principles. Thus, in “The Science of Logic” Hegel singles out in the philosophy of modern times “the three relations of thought to objectivity”:
- “the old metaphysics,” which viewed thought as the basic definition of things;
- the division of thought and the basic definitions of things (the culmination is Kant’s critical philosophy);
- the philosophy of “direct knowledge”, again trying to connect the thoughts and definitions of things. F. Trendelenburg proposed, when systematizing the history of philosophy, to take into account the solution of the problem of the relation of the subject to the object and, accordingly, to distinguish materialism and idealism as the main varieties of philosophical knowledge.
This scheme was borrowed by Engels and subsequently migrated to textbooks on dialectical materialism. V. Dilthey modified Trendelenburg’s scheme, identifying three main varieties of philosophical teachings: naturalism (Democritus, Hobbes, Holbach, all sensational theories of cognition, relativism and skepticism, materialism as metaphysics), idealism of freedom (Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Kant Jacobi, Schiller, Voltaire, Rousseau, Bergson, a number of Christian philosophers) and objective idealism (Eleatic, Heraclitus, Bruno, Spinoza, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer).
K. Jaspers proposed a peculiar historical and philosophical typology in the book “Great Philosophers”. From his point of view, historical and philosophical classifications should not be built around individual problems and methods, but take into account the features of philosophizing that are closely related to the individual, to life itself. Jaspers, first of all, distinguishes a group of thinkers who exerted the most profound influence on mankind: Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus. Their thought is closely related to their life’s work. It does not matter, Jaspers believes, whether they were philosophers in the strict sense of the word, but without them, philosophy is unimaginable. The second group is “great philosophers”, divided into four subgroups:
- thinkers such as Plato, Augustine, Kant, whose influence is in the power of their ideas and works;
- metaphysics – Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plotinus, Spinoza; “Constructive heads” – Hobbes, Leibniz, Fichte;
- the creators of philosophical systems – Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Hegel;
- “deniers”, “radical inventors” – Descartes, Hume, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche. To the third group of thinkers-philosophers, Jaspers refers those whose reflections are turned to life and poetry: the Greek tragedians, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, Hölderlin, Dostoevsky, and others.
Generalized typologies of the history of philosophy are also constructed:
- by the temporal division of history: ancient, medieval philosophy, the philosophy of modern times and modern times;
- according to the regional (and within it – national) division: European, Eastern (Indian, Chinese, Arab, etc.) philosophy.
General and specific in the historical and philosophical process. Essential is the question of how the integrity of the history of philosophy as a world process and the regional, national, epochal features of one or another concrete form of philosophical knowledge are combined with each other. Against the idea of the integrity of the world’s philosophical process, such arguments are put forward, for example, as:
- the existence of the most ancient examples of philosophizing, independent of each other;
- the unique uniqueness of Indian, Chinese, Western philosophies (hence the inadmissibility of Eurocentrism);
- the specific nature of the philosophy of individual historical stages;
- the uniqueness of philosophical works and concepts of individual thinkers.
Each major philosophical education is specific and unique and can become “impenetrable” for an approach tailored by the standards of the philosophies of other epochs and regions (for example, attempts have been made to artificially “westernize” Eastern or Russian philosophy, or, on the contrary, to fit Western thought to eastern patterns) . World philosophy, if it exists, only in the form of continuity, mutual influence of unique-original acts, results, methods and styles of philosophizing, always inscribed in unique historical, regional, national cultural contexts. So, from ancient thought, with all its unique originality, the threads of influence or some other influence to all significant philosophical turns of subsequent epochs stretch, without interruption even today. The same can be said about other great philosophies and philosophers of the past.
However, such a connection and continuity, thanks to which there exists a relatively stable unity called “world philosophy,” is incorrectly sought in the activity of each philosopher. These are the connections that exist on the larger-scale scale, so to speak, in general. Some philosophers of the West or the East can immerse themselves in philosophical creativity, without knowing and not taking into account the ideas of other philosophical regions. But in the time and space of regional cultures and philosophies, there are always such “points” – represented, as a rule, by the creations of outstanding thinkers, – where the strong knots of connections, interactions, etc. are bound to become bound. The world of antiquity was gradually and purposefully introduced into the “space” of subsequent western and eastern cultures. Some of the philosophers have always undertaken the mission of translating one of the regional philosophies into the language of words and concepts of the culture of another region, another era. An important fact is the undoubted parallelism of the development of philosophy, which includes both in the West and in the East some archetypes (the doctrine of the world ocean, the first principles, the world elements, the dialectic of opposites, etc.), which are likely paradigms of the initial stages of philosophizing as such. They (maybe even more than direct reciprocal influence) testify to the existence of world philosophy as a continuous and relatively unified process, for they show that philosophizing has its internal logic, universal laws for the birth and development of philosophical ideas, which, like any universal, break their way through a special (regional and epochal unity) and individual (specific philosophical ideas, concepts, works). Historical and philosophical comparativism is closely connected with this problematics.