1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Reinhold, Karl Leonhard

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
[ 56 ]

REINHOLD, KARL LEONHARD (1758-1823), German philosopher, was born at Vienna. At the age of fourteen he entered the Jesuit college of St Anna, on the dissolution of which (1774) he joined a similar college of the order of St Barnabas. Finding himself out of sympathy with monastic life, he fled in 1783 to North Germany, and settled in Weimar, where he became Wieland's collaborateur on the German Mercury, and eventually his son-in-law. In the German Mercury he published, in the years 1786-87, his Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie, which were most important in making Kant known to a wider circle of readers. As a result of the Letters, Reinhold received a call to the university of Jena, where he taught from 1787 to 1794. In 1789 he published his chief work, the Versuch einer neuen Theorie des menschlichen Vorstellungsvermögens, in which he attempted to simplify the Kantian theory and make it more of a unity. In 1794 he accepted a call to Kiel, where he taught till his death in 1823, but his independent activity was at an end. In later life he was powerfully influenced by Fichte, and subsequently, on grounds of religious feeling, by Jacobi and Bardili. His historical importance belongs entirely to his earlier activity. The development of the Kantian standpoint contained in the “New Theory of Human Understanding” (1789), and in the Fundament des philosophischen Wissens (1791), was called by its author Elementarphilosophie.

“Reinhold lays greater emphasis than Kant upon the unity and activity of consciousness. The principle of consciousness tells us that every idea is related both to an object and a subject, and is partly to be distinguished, partly united to both. Since form cannot produce matter nor subject object, we are forced to assume a thing-in-itself. But this is a notion which is self-contradictory if consciousness be essentially a relating activity. There is there[ 57 ]fore something which must bethought and yet cannot be thought” (Höffding, History of Modern Philosophy, Eng. trans., vol. ii.).

See R. Keil, Wieland und Reinhold (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1890); J. E. Erdmann, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie (Berlin, 1866); histories of philosophy by R. Folckenberg and W. Windelband.