Birth of German Philosopher Johann von Herder Hot

Birth of German Philosopher Johann von Herder

Johann Gottfried von Herder

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German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder is born in Mohrungen, Prussia (later in Poland) to a poor family. Although he is self-educated with his father's Bible and songbook, he will be accepted as a student at the University of Königsberg where he studies under Immanuel Kant.

Despite Kant's influence, Johann Gottfried von Herder will ultimately become a protege of Johann Georg Hamann, a thinker who in contrast to Kant promotes the use of emotions over reason and mysticism over rationality.

This leads Herder to become one of the most important contributors to the German literary movement known as Sturm und Drang and to the general school of thought known as Romanticism.

As a part of this, he will criticize that prevailing Enlightenment idea that the human faculty for reason is something which can operate separately from human passions or desires.

Herder will apply these ideas and more to his work on aesthetics, arguing that there is no such thing as an "innate" faculty of taste and that there are not objective, eternal standards of beauty.

Instead, according to Herder, historical, cultural and psychological factors are what create distinct aesthetic standards which change over time. Herder will thus become an early critic of the ideas of "timelessness" in art, a cause later taken up in postmodernism.


Johann Gottfried Herder - Erlkönigs Tochter

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