German Idealism is a philosophical movement of the nineteenth century, which fits into the romantic spirit of his time. The most representative of this trend is the philosopher Hegel and in the background are Fichte and Schelling.
The starting point of philosophical reflection is not part of the reality of the external world, but of the thinking subject itself. In other words, what matters is not the world, but its representation as an ideal.
German idealism is an attempt to answer a metaphysical question: how can reality be known?
The reality of things can only be understood from the awareness that human beings have about this reality. In this sense, German idealism is opposed to the realist tradition, which consists in identifying the reality of things with thought .
Hegel’s approach is based on the idea that nature and spirit are the consequence of the absolute. In fact, philosophy is the science of the absolute and this statement is based on the following argument:
1) in a first phase the ideals are conceived by themselves and from this level the human spirit starts from subjectivity; German Idealism
2) in a second phase the ideals are understood outside of themselves, that is, through nature, a reflection that is part of the objective spirit;
3) the absolute spirit understands the ideals in such a way that the subjective and the objective disappear and art, religion and philosophy become the three dimensions of the absolute spirit.
For Hegel ideals are the basis of all knowledge, in this sense his reasoning about the three levels of spirit emphasizes how ideals are changing the reality of the world and becoming ideals.
The synthesis of Hegelian idealism expresses one of its most illustrious ideals: rational thought cannot be separated from reality and reality only makes sense if it is part of reason. This approach means that the world created from our ideals is not absurd, on the other hand, our logical reasoning connects with reality.
Marx’s Response to German Idealism
Marx’s philosophy is materialist, therefore, it is opposed to Hegel’s idealism. According to Marx, it is not man’s consciousness that explains reality, but it is real and material conditions that determine consciousness.