The Embodied Self

Friedrich Schleiermacher's Solution to Kant's Problem of the Empirical Self

By Thandeka

Subjects: Philosophy Of Religion
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791425763, 151 pages, August 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425756, 151 pages, August 1995

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations




Schleiermacher's Critique of Modern Philosophy

Schleiermacher's Dialektik: An Unfamiliar Story

Schleiermacher's Reconstruction of the Self

Chapter One. Kant's Problem

Schleiermacher Discovers Kant

Kant's Moral Link to God

Schleiermacher's Existential Link to 'God'

Kant Discovers the Gap in His Critical Philosophy

Kant's a priori Aporia: The Two Selves in Kant's First Critique

Idealism's One-sidedness

Chapter Two. Fichte's Insight

Beck's Standpoint: Original Reconciliation

Fichte's Standpoint: Intellectual Intuition

Schleiermacher's Scant Praise

Kant's Conflicted Condemnation

Chapter Three. Schleiermacher's New Vocabulary
for Consciousness

The Two-fold Nature of an Act of Thinking: The Organic
and Intellectual Functions


Objective and Subjective Consciousness

Concepts and Judgments

The Limits of Determinate Thinking

Denkenwollen vs. Denken: The Will to Think vs. Actual Thinking

The Ethical Subject

The Physical Subject

Schleiermacher's Three-fold Strategy

Schleiermacher's Master Key

Kant, Beck, and Fichte Revisited

Chapter Four. Schleiermacher's Original Insight

The Point of Indifference

The Common Border

The Means of Transition

Anschauung: Object-less Awareness

Gefühl: Subject-less Awareness

The Source of Certitude

The Two Tiers of Feeling

Consciousness of God


Chapter Five. The Embodied Self

The Two Canons of Schleiermacher's Dialektik



Selected Bibliography


Schleiermacher presents a viable, systematic approach to self-consciousness that unifies thinking, feeling, and life itself--that reconfigures the whole of human experience. He presents a self capable of generating coherence amidst ethnic conflicts and the environmental crisis.


This book investigates the philosophic notion of self-consciousness found in the work of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher. Its central focus is on Schleiermacher's Dialektik, a posthumously published series of lectures delivered in Berlin between 1811 and 1831. In these lectures, we find Schleiermacher's most detailed delineation of the two-tiered structure of feeling (Gefühl) that established him as the father of modern Protestant theology. We also find his solution to the gap between the noumenal and empirical self in Kant's theory of self-consciousness that post-Kantian idealists attempt but failed to resolve. Schleiermacher correctly foresaw the nihilistic end to which the philosophical tradition of speculative self-consciousness would lead.

Thandeka is Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Williams College. The name "Thandeka" was given to her by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984.


"What I like most about this book is its presentation and elaboration of Schleiermacher's lectures on dialectics, which is probably the most important untranslated material in fundamental philosophy of nineteenth-century European thought. Previous English accounts have not brought out the contemporary impact of this work.

"The topic is certainly important since it addresses basic issues that arise out of the world of Kant, the most influential philosopher of the modern world. The author's view that Kant loses the unity of human selfhood and that Schleiermacher viably meets this problem with his analysis of the philosophical ingredients of knowing and being locates the book in a prominent area of continuing interest." — Jack Verheyden, The Claremont Graduate School