- Schiller, Johann Cristoph Friedrich
- (1759–1805)The German poet and man of letters is remembered philosophically principally for his influential insistence on the importance of aesthetics. Whereas Kant identified freedom with the exercise of reason, for Schiller the aesthetic impulse is a fundamental element of human nature, whose proper expression and development is itself the point at which the phenomenal and noumenal worlds of Kant fuse, and hence the supreme exercise of human freedom (aesthetics is also connected with play, or activity as an end in itself). Schiller shared the idealism of the contemporary German school (see Fichte, Schelling ) and played an important role in joining the literary movement of Romanticism to contemporary philosophical themes. He develops his view of aesthetics into a general account of epistemology that stresses the different character and temperament people bring to their interpretations of the world. In particular, the naïve or classic artist is subordinate to the material; the sentimental or romantic artist dominates it. Schiller's most important philosophical works are Briefe über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen (1794–5, trs. as Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind, 1844) and Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung (1795, trs. as On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry, 1861).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.