The concept of the idea undergoes a fundamental change of meaning at the end of the 18th century, which is largely due to the use of the term in Kant’s transcendental philosophy. After the idea had become a synonym for any content of consciousness (representation) in early modern period, Kant redefines its meaning following Plato. In doing so, the concept has a decisive systematic function in the Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Practical Reason, as well as in the Critique of Judgment.
Following Kant’s transcendental philosophy, his predecessors developed the concept of idea from four different perspectives:
foundation of transcendental philosophy by a philosophy of principles (Grundsatzphilosophie) as well as a doctrine of science (Wissenschaftslehre),
Spinozistic-Platonic attempts of substantiation,
logical-speculative foundation and
In 2024, a two-volume anthology on this topic will be published (together with Gideon Stiening). Its aim is to develop the concept of ideas in the late 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, based on a historical reconstruction and systematic analysis. We compile a compendium of the relevant texts (part I), comment and reflect on them analytically (part II), and, finally, present the common horizon of this development. For a list of contributing authors see the conference program from Nov. 2022: Veranstaltungen - Zentrum für Wissenschaftsgeschichte (uni-graz.at)