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Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804 – 1872)


German philosopher.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
I have always taken as the standard of the mode of teaching and writing, not the abstract, particular, professional philosopher, but universal man, that I have regarded man as the criterion of truth, and not this or that founder of a system, and have from the first placed the highest excellence of the philosopher in this, that he abstains, both as a man and as an author, from the ostentation of philosophy, i.e., that he is a philosopher only in reality, not formally, that he is a quiet philosopher, not a loud and still less a brawling one.
Feuerbach quotes
To prove cannot mean anything other than to bring the other person to my own conviction. The truth lies only in the unification of “I” and “You.” The Other of pure thought, however, is the sensuous intellect in general. In the field of philosophy, proof therefore consists only in the fact that the contradiction between sensuous intellect and pure thought is disposed, so that thought is true not only for itself but also for its opposite.
Feuerbach
If therefore my work is negative, irreligious, atheistic, let it be remembered that atheism — at least in the sense of this work — is the secret of religion itself; that religion itself, not indeed on the surface, but fundamentally, not in intention or according to its own supposition, but in its heart, in its essence, believes in nothing else than the truth and divinity of human nature.




Man has many wishes that he does not really wish to fulfil, and it would be a misunderstanding to suppose the contrary. He wants them to remain wishes, they have value only in his imagination; their fulfilment would be a bitter disappointment to him. Such a desire is the desire for eternal life. If it were fulfilled, man would become thoroughly sick of living eternally, and yearn for death. In reality man wishes merely to avoid a premature, violent or gruesome death. Everything has its measure, says a pagan philosopher; in the end we weary of everything, even of life; a time comes when man desires death. Consequently there is nothing frightening about a normal, natural death, the death of a man who has fulfilled himself and lived out his life.
Feuerbach Ludwig Andreas
To be sure, the human individual can, even must, feel and know himself to be limited—and this is what distinguishes him from the animal—but he can become conscious of his limits, his finite-ness, only because he can make the perfection and infinity of his species the object either of his feeling, conscience, or thought. But if his limitations appear to him as emanating from the species, this can only be due to his delusion that he is identical with the species, a delusion intimately linked with the individual’s love of ease, lethargy, vanity, and selfishness; for a limit which I know to be mine alone, humiliates, shames, and disquiets me. Hence, in order to free myself of this feeling of shame, this uneasiness, I make the limits of my individuality the limits of man’s being itself. What is incomprehensible to me is incomprehensible to others; why should this worry me at all? It is not due to any fault of mine or of my understanding: the cause lies in the understanding of the species itself. But it is a folly, a ludicrous and frivolous folly to designate that which constitutes the nature of man and the absolute nature of the individual, the essence of the species, as finite and limited.
The first philosophers were astronomers. The heavens remind man ... that he is destined not merely to act, but also to contemplate.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
Demonstrating is therefore only the means through which I strip my thought of the form of “mine-ness” so that the other person may recognize it as his own.
The history of philosophical system is the picture gallery of reason.
Feuerbach
The power of thought is the light of knowledge, the power of will is the energy of character, the power of heart is love. Reason, love and power of will are perfections of man.
Feuerbach Ludwig Andreas
But like the desire for eternal life, the desire for omniscience and absolute perfection is merely an imaginary desire; and, as history and daily experience prove, the supposed human striving for unlimited knowledge and perfection is a myth. Man has no desire to know everything; he only wants to know the things to which he is particularly drawn.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.




Christianity set itself the goal of fulfilling man’s unattainable desires, but for that very reason ignored his attainable desires. By promising man eternal life, it deprived him of temporal life, by teaching him to trust in God’s help it took away his trust in his own powers; by giving him faith in a better life in heaven, it destroyed his faith in a better life on earth and his striving to attain such a life. Christianity gave man what his imagination desires, but for that very reason failed to give him what he really and truly desires.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
Hegel determines and presents only the most striking differences of various religions, philosophies, time and peoples, and in a progressive series of stages, but he ignores all that is common and identical in all of them. ... His system knows only subordination and succession; coordination and coexistence are unknown to it.
Feuerbach quotes
Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendor of imagination and caprice, instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity.
Feuerbach Ludwig Andreas
God did not, as the Bible says, make man in His image; on the contrary man, as I have shown in The Essence of Christianity, made God in his image.
Religion is indeed essential to or innate in man, but ... this is not the religion of theology or theism, not an actual belief in God, but solely the religion that expresses nothing other than man’s feeling of finiteness and dependency on nature. ... I distinguish religion from theism, the belief in a being distinct from nature and man. ... Today theism, theology, the belief in God have become so identified with religion that to have no God, to theological being, is considered synonymous with having no religion. But here we deal with the original elements of religion. It is theism, theology, that has wrenched man out of his relationship with the world, isolated him, made him into an arrogant self-centered being who exalts himself above nature. And it is only on this level that religion becomes identified with theology, with the belief in a being outside and above nature as the true God. Originally religion expressed nothing other than man’s feeling that he is an inseparable part of nature or the world.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
We have busied ourselves and contented ourselves long enough with speaking and writing; now at last we demand that the word become flesh, the spirit matter; we are as sick of political as we are of philosophical idealism; we are determined to become political materialists.
Every presentation of philosophy, whether oral or written, is to be taken and can only be taken in the sense of a means. Every system is only an expression or image of reason, and hence only an object of reason, an object which reason—a living power that procreates itself in new thinking beings—distinguishes from itself and posits as an object of criticism. Every system that is not recognized and appropriated as just a means, limits and warps the mind for it sets up the indirect and formal thought in the place of the direct, original and material thought.
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach
To theology, ... only what it holds sacred is true, whereas to philosophy, only what holds true is sacred.
Feuerbach Ludwig Andreas
Hegel ... proceeds abstractly from the pre-existence of the intellect. ... He does not appeal to the intellect within us.


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