The philosophy of Feuerbach is the final stage of classical German philosophy, represented by Kant, Hegel, Schelling and Fichte, and the beginning of the era of materialism in both German and world philosophy. The wealth, brilliance of ideas and his wit are surprisingly combined with the instability of his views. He himself said about himself that his first thought was God, the second - the mind, and the third and last - man. He experienced three phases of philosophy, which are seen throughout the history of mankind, and he stopped at the last.
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 - 1872) was born in the family of criminalist, in his youth he studied theology, listened to Hegel himself in Berlin.
He considered the philosophy of idealism to be a rationalized religion, contrasting philosophy and religion to their very essence. At the heart of religion, he saw faith in dogma, and philosophy - knowledge and the desire to discover the nature of things. Therefore Feuerbach's philosophy is aimed at criticizing religion and delivering consciousness from religious illusions. He called man a part of (the most perfect) nature, and not a creation of God.
In the center of attention of Feuerbach is a man whose soul and body are one. At the same time, the philosopher paid more attention to the body, which, in his opinion, is the essence of the "I". Criticizing the idealists, their interpretation of knowledge and abstract thinking, Feuerbach turns to sensual contemplation. He believes that the only source of knowledge is sensation-sight, touch, hearing, sense of smell, which have a genuine reality. It is with their help that mental states are learned .
He rejected supersensible reality and abstract knowledge with the help of reason, which he considered idealistic speculation. Such anthropological philosophy of Feuerbach testifies to a new interpretation of the concept of "object". According to Feuerbach, it is formed when people communicate, so the object for a person is another person. From the inner connection of people arises a philanthropic altruistic morality, which should replace people's illusory love of God. The latter he called an alienated and false form of love.
Together with Hegel, he is convinced of the power of reason and the need for cognition. A bright feature, which Feuerbach's philosophy has, is the doctrine of Thuism. He believes that the authenticity of being is accessible to one's own feelings. He never gives up his interest in the religious problem and ethics, so this side of his philosophy was developed much deeper and more fully than the questions of cognition.
The most interesting side of Feuerbach's philosophy is his interpretation of religion. This is his theory of the psychogenesis of religious worldviews. He seeks to show how in mankind the religious world outlook has evolved over the centuries. Denying the supersensible like everything lying outside the consciousness and nature of man, he leans towards naturalism and atheism.
Feuerbach presents his description of the psychogenesis of spiritual religious ideas and feelings. Children, savages and cultural people are equally eager to project their features outward (anthropomorphism). And religion is the most important kind to realize such aspirations - to design the best features of your "I", your own thoughts, desires and feelings for the divine image. Such religious creativity helps a person to eliminate the contradiction that inevitably arises between his desires and achievements and which is realized so painfully. Not God created man in his image, but quite the contrary, man always created his own gods. And these gods are children of human desires.
This is the philosophy of Feuerbach. It is briefly presented in the most interesting aspects. It is most interesting by its psychological, and not by the metaphysical side. His attempt to explain the origin of the religious worldview is new and original. Deep ideas of Feuerbach became the impetus for studies of the history of religion by Renan, Gauve, Strauss, Prince. S.N. Trubetskoi, and others. They were followed by a number of ethnographic studies of primitive religion (Lepbock, Tylor, Spencer, the Group, etc.). His ideas had a strong influence on the leaders of German Social Democracy: Marx, Engels and others.