THE NATURE OF THE WORK
Strictly speaking, Schleiermacher does not have a metaphysics, if by this is meant a foundational philosophical doctrine. He was not convinced that metaphysics could grasp the highest object of the human mind, or that it could exhaustively deal with the essential interests of the human spirit. He reserved the expression “metaphysics” for the systematic exposition of descriptive truths. Alongside such a system he placed ethics, or morals, as a system of action (not only right action). The “highest” lies beyond the knowledge claims of both, and as such, must be named their transcendent ground. It cannot be represented adequately through the means of either discipline. This ground is called “transcendent” because it “lies beyond every possible experience and every possible determined thought” (Zusatz to x85 of the 1831 lectures). Schleiermacher wished to “dispense entirely” with the distinction, introduced by Kant, between the “transcendental” (grounding the knowability of objects of experience) and the “transcendent” (extending beyond the limits of experience) (Dial J, 38).
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