Jakob Frohschammer

Jakob Frohschammer

German philosopher. He was first a Catholic priest, then a professor of philosophy in Munich.
Country: Germany

  1. Jakob Frohschammer (1821-1893): German Philosopher
  2. Biography
  3. The Concept of Imagination
  4. The Role of Imagination in Cognitive Activity
  5. Objective Imagination and the World Process

Jakob Frohschammer (1821-1893): German Philosopher


Jakob Frohschammer was a German philosopher who was born in 1821. He began his career as a Catholic priest before becoming a professor of philosophy in Munich. Frohschammer was known for his advocacy of the right to freely explore religious questions within the field of philosophy. However, his views were met with opposition and he was persecuted by the Jesuits. Many of his works were even included in the index librorum prohibitorum.

In 1862, Frohschammer started publishing the journal "Athenäum," which served as the organ for free-thinking Catholic researchers. In philosophy, Frohschammer is best known as the founder of a worldview in which imagination is the fundamental creative principle of the world process. This idea is presented in his main work, "Die Phantasie als Grundprincip des Weltprocesses" (Imagination as the Fundamental Principle of the World Process).

The Concept of Imagination

Frohschammer gives a broader meaning to the concept of imagination compared to the commonly accepted definition. He understands imagination as the formative and unifying world force that underlies all types and forms of existence. Imagination is the universal formal principle for Frohschammer. He arrives at this perspective through a critical examination of existing attempts to explain the world from a single principle. According to him, all these attempts are one-sided because they assume as absolute and constant what is actually transient and relative - a property rather than an essence.

Frohschammer distinguishes between subjective and objective imagination. Subjective imagination is the creative activity of the human imagination, which is inherent to the human spirit. Through it, things are known and ideas arise. Objective imagination, on the other hand, refers to the immanent creative potential that exists in the world. This potential gradually evolves and manifests itself as the human spirit. Thus, in the human mind, imagination acquires a subjective-objective nature.

The Role of Imagination in Cognitive Activity

According to Frohschammer, the role of imagination in cognitive activity has not been fully understood by philosophy, although Kant and Fichte already recognized its importance. Imagination is often considered the source of errors in the process of knowledge, while its role as a necessary condition for the discovery of scientific truths is overlooked. The activity of imagination should be acknowledged even in sensations and perceptions. Superficial sensationalism regards these processes as purely passive. In reality, they are already active manifestations of the human spirit, combining and shaping sensory stimuli into elementary sensations and images. The creative activity of imagination is further revealed in acts of reproduction, comparison, and differentiation. The most abstract forms of thinking are built on the activity of imagination since they unite known content into logical schemes of concepts, judgments, and inferences.

Objective Imagination and the World Process

The existence of objective imagination is evident in countless forms of the organic and inorganic world. The emergence of each form unequivocally points to the plastic unifying force that underlies it - imagination. The entire world process consists of the participation of three factors: matter filling space, forces bringing matter into specific combinations, and laws or norms underlying every combination and formation, determining the conceptual meaning of the world and individual objects. This last factor represents the essence of objective imagination. However, the activity of imagination is inseparably linked to matter and force and includes them as necessary elements. All phenomena in the world arise and develop through the realization and differentiation of the world's potential, which has been inherent in the world since time immemorial. In this process, the general form of world imagination branches out and individualizes into various specific forms. However, all subsequent forms are potentially hidden in the initial ones, just as the entire future plant is hidden in a seed.

The first glimpse of spiritual life is sensation, where the creative force becomes conscious of its own existence. Sensation is always associated with feelings of pleasure or displeasure. Pleasure arises when the development of an individual corresponds to the creative form or idea inherent in it, while displeasure arises from deviating from this idea. Thus, sensation, through its associated feeling of pleasure or displeasure, serves as an internal indicator of the normal development of a creative idea.

The highest empirically known form of objective imagination is the human mind. Imagination underlies all mental states and even feelings. Only on this assumption does the emergence of feelings, influenced by disinterested imagination, in artistic and musical images become understandable.

Although based on existing experience, the theory of the world imagination developed by Frohschammer cannot be considered a completely original worldview. The principle of imagination, while new in terms of terminology rather than content, is not much different from the concept of creativity in general and in many points coincides with the fundamental ideas of Schelling and Hegel's philosophy.