Nicolai Hartmann and The Four Levels of Reality.
By Renata Trister DO
Nicolai Hartmann (20 February 1882 – 9 October 1950) was a Baltic German philosopher. He was an important Nicolai Hartmann and The Four Levels of Reality.
Nicolai Hartmann (20 February 1882 – 9 October 1950) was a Baltic German philosopher. He was an important philosopher and is regarded as one of the most important twentieth century metaphysicians. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being and the world. Metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy: Aristotle calls it “first philosophy” (or sometimes just “wisdom”), and says it is the subject that deals with “first causes and the principles of things”.
Hartmann’s major contribution is his concept of the four levels of reality.
Four main levels of reality are distinguished by Hartmann: the inanimate, the biological, the psychological and the spiritual. This includes all historical realities such as history, language, law, art and social customs. The underlying concept is the following: the structure and the laws of history and other spiritual processes are different from the structure and laws of, say, inanimate beings, the former are not in any way less real than the latter. The same intuition applies to the other levels as well: biological and psychological processes are as real as any other process, and they have their own specific groups of categories.
On the other hand, the psychological and spiritual levels are different.
The category of the spirit is divided into personal, objective and objectivated spirit. Personal spirit is the spirit of the individual; objective spirit is the living spirit of communities; and objectivated spirit characterizes the products of spirit. The components of personal spirit are consciousness, will, foresight and, liberty.
There are laws that are valid for all the levels: higher levels rest on lower ones; the lower level is the conditioning one; the higher level is independent from the lower one as to its conformation and its laws.
Each of the four levels of the world contains other levels, organized according to a variety of patterns.
Not all the levels are equally well-known. The group that includes time, space, process, causality and substance, together with the effects that they mutually exert on each other, determines the physical entity.
Hartmann acknowledges that the distinction between the psychological and the spiritual levels is problematic. However, it appears that science provides some help here, especially with the distinction between the objects of psychology and the objects of the sciences of the spirit (linguistics, law, social and historical sciences).
Hartmann assigns language, consciousness, and foresight alternatively to the psychological level or to the personal level of the spirit. He claims that the same acts of consciousness pertain to both psychic and spiritual being.
Hartmann describes the laws that govern the various levels of reality and their connection.