19th-century philosophy was characterized by a tumultuous period of transformation and growth, as philosophical thought adapted to the changes in science and culture. This period saw the emergence of many distinct schools of thought, such as positivism, idealism, phenomenology, existentialism, and pragmatism. Ideas from these schools have had a profound impact on our modern society and continue to shape our understanding of the world today.The most influential philosopher during this time was Immanuel Kant. His philosophy emphasized reason as the basis for knowledge and morality. He also argued that experience could only be understood through reason rather than sense perception. Kant believed that all knowledge must be founded on principles that are universal and necessary, leading him to formulate his famous categorical imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Kant’s work provided an important foundation for future philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who built upon his ideas by introducing dialectical thinking into metaphysics (the study of reality).The 19th century also saw an increased focus on social issues such as human rights and labor laws which led to the development of utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham.
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