The Kant’s philosophy has been of great value for all further philosophy’s development having engendered all phenomena of the German classical philosophy. The starting point of it remained the same as in the Kant’s philosophy - the problem of subject-object interaction in the process of cognition. Kant’s approach to this problem is disputable because of that that if we in essence can’t come in touch with things-in-themselves what is the sense even to mention them. The criticism of Kant’s things-in-themselves’ conception was given by J. G. Fichte (1762─1814) another German philosopher the junior contemporary of Kant. In his 28 years Fichte read all three “Critiques” of Kant and realized that it was the truth before him. His own philosophy at that time he saw as a continuation and development of the Kant’s one. But having found neither response nor even any participation in his ardent impulse from the aged at that time Kant Fichte began to ponder on his own system and came to negation of the things-in-themselves’ idea approving that it’s the merely useless concept. We can’t get out beyond our consciousness and all that we perceive or ponder upon remains it itself (i.e. our “I” or the subject of cognition and thinking). Namely from this point in accordance to Fichte the true philosophy must be started. Or otherwise speaking the outset of the real philosophy lies in the ‘I ─ non-I’ dichotomy. The prime is I, i.e. our consciousness itself (or the subject of activity) which through self-infliction alienates non-I (the object) from itself. After the alienation I and non-I come into interaction with each other by means of mutual inflictions and influences. The process of such an interaction is our mental activity as its own. No independent thing-in-itself exist, it’s but the result of such interaction. I and non-I shouldn’t be tried to understand as some cosmic categories. It would lead to solipsism. Fichte resolutely rejected accusation in solipsism, his idea of the I and non-I concerns but the process of individual thinking and cognition.
To clear up the said the next instance may be used. A new-born baby doesn’t differ itself from the outer world around perceiving all as it itself (the total I as the beginning of cognitive processes). Then after in the process of trying to realize its vital impulses it notices that some things are ordered directly (part of body), other ones are not. So the differentiation between I and non-I emerges. Further the outer is cognized through the inner, i.e. by means of the baby’s hands and other parts of body, functions of which being interiorized engender primal mental ideas, in the frame of which the further cognition and thinking go.
Thus the philosophy of Fichte has purely epistemological character and doesn’t concern the problem of ontology. The latter was embarked to by F.W. Schelling (1775─1854) who at first started as a follower of Fichte but later came to his own system as well. Unlike Fichte he didn’t limit himself with problems of epistemology but tried to extrapolate approaches elaborated by his predecessors onto ontology. He was also the author of the well-known formulation of the philosophy’s basic question “What is primal ─ material or ideal (material or consciousness)?” Depending upon that how a philosopher answers this question ─ wrote Schelling ─ he can be referred either to materialists or idealists. These are two chief groups in any time philosophy. Himself however Schelling considered neither materialist nor idealist but a representative of the so-called philosophy of identity. According to it namely identity of material and ideal is primal towards them both. Some sort of identity precedes any existence but is however unconscious. At the outset there was the universal identity of all, it can be regarded as God but the unconscious one. The universal primal identity was unconscious because it implied nor dividing or dichotomy (including the subject-object or I – non-I one). The first dividing is the separation of the cognition subject and object (it corresponds to Ficte’s I – non-I dichotomy but unlike it has not only epistemological but ontological character as well). It means also the emergence of consciousness (because the consciousness is the subject relating to an object). From this point there begins evolution of our world. The evolutionary process is the process of emergence of new forms of subject-object relation. All they can be aware because that is the nature of subject-object relation. They can be reflected in philosophy or a science as well. The outset unlike these forms can’t (because its nature itself is unconscious).
The direction of evolution is determined by the aim of a new identity achievement. This new identity however must be already conscious and therewith the God will come into existence ─ wrote Schelling. So all begins from the unconscious and finishes with the conscious. The true art also does so beginning from the same outset the all universe does (i.e. from the unconscious identity which is formless, limitless, endless and so forth). This means that through it an element of infinity enters the true art. The latter because of it allows infinite quantity of interpretations. That is where the difference between a piece of true art and a handicraft’s product lies.