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Title: A History of Philosophy in Epitome
Author: Schwegler, Albert
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Philosophy in Epitome" ***

public domain works from the University of Michigan Digital

    Transcriber’s note:

    The letters A and B with the plus sign at the top
    are shown as A⁺ and B⁺.










   443 & 445 BROADWAY.

ENTERED, according to act of Congress, in the year 1856,


In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Northern District of New York.



The History of Philosophy, by Dr. Albert Schwegler, is considered in
Germany as the best concise manual upon the subject from the school of
Hegel. Its account of the Greek and of the German systems, is of
especial value and importance. It presents the whole history of
speculation in its consecutive order. Though following the method of
Hegel’s more extended lectures upon the progress of philosophy, and
though it makes the system of Hegel to be the ripest product of
philosophy, yet it also rests upon independent investigations. It will
well reward diligent study, and is one of the best works for a text-book
in our colleges, upon this neglected branch of scientific investigation.
The translation is made by a competent person, and gives, I doubt not, a
faithful rendering of the original.




Schwegler’s History of Philosophy originally appeared in the “_Neue
Encyklopädie für Wissenschaften und Künste_.” Its great value soon
awakened a call for its separate issue, in which form it has attained a
very wide circulation in Germany. It is found in the hands of almost
every student in the philosophical department of a German university,
and is highly esteemed for its clearness, conciseness, and

The present translation was commenced in Germany three years ago, and
has been carefully finished. It was undertaken with the conviction that
the work would not lose its interest or its value in an English dress,
and with the hope that it might be of wider service in such a form to
students of philosophy here. It was thought especially, that a proper
translation of this manual would supply a want for a suitable text-book
on this branch of study, long felt by both teachers and students in our
American colleges.

The effort has been made to translate, and not to paraphrase the
author’s meaning. Many of his statements might have been amplified
without diffuseness, and made more perceptible to the superficial reader
without losing their interest to the more profound student, but he has
so happily seized upon the germs of the different systems, that they
neither need, nor would be improved by any farther development, and has,
moreover, presented them so clearly, that no student need have any
difficulty in apprehending them as they are. The translator has
therefore endeavored to represent faithfully and clearly the original
history. As such, he offers his work to the American public, indulging
no hope, and making no efforts for its success beyond that which its own
merits shall ensure.

   J. H. S.

   SCHENECTADY, N. Y., _January, 1856_.



   INTRODUCTORY NOTE, by HENRY B. SMITH, D. D.                        iii

   TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE                                                 v

   TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                  vii


          II.—CLASSIFICATION                                           16

                1. The Ionics                                          17
                2. The Pythagoreans                                    18
                3. The Eleatics                                        18
                4. Heraclitus                                          18
                5. The Atomists                                        19
                6. Anaxagoras                                          19
                7. The Sophists                                        20

          IV.—THE IONIC PHILOSOPHERS                                   21
                1. Thales                                              21
                2. Anaximander                                         22
                3. Anaximenes                                          23
                4. Retrospect                                          23

           V.—PYTHAGOREANISM                                           23
                1. Its Relative Position                               23
                2. Historical and Chronological                        23
                3. The Pythagorean Principle                           24
                4. Carrying out of this Principle                      25

          VI.—THE ELEATICS                                             27
                1. The Relation of the Eleatic Principle
                     to the Pythagorean                                27
                2. Xenophanes                                          28
                3. Parmenides                                          28
                4. Zeno                                                30

         VII.—HERACLITUS                                               31
                1. Relation of the Heraclitic Principle
                     to the Eleatic                                    31
                2. Historical and Chronological                        32
                3. The Principle of the Becoming                       32
                4. The Principle of Fire                               33
                5. Transition to the Atomists                          33

        VIII.—EMPEDOCLES                                               35
                1. General View                                        35
                2. The Four Elements                                   35
                3. The Two Powers                                      36
                4. Relation of the Empedoclean to the Eleatic
                     and Heraclitic Philosophy                         36

          IX.—THE ATOMISTIC PHILOSOPHY                                 37
                1. Its Propounders                                     37
                2. The Atoms                                           37
                3. The Fulness and the Void                            38
                4. The Atomistic Necessity                             38
                5. Relative Position of the Atomistic Philosophy       39

           X.—ANAXAGORAS                                               40
                1. His Personal History                                40
                2. His Relation to his Predecessors                    41
                3. The Principle of the νοῦς                           41
                4. Anaxagoras as the close of the Pre-Socratic
                     Realism                                           42

          XI.—THE SOPHISTIC PHILOSOPHY                                 43
                1. The Relation of the Sophistic Philosophy to
                     the Anaxagorean Principle                         43
                2. Relation of the Sophistic Philosophy to the
                     Universal Life of that Age                        44
                3. Tendencies of the Sophistic Philosophy              46
                4. Significance of the Sophistic Philosophy from
                     its relation to the Culture of the Age            47
                5. Individual Sophists                                 48
                6. Transition to Socrates, and characteristic
                      of the following Period                          51

         XII.—SOCRATES                                                 52
                1. His Personal Character                              52
                2. Socrates and Aristophanes                           55
                3. The Condemnation of Socrates                        57
                4. The Genius of Socrates                              60
                5. Sources of the Philosophy of Socrates               61
                6. Universal Character of the Philosophizing
                     of Socrates                                       62
                7. The Socratic Method                                 64
                8. The Socratic Doctrine concerning Virtue             66

        XIII.—THE PARTIAL DISCIPLES OF SOCRATES                        67
                1. Their Relation to the Socratic Philosophy           67
                2. Antisthenes and the Cynics                          68
                3. Aristippus and the Cyrenians                        69
                4. Euclid and the Megarians                            70
                5. Plato as the complete Socraticist                   71

         XIV.—PLATO                                                    72
                I. PLATO’S LIFE                                        72
                     1. His Youth                                      72
                     2. His Years of Discipline                        73
                     3. His Years of Travel                            73
                     4. His Years of Instruction                       74

                     AND WRITINGS                                      75

              III. CLASSIFICATION OF THE PLATONIC SYSTEM               82

               IV. THE PLATONIC DIALECTICS                             83
                     1. Conception of Dialectics                       83
                     2. What is Science?                               84
                         (1.) As opposed to Sensation                  84
                         (2.) The Relation of Knowing to Opinion       86
                         (3.) The Relation of Science to Thinking      86
                     3. The Doctrine of Ideas in its Genesis           87
                     4. Positive Exposition of the Doctrine of Ideas   91
                     5. The Relation of Ideas to the Phenomenal World  93
                     6. The Idea of the Good and the Deity             95

                V. THE PLATONIC PHYSICS                                96
                     1. Nature                                         96
                     2. The Soul                                       98

               VI. THE PLATONIC ETHICS                                100
                     1. Good and Pleasure                             100
                     2. Virtue                                        102
                     3. The State                                     102

          XV.—THE OLD ACADEMY                                         107

         XVI.—ARISTOTLE                                               108
                I. LIFE AND WRITINGS OF ARISTOTLE                     108
                     ARISTOTELIAN PHILOSOPHY                          109
              III. LOGIC AND METAPHYSICS                              112
                     1. Conception and Relation of the Two            112
                     2. Logic                                         113
                     3. Metaphysics                                   115
                         (1.) The Aristotelian Criticism of
                                the Platonic Doctrine of Ideas        116
                         (2.) The Four Aristotelian Principles,
                                or Causes, and the Relation
                                of Form and Matter                    120
                         (3.) Potentiality and Actuality              123
                         (4.) The Absolute Divine Spirit              124
               IV. THE ARISTOTELIAN PHYSICS                           127
                     1. Motion, Matter, Space, and Time               127
                     2. The Collective Universe                       128
                     3. Nature                                        129
                     4. Man                                           129
                V. THE ARISTOTELIAN ETHICS                            131
                     1. Relation of Ethics to Physics                 131
                     2. The Highest Good                              132
                     3. Conception of Virtue                          134
                     4. The State      135
               VI. THE PERIPATETIC SCHOOL                             136

        XVII.—STOICISM                                                138
                1. Logic                                              139
                2. Physics                                            140
                3. Ethics                                             142
                     (1.) Respecting the Relation of Virtue
                            to Pleasure                               142
                     (2.) The View of the Stoics concerning
                            External Good                             142
                     (3.) Farther Verification of this View           143
                     (4.) Impossibility of furnishing a System
                            of Concrete Moral Duties from this
                            Standpoint                                143

       XVIII.-EPICUREANISM                                            145

         XIX.—SCEPTICISM AND THE NEW ACADEMY                          148
                1. The Old Scepticism                                 149
                2. The New Academy                                    150
                3. The Later Scepticism                               151

          XX.—THE ROMANS                                              152

         XXI.—NEW PLATONISM                                           154
                1. Ecstasy as a Subjective State                      154
                2. The Cosmical Principles                            154
                3. The Emanation Theory of the New Platonists         155

        XXII.—CHRISTIANITY AND SCHOLASTICISM                          157
                1. The Christian Idea                                 157
                2. Scholasticism                                      159
                3. Nominalism and Realism                             160

       XXIII.—TRANSITION TO THE MODERN PHILOSOPHY                     161
                1. Fall of Scholasticism                              161
                2. The Results of Scholasticism                       162
                3. The Revival of Letters                             163
                4. The German Reformation                             164
                5. The Advancement of the Natural Sciences            165
                6. Bacon of Verulam                                   166
                7. The Italian Philosophers of the Transition Epoch   167
                8. Jacob Boehme                                       169

        XXIV.—DESCARTES                                               172
                1. The Beginning of Philosophy with Doubt             173
                2. Cogito ergo sum                                    173
                3. The Nature of Mind deduced from this Principle     173
                4. The Universal Rule of all Certainty follows from
                     the same                                         174
                5. The Existence of God                               174
                6. Results of this Fact in Philosophy                 176
                7. The Two Substances                                 177
                8. The Anthropology of Descartes                      177
                9. Results of the Cartesian System                    178

         XXV.—GEULINCX AND MALEBRANCHE                                180
                1. Geulincx                                           180
                2. Malebranche                                        182
                3. The Defects of the Philosophy of Descartes         183

        XXVI.—SPINOZA                                                 184
                1. The One Infinite Substance                         185
                2. The Two Attributes                                 186
                3. The Modes                                          188
                4. His Practical Philosophy                           189

       XXVII.—IDEALISM AND REALISM                                    192

      XXVIII.—LOCKE                                                   193

        XXIX.—HUME                                                    198

         XXX.—CONDILLAC                                               201

        XXXI.—HELVETIUS                                               203

                1. The Common Character of the French Philosophers
                     of this Age                                      205
                2. Voltaire                                           206
                3. Diderot                                            206
                4. La Mettrie’s Materialism                           207
                5. Système de la Nature                               208
                     (1.) The Materiality of Man                      208
                     (2.) The Atheism of this System                  209
                     (3.) Its Denial of Freedom and Immortality       210
                     (4.) The Practical Consequences of these
                            Principles                                210

      XXXIII.—LEIBNITZ                                                211
                1. The Doctrine of Monads                             213
                2. The Monads more accurately determined              214
                3. The Pre-established Harmony                        215
                4. The Relation of the Deity to the Monads            216
                5. The Relation of Soul and Body                      217
                6. The Theory of Knowledge                            218
                7. Leibnitz’s Théodicée                               219

       XXXIV.—BERKELEY                                                220

        XXXV.—WOLFF                                                   222
                1. Ontology                                           224
                2. Cosmology                                          225
                3. Rational Psychology                                225
                4. Natural Theology                                   226

       XXXVI.—THE GERMAN CLEARING UP                                  227

      XXXVII.—TRANSITION TO KANT                                      229
                1. Examination of the Faculty of Knowledge            230
                2. Three Chief Principles of the Kantian Theory
                     of Knowledge                                     232

     XXXVIII.—KANT                                                    235
                I. CRITICK OF PURE REASON                             238
                     1. The Transcendental Æsthetics                  238
                          (1.) The Metaphysical Discussion            239
                          (2.) The Transcendental Discussion          239
                     2. The Transcendental Analytic                   241
                     3. The Transcendental Dialectics                 246
                           (1.) The Psychological Ideas               247
                           (2.) The Antinomies of Cosmology           248
                           (3.) The Ideal of the Pure Reason          249
                                  (_a._) The Ontological Proof        249
                                  (_b._) The Cosmological Proof       250
                                  (_c._) The Physico-Theological
                                           Proof                      250
               II. CRITICK OF THE PRACTICAL REASON                    252
                           (1.) The Analytic                          254
                           (2.) The Dialectic: What is this Highest
                                  Good?                               256
                                  (_a._) Perfect Virtue or Holiness   257
                                  (_b._) Perfect Happiness            258
                                  (_c._) Kant’s Views of Religion     259
              III. CRITICK OF THE FACULTY OF JUDGMENT                 262
                     1. Critick of the Æsthetic Faculty of Judgment   263
                          (1.) Analytic                               263
                          (2.) Dialectic                              265
                     2. Critick of the Teleological Faculty
                          of Judgment                                 266
                          (1.) Analytic of the Teleological Faculty
                                 of Judgment                          267
                          (2.) Dialectic                              267


          XL.—JACOBI                                                  271

         XLI.—FICHTE                                                  279
                     1. The Theoretical Philosophy of Fichte,
                          his Wissenschaftslehre, or Theory
                          of Science                                  282
                     2. Fichte’s Practical Philosophy                 295
               II. THE LATER FORM OF FICHTE’S PHILOSOPHY              301

        XLII.—HERBART                                                 303
                1. The Basis and Starting Point of Philosophy         304
                2. The First Act of Philosophy                        304
                3. Remodelling the Conceptions of Experience          305
                4. Herbart’s Reals                                    306
                5. Psychology connected with Metaphysics              310
                6. The Importance of Herbart’s Philosophy             311

       XLIII.—SCHELLING                                               312
                     1. Natural Philosophy                            318
                          (1.) Organic Nature                         319
                          (2.) Inorganic Nature                       321
                          (3.) The Reciprocal Determination of the
                                 Organic and Inorganic World          321
                     2. Transcendental Philosophy                     322
                          (1.) The Theoretical Philosophy             323
                          (2.) The Practical Philosophy               324
                          (3.) Philosophy of Art                      324
                     INDIFFERENCE OF THE IDEAL AND THE REAL           326
                     PLATONISM                                        333
                     AFTER THE MANNER OF JACOB BOEHME                 335
                          (1.) The Progressive Development of Nature
                                 to Man                               337
                          (2.) The Development of Mind in History     337
               VI. SIXTH PERIOD                                       338

        XLIV.—TRANSITION TO HEGEL                                     339

         XLV.—HEGEL                                                   343
                I. SCIENCE OF LOGIC                                   346
                     1. The Doctrine of Being                         347
                          (1.) Quality                                347
                          (2.) Quantity                               348
                          (3.) Measure                                348
                     2. The Doctrine of Essence                       349
                          (1.) The Essence as such                    349
                          (2.) Essence and Phenomenon                 350
                          (3.) Actuality                              351
                     3. The Doctrine of the Conception                352
                          (1.) The Subjective Conception              352
                          (2.) Objectivity                            353
                          (3.) The Idea                               353
               II. THE SCIENCE OF NATURE                              353
                     1. Mechanics                                     354
                     2. Physics                                       355
                     3. Organics                                      355
                          (1.) Geological Organism                    355
                          (2.) Vegetable Organism                     355
                          (3.) Animal Organism                        356
              III. PHILOSOPHY OF MIND                                 356
                     1. The Subjective Mind                           356
                     2. The Objective Mind                            358
                     3. The Absolute Mind                             362
                          (1.) Æsthetics                              363
                                 (_a._) Architecture                  363
                                 (_b._) Sculpture                     363
                                 (_c._) Painting                      364
                                 (_d._) Music                         364
                                 (_e._) Poetry                        364
                          (2.) Philosophy of Religion                 364
                                 (_a._) The Natural Religion of the
                                          Oriental World              364
                                 (_b._) The Religion of Mental
                                          Individuality               364
                                 (_c._) Revealed, or the Christian
                                          Religion                    365
                          (3.) Absolute Philosophy                    365





To philosophize is to reflect; to examine things, in thought.

Yet in this is the conception of philosophy not sufficiently defined.
Man, as thinking, also employs those practical activities concerned in
the adaptation of means to an end; the whole body of sciences also, even
those which do not in strict sense belong to philosophy, still lie in
the realm of thought. In what, then, is philosophy distinguished from
these sciences, _e. g._ from the science of astronomy, of medicine, or
of rights? Certainly not in that it has a different material to work
upon. Its material is precisely the same as that of the different
empirical sciences. The construction and disposition of the universe,
the arrangement and functions of the human body, the doctrines of
property, of rights and of the state—all these materials belong as truly
to philosophy as to their appropriate sciences. That which is given in
the world of experience, that which is real, is the content likewise of
philosophy. It is not, therefore, in its material but in its form, in
its method, in its mode of knowledge, that philosophy is to be
distinguished from the empirical sciences. These latter derive their
material directly from experience; they find it at hand and take it up
just as they find it. Philosophy, on the other hand, is never satisfied
with receiving that which is given simply as it is given, but rather
follows it out to its ultimate grounds; it examines every individual
thing in reference to a final principle, and considers it as one link in
the whole chain of knowledge. In this way philosophy removes from the
individual thing given in experience, its immediate, individual, and
accidental character; from the sea of empirical individualities, it
brings out that which is common to all; from the infinite and orderless
mass of contingencies it finds that which is necessary, and throws over
all a universal law. In short, philosophy examines the _totality_ of
experience in the form of an _organic system_ in harmony with the laws
of thought. From the above it is seen, that philosophy (in the sense we
have given it) and the empirical sciences have a reciprocal influence;
the latter conditioning the former, while they at the same time are
conditioned by it. We shall, therefore, in the history of the world, no
more find an absolute and complete philosophy, than a complete empirical
science (_Empirik_). Rather is philosophy found only in the form of the
different philosophical systems, which have successively appeared in the
course of history, advancing hand in hand with the progress of the
empirical sciences and the universal, social, and civil culture, and
showing in their advance the different steps in the development and
improvement of human science. The history of philosophy has, for its
object, to represent the content, the succession, and the inner
connection of these philosophical systems.

The relation of these different systems to each other is thus already
intimated. The historical and collective life of the race is bound
together by the idea of a spiritual and intellectual progress, and
manifests a regular order of advancing, though not always continuous,
stages of development. In this, the fact harmonizes with what we should
expect from antecedent probabilities. Since, therefore, every
philosophical system is only the philosophical expression of the
collective life of its time, it follows that these different systems
which have appeared in history will disclose one organic movement and
form together one rational and internally connected (_gegliedertes_)
system. In all their developments, we shall find one constant order,
grounded in the striving of the spirit ever to raise itself to a higher
point of consciousness and knowledge, and to recognize the whole
spiritual and natural universe, more and more, as its outward being, as
its reality, as the mirror of itself.

_Hegel_ was the first to utter these thoughts and to consider the
history of philosophy as a united process, but this view, which is, in
its principle, true, he has applied in a way which would destroy the
freedom of human actions, and remove the very conception of contingency,
_i. e._ that any thing should be contrary to reason. Hegel’s view is,
that the succession of the systems of philosophy which have appeared in
history, corresponds to the succession of logical categories in a system
of logic. According to him, if, from the fundamental conceptions of
these different philosophical systems, we remove that which pertains to
their outward form or particular application, &c., so do we find the
different steps of the logical conceptions (_e. g._ being, becoming,
existence, being _per se_ (_fürsichseyn_) quantity, &c.). And on the
other hand, if we take up the logical process by itself, we find also in
it the actual historical process.

This opinion, however, can be sustained neither in its principle nor in
its historical application. It is defective in its principle, because in
history freedom and necessity interpenetrate, and, therefore, while we
find, if we consider it in its general aspects, a rational connection
running through the whole, we also see, if we look solely at its
individual parts, only a play of numberless contingencies, just as the
kingdom of nature, taken as a whole, reveals a rational plan in its
successions, but viewed only in its parts, mocks at every attempt to
reduce them to a preconceived plan. In history we have to do with free
subjectivities, with individuals capable of originating actions, and
have, therefore, a factor which does not admit of a previous
calculation. For however accurately we may estimate the controlling
conditions which may attach to an individual, from the general
circumstances in which he may be placed, his age, his associations, his
nationality, &c., a free will can never be calculated like a
mathematical problem. History is no example for a strict arithmetical
calculation. The history of philosophy, therefore, cannot admit of an
apriori construction; the actual occurrences should not be joined
together as illustrative of a preconceived plan; but the facts, so far
as they can be admitted, after a critical sifting, should be received as
such, and their rational connection be analytically determined. The
speculative idea can only supply the law for the arrangement and
scientific connection of that which may be historically furnished.

A more comprehensive view, which contradicts the above-given Hegelian
notion, is the following. The actual historical development is, very
generally, different from the theoretical. Historically _e. g._ the
State arose as a means of protection against robbers, while
theoretically it is derived from the idea of rights. So also, even in
the actual history of philosophy, while the logical (theoretical)
process is an ascent from the abstract to the concrete, yet does the
historical development of philosophy, quite generally, descend from the
concrete to the abstract, from intuition to thought, and separates the
abstract from the concrete in those general forms of culture and those
religious and social circumstances, in which the philosophizing subject
is placed. A _system_ of philosophy proceeds synthetically, while the
_history_ of philosophy, _i. e._ the history of the thinking process
proceeds analytically. We might, therefore, with great propriety, adopt
directly the reverse of the Hegelian position, and say that what in
reality is the first, is for us, in fact, the last. This is illustrated
in the Ionic philosophy. It began not with being as an abstract
conception, but with the most concrete, and most apparent, _e. g._ with
the material conception of water, air, &c. Even if we leave the Ionics
and advance to the being of the Eleatics or the becoming of the
Heraclitics, we find, that these, instead of being pure thought
determinations, are only unpurified conceptions, and materially colored
intuitions. Still farther, is the attempt impracticable to refer every
philosophy that has appeared in history to some logical category as its
central principle, because the most of these philosophies have taken,
for their object, the idea, not as an abstract conception, but in its
realization as nature and mind, and, therefore, for the most part, have
to do, not with logical questions, but with those relating to natural
philosophy, psychology and ethics. Hegel should not, therefore, limit
his comparison of the historical and systematic process of development
simply to logic, but should extend it to the whole system of
philosophical science. Granted that the Eleatics, the Heraclitics and
the Atomists may have made such a category as the centre of their
systems, and we may find thus far the Hegelian logic in harmony with the
Hegelian history of philosophy. But if we go farther, how is it? How
with Anaxagoras, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle? We cannot,
certainly, without violence, press one central principle into the
systems of these men, but if we should be able to do it, and could
reduce _e. g._ the philosophy of Anaxagoras to the conception of “the
end,” that of the Sophists to the conception of “the appearance,” and
the Socratic Philosophy to the conception of “the good,”—yet even then
we have the new difficulty that the historical does not correspond to
the logical succession of these categories. In fact, Hegel himself has
not attempted a complete application of his principle, and indeed gave
it up at the very threshold of the Grecian philosophy. To the Eleatics,
the Heraclitics and the Atomists, the logical categories of “being,”
“becoming,” and being _per se_ may be successively ascribed, and so far,
as already remarked, the parallelism extends, but no farther. Not only
does Anaxagoras follow with the conception of reason working according
to an end, but if we go back before the Eleatics, we find in the very
beginning of philosophy a total diversity between the logical and
historical order. If Hegel had carried out his principle consistently,
he should have thrown away entirely the Ionic philosophy, for matter is
no logical category; he should have placed the Pythagoreans after the
Eleatics and the Atomists, for in logical order the categories of
quantity follow those of quality; in short, he would have been obliged
to set aside all chronology. Unless this be done, we must be satisfied
with a theoretical reproduction of the course which the thinking spirit
has taken in its history, only so far as we can see in the grand stages
of history a rational progress of thought; only so far as the
philosophical historian, surveying a period of development, actually
finds in it a philosophical acquisition,—the acquisition of a new idea:
but we must guard ourselves against applying to the transition and
intermediate steps, as well as to the whole detail of history, the
postulate of an immanent conformity to law, or an organism in harmony
with our own thoughts. History often winds its way like a serpent in
lines which appear retrogressive, and philosophy, especially, has not
seldom withdrawn herself from a wide and already fruitful field, in
order to settle down upon a narrow strip of land, the limits even of
which she has sought still more closely to abridge. At one time we find
thousands of years expended in fruitless attempts with only a negative
result;—at another, a fulness of philosophical ideas are crowded
together in the experience of a lifetime. There is here no sway of an
immutable and regularly returning law, but history, as the realm of
freedom, will first completely manifest itself at the end of time as the
work of reason.



A few words will suffice to define our problem and classify its
elements. Where and when does philosophy begin? Manifestly, according to
the analysis made in § I., where a final philosophical principle, a
final ground of being is first sought in a philosophical way,—and hence
with the Grecian philosophy. The Oriental—Chinese and Hindoo—so named
philosophies,—but which are rather theologies or mythologies,—and the
mythic cosmogonies of Greece, in its earliest periods, are, therefore,
excluded from our more definite problem. Like Aristotle, we shall begin
the history of philosophy with Thales. For similar reasons we exclude
also the philosophy of the Christian middle ages, or Scholasticism. This
is not so much a philosophy, as a philosophizing or reflecting within
the already prescribed limits of positive religion. It is, therefore,
essentially theology, and belongs to the science of the history of
Christian doctrines.

The material which remains after this exclusion, may be naturally
divided into two periods; viz:—ancient—Grecian and Græco-Romanic—and
modern philosophy. Since a preliminary comparison of the characteristics
of these two epochs could not here be given without a subsequent
repetition, we shall first speak of their inner relations, when we come
to treat of the transition from the one to the other.

The first epoch can be still farther divided into three periods; (1.)
The pre-Socratic philosophy, _i. e._ from Thales to the Sophists
inclusive; (2.) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; (3.) The post-Aristotelian
philosophy, including New Platonism.



1. The universal tendency of the pre-Socratic philosophy is to find some
principle for the explanation of nature. Nature, the most immediate,
that which first met the eye and was the most palpable, was that which
first aroused the inquiring mind. At the basis of its changing
forms,—beneath its manifold appearances, thought they, lies a first
principle which abides the same through all change. What then, they
asked, is this principle? What is the original ground of things? Or,
more accurately, what element of nature is the fundamental element? To
solve this inquiry was the problem of the _Ionic_ natural philosophers.
One proposes as a solution, water, another, air, and a third, an
original chaotic matter.

2. The _Pythagoreans_ attempted a higher solution of this problem. The
proportions and dimensions of matter rather than its sensible
concretions, seemed to them to furnish the true explanation of being.
They, accordingly, adopted as the principle of their philosophy, that
which would express a determination of proportions, _i. e._ numbers.
“Number is the essence of all things,” was their position. Number is the
mean between the immediate sensuous intuition and the pure thought.
Number and measure have, to be sure, nothing to do with matter only in
so far as it possesses extension, and is capable of division in space
and time, but yet we should have no numbers or measures if there were no
matter, or nothing which could meet the intuitions of our sense. This
elevation above matter, which is at the same time a cleaving to matter,
constitutes the essence and the character of Pythagoreanism.

3. Next come the _Eleatics_, who step absolutely beyond that which is
given in experience, and make a complete abstraction of every thing
material. This abstraction, this negation of all division in space and
time, they take as their principle, and call it pure being. Instead of
the sensuous principle of the Ionics, or the symbolic principle of the
Pythagoreans, the Eleatics, therefore, adopt an intelligible principle.

4. Herewith closes the analytic, the first course in the development of
Grecian philosophy, to make way for the second, or synthetic course. The
Eleatics had sacrificed to their principle of pure being, the existence
of the world and every finite existence. But the denial of nature and
the world could not be maintained. The reality of both forced itself
upon the attention, and even the Eleatics had affirmed it, though in
guarded and hypothetical terms. But from their abstract being there was
no passage back to the sensuous and concrete; their principle ought to
have explained the being of events, but it did not. To find a principle
for the explanation of these, a principle which would account for the
becoming, the event was still the problem. _Heraclitus_ solved it, by
asserting that, inasmuch as being has no more reality than not being,
therefore the unity of the two, or in other words the becoming, is the
absolute principle. He held that it belonged to the very essence of
finite being that it be conceived in a continual flow, in an endless
stream. “Every thing flows.” We have here the conception of original
energy, instead of the Ionic original matter; the first attempt to
explain being and its motion from a principle analytically attained.
From the time of Heraclitus, this inquiry after the cause of the
becoming, remained the chief interest and the moving spring of
philosophical development.

5. Becoming is the unity of being and not-being, and into these two
elements is the Heraclitic principle consciously analyzed by the
_Atomists_. Heraclitus had uttered the principle of the becoming, but
only as a fact of experience. He had simply expressed it as a law, but
had not explained it. The necessity for this universal law yet remained
to be proved. WHY is every thing in a perpetual flow—in an eternal
movement? From the dynamical combination of matter and the moving force,
the next step was to a consciously determined distinction, to a
mechanical division of the two. Thus Empedocles combining the doctrines
of Heraclitus and Parmenides, considered matter as the abiding being,
while force was the ground of the movement. But the Atomists still
considered the moving mythic energies as forces; Empedocles regarded
them as love and hate; and Democritus as unconscious necessity. The
result was, therefore, that the becoming was rather limited as a means
for the mechanical explanation of nature, than itself explained.

6. Despairing of any merely materialistic explanation of the becoming,
_Anaxagoras_ next appears, and places a world-forming Intelligence by
the side of matter. He recognized mind as the primal causality, to which
the existence of the world, together with its determined arrangement and
design (_zweckmässigkeit_) must be referred. In this, philosophy gained
a great principle, viz.—an ideal one. But Anaxagoras did not know how to
fully carry out his principles. Instead of a theoretical comprehension
of the universe—instead of deriving being from the idea, he grasped
again after some mechanical explanation. His “world-forming reason”
serves him only as a first impulse, only as a moving power. It is to him
a _Deus ex machina_. Notwithstanding, therefore, his glimpse of
something higher than matter, yet was Anaxagoras only a physical
philosopher, like his predecessors. Mind had not yet appeared to him as
a true force above nature, as an organizing soul of the universe.

7. It is, therefore, a farther progress in thought, to comprehend
accurately the distinction between mind and nature, and to recognize
mind as something higher and contra-distinguished from all natural
being. This problem fell to the _Sophists_. They entangled in
contradictions, the thinking which had been confined to the object, to
that which was given, and gave to the objective world which had before
been exalted above the subject, a subordinate position in the dawning
and yet infantile consciousness of the superiority of subjective
thinking. The Sophists carried their principle of subjectivity, though
at first this was only negative, into the form of the universal
religious and political changing condition (_Aufklärung_).[1] They stood
forth as the destroyers of the whole edifice of thought that had been
thus far built, until _Socrates_ appeared, and set up against this
principle of _empirical_ subjectivity, that of the _absolute_
subjectivity,—that of the spirit in the form of a free moral will, and
the thought is positively considered as something higher than existence,
as the truth of all reality. With the Sophist closes our first period,
for with these the oldest philosophy finds its self-destruction



1. THALES.—At the head of the Ionic natural philosophers, and therefore
at the head of philosophy, the ancients are generally agreed in placing
Thales of Miletus, a cotemporary of Crœsus and Solon; although this
beginning lies more in the region of tradition than of history. The
philosophical principle to which he owes his place in the history of
philosophy is, that, “the principle (the primal, the original ground) of
all things is water; from water every thing arises and into water every
thing returns.” But simply to assume water as the original ground of
things was not to advance beyond his myth-making predecessors and their
cosmologies. Aristotle, himself, when speaking of Thales, refers to the
old “theologians,”—meaning, doubtless, Homer and Hesiod,—who had
ascribed to Oceanus and Thetis, the origin of all things. Thales,
however, merits his place as the beginner of philosophy, because he made
the first attempt to establish his physical principle, without resorting
to a mythical representation, and, therefore, brought into philosophy a
scientific procedure. He is the first who has placed his foot upon the
ground of a logical (_verständig_) explanation of nature. We cannot now
say with certainty, how he came to adopt his principle, though he might
have been led to it, by perceiving that dampness belonged to the seed
and nourishment of things; that warmth is developed from moisture; and
that, generally, moisture might be the plastic, living and life-giving
principle. From the condensation and expansion of this first principle,
he derives, as it seems, the changes of things, though the way in which
this is done, he has not accurately determined.

The philosophical significance of Thales does not appear to extend any
farther. He was not a speculative philosopher after a later mode.
Philosophical book-making was not at all the order of his day, and he
does not seem to have given any of his opinions a written form. On
account of his ethico-political wisdom, he is numbered among the
so-named “seven wise men,” and the characteristics which the ancients
furnish concerning him only testify to his practical understanding. He
is said _e. g._ to have first calculated an eclipse of the sun, to have
superintended the turning of the course of the Halys under Crœsus, &c.
When subsequent narrators relate that he had asserted the unity of the
world, had set up the idea of a world-soul, and had taught the
immortality of the soul and the personality of God, it is doubtless an
unhistorical reference of later ideas to a standpoint, which was, as
yet, far from being developed.

2. ANAXIMANDER.—Anaximander, sometimes represented by the ancients as a
scholar and sometimes as a companion of Thales, but who was, at all
events, younger than the latter, sought to carry out still farther his
principles. The original essence which he assumed, and which he is said
to have been the first to have named principle (ἀρχὴ), he defined as the
“unlimited, eternal and unconditioned,” as that which embraced all
things and ruled all things, and which, since it lay at the basis of all
determinateness of the finite and the changeable, is itself infinite and
undeterminate. How we are to regard this original essence of Anaximander
is a matter of dispute. Evidently it was not one of the four common
elements, though we must not, therefore, think it was something
incorporeal and immaterial. Anaximander probably conceived it as the
original matter before it had separated into determined elements,—as
that which was first in the order of time, or what is in our day called
the chemical indifference in the opposition of elements. In this respect
his original essence is indeed “unlimited” and “undetermined,” _i. e._
has no determination of quality nor limit of quantity, yet it is not,
therefore, in any way, a pure dynamical principle, as perhaps the
“friendship” and “enmity” of Empedocles might have been, but it was only
a more philosophical expression for the same thought, which the old
cosmogonies have attempted to utter in their representation of chaos.
Accordingly, Anaximander suffers the original opposition of cold and
warm, of dry and moist (_i. e._ the basis of the four elements) to be
secreted from his original essence, a clear proof that it was only the
undeveloped, unanalyzed, potential being of these elemental opposites.

3. ANAXIMENES.—Anaximenes, who is called by some the scholar, and by
others the companion of Anaximander, turned back more closely to the
view of Thales, in that he made air as the principle of all things. The
perception that air surrounds the whole world, and that breath
conditions the activity of life, seems to have led him to his position.

4. RETROSPECT.—The whole philosophy of the three Ionic sages may be
reduced to these three points, viz:—(1.) They sought for the universal
essence of concrete being; (2.) They found this essence in a material
substance or substratum; (3.) They gave some intimation respecting the
derivation of the elements from this original matter.



1. ITS RELATIVE POSITION.—The development of the Ionic philosophy
discloses the tendency to abstract matter from all else; though they
directed this process solely to the determined _quality_ of matter. It
is this abstraction carried to a higher step, when we look away from the
sensible concretions of matter, and no more regard its _qualitative_
determinateness as water, air, &c., but only direct our attention to its
_quantitative_ determinateness,—to its space-filling property. But the
determinateness of quantity is number, and this is the principle and
standpoint of Pythagoreanism.

2. HISTORICAL AND CHRONOLOGICAL.—The Pythagorean doctrine of numbers is
referred to Pythagoras of Samos, who is said to have flourished between
540 and 500 B. C. He dwelt in the latter part of his life at Crotonia,
in Magna Grecia, where he founded a society, or, more properly, an
order, for the moral and political regeneration of the lower Italian
cities. Through this society, this new direction of philosophy seems to
have been introduced,—though more as a mode of life than in the form of
a scientific theory. What is related concerning the life of Pythagoras,
his journeys, the new order which he founded, his political influence
upon the lower Italian cities, &c., is so thoroughly interwoven with
traditions, legends, and palpable fabrications, that we can be certain
at no point that we stand upon a historical basis. Not only the old
Pythagoreans, who have spoken of him, delighted in the mysterious and
esoteric, but even his new-Platonistic biographers, Porphyry and
Jamblichus, have treated his life as a historico-philosophical romance.
We have the same uncertainty in reference to his doctrines, _i. e._ in
reference to his share in the number-theory. Aristotle, _e. g._ does not
ascribe this to Pythagoras himself, but only to the Pythagoreans
generally, _i. e._ to their school. The accounts which are given
respecting his school have no certainty till the time of Socrates, a
hundred years after Pythagoras. Among the few sources of light which we
have upon this subject, are the mention made in Plato’s Phædon of the
Pythagorean Philolaus and his doctrines, and the writings of Archytas, a
cotemporary of Plato. We possess in fact the Pythagorean doctrine only
in the manner in which it was taken up by Philolaus, Eurytas and
Archytas, since its earlier adherents left nothing in a written form.

3. THE PYTHAGOREAN PRINCIPLE.—The ancients are united in affirming that
the principle of the Pythagorean philosophy was number. But in what
sense was this their principle—in a material or a formal sense? Did they
hold number as the material of things, _i. e._ did they believe that
things had their origin in numbers, or did they regard it as the
archetype of things, _i. e._ did they believe that things were made as
the copy or the representation of numbers? From this very point the
accounts given by the ancients diverge, and even the expressions of
Aristotle seem to contradict each other. At one time he speaks of
Pythagoreanism in the former, and at another in the latter sense. From
this circumstance modern scholars have concluded that the Pythagorean
doctrine of numbers had different forms of development; that some of the
Pythagoreans regarded numbers as the substances and others as the
archetypes of things. Aristotle, however, gives an intimation how the
two statements may be reconciled with each other. Originally, without
doubt, the Pythagoreans regarded number as the material, as the inherent
essence of things, and therefore Aristotle places them together with the
Hylics (the Ionic natural philosophers), and says of them that “they
held things for numbers” (_Metaph._ I., 5, 6). But as the Hylics did not
identify their matter, _e. g._ water, immediately with the sensuous
thing, but only gave it out as the fundamental element, as the original
form of the individual thing, so, on the other side, numbers also might
be regarded as similar fundamental types, and therefore Aristotle might
say of the Pythagoreans, that “they held numbers to be the corresponding
original forms of being, as water, air, &c.” But if there still remains
a degree of uncertainty in the expressions of Aristotle respecting the
sense of the Pythagorean doctrine of numbers, it can only have its
ground in the fact that the Pythagoreans did not make any distinction
between a formal and material principle, but contented themselves with
the undeveloped view, that, “number is the essence of things, every
thing is number.”

4. THE CARRYING-OUT OF THIS PRINCIPLE.—From the very nature of the
“number-principle,” it follows that its complete application to the
province of the real, can only lead to a fruitless and empty symbolism.
If we take numbers as even and odd, and still farther as finite and
infinite, and apply them as such to astronomy, music, psychology,
ethics, &c., there arise combinations like the following, viz.: one is
the point, two are the line, three are the superficies, four are the
extension of a body, five are the condition (_beschaffenheit_),
&c.—still farther, the soul is a musical harmony, as is also virtue, the
soul of the world, &c. Not only the philosophical, but even the
historical interest here ceases, since the ancients themselves—as was
unavoidable from the arbitrary nature of such combinations—have given
the most contradictory account, some affirming that the Pythagoreans
reduced righteousness to the number three, others, that they reduced it
to the number four, others again to five, and still others to nine.
Naturally, from such a vague and arbitrary philosophizing, there would
early arise, in this, more than in other schools, a great diversity of
views, one ascribing this signification to a certain mathematical form,
and another that. In this mysticism of numbers, that which alone has
truth and value, is the thought, which lies at the ground of it all,
that there prevails in the phenomena of nature a rational order, harmony
and conformity to law, and that these laws of nature can be represented
in measure and number. But this truth has the Pythagorean school hid
under extravagant fancies, as vapid as they are unbridled.

The physics of the Pythagoreans possesses little scientific value, with
the exception of the doctrine taught by Philolaus respecting the
circular motion of the earth. Their ethics is also defective. What we
have remaining of it relates more to the Pythagorean life, _i. e._ to
the practice and discipline of their order than to their philosophy. The
whole tendency of Pythagoreanism was in a practical respect ascetic, and
directed to a strict culture of the character. As showing this, we need
only to cite their doctrines concerning the transmigration of the soul,
or, as it has been called, their “immortality doctrine,” their notion in
respect of the lower world, their opposition to suicide, and their view
of the body as the prison of the soul—all of which ideas are referred to
in Plato’s Phædon, and the last two of which are indicated as belonging
to Philolaus.



Pythagoreans had made matter, in so far as it is quantity and the
manifold, the basis of their philosophizing, and while in this they only
abstracted from the determined elemental condition of matter, the
Eleatics carry the process to its ultimate limit, and make, as the
principle of their philosophy, a total abstraction from every finite
determinateness, from every change and vicissitude which belongs to
concrete being. While the Pythagoreans had held fast to the form of
being as having existence in space and time, the Eleatics reject this,
and make as their fundamental thought the negation of all exterior and
posterior. Only being is, and there is no not-being, nor becoming. This
being is the purely undetermined, changeless ground of all things. It is
not being _in_ becoming, but it is being as exclusive of all becoming;
in other words, it is pure being.

Eleaticism is, therefore, Monism, in so far as it strove to carry back
the manifoldness of all being to a single ultimate principle; but on the
other hand it becomes Dualism, in so far as it could neither carry out
its denial of concrete existence, _i. e._, the phenomenal world, nor yet
derive the latter from its presupposed original ground. The phenomenal
world, though it might be explained as only an empty appearance, did yet
exist; and, since the sensuous perception would not ignore this, there
must be allowed it, hypothetically at least, the right of existence. Its
origin must be explained, even though with reservations. This
contradiction of an unreconciled Dualism between being and existence, is
the point where the Eleatic philosophy is at war with itself—though, in
the beginning of the school—with _Xenophanes_, it does not yet appear.
The principle itself, with its results, is only fully apparent in the
lapse of time. It has three periods of formation, which successively
appear in three successive generations. Its foundation belongs to
_Xenophanes_; its systematic formation to _Parmenides_; its completion
and partial dissolution to _Zeno_ and _Melissus_—the latter of whom we
can pass by.

2. XENOPHANES.—Xenophanes is considered as the originator of the Eleatic
tendency. He was born at Colophon; emigrated to Elea, a Phocian colony
in Lucania, and was a younger cotemporary of Pythagoras. He appears to
have first uttered the proposition—“every thing is one,” without,
however, giving any more explicit determination respecting this unity,
whether it be one simply in conception or in actuality. Turning his
attention, says Aristotle, upon the world as a whole, he names the unity
which he finds, God. God is the One. The Eleatic “One and All” (ἒν καὶ
πᾶν) had, therefore, with Xenophanes, a theological and religious
character. The idea of the unity of God, and an opposition to the
anthropomorphism of the ordinary views of religion, is his starting
point. He declaimed against the delusion that the gods were born, that
they had a human voice or form, and railed at the robbery, adultery, and
deceit of the gods as sung by Homer and Hesiod. According to him the
Godhead is wholly seeing, wholly understanding, wholly hearing, unmoved,
undivided, calmly ruling all things by his thought, like men neither in
form nor in understanding. In this way, with his thought turned only
towards removing from the Godhead all finite determinations and
predicates, and holding fast to its unity and unchangeableness, he
declared this doctrine of its being to be the highest philosophical
principle, without however directing this principle polemically against
the doctrine of finite being, or carrying it out in its negative

3. PARMENIDES.—The proper head of the Eleatic school is Parmenides of
Elea, a scholar, or at least an adherent of Xenophanes. Though we
possess but little reliable information respecting the circumstances of
his life, yet we have, in inverse proportion, the harmonious voice of
all antiquity in an expression of reverence for the Eleatic sage, and of
admiration for the depth of his mind, as well as for the earnestness and
elevation of his character. The saying—“a life like Parmenides,” became
afterwards a proverb among the Greeks.

Parmenides embodied his philosophy in an epic poem, of which we have
still important fragments. It is divided into two parts. In the first he
discusses the conception of being. Rising far above the yet unmediated
view of Xenophanes, he attains a conception of pure single being, which
he sets up as absolutely opposed to every thing manifold and changeable,
_i. e._, to that which has no being, and which consequently cannot be
thought. From this conception of being he not only excludes all becoming
and departing, but also all relation to space and time, all divisibility
and movement. This being he explains as something which has not become
and which does not depart, as complete and of its own kind, as
unalterable and without limit, as indivisible and present though not in
time, and since all these are only negative, he ascribes to it, also, as
a positive determination—thought. Being and thought are therefore
identical with Parmenides. This pure thought, directed to the pure
being, he declares is the only true and undeceptive knowledge, in
opposition to the deceptive notions concerning the manifoldness and
mutability of the phenomenal. He has no hesitancy in holding that to be
only a name which mortals regard as truth, viz., becoming and departing,
being and not-being, change of place and vicissitude of circumstance. We
must therefore be careful not to hold “the One” of Parmenides, as the
collective unity of all concrete being.

So much for the first part of Parmenides’ poem. After the principle that
there is only being has been developed according to its negative and
positive determinations, we might believe that the system was at an end.
But there follows a second part, which is occupied solely with the
hypothetical attempt to explain the phenomenal world and give it a
physical derivation. Though firmly convinced that, according to reason
and conception, there is only “the One,” yet is Parmenides unable to
withdraw himself from the recognition of an appearing manifoldness and
change. Forced, therefore, by his sensuous perception to enter upon a
discussion of the phenomenal world, he prefaces this second part of his
poem with the remark, that he had now closed what he had to say
respecting the truth, and was hereafter to deal only with the opinion of
a mortal. Unfortunately, this second part has been very imperfectly
transmitted to us. Enough however remains to show, that he explained the
phenomena of nature from the mingling of two unchangeable elements,
which Aristotle, though apparently only by way of example, indicates as
warm and cold, fire and earth. Concerning these two elements, Aristotle
remarks still farther that Parmenides united the warmth with being, and
the other element with not-being.

It is scarcely necessary to remark that between the two parts of the
Parmenidean philosophy—between the doctrine concerning being and the
doctrine concerning appearance—there can exist no inner scientific
connection. What Parmenides absolutely denies in the first part, and
indeed declares to be unutterable, viz., the not-being, the many and the
changeable, he yet in the second part admits to have an existence at
least in the representation of men. But it is clear that the not-being
cannot once exist in the representation, if it does not exist generally
and every where, and that the attempt to explain a not-being of the
representation, is in complete contradiction with his exclusive
recognition of being. This contradiction, this unmediated juxtaposition
of being and not-being, of the one and the many, _Zeno_, a scholar of
Parmenides, sought to remove, by affirming that from the very conception
of being, the sensuous representation, and thus the world of the
not-being, are dialectically annihilated.

4. ZENO.—The Eleatic Zeno was born about 500 B. C.; was a scholar of
Parmenides, and the earliest prose writer among the Grecian
philosophers. He is said to have written in the form of dialogues. He
perfected, dialectically, the doctrine of his master, and carried out to
the completest extent the abstraction of the Eleatic One, in opposition
to the manifoldness and determinateness of the finite. He justified the
doctrine of a single, simple, and unchangeable being, in a polemical
way, by showing up the contradictions into which the ordinary
representations of the phenomenal world become involved. While
Parmenides affirms that there is only the One, Zeno shows in his
well-known proofs (which unfortunately we cannot here more widely
unfold), that the many, the changing, that which has relation to space,
or that which has relation to time, is not. While Parmenides affirmed
the being, Zeno denied the appearance. On account of these proofs, in
which Zeno takes up the conceptions of extension, manifoldness and
movement, and shows their inner contradictory nature, Aristotle names
him the founder of dialectics.

While the philosophizing of Zeno is the completion of the Eleatic
principle, so is it at the same time the beginning of its dissolution.
Zeno had embraced the opposition of being and existence, of the one and
the many, so abstractly, and had carried it so far, that with him the
inner contradiction of the Eleatic principle comes forth still more
boldly than with Parmenides; for the more logical he is in the denial of
the phenomenal world, so much the more striking must be the
contradiction, of turning, on the one side, his whole philosophical
activity to the refutation of the sensuous representation, while, on the
other side, he sets over against it a doctrine which destroys the very
possibility of a false representation.



existence, the one and the many, could not be united by the principle of
the Eleatics; the Monism which they had striven for had resulted in an
ill-concealed Dualism. Heraclitus reconciled this contradiction by
affirming that being and not-being, the one and the many, existed at the
same time as the becoming. While the Eleatics could not extricate
themselves from the dilemma that the world is either being or not-being,
Heraclitus removes the difficulty by answering—it is neither being nor
not-being, because it is both.

2. HISTORICAL AND CHRONOLOGICAL.—Heraclitus, surnamed by later writers
the mystic, was born at Ephesus, and flourished about 500 B. C. His
period was subsequent to that of Xenophanes, though partially
cotemporary with that of Parmenides. He laid down his philosophical
thoughts in a writing “Concerning Nature,” of which we possess only
fragments. Its rapid transitions, its expressions so concise, and full
of meaning, the general philosophical peculiarity of Heraclitus, and the
antique character of the earliest prose writings, all combine to make
this work so difficult to be understood that it has long been a proverb.
Socrates said concerning it, that “what he understood of it was
excellent, and he had no doubt that what he did not understand was
equally good; but the book requires an expert swimmer.” Later Stoics and
Academicians have written commentaries upon it.

3. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE BECOMING.—The ancients unite in ascribing to
Heraclitus the principle that the totality of things should be conceived
in an eternal flow, in an uninterrupted movement and transformation, and
that all continuance of things is only appearance. “Into the same
stream,” so runs a saying of Heraclitus, “we descend, and at the same
time we do not descend; we are, and also we are not. For into the same
stream we cannot possibly descend twice, since it is always scattering
and collecting itself again, or rather it at the same time flows to us
and from us.” There is, therefore, ground for the assertion that
Heraclitus had banished all rest and continuance from the totality of
things; and it is doubtless in this very respect that he accuses the eye
and the ear of deception, because they reveal to men a continuance where
there is only an uninterrupted change.

Heraclitus has analyzed the principle of the becoming still more
closely, in the propositions which he utters, to account for the origin
of things, where he shows that all becoming must be conceived as the
product of warring opposites, as the harmonious union of opposite
determinations. Hence his two well-known propositions: “Strife is the
father of things,” and “The One setting itself at variance with itself,
harmonizes with itself, like the harmony of the bow and the viol.”
“Unite,” so runs another of his sayings, “the whole and the not-whole,
the coalescing and the not-coalescing, the harmonious and the
discordant, and thus we have the one becoming from the all, and the all
from the one.”

4. THE PRINCIPLE OF FIRE.—In what relation does the principle of fire,
which is also ascribed to Heraclitus, stand to the principle of the
becoming? Aristotle says that he took fire as his principle, in the same
way that Thales took water, and Anaximenes took air. But it is clear we
must not interpret this to mean that Heraclitus regarded fire as the
original material or fundamental element of things, after the manner of
the Ionics. If he ascribed reality only to the becoming, it is
impossible that he should have set by the side of this becoming, yet
another elemental matter as a fundamental substance. When, therefore,
Heraclitus calls the world an ever-living fire, which in certain stages
and certain degrees extinguishes and again enkindles itself, when he
says that every thing can be exchanged for fire, and fire for every
thing, just as we barter things for gold and gold for things, he can
only mean thereby that fire represents the abiding power of this eternal
transformation and transposition, in other words, the conception of
life, in the most obvious and effective way. We might name fire, in the
Heraclitic sense, the symbol or the manifestation of the becoming, but
that it is also with him the substratum of movement, _i. e._ the means
with which the power of movement, which is antecedent to all matter,
serves it self in order to bring out the living process of things. In
the same way Heraclitus goes on to explain the manifoldness of things,
by affirming that they arise from certain hindrances and a partial
extinction of this fire. The product of its extremest hindrance is the
earth, and the other things lie intermediately between.

5. TRANSITION TO THE ATOMISTS.—We have above regarded the Heraclitic
principle as the consequent of the Eleatic, but we might as properly
consider the two as antitheses. While Heraclitus destroys all abiding
being in an absolutely flowing becoming, so, on the other hand,
Parmenides destroys all becoming in an absolutely abiding being; and
while the former charges the eye and the ear with deception, in that
they transform the flowing becoming into a quiescent being, the latter
also accuses these same senses of an untrue representation, in that they
draw the abiding being into the movement of the becoming. We can
therefore say that the being and the becoming are equally valid
antitheses, which demand again a synthesis and reconciliation. But now
can we say that Heraclitus actually and satisfactorily solved the
problem of Zeno? Zeno had shown every thing actual to be a
contradiction, and from this had inferred their not-being, and it is
only in this inference that Heraclitus deviates from the Eleatics. He
also regarded the phenomenal world as an existing contradiction, but he
clung to this contradiction as to an ultimate fact. That which had been
the negative result of the Eleatics, he uttered as his positive
principle. The dialectics which Zeno had subjectively used against the
phenomenal, he directed objectively as a proof for the becoming. But
this becoming which the Eleatics had thought themselves obliged to deny
entirely, Heraclitus did not explain by simply asserting that it was the
only true principle. The question continually returned—why is all being
a becoming? Why does the one go out over into the many? To give an
answer to this question, _i. e._ to explain the becoming from the
presupposed principle of being, forms the standpoint and problem of the
_Empedoclean_ and _Atomistic_ philosophy.



1. GENERAL VIEW.—Empedocles was born at Agrigentum, and is extolled by
the ancients as a natural philosopher, physician and poet, and also as a
seer and worker of miracles. He flourished about 440 B. C., and was
consequently younger than Parmenides and Heraclitus. He wrote a
doctrinal poem concerning nature, which has been preserved to us in
tolerably complete fragments. His philosophical system may be
characterized in brief, as an attempt to combine the Eleatic being and
the Heraclitic becoming. Starting with the Eleatic thought, that neither
any thing which had previously been could become, nor any thing which
now is could depart, he sets up as unchangeable being, four eternal
original materials, which, though divisible, were independent, and
underived from each other. In this we have what in our day are called
the four elements. With this Eleatic thought he united also the
Heraclitic view of nature, and suffered his four elements to become
mingled together, and to receive a form by the working of two moving
powers, which he names unifying friendship and dividing strife.
Originally, these four elements were absolutely alike and unmovable,
dwelling together in a divine sphere where friendship united them, until
gradually strife pressing from the circumference to the centre of the
sphere (_i. e._ attaining a separating activity), broke this union, and
the formation of the world immediately began as the result.

2. THE FOUR ELEMENTS.—With his doctrine of the four elements,
Empedocles, on the one side, may be joined to the series of the Ionic
philosophers, but, on the other, he is excluded from this by his
assuming the original elements to be four. He is distinctly said by the
ancients to have originated the theory of the four elements. He is more
definitely distinguished from the old Ionics, from the fact that he
ascribed to his four “root-elements” a changeless being, by virtue of
which they neither arose from each other nor departed into each other,
and were capable of no change of essence but only of a change of state.
Every thing which is called arising and departing, every change rests
therefore only upon the mingling and withdrawing of these eternal and
fundamental materials; the inexhaustible manifoldness of being rests
upon the different proportions in which these elements are mingled.
Every becoming is conceived as such only as a change of place. In this
we have a mechanical in opposition to a dynamic explanation of nature.

3. THE TWO POWERS.—Whence now can arise any becoming, if in matter
itself there is found no principle to account for the change? Since
Empedocles did not, like the Eleatics, deny that there was change, nor
yet, like Heraclitus, introduce it in his matter, as an indwelling
principle, so there was no other course left him but to place, by the
side of his matter, a moving power. The opposition of the one and the
many which had been set up by his predecessors, and which demanded an
explanation, led him to ascribe to this moving power, two originally
diverse directions, viz.: repulsion and attraction. The separation of
the one into the many, and the union again of the many into the one, had
indicated an opposition of powers which Heraclitus had already
recognized. While now Parmenides starting from the one had made love as
his principle, and Heraclitus starting from the many had made strife as
his, Empedocles combines the two as the principle of his philosophy. The
difficulty is, he has not sufficiently limited in respect to one
another, the sphere of operation of these two directions of his power.
Although, to friendship belonged peculiarly the attractive, and to
strife the repelling function, yet does Empedocles, on the other hand,
suffer his strife to have in the formation of the world a unifying, and
his friendship a dividing effect. In fact, the complete separation of a
dividing and unifying power in the movement of the becoming, is an
unmaintainable abstraction.

PHILOSOPHY.—Empedocles, by placing, as the principle of the becoming, a
moving power by the side of his matter, makes his philosophy a mediation
of the Eleatic and Heraclitic principles, or more properly a placing of
them side by side. He has interwoven these two principles in equal
proportions in his system. With the Eleatics he denied all arising and
departing, _i. e._ the transition of being into not-being and of
not-being into being, and with Heraclitus he shared the interest to find
an explanation for change. From the former he derived the abiding,
unchangeable being of his fundamental matter, and from the latter the
principle of the moving power. With the Eleatics, in fine, he considered
the true being in an original and indistinguishable unity as a sphere,
and with Heraclitus, he regarded the present world as a constant product
of striving powers and oppositions. He has, therefore, been properly
called an Eclectic, who has united the fundamental thoughts of his two
predecessors, though not always in a logical way.



1. ITS PROPOUNDERS.—Empedocles had sought to effect a combination of the
Eleatic and Heraclitic principle—the same was attempted, though in a
different way, by the Atomists, Leucippus and Democritus. Democritus,
the better known of the two, was the son of rich parents, and was born
about 460 B. C. in Abdera, an Ionian colony. He travelled extensively,
and no Greek before the time of Aristotle possessed such varied
attainments. He embodied the wealth of his collected knowledge in a
series of writings, of which, however, only a few fragments have come
down to us. For rhythm and elegance of language, Cicero compared him
with Plato. He died in a good old age.

2. THE ATOMS.—Empedocles derived all determinateness of the phenomenal
from a certain number of qualitatively determined and undistinguishable
original materials, while the Atomists derived the same from an
originally unlimited number of constituent elements, or atoms, which
were homogeneous in respect of quality, but diverse in respect of form.
These atoms are unchangeable, material particles, possessing indeed
extension, but yet indivisible, and can only be determined in respect of
magnitude. As being, and without quality, they are entirely incapable of
any transformation or qualitative change, and, therefore, all becoming
is, as with Empedocles, only a change of place. The manifoldness of the
phenomenal world is only to be explained from the different form,
disposition, and arrangement of the atoms as they become, in various
ways, united.

3. THE FULNESS AND THE VOID.—The atoms, in order to be atoms, _i. e._
undivided and impenetrable unities,—must be mutually limited and
separated. There must be something set over against them which preserves
them as atoms, and which is the original cause of their separateness and
impenetrability. This is the void space, or more strictly the intervals
which are found between the atoms, and which hinder their mutual
contact. The atoms, as being and absolute fulness, and the interval
between them, as the void and the not-being, are two determinations
which only represent in a real and objective way, what are in thought,
as logical conceptions, the two elements in the Heraclitic becoming,
viz. being and the not-being. But since the void space is one
determination of being, it must possess objective reality no less than
the atoms, and Democritus even went so far as to expressly affirm in
opposition to the Eleatics, that being is no more than nothing.

4. THE ATOMISTIC NECESSITY.—Democritus, like Empedocles, though far more
extensively than he, attempted to answer the question—whence arise these
changes and movements which we behold? Wherein lies the ground that the
atoms should enter into these manifold combinations, and bring forth
such a wealth of inorganic and organic forms? Democritus attempted to
solve the problem by affirming that the ground of movement lay in the
gravity or original condition of the material particles, and, therefore,
in the matter itself, but in this way he only talked about the question
without answering it. The idea of an infinite series of causalities was
thus attained, but not a final ground of all the manifestations of the
becoming, and of change. Such a final ground was still to be sought, and
as Democritus expressly declared that it could not lie in an ultimate
reason νοῦς, where Anaxagoras placed it, there only remained for him to
find it in an absolute necessity, or a necessary pre-determinateness
ἀνάγκη. This he adopted as his “final ground,” and is said to have named
it chance τύχη, in opposition to the inquiry after final causes, or the
Anaxagorean teleology. Consequent upon this, we find as the prominent
characteristic of the later Atomistic school (Diagoras the Melier),
polemics against the gods of the people, and a constantly more publicly
affirmed Atheism and Materialism.

the relative position of the Atomistic Philosophy as follows, viz.:—“In
the Eleatic Philosophy being and not-being stand as antitheses,—being
alone is, and not-being is not; in the Heraclitic idea, being and
not-being are the same,—both together, _i. e._ the becoming, are the
predicate of concrete being; but being and not-being, as objectively
determined, or in other words, as appearing to the sensuous intuition,
are precisely the same as the antithesis of the fulness and the void.
Parmenides, Heraclitus and the Atomists all sought for the abstract
universal; Parmenides found it in _being_, Heraclitus in the _process_
of being _per se_, and the Atomists in the _determination_ of being _per
se_.” So much of this as ascribes to the Atomists the characteristic
predicate of being _per se_ is doubtless correct,—but the real thought
of the Atomistic system is rather analogous with the Empedoclean, to
explain the possibility of the becoming, by presupposing these
substances as possessing being _per se_, but without quality. To this
end the not-being or the void, _i. e._ the side which is opposed to the
Eleatic principle, is elaborated with no less care than the side which
harmonizes with it, _i. e._ that the atoms are without quality and never
change in their original elements. The Atomistic Philosophy is therefore
a mediation between the Eleatic and the Heraclitic principles. It is
Eleatic in affirming the undivided being _per se_ of the
atoms;—Heraclitic, in declaring their multeity and manifoldness. It is
Eleatic in the declaration of an absolute fulness in the atoms, and
Heraclitic in the claim of a real not-being, _i. e._ the void space. It
is Eleatic in its denial of the becoming, _i. e._ of the arising and
departing,—and Heraclitic in its affirmation that to the atoms belong
movement and a capacity for unlimited combinations. The Atomists carried
out their leading thought more logically than Empedocles, and we might
even say that their system is the perfection of a purely mechanical
explanation of nature, since all subsequent Atomists, even to our own
day, have only repeated their fundamental conceptions. But the great
defect which cleaves to every Atomistic system, Aristotle has justly
recognized, when he shows that it is a contradiction, on the one hand,
to set up something corporeal or space-filling as indivisible, and on
the other, to derive the extended from that which has no extension, and
that the consciousless and inconceivable necessity of Democritus is
especially defective, in that it totally banishes from nature all
conception of design. This is the point to which Anaxagoras turns his
attention, and introduces his principle of an intelligence working with



1. HIS PERSONAL HISTORY.—Anaxagoras is said to have been born at
Clazamena, about the year 500 B. C.; to have gone to Athens immediately,
or soon after the Persian war, to have lived and taught there for a long
time, and, finally, accused of irreverence to the gods, to have fled,
and died at Lampsacus, at the age of 72. He it was who first planted
philosophy at Athens, which from this time on became the centre of
intellectual life in Greece. Through his personal relations to Pericles,
Euripides, and other important men,—among whom Themistocles and
Thucydides should be named—he exerted a decisive influence upon the
culture of the age. It was on account of this that the charge of
defaming the gods was brought against him, doubtless by the political
opponents of Pericles. Anaxagoras wrote a work “_Concerning Nature_”
which in the time of Socrates was widely circulated.

2. HIS RELATION TO HIS PREDECESSORS.—The system of Anaxagoras starts
from the same point with his predecessors, and is simply another attempt
at the solution of the same problem. Like Empedocles and the Atomists so
did Anaxagoras most vehemently deny the becoming. “The becoming and
departing,”—so runs one of his sayings—“the Greeks hold without
foundation, for nothing can ever be said to become or depart; but, since
existing things may be compounded together and again divided, we should
name the becoming more correctly a combination, and the departing a
separation.” From this view, that every thing arose by the mingling of
different elements, and departed by the withdrawing of these elements,
Anaxagoras, like his predecessors, was obliged to separate matter from
the moving power. But though his point of starting was the same, yet was
his direction essentially different from that of any previous
philosopher. It was clear that neither Empedocles nor Democritus had
satisfactorily apprehended the moving power. The mythical energies of
love and hate of the one, or the unconscious necessity of the other,
explained nothing, and least of all, the design of the becoming in
nature. The conception of an activity which could thus work designedly,
must, therefore, be brought into the conception of the moving power, and
this Anaxagoras accomplished by setting up the idea of a world-forming
intelligence (νοῦς), absolutely separated from all matter and working
with design.

3. THE PRINCIPLE OF THE νοῦς.—Anaxagoras described this intelligence as
free to dispose, unmingled with any thing, the ground of movement, but
itself unmoved, every where active, and the most refined and pure of all
things. Although these predicates rest partly upon a physical analogy,
and do not exhibit purely the conception of immateriality, yet on the
other hand does the attribute of thought and of a conscious acting with
design admit no doubt to remain of the decided idealistic character of
the Anaxagorean principle. Nevertheless, Anaxagoras went no farther than
to enunciate his fundamental thought without attempting its complete
application. The explanation of this is obvious from the reasons which
first led him to adopt his principle. It was only the need of an
original cause of motion, to which also might be attributed the capacity
to work designedly, which had led him to the idea of an immaterial
principle. His νοῦς, therefore, is almost nothing but a mover of matter,
and in this function nearly all its activity is expended. Hence the
universal complaint of the ancients, especially of Plato and Aristotle,
respecting the mechanical character of his doctrine. In Plato’s Phædon
Socrates relates that, in the hope of being directed beyond a simple
occasioning, or mediate cause, he had turned to the book of Anaxagoras,
but had found there only a mechanical instead of a truly teleological
explanation of being. And as Plato so also does Aristotle find fault
with Anaxagoras in that, while he admits mind as the ultimate ground of
things, he yet resorts to it only as to a _Deus ex machina_ for the
explanation of phenomena, whose necessity he could not derive from the
causality in nature. Anaxagoras, therefore, has rather postulated than
proved mind as an energy above nature, and as the truth and actuality of
natural being.

The further extension of his system, his doctrine concerning the
homoiomeria (constituent elements of things), which according to him
existed together originally in a chaotic condition until with their
separation and parting the formation of the world began—can here only be

Anaxagorean principle of the νοῦς, _i. e._ with the acquisition of an
absolutely immaterial principle, closes the realistic period of the old
Grecian Philosophy. Anaxagoras combined together the principles of all
his predecessors. The infinite matter of the Hylics is represented in
his chaotic original mingling of things; the Eleatic pure being appears
in the idea of the νοῦς; the Heraclitic power of becoming and the
Empedoclean moving energies are both seen in the creating and arranging
power of the eternal mind, while the Democritic atoms come to view in
the homoiomeria. Anaxagoras is the closing point of an old and the
beginning point of a new course of development,—the latter through the
setting up of his ideal principle, and the former through the defective
and completely physical manner in which this principle was yet again



PRINCIPLE.—Anaxagoras had formed the conception of mind, and in this had
recognized thought as a power above the objective world. Upon this newly
conquered field the Sophistic philosophy now began its gambols, and with
childish wantonness delighted itself in setting at work this power, and
in destroying, by means of a subjective dialectic, all objective
determinations. The Sophistic philosophy—though of far more significance
from its relation to the culture of the age than from its philosophy—had
for its starting principle the breach which Anaxagoras had commenced
between the subjective and the objective,—the Ego and the external
world. The subject, after recognizing himself as something higher than
the objective world, and especially as something above the laws of the
state, above custom and religious tradition and the popular faith, in
the next place attempted to prescribe laws for this objective world, and
instead of beholding in it the historical manifestation of reason, he
looked upon it only as an exanimated matter, upon which he might
exercise his will.

The Sophistic philosophy should be characterized as the clearing up
reflection. It is, therefore, no philosophical system, for its doctrines
and affirmations exhibit often so popular and even trivial a character
that for their own sake they would merit no place at all in the history
of philosophy. It is also no philosophical school in the ordinary sense
of the term,—for Plato cites a vast number of persons under the common
name of “Sophists,”—but it is an intellectual and widely spread
direction of the age, which had struck its roots into the whole moral,
political, and religious character of the Athenian life of that time,
and which may be called the Athenian clearing up period.

AGE.—The Sophistic philosophy is, theoretically, what the whole Athenian
life during the Peloponnesian war was practically. Plato justly remarks
in his Republic that the doctrines of the Sophists only expressed the
very principles which guided the course of the great mass of men of that
time in their civil and social relations, and the hatred with which they
were pursued by the practical statesmen, clearly indicates the jealousy
with which the latter saw in them their rivals and the destroyers of
their polity. If the absoluteness of the empirical subject—i. e. the
view that the individual Ego can arbitrarily determine what is true,
right and good,—is in fact the theoretical principle of the Sophistic
philosophy, so does this in a practical direction, as an unlimited
Egoism meet us in all the spheres of the public and private life of that
age. The public life had become an arena of passion and selfishness;
those party struggles which racked Athens during the Peloponnesian war
had blunted and stifled the moral feeling; every individual accustomed
himself to set up his own private interest above that of the state and
the common weal, and to seek in his own arbitrariness and advantage the
measuring rod for all his actions. The Protagorean sentence that “the
man is the measure of all things” became practically carried out only
too faithfully, and the influence of the orator in the assemblies of the
people and the courts, the corruptibility of the great masses and their
leaders, and the weak points which showed to the adroit student of human
nature the covetousness, vanity, and factiousness of others around him,
offered only too many opportunities to bring this rule into practice.
Custom had lost its weight; the laws were regarded as only an agreement
of the majority, the civil ordinance as an arbitrary restriction, the
moral feeling as the effect of the policy of the state in education, the
faith in the gods as a human invention to intimidate the free power of
action, while piety was looked upon as a statute which some men have
enacted and which every one else is justified in using all his eloquence
to change. This degradation of a necessity, which is conformable to
nature and reason, and which is of universal validity,—to an accidental
human ordinance, is chiefly the point in which the Sophistic philosophy
came in contact with the universal consciousness of the educated class
of that period, and we cannot with certainty determine what share
science and what share the life may have had in this connection,—whether
the Sophistic philosophy found only the theoretical formula for the
practical life and tendencies of the age, or whether the moral
corruption was rather a consequence of that destructive influence which
the principles of the Sophists exerted upon the whole course of
contemporaneous thought.

It would be, however, to mistake the spirit of history if we were only
to bewail the epoch of the Sophists instead of admitting for it a
relative justification. These phenomena were in part the necessary
product of the collective development of the age. The faith in the
popular religion fell so suddenly to the ground simply because it
possessed in itself no inner, moral support. The grossest vices and acts
of baseness could all be justified and excused from the examples of
mythology. Even Plato himself, though otherwise an advocate of a devout
faith in the traditional religion, accuses the poets of his nation with
leading the very moral feeling astray, through the unworthy
representations which they had spread abroad concerning the gods and the
hero world. It was moreover unavoidable that the advancing science
should clash with tradition. The physical philosophers had already long
lived in open hostility to the popular religion, and the more
convincingly they demonstrated by analogies and laws that many things
which had hitherto been regarded as the immediate effect of Divine
omnipotence, were only the results of natural causes, so much the more
easily would it happen that the educated classes would become perplexed
in reference to all their previous convictions. It was no wonder then
that the transformed consciousness of the time should penetrate all the
provinces of art and poesy; that in sculpture, wholly analogous to the
rhetoric art of the Sophistic philosophy, the emotive should occupy the
place of the elevated style; that Euripides, the sophist among
tragedians, should bring the whole philosophy of the time and its manner
of moral reflection upon the stage; and that, instead of like the
earlier poets, bringing forward his actors to represent an idea, he
should use them only as means to excite a momentary emotion or some
other stage effect.

classification of the Sophistic philosophy, which should be derived from
the conception of the general phenomena of the age, is exceedingly
difficult, since, like the French “clearing up” of the last century, it
entered into every department of knowledge. The Sophists directed the
universal culture of the time. Protagoras was known as a teacher of
virtue, Gorgias as a rhetorician and politician, Prodicus as a
grammarian and teacher of synonyms, Hippias as a man of various
attainments, who besides astronomical and mathematical studies busied
himself with a theory of mnemonics; others took for their problem the
art of education, and others still the explanation of the old poets; the
brothers Euthydemus and Dionysidorus gave instruction in the bearing of
arms and military tactics; many among them, as Gorgias, Prodicus, and
Hippias, were intrusted with embassies: in short the Sophists, each one
according to his individual tendency, took upon themselves every variety
of calling and entered into every sphere of science; their method is the
only thing common to all. Moreover the relation of the Sophists to the
educated public, their striving after popularity, fame and money,
disclose the fact that their studies and occupations were for the most
part controlled, not by a subjective scientific interest, but by some
external motive. With that roving spirit which was an essential
peculiarity of the later Sophists, travelling from city to city, and
announcing themselves as thinkers by profession—and giving their
instructions with prominent reference to a good recompense and the favor
of the rich private classes, it was very natural that they should
discourse upon the prominent questions of universal interest and of
public culture, with occasional reference also to the favorite
occupation of this or that rich man with whom they might be brought in
contact. Hence their peculiar strength lay far more in a formal
dexterity, in an acuteness of thought and a capacity of bringing it
readily into exercise, in the art of discourse than in any positive
knowledge; their instruction in virtue was given either in positive
dogmatism or in empty bombast, and even where the Sophistic philosophy
became really polymathic, the art of speech still remained as the great
thing. So we find in Xenophon, Hippias boasting that he can speak
repeatedly upon every subject and say something new each time, while we
hear it expressly affirmed of others, that they had no need of positive
knowledge in order to discourse satisfactorily upon every thing, and to
answer every question extemporaneously; and when many Sophists make it a
great point to hold a well-arranged discourse about something of the
least possible significance (_e. g._ salt), so do we see that with them
the thing was only a means while the word was the end, and we ought not
to be surprised that in this respect the Sophistic philosophy sunk to
that empty technicality which Plato in his Phædrus, on account of its
want of character, subjects to so rigid a criticism.

CULTURE OF THE AGE.—The scientific and moral defect of the Sophistic
philosophy is at first view obvious; and, since certain modern writers
of history with over-officious zeal have painted its dark sides in
black, and raised an earnest accusation against its frivolity,
immorality, and greediness for pleasure, its conceitedness and
selfishness, and bare appearance of wisdom and art of dispute—it needs
here no farther elucidation. But the point in it most apt to be
overlooked is the merit of the Sophists in their effect upon the culture
of the age. To say, as is done, that they had only the negative merit of
calling out the opposition of Socrates and Plato, is to leave the
immense influence and the high fame of so many among them, as well as
the revolution which they brought about in the thinking of a whole
nation, an inexplicable phenomenon. It were inexplicable that _e. g._
Socrates should attend the lectures of Prodicus, and direct to him other
students, if he did not acknowledge the worth of his grammatical
performances or recognize his merit for the soundness of his logic.
Moreover, it cannot be denied that Protagoras has hit upon many correct
principles of rhetoric, and has satisfactorily established certain
grammatical categories. Generally may it be said of the Sophists, that
they threw among the people a fulness in every department of knowledge;
that they strewed about them a vast number of fruitful germs of
development; that they called out investigations in the theory of
knowledge, in logic and in language; that they laid the basis for the
methodical treatment of many branches of human knowledge, and that they
partly founded and partly called forth that wonderful intellectual
activity which characterized Athens at that time. Their greatest merit
is their service in the department of language. They may even be said to
have created and formed the Attic prose. They are the first who made
style as such a separate object of attention and study, and who set
about rigid investigations respecting number and the art of rhetorical
representation. With them Athenian eloquence, which they first incited,
begins. Antiphon as well as Isocrates—the latter the founder of the most
flourishing school of Greek rhetoric—are offshoots of the Sophistic
philosophy. In all this there is ground enough to regard this whole
phenomenon as not barely a symptom of decay.

5. INDIVIDUAL SOPHISTS.—The first, who is said to have been called, in
the received sense, Sophist, is _Protagoras_ of Abdera, who flourished
about 440 B. C. He taught, and for wages, in Sicily and in Athens, but
was driven out of the latter place as a reviler of the gods, and his
book concerning the gods was burnt by the herald in the public
market-place. It began with these words: “I can know nothing concerning
the gods, whether they exist or not; for we are prevented from gaining
such knowledge not only by the obscurity of the thing itself, but by the
shortness of the human life,” In another writing he develops his
doctrine concerning knowing or not-knowing. Starting from the Heraclitic
position that every thing is in a constant flow, and applying this
preëminently to the thinking subject, he taught that the man is the
measure of all things, who determines in respect of being that it may
be, and of not-being that it may not be, _i. e._ that is true for the
perceiving subject which he, in the constant movement of things and of
himself, at every moment perceives and is sensible of—and hence he has
theoretically no other relation to the external world than the sensuous
apprehension, and practically no other than the sensuous desire. But
now, since perception and sensation are as diverse as the subjects
themselves, and are in the highest degree variable in the very same
subject, there follows the farther result that nothing has an objective
validity and determination, that contradictory affirmations in reference
to the same object must be received as alike true, and that error and
contradiction cannot be. Protagoras does not seem to have made any
efforts to give these frivolous propositions a practical and logical
application. According to the testimony of the ancients, a personal
character worthy of esteem, cannot be denied him; and even Plato, in the
dialogue which bears his name, goes no farther than to object to his
complete obscurity respecting the nature of morality, while, in his
Gorgias and Philebus, he charges the later Sophists with affirming the
principles of immorality and moral baseness.

Next to Protagoras, the most famous Sophist was _Gorgias_. During the
Peloponnesian war (426 B. C.), he came from Leontium to Athens in order
to gain assistance for his native city against the encroachments of
Syracuse, After the successful accomplishment of his errand he still
abode for some time in Athens, but resided the latter part of his life
in Thessaly, where he died about the same time with Socrates. The
pompous ostentation of his external appearance is often ridiculed by
Plato, and the discourses through which he was wont to exhibit himself
display the same character, attempting, through poetical ornament, and
florid metaphors, and uncommon words, and a mass of hitherto unheard of
figures of speech, to dazzle and delude the mind. As a philosopher he
adhered to the Eleatics, especially to Zeno, and attempts to prove upon
the basis of their dialectic schematism, that universally nothing is, or
if there could be a being, it would not be cognizable, or if cognizable
it would not be communicable. Hence his writing bore characteristically
enough the title—“_Concerning Not-being or Nature_.” The proof of the
first proposition that universally nothing is, since it can be
established neither as being nor as not-being, nor yet as at the same
time both being and not-being, rests entirely upon the position that all
existence is a space-filling existence (has place and body), and is in
fact the final consequence which overturns itself, in other words the
self-destruction of the hitherto physical method of philosophizing.

The later Sophists with reckless daring carried their conclusions far
beyond Gorgias and Protagoras. They were for the most part free
thinkers, who pulled to the ground the religion, laws, and customs of
their birth. Among these should be named, prominently, the tyrant
Critias, Polus, Callicles, and Thrasymachus. The two latter openly
taught the right of the stronger as the law of nature, the unbridled
satisfaction of desire as the natural right of the stronger, and the
setting up of restraining laws as a crafty invention of the weaker; and
Critias, the most talented but the most abandoned of the thirty tyrants,
wrote a poem, in which he represented the faith in the gods as an
invention of crafty statesmen. Hippias of Elis, a man of great
knowledge, bore an honorable character, although he did not fall behind
the rest in bombast and boasting; but before all, was Prodicus, in
reference to whom it became a proverb to say—“as wise as Prodicus,” and
concerning whom Plato himself and even Aristophanes never spoke without
veneration. Especially famous among the ancients were his parenetical
(persuasive) lectures concerning the choice of a mode of life
(Xenophon’s Memorabilia, II. 1), concerning external good and its use,
concerning life and death, &c., discourses in which he manifests a
refined moral feeling, and his observation of life; although, through
the want of a higher ethical and scientific principle, he must be placed
behind Socrates, whose forerunner he has been called. The later
generations of Sophists, as they are shown in the Euthydemus of Plato,
sink to a common level of buffoonery and disgraceful strife for gain,
and comprise their whole dialectic art in certain formulæ for entangling

PERIOD.—That which is true in the Sophistic philosophy is the truth of
the subjectivity, of the self-consciousness, _i. e._ the demand that
every thing which I am to admit must be shown as rational before my own
consciousness—that which is false in it is its apprehension of this
subjectivity as nothing farther than finite, empirical egoistic
subjectivity, _i. e._ the demand that my accidental will and opinion
should determine what is rational; its truth is that it set up the
principle of freedom, of self-certainty; its untruth is that it
established the accidental will and notion of the individual upon the
throne. To carry out now the principle of freedom and self-consciousness
to its truth, to gain a true world of objective thought with a real and
distinct content, by the same means of reflection which the Sophists had
only used to destroy it, to establish the objective will, the rational
thinking, the absolute or ideal in the place of the empirical
subjectivity was the problem of the next advent in philosophy, the
problem which Socrates took up and solved. To make the absolute or ideal
subjectivity instead of the empirical for a principle, is to affirm that
the true measure of all things is not _my_ (_i. e._ the individual
person’s) opinion, fancy and will; that what is true, right and good,
does not depend upon my caprice and arbitrary determination, or upon
that of any other empirical subject; but while it is _my_ thinking, it
is my _thinking_, the rational within me, which has to decide upon all
those points. But my thinking, my reason, is not something specially
belonging to me, but something common to every rational being; something
universal, and in so far as I am a rational and thinking being, is my
subjectivity a universal one. But every thinking individual has the
consciousness that what he holds as right, as duty, as good or evil,
does not appear as such to him alone but to every rational being, and
that consequently his thinking has the character of universality, of
universal validity, in a word—of objectivity. This then in opposition to
the Sophistic philosophy is the standpoint of Socrates, and therefore
with him the _philosophy of objective thought_ begins. What Socrates
could do in opposition to the Sophists was to show that reflection led
to the same results as faith or obedience, hitherto without reflection,
had done, and that the thinking man guided by his free consciousness and
his own conviction, would learn to form the same judgments and take the
same course to which life and custom had already and unconsciously
induced the ordinary man. The position, that while the man is the
measure of all things, it is the man as universal, as thinking, as
rational, is the fundamental thought of the Socratic philosophy, which
is, by virtue of this thought, the positive complement of the Sophistic

With Socrates begins the second period of the Grecian philosophy. This
period contains three philosophical systems, whose authors, standing to
each other in the personal relation of teacher and pupil, represent
three successive generations,—SOCRATES, PLATO, ARISTOTLE.



1. HIS PERSONAL CHARACTER.—The new philosophical principle appears in
the personal character of Socrates. His philosophy is his mode of acting
as an individual; his life and doctrine cannot be separated. His
biography, therefore, forms the only complete representation of his
philosophy, and what the narrative of Xenophon presents us as the
definite doctrine of Socrates, is consequently nothing but an abstract
of his inward character, as it found expression from time to time in his
conversation. Plato yet more regarded his master as such an archetypal
personality, and a luminous exhibition of the historical Socrates is the
special object of his later and maturer dialogues, and of these again,
the Symposium is the most brilliant apotheosis of the Eros incarnated in
the person of Socrates, of the philosophical impulse transformed into

Socrates was born in the year 469 B. C, the son of Sophroniscus, a
sculptor, and Phænarete, a midwife. In his youth he was trained by his
father to follow his own profession, and in this he is said not to have
been without skill. Three draped figures of the Graces, called the work
of Socrates, were seen by Pausanias, upon the Akropolis. Little farther
is known of his education. He may have profited by the instruction of
Prodicus and the musician, Damon, but he stood in no personal connection
with the proper philosophers, who flourished before, or cotemporaneously
with him. He became what he was by himself alone, and just for this
reason does he form an era in the old philosophy. If the ancients call
him a scholar of Anaxagoras, or of the natural philosopher, Archelaus,
the first is demonstrably false, and the second, to say the least, is
altogether improbable. He never sought other means of culture than those
afforded in his native city. With the exception of one journey to a
public festival, the military campaigns which led him as far as Potidæa,
Delion, and Amphipolis, he never left Athens.

The period when Socrates first began to devote himself to the education
of youth, can be determined only approximately from the time of the
first representation of the Clouds of Aristophanes, which was in the
year 423. The date of the Delphic oracle, which pronounced him the
wisest of men, is not known. But in the traditions of his followers, he
is almost uniformly represented as an old, or as a gray-headed man. His
mode of instruction, wholly different from the pedantry and boastful
ostentation of the Sophists, was altogether unconstrained,
conversational, popular, starting from objects lying nearest at hand and
the most insignificant, and deriving the necessary illustrations and
proofs from the most common matters of every day life; in fact, he was
reproached by his cotemporaries for speaking ever only of drudges,
smiths, cobblers and tanners. So we find him at the market, in the
gymnasia, in the workshops, busy early and late, talking with youth,
with young men, and with old men, on the proper aim and business of
life, convincing them of their ignorance, and wakening up in them the
slumbering desires after knowledge. In every human effort, whether
directed to the interests of the commonwealth, or to the private
individual and the gains of trade, to science or to art, this master of
helps to spiritual births could find fit points of contact for the
awakening of a true self-knowledge, and a moral and religions
consciousness. However often his attempts failed, or were rejected with
bitter scorn, or requited with hatred and unthankfulness, yet, led on by
the clear conviction that a real improvement in the condition of the
state could come only from a proper education of its youth, he remained
to the last true to his chosen vocation. Purely Greek in these relations
to the rising generation, he designated himself, by preference, as the
most ardent lover; Greek too in this, that with him, notwithstanding
these free relations of friendship, his own domestic life fell quite
into the background. He nowhere shows much regard for his wife and
children; the notorious, though altogether too much exaggerated
ill-nature of Xantippe, leads us to suspect, however, that his domestic
relations were not the most happy.

As a man, as a practical sage, Socrates is pictured in the brightest
colors by all narrators. “He was,” says Xenophon, “so pious, that he did
nothing without the advice of the gods; so just, that he never injured
any one even in the least; so completely master of himself, that he
never chose the agreeable instead of the good; so discerning, that he
never failed in distinguishing the better from the worse;” in short, he
was “just the best and happiest man possible.” (Xen. _Mem._ I. 1, 11.
IV. 8, 11.) Still that which lends to his person such a peculiar charm,
is the happy blending and harmonious connection of all its
characteristic traits, the perfection of a beautiful, plastic nature. In
all this universality of his genius, in this force of character, by
which he combined the most contradictory and incongruous elements into a
harmonious whole, in this lofty elevation above every human weakness,—in
a word, as a perfect model, he is most strikingly depicted in the
brilliant eulogy of Alcibiades, in the Symposium of Plato. In the
scantier representation of Xenophon, also, we find everywhere a classic
form, a man possessed of the finest social culture, full of Athenian
politeness, infinitely removed from every thing like gloomy asceticism,
a man as valiant upon the field of battle as in the festive hall,
conducting himself with the most unconstrained freedom, and yet with
entire sobriety and self-control, a perfect picture of the happiest
Athenian time, without the acerbity, the one-sidedness, and contracted
reserve of the later moralists, an ideal representation of the genuinely
human virtues.

2. SOCRATES AND ARISTOPHANES.—Socrates seems early to have attained
universal celebrity through the peculiarities attaching to his person
and character. Nature had furnished him with a remarkable external
physiognomy. His crooked, turned-up nose, his projecting eye, his bald
pate, his corpulent body, gave his form a striking similarity to the
Silenic, a comparison which is carried out in Xenophon’s “Feast,” in
sprightly jest, and in Plato’s Symposium, with as much ingenuity as
profoundness. To this was added his miserable dress, his going barefoot,
his posture, his often standing still, and rolling his eyes. After all
this, one will hardly be surprised that the Athenian comedy took
advantage of such a remarkable character. But there was another and
peculiar motive, which influenced Aristophanes. He was a most ardent
admirer of the good old times, an enthusiastic eulogist of the manners
and the constitution, under which the fathers had been reared. As it was
his great object to waken up anew in his people, and to stimulate a
longing after those good old times, his passionate hatred broke out
against all modern efforts in politics, art and philosophy, of that
increasing mock-wisdom, which went hand in hand with a degenerating
democracy. Hence comes his bitter railing at Cleon, the Demagogue (in
the _Knights_), at Euripides, the sentimental play-writer (in the
_Frogs_) and at Socrates, the Sophist (in the _Clouds_). The latter, as
the representative of a subtle, destructive philosophy, must have
appeared to him just as corrupt and pernicious, as the party of progress
in politics, who trampled without conscience upon every thing which had
come down from the past. It is, therefore, the fundamental thought of
the Clouds to expose Socrates to public contempt, as the representative
of the Sophistic philosophy, a mere semblance of wisdom, at once vain,
profitless, corrupting in its influence upon the youth, and undermining
all true discipline and morality. Seen in this light, and from a moral
standpoint, the motives of Aristophanes may find some excuse, but they
cannot be justified; and his representation of Socrates, into whose
character all the characteristic features of the Sophistic philosophy
are interwoven, even the most contemptible and hateful, yet so that the
most unmistakable likeness is still apparent, cannot be admitted on the
ground that Socrates did really have the greatest formal resemblance to
the Sophists. The Clouds can only be designated as a culpable
misunderstanding, and as an act of gross injustice brought about by
blinded passion; and Hegel, when he attempts to defend the conduct of
Aristophanes, forgets, that, while the comic writer may caricature, he
must do it without having recourse to public calumniation. In fact all
the political and social tendencies of Aristophanes rest on a gross
misunderstanding of historical development. The good old times, as he
fancies them, are a fiction. It lies just as little in the realm of
possibility, that a morality without reflection, and a homely
ingenuousness, such as mark a nation’s childhood, should be forced upon
a time in which reflection has utterly eaten out all immediateness, and
unconscious moral simplicity, as that a grown up man should became a
child again in the natural way. Aristophanes himself attests the
impossibility of such a return, when in a fit of humor, with cynic
raillery, he gives up all divine and human authority to ridicule, and
thereby, however commendable may have been the patriotic motive
prompting him to this comic extravagance, demonstrates, that he himself
no longer stands upon the basis of the old morality, that he too is the
son of his time.

3. THE CONDEMNATION OF SOCRATES.—To this same confounding of his efforts
with those of the Sophists, and the same tendency to restore by violent
means the old discipline and morality, Socrates, twenty-four years
later, fell a victim. After he had lived and labored at Athens for many
years in his usual manner, after the storm of the Peloponnesian war had
passed by, and this city had experienced the most varied political
fortunes, in his seventieth year he was brought to trial and accused of
neglecting the gods of the state, of introducing new deities, and also
of corrupting the youth. His accusers were Melitus, a young poet,
Anytus, a demagogue, and Lycon, an orator, men in every respect
insignificant, and acting, as it seems, without motives of personal
enmity. The trial resulted in his condemnation. After a fortunate
accident had enabled him to spend thirty days more with his scholars in
his confinement, spurning a flight from prison, he drank the poisoned
cup in the year 399 B. C.

The first motive to his accusation, as already remarked, was his
identification with the Sophists, the actual belief that his doctrines
and activity were marked with the same character of hostility to the
interests of the state, as those of the Sophists, which had already
occasioned so much mischief. The three points in the accusation, though
evidently resting on a misunderstanding, alike indicate this; they are
precisely those by which Aristophanes had sought to characterize the
Sophist in the person of Socrates. This “corruption of the youth,” this
bringing in of new customs, and a new mode of culture and education
generally, was precisely the charge which was brought against the
Sophists; moreover, in Plato’s Menon, Anytus, one of the three accusers,
is introduced as the bitter enemy of the Sophists and of their manner of
instruction. So too in respect to the denial of the national gods:
before this, Protagoras, accused of denying the gods, had been obliged
to flee, and Prodicus, to drink hemlock, a victim to the same distrust.
Even five years after the death of Socrates, Xenophon, who was not
present at the trial, felt himself called upon to write his Memorabilia
in defence of his teacher, so wide-spread and deep-rooted was the
prejudice against him.

Beside this there was also a second, probably a more decisive reason. As
the Sophistic philosophy was, in its very nature, eminently
aristocratic, and Socrates, as a supposed Sophist, consequently passed
for an aristocrat, his entire mode of life could not fail to make him
appear like a bad citizen in the eyes of the restored democracy. He had
never concerned himself in the affairs of the state, had never but once
sustained an official character, and then, as chief of the Prytanes, had
disagreed with the will of the people and the rulers. (_Plat. Apol._ §
32. Xen. _Mem._ I. 1, 18.) In his seventieth year, he mounted the
orator’s stand for the first time in his life, on the occasion of his
own accusation. His whole manner was somewhat cosmopolitan; he is even
said to have remarked, that he was not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a
citizen of the world. We must also take into account, that he found
fault with the Athenian democracy upon every occasion, especially with
the democratic institution of choice by lot, that he decidedly preferred
the Spartan state to the Athenian, and that he excited the distrust of
the democrats by his confidential relations with the former leaders of
the oligarchic party. (Xen. _Mem._ I. 2, 9, sq.) Among others who were
of the oligarchic interest, and friendly to the Spartans, Critias in
particular, one of the thirty tyrants, had been his scholar; so too
Alcibiades—two men, who had been the cause of much evil to the Athenian
people. If now we accept the uniform tradition, that two of his accusers
were men of fair standing in the democratic party, and farther, that his
judges were men who had fled before the thirty tyrants, and later had
overthrown the power of the oligarchy, we find it much more easy to
understand how they, in the case before them, should have supposed they
were acting wholly in the interest of the democratic party, when they
pronounced condemnation upon the accused, especially as enough to all
appearance could be brought against him. The hurried trial presents
nothing very remarkable, in a generation which had grown up during the
Peloponnesian war, and in a people that adopted and repented of their
passionate resolves with the like haste. Yea, more, if we consider that
Socrates spurned to have recourse to the usual means and forms adopted
by those accused of capital crime, and to gain the sympathy of the
people by lamentations, or their favor by flattery, that he in proud
consciousness of his innocence defied his judges, it becomes rather a
matter of wonder, that his condemnation was carried by a majority of
only three to six votes. And even now he might have escaped the sentence
to death, had he been willing to bow to the will of the sovereign people
for the sake of a commutation of his punishment. But as he spurned to
set a value upon himself, by proposing another punishment, a fine, for
example, instead of the one moved by his accuser, because this would be
the same as to acknowledge himself guilty, his disdain could not fail to
exasperate the easily excited Athenians, and no farther explanation is
needed to show why eighty of his judges who had before voted for his
innocence, now voted for his death. Such was the most lamentable
result—a result, afterwards most deeply regretted by the Athenians
themselves—of an accusation, which at the outset was probably only
intended to humble the aristocratic philosopher, and to force him to an
acknowledgment of the power and the majesty of the people.

Hegel’s view of the fate of Socrates, that it was the result of the
collision of equally just powers—the Tragedy of Athens as he calls
it—and that guilt and innocence were shared alike on both sides, cannot
be maintained on historical grounds, since Socrates can neither be
regarded exclusively as the representative of the modern spirit, the
principle of freedom, subjectivity, the concrete personality; nor his
judges, as the representatives of the old Athenian unreflecting
morality. The first cannot be, since Socrates, if his principle was at
variance with the old Greek morality, rested nevertheless so far on the
basis of tradition, that the accusations brought against him in this
respect were false and groundless; and the last cannot be, since at that
time, after the close of the Peloponnesian war, the old morality and
piety had long been wanting to the mass of the people, and given place
to the modern culture, and the whole process against Socrates must be
regarded rather as an attempt to restore by violence, in connection with
the old constitution, the old defunct morality. The fault is not
therefore the same on both sides, and it must be held, that Socrates
fell a victim to a misunderstanding, and to an unjustifiable reaction of
public sentiment.

4. THE “GENIUS” δαιμόνιον OF SOCRATES.—Those traces of the old religious
sentiment, which have been handed down to us from so many different
sources, and are certainly not to be explained from a bare accommodation
to the popular belief, on the part of the philosopher, and which
distinguish him so decidedly from the Sophists, show how little Socrates
is really to be regarded as an innovator in discipline and morals. He
commends the art of divination, believes in dreams, sacrifices with all
proper care, speaks of the gods, of their omniscience, omnipresence,
goodness, and complete sufficiency in themselves, even with the greatest
reverence, and, at the close of his defence, makes the most solemn
asseveration of his belief in their existence. In keeping with his
attaching himself in this way to the popular religion, his new
principle, though in its results hostile to all external authority,
nevertheless assumed the form of the popular belief in “Demonic” signs
and symbols. These suggestions of the “Demon” are a knowledge, which is
at the same time connected with unconsciousness. They occupy the middle
ground between the bare external of the Greek oracle, and the purely
internal of the spirit. That Socrates had the conception of a particular
subject, a personal “Demon,” or “Genius,” is altogether improbable. Just
as little can these “Demonic” signs, this inward oracle, whose voice
Socrates professed to hear, be regarded after the modern acceptation,
simply as the personification of the conscience, or of the practical
instinct, or of the individual tact. The first article in the form of
accusation, which evidently refers to this very point, shows that
Socrates did not speak barely metaphorically of this voice, to which he
professed to owe his prophecies. And it was not solely in reference to
those higher questions of decided importance, that Socrates had these
suggestions, but rather and preeminently with respect to matters of mere
accident and arbitrary choice, as for example, whether, and when, his
friends should set out on a journey. It is no longer possible to explain
the “Demon” or “Genius” of Socrates on psychological grounds; there may
have been something of a magnetic character about it. It is possible
that there may be some connection between this and the many other
ecstatic or cataleptic states, which are related of Socrates in the
Symposium of Plato.

controversy, whether the picture of Socrates, drawn by Xenophon or by
Plato, is the most complete and true to history, and which of the two
men is to be considered as the more reliable source for obtaining a
knowledge of his philosophy. This question is being decided more and
more in favor of Xenophon. Great pains has been taken in former as in
later times, to bring Xenophon’s Memorabilia into disrepute, as a
shallow and insufficient source, because their plain, and any thing
other than speculative contents, seemed to furnish no satisfactory
ground for such a revolution in the world of mind as is attributed to
Socrates, or for the splendor which invests his name in history, or for
the character which Plato assigns him; because again the Memorabilia of
Xenophon have especially an apologetic aim, and their defence does not
relate so much to the philosopher as to the man; and finally, because
they have been supposed to have the appearance of carrying the
philosophical over into the unphilosophical style of the common
understanding. A distinction has therefore been made between an exoteric
and an esoteric Socrates, obtaining the first from Xenophon, the latter
from Plato. But the preference of Plato to Xenophon has in the first
place no historical right in its favor, since Xenophon appears as a
proper historian and claims historical credibility, while Plato on the
other hand never professes to be an historical narrator, save in a few
passages, and will by no means have all the rest which he puts in the
mouth of Socrates understood as his authentic expressions and discourse.
There is, therefore, no historical reason for preferring the
representation of Socrates which is given by Plato. In the second place,
the under-valuation of Xenophon rests, for the most part, on the false
notion, that Socrates had a proper philosophy, _i. e._ a speculative
system, and on an unhistorical mistaking of the limits by which the
philosophical character of Socrates was conditioned and restricted.
There was no proper Socratic doctrine, but a Socratic life; and, just on
this ground, are the different philosophical tendencies of his scholars
to be explained.

philosophizing of Socrates was limited and restricted by his opposition,
partly to the preceding, and partly to the Sophistic philosophy.

Philosophy before the time of Socrates had been in its essential
character investigation of nature. But in Socrates, the human mind, for
the first time, turned itself in upon itself, upon its own being, and
that too in the most immediate manner, by conceiving itself as active,
moral spirit. The positive philosophizing of Socrates, is exclusively of
an ethical character, exclusively an inquiry into the nature of virtue,
so exclusively, and so onesidedly, that, as is wont to be the case upon
the appearance of a new principle, it even expressed a contempt for the
striving of the entire previous period, with its natural philosophy, and
its mathematics. Setting every thing under the standpoint of immediate
moral law, Socrates was so far from finding any object in “irrational”
nature worthy of study, that he rather, in a kind of general
teleological manner, conceived it simply in the light of external means
for the attainment of external ends; yea, he would not even go out to
walk, as he says in the Phædrus of Plato, since one can learn nothing
from trees and districts of country. Self-knowledge, the Delphic γνῶθι
σαυτόν appeared to him the only object worthy of a man, as the
starting-point of all philosophy. Knowledge of every other kind, he
pronounced so insignificant and worthless, that he was wont to boast of
his ignorance, and to declare that he excelled other men in wisdom only
in this, that he was conscious of his own ignorance. (Plat. _Ap. S._ 21,

The other side of the Socratic philosophizing, is its opposition to the
philosophy of the time. His object, as is well understood, could have
been only this, to place himself upon the same position as that occupied
by the philosophy of the Sophists, and overcome it on its own ground,
and by its own principles. That Socrates shared in the general position
of the Sophists, and even had many features of external resemblance to
them—the Socratic irony, for instance—has been remarked above. Many of
his assertions, particularly these propositions, that no man knowingly
does wrong, and if a man were knowingly to lie, or to do some other
wrong act, still he would be better than he who should do the same
unconsciously, at first sight bear a purely Sophistic stamp. The great
fundamental thought of the Sophistic philosophy, that all moral acting
must be a conscious act, was also his. But whilst the Sophists made it
their object, through subjective reflection to confuse and to break up
all stable convictions, to make all rules relating to outward conduct
impossible, Socrates had recognized thinking as the activity of the
universal principle, free, objective thought as the measure of all
things, and, therefore, instead of referring moral duties, and all moral
action to the fancy and caprice of the individual, had rather referred
all to true knowledge, to the essence of spirit. It was this idea of
knowledge that led him to seek, by the process of thought, to gain a
conceivable objective ground, something real, abiding, absolute,
independent of the arbitrary volitions of the subject, and to hold fast
to unconditioned moral laws. Hegel expresses the same opinion, when he
says that Socrates put morality from ethical grounds, in the place of
the morality of custom and habit. Hegel distinguishes morality, as
conscious right conduct, resting on reflection and moral principles,
from the morality of unsophisticated, half-unconscious virtue, which
rests on the compliance with prevailing custom. The logical condition of
this ethical striving of Socrates, was the determining of conceptions,
the method of their formation. To search out the “what” of every thing
says Xenophon (_Mem._ IV. 6, 1.) was the uninterrupted care of Socrates,
and Aristotle says expressly that a twofold merit must be ascribed to
him, viz.: the forming of the method of induction and the giving of
strictly logical definitions,—the two elements which constitute the
basis of science. How these two elements stand connected with the
principle of Socrates we shall at once see.

7. THE SOCRATIC METHOD.—We must not regard the Socratic method as we are
accustomed to speak of method in our day, _i. e._ as something which, as
such, was distinctly in his consciousness, and which he abstracted from
every concrete content, but it rather had its growth in the very mode of
his philosophizing, which was not directed to the imparting of a system
but to the education of the subject in philosophical thinking and life.
It is only a subjective technicality for his mode of instruction, the
peculiar manner of his philosophical, familiar life.

The Socratic method has a twofold side, a negative and a positive one.
The negative side is the well known Socratic _irony_. The philosopher
takes the attitude of ignorance, and would apparently let himself be
instructed by those with whom he converses, but through the questions
which he puts, the unexpected consequences which he deduces, and the
contradictions in which he involves the opposite party, he soon leads
them to see that their supposed knowledge would only entangle and
confuse them. In the embarrassment in which they now find themselves
placed, and seeing that they do not know what they supposed, this
supposed knowledge completes its own destruction, and the subject who
had pretended to wisdom learns to distrust his previous opinions and
firmly held notions. “What we knew, has contradicted itself,” is the
refrain of the most of these conversations.

This result of the Socratic method was only to lead the subject to know
that he knew nothing, and a great part of the dialogues of Xenophon and
Plato go no farther than to represent ostensibly this negative result.
But there is yet another element in his method in which the irony loses
its negative appearance.

The positive side of the Socratic method is the so-called obstetrics or
art of intellectual midwifery. Socrates compares himself with his mother
Phænarete, a midwife, because his position was rather to help others
bring forth thoughts than to produce them himself, and because he took
upon himself to distinguish the birth of an empty thought from one rich
in its content. (Plato _Theætetus_, p. 149.) Through this art of
midwifery the philosopher, by his assiduous questioning, by his
interrogatory dissection of the notions of him with whom he might be
conversing, knew how to elicit from him a thought of which he had
previously been unconscious, and how to help him to the birth of a new
thought. A chief means in this operation was the method of _induction_,
or the leading of the representation to a conception. The philosopher,
thus, starting from some individual, concrete case, and seizing hold of
the most common notions concerning it, and finding illustrations in the
most ordinary and trivial occurrences, knew how to remove by his
comparisons that which was individual, and by thus separating the
accidental and contingent from the essential, could bring up to
consciousness a universal truth and a universal determination,—in other
words, could form conceptions. In order _e. g._ to find the conception
of justice or valor, he would start from individual examples of them,
and from these deduce the universal character or conception of these
virtues. From this we see that the direction of the Socratic induction
was to gain logical _definitions_. I define a conception when I develope
what it is, its essence, its content. I define the conception of justice
when I set up the common property and logical unity of all its different
modes of manifestation. Socrates sought to go no farther than this. “To
seek for the essence of virtue,” says an Aristotelian writing (_Eth._ I.
5), “Socrates regarded as the problem of philosophy, and hence, since he
regarded all virtue as a knowing, he sought to determine in respect of
justice or valor what they might really be, _i. e._ he investigated
their essence or conception.” From this it is very easy to see the
connection which his method of definitions or of forming conceptions had
with his practical strivings. He went back to the conception of every
individual virtue, _e. g._ justice, only because he was convinced that
the knowledge of this conception, the knowledge of it for every
individual case, was the surest guide for every moral relation. Every
moral action, he believed, should start as a conscious action from the

From this we might characterize the Socratic method as the skill by
which a certain sum of given, homogeneous and individual phenomena was
taken, and their logical unity, the universal principle which lay at
their base, inductively found. This method presupposes the recognition
that the essence of the objects must be comprehended in the thought,
that the conception is the true being of the thing. Hence we see that
the Platonic doctrine of ideas is only the objectifying of this method
which in Socrates appears no farther than a subjective dexterity. The
Platonic ideas are the universal conceptions of Socrates posited as real
individual beings. Hence Aristotle (_Metaph._ XIII. 4) most fittingly
characterizes the relation between the Socratic method and the Platonic
doctrine of ideas with the words, “Socrates posits the universal
conceptions not as separate, individual substances, while Plato does
this, and names them ideas.”

doctrinal sentence which has been transmitted us from Socrates is, that
virtue is a knowing,—that, consequently, nothing is good which happens
without discernment, and nothing bad which is done with discernment, or,
what is the same thing, that no man is voluntarily vicious, that the
base are such against their will, aye, even he who knowingly does wrong
is better than he who does it ignorantly, because in the latter case,
morality and true knowledge are both wanting, while in the former—if
such a case could happen—morality alone is violated. Socrates could not
conceive how a man should know the good and yet not do it; it was to him
a logical contradiction that the man who sought his own well being
should at the same time knowingly despise it. Therefore, with him the
good action followed as necessarily from the knowledge of the good as a
logical conclusion from its premise.

The sentence that virtue is a knowing, has for its logical consequence
the unity of virtue and for its practical consequence the teachableness
of it. With these three propositions, in which every thing is embraced
which we can properly term the Socratic philosophy, Socrates has laid
the first foundation stone for a scientific treatment of ethics, a
treatment which must be dated first from him. But he laid only the
foundation stone, for on the one side he attempted no carrying out of
his principle into details, nor any setting up of a concrete doctrine of
ethics, but only, after the ancient manner, referred to the laws of
states and the unwritten laws of the universal human order, and on the
other side, he has not seldom served himself with utilitarian motives to
establish his ethical propositions, in other words he has referred to
the external advantages and useful consequences of virtue, by which the
purity of his ethical point of view became tarnished.



to his life an ideal perfection, and this became an animating principle
which had its working in many directions. The apprehension of him as an
ideal type forms the common character of the immediate Socratic schools.
The fundamental thought, that men should have one universal and
essentially true aim, they all received from Socrates; but since their
master left no complete and systematic doctrine, but only his many-sided
life to determine the nature of this aim, every thing would depend upon
the subjective apprehension of the personal character of Socrates, and
of this we should at the outset naturally expect to find among his
different disciples a different estimate. Socrates had numerous
scholars, but no school. Among these, three views of his character have
found a place in history. That of _Antisthenes_, or the Cynical, that of
_Aristippus_, or the Cyrenian, and that of _Euclid_, or the
Megarian—three modes of apprehending him, each of which contains a true
element of the Socratic character, but all of which separate that which
in the master was a harmonious unity, and affirm of the isolated
elements that which could be truly predicated only of the whole. They
are therefore, one-sided, and give of Socrates a false picture. This,
however, was not wholly their fault; but in that Aristippus was forced
to go back to the theory of knowledge of Protagoras, and Euclid to the
metaphysics of the Eleatics, they rather testify to the subjective
character and to the want of method and system of the Socratic
philosophy, and exhibit in their defects and one-sidedness, in part,
only the original weakness which belongs to the doctrine of their

2. ANTISTHENES AND THE CYNICS.—As a strictly literal adherent of the
doctrine of Socrates, and zealously though grossly, and often with
caricature imitating his method, Antisthenes stands nearest his master.
In early life a disciple of Gorgias, and himself a teacher of the
Sophistic philosophy, he subsequently became an inseparable attendant of
Socrates, after whose death he founded a school in the Cynosarges,
whence his scholars and adherents took the name of Cynics, though
according to others this name was derived from their mode of life. The
doctrine of Antisthenes is only an abstract expression for the Socratic
ideal of virtue. Like Socrates he considered virtue the final cause of
men, regarding it also as knowledge or science, and thus as an object of
instruction; but the ideal of virtue as he had beheld it in the person
of Socrates was realized in his estimation only in the absence of every
need (in his appearance he imitated a beggar with staff and scrip) and
hence in the disregarding of all former intellectual interests; virtue
with him aims only to avoid evil, and therefore has no need of
dialectical demonstrations, but only of Socratic vigor; the wise man,
according to him, is self-sufficient, independent of every thing,
indifferent in respect of marriage, family, and the public life of
society, as also in respect of wealth, honor, and enjoyment. In this
ideal of Antisthenes, which is more negative than positive, we miss
entirely the genial humanity and the universal susceptibility of his
master, and still more a cultivation of those fruitful dialectic
elements which the Socratic philosophizing contained. With a more
decided contempt for all knowledge, and a still greater scorn of all the
customs of society, the later Cynicism became frequently a repulsive and
shameful caricature of the Socratic spirit. This was especially the case
with Diogenes of Sinope, the only one of his disciples whom Antisthenes
suffered to remain with him. In their high estimation of virtue and
philosophy these Cynics, who have been suitably styled the Capuchins of
the Grecian world, preserved a trace of the original Socratic
philosophy, but they sought virtue “in the shortest way,” in a life
according to nature as they themselves expressed it, that is, in
shutting out the outer world, in attaining a complete independence, and
absence of every need, and in renouncing art and science as well as
every determinate aim. To the wise man said they nothing should go
amiss; he should be mighty over every need and desire, free from the
restraints of civil law and of custom, and of equal privileges with the
gods. An easy life, said Diogenes, is assigned by the gods to that man
who limits himself to his necessities, and this true philosophy may be
attained by every one, through perseverance and the power of
self-denial. Philosophy and philosophical interest is there none in this
school of beggars. All that is related of Diogenes are anecdotes and

We see here how the ethics of the Cynic school lost itself in entirely
negative statements, a consequence naturally resulting from the fact
that the original Socratic conception of virtue lacked a concrete
positive content, and was not systematically carried out. Cynicism is
the negative side of the Socratic doctrine.

3. ARISTIPPUS AND THE CYRENIANS.—Aristippus of Cyrene, numbered till the
death of Socrates among his adherents, is represented by Aristotle as a
Sophist, and this with propriety, since he received money for his
instructions. He appears in Xenophon as a man devoted to pleasure. The
adroitness with which he adapted himself to every circumstance, and the
knowledge of human nature by which in every condition he knew how to
provide means to satisfy his desire for good living and luxury, were
well known among the ancients. Brought in contact with the government,
he kept himself aloof from its cares lest he should become dependent; he
spent most of his time abroad in order to free himself from every
restraint; he made it his rule that circumstances should be dependent
upon him, while he should be independent of them. Though such a man
seems little worthy of the name of a Socraticist, yet has he two points
of contact with his master which should not be overlooked. Socrates had
called virtue _and_ happiness coordinately the highest end of man, _i.
e._ he had indeed asserted most decidedly the idea of a moral action,
but because he brought this forward only in an undeveloped and abstract
form, he was only able in concrete cases to establish the obligation of
the moral law in a utilitarian way, by appealing to the benefit
resulting from the practice of virtue. This side of the Socratic
principle Aristippus adopted for his own, affirming that pleasure is the
ultimate end of life, and the highest good. Moreover, this pleasure, as
Aristippus regards it, is not happiness as a condition embracing the
whole life, nor pleasure reduced to a system, but is only the individual
sensation of pleasure which the body receives, and in this all
determinations of moral worth entirely disappear; but in that Aristippus
recommends knowledge, self-government, temperance, and intellectual
culture as means for acquiring and preserving enjoyment, and, therefore,
makes a cultivated mind necessary to judge respecting a true
satisfaction, he shows that the Socratic spirit was not yet wholly
extinguished within him, and that the name of pseudo-Socraticist which
Schleiermacher gives him, hardly belongs to him.

The other leaders of the Cyrenian school, _Hegesias_, _Theodorus_,
_Anniceris_, we can here only name. The farther development of this
school is wholly occupied in more closely defining the nature of
pleasure, _i. e._ in determining whether it is to be apprehended as a
momentary sensation, or as an enduring condition embracing the whole
life; whether it belonged to the mind or the body, whether an isolated
individual could possess it, or whether it is found alone in the social
relations of life; whether we should regard it as positive or negative,
(_i. e._ simply the absence of pain).

4. EUCLID AND THE MEGARIANS.—The union of the dialectical and the
ethical is a common character in all the partial Socratic schools; the
difference consists only in this, that in the one the ethical is made to
do service to the dialectical, and that in the other, the dialectical
stands in subjection to the ethical. The former is especially true of
the Megarian school, whose essential peculiarity was pointed out by the
ancients themselves as a combination of the Socratic and Eleatic
principles. The idea of the good is on the ethical side the same as the
idea of being on the physical; it was, therefore, only an application to
ethics of the Eleatic view and method when Euclid called the good pure
being, and the not-good, not-being. What is farther related of Euclid is
obscure, and may here be omitted. The Megarian school was kept up under
different leaders after his death, but without living force, and without
the independent activity of an organic development. As hedonism (the
philosophical doctrine of the Cyreneans that pleasure is the chief good)
led the way to the doctrine of Epicurus, and cynicism was the bridge
toward the Stoic, so the later Megaric development formed the transition
point to scepticism. Directing its attention ever more exclusively
towards the culture of the formal and logical method of argument, it
left entirely out of view the moral thoughts of Socrates. Its
sophistries and quiddities which were, for the most part, only plays of
word and wit, were widely known and noted among the ancients.

5. PLATO, AS THE COMPLETE SOCRATICIST.—The attempts thus far to build
upon the foundation pillars of the Socratic doctrine, started without a
vigorous germinating principle, and ended fruitlessly. Plato was the
only one of his scholars who has approached and represented _the whole_
Socrates. Starting from the Socratic idea of knowledge he brought into
one focus the scattered elements and rays of truth which could be
collected from his master or from the philosophers preceding him, and
gave to philosophy a systematic completeness. Socrates had affirmed the
principle that conception is the true being and the only actual, and had
urged to a knowledge according to the conception; but these positions
were no farther developed. His philosophy is not yet a system, but is
only the first impulse toward a philosophical development and method.
Plato is the first who has approached a systematic representation and
development of the ideal world of conceptions true in themselves.

The Platonic system is Socrates objectified, the blending and
reconciling of preceding philosophy.



I. PLATO’S LIFE. 1. His YOUTH.—Plato, the son of Aristo, of a noble
Athenian family, was born in the year 429 B. C. It was the year of the
death of Pericles, the second year of the Peloponnesian war, so fatal to
Athens. Born in the centre of Grecian culture and industry, and
descended from an old and noble family, he received a corresponding
education, although no farther tidings of this have been transmitted to
us, than the insignificant names of his teachers. That the youth growing
up under such circumstances should choose the seclusion of a philosophic
life rather than a political career may seem strange, since many and
favorable opportunities for the latter course lay open before him.
Critias, one of the thirty tyrants, was the cousin of his mother, and
Charmides, who subsequently, under the oligarchic rule at Athens, found
his death at Thrasybulus on the same day with Critias, was his uncle.
Notwithstanding this, he is never known to have appeared a single time
as a public speaker in the assembly of the people. In view of the rising
degeneracy and increasing political corruption of his native land, he
was too proud to court for himself the favor of the many-headed _Demos_;
and more attached to Doricism than to the democracy and practice of the
Attic public life, he chose to make science his chief pursuit, rather
than as a patriot to struggle in vain against unavoidable disaster, and
become a martyr to his political opinions. He regarded the Athenian
state as lost, and to hinder its inevitable ruin he would not bring a
useless offering.

2. HIS YEARS OF DISCIPLINE.—A youth of twenty, Plato came to Socrates,
in whose intercourse he spent eight years. Besides a few doubtful
anecdotes, nothing is known more particularly of this portion of his
history. In Xenophon’s Memorabilia (III. 6) Plato is only once cursorily
mentioned, but this in a way that indicates an intimate relation between
the scholar and his master. Plato himself in his dialogues has
transmitted nothing concerning his personal relations to Socrates; only
once (_Phæd._ p. 59) he names himself among the intimate friends of
Socrates. But the influence which Socrates exerted upon him, how he
recognized in him the complete representation of a wise man, how he
found not only in his doctrine but also in his life and action the most
fruitful philosophic germs, the significance which the personal
character of his master as an ideal type had for him—all this we learn
with sufficient accuracy from his writings, where he places his own
incomparably more developed philosophical system in the mouth of his
master, whom he makes the centre of his dialogues and the leader of his

3. HIS YEARS OF TRAVEL.—After the death of Socrates 399 B. C, in the
thirtieth year of his age, Plato, fearing lest he also should be met by
the incoming reaction against philosophy, left, in company with other
Socraticists, his native city, and betook himself to Euclid, his former
fellow-scholar, the founder of the Megaric school (_cf._ § XIII. 4) at
Megara. Up to this time a pure Socraticist, he became greatly animated
and energized by his intercourse with the Megarians, among whom a
peculiar philosophical direction, a modification of Socraticism, was
already asserted. We shall see farther on the influence of this
residence at Megara upon the foundation of his philosophy, and
especially upon the elaboration and confirmation of his doctrine of
Ideas. One whole period of his literary activity and an entire group of
his dialogues, can only be satisfactorily explained by the intellectual
stimulus gained at this place. From Megara, Plato visited Cyrene, Egypt,
Magna-Grecia and Sicily. In Magna-Grecia he became acquainted with the
Pythagorean philosophy, which was then in its highest bloom. His abode
among the Pythagoreans had a marked effect upon him; as a man it made
him more practical, and increased his zest for life and his interest in
public life and social intercourse; as a philosopher it furnished him
with a new incitement to science, and new motives to literary labor. The
traces of the Pythagorean philosophy may be seen through all the last
period of his literary life; especially his aversion to public and
political life was greatly softened by his intercourse with the
Pythagoreans. While in the Theatætus, he affirmed most positively the
incompatibility of philosophy with public life, we find in his later
dialogues, especially in the Republic and also in the Statesman—upon
which Pythagoreanism seems already to have had an influence—a returning
favor for the actual world, and the well-known sentence that the ruler
must be a philosopher is an expression very characteristic of this
change. His visit to Sicily gave him the acquaintance of the elder
Dionysius and Dion his brother-in-law, but the philosopher and the
tyrant had little in common. Plato is said to have incurred his
displeasure to so high a degree, that his life was in danger. After
about ten years spent in travel, he returned to Athens in the fortieth
year of his age, (389 or 388 B. C.)

return, Plato surrounded himself with a circle of pupils. The place
where he taught was known as the academy, a gymnasium outside of Athens
where Plato had inherited a garden from his father. Of his school and of
his later life, we have only the most meagre accounts. His life passed
evenly along, interrupted only by a second and third visit to Sicily,
where meanwhile the younger Dionysius had come to the throne. This
second and third residence of Plato at the court of Syracuse abounds in
vicissitudes, and shows us the philosopher in a great variety of
conditions (_cf._ Plutarch’s _Life of Dion_); but to us, in estimating
his philosophical character, it is of interest only for the attempt,
which, as seems probable from all accounts, he there made to realize his
ideal of a moral state, and by the philosophical education of the new
ruler to unite philosophy and the reins of government in one and the
same hand, or at least in some way by means of philosophy to achieve a
healthy change in the Sicilian state constitution. His efforts were
however fruitless; the circumstances were not propitious, and the
character of the young Dionysius, who was one of those mediocre natures
who strive after renown and distinction, but are capable of nothing
profound and earnest, deceived the expectations concerning him which
Plato, according to Dion’s account, thought he had reason to entertain.

When we look at Plato’s philosophical labors in the academy, we are
struck with the different relations to public life which philosophy
already assumes. Instead of carrying philosophy, like Socrates, into the
streets and public places and making it there a subject of social
conversation with any one who desired it, he lived and labored entirely
withdrawn from the movements of the public, satisfied to influence the
pupils who surrounded him. In precisely the measure in which philosophy
becomes a system and the systematic form is seen to be essential, does
it lose its popular character and begin to demand a scientific training,
and to become a topic for the school, an esoteric affair. Yet such was
the respect for the name of a philosopher, and especially for the name
of Plato, that requests were made to him by different states to compose
for them a book of laws, a work which in some instances it was said was
actually performed. Attended by a retinue of devoted disciples, among
whom were even women disguised as men, and receiving reiterated
demonstrations of respect, he reached the age of eighty-one years, with
his powers of mind unweakened to the latest moment.

The close of his life seems to have been clouded by disturbances and
divisions which arose in his school under the lead of Aristotle. Engaged
in writing, or as others state it at a marriage feast, death came upon
him as a gentle sleep, 348 B. C. His remains were buried in the
Ceramicus, not far from the academy.

the Platonic philosophy has a real development, that it should not be
apprehended as a perfectly finished system to which the different
writings stand related as constituent elements, but that these are
rather steps of this inner development, as it were stages passed over in
the philosophical journeyings of the philosopher—is a view of the
highest importance for the true estimate of Plato’s literary labors.

Plato’s philosophical and literary labors may be divided into three
periods, which we can characterize in different ways. Looking at them in
a chronological or biographical respect, we might call them respectively
the periods of his years of discipline, of travel, of instruction, or if
we view them in reference to the prevailing external influence under
which they were formed, they might be termed the Socratic,
Heraclitic-Eleatic, and the Pythagorean; or if we looked at the content
alone, we might term them the Anti-Sophistic-Ethic, the Dialectic or
mediating, and the systematic or constructive periods.

THE FIRST PERIOD—the Socratic—is marked externally by the predominance
of the dramatic element, and in reference to its philosophical
standpoint, by an adherence to the method and the fundamental principles
of the Socratic doctrine. Not yet accurately informed of the results of
former inquiries, and rather repelled from the study of the history of
philosophy than attracted to it by the character of the Socratic
philosophizing, Plato confined himself to an analytical treatment of
conceptions, particularly of the conception of virtue, and to a
reproducing of his master, which, though something more than a mere
recital of verbal recollections, had yet no philosophical independence.
His Socrates exhibits the same view of life and the same scientific
standpoint which the historical Socrates of Xenophon had had. His
efforts were thus, like those of his contemporary fellow disciples,
directed prominently toward practical wisdom. His conflicts however,
like those of Socrates, had far more weight against the prevailing want
of science and the shallow sophisms of the day than for the opposite
scientific directions. The whole period bears an eclectic and hortatory
character. The highest point in which the dialogues of this group
culminate is the attempt which at the same time is found in the Socratic
doctrine to determine the certainty of an absolute content (of an
objective reality) to the good.

The history of the development of the Platonic philosophy would assume a
very different form if the view of some modern scholars respecting the
date of the Phædrus were correct. If, as they claim, the Phædrus were
Plato’s earliest work, this circumstance would betray from the outset an
entirely different course of culture for him than we could suppose in a
mere scholar of Socrates. The doctrine in this dialogue of the
pre-existence of souls, and their periodical transmigrations, of the
relation of earthly beauty with heavenly truth, of divine inspiration in
contrast to human wisdom, the conception of love,—these and other
Pythagorean ingredients are all so distinct from the original Socratic
doctrine that we must transfer the most of that which Plato has
creatively produced during his whole philosophical career, to the
beginning of his philosophical development. The improbability of this,
and numerous other grounds of objection, claim a far later composition
for this dialogue. Setting aside for the present the Phædrus, the
Platonic development assumes the following form:

Among the earliest works (if they are genuine) are the small dialogues
which treat of Socratic questions and themes in a Socratic way. Of these
_e. g._ the Charmides discusses temperance, the Lysis friendship, the
Laches valor, the lesser Hippias knowing and wilful wrong-doing, the
first Alcibiades, the moral and intellectual qualifications of a
statesman, &c. The immaturity and the crudeness of these dialogues, the
use of scenic means which have only an external relation to the content,
the scantiness and want of independence in the content, the indirect
manner of investigation which lacks a satisfactory and positive result,
the formal and analytical treatment of the conceptions discussed—all
these features indicate the early character of these minor dialogues.

The Protagoras may be taken as a proper type of the Socratic period.
Since this dialogue, though directing its whole polemic against the
Sophistic philosophy, confined itself almost exclusively to the outward
manifestation of this system, to its influence on its age and its method
of instruction in opposition to that of Socrates, without entering into
the ground and philosophical character of the doctrine itself, and,
still farther, since, when it comes in a strict sense to philosophize,
it confines itself, in an indirect investigation, to the Socratic
conception of virtue according to its different sides (virtue as
knowing, its unity and its teachableness, _cf._ § XII. 8,)—it represents
in the clearest manner the tendency, character and want of the first
period of Plato’s literary life.

The Gorgias, written soon after the death of Socrates, represents the
third and highest stage of this period. Directed against the Sophistical
identification of pleasure and virtue, of the good and of the agreeable,
_i. e._ against the affirmation of an absolute moral relativity, this
dialogue maintains the proof that the good, far from owing its origin
only to the right of the stronger, and thus to the arbitrariness of the
subject, has in itself an independent reality and objective validity,
and, consequently, alone is truly useful, and thus, therefore, the
measure of pleasure must follow the higher measure of the good. In this
direct and positive polemic against the Sophistic doctrine of pleasure,
in its tendency to a view of the good as something firm and abiding, and
secure against all subjective arbitrariness, consists prominently the
advance which the Gorgias makes over the Protagoras.

In the first Socratic period the Platonic philosophizing became ripe and
ready for the reception of Eleatic and Pythagorean categories. To
grapple by means of these categories with the higher questions of
philosophy, and so to free the Socratic philosophy from its so close
connection with practical life, was the task of the second period.

THE SECOND PERIOD—the dialectic or the Megaric—is marked externally, by
a less prominence of form and poetic contemplation, and not unfrequently
indeed, by obscurity and difficulties of style, and internally, by the
attempt to give a satisfactory mediation for the Eleatic doctrine and a
dialectic foundation for the doctrine of ideas.

By his exile at Megara, and his journeys to Italy, Plato became
acquainted with other and opposing philosophical directions, from which
he must now separate himself in order to elevate the Socratic doctrine
to its true significance. It was now that he first learned to know the
philosophic theories of the earlier sages, for whose study the necessary
means could not at that period, so wanting in literary publicity, be
found at Athens. By his separation from these varying standpoints, as
his older fellow pupils had already striven to do, he attempted striding
over the narrow limits of ethical philosophizing, to reach the final
ground of knowing, and to carry out the art of forming conceptions as
brought forward by Socrates, to a science of conceptions, _i. e._ to the
doctrine of ideas. That all human acting depends upon knowing, and that
all thinking depends upon the conception, were results to which Plato
might already have attained through the scientific generalization of the
Socratic doctrine itself, but now to bring this Socratic wisdom within
the circle of speculative thinking, to establish dialectically that the
conception in its simple unity is that which abides in the change of
phenomena, to disclose the fundamental principles of knowledge which had
been evaded by Socrates, to grasp the scientific theories of the
opposers direct in their scientific grounds, and follow them out in all
their ramifications,—this is the problem which the Megaric family of
dialogues attempts to solve.

The Theatætus stands at the head of this group. This is chiefly directed
against the Protagorean theory of knowledge, against the identification
of the thinking and the sensible perception, or against the claim of an
objective relativity of all knowledge. As the Gorgias before it had
sought to establish the independent being of the ethical, so does the
Theatætus ascending from the ethical to the theoretical, endeavor to
prove an independent being and objective reality for the logical
conceptions which lie at the ground of all representation and thinking,
in a word, to prove the objectivity of truth, the fact that there lies a
province of thought immanent in the thinking and independent of the
perceptions of the senses. These conceptions, whose objective reality is
thus affirmed, are those of a species, likeness and unlikeness, sameness
and difference, &c.

The Theatætus is followed by the trilogy of the Sophist, the Statesman,
and the Philosopher, which completes the Megaric group of dialogues. The
first of these dialogues examines the conception of appearance, that is
of the not-being, the last (for which the Parmenides may be taken) the
conception of being. Both dialogues are especially directed to the
Eleatic doctrine. After Plato had recognized the conception in its
simple unity as that which abides in the change of phenomena, his
attention was naturally turned towards the Eleatics, who in an opposite
way had attained the similar result that in unity consists all true
substantiality, and to multiplicity as such no true being belongs. In
order more easily on the one side to carry out this fundamental thought
of the Eleatic to its legitimate result, in which the Megarians had
already preceded him, he was obliged to give a metaphysical substance to
his abstract conceptions of species, _i. e._ ideas. But on the other
side, he could not agree with the inflexibility and exclusiveness of the
Eleatic unity, unless he would wholly sacrifice the multiplicity of
things; he was rather obliged to attempt to show by a dialectic
development of the Eleatic principle that the one must be at the same
time a totality, organically connected, and embracing multiplicity in
itself. This double relation to the Eleatic principle is carried out by
the Sophist and the Parmenides; by the former polemically against the
Eleatic doctrine, in that it proves the being of the appearance or the
not-being, and by the latter pacifically, in that it analyzes the
Eleatic one by its own logical consequences into many. The inner
progress of the doctrine of Ideas in the Megaric group of dialogues is
therefore this, viz., that the Theatætus, in opposition to the
Heraclitico-Protagorean theory of the absolute becoming, affirms the
objective and independent reality of ideas, and the Sophist shows their
reciprocal relation and combining qualities, while the Parmenides in
fine exhibits their whole dialectic completeness with their relation to
the phenomenal world.

THE THIRD PERIOD begins with the return of the philosopher to his native
city. It unites the completeness of form belonging to the first with the
profounder characteristical content belonging to the second. The
memories of his youthful years seem at this time to have risen anew
before the soul of Plato, and to have imparted again to his literary
activity the long lost freshness and fulness of that period, while at
the same time his abode in foreign lands, and especially his
acquaintance with the Pythagorean philosophy, had greatly enriched his
mind with a store of images and ideals. This reviving of old memories is
seen in the fact that the writings of this group return with fondness to
the personality of Socrates, and represent in a certain degree the whole
philosophy of Plato as the exaltation of the doctrine and the ideal
embodiment of the historical character of his early master. In
opposition to both of the first two periods, the third is marked
externally by an excess of the mythical form connected with the growing
influence of Pythagoreanism in this period, and internally by the
application of the doctrine of ideas to the concrete spheres of
psychology, ethics and natural science. That ideas possess objective
reality, and are the foundation of all essentiality and truth, while the
phenomena of the sensible world are only copies of these, was a theory
whose vindication was no longer attempted, but which was presupposed as
already proved, and as forming a dialectical basis for the pursuit of
the different branches of science. With this was connected a tendency to
unite the hitherto separate branches of science into a systematic whole,
as well as to mould together the previous philosophical directions, and
show the inner application of the Socratic philosophy for ethics, of the
Eleatic for dialectics, and the Pythagorean for physics.

Upon this standpoint, the Phædrus, Plato’s inaugural to his labors in
the Academy, together with the Symposium, which is closely connected
with it, attempts to subject the rhetorical theory and practice of their
time to a thorough criticism, in order to show in opposition to this
theory and practice, that the fixedness and stability of a true
scientific principle could only be attained by grounding every thing on
the idea. On the same standpoint the Phædon attempts to prove the
immortality of the soul from the doctrine of ideas; the Philebus to
bring out the conception of pleasure and of the highest good; the
Republic to develop the essence of the state, and the Timæus that of

Having thus sketched the inner development of the Platonic philosophy,
we now turn to a systematic statement of its principles.

left by himself, is without a systematic statement, and has no
comprehensive principle of classification. He has given us only the
history of his thinking, the statement of his philosophical development;
we are therefore limited in reference to his classification of
philosophy to simple intimations. Accordingly, some have divided the
Platonic system into theoretical and practical science, and others into
a philosophy of the good, the beautiful and the true. Another
classification, which has some support in old records, is more correct.
Some of the ancients say that Plato was the first to unite in one whole
the scattered philosophical elements of the earlier sages, and so to
obtain for philosophy the three parts, logic, physics, and ethics. The
more accurate statement is given by _Sextus Empiricus_, that Plato has
laid the foundation for this threefold division of philosophy, but that
it was first expressly recognized and affirmed by his scholars,
Xenocrates and Aristotle. The Platonic system may, however, without
difficulty, be divided into these three parts. True, there are many
dialogues which mingle together in different proportions the logical,
the ethical, and the physical element, and though even where Plato
treats of some special discipline, the three are suffered constantly to
interpenetrate each other, still there are some dialogues in which this
fundamental scheme can be clearly recognized. It cannot be mistaken that
the Timæus has predominantly a physical, and the Republic as decidedly
an ethical element, and if the dialectic is expressly represented in no
separate dialogue, yet does the whole Megaric group pursue the common
end of bringing out the conception of science and its true object,
being, and is, therefore, in its content decidedly dialectical. Plato
must have been led to this threefold division by even the earlier
development of philosophy, and though Xenocrates does not clearly see
it, yet since Aristotle presupposes it as universally admitted, we need
not scruple to make it the basis on which to represent the Platonic

The order which these different parts should take, Plato himself has not
declared. Manifestly, however, dialectics should have the first place as
the ground of all philosophy, since Plato uniformly directs that every
philosophical investigation should begin with accurately determining the
_idea_ (_Phæd._ p. 99. Phædr. p. 237), while he subsequently examines
all the concrete spheres of science on the standpoint of the doctrine of
ideas. The relative position of the other two parts is not so clear.
Since, however, the physics culminates in the ethics, and the ethics, on
the other hand, has for its basis physical investigations into the
ensouling power in nature, we may assign to physics the former place of
the two.

The mathematical sciences Plato has expressly excluded from philosophy.
He considers them as helps to philosophical thinking (_Rep._ VII. 526),
as necessary steps of knowledge, without which no one can come to
philosophy (_Ib._ VI. 510); but mathematics with him is not philosophy,
for it assumes its principles or axioms, without at all accounting for
them, as though they were manifest to all, a procedure which is not
permitted to pure science; it also serves itself for its demonstrations,
with illustrative figures, although it does not treat of these, but of
that which they represent to the understanding (_Ib._). Plato thus
places mathematics midway between a correct opinion and science, clearer
than the one, but more obscure than the other. (_Ib._ VII. 533.)

of dialectics or of logic, is used by the ancients for the most part in
a very wide sense, while Plato employs it in repeated instances
interchangeably with philosophy, though on the other hand he treats it
also as a separate branch of philosophy. He divides it from physics as
the science of the eternal and unchangeable from the science of the
changeable, which never is, but is only ever becoming; he distinguishes
also between it and ethics, so far as the latter treats of the good not
absolutely, but in its concrete exhibition in morals and in the state;
so that dialectics may be termed philosophy in a higher sense, while
physics and ethics follow it as two less exact sciences, or as a not yet
perfected philosophy. Plato himself defines dialectics, according to the
ordinary signification of the word, as the art of developing knowledge
by way of dialogue in questions and answers. (_Rep._ VII. 534). But
since the art of communicating correctly in dialogue is according to
Plato, at the same time the art of thinking correctly, and as thus
thinking and speaking could not be separated by the ancients, but every
process of thought was a living dialogue, so Plato would more accurately
define dialectics as the science which brings speech to a correct issue,
and which combines or separates the species, _i. e._ the conceptions of
things correctly with one another. (_Soph._ p. 253. _Phædr._ p. 266).
Dialectics with him has two divisions, to know what can and what cannot
be connected, and to know how division or combination can be. But as
with Plato these conceptions of species or ideas are the only actual and
true existence, so have we, in entire conformity with this, a third
definition of dialectics (_Philebus_ p. 57), as the science of being,
the science of that which is true and unchangeable, the science of all
other sciences. We may therefore briefly characterize it as the science
of absolute being or of ideas.

2. WHAT IS SCIENCE? (1.) _As opposed to sensation and the sensuous
representation._—The Theatætus is devoted to the discussion of this
question in opposition to the Protagorean sensualism. That all knowledge
consists in perception, and that the two are one and the same thing, was
the Protagorean proposition. From this it followed, as Protagoras
himself had inferred, that things are, as they appear to me, that the
perception or sensation is infallible. But since perception and
sensation are infinitely diversified with different individuals, and
even greatly vary in the same individual, it follows farther, that there
are no objective determinations and predicates, that we can never affirm
what a thing is in itself, that all conceptions, great, small, light,
heavy, to increase, to diminish, &c., have only a relative significance,
and consequently, also, the conceptions of species, as combinations of
the changeful many, are wholly wanting in constancy and stability. In
opposition to this Protagorean thesis, Plato urges the following
objections and contradictions. _First._ The Protagorean doctrine leads
to the most startling consequences. If being and appearance, knowledge
and perception are one and the same thing, then is the irrational brute,
which is capable of perception, as fully entitled to be called the
measure of all things, as man, and if the representation is infallible,
as the expression of my subjective character at a given time, then need
there be no more instruction, no more scientific conclusion, no more
strife, and no more refutation. _Second._ The Protagorean doctrine is a
logical contradiction; for according to it Protagoras must yield the
question to every one who disputes with him, since, as he himself
affirms, no one is incorrect, but every one judges only according to
truth; the pretended truth of Protagoras is therefore true for no man,
not even for himself. _Third._ Protagoras destroys the knowledge of
future events. That which I may regard as profitable may not therefore
certainly prove itself as such in the result. To determine that which is
really profitable implies a calculation of the future, but since the
ability of men to form such a calculation is very diverse, it follows
from this that not man as such, but only the wise man can be the measure
of things. _Fourth._ The theory of Protagoras destroys perception.
Perception, according to him, rests upon a distinction of the perceived
object and the perceiving subject, and is the common product of the two.
But in his view the objects are in such an uninterrupted flow, that they
can neither become fixed in seeing nor in hearing. This condition of
constant change renders all knowledge from sense, and hence (the
identity of the two being assumed), all knowledge impossible. _Fifth._
Protagoras overlooks the apriori element in knowledge. It is seen in an
analysis of the sense-perception itself, that all knowledge cannot be
traced to the activity of the senses, but that there must also be
presupposed besides these, intellectual functions, and hence an
independent province of supersensible knowledge. We see with the eyes,
and hear with the ears, but to group together the perceptions attained
through these different organs, and to hold them fast in the unity of
self-consciousness, is beyond the power of the activity of the senses.
Again, we compare the different sense-perceptions with one another, a
function which cannot belong to the senses, since each sense can only
furnish its own distinctive perception. Still farther, we bring forward
determinations respecting the perceptions which we manifestly cannot owe
to the senses, in that we predicate of these perceptions, being and
not-being, likeness and unlikeness, &c. These determinations, to which
also belong the beautiful and the odious, good and evil, constitute a
peculiar province of knowledge, which the soul, independently of every
sense-perception, brings forward through its own independent activity.
The ethical element of this Plato exhibits in his attack upon
sensualism, and also in other dialogues. He maintains (_in the
Sophist_), that men holding such opinions must be improved before they
can be instructed, and that when made morally better, they will readily
recognize the truth of the soul and its moral and rational capacities,
and affirm that these are real things, though objects of neither sight
nor of feeling.

(2.) _The Relation of Knowing to Opinion._—Opinion is just as little
identical with knowing as is the sense-perception. An incorrect opinion
is certainly different from knowing, and a correct one is not the same,
for it can be engendered by the art of speech without therefore
attaining the validity of true knowledge. The correct opinion, so far as
it is true in matter though imperfect in form, stands rather midway
between knowing and not-knowing, and participates in both.

(3.) _The Relation of Science to Thinking._—In opposition to the
Protagorean sensualism, we have already referred to an energy of the
soul independent of the sensuous perception and sensation, competent in
itself to examine the universal, and grasp true being in thought. There
is, therefore, a double source of knowledge, sensation and rational
thinking. Sensation refers to that which is conceived in the constant
becoming and perpetual change, to the pure momentary, which is in an
incessant transition from the was, through the now, into the shall be
(_Parm._ p. 152); it is, therefore, the source of dim, impure, and
uncertain knowledge; thinking on the other hand refers to the abiding,
which neither becomes nor departs, but remains ever the same. (_Tim._ p.
51.) Existence, says the Timæus (p. 27) is of two kinds, “that which
ever is but has no becoming, and that which ever becomes but never is.
The one kind, which is always in the same state, is comprehended through
reflection by the reason, the other, which becomes and departs, but
never properly is, may be apprehended by the sensuous perception without
the reason.” True science, therefore, flows alone from that pure and
thoroughly internal activity of the soul which is free from all
corporeal qualities and every sensuous disturbance. (_Phæd._ p. 65.) In
this state the soul looks upon things purely as they are (_Phæd._ p. 66)
in their eternal being and their unchangeable condition. Hence the true
state of the philosopher is announced in the Phædon (p. 64) to be a
willingness to die, a longing to fly from the body, as from a hinderance
to true knowledge, and become pure spirit. According to all this,
science is the thinking of true being or of ideas; the means to discover
and to know these ideas, or the organ for their apprehension is the
dialectic, as the art of separating and combining conceptions; the true
objects of dialectics are ideas.

3. THE DOCTRINE OF IDEAS IN ITS GENESIS.—The Platonic doctrine of ideas
is the common product of the Socratic method of forming conceptions, the
Heraclitic doctrine of absolute becoming, and the Eleatic doctrine of
absolute being. To the first of these Plato owes the idea of a knowing
through conceptions, to the second the recognition of the becoming in
the field of the sensuous, to the third the position of a field of
absolute reality. Elsewhere (_in the Philebus_) Plato connects the
doctrine of ideas with the Pythagorean thought that every thing may be
formed from unity and multiplicity, from the limit and the unlimited.
The aim of the Theatætus, the Sophist, and the Parmenides is to refute
the principles of the Eleatics and Heraclitics: this refutation is
effected in the Theatætus by combating directly the principle of an
absolute becoming, in the Sophist by combating directly the principle of
abstract being, and in the Parmenides by taking up the Eleatic one and
showing its true relations. We have already spoken of the Theatætus; we
will now look for the development of the doctrine of ideas in the
Sophist and Parmenides.

The ostensible end of the former of these dialogues is to show that the
Sophist is really but a caricature of the philosopher, but its true end
is to fix the reality of the appearance, _i. e._ of the not-being, and
to discuss speculatively the relation of being and not-being. The
doctrine of the Eleatics ended with the rejection of all sensuous
knowledge, declaring that what we receive as the perception of a
multiplicity of things or of a becoming is only an appearance. In this
the contradiction was clear, the not-being was absolutely denied, and
yet its existence was admitted in the notion of men. Plato at once draws
attention to this contradiction, showing that a delusive opinion, which
gives rise to a false image or representation, is not possible, since
the whole theory rests upon the assumption that the false, the not-true,
_i. e._ not-being cannot even be thought. This, Plato continues, is the
great difficulty in thinking of not-being, that both he who denies and
he who affirms its reality is driven to contradict himself. For though
it is inexpressible and inconceivable either as one or as many, still,
when speaking of it, we must attribute to it both being and
multiplicity. If we admit that there is such a thing as a false opinion,
we assume in this very fact the notion of not-being, for only that
opinion can be said to be false which supposes either the not-being to
be, or makes that, which is not, to be. In short, if there actually
exists a false notion, so does there actually and truly exist a
not-being. After Plato had thus fixed the reality of not-being, he
discusses the relation of being and not-being, _i. e._ the relation of
conceptions generally in their combinations and differences. If
not-being has no less reality than being, and being no more than
not-being, if, therefore, _e. g._ the not-great is as truly real as the
great, then every conception may be apprehended according to its
opposite sides as being and not-being at the same time: it is a being in
reference to itself, as something identical with itself, but it is
not-being in reference to every one of the numberless other conceptions
which can be referred to it, and with which, on account of its
difference from them, it can have nothing in common. The conception of
the same ταὐτὸν and the different θάτερον represent the general form of
an antithesis. These are the universal formulæ of combination for all
conceptions. This reciprocal relation of conceptions as at the same time
being and not-being, by virtue of which they can be arranged among
themselves, forms now the basis for the art of dialectics, which has to
judge what conceptions can and what cannot be joined together. Plato
illustrates here by taking the conceptions of being, motion (becoming),
and rest (existence), and showing what are the results of the
combinations of these ideas. The conceptions of motion and rest cannot
well be joined together, though both of them may be joined with that of
being, since both are; the conception of rest is therefore in reference
to itself a being, but in reference to the conception of motion a
not-being or different. Thus the Platonic doctrine of ideas, after
having in the Theatætus attained its general foundation in fixing the
objective reality of conceptions, becomes now still farther developed in
the Sophist to a doctrine of the agreement and disagreement of
conceptions. The category which conditions these reciprocal relations is
that of not-being or difference. This fundamental thought of the
Sophist, that being is not without not-being and not-being is not
without being, may be expressed in modern phraseology thus: negation is
not not-being but determinateness, and on the other hand all
determinateness and concreteness of conceptions, or every thing
affirmative can be only through negation; in other words the conception
of contradiction is the soul of a philosophical method.

The doctrine of ideas appears in the Parmenides as the positive
consequence and progressive development of the Eleatic principle. Indeed
in this dialogue, in that Plato makes Parmenides the chief speaker, he
seems willing to allow that his doctrine is in substance that of the
Eleatic sage. True, the fundamental thought of the dialogue—that the one
is not conceivable in its complete singleness without the many, nor the
many without the one, that each necessarily presupposes and reciprocally
conditions the other—stands in the most direct contradiction to
Eleaticism. Yet Parmenides himself, by dividing his poem into two parts,
and treating in the first of the one and in the second of the many,
postulates an inner mediation between these two externally so disjointed
parts of his philosophy, and in this respect the Platonic theory of
ideas might give itself out as the farther elimination, and the true
sense of the Parmenidean philosophizing. This dialectical mediation
between the one and the not-one or the many Plato now attempts in four
antinomies, which have ostensibly only a negative result in so far as
they show that contradictions arise both whether the one be adopted or
rejected. The positive sense of these antinomies, though it can be
gained only through inferences which Plato himself does not expressly
utter, but leaves to be drawn by the reader—is as follows. The first
antinomy shows that the one is inconceivable as such since it is only
apprehended in its abstract opposition to the many; the second, that in
this case also the reality of the many is inconceivable; the third, that
the one or the idea cannot be conceived as not-being, since there can be
neither conception nor predicate of the absolute not-being, and since,
if not-being is excluded from all fellowship with being, all becoming
and departing, all similarity and difference, every representation and
explanation concerning it must also be denied; and lastly, the fourth
affirms that the not-one or the many cannot be conceived without the one
or the idea. What now is Plato’s aim in this discussion of the dialectic
relations between the conceptions of the one and the many? Would he use
the conception of the one only as an example to explain his dialectic
method with conceptions, or is the discussion of this conception itself
the very object before him? Manifestly the latter, or the dialogue ends
without result and without any inner connection of its two parts. But
how came Plato to make such a special investigation of this conception
of the one? If we bear in mind that the Eleatics had already perceived
the antithesis of the actual and the phenomenal world in the antithesis
of the one and the many, and that Plato himself had also regarded his
ideas as the unity of the manifold, as the one and the same in the
many—since he repeatedly uses “idea” and “the one” in the same sense,
and places (_Rep._ VII. 537) dialectics in the same rank with the
faculty of bringing many to unity—then is it clear that the one which is
made an object of investigation in the Parmenides is the idea in its
general sense, _i. e._ in its logical form, and that Plato consequently
in the dialectic of the one and the many would represent the dialectic
of the idea and the phenomenal world, or in other words would
dialectically determine and establish the correct view of the idea as
the unity in the manifoldness of the phenomenal. In that it is shown in
the Parmenides, on the one side, that the many cannot be conceived
without the one, and on the other side, that the one must be something
which embraces in itself manifoldness, so have we the ready inference on
the one side, that the phenomenal world, or the many, has a true being
only in so far as it has the one or the conception within it, and on the
other side, that since the conception is not an abstract one but
manifoldness in unity, it must actually have manifoldness in unity in
order to be able to be in the phenomenal world. The indirect result of
the Parmenides is that matter as the infinitely divisible and
undetermined mass has no actuality, but is in relation to the ideal
world a not-being, and though the ideas as the true being gain their
appearance in it, yet the idea itself is all that is actual in the
appearance or phenomenon; the phenomenal world derives its whole
existence from the ideal world which appears in it, and has a being only
so far as it has a conception or idea for its content.

according to the different sides of their historical connection, as the
common in the manifold, the universal in the particular, the one in the
many, or the constant and abiding in the changing. Subjectively they are
principles of knowing which cannot be derived from experience they are
the intuitively certain and innate regulators of our knowledge.
Objectively they are the immutable principles of being and of the
phenomenal world, incorporeal and simple unities which have no relation
to space, and which may be predicated of every independent thing. The
doctrine of ideas grew originally out of the desire to give a definite
conception to the inner essence of things, and make the real world
conceivable as a harmoniously connected intellectual world. This desire
of scientific knowledge Aristotle cites expressly as the motive to the
Platonic doctrine of ideas. “Plato,” he says (_Metaph._ XIII. 4), “came
to the doctrine of ideas because he was convinced of the truth of the
Heraclitic view which regarded the sensible world as a ceaseless flowing
and changing. His conclusion from this was, that if there be a science
of any thing there must be, besides the sensible, other substances which
have a permanence, for there can be no science of the fleeting.” It is,
therefore, the idea of science which demands the reality of ideas, a
demand which cannot be granted unless an idea or conception is also the
ground of all being. This is the case with Plato. According to him there
can be neither a true knowing nor a true being without ideas and
conceptions which have an independent reality.

What now does Plato mean by idea? From what has already been said it is
clear that he means something more than ideal conceptions of the
beautiful and the good. An idea is found, as the name itself (εἰδος)
indicates, wherever a universal conception of a species or kind is
found. Hence Plato speaks of the idea of a bed, table, strength, health,
voice, color, ideas of simple relations and properties, ideas of
mathematical figures, and even ideas of not-being, and of that, which in
its essence only contradicts the idea, baseness and vice. In a word, we
may put an idea wherever many things may be characterized by a common
name (_Rep._ X. 596): or as Aristotle expresses it (_Met._ XII. 3).
Plato places an idea to every class of being. In this sense Plato
himself speaks in the beginning of the Parmenides. Parmenides asks the
young Socrates what he calls ideas. Socrates answers by naming
unconditionally the moral ideas, the ideas of the true, the beautiful,
the good, and then after a little delay he mentions some physical ones,
as the ideas of man, of fire, of water; he will not allow ideas to be
predicated of that which is only a formless mass, or which is a part of
something else, as hair, mud and clay, but in this he is answered by
Parmenides, that if he would be fully imbued with philosophy, he must
not consider such things as these to be wholly despicable, but should
look upon them as truly though remotely participating in the idea. Here
at least the claim is asserted that no province of being is excluded
from the idea, that even that which appears most accidental and
irrational is yet a part of rational knowledge, in fact that every thing
existing may be brought within a rational conception.

different definitions of idea are the different names which Plato gives
to the sensible and phenomenal world. He calls it the many, the
divisible, the unbounded, the undetermined and measureless, the
becoming, the relative, great and small, not-being. The relation now in
which these two worlds of sense and of ideas stand to each other is a
question which Plato has answered neither fully nor consistently with
himself. His most common way is to characterize the relation of things
to conceptions as a participant, or to call things the copies and
adumbrations, while ideas are the archetypes. Yet this is so indefinite
that Aristotle properly says that to talk in this way is only to use
poetical metaphors. The great difficulty of the doctrine of ideas is not
solved but only increased by these figurative representations. The
difficulty lies in the contradiction which grows out of the fact that
while Plato admits the reality of the becoming and of the province of
the becoming, he still affirms that ideas which are substances ever at
rest and ever the same are the only actual. Now in this Plato is
formally consistent with himself, while he characterizes the _matériel_
of matter not as a positive substratum but as not-being, and guards
himself with the express affirmation that he does not consider the
sensible as being, but only as something similar to being. (_Rep._ X.
597.) The position laid down in the Parmenides is also consistent with
this, that a perfect philosophy should look upon the idea as the
cognizable in the phenomenal world, and should follow it out in the
smallest particulars until every part of being should be known and all
dualism removed. In fine, Plato in many of his expressions seems to
regard the world of sensation only as a subjective appearance, as a
product of the subjective notion, as the result of a confused way of
representing ideas. In this sense the phenomena are entirely dependent
on ideas; they are nothing but the ideas themselves in the form of not
being; the phenomenal world derives its whole existence from the ideal
world which appears in it. But yet when Plato calls the sensible a
mingling of the same with the different or the not-being (_Tim._ p. 35),
when he characterizes the ideas as vowels which go through every thing
like a chain (_Soph._ p. 253), when he himself conceives the possibility
that matter might offer opposition to the formative energy of ideas
(_Tim._ p. 56), when he speaks of an evil soul of the world (_de Leg._
X. 896), and gives intimations of the presence in the world of a
principle in nature hostile to God (_Polit._ p. 268), when he in the
Phædon treats of the relation between body and soul as one wholly
discordant and malignant,—in all this there is evidence enough, even
after allowing for the mythical form of the Timæus, and the rhetorical
composition which prevails in the Phædon, to substantiate the
contradiction mentioned above. This is most clear in the Timæus. Plato
in this dialogue makes the sensible world to be formed by a Creator
after the pattern of an idea, but in this he lays down as a condition
that this Demi-urge or Creator should find at hand a something which
should be apt to receive and exhibit this ideal image. This something
Plato compares to the matter which is fashioned by the artisan (whence
the later name _hyle_). He characterizes it as wholly undetermined and
formless, but possessing in itself an aptitude for every variety of
forms, an invisible and shapeless thing, a something which it is
difficult to characterize, and which Plato even does not seem inclined
very closely to describe. In this the actuality of matter is denied;
while Plato makes it equivalent to space it is only the place, the
negative condition of the sensible while it possesses a being only as it
receives in itself the ideal form. Still matter remains the objective
and phenomenal form of the idea: the visible world arises only through
the mingling of ideas with this substratum, and if matter be
metaphysically expressed as “the different,” then does it follow with
logical necessity in a dialectical discussion that it is just as truly
being as not-being. Plato does not conceal from himself this difficulty,
and therefore attempts to represent with comparisons and images this
presupposition of a _hyle_ which he finds it as impossible to do without
as to express in a conceivable form. If he would do without it he must
rise to the conception of an absolute creation, or consider matter as an
ultimate emanation from the absolute spirit, or else explain it as
appearance only. Thus the Platonic system is only a fruitless struggle
against dualism.

6. THE IDEA OF THE GOOD AND THE DEITY. If the true and the real is
exhibited in general conceptions which are so related to each other that
every higher conception embraces and combines under it several lower, so
that any one starting from a single idea may eventually discover all
(_Meno._ p. 81), then must the sum of ideas form a connected organism
and succession in which the lower idea appears as a stepping-stone and
presupposition to a higher. This succession must have its end in an idea
which needs no higher idea or presupposition to sustain it. This highest
idea, the ultimate limit of all knowledge, and itself the independent
ground of all other ideas, Plato calls the idea of the good, _i. e._ not
of the moral but of the metaphysical good. (_Rep._ VII. 517.)

What this good is in itself, Plato undertakes to show only in images.
“In the same manner as the sun,” he says in the Republic (VI. 506), “is
the cause of sight, and the cause not merely that objects are visible
but also that they grow and are produced, so the good is of such power
and beauty, that it is not merely the cause of science to the soul, but
is also the cause of being and reality to whatever is the object of
science, and as the sun is not itself sight or the object of sight but
presides over both, so the good is not science and truth but is superior
to both, they being not the good itself but of a goodly nature.” The
good has unconditioned worth, and gives to every other thing all the
value it possesses. The idea of the good excludes all presupposition. It
is the ultimate ground at the same time of knowing and of being, of the
perceiver and the perceived, of the subjective and the objective, of the
ideal and the real, though exalted itself above such a division. (_Rep._
VI. 508-517.) Plato, however, has not attempted a derivation of the
remaining ideas from the idea of the good; his course here is wholly an
empirical one; a certain class of objects are taken, and having referred
these to their common essence this is given out as their idea. He has
treated the individual conceptions so independently, and has made each
one so complete in itself, that it is impossible to find a proper
division or establish an immanent continuation of one into another.

It is difficult to say precisely what relation this idea of the good
bore to the Deity in the Platonic view. Taking every thing together it
seems clear that Plato regarded the two as identical, but whether he
conceived this highest cause to be a personal being or not is a question
which hardly admits of a definite answer. The logical result of his
system would exclude the personality of God. If only the universal (the
idea) is the true being, then can the only absolute idea, the Deity, be
only the absolute universal; but that Plato was himself conscious of
this logical conclusion we can hardly affirm, any more than we can say
on the other hand that he was clearly a theist. For whenever in a
mythical or popular statement he speaks of innumerable gods, this only
indicates that he is speaking in the language of the popular religion,
and when he speaks in an accurate philosophical sense, he only makes the
relation of the personal deity with the idea a very uncertain one. Most
probable, therefore, is it that this whole question concerning the
personality of God was not yet definitely before him, that he took up
the religious idea of God and defended it in ethical interest against
the anthropomorphism of the mythic poets, that he sought to establish it
by arguments drawn from the evidences of design in nature, and the
universal prevalence of a belief in a God, while as a philosopher he
made no use of it.

V. THE PLATONIC PHYSICS. 1. NATURE.—The connection between the Physics
and the Dialectics of Plato lies principally in two points—the
conception of becoming, which forms the chief property of nature, and
that of real being, which is at once the all sufficient and good, and
the true end of all becoming. Because nature belongs to the province of
irrational sensation we cannot look for the same accuracy in the
treatment of it, as is furnished in dialectics. Plato therefore applied
himself with much less zest to physical investigations than to those of
an ethical or dialectical character, and indeed only attended to them in
his later years. Only in one dialogue, the Timæus, do we find any
extended evolution of physical doctrines, and even here Plato seems to
have gone to his work with much less independence than his wont, this
dialogue being more strongly tinctured with Pythagoreanism than any
other of his writings. The difficulty of the Timæus is increased by the
mythical form on which the old commentators themselves have stumbled. If
we take the first impression that it gives us, we have, before the
creation of the world, a Creator as a moving and a reflecting principle,
with on the one side the ideal world existing immovable as the eternal
archetype, and on the other side, a chaotic, formless, irregular,
fluctuating mass, which holds in itself the germ of the material world,
but has no determined character nor substance. With these two elements
the Creator now blends the world-soul which he distributes according to
the relation of numbers, and sets it in definite and harmonious motion.
In this way the material world, which has become actual through the
arrangement of the chaotic mass into the four elements, finds its
external frame, and the process thus begun is completed in its external
structure by the formation of the organic world.

It is difficult to separate the mythical and the philosophical elements
in this cosmogony of the Timæus, especially difficult to determine how
far the historical construction, which gives a succession in time to the
acts of creation, is only a formal one, and also how far the affirmation
that matter is absolutely a not-being can be harmonized with the general
tenor of Plato’s statements. The significance of the world-soul is
clearer. Since the soul in the Platonic system is the mean between
spirit and body, and as in the same way mathematical relations, in their
most universal expression as numbers, are the mean between mere sensuous
existence and the pure idea (between the one and the many as Plato
expresses it), it would seem clear that the world-soul, construed
according to the relation of numbers, must express the relation of the
world of ideas to that of sense, in other words, that it denotes the
sensible world as a thought represented in the form of material
existence. The Platonic view of nature, in opposition to the mechanical
attempts to explain it of the earlier philosophers, is entirely
teleological, and based upon the conception of the good, or, on the
moral idea. Plato conceives the world as the image of the good, as the
work of the divine munificence. As it is the image of the perfect it is
therefore only one, corresponding to the idea of the single
all-embracing substance, for an infinite number of worlds is not to be
conceived as actual. For the same reason the world is spherical, after
the most perfect and uniform structure, which embraces in itself all
other forms; its movement is in a circle, because this, by returning
into itself, is most like the movement of reason. The particular points
of the Timæus, the derivation of the four elements, the separation of
the seven planets according to the musical scale, the opinion that the
stars were immortal and heavenly substances, the affirmation that the
earth holds an abiding position in the middle of the world, a view which
subsequently became elaborated to the Ptolemaic system, the reference of
all material figures to the triangle as the simplest plane figure, the
division of inanimate nature, according to the four elements, into
creatures of earth, water, and air, his discussions respecting organic
nature, and especially respecting the construction of the human body—all
these we need here only mention. Their philosophical worth consists not
so much in their material content, but rather in their fundamental idea,
that the world should be conceived as the image and the work of reason,
as an organism of order, harmony, and beauty, as the good actualizing

2. THE SOUL.—The doctrine of the soul, considering it simply as the
basis of a moral action, and leaving out of view all questions of
concrete ethics, forms a constituent element in the Platonic physics.
Since the soul is united to the body, it participates in the motions and
changes of the body, and is, in this respect, related to the perishable.
But in so far as it participates in the knowledge of the eternal, _i.
e._ in so far as it knows ideas, does there live within it a divine
principle—reason. Accordingly, Plato distinguishes two components of the
soul—the divine and the mortal, the rational and the irrational. These
two are united by an intermediate link, which Plato calls θυμὸς or
spirit, and which, though allied to reason is not reason itself, since
it is often exhibited in children and also in brutes, and since even men
are often carried away by it without reflection. This threefoldness,
here exhibited psychologically, is found, in different applications,
through all the last general period of Plato’s literary life. Based upon
the anthropological triplicate of reason, soul and body, it corresponds
also to the division of theoretical knowledge into science (or
thinking), correct opinions (or sense-perception), and ignorance, to the
triple ladder of eroticism in the Symposium and the mythological
representation connected with this of Poros, Eros, and Penia; to the
metaphysical triplicate of the ideal world, mathematical relations and
the sensible world; and furnishes ground for deriving the ethical
division of virtue and the political division of ranks.

So far as the soul is a mean between the spiritual and corporeal, may we
connect the Phædon’s proofs of its immortality with the psychological
view now before us. The common thought of these arguments is that the
soul, in its capacity for thinking, participates in the reason, and
being thus of an opposite nature to, and uncontrolled by the corporeal,
it may have an independent existence. The arguments are wholly
analytical, and possess no valid and universal proof; they proceed
entirely upon a _petitio principii_, they are derived partly from
mythical philosophemes, and manifest not only an obscure conception of
the soul, but of its relations to the body and the reason, and, so far
as the relation of the soul to the ideal world is in view, they furnish
in the best case only some proof for the immortality of him who has
raised his soul to a pure spirit, _i. e._ the immortality of the
philosopher. Plato was not himself deceived as to the theoretical
insufficiency of his arguments. Their number would show this, and,
besides, he expressly calls them proofs which amount to only human
probability, and furnish practical postulates alone. With this view he
introduces at the close of his arguments the myth of the lower world,
and the state of departed souls, in order, by complying with the
religious notions, and traditions of his countrymen, to gain a positive
support for belief in the soul’s immortality. Elsewhere Plato also
speaks of the lower world, and of the future rewards and punishments of
the good and the evil, in accordance with the popular notions, as though
he saw the elements of a divine revelation therein; he tells of
purifying punishment in Hades, analogous to a purgatory; he avails
himself of the common notion to affirm that shades still subject to the
corporeal principle will hover after death over their graves, seeking to
recover their lifeless bodies, and at times he dilates upon the
migration of the soul to various human and brute forms. On the whole, we
find in Plato’s proofs of immortality, as in his psychology generally,
that dualism, which here expresses itself as hatred to the corporeal,
and is connected with the tendency to seek the ultimate ground of evil
in the nature of the “different” and the sensible world.

VI. THE PLATONIC ETHICS.—The ground idea of the good, which in physics
served only as an inventive conception, finds now, in the ethics, its
true exhibition. Plato has developed it prominently according to three
sides, as good, as individual virtue, and as ethical world in the state.
The conception of duty remains in the background with him as with the
older philosophers.

1. GOOD AND PLEASURE.—That the highest good can be nothing other than
the idea of the good itself, has already been shown in the dialectics,
where this idea was suffered to appear as the ultimate end of all our
striving. But since the dialectics represent the supreme good as
unattainable by human reason, and only cognizable in its different modes
of manifestation, we can, therefore, only follow these different
manifestations of the highest good, which represent not the good itself,
but the good in becoming, where it appears as science, truth, beauty,
virtue, &c. We are thus not required to be equal to God, but only like
him (_Theæt._) It is this point of view which lies at the basis of the
graduated table of good, given in the Philebus.

In seeking the highest good, the conception of pleasure must be
investigated. The Platonic standpoint here is the attempt to strike a
balance between Hedonism, (the Cyrenian theory that pleasure is the
highest good, _cf._ § XIII. 3), and Cynicism. While he will not admit
with Aristippus that pleasure is the true good, neither will he find it
as the Cynics maintain, simply in the negation of its contrary, pain,
and thus deny that it belongs to the good things of human life. He finds
his refutation of Hedonism in the indeterminateness and relativity of
all pleasure, since that which at one time may seem as pleasure, under
other circumstances may appear as pain; and since he who chooses
pleasure without distinction, will find impure pleasures always combined
in his life with more or less of pain; his refutation of Cynicism he
establishes by showing the necessary connection between virtue and true
pleasure, showing that there is a true and enduring pleasure, the
pleasure of reason, found in the possession of truth and of goodness,
while a rational condition separate from all pleasure, cannot be the
highest good of a finite being. It is most prominently by this
distinction of a true and false, of a pure and impure pleasure, that
Plato adjusts the controversy of the two Socratic schools.—A detailed
exhibition of the Philebus we must here omit.—On the whole, in the
Platonic apprehension of pleasure, we cannot but notice that same
vacillation with which Plato every where treats of the relation between
the corporeal and the spiritual, at one time considering the former as a
hindrance to the latter, and at another as its serving instrument; now,
regarding it as a concurring cause to the good, and then, as the ground
of all evil; here, as something purely negative, and there, as a
positive substratum which supports all the higher intellectual
developments; and in conformity with this, pleasure is also considered
at one time as something equivalent to a moral act, and to knowledge,
and at another as the means and accidental consequence of the good.

2. VIRTUE.—In his theory of virtue, Plato is wholly Socratic. He holds
fast to the opinion that it is science (_Protagoras_), and therefore,
teachable (_Meno_), and as to its unity, it follows from the dialectical
principle that the one can be manifold, or the manifold one, that,
therefore, virtue must both be regarded as one, and also in a different
respect, as many. Plato thus brings out prominently the union and
connection of all virtues, and is fond of painting, especially in the
introductory dialogues, some single virtue as comprising in itself the
sum of all the rest. Plato follows for the most part the fourfold
division of virtues, as popularly made; and first, in the Republic (IV.
441), he attempts a scientific derivation of them, by referring to each
of the three parts of the soul its appropriate virtue. The virtue of the
reason he calls prudence or wisdom, the directing or measuring virtue,
without whose activity valor would sink to brute impulse, and calm
endurance to stupid indifference; the virtue of spirit is valor, the
help-meet of reason, or spirit (θυμὸς) penetrated by science, which in
the struggle against pleasure and pain, desire and fear, preserves the
rational intelligence against the alarms with which sensuous desires,
would seek to sway the soul; the virtue of the sensuous desires, and
which has to reduce these within true and proper grounds, is temperance,
and that virtue in fine to which belong the due regulation and mutual
adjustment of the several powers of the soul, and which, therefore,
constitutes the bond and the unity of the three other virtues, is

In this last conception, that of justice, all the elements of moral
culture meet together and centre, exhibiting the moral life of the
individual as a perfect whole, and then, by requiring an application of
the same principle to communities, the moral consideration is advanced
beyond the narrow circle of individual life. Thus is established the
whole of the moral world—Justice “in great letters,” the moral life in
its complete totality, is the state. In this is first actualized the
demand for the complete harmony of the human life. In and through the
state comes the complete formation of matter for the reason.

3. THE STATE.—The Platonic state is generally regarded as an ideal or
chimera, which it is impracticable to realize among men. This view of
the case has even been ascribed to Plato, and it has been said that in
his _Republic_ he attempted to sketch only a fine ideal of a state
constitution, while in the _Laws_ he traced out a practicable philosophy
of the state from the standpoint of the common consciousness. But in the
first place, this was not Plato’s true meaning. Although he acknowledges
that the state he describes cannot be found on earth, and has its
archetype only in heaven, by which the philosopher ought to form himself
(IX. 592), still he demands that efforts should be made to realize it
here, and he even attempts to show the conditions and means under which
such a state could be made actual, not overlooking in all this the
defects arising from the different characters and temperaments of men. A
composition, dissociated from the idea, could only appear untrue to a
philosopher like Plato, who saw the actual and the true only in the
idea; and the common view which supposes that he wrote his Republic in
the full consciousness of its impracticability, mistakes entirely the
standpoint of the Platonic philosophy. Still farther the question
whether such a state as the Platonic is attainable and the best, is
generally perverted. The Platonic state is the Grecian state-idea given
in a narrative form. It is no vain and powerless ideal to picture the
idea as a rational principle in every moment of the world’s history,
since the idea itself is that which is absolutely actual, that which is
essential and necessary in existing things. The truly ideal _ought_ not
to be actual, but _is_ actual, and the only actual; if an idea were too
good for existence, or the empirical actuality too bad for it, then were
this a fault of the ideal itself. Plato has not given himself up merely
to abstract theories, the philosopher cannot leap beyond his age, but
can only see and grasp it in its true content. This Plato has done. His
standpoint is his own age. He looks upon the political life of the
Greeks as then existing, and it is this life, exalted to its idea, which
forms the real content of the Platonic Republic. Plato has here
represented the Grecian morality in its substantial condition, If the
Platonic Republic seems prominently an ideal which can never be
realized, this is owing much less to its ideality than to the defects of
the old political life. The most prominent characteristic of the
Hellenic conception of the state, before the Greeks began to fall into
unbridled licentiousness, was the constraint thrown upon personal
subjective freedom, in the sacrifice of every individual interest to the
absolute sovereignty of the state. With Plato also, the state is every
thing. His political institutions, so loudly ridiculed by the ancients,
are only the undeniable consequences following from the very idea of the
Grecian state, which allowed neither to the individual citizen nor to a
corporation, any lawful sphere of action independent of itself.

The grand feature of the Platonic state is, as has been said, the
exclusive sacrifice of the individual to the state, the reference of
moral to political virtue. Since man cannot reach his complete
development in isolation, but only as a member of an organic society
(the state), Plato therefore concludes that the individual purpose
should wholly conform to the general aim, and that the state must
represent a perfect and harmonious unity, and be a counterpart of the
moral life of the individual. In a perfect state all things, joy and
sorrow, and even eyes, ears and hands, must be common to all, so that
the social life would be as it were the life of one man. This perfect
universality and unity, can only be actualized when every thing
individual and particular falls away, and hence the difficulty of the
Platonic Republic. Private property and domestic life (in place of which
comes a community of goods and of wives), the duty of education, the
choice of rank and profession, the arts and sciences, all these must be
subjected and placed under the exclusive and absolute control of the
state. The individual may lay claim only to that happiness which belongs
to him as a constituent element of the state. From this point Plato goes
down into the minutest particulars, and gives the closest directions
respecting gymnastics and music, which form the two means of culture of
the higher ranks; respecting the study of mathematics, and philosophy,
the choice of stringed instruments, and the proper measure of verse;
respecting bodily exercise and the service of women in war; respecting
marriage settlements, and the age at which any one should study
dialectics, marry, and beget children. The state with him is only a
great educational establishment, a family in the mass.—Lyric poetry he
would allow only under the inspection of competent judges. Epic and
dramatic poetry, even Homer and Hesiod, should be banished from the
state, since they rouse and lead astray the passions, and give unworthy
representations of the gods. Exhibitions of physical degeneracy or
weakness should not be tolerated in the Platonic state; deformed and
sickly infants should be abandoned, and food and attention should be
denied to the sick.—In all this we find the chief antithesis of the
ancient to the modern state. Plato did not recognize the will and choice
of the individual, and yet the individual has a right to demand this.
The problem of the modern state has been to unite these two sides, to
bring the universal end and the particular end of the individual into
harmony, to reconcile the highest possible freedom of the conscious
individual will, with the highest possible supremacy of the state.

The political institutions of the Platonic state are decidedly
aristocratic. Grown up in opposition to the extravagances of the
Athenian democracy, Plato prefers an absolute monarchy to every other
constitution, though this should have as its absolute ruler only the
perfect philosopher. It is a well-known expression of his, that the
state can only attain its end when philosophers become its rulers, or
when its present rulers have carried their studies so far and so
accurately, that they can unite philosophy with a superintendence of
public affairs (V. 473). His reason for claiming that the sovereign
power should be vested only in one, is the fact that very few are
endowed with political wisdom. This ideal of an absolute ruler who
should be able to lead the state perfectly, Plato abandons in the
_Laws_, in which work he shows his preference for a mixed constitution,
embracing both a monarchical and an aristocratic element. From the
aristocratic tendency of the Platonic ideal of a state, follows farther
the sharp division of ranks, and the total exclusion of the third rank
from a proper political life. In reality Plato makes but two classes in
his state, the subjects and the sovereign, analogous to his twofold
psychological division of sensible and intellectual, mortal and
immortal, but as in psychology he had introduced a middle step, spirit,
to stand between his two divisions there, so in the state he brings in
the military class between the ruler and those intended to supply the
bodily wants of the community. We have thus three ranks, that of the
ruler, corresponding to the reason, that of the watcher or warrior,
answering to spirit, and that of the craftsman, which is made parallel
to the appetites or sensuous desires. To these three ranks belong three
separate functions: to the first, that of making the law and caring for
the general good; to the second, that of defending the public welfare
from attacks of external foes; and to the third, the care of separate
interests and wants, as agriculture, mechanics, &c. From each of these
three ranks and its functions the state derives a peculiar virtue—wisdom
from the ruler, bravery from the warrior, and temperance from the
craftsman, so far as he lives in obedience to his rulers. In the proper
union of these three virtues is found the justice of the state, a virtue
which is thus the sum of all other virtues. Plato pays little attention
to the lowest rank, that of the craftsman, who exists in the state only
as means. He held that it was not necessary to give laws and care for
the rights of this portion of the community. The separation between the
ruler and the warrior is not so broad. Plato suffers these two ranks to
interpenetrate each other, and analogous to his original psychological
division, as though the reason were but spirit in the highest step of
its development, he makes the oldest and the best of the warriors rise
to the dignity and power of the rulers. The education of its warriors
should therefore be a chief care of the state, in order that their
spirit, though losing none of its peculiar energy, may yet be penetrated
by reason. The best endowed by nature and culture among the warriors,
may be selected at the age of thirty, and put upon a course of careful
training. When he has reached the age of fifty and looked upon the idea
of the good, he may be bound to actualize this archetype in the state,
provided always that every one wait his turn, and spend his remaining
time in philosophy. Only thus can the state be raised to the
unconditioned rule of reason under the supremacy of the good.



In the old Academy, we lose the presence of inventive genius; with few
exceptions we find here no movements of progress, but rather a gradual
retrogression of the Platonic philosophizing. After the death of Plato,
Speusippus, his nephew and disciple, held the chair of his master in the
Academy during eight years. He was succeeded by Xenocrates, after whom
we meet with Polemo, Crates, and Crantor. It was a time in which schools
for high culture were established, and the older teacher yielded to his
younger successor the post of instruction. The general characteristics
of the old Academy, so far as can be gathered from the scanty accounts,
were great attention to learning, the prevalence of Pythagorean
elements, especially the doctrine of numbers, and lastly, the reception
of fantastic and demonological notions, among which the worship of the
stars played a part. The prevalence of the Pythagorean doctrine of
numbers in the later instructions of the Academy, gave to mathematical
sciences, particularly arithmetic and astronomy, a high place, and at
the same time assigned to the doctrine of ideas a much lower position
than Plato had given it. Subsequently, the attempt was made to get back
to the unadulterated doctrine of Plato. Crantor is said to be the first
editor of the Platonic writings.

As Plato was the only true Socraticist, so was Aristotle the only
genuine disciple of Plato, though often abused by his fellow-disciples
as unfaithful to his master’s principles.

We pass on at once to him, without stopping now to inquire into his
relation to Plato, or the advance which he made beyond his predecessor,
since these points will come up before us in the exhibition of the
Aristotelian philosophy. (_See_ § XVI: III. 1.)



I. LIFE AND WRITINGS OF ARISTOTLE.—Aristotle was born 384 B. C. at
Stagira, a Greek colony in Thrace. His father, Nicomachus, was a
physician, and the friend of Amyntas, king of Macedonia. The former fact
may have had its influence in determining the scientific direction of
the son, and the latter may have procured his subsequent summons to the
Macedonian court. Aristotle at a very early age lost both his parents.
In his seventeenth year he came to Plato at Athens, and continued with
him twenty years. On account of his indomitable zeal for study, Plato
named him “the Teacher,” and said, upon comparing him with Xenocrates,
that the latter required the spur, the former the bit. Among the many
charges made against his character, most prominent are those of jealousy
and ingratitude towards his master, but most of the anecdotes in which
these charges are embodied merit little credence. It is certain that
Aristotle, after the death of Plato, stood in friendly relations with
Xenocrates; still, as a writer, he can hardly be absolved from a certain
want of friendship and regard towards Plato and his philosophy, though
all this can be explained on psychological grounds. After Plato’s death,
Aristotle went with Xenocrates to Hermeas, tyrant of Atarneus, whose
sister Pythias he married after Hermeas had fallen a prey to Persian
violence. After the death of Pythias he is said to have married his
concubine, Herpyllis, who was the mother of his son Nicomachus. In the
year 343 he was called by Philip of Macedon, to take the charge of the
education of his son Alexander, then thirteen years old. Both father and
son honored him highly, and the latter, with royal munificence,
subsequently supported him in his studies. When Alexander went to
Persia, Aristotle betook himself to Athens, and taught in the Lyceum,
the only gymnasium then vacant, since Xenocrates had possession of the
Academy, and the Cynics of the Cynosaerges. From the shady walks
περίπατοι of the Lyceum, in which Aristotle was accustomed to walk and
expound his philosophy, his school received the name of the Peripatetic.
Aristotle is said to have spent his mornings with his more mature
disciples, exercising them in the profoundest questions of philosophy,
while his evenings were occupied with a greater number of pupils in a
more general and preparatory instruction. The former investigations were
called acroamatic, the latter exoteric. He abode at Athens, and taught
thirteen years, and then, after the death of Alexander, whose
displeasure he had incurred, he is said to have been accused by the
Athenians of impiety towards the gods, and to have fled to Chalcis, in
order to escape a fate similar to that of Socrates. He died in the year
322 at Chalcis, in Eubæa.

Aristotle left a vast number of writings, of which the smaller (perhaps
a fourth), but unquestionably the more important portion have come down
to us, though in a form which cannot be received without some scruples.
The story of Strabo about the fate of the Aristotelian writings, and the
injury which they suffered in a cellar at Scepsis, is confessedly a
fable, or at least limited to the original manuscripts; but the
fragmentary and descriptive form which many among them, and even the
most important (_e. g._ the metaphysics) possess, the fact that
scattered portions of one and the same work (_e. g._ the ethics) are
repeatedly found in different treatises, the irregularities and striking
contradictions in one and the same writing, the disagreement found in
other particulars among different works, and the distinction made by
Aristotle himself between acroamatic and exoterical writings, all this
gives reason to believe that we have, for the most part, before us only
his oral lectures written down, and subsequently edited by his scholars.

PHILOSOPHY.—With Plato, philosophy had been national in both its form
and content, but with Aristotle, it loses its Hellenic peculiarity, and
becomes universal in scope and meaning; the Platonic dialogue changes
into barren prose; a rigid, artistic language takes the place of the
mythical and poetical dress; the thinking which had been with Plato
intuitive, is with Aristotle discursive; the immediate beholding of
reason in the former, becomes reflection and conception in the latter.
Turning away from the Platonic unity of all being, Aristotle prefers to
direct his attention to the manifoldness of the phenomenal; he seeks the
idea only in its concrete actualization, and consequently grasps the
particular far more prominently in its peculiar determinateness and
reciprocal differences, than in its connection with the idea. He
embraces with equal interest the facts given in nature, in history, and
in the inner life of man. But he ever tends toward the individual, he
must ever have a fact given in order to develope his thought upon it; it
is always the empirical, the actual, which solicits and guides his
speculation; his whole course is a description of the facts given, and
only merits the name of a philosophy because it comprehends the
empirical in its totality and synthesis; because it has carried out its
induction to the farthest extent. Only because he is the absolute
empiricist may Aristotle be called the truly philosopher.

This character of the Aristotelian philosophy explains at the outset its
encyclopedian tendency, inasmuch as every thing given in experience is
equally worthy of regard and investigation. Aristotle is thus the
founder of many courses of study unknown before him; he is not only the
father of logic, but also of natural history, empirical psychology, and
the science of natural rights.

This devotion of Aristotle to that which is given will also explain his
predominant inclination towards physics, for nature is the most
immediate and actual. Connected also with this is the fact that
Aristotle is the first among philosophers who has given to history and
its tendencies an accurate attention. The first book of the
_Metaphysics_ is also the first attempt at a history of philosophy, as
his politics is the first critical history of the different states and
constitutions. In both these cases he brings out his own theory only as
the consequence of that which has been historically given, basing it in
the former case upon the works of his predecessors, and in the latter
case upon the constitutions which lie before him.

It is clear that according to this, the method of Aristotle must be a
different one from that of Plato. Instead of proceeding like the latter,
synthetically and dialectically, he pursues for the most part an
analytic and regressive course, that is, going backward from the
concrete to its ultimate ground and determination. While Plato would
take his standpoint in the idea, in order to explain from this position
and set in a clearer light that which is given and empirical, Aristotle
on the other hand, starts with that which is given, in order to find and
exhibit the idea in it. His method is, hence, induction; that is, the
derivation of certain principles and maxims from a sum of given facts
and phenomena; his mode of procedure is, usually, argument, a barren
balancing of facts, phenomena, circumstances and possibilities. He
stands out for the most part only as the thoughtful observer. Renouncing
all claim to universality and necessity in his results, he is content to
have brought out that which has an approximative truth, and the highest
degree of probability. He often affirms that science does not simply
relate to the changeless and necessary, but also to that which
ordinarily takes place, that being alone excluded from its province,
which is strictly accidental. Philosophy, consequently, has with him the
character and worth of a reckoning of probabilities, and his mode of
exhibition assumes not unfrequently only the form of a doubtful
deliberation. Hence there is no trace of the Platonic ideals, hence,
also, his repugnance to a glowing and poetic style in philosophy, a
repugnance which, while indeed it induces in him a fixed, philosophical
terminology, also frequently leads him to mistake and misrepresent the
opinions of his predecessors. Hence, also, in whatever he treated, his
thorough adherence to that which is actually given.

Connected in fine with the empirical character of the Aristotelian
philosophizing, is the fragmentary form of his writings, and their want
of a systematic division and arrangement. Proceeding always in the line
of that which is given, from individual to individual, he considers
every province of the actual by itself, and makes it the subject of a
separate treatise; but he, for the most part, fails to indicate the
lines by which the different parts hang together, and are comprehended
in a systematic whole. Thus he holds up a number of co-ordinate
sciences, each one of which has an independent basis, but he fails to
give us the highest science which embraces them all. The principle is
sometimes affirmed that all the writings follow the idea of a whole; but
in their procedure there is such a want of all systematic connection,
and every one of his writings is a monograph so thoroughly independent
and complete in itself, that we are sometimes puzzled to know what
Aristotle himself received as a part of philosophy, and what he
excluded. We are never furnished with an independent scheme or outline,
we rarely find definite results or summary explanations, and even the
different divisions of philosophy which he gives, vary essentially from
one another. At one time he divides science into theoretical and
practical, at another, he adds to these two a poetical creative science,
while still again he speaks of the three parts of science, ethics,
physics, and logic. At one time he divides the theoretical philosophy
into logic and physics, and at another into theology, mathematics, and
physics. But no one of these divisions has he expressly given as the
basis on which to represent his system; he himself places no value upon
this method of division, and, indeed, openly declares himself opposed to
it. It is, therefore, only for the sake of uniformity that we can give
the preference here to the threefold division of philosophy as already
adopted by Plato.

word metaphysics was first furnished by the Aristotelian commentators.
Plato had used the term dialectics, and Aristotle had characterized the
same thing as “first philosophy,” while he calls physics the “second
philosophy.” The relation of this first philosophy to the other sciences
Aristotle determines in the following way. Every science, he says, must
have for investigation a determined province and separate form of being,
but none of these sciences reaches the conception of being itself. Hence
there is needed a science which should investigate that which the other
sciences take up hypothetically, or through experience. This is done by
the first philosophy which has to do with being as such, while the other
sciences relate only to determined and concrete being. The metaphysics,
which is this science of being and its primitive grounds, is the _first_
philosophy, since it is presupposed by every other discipline. Thus,
says Aristotle, if there were only a physical substance, then would
physics be the first and the only philosophy, but if there be an
immaterial and unmoved essence which is the ground of all being, then
must there also be an antecedent, and because it is antecedent, a
universal philosophy. The first ground of all being is God, whence
Aristotle occasionally gives to the first philosophy the name of

It is difficult to determine the relation between this first philosophy
as the science of the ultimate ground of things, and that science which
is ordinarily termed the logic of Aristotle, and which is exhibited in
the writings bearing the name of the _Organon_. Aristotle himself has
not accurately examined the relations of these two sciences, the reason
of which is doubtless to be found in the incomplete form of the
metaphysics. But since he has embraced them both under the same name of
logic, since the investigation of the essence of things (VII. 17), and
the doctrine of ideas (XIII. 5), are expressly called logical, since he
repeatedly attempts in the Metaphysics (_Book_ IV.), to establish the
logical principle of contradiction as an absolute presupposition for all
thinking and speaking and philosophizing, and employs the method of
argument belonging to that science which has to do with the essence of
things (III. 2. IV. 3), and since, in fine, the categories to which he
had already dedicated a separate book in the Organon are also discussed
again in the Metaphysics (_Book_ V.), it follows that this much at least
may be affirmed with certainty, that he would not absolutely separate
the investigations of the Organon from those of the Metaphysics, and
that he would not counsel the ordinary division of formal logic and
metaphysics, although he has omitted to show more clearly their inner

2. LOGIC.—The great problem both of the logical faculty and also of
logic both as science and art, consists in this, viz., to form and judge
of conclusions, and through conclusions to be able to establish a proof.
The conclusions, however, arise from propositions, and the propositions
from conceptions. According to this natural point of view, which lies in
the very nature of the case, Aristotle has divided the content of the
logical and dialectical doctrine contained in the different treatises of
the Organon. The first treatise in the Organon is that containing the
_categories_, a work which treats of the universal determinations of
being, and gives the first attempt at an ontology. Of these categories
Aristotle enumerates ten; essence, magnitude, quality, relation, the
where, the when, position, habit, action, and passion. The second
treatise (_de interpretatione_) investigates speech as the expression of
thought, and discusses the doctrine of the parts of speech, propositions
and judgments. The third are the analytic books, which show how
conclusions may be referred back to their principles and arranged in
order of their antecedence. The first Analytic contains in two books the
universal doctrine of the Syllogism. Conclusions are according to their
content and end either apodictic, which possess a certain and
incontrovertible truth, or dialectic, which are directed toward that
which may be disputed and is probable, or, finally, sophistic, which are
announced deceptively as correct conclusions while they are not. The
doctrine of apodictic conclusions and thus of proofs is given in the two
books of the second Analytic, that of dialectic, is furnished in the
eight books of the Topic, and that of sophistic in the treatise
concerning “Sophistical Convictions.”

A closer statement of the Aristotelian logic would be familiar to every
one, since the formal representations of this science ordinarily given,
employ for the most part only the material furnished by Aristotle. Kant
has remarked, that since the time of the Grecian sage, logic has made
neither progress nor retrogression. Only in two points has the formal
logic of our time advanced beyond that of Aristotle; first, in adding to
the categorical conclusion which was the only one Aristotle had in mind,
the hypothetical and disjunctive, and second, in adding the fourth to
the first three figures of conclusion. But the incompleteness of the
Aristotelian logic, which might be pardoned in the founder of this
science, yet abides, and its thoroughly empirical method not only still
continues, but has even been exalted to a principle by making the
antithesis, which Aristotle did not, between the form of a thought and
the content. Aristotle, in reality, only attempted to collect the
logical facts in reference to the formation of propositions, and the
method of conclusions; he has given in his logic only the natural
history of finite thinking. However highly now we may rate the
correctness of his abstraction, and the clearness with which he brings
into consciousness the logical operation of the understanding, we must
make equally conspicuous with this the want of all scientific derivation
and foundation. The ten categories which he, as already remarked, has
discussed in a separate treatise, he simply mentions, without furnishing
any ground or principle for this enumeration; that there are this number
of categories is only a matter of fact to him, and he even cites them
differently in different writings. In the same way also he takes up the
figures of the conclusion empirically; he considers them only as forms
and determinations of relation of the formal thinking, and continues
thus, although he allows the conclusion to stand for the only form of
science within the province of the logic of the understanding. Neither
in his Metaphysics nor in his Physics does he cite the rules of the
formal methods of conclusion which he develops in the Organon, clearly
proving that he has nowhere in his system properly elaborated either his
categories or his analytic; his logical investigations do not influence
generally the development of his philosophical thought, but have for the
most part only the value of a preliminary scrutiny.

3. METAPHYSICS.—Among all the Aristotelian writings, the Metaphysics is
least entitled to be called a connected whole; it is only a connection
of sketches, which, though they follow a certain fundamental idea,
utterly fail of an inner mediation and a perfect development. We may
distinguish in it seven distinct groups. (1) Criticism of the previous
philosophic systems viewed in the light of the four Aristotelian
principles, _Book_ I. (2) Positing of the apories or the philosophical
preliminary questions, III. (3) The principle of contradiction, IV. (4)
Definitions, V. (5) Examination of the conception of essence (οὐσία) and
conceivable being (the τί ἦν εἴναι) or the conception of matter (ὕλη),
form (εἶδος), and that which arises from the connection of these two
(σύνολον), VII. VIII. (6) Potentiality and actuality, IX. (7) The Divine
Spirit moving all, but itself unmoved, XII. (8) To these we may add the
polemic against the Platonic doctrine of ideas and numbers, which runs
through the whole Metaphysics, but is especially carried out in _Books_
XIII. and XIV.

(1) _The Aristotelian Criticism of the Platonic Doctrine of Ideas._—In
Aristotle’s antagonism to the Platonic doctrine of ideas, we must seek
for the specific difference between the two systems, a difference of
which Aristotle avails himself of every opportunity (especially
_Metaph._ I. and XIII.) to express. Plato had beheld every thing actual
in the idea, but the idea was to him a rigid truth, which had not yet
become interwoven with the life and the movement of existence. Such a
view, however, had this difficulty, the idea, however little Plato would
have it so, found standing over against it in independent being the
phenomenal world, while it furnished no principle on which the being of
the phenomenal world could be affirmed. This Aristotle recognizes and
charges upon Plato, that his ideas were only “immortalized things of
sense,” out of which the being and becoming of the sensible could not be
explained. In order to avoid this consequence, he himself makes out an
original reference of mind to phenomenon, affirming that the relation of
the two is, that of the actual to the possible, or that of form to
matter, and considering also mind as the absolute actuality of matter,
and matter, as the potentially mind. His argument against the Platonic
doctrine of ideas, Aristotle makes out in the following way.

Passing by now the fact that Plato has furnished no satisfactory proof
for the objective and independent reality of ideas, and that his theory
is without vindication, we may affirm in the first place that it is
wholly unfruitful, since it possesses no ground of explanation for
being. The ideas have no proper and independent content. To see this we
need only refer to the manner in which Plato introduced them. In order
to make science possible he had posited certain substances independent
of the sensible, and uninfluenced by its changes. But to serve such a
purpose, there was offered to him nothing other than this individual
thing of sense. Hence he gave to this individual a universal form, which
was with him the idea. From this it resulted, that his ideas can hardly
be separated from the sensible and individual objects which participate
in them. The ideal duality and the empirical duality is one and the same
content. The truth of this we can readily see, whenever we gain from the
adherents to the doctrine of ideas a definite statement respecting the
peculiar character of their unchangeable substances, in comparison with
the sensible and individual things which participate in them. The only
difference between the two consists in appending _per se_ to the names
expressing the respective ideas; thus, while the individual things are
_e. g._ man, horse, etc., the ideas are man _per se_, horse _per se_,
etc. There is only this formal change for the doctrine of ideas to rest
upon; the finite content is not removed, but is only _characterized_ as
perpetual. This objection, that in the doctrine of ideas we have in
reality only the sensible posited as a not-sensible, and endowed with
the predicate of immutability, Aristotle urges as above remarked when he
calls the ideas “immortalized things of sense,” not as though they were
actually something sensible and spacial, but because in them the
sensible individual loses at once its individuality, and becomes a
universal. He compares them in this respect with the gods of the popular
and anthropomorphical religion; as these are nothing but deified men, so
the ideas are only things of nature endowed with a supernatural potency,
a sensible exalted to a not-sensible. This identity between the ideas
and their respective individual things amounts moreover to this, that
the introduction of ideas doubles the objects to be known in a
burdensome manner, and without any good results. Why set up the same
thing over again? Why besides the sensible twofoldness and
threefoldness, affirm a twofoldness and threefoldness in the idea? The
adherents of the doctrine of ideas, when they posit an idea for every
class of natural things, and through this theory set up two equivalent
theories of sensible and not-sensible substances, seem therefore to
Aristotle like men who think they can reckon better with many numbers
than with few, and who therefore go to multiplying their numbers before
they begin their reckoning. Therefore again the doctrine of ideas is a
tautology, and wholly unfruitful of the explanation of being, “The ideas
give no aid to the knowledge of the individual things participating in
them, since the ideas are not immanent in these things, but separate
from them.” Equally unfruitful are the ideas when considered in
reference to the arising and departing of the things of sense. They
contain no principle of becoming, of movement. There is in them no
causality which might bring out the event, or explain the event when it
had actually happened. Themselves without motion and process, if they
had any effect, it could only be that of perfect repose. True, Plato
affirms in his Phædon that the ideas are causes both of being and
becoming, but in spite of the ideas, nothing ever _becomes_ without a
moving; the ideas, by their separation from the becoming, have no such
capacity to move. This indifferent relation of ideas to the actual
becoming, Aristotle brings under the categories, potentiality and
actuality, and farther says that the ideas are only potential, they are
only bare possibility and essentiality because they are wanting in
actuality.—The inner contradiction of the doctrine of ideas is in brief
this, viz., that it posits an individual immediately as a universal, and
at the same time pronounces the universal, the species, as numerically
an individual, and also that the ideas are set up on the one side as
separate individual substances, and on the other side as participant,
and therefore as universal. Although the ideas as the original
conceptions of species are a universal, which arise when being is fixed
in existence, and the one brought out in the many, and the abiding is
given a place in the changeable, yet can they not be defined as they
should be according to the Platonic notion, that they are individual
substances, for there can be neither definition nor derivation of an
absolute individual, since even the word (and only in words is a
definition possible) is in its nature a universal, and belongs also to
other objects, consequently, every predicate in which I attempt to
determine an individual thing cannot belong exclusively to that thing.
The adherents of the doctrine of ideas, are therefore not at all in a
condition to give an idea a conceivable termination; their ideas are
indefinable.—In general, Plato has left the relation of the individual
objects to ideas very obscure. He calls the ideas archetypes, and allows
that the objects may participate in them; yet are these only poetical
metaphors. How shall we represent to ourselves this “participation,”
this copying of the original archetype? We seek in vain for more
accurate explanations of this in Plato. It is impossible to conceive how
and why matter participates in the ideas. In order to explain this, we
must add to the ideas a still higher and wider principle, which contains
the cause for this “participation” of objects, for without a moving
principle we find no ground for “participation.” Alike above the idea
(_e. g._ the idea of man), and the phenomenon (_e. g._ the individual
man), there must stand a third common to both, and in which the two were
united, _i. e._ as Aristotle was in the habit of expressing this
objection, the doctrine of ideas leads to the adoption of a “third man.”
The result of this Aristotelian criticism is the immanence of the
universal in the individual. The method of Socrates in trying to find
the universal as the essence of the individual, and to give definitions
according to conception, was as correct (for no science is possible
without the universal) as the theory of Plato in exalting these
universal conceptions to an independent subsistence as real individual
substances, was erroneous. Nothing universal, nothing which is a kind or
a species, exists besides and separate from the individual; a thing and
its conception cannot be separated from each other. With these
principles Aristotle hardly deviated from Plato’s fundamental idea that
the universal is the only true being, and the essence of individual
things; it may rather be said that he has freed this idea from its
original abstraction, and given it a more profound mediation with the
phenomenal world. Notwithstanding his apparent contradiction to Plato,
the fundamental position of Aristotle is the same as that of his master,
viz., that the essence of a thing (τὸ τί ἐστιν, τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι) is known
and represented in the conception; Aristotle however recognizes the
universal, the conception to be as little separated from the determined
phenomenon as form from matter, and essence or substance (οὐσία) in its
most proper sense is, according to him, only that which cannot be
predicated of another, though of this other every remaining thing may be
predicated; it is that which is a this (τόδε τι), the individual thing
and not a universal.

(2.) _The four Aristotelian principles or causes, and the relation of
form and matter._—From the criticism of the Platonic doctrine of ideas
arose directly the groundwork of the Aristotelian system, the
determinations of matter (ὕλη), and form (εἶδος). Aristotle enumerates
four metaphysical principles or causes: matter, form, moving cause, and
end. In a house, for instance, the matter is the wood, the form is the
conception of the house, the moving cause is the builder, and the end is
the actual house. These four determinations of all being resolve
themselves upon a closer scrutiny into the fundamental antithesis of
matter and form. The conception of the moving cause is involved with the
two other ideal principles of form and of end. The moving cause is that
which has secured the transition of the incomplete actuality or
potentiality to the complete actuality, or induces the becoming of
matter to form. But in every movement of the incomplete to the complete,
the latter antedates in conception this movement, and is its motive. The
moving cause of matter is therefore form. So is man the moving and
producing cause of man; the form of the statue in the understanding of
the artist is the cause of the movement by which the statue is produced;
health must be in the thought of the physician before it can become the
moving cause of convalescence; so in a certain degree is medicine,
health, and the art of building the form of the house. But in the same
way, the moving or first cause is also identical with the final cause or
end, for the end is the motive for all becoming and movement. The moving
cause of the house is the builder, but the moving cause of the builder
is the end to be attained, _i. e._ the house. From such examples as
these it is seen that the determinations of form and end may be
considered under one, in so far as both are united in the conception of
actuality (ἐνέργεια), for the end of every thing is its completed being,
its conception or its form, the bringing out into complete actuality
that which was potentially contained in it. The end of the hand is its
conception, the end of the seed is the tree, which is at the same time
the essence of the seed. The only fundamental determinations, therefore,
which cannot be wholly resolved into each other, are matter and form.

Matter when abstracted from form in thought, Aristotle regarded as that
which was entirely without predicate, determination and distinction. It
is that abiding thing which lies at the basis of all becoming; but which
in its own being is different from every thing which has become. It is
capable of the widest diversity of forms, but is itself without
determinate form; it is every thing in possibility, but nothing in
actuality. There is a first matter which lies at the basis of every
determinate thing, precisely as the wood is related to the bench and the
marble to the statue. With this conception of matter Aristotle prides
himself upon having conquered the difficulty so frequently urged of
explaining the possibility that any thing can become, since being can
neither come out of being nor out of not-being. For it is not out of
not-being absolutely, but only out of that which as to actuality is
not-being, but which potentially is being, that any thing becomes.
Possible or potential being is no more not-being than actuality. Every
existing object of nature is hence but a potential thing which has
become actualized. Matter is thus a far more positive substratum with
Aristotle than with Plato, who had treated it as absolutely not-being.
From this is clearly seen how Aristotle could apprehend matter in
opposition to form as something positively negative and antithetic to
the form, and as its positive denial (στέρησις).

As matter coalesces with potentiality, so does form coincide with
actuality. It is that which makes a distinguishable and actual object, a
this (τόδε τι) out of the undistinguished and indeterminate matter; it
is the peculiar virtue, the completed activity, the soul of every thing.
That which Aristotle calls form, therefore, is not to be confounded with
what we perhaps may call shape; a hand severed from the arm, for
instance, has still the outward shape of a hand, but according to the
Aristotelian apprehension, it is only a hand now as to matter and not as
to form: an actual hand, a hand as to form, is only that which can do
the proper work of a hand. Pure form is that which, in truth, is without
matter (τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι); or, in other words, the conception of being,
the pure conception. But such pure form does not exist in the realm of
determined being; every determined being, every individual substance
(οὐσία), every thing which is a this, is rather a totality of matter
and form, a (σύνολον). It is, therefore, owing to matter, that being is
not pure form and pure conception; matter is the ground of the becoming,
the manifold, and the accidental; and it is this, also, which gives to
science its limits. For in precisely the measure in which the individual
thing bears in itself a material element is it uncognizable. From what
has been said, it follows that the opposition between matter and form is
a variable one, that being matter in one respect which in another is
form; building-wood, _e. g._ is matter in relation to the completed
house, but in relation to the unhewn tree it is form; the soul in
respect to the body is form, but in respect to the reason, which is the
form of form (εἶδος εἴδους) is it matter. On this standpoint the
totality of all existence may be represented as a ladder, whose lowest
step is a prime matter (πρώτη ὕλη), which is not at all form, and whose
highest step is an ultimate form which is not at all matter, but is pure
form (the absolute, divine spirit). That which stands between these two
points is in one respect matter, and in another respect form, _i. e._
the former is ever translating itself into the latter. This position,
which lies at the basis of the Aristotelian view of nature, is attained
analytically through the observation that all nature exhibits the
perpetual and progressive transition of matter into form, and shows the
exhaustless and original ground of things as it comes to view in ever
ascending ideal formations. That all matter should become form, and all
that is potential should be actual, and all that is should be known, is
doubtless the demand of the reason and the end of all becoming; yet is
this actually impracticable, since Aristotle expressly affirms that
matter as the antithesis, or denial of form, can never become wholly
actualized, and therefore can never be perfectly known. The Aristotelian
system ends thus like its predecessors, in the unsubdued dualism of
matter and form.

(3.) _Potentiality and Actuality_ (δύναμις and ἐνέργεια).—The relation
of matter to form, logically apprehended, is but the relation of
potentiality to actuality. These terms, which Aristotle first employed
according to their philosophical significance, are very characteristic
for his system. We have in the movement of potential being to actual
being the explicit conception of becoming, and in the four principles we
have a distribution of this conception in its parts. The Aristotelian
system is consequently a system of the becoming, in which the Heraclitic
principle appears again in a richer and profounder apprehension, as that
of the Eleatics had done with Plato. Aristotle in this has made no
insignificant step towards the subjection of the Platonic dualism. If
matter is the possibility of form, or reason becoming, then is the
opposition between the idea and the phenomenal world potentially
overcome, at least in principle, since there is one being which appears
both in matter and form only in different stages of development. The
relation of the potential to the actual Aristotle exhibits by the
relation of the unfinished to the finished work, of the unemployed
carpenter to the one at work upon his building, of the individual asleep
to him awake. Potentially the seed-corn is the tree, but the grown up
tree is it actually; the potential philosopher is he who is not at this
moment in a philosophizing condition; even before the battle the better
general is the potential conqueror; potentially is space infinitely
divisible; in fact every thing is potentially which possesses a
principle of motion, of development, or of change, and which, if
unhindered by any thing external, will be of itself. Actuality or
entelechy on the other hand indicates the perfect act, the end as
gained, the completely actual (the grown-up tree _e.g._ is the entelechy
of the seed-corn), that activity in which the act and the completeness
of the act fall together, _e. g._ to see, to think where he sees and he
has seen, he thinks and he has thought (the acting and the completeness
of the act) are one and the same, while in those activities which
involve a becoming, _e. g._ to learn, to go, to become well, the two are
separated. In this apprehension of form (or idea) as actuality or
entelechy, _i. e._ in joining it with the movement of the becoming, is
found the chief antagonism of the Aristotelian and Platonic systems.
Plato considers the idea as being at rest, and consisting for itself, in
opposition to the becoming and to motion; but with Aristotle the idea is
the eternal product of the becoming, it is an eternal energy, _i. e._ an
activity in complete actuality, it is not perfect being, but is being
produced in every moment and eternally, through the movement of the
potential to its actual end.

(4.) _The Absolute, Divine Spirit._—Aristotle has sought to establish
from a number of sides, the conception of the absolute spirit, or as he
calls it, the first mover, and especially by joining it to the relation
of potentiality and actuality.

(_a._) _The Cosmological Form._—The actual is ever antecedent to the
potential not only in conception (for I can speak of potentiality only
in reference to some activity) but also in time, for the acting becomes
actual only through an acting; the uneducated becomes educated through
the educated, and this leads to the claim of a first mover which shall
be pure activity. Or, again, it is only possible that there should be
motion, becoming, or a chain of causes, except as a principle of motion,
a mover exists. But this principle of motion must be one whose essence
is actuality, since that which only exists in possibility cannot alone
become actual, and therefore cannot be a principle of motion. All
becoming postulates with itself that which is eternal and which has not
become, that which itself unmoved is a principle of motion, a first

(_b._) _The Ontological Form._—In the same way it follows from the
conception of potentiality, that the eternal and necessary being cannot
be potential. For that which potentially is, may just as well either be
or not be; but that which possibly is not, is temporal and not eternal.
Nothing therefore which is absolutely permanent, is potential, but only
actual. Or, again, if potentiality be the first, then can there be no
possible existence, but this contradicts the conception of the absolute
or that which it is impossible should not be.

(_c._) _The Moral Form._—Potentiality always involves a possibility to
the most opposite. He who has the capacity to be well, has also the
capacity to be sick, but actually no man is at the same time both sick
and well. Therefore actuality is better than potentiality, and only it
can belong to the eternal.

(_d._) So far as the relation of potentiality and actuality is identical
with the relation of matter and form, we may apprehend in the following
way these arguments for the existence of a being which is pure
actuality. The supposition of an absolute matter without form (the πρώτη
ὕλη) involves also the supposition of an absolute form without matter (a
πρῶτον εἶδος). And since the conception of form resolves itself into the
three determinations, of the moving, the conceivable, and the final
cause, so is the eternal one the absolute principle of motion (the first
mover πρῶτον χινοῦν), the absolute conception or pure intelligible (the
pure τί ἧν εἶναι), and the absolute end.

All the other predicates of the first mover or the highest principle of
the world, follow from these premises with logical necessity. Unity
belongs to him, since the ground of the manifoldness of being lies in
the matter and he has no participation in matter; he is immovable and
abiding ever the same, since otherwise he could not be the absolute
mover and the cause of all becoming; he is life as active self-end and
actuality; he is at the same time intelligible and intelligence, because
he is absolutely immaterial and free from nature; he is active, _i. e._
thinking intelligence, because his essence is pure actuality; he is
self-contemplating intelligence, because the divine thought cannot
attain its actuality in any thing extrinsic, and because if it were the
thought of any thing other than itself, this would make it depend upon
some potential existence for its actualization. Hence the famed
Aristotelian definition of the absolute that it is the thought of
thought (νόησις νοήαεως), the personal unity of the thinking and the
thought, of the knowing and the known, the absolute subject-object. In
the Metaphysics (XII. 1.) we have a statement in order of these
attributes of the Divine Spirit, and an almost devout sketch of the
eternally blessed Deity, knowing himself in his eternal tranquillity as
the absolute truth, satisfied with himself, and wanting neither in
activity nor in any virtue.

As would appear from this statement, Aristotle has never fully developed
the idea of his absolute spirit, and still less has he harmonized it
with the fundamental principles and demands of his philosophy, although
many consequences of his system would seem to drive him to this, and
numerous principles which he has laid down would seem to prepare the way
for it. This idea is unexpectedly introduced in the twelfth book of the
Metaphysics simply as an assertion, without being farther and
inductively substantiated. It is at once attended with important
difficulties. We do not see why the ultimate ground of motion or the
absolute spirit must be conceived as a personal being; we do not see how
any thing can he a moving cause and yet itself unmoved; how it can be
the origin of all becoming, that is of the departing and arising, and
itself remain a changeless energy, a principle of motion with no
potentiality to be moved, for the moving thing must stand in a relation
of passive and active with the thing moved. Moreover, Aristotle, as
would follow from these contradictory determinations, has never
thoroughly and consistently determined the relation between God and the
world. He has considered the absolute spirit only as contemplative and
theoretical reason, from whom all action must be excluded because he is
perfect end in himself, but every action presupposes an end not yet
perfected; we have thus no true motive for his activity in reference to
the world. He cannot be truly called the first mover in his theoretical
relation alone, and since he is in his essence extra-mundane and
unmoved, he cannot once permeate the life of the world with his
activity; and since also matter on one side never rises wholly to form,
we have, therefore, here again the unreconciled dualism between the
Divine spirit and the unmistakable reality of matter. Many of the
arguments which Aristotle brings against the gods of Anaxagoras may be
urged against his own theory.

IV. THE ARISTOTELIAN PHYSICS.—The Aristotelian Physics, which embraces
the greater portion of his writings, follows the becoming and the
building up of matter into form, the course through which nature as a
living being progresses in order to become individual soul. All becoming
has an end; but end is form, and the absolute form is spirit. With
perfect consistency, therefore, Aristotle regards the human individual
of the male sex as the end and the centre of earthly nature in its
realized form. All else beneath the moon is, as it were, an unsuccessful
attempt of nature to produce the male human, a superfluity which arises
from the impotence of nature to subdue the whole of matter and bring it
into form. Every thing which does not gain the universal end of nature
must be regarded as incomplete, and is properly an exception or
abortion. For instance, he calls it an abortion when a child does not
resemble its father; and the female child he looks upon as an abortion
in a less degree, which he accounts for by the insufficient energy of
the male as the forming principle. In general, Aristotle regards the
female as imperfect in comparison with the male, an imperfection which
belongs in a higher degree to all animals except man. If nature did her
work with perfect consciousness, then were all these mistakes, these
incomplete and improper formations inexplicable, but she is an artist
working only after an unconscious impulse, and does not complete her
work with a clear and rational insight.

1. The universal conditions of all natural existence, _motion_,
_matter_, _space_ and _time_, Aristotle investigates in the books of
Physics. These physical conceptions may, moreover, be reduced to the
metaphysical notions of potentiality and actuality; motion is
accordingly defined as the activity of being potentially, and is
therefore a mean between the merely potential entity and the perfectly
realized activity;—space is the possibility of motion and possesses,
therefore, potentially, though not actively, the property of infinite
divisibility; time is in the same way the infinitely divisible,
expressing the measure of motion in number, and is the number of motion
according to before and after. All three are infinite, but the infinite
which is represented in them is only potentially but not actually a
whole: it comprehends nothing, but is itself comprehended,—a fact
mistaken by those who are accustomed to extol the infinite as though it
comprehended and held every thing in itself, because it had some
similarity with the whole.

2. From his conception of motion Aristotle derives his view of the
_collective universe_, as brought out in his books _De Cælo_. The most
perfect motion is the circular, because this is constant, uniform, and
ever returning into itself. The world as a whole is therefore
conditioned by the circular motion, and being a whole complete in
itself, it has a spherical form. But because the motion which returns
into itself is better than every other, it follows, from the same
ground, that in this spherical universe the better sphere will be in the
circumference where the circular motion is most perfect, and the
inferior one will arrange itself around the centre of the universal
sphere. The former is heaven, the latter is earth, and between the two
stand the planetary spheres. Heaven, as the place of circular motion,
and the scene of unchangeable order, stands nearest the first moving
cause, and is under its immediate influence; it is the place where the
ancients, guided by the correct tradition of a lost wisdom, have, placed
the Divine abode. Its parts, the fixed stars, are passionless and
eternal essences, which have attained the best end, which must be
eternally conceived in a tireless activity, and which, though not
clearly cognizable, are yet much more divine than man, A lower sphere,
next to that of the fixed stars, is the sphere of the planets, among
which, besides the five known to the ancients, he reckons the sun and
the moon. This sphere stands a little removed from the greatest
perfection: instead of moving directly from right to left, as do the
fixed stars, the planets move in contrary directions and in oblique
orbits; they serve the fixed stars, and are ruled by their motion.
Lastly, the earth is in the centre of the universe, farthest removed
from the first mover, and hence partaking in the smallest degree of the
Divine. There are thus three kinds of being, exhibiting three stages of
perfection, and necessary for the explanation of nature; first, the
absolute spirit or God, an immaterial being, who, himself unmoved,
produces motion; second, the super-terrestrial region of the heavens, a
being which is moved and which moves, and which, though not without
matter, is eternal and unchangeable, and possesses ever a circular
motion; and, lastly, in the lowest course this earth, a changeful being,
which has only to play the passive part of being moved.

3. _Nature in a strict sense_, the scene of elemental working,
represents to us a constant and progressive transition of the elementary
to the vegetative, and of the vegetative to the animal world. The lowest
step is occupied by the inanimate bodies of nature, which are simple
products of the elements mingling themselves together, and have their
entelechy only in the determinate combinations of these elements, but
whose energy consists only in striving after a fitting place in the
universe, and in resting there so far as they reach it unhindered. But
now such a mere external entelechy is not possessed by the living
bodies; within them dwells a motion as organizing principle by which
they attain to actuality, and which as a preserving activity develops in
them towards a perfected organization,—in a word they have a soul, for a
soul is the entelechy of an organic body. In plants we find the soul
working only as persevering and nourishing energy: the plant has no
other function than to nourish itself and to propagate its kind; among
animals—where we find a progress according to the mode of their
reproduction—the soul appears as sensitive; animals have sense, and are
capable of locomotion; lastly, the human soul is at the same time
nutritive, sensitive, and cognitive.

4. _Man_, as the end of all nature, embraces in himself the different
steps of development in which the life of nature is exhibited. The
division of the faculties of the soul must therefore be necessarily
regulated, according to the division of living creatures. As the
nutritive faculty is alone the property of vegetables, and sensation, of
animals, while to the more perfect animals locomotion also belongs, so
are these three activities also development steps of the human soul, the
antecedent being the necessary condition of, and presupposed in time by,
the subsequent, while the soul itself is nothing other than the union of
these different activities of an organic body in one common end, as the
entelechy of the organic body. The fourth step, thought or reason,
which, added to the three others, constitutes the peculiarity of the
human soul, forms alone an exception from the general law. It is not a
simple product of the lower facilities of the soul, it does not stand
related to them simply as a higher stage of development, nor simply as
the soul to the body, as the end to the instrument, as actuality to
possibility, as form to matter. But as pure intellectual activity, it
completes itself without any mediation of a bodily organ; as the reason
comes into the body from without, so is it separable from the body, and
therefore has it no inner connection with the bodily functions, but is
something wholly foreign in nature. True, there exists a connection
between thought and sensation, for while the sensations are outwardly
divided, according to the different objects of sense, yet internally
they meet in one centre, as a common sense. Here they become changed
into images and representations, which again become transmuted into
thoughts, and so it might seem as if thought were only the result of the
sensation, as if intelligence were passively determined; (here we might
notice the proposition falsely ascribed to Aristotle: _nihil est in
intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu_, and also the well-known though
often misunderstood comparison of the soul with an unwritten tablet,
which only implies this much, viz., that as the unwritten tablet is
potentially but not actually a book, so does knowledge belong
potentially though not actually to the human reason; fundamentally and
radically the thought may have in itself universal conceptions, so far
as it has the capacity to form them, but not actually, nor in a
determined or developed form). But this passivity presupposes rather an
activity; for if the thought in its actuality, in that it appears as
knowledge, _becomes_ all forms and therefore all things, then must the
thought _constitute itself_ that which it becomes, and therefore all
passively determined human intelligence rests on an originally active
intelligence, which exists as self-actualizing possibility and pure
actuality, and which, as such, is wholly independent of the human body,
and has not its entelechy in it but in itself, and is not therefore
participant in the death of the body, but lives on as universal reason,
eternal and immortal. The Aristotelian dualism here again appears.
Manifestly this active intelligence stands related to the soul as God to
nature. The two sides possess no essential relation to each other. As
the Divine spirit could not enter the life of the world, so is the human
spirit unable to permeate the life of sense; although it is determined
as something passionless and immaterial, still must it as soul be
connected with matter, and although it is pure and self-contemplative
form, still it should be distinguished from the Divine spirit which is
its counterpart; the want of a satisfactory mediation on the side of the
human and on that of the Divine, is in these respects unmistakable.

guided by his tendency towards the natural, has more closely connected
ethics and physics than either of his predecessors, Socrates or Plato,
had done. While Plato found it impossible to speak of the good in man’s
moral condition, disconnected from the idea of the good in itself,
Aristotle’s principal object is to determine what is good for man
solely; and he supposes that the good in itself, the idea of the good,
in no way facilitates the knowledge of that good, which alone is
attainable in practical life. It is only the latter, the moral element
in the life of men, and not the good in the great affairs of the
universe, with which ethics has to do. Aristotle therefore considers the
good especially in its relation to the natural condition of men, and
affirms that it is the end towards which nature herself tends. Instead
of viewing the moral element as something purely intellectual, he rather
apprehends it as only the bloom of the physical, which here becomes
spiritualized and ethical; instead of making virtue to be knowledge, he
treats it as the normal perfection of the natural instinct. That man is
_by nature_ a political animal, is his fundamental proposition for the
doctrine of the state.

From this connection of the ethical and the physical, arose the
objections which Aristotle urged against the Socratic conception of
virtue. Socrates had looked to the dialectical exclusively for the
ground of all morality, and had accordingly made virtue and knowledge
one. But in this, said Aristotle, the pathological element which is
associated by nature with every moral act, is destroyed. It is not
reason, but the circumstances and natural bias of the soul which are the
first ground of virtue. There is an instinct in the soul which at first
strives unconsciously after the good, which is only subsequently sought
with the full moral insight. Moral virtue arises first from that which
is natural. It is on this ground, also, that Aristotle combats the
notion that virtue may be learned. It is not through the perfection of
knowledge, but by exercise that we become acquainted with the good. It
is by a practice of moral acts that we become virtuous, just as by a
practice of building and of music we become architects and musicians;
for the habit which is the ground of moral constancy, is only a fruit of
the abundant repetition of a moral action. Hence it is that originally
we have our virtuous or our vicious dispositions in our power, but as
soon as they are formed either to virtue or to vice, we are no longer
able to control them. It is by three things, therefore, nature, habit,
and reason, that man becomes good. The standpoint of Aristotle is in
these respects directly opposed to that of Socrates. While Socrates
regarded the moral and the natural as two opposites, and made the moral
conduct to be the consequent of a rational enlightenment, Aristotle
treated both as different steps of development, and reversing the order
of Socrates, made the rational enlightenment in moral things consequent
upon the moral conduct.

2. THE HIGHEST GOOD.—Every action has an end; but since every end is
only itself a means to some other, we need therefore something after
which we can strive for its own sake, and which is a good absolutely, or
a best. What now is this highest good and supreme object of human
pursuit? In name, at least, all men are agreed upon it, and call it
happiness, but what happiness is, is a much disputed point. If asked in
what human happiness consists, the first characteristic given would be
that it belongs alone to the peculiar being of man. But sensation is not
peculiar to man, for he shares this with the brute. A sensation of
pleasure, therefore, which arises when some desire is gratified, may be
the happiness of the brute, but certainly does not constitute the
essential of human happiness. Human happiness must express the
completeness of intelligent existence, and because intelligence is
essentially activity, therefore the happiness of man cannot consist in
any merely passive condition, but must express a completeness of human
action. Happiness therefore is a well-being, which is at the same time a
well-doing, and it is a well-doing which satisfies all the conditions of
nature, and which finds the highest contentment or well-being in an
unrestrained energy. Activity and pleasure are thus inseparably bound
together by a natural bond, and happiness is the result of their union
when they are sustained through a perfect life. Hence the Aristotelian
definition of happiness. It is a perfect practical activity in a perfect

Although it might seem from this as though Aristotle placed the
happiness of man in the natural activity of the soul, and regarded this
as self-sufficient, still he is not blind to the fact that perfect
happiness is dependent on other kinds of good whose possession is not
absolutely within our power. It is true he expresses an opinion, that
outward things in moderation are sufficient, and that only great success
or signal reverses materially influence the happens of life; still he
holds that wealth, the possession of friends and children, noble birth,
beauty of body, etc., are more or less necessary conditions of
happiness, though these are partly dependent on accidental
circumstances. These wavering and inconsistent views of Aristotle
respecting the nature of happiness, naturally rise from his empirical
method of investigation. Careful in noting every thing which our limited
experience seems to utter, he expressly avoids making either virtue or
pleasure his principle, because actual experience shows the separation
of the two. Although therefore he gives directions in general to strive
after that pleasure in which the good man delights, or which is
connected with a virtuous activity, yet is pleasure with him an end for
its own sake, and not merely an accident of virtue, an empiricist,
Aristotle is here also a dualist, while the Stoics and Epicureans have
respectively taken and held fast to each of the two sides.

3. CONCEPTION OF VIRTUE.—As has already been seen in the Aristotelian
Polemic against Socrates, virtue is the product of an oft-repeated moral
action, a condition acquired through practice, a moral dexterity of the
soul. The nature of this dexterity is seen in the following way: every
action completes something as its work; but now if a work is imperfect
when it has either a want or a superfluity, so also is every action
imperfect in so far as there is in it either too little or too much; its
perfection, therefore, is only found as it contains the right degree,
the true mean between the too much and too little. Accordingly, virtue
in general may be explained as the observation of the right mean in
action, by which is meant not the arithmetical or absolute mean, but the
one relative to ourselves. For what is enough for one individual is
insufficient for another. The virtue of a man, of a woman, of a child,
and of a slave is respectively different. Thus, virtue depends upon
time, circumstance, and relation. The determination of this correct mean
will always waver. In the impossibility of an active and exhaustive
formula, we can only say respecting it that it is the correct mean as
determined by a correct practical insight which is seen to be such by
the intelligent man.

It follows from this general conception of virtue, that there will be as
many separate virtues as there are circumstances of life, and as men are
ever entering into new relations, in which it becomes difficult
practically to determine the correct method of action, Aristotle, in
opposition to Plato, would limit the field of separate virtues by no
definite number. Only certain fundamental virtues can be named according
as there are certain fixed and fundamental relations among men. For
instance, man has a fixed relation to pleasure and pain. In relation to
pain, the true moral mean is found in neither fearing nor courting it,
and this is valor. In relation to pleasure, the true mean standing
between greediness and indifference is temperance. In social life, the
moral mean is between doing and suffering wrong, which is justice. In a
similar way many other virtues might be characterized, each one of them
standing as a mean between two vices, the one of which expresses a want
and the other a superfluity. A closer exhibition of the Aristotelian
doctrine of virtue would have much psychological and linguistic
interest, though but little philosophical worth. Aristotle takes the
conception of his virtues more from the use of language than from a
thoroughly applied principle of classification. His classification of
virtues is, therefore, without any stable ground, and is differently
given in different places. The conception of the correct mean which
Aristotle makes the measure of a moral act is obviously unworthy of a
systematic representation, for as it cannot be determined how the
intelligent man would act in every case, there could never be given any
specific directions how others should act. In fine, the criterion of
virtue as the correct mean between two vices cannot be always applied
for in the virtue of wisdom, _e. g._ which Aristotle describes as the
mean between simplicity and cunning, there is no such thing as too much.

4. THE STATE.—Aristotle, like Plato, makes the highest condition of
moral virtue attainable only through political life. The state exists
before the individual, as the whole is prior to its parts. The
rationality and morality of the state is thus antecedent to that of the
individual. Hence in the best state, moral and political virtue, the
virtue of the man and the virtue of the citizen are one and the same
thing, although in states as they are, the good citizen is not
necessarily also the good man. But though this principle harmonized with
Plato, yet Aristotle, at whose time the old aboriginal states had
already begun their process of dissolution, cherished a very different
view concerning the relation of the individual and the family to the
state. He allows to both these an incomparably greater consideration,
and yields to them a far wider field of independent action. Hence he
combats Plato’s community of wives and goods, not simply on the ground
of its practicability, but also on the ground of its principle, since
the state cannot be conceived as a strict unit, or as possessing any
such centralization as would weaken or destroy individual activity. With
Plato the state is but the product of the philosophical reflection,
while with Aristotle it results from given circumstances, from history
and experience, and he therefore wholly omits to sketch a model state or
a normal constitution, but carefully confines his attention to those
which actually exist. Although the ideal of a state constitution in the
form of a limited monarchy is unmistakably in his mind, still he
contents himself with portraying the different kinds of polities in
their peculiarities, their origin, and their reciprocal transitions. He
does not undertake to declare which is the best state absolutely, since
this depends upon circumstances, and one constitution is not adapted for
every state. He simply attempts to show what form of the state is
relatively the best and the most advisable under certain historical
circumstances, and under given natural, climatic, geographic, economic,
and intellectual conditions. In this he is faithful to the character of
his whole philosophy. Standing on the basis of the empirical, he
advances here as elsewhere, critically and reflectively, and in despair
of attaining the absolutely true and good, he seeks for these
relatively, with his eye fixed only on the probable and the practicable.

VI.—THE PERIPATETIC SCHOOL.—The school of Aristotle, called the
Peripatetic, can here only be mentioned; the want of independence in its
philosophizing, and the absence of any great and universal influence,
rendering it unworthy an extended notice. Theophrastus, Eudemus, and
Strato are its most famous leaders. Like most philosophical schools, it
confines itself chiefly to a more thorough elaboration and explanation
of the system of its master. In some empirical provinces, especially the
physical, the attempt was made to carry out still further the system,
while at the same time its speculative basis was set aside and

energy of Grecian philosophy expends itself with Aristotle,
contemporaneously and in connection with the universal decay of Grecian
life and spirit. Instead of the great and universal systems of a Plato
and an Aristotle, we have now systems of a partial and one-sided
character, corresponding to that universal breach between the subject
and the objective world which characterized the civil, religious, and
social life of this last epoch of Greece, the time succeeding Alexander
the Great. That subjectivity, which had been first propounded by the
Sophists, was at length, after numerous struggles, victorious, though
its triumph was gained upon the ruins of the Grecian civil and artistic
life; the individual has become emancipated, the subject is no longer to
be given up to the objective world, the liberated subjectivity must now
be perfected and satisfied. This process of development is seen in the
post-Aristotelian philosophy, though it finds its conditioning cause in
the character of the preceding philosophical strivings. The dualism
which formed the chief want of the systems both of Plato and Aristotle,
has forced itself upon our attention at every step. The attempt which
had been made, with the greatest expenditure of which the Grecian mind
was capable, to refer back to one ultimate ground both subject and
object, mind and matter, had produced no satisfactory result; and these
two oppositions, around which all previous philosophy had struggled in
vain, still remained disconnected. Wearied with the fruitless attempts
at mediation, the subject now breaks with the objective world. Its
attention is directed towards itself in its own self-consciousness. The
result of this gives us either STOICISM, where the moral subject appears
in the self-sufficiency of the sage to whom every external good and
every objective work is indifferent, and who finds a good only in a
moral activity; or EPICUREANISM, where the subject delights itself in
the inner feeling of pleasure and the calm repose of a satisfied heart,
enjoying the present and the past, and never fearing the future while it
sees in the objective world only a means by which it can utter itself;
or, again, Scepticism, where the subject, doubting and rejecting all
objective truth and science, appears in the apathy of the Sceptic, who
has broken both theoretically and practically with the objective world.
In fine, NEW-PLATONISM, the last of the ancient philosophical systems,
bears this same character of subjectivity, for this whole system turns
upon the exaltation of the subject to the absolute, and wherever it
speculates respecting God and his relation to man, it is alone in order
to establish the progressive transition from the absolute object to the
human personality. The ruling principle in it all is the interest of the
subjectivity, and the fact that in this system there are numerous
objective determinations, is only because the subject has become



Zeno, of Cittium, a city of Cyprus, an elder contemporary of Antigonus
Gonatas, king of Macedon, is generally given as the founder of the
Stoical school. Deprived of his property by shipwreck, he took refuge in
philosophy, incited also by an inner bias to such pursuits. He at first
became a disciple of the Cynic Crateas, then of Stilpo, one of the
Megarians, and lastly he betook himself to the Academy, where he heard
the lessons of Xenocrates and Polemo. Hence the eclectic character of
his teaching. It has in fact been charged against him, that differing
but little if at all from the earlier schools, he attempted to form a
school of his own, with a system wherein he had changed nothing but
names. He opened a school at Athens, in the “variegated porch,” so
called from the paintings of Polygnotus, with which it was adorned,
whence his adherents received the name of “philosophers of the porch”
(Stoics). Zeno is said to have presided over his school for fifty-eight
years, and at a very advanced age to have put an end to his existence.
He is praised for the temperance and the austerity of his habits, while
his abstemiousness is proverbial. The monument in his honor, erected
after his death by the Athenians, at the instance of Antigonus, bore the
high but simple eulogium that his life had been in unison with his
philosophy. _Cleanthes_ was the successor of Zeno in the Stoic school,
and faithfully carried out the method of his master. Cleanthes was
succeeded by _Chrysippus_, who died about 208 B. C. He has been regarded
as the chief prop of this school, in which respect it was said of him,
that without a Chrysippus there would never have been a Porch. At all
events, as Chrysippus was an object of the greatest veneration, and of
almost undisputed authority with the later Stoics, he ought to be
considered as the principal founder of the school. He was a writer so
voluminous, that his works have been said to amount to seven hundred and
five, among which, however, were repeated treatises upon the same
propositions, and citations without measure from poets and historians,
given to prove and illustrate his opinions. Not one of all his writings
has come down to us. Chrysippus closes the series of the philosophers
who founded the Porch. The later heads of the school, as _Panætius_, the
friend of the younger Scipio (his famous work De Officiis, Cicero has
elaborated in his treatise of the same name), and _Posidonius_, may be
classed with Cicero, Pompeius, and others, and were eclectic in their
teachings. The Stoics have connected philosophy most intimately with the
duties of practical life. Philosophy is with them the practice of
wisdom, the exercise of virtue. Virtue and science are with them one, in
so far at least that they divide virtue in reference to philosophy into
physical, ethical, and logical. But though they go on according to this
threefold division, and treat of logic and physics, and though they even
rank physics higher than either of the other sciences, regarding it as
the mother of the ethical and the science of the Divine, yet do we find
their characteristic standpoint most prominently in their theory of

1. LOGIC.—We have already said that it is the breach between subject and
object, which forms the basis of all post-Aristotelian philosophy. The
beginning of this philosophy of subjectivity is found with the Stoics.
The feature most worthy of notice in their logic, is the striving after
a subjective criterion of the truth, by which they might distinguish the
true representation from the false. Since they limited all scientific
knowledge to the knowledge of the senses, they found this criterion in
that which was evident in the sensuous impression. They conceived that
they had answered the whole problem, in affirming that the true or
conceivable representation reveals not only itself, but also its object:
it, they said, is nothing else than a representation which is produced
by a present object in a manner like itself.

2. PHYSICS.—In their physics, where they follow for the most part
Heraclitus, the Stoics are distinguished from their predecessors,
especially from Plato and Aristotle, by their thoroughly carried out
proposition that nothing uncorporeal exists, that every thing essential
is corporeal (just as in their logic they had sought to derive all
knowledge from the sensuous perception). This sensualism or materialism
of the Stoics which, as we have seen in their logic, lies at the basis
of their theory of knowledge, might seem foreign to all their moral and
idealistic tendencies, but is clearly explained from their subjective
standpoint, for, when the thought has become so intensely engrossed in
the subject, the objective world can only be regarded as a corporeal and
material existence. The most immediate consequence of such a view is
their pantheism. Aristotle before them had separated the Divine Being
from the world, as the pure and eternal form from the eternal matter;
but so far as this separation implied a distinction which was not simply
logical, but actual and real, the Stoics would not admit it. It seemed
to them impossible to dissever God from matter, and they therefore
considered God and the world as power and its manifestation, and thus as
one. Matter is the passive ground of things, the original substratum for
the divine activity: God is the active and formative energy of matter
dwelling within it, and essentially united to it: the world is the body
of God, and God is the soul of the world. The Stoics, therefore,
considered God and matter as one identical substance, which, on the side
of its passive and changeable capacity they call matter, and on the side
of its active and changeless energy, God. But since they, as already
remarked, considered the world as ensouled by God in the light of a
living and rational being, they were obliged to treat the conception of
God not only in a physical but also in its ethical aspect. God is not
only in the world as the ruling and living energy of this great [ζῷον
Greek: zôon] (animal), but he is also the universal reason which rules
the whole world and penetrates all matter; he is the gracious Providence
which cares for the individual and the whole; he is wise, and is the
ground of that natural law which commands the good and forbids the evil;
he punishes and rewards; he possesses a perfect and blessed life. But
accustomed to regard every thing spiritual only in a sensuous way, the
Stoics were obliged to clothe this ideal conception of God in a material
form, apprehending it as the vital warmth or an original fire, analogous
to the view of the earlier natural philosophers, who held that the soul,
and even reason itself, consisted in the vital warmth. The Stoics
express this thought in different ways. At one time they call God the
rational breath which passes through all nature; at another, the
artistic fire which fashions or begets the universe; and still again the
ether; which, however, they hardly distinguish from the artistic fire.
From these varying views, we see that it did not belong to the Stoics to
represent the conception of God in any determinate kind of existence.
They availed themselves of these expressions only to indicate that God,
as the universal animating energy in the world, could not be
disconnected from a corporeal agency. This identification of God and the
world, according to which the Stoics regarded the whole formation of the
universe as but a period in the development of God, renders their
remaining doctrine concerning the world very simple. Every thing in the
world seemed to them to be permeated by the divine life, and was
regarded as but the flowing out of this most perfect life through
certain channels, until it returned in a necessary circle back again to
itself. It is not necessary here to speak more closely of the physics of
this school.

3. THE ETHICS.—The ethics of the Stoics is most closely connected with
their physics. In the physics we saw the rational order of the universe
as it existed through the divine thought. In the ethics, the highest law
of human action, and thus the whole moral legality of life is dependent
upon this rational order and conformity to law in universal nature, and
the highest good or the highest end of our strivings is to shape our
life according to this universal law, to live in conformity with the
harmony of the world or with nature. “Follow nature,” or “live in
harmony with nature,” is the moral maxim of the Stoics. More accurately:
live in harmony with thy rational nature so far as this has not been
distorted nor refined by art, but is held in its natural simplicity.

From this moral principle, in which we have also the Stoic conception of
virtue, the peculiarities of their theory of morals follow with logical

(1.) _Respecting the Relation of Virtue to Pleasure._—When the demand is
made that the life should be in conformity with nature, the individual
becomes wholly subjected to the universal, and every personal end is
excluded. Hence pleasure, which of all ends is the most individual, must
be disregarded. In pleasure that activity in which blessedness consists
is abated, and this could only appear to the Stoics as a restraint of
life, and thus as an evil. Pleasure is not in conformity with nature,
and is no end of nature, says Cleanthes; and though other Stoics relax a
little from the strictness of this opinion, and admit that pleasure may
be according to nature, and is to be considered in a certain degree as a
good, yet they all held fast to the doctrine, that it has no moral worth
and is no end of nature, but is only something which is accidentally
connected with the free and fitting activity of nature, while itself is
not an activity, but a passive condition of the soul. In this lies the
whole severity of the Stoic doctrine of morals; every thing personal is
cast aside, every external end of action is foreign to the moral man,
the action in wisdom is the only good. From this follows directly:

(2.) _The View of the Stoics Concerning External Good._—If virtue, as
the activity in conformity to nature, is exclusively a good, and if it
alone can lead to happiness, then external good of every kind is
something morally indifferent, and can neither be the object of our
striving nor the end of any moral action. The action itself and not that
towards which it tends is good. Hence such special ends as health,
wealth, &c., are in themselves worthless and indifferent. They may
result either in good or evil, and when deprived of them the happiness
of the virtuous man is not destroyed. The Stoics yield from the rigor of
their fundamental principle only in a single instance. They admit that
there may be a distinction among indifferent things; that while none of
these can be called a moral good, yet some may be preferable to others,
and that the preferable, so far as it contributes to a life in
conformity to nature, should enter into the account of a moral life. So
the sage will prefer health and wealth when these are balanced in the
choice with sickness and poverty, but though these objects have been
rationally chosen, he does not esteem them as really good, for they are
not the highest, they are inferior to the virtuous acting, in comparison
with which every thing else sinks to insignificance. In making this
distinction between the good and the preferable, we see how the Stoics
exclude from the good every thing relative, and hold fast to it alone in
its highest significance.

(3.) This abstract apprehension of the conception of virtue is still
farther verified in the rigid antagonism which the Stoics affirmed
between virtue and not-virtue, reason and sense. Either, they conclude,
reason is awakened in the life of man and holds the mastery over him, or
it is not awakened, and he serves his irrational instincts. In the
former case we have a good and in the latter a bad man, while between
these two cases as between virtue and vice, there is no mean. And since
virtue cannot be partially possessed, but the man must be wholly
virtuous or not at all, it follows that virtue as such is without
degree, just as truth is, and hence also all good acts are equally good,
because they spring from the full freedom of the reason, and all vicious
ones equally bad, because they are impelled by the irrational instinct.

(4.) But this abstractedness of the moral standpoint, this rigid
opposition of reason and irrationality, of the highest good and the
individual good, of virtue and pleasure, has no power to furnish a
system of concrete moral duties. The universal moral principle of the
Stoics fails in its applicability to the individual instance. The Stoic
morals has no concrete principle of moral self-determination. How must
we act in every individual instance, in every moral relation, so as to
act according to nature? To this inquiry Stoicism can give no answer.
Its system of particular duties is thus wholly without a scientific
form, and is only held together by some universal conceptions which it
contains. For the most part they satisfy themselves with describing in
general terms the action according to nature, and with portraying their
ideal of the wise man. The characteristics which they give this ideal
are partly paradoxical. The wise man is free even in chains, for he acts
from himself unmoved by fear or desire; the wise man alone is king, for
he alone is not bound by laws and owes fealty to no one; he is the true
rich man, the true priest, prophet, and poet. He is exalted above all
law and every custom; even that which is most despicable and
base—deception, suicide, murder—he may commit at a proper time and in a
virtuous character. In a word the Stoics describe their wise man as a
god, and yield it to him to be proud and to boast of his life like Zeus.
But where shall we find such a sage? Certainly not among the living. In
the time long ago there may have been a perfect sage of such a pattern;
but now, and for a long time back, are men at best only fools who strive
after wisdom and virtue. The conception of the wise man represented,
therefore, to the Stoics only an ideal, the actualization of which we
should strive after, though without ever hoping to reach it; and yet
their system of particular duties is almost wholly occupied in
portraying this unreal and abstract ideal—a contradiction in which it is
seen most clearly that their whole standpoint is one of abstract



The Epicurean school arose at Athens, almost contemporaneously with the
Porch, though perhaps a little earlier than this. Epicurus, its founder,
was born 342 B.C., six years after the death of Plato. Of his youth and
education little is known. In his thirty-sixth year he opened a
philosophical school at Athens, over which he presided till his death,
271 B.C. His disciples and adherents formed a social league, in which
they were united by the closest band of friendship, illustrating the
general condition of things in Greece after the time of Alexander, when
the social took the place of the decaying poetical life. Epicurus
himself compared his society to the Pythagorean fraternity, although the
community of goods, which forms an element in the latter, Epicurus
excludes, affirming that true friends can confide in one another. The
moral conduct of Epicurus has been repeatedly assailed but, according to
the testimony of the most reliable witnesses, his life was blameless in
every respect, and his personal character was estimable and amiable.
Moreover, it cannot be doubted that much of that, which is told by some,
of the offensive voluptuousness of the Epicurean band, should be
regarded as calumny. Epicurus was a voluminous writer, surpassing, in
this respect, even Aristotle, and exceeded by Chrysippus alone. To the
loss of his greater works he has himself contributed, by his practice of
composing summaries of his system, which he recommended his disciples to
commit to memory. These summaries have been for the most part preserved.

The end which Epicurus proposed to himself in science is distinctly
revealed in his definition of philosophy. He calls it an activity which,
by means of conceptions and arguments, procures the happiness of life.
Its end is, therefore, with him essentially a practical one, and on this
account the object of his whole system is to produce a scheme of morals
which should teach us how we might inevitably attain a happy life. It is
true that the Epicureans adopted the usual division of philosophy into
logic, which they called canonics, physics, and ethics; but they
confined logic to the doctrine of the criterion of truth, and considered
it only as an instrument and introduction to physics, while they only
treated of physics as existing wholly for ethics, and being necessary in
order to free men from superstitious fear, and deliver them from the
power of fables and mythical fancies concerning nature, which might
hinder the attainment of happiness. We have therefore in Epicureanism
the three old parts of philosophy, but in a reversed order, since logic
and physics here stand as the handmaids of ethics. We shall confine
ourselves in our exposition to the latter, since the Epicurean canonics
and physics offer little scientific interest, and since the physics
especially is not only very incomplete and without any internal
connection, but rests entirely upon the atomic theory of Democritus.

Epicurus, like Aristotle and the other philosophers of his day, placed
the highest good in happiness, or a happy life. More closely he makes
pleasure to be the principal constituent of happiness, and even calls it
the highest good. But Epicurus goes on to give a more accurate
determination of pleasure, and in this he differs essentially from his
predecessors, the Cyrenians. (_cf._ § XIII. 3.)

1. While with Aristippus the pleasure of the moment is made the end of
human efforts, Epicurus directs men to strive after a system of
pleasures which should insure an abiding course of happiness for the
whole life. _True_ pleasure is thus the object to be considered and
weighed. Many a pleasure should be despised because it will result in
pain, and many a pain should be rejoiced in because it would lead to a
greater pleasure.

2. Since the sage will seek after the highest good, not simply for the
present but for his whole life, he will hold the pleasures and pains of
the soul, which like memory and hope stretch over the past and the
future, in greater esteem than those of the body, which relate only to
the present moment. The pleasure of the soul consists in the untroubled
tranquillity of the sage, who rests secure in the feeling of his inner
worth and his exaltation above the strokes of destiny. Thus Epicurus,
would say that it is better to be miserable but rational than to be
happy and irrational, and that the wise man might be happy though in
torture. He would even affirm, like a true follower of Aristotle, that
pleasure and happiness were most closely connected with virtue, that
virtue is in fact inseparable from true pleasure, and that there can be
no agreeable life without virtue, and no virtue without an agreeable

3. While other Hedonists would regard the most positive and intense
feeling of pleasure as the highest good, Epicurus, on the other hand,
fixed his eye on a happiness which should be abiding and for the whole
life. He would not seek the most exquisite enjoyments in order to attain
to a happy life, but he rather recommends one to be satisfied with
little, and to practise sobriety and temperance of life. He guards
himself against such a false application of his doctrine as would imply
that the pleasure of the debauchee were the highest good, and boasts
that with a little barley-bread and water he would rival Zeus in
happiness. He even expresses an aversion for all costly pleasures, not,
however, in themselves, but because of the evil consequences which they
entail. True, the Epicurean sage need not therefore live as a Cynic. He
will enjoy himself where he can without harm, and will even seek to
acquire means to live with dignity and ease. But though all these
enjoyments of life may properly belong to the sage, yet he _can_ deprive
himself of them without misery—though he _ought_ not to do so—since he
enjoys the truest and most essential pleasure in the calmness of his
soul and the tranquillity of his heart. In opposition to the positive
pleasure of some Hedonists, the theory of Epicurus expends itself in
negative conceptions, representing that freedom from pain is pleasure,
and that hence the activity of the sage should be prominently directed
to avoid that which is disagreeable. All that man does, says Epicurus,
is that he may neither suffer nor apprehend pain, and in another place
he remarks, that not to live is far from being an evil. Hence death, for
which men have the greatest terror, the wise man does not fear. For
while we live, death is not, and when death is, we are not; when it is
present we feel it not, for it is the end of all feeling, and that,
which by its presence cannot affect our happiness, ought not, when
thought of as a future, to trouble us. Here Epicurus must bear the
censure urged against him by the ancients, that he does not recognize
any positive end of life, and that the object after which his sage
should strive is a mere passionless state.

The crown of Epicurus’s view of the universe is his doctrine of the
gods, where he has carried over his ideal of happiness. To the gods
belong a human form, though without any fixed body or human wants. In
the void space they lead an undisturbed and changeless life, whose
happiness is incapable of increase. From the blessedness of the gods he
inferred that they had nothing to do with the management of our affairs,
for blessedness is repose, and on this account the gods neither take
trouble to themselves nor cause it to others. It may indeed be said that
these inactive gods of Epicurus, these indestructible and yet not fixed
forms, these bodies which are not bodies, have but an ill connection
with his general system, in which there is in fact no point to which his
doctrine of the gods can be fitly joined—but a strict scientific
connection is hardly the merit of this whole philosophy.



This subjective direction already noticed was carried out to its
farthest extent by the Sceptics, who broke down completely the bridge
between subject and object, denying all objective truth, knowledge and
science, and wholly withdrawing the philosopher from every thing but
himself and his own subjective estimates. In this direction we may
distinguish between the old Scepticism, the new Academy, and the later

1. THE OLD SCEPTICISM.—_Pyrrho_ of Elis, who was perhaps a cotemporary
of Aristotle, was the head of the old Sceptics. He left no writings
behind him, and we are dependent for a knowledge of his opinions upon
his scholar and follower, Timon of Phlius. The tendency of these
sceptical philosophers, like that of the Stoics and Epicureans, was a
practical one, for philosophy, said they, ought to lead us to happiness.
But in order to live happily we must know how things are, and,
therefore, in what kind of a relation we stand to them. The first of
these questions the Sceptics answered by attempting to show that all
things, without exception, are indifferent as to truth and falsehood,
uncertain, and in nowise subject to man’s judgment. Neither our senses
nor our opinions concerning any thing teach us any truth; to every
precept and to every position a contrary may be advanced, and hence the
contradictory views of men, and especially of the philosophies of the
schools respecting one and the same thing. All objective knowledge and
science being thus impossible, the true relation of the philosopher to
things consists in the entire suspension of judgment, and the
withholding of every positive assertion. In order to avoid every thing
like a positive assertion, the Sceptics had recourse to a variety of
artifices, and availed themselves of doubtful modes of expression, such
as _it is possible_; _it may be so_; _perhaps_; _I assert
nothing_,—cautiously subjoining to this last—_not even that I assert
nothing_. By this suspension of judgment the Sceptics thought they could
attain their practical end, happiness; for the abstinence from all
positive opinion is followed by a freedom from all mental disturbance,
as a substance is by a shadow. He who has embraced Scepticism lives
thenceforward tranquilly, without inquietude, without agitation, with an
equable state of mind, and, in fact, divested of his humanity. Pyrrho is
said to have originated the doctrine which lies at the basis of
sceptical apathy, that no difference exists between sickness and health,
or between life and death. The Sceptics, for the most part, derived the
material for their views from the previous investigations in the
dogmatic schools. But the grounds on which they rested were far from
being profound, and were for the most part either dialectic errors which
could easily be refuted, or mere subtleties. The use of the following
ten tropes is ascribed to the old Sceptics, though these were perhaps
not definitely brought out by either Pyrrho or Timon, but were probably
first collected by Ænesidemus, soon after the time of Cicero. The
withholding of all decisive judgment may rest; (1) upon the distinction
generally existing between individual living objects; (2) upon the
difference among men; (3) the different functions of the organs of
sense; (4) the circumstances under which objects appear; (5) the
relative positions, intervals, and places; (6) intermixtures; (7) the
quantities and modifications of the objects we perceive; (8) relations;
(9) the frequent or rare occurrence; (10) the different ways of life,
the varieties of customs and laws, the mythical representations and
dogmatic opinions of men.

2. THE NEW ACADEMY.—Scepticism, in its conflict with the Stoics, as it
appeared in the Platonic school established by _Arcesilaus_ (316-241),
has a far greater significance than belongs to the performances of the
Pyrrhonists. In this school Scepticism sought its support by its great
respect for the writings and its transmission of the oral teachings of
Plato. Arcesilaus could neither have assumed nor maintained the chair of
instruction in the Academy, had he not carefully cherished and imparted
to his disciples the impression that his own view, respecting the
withholding of a decisive judgment, coincided essentially with that of
Socrates and of Plato, and if he had not also taught that he only
restored the genuine and original significance of Platonism, when he set
aside the dogmatic method of teaching. An immediate incitement to the
efforts of Arcesilaus is found in his opposition to the rigid dogmatic
system which had lately arisen in the Porch, and which claimed to be in
every respect an improvement upon Platonism. Hence, as Cicero remarks,
Arcesilaus directed all his sceptical and polemic attacks against Zeno,
the founder of Stoicism. He granted with his opponent that no
representation should form a part of undoubted knowledge, if it could
possibly have arisen through any other object than that from which it
actually sprung, but he would not admit that there might be a notion
which expressed so truly and accurately its own object, that it could
not have arisen from any other. Accordingly, Arcesilaus denied the
existence of a criterion which could certify to us the truth of our
knowledge. If there be any truth in our affirmations, said he, we cannot
be certain of it. In this sense he taught that one can know nothing, not
even that he does know nothing. But in moral matters, in choosing the
good and rejecting the evil, he taught that we should follow that which
is probable.

Of the subsequent leaders in the new Academy, _Carneades_ (214-129)
alone need here be mentioned, whose whole philosophy, however, consists
almost exclusively in a polemic against Stoicism and in the attempt to
set up a criterion of truth. His positive performance is the attempt to
bring out a philosophical theory of probabilities. The later
Academicians fell back to an eclectic dogmaticism.

3. THE LATER SCEPTICISM.—Once more we meet with a peculiar Scepticism at
the time when Grecian philosophy had wholly fallen to decay. To this
time belong _Ænesidemus_, who probably—though this cannot be affirmed
with certainty—lived but a little after Cicero; _Agrippa_, whose date is
also uncertain, though subsequent to Ænesidemus, and _Sextus
Empiricus_—_i. e._ a Grecian physician of the empiric sect, who probably
flourished in the first half of the third century of the Christian era.
These are the most significant names. Of these the last has the greatest
interest for us, from two writings which he left behind him (the
hypotyposes of Pyrrho in three books, and a treatise against the
mathematicians in nine books), which are sources of much historical
information. In these he has profusely collected every thing which the
Scepticism of the ancients knew how to advance against the certainty of



The Romans have taken no independent part in the progress of philosophy.
After Grecian philosophy and literature had begun to gain a foothold
among them, and especially after three distinguished representatives of
Attic culture and eloquence—Carneades the Academician, Critolaus the
Peripatetic, and Diogenes the Stoic—had appeared in Rome as envoys from
Athens; and after Greece, a few years later, had become a Roman
province, and thus outwardly in a close connection with Rome, almost all
the more significant systems of Grecian philosophy, especially the
Epicurean (Lucretius), and the Stoic (Seneca), flourished and found
adherents in Rome, though without gaining any real philosophical
progress. The Romish philosophizing is wholly eclectic, as is seen in
Cicero, the most important and influential philosophic writer among the
Romans. But the popular philosophy of this man and of the minds akin to
him cannot be strongly assailed, for, notwithstanding its want of
originality and logical sequence, it gave philosophy a broad
dissemination, and made it a means of universal culture.



In New Platonism, the ancient mind made its last and almost despairing
attempt at a philosophy which should resolve the dualism between the
subjective and the objective. The attempt was made by taking on the one
side a subjective standpoint, like the other philosophies of the
post-Aristotelian time (_cf._ § XVI 7); and on the other with the design
to bring out objective determinations concerning the highest conceptions
of metaphysics, and concerning the absolute; in other words, to sketch a
system of absolute philosophy. In this respect the effort was made to
copy the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, and the claim was set up
by the new system to be a revival of the original Platonism. On both
sides the new attempt formed the closing period of an ancient
philosophy. It represents the last struggle, but at the same time the
exhaustion of the ancient thinking and the dissolution of the old

The first, and also the most important, representative of New Platonism,
is _Plotinus_. He was a pupil of Ammonius Saccas, who taught the
Platonic philosophy at Alexandria in the beginning of the third century,
though he left no writings behind him. Plotinus (A. D. 205-270) from his
fortieth year taught philosophy at Rome. His opinions are contained in a
course of hastily written and not closely connected treatises, which,
after his death, were collected and published in six enneads by
_Porphyry_ (who was born A. D. 233, and taught both philosophy and
eloquence at Rome), his most noted disciple. From Rome and Alexandria,
the New Platonism of Plotinus passed over in the fourth century to
Athens, where it established itself in the Academy. In the fourth
century, _Jamblichus_, a scholar of Porphyry, and in the fifth, Proclus,
(412-485), were prominently distinguished among the New Platonists. With
the triumph of Christianity and the consequent fall of heathenism, in
the course of the sixth century, even this last bloom of Grecian
philosophy faded away.

The common characteristic of all the New Platonists is a tendency to
mysticism, theosophy, and theurgy. The majority of them gave themselves
up to magic and sorcery, and the most distinguished boasted that they
were the subjects of divine inspiration and illumination, able to look
into the future, and to work miracles. They professed to be hierophants
as much as philosophers, and exhibited the unmistakable tendency to
represent a Pagan copy of Christianity, which should be at the same time
a philosophy and a universal religion. In the following sketch of New
Platonism we follow mainly the track of Plotinus.

1. ECSTASY AS A SUBJECTIVE STATE.—The result of the philosophical
strivings antecedent to New Platonism had been Scepticism; which, seeing
the impracticability of both the Stoic and Epicurean wisdom, had assumed
a totally negative relation to every positive and theoretical content.
But the end which Scepticism had actually gained was the opposite of
that for which it had striven. It had striven for the perfect apathy of
the sage, but it had gained only the necessity of incessantly opposing
every positive affirmation. Instead of the rest which they had sought,
they found rather an absolute unrest. This absolute unrest of the
consciousness striving after an absolute rest, begat immediately a
longing to be freed from this unrest, a longing after some content which
should be absolutely satisfying, and stripped of every sceptical
objection. This longing after an absolutely true, found its historical
expression in New Platonism. The subject sought to master and comprehend
the absolute; and this, neither by objective knowledge nor dialectic
mediation, but immediately, by an inner and mystical mounting up of the
subject in the form of an immediate beholding, or ecstasy. The knowledge
of the true, says Plotinus, is not gained by proof nor by any mediation;
it cannot be found when the objects known remain separate from the
subject knowing, but only when the distinction between knower and known
disappears; it is a beholding of the reason in itself, not in the sense
that we see the reason, but the reason beholds itself; in no other way
can knowledge come. If any one has attained to such a beholding, to such
a true unison with the divine, he will despise the pure thinking which
he otherwise loved, for this thinking was only a movement which
presupposed a difference between the perceiver and the perceived. This
mystical absorption into the Deity, or, the One, this resolving the self
into the absolute, is that which gives to New Platonism a character so
peculiarly distinct from the genuine Grecian systems of philosophy.

2. THE COSMICAL PRINCIPLES.—The doctrine of the three cosmical
principles is most closely connected with the theory just named. To the
two cosmical principles already received, viz., the world-soul and the
world-reason, a third and higher one was added by the New Platonists.
For if the reason apprehends the true by means of thinking, and not
within itself alone; if, in order to grasp the absolute and behold the
divine, it must lose its own self-consciousness, and go out beyond
itself, then reason cannot be the highest principle, but there stands
above it that primal essence, with which it must be united if it will
behold the true. To this primal essence Plotinus gives different names,
as “the first,” “the one,” “the good,” and “that which stands above
being” (being is with him but a conception, which, like the reason, may
be resolved into a higher ground, and which, united with the reason,
forms but the second step in the series of highest conceptions). In all
these names, Plotinus does not profess to have satisfactorily expressed
the essence of this primal one, but only to have given a representation
of it. In characterizing it still farther, he denies it all thinking and
willing, because it needs nothing and can desire nothing; it is not
energy, but above energy; life does not belong to it; neither being nor
essence nor any of the most general categories of being can be ascribed
to it; in short, it is that which can neither be expressed nor thought.
Plotinus has thoroughly striven to think of this first principle not as
first principle, _i. e._ not in its relation to that of which it is the
ground, but only in itself, as being wholly without reference either to
us or to any thing else. This pure abstraction, however, he could not
carry out. He sets himself to show how every thing else, and especially
the two other cosmical principles, could emanate from this first; but in
order to have a principle for his emanation theory, he was obliged to
consider the first in its relation to the second and as its producer.

and hence also that of the New Platonists, considers the world as the
effluence of God, and gives to the emanation a greater or less degree of
perfection, according as it is nearer or more remote from its source.
They all have for their principle the totality of being, and represent a
progressively ascending relation in its several parts. Fire, says
Plotinus, emits heat, snow cold, fragrant bodies odors, and every
organic thing so far as it is perfect begets something like itself. In
the same way the all-perfect and the eternal, in the overflowing of his
perfection sends out from himself that which is also eternal, and after
him, the best, viz., the reason or world-intelligence, which is the
immediate reflection and image of the primal one. Plotinus abounds in
figures to show how the primal one need lose nothing nor become weakened
by this emanation of reason. Next to the original one, reason is the
most perfect. It contains in itself the ideal world, and the whole of
true and changeless being. Some notion may be formed of its exaltation
and glory by carefully beholding the sensible world in its greatness,
its beauty, and the order of its ceaseless motion, and then by rising to
contemplate its archetype in the pure and changeless being of the
intelligible world, and then by recognizing in intelligence the author
and finisher of all. In it there is neither past nor future, but only an
ever abiding present. It is, moreover, as incapable of division in space
as of change in time. It is the true eternity, which is only copied by
time. As reason flows from the primal one, so does the world-soul
eternally emanate from reason, though the latter incurs no change
thereby. The world-soul is the copy of reason, permeated by it, and
actualizing it in an outer world. It gives ideas externally to sensible
matter, which is the last and lowest step in the series of emanations
and in itself is undetermined, and has neither quality nor being. In
this way the visible universe is but the transcript of the world-soul,
which forms it out of matter, permeates and animates it, and carries it
forward in a circle. Here closes the series of emanations, and, as was
the aim of the theory, we have been carried in a constant current from
the highest to the lowest, from God to the mere image of true being, or
the sensible world.

Individual souls, like the world-soul, are linked both to the higher and
the lower, to reason and the sensible; now bound with the latter and
sharing its destiny, and anon rising to their source in reason. Their
original and proper home was in the rational world, from whence they
have come down, each one in its proper time, into the corporeal; not,
however, wholly forsaking their ideal abode, but as a sunbeam touches at
the same time the sun and the earth, so are they found alike in the
world of reason and the world of sense. Our calling, therefore—and here
we come back to the point from which we started in our exhibition of New
Platonism—can only be to direct our senses and aspirations towards our
proper home, in the ideal world, and by asceticism and crucifying of the
flesh, to free our better self from its participation with the body. But
when our soul has once mounted up to the ideal world, that image of the
originally good and beautiful, it then attains the final goal of all its
longings and efforts, the immediate union with God, through the
enraptured beholding of the primal one in which it loses its
consciousness and becomes buried and absorbed.

According to all this, the New Platonic philosophy would seem to be a
monism, and thus the most perfect development of ancient philosophy, in
so far as this had striven to carry back the sum of all being to one
ultimate ground. But as it attained its highest principle from which all
the rest was derived, by means of ecstasy, by a mystical
self-destruction of the individual person (_Ichheit_), by asceticism and
theurgy, and not by means of self-conscious thinking, nor by any natural
or rational way, it is seen that ancient philosophy, instead of becoming
perfected in New Platonism, only makes a despairing leap beyond itself
to its own self-destruction.



1. THE CHRISTIAN IDEA.—The Grecian intellectual life at the time of its
fairest bloom, was characterized by the immediate sacrifice of the
subject to the object (nature, the state, &c.): the full breach between
the two, between spirit and nature, had not yet arrived; the subject had
not yet so far reflected upon himself that he could apprehend his own
absolute worth. This breach came in, with the decay of Grecian life, in
the time after Alexander the Great. As the objective world lost its
influence, the thinking consciousness turned back upon itself; but even
in this very process, the bridge between subject and object was broken
down. The self-consciousness had not yet become sufficiently absorbed in
itself to look upon the true, the divine, in any other light than as
separate from itself, and belonging to an opposite world; while a
feeling of pain, of unsatisfied desire, took the place of that fair
unity between spirit and nature which had been peculiar to the better
periods of the Grecian civil and artistic life. New Platonism, by its
overleaping speculation, and, practically, by its mortification of the
sense, made a last and despairing attempt to overcome this separation,
or to bury itself within it, by bringing the two sides forcibly
together. The attempt was in vain, and the old philosophy, totally
exhausted, came to its end. Dualism is therefore the rock on which it
split. This problem, thus left without a solution, Christianity took up.
It assumed for its principle the idea which the ancient thinking had not
known how to carry out, affirming that the separation between God and
man might be overcome, and that the human and the divine could be united
in one. The speculative fundamental idea of Christianity is, that God
has become incarnate, and this had its practical exhibition (for
Christianity was a practical religion) in the idea of the atonement and
the demand of the new birth, _i. e._ the positive purifying of the sense
from its corruptions, instead of holding it, as asceticism, in a merely
negative relation.

From the introduction of Christianity, monism has been the character and
the fundamental tendency of the whole modern philosophy. In fact, the
new philosophy started from the very point at which the old had stood
still. The turning of the self-consciousness upon itself, which was the
standpoint of the post-Aristotelian speculations, forms in Descartes the
starting-point of the new philosophy, whose whole course has been the
reconciling of that opposition beyond which the old could not pass.

2. SCHOLASTICISM.—It very early resulted that Christianity came in
contact with the cotemporaneous philosophy, especially with Platonism.
This arose first with the apologists of the second century, and the
fathers of the Alexandrian church. Subsequently, in the ninth century,
Scotus Erigena made an attempt to combine Christianity with New
Platonism, though it was not till the second half of the Middle Ages,
from the eleventh century, that there was developed any thing that might
be properly termed a Christian philosophy. This was the so-called

The effort of Scholasticism was to mediate between the dogma of religion
and the reflecting self-consciousness; to reconcile faith and knowledge.
When the dogma passed over into the schools from the Church which had
given it utterance, and theology became a science of the universities,
the scientific interest asserted its rights, and undertook to bring the
dogma which had hitherto stood over against the self-consciousness as an
external power, into a closer relation to the thinking subject. A series
of attempts was now made to bring out the doctrines of the Church in the
form of scientific systems (the first complete dogmatic system was given
by _Peter Lombard_, who died 1164, in his four books of sentences, and
was voluminously commented upon by the later Scholastics), all starting
from the indisputable premise (beyond which scholastic thinking never
reached), that the faith of the church is absolute truth; but all guided
likewise by the interest to make this revealed truth intelligible, and
to show it to be rational. “_Credo ut intelligam_”—this expression of
_Anselm_, the beginner and founder of Scholasticism (he was born about
1034, and made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1093), was the watchword of
this whole direction. Scholasticism applied to the solution of its
problem the most remarkable logical acumen, and brought out systems of
doctrine like the Gothic cathedrals in their architecture. The extended
study of Aristotle, called _par eminence_ “the philosopher,” whom many
of the most distinguished Scholastics wrote commentaries upon, and who
was greatly studied at the same period among the Arabians (_Avicenna_
and _Averroes_), furnished their terminology and most of their points of
view. At the summit of Scholasticism we must place the two incontestably
greatest masters of the Scholastic art and method, _Thomas Aquinas_
(Dominican, who died 1274) and _Duns Scotus_ (Franciscan, who died
1308), the founders of two schools, in which since their time the whole
Scholastic theology divides itself—the former exalting the understanding
(_intellectus_), and the latter the will (_voluntas_), as their highest
principle, both being driven into essentially differing directions by
this opposition of a theoretical and a practical principle. Even with
this began the downfall of Scholasticism; its highest point was also the
turning-point to its self-destruction. The rationality of the dogma, the
oneness of faith and knowledge, had been constantly their fundamental
premise; but this premise fell away, and the whole basis of their
metaphysics was given up in principle, the moment Duns Scotus placed the
problem of theology in the practical. When the practical and the
theoretical became divided, and still more when thought and being were
separated by Nominalism (_cf._ 3), philosophy broke loose from theology
and knowledge from faith; knowledge assumed its position above faith and
above authority (modern philosophy), and the religious consciousness
broke with the traditional dogma (the Reformation).

3. NOMINALISM AND REALISM.—Hand in hand with the whole development of
Scholasticism, there was developed the opposition between Nominalism and
Realism, an opposition whose origin is to be found in the relation of
Scholasticism to the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. The
Nominalists were those who held that the conceptions of the universal
(the universalia) were simple names, _flatus vocis_, representations
without content and without reality. According to them there are no
universal conceptions, no species, no class; every thing which is,
exists only as separate in its pure individuality; there is, therefore,
no pure thinking, but only a representation and sensuous perception. The
Realists, on the other hand, taking pattern from Plato, held fast to the
objective reality of the universals (_universalia ante rem_). These
opposite directions appeared first between _Roscellinus_, who took the
side of Nominalism, and _Anselm_, who advocated the Realistic theory,
and it is seen from this time through the whole period of Scholasticism,
though from the age of _Abelard_ (born 1079) a middle view, which was
both Nominalistic and Realistic, held with some slight modifications the
prominent place (_universalia in re_). According to this view the
universal is only something thought and represented, though as such it
is not simply a product of the representing consciousness, but has also
its objective reality in objects themselves, from which it was argued we
could not abstract it if it were not essentially contained in them. This
identity of thought and being, is the fundamental premise on which the
whole dialectic course of the Scholastics rests. All their arguments are
founded on the claim, that that which has been syllogistically proved is
in reality the same as in logical thinking. If this premise is
overthrown, so falls with it the whole basis of Scholasticism; and there
remains nothing more for the thinker to do, who has gone astray in his
objectivity, but to fall back upon himself. This self-dissolution of
Scholasticism actually appears with _William of Occam_ (died 1347), the
most influential reviver of that Nominalism which had been so mighty in
the beginning of Scholasticism, but which now, more victorious against a
decaying than then against a rising form of culture, plucked away its
foundation from the framework of Scholastic dogmatism, and brought the
whole structure into inevitable ruin.



The emancipation of modern philosophy from the bondage of Scholasticism
was a gradual process. It first showed itself in a series of preparative
movements during the fifteenth century, and became perfected,
negatively, in the course of the sixteenth, and positively in the first
half of the seventeenth century.

1. FALL OF SCHOLASTICISM.—The immediate ground of this changed direction
of the time, we have already seen in the inner decay of Scholasticism
itself. Just so soon as the fundamental premise on which the Scholastic
theology and method rested, the rationality of the dogma, was abandoned,
the whole structure, as already remarked, fell to inevitable ruin. The
conviction, directly opposed to the principle of Scholasticism, that
what might be true dogmatically, might be false, or, at least, incapable
of proof in the eye of the reason—a point of view from which _e. g._ the
Aristotelian _Pomponatius_ (1462-1530) treated the doctrines of the
future state, and in whose light _Vanini_ subsequently went over the
chief problems of philosophy—kept gaining ground, notwithstanding the
opposition of the Church, and even associated with itself the opinion
that reason and revelation could not be harmonized. The feeling became
prevalent that philosophy must be freed from its previous condition of
minority and servitude; a struggle after a greater independence of
philosophic investigation was awakened, and though no one yet ventured
to attack directly the doctrine of the Church, the effort was made to
shatter the confidence in the chief bulwark of Scholasticism, the
Aristotelian philosophy, or what at that period was regarded as such;
(especially in this connection _Peter Ramus_, (1515-1572) should be
mentioned, who fell in the massacre of St. Bartholomew). The authority
of the Church became more and more weakened in the faith of the people,
and the great principles of Scholasticism came to an end.

2. THE RESULTS OF SCHOLASTICISM.—Notwithstanding all, Scholasticism was
not without its positively good results. Though standing wholly in the
service of the Church, it had, nevertheless, grown out of a scientific
impulse, and so naturally awakened a free spirit of inquiry and a sense
for knowledge. It made the objects of faith the objects of thought, it
raised men from the sphere of unconditional faith to the sphere of
doubt, of investigation and of knowledge, and by its very effort to
demonstrate the principles of theology it established, though against
its knowledge and design, the authority of reason. It thus introduced to
the world another principle than that of the old Church, the principle
of the thinking spirit, the self-consciousness of the reason, or at
least prepared the way for the victory of this principle. Even the
deformities and unfavorable side of Scholasticism, the many absurd
questions upon which the Scholastics divided, even their thousandfold
unnecessary and accidental distinctions, their inquisitiveness and
subtleties, all sprang from a rational principle, and grew out of a
spirit of investigation, which could only utter itself in this way under
the all powerful ecclesiastical spirit of the time. Only when it was
surpassed by the advancing spirit of the age, did Scholasticism,
falsifying its original meaning, make common cause and interest with the
old ecclesiasticism, and turned itself as the most violent opposer
against the improvements of the new period.

3. THE REVIVAL OF LETTERS.—The revival of classic literature contributed
prominently to that change in the spirit of the age which marks the
beginning of the new epoch of philosophy. The study of the ancients,
especially of the Greeks, had almost wholly ceased in the course of the
Middle Ages; even the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle was known, for
the most part, only through Latin translations or secondary sources; no
one realized the spirit of classic life, and all sense for beauty of
form and elegant composition had passed away. The change was chiefly
brought about by means of the Greek scholars who fled from
Constantinople to Italy; the study of the ancients in the original
sources came up again; the newly discovered art of printing allowed the
classics to be widely circulated; the Medicis drew classic scholars to
their court; all this working for a far better understanding of the
ancient philosophy. _Besarion_ (died 1472) and _Ficinus_ (died 1499)
were prominent in this movement. The result was presently seen. The new
scholars contended against the stiff and uncouth manner in which the
sciences had hitherto been treated, new ideas began to circulate, and
there arose again the free, universal, thinking spirit of antiquity. In
Germany, also, classic studies found a fruitful soil. _Reuchlin_ (born
1454), _Melancthon_ and _Erasmus_, labored in this sense, and the
classic movement, hostile as it was to the Scholastic impulse, favored
most decidedly the growing tendencies to the Reformation.

4. THE GERMAN REFORMATION.—All the elements of the new age, the struggle
against Scholasticism, the revival of letters and the more enlarged
culture thus secured, the striving after national independence, the
attempts of the state to free itself from the Church and the hierarchy,
and above all, the desire of the thinking self-consciousness for
autonomy, for freedom from the fetters of authority—all these elements
found their focus and point of union in the German Reformation. Though
having its root at first in practical, and religious, and national
interests, and expending itself mainly upon the Christian doctrine and
Church, yet was the Reformation in principle and in its true
consequences a rupture of the thinking spirit with authority, a
protesting against the fetters of the positive, a return of the mind
from its self-estrangement to itself. From that which was without, the
mind now came back to that which is within, and the purely human as
such, the individual heart and conscience, the subjective conviction, in
a word, the rights of the subject now began to be of worth. While
marriage had formerly been regarded, though not immoral, as yet inferior
to continence and celibacy, it appeared now as a divine institution, a
natural law ordained of God. While poverty had formerly been esteemed
higher than wealth, and the contemplative life of the monk was superior
to the manual labor of the layman supporting himself by his own toil,
yet now poverty ceased to be desirable in itself, and labor was no
longer despised. Ecclesiastical freedom took the place of spiritual
bondage; monasticism and the priesthood lost their power. In the same
way, on the side of knowledge the individual man came back to himself,
and threw off the restraints of authority. He was impressed with the
conviction that the whole process of redemption must be experienced
within himself, that his reconciliation to God and salvation was his own
concern, for which he needed no mediation of priests, and that he stood
in an immediate relation to God. He found his whole being in his faith,
in the depth of his feelings and convictions.

Since thus Protestantism sprang from the essence of the same spirit in
which modern philosophy had its birth, the two have the closest relation
to each other, though of course there is a specific difference between
the religious and the scientific principle. Yet in their origin, both
kinds of Protestantism, that of religion and that of thought, are one
and the same, and in their progress they have also gone hand in hand
together. For religion, reduced to its simple elements, will be found to
have its source, like philosophy, in the self-knowledge of the reason.

which should be regarded both as causes and as symptoms of the
intellectual revolution of this period, we must add yet another, which
essentially facilitated and gave a positive assistance to the freedom of
the mind from the fetters of authority—the starting up of the natural
sciences and the inductive method of examining nature. This epoch was a
period of the most fruitful and influential discoveries in nature. The
discovery of America and the passage to the East Indies had already
widened the circle of view, but still greater revolutions are connected
with the name of a _Copernicus_ (died 1543), _Kepler_ (died 1630), and
_Galileo_ (died 1642), revolutions which could not remain, without an
influence upon the whole mode of thinking of that age, and which
contributed prominently to break the faith in the prevailing
ecclesiastical authority. Scholasticism had turned away from nature and
the phenomenal world, and, blind towards that which lay before the very
eyes, had spent itself in a dreamy intellectuality; but now nature rose
again in honor; her glory and exaltation, her infinite diversity and
fulness of life became again the immediate objects of observation; to
investigate nature became an essential object of philosophy, and
scientific empiricism was thus regarded as a universal and essential
concern of the thinking man. From this time the natural sciences date
their historical importance, for only from this time have they had an
uninterrupted history. The results of this new intellectual movement can
be readily estimated. Such a scientific investigation of nature not only
destroyed a series of traditional errors and prejudices, but, what was
of greater importance, it directed the intellectual interest towards
that which is real and actual, it nourished and protected the
self-thinking and feeling of self-dependence, the spirit of inquiry and
proof. The standpoint of observation and experiment presupposes an
independent self-consciousness of the individual, a breaking loose from
authority—in a word, scepticism, with which, in fact, the founders of
modern philosophy, _Bacon_ and _Descartes_, began; the former by
conditioning the knowledge of nature upon the removal of all prejudice
and every preconceived opinion, and the latter by demanding that
philosophy should be begun with universal doubt. No wonder that a bitter
struggle should soon break out between the natural sciences and
ecclesiastical orthodoxy, which could only result in breaking the power
of the latter.

6. BACON OF VERULAM.—Francis of Verulam was born in 1561, and was Lord
High Chancellor of England and keeper of the king’s seal under James I.
From these offices he was subsequently expelled, and died in 1626, with
a character which has not been without reproach. He took as his
principle the inductive method, which he directed expressly against
Scholasticism and the ruling scientific method. On this account he is
frequently placed at the head of modern philosophy.

The sciences, says Bacon, have hitherto been in a most sad condition.
Philosophy, wasted in empty and fruitless logomachies, has failed during
so many centuries to bring out a single work or experiment of actual
benefit to human life. Logic hitherto has served more to the
establishment of error than to the investigation of truth. Whence all
this? Why this penury of the sciences? Simply because they have broken
away from their root in nature and experience. The blame of this is
chargeable to many sources; first, the old and rooted prejudice that the
human mind loses somewhat of its dignity when it busies itself much and
continuously with experiments and material things; next, superstition
and a blind religious zeal, which has been the most irreconcilable
opposer to natural philosophy; again, the exclusive attention paid to
morals and politics by the Romans, and since the Christian era to
theology by every acute mind; still farther, the great authority which
certain philosophers have professed, and the great reverence given, to
antiquity; and in fine, a want of courage and a despair of overcoming
the many and great difficulties which lie in the way of the
investigation of nature. All these causes have contributed to keep down
the sciences. Hence they must now be renewed, and regenerated, and
reformed in their most fundamental principles; there must now be found a
new basis of knowledge and new principles of science. This radical
reformation of the sciences depends upon two conditions, objectively
upon the referring of science to experience and the philosophy of
nature, and subjectively upon the purifying of the sense and the
intellect from all abstract theories and traditional prejudices. Both
conditions furnish the correct method of natural science, which is
nothing other than the method of induction. Upon a true induction
depends all the soundness of the sciences.

In these propositions the Baconian philosophy is contained. The
historical significance of its founder is, therefore, in general
this,—that he directed the attention and reflection of his
contemporaries again upon the given actuality, upon nature; that he
affirmed the necessity of experience, which had been formerly only a
matter of accident, and made it as in and for itself an object of
thought. His merit consists in having brought up the principle of
scientific empiricism, and only in this. Strictly speaking, we can allow
no _content_ to the Baconian philosophy, although (in his treatise _de
augmentis scientiarum_) he has attempted a systematic encyclopedia of
the sciences according to a new principle of classification, through
which he has scattered an abundance of fine and fruitful observations,
which are still used as apothegms.

other phenomena must be noticed which have prepared and introduced the
new age of philosophy. First among these is a list of Italian
philosophers, from the second half of the sixteenth and the first half
of the seventeenth century. These philosophers are connected in a
twofold manner with the movements already sketched of this transition
period, first by an enthusiasm for nature which among them all partook
in a greater or less degree of pantheism (Vanini _e. g._ gave to one of
his writings the title “concerning the wonderful secrets of nature, the
queen and goddess of mortals”), and second, by their connection with the
systems of ancient philosophy. The best known of these philosophers are
the following: _Cardanus_ (1501-1575), _Campanella_ (1568-1639),
_Giordano Bruno_ (—1600), _Vanini_ (1586-1619.) They were all men of a
passionate, enthusiastic and impetuous nature, unsteady and wild in
character, restless and adventurous in life, men who were inspired by an
eager impulse towards knowledge, but who were carried away by great
fantasy, wildness of imagination, and a seeking after secret
astrological and geomantic knowledge. For these reasons they also passed
away, leaving no fruitful result behind. They were all persecuted by the
hierarchy, and two of them (Bruno and Vanini) ended their lives at the
stake. In their whole historical appearance they are like the eruption
of a volcano, and are to be regarded more as forerunners and announcers
than as beginners and founders of the new age of philosophy. The most
important among them is _Giordano Bruno_. He reviewed the old idea of
the Stoics, that the world is a living being, and that a world-soul
penetrates it all. The content of his general thought is the profoundest
enthusiasm for nature, and the plastic reason which is present in it.
The reason is, according to him, the inner artist who shapes the matter
and manifests himself in the forms of the universe. From the heart of
the root or the germ he sends out the lobes, and from these again he
evolves the shoots, and from the shoots the branches, until bud, and
leaf, and blossom are brought forth. Every thing is arranged, adjusted,
and perfected within. Thus the universal reason calls back from within
the sap out of the fruits and flowers to the branches again, &c. The
universe thus is an infinite living thing, in which every thing lives
and moves after the most manifold way.

The relation of the reason to matter, Bruno determines wholly in the
Aristotelian manner; both stand related to each other as form and
matter, as actuality and potentiality, neither is without the other; the
form is the inner impelling might of matter, and matter, as the
unlimited possibility, as the capability for an infinite diversity of
form, is the mother of all forms. The other side of Bruno’s
philosophizing, his elaboration of the topics of Lullus, which occupies
the greater part of his writings, has little philosophic interest, and
we therefore pass it by.

8. JACOB BOEHME.—As Bacon among the English and Bruno among the
Italians, so _Jacob Boehme_ is the index among the Germans of this
transition period. Each one of these three indicates it in a way
peculiar to his own nationality; Bacon as the herald of empiricism,
Bruno as the representative of a poetic pantheism, and Boehme as the
father of the theosophic mysticism. If we regarded alone the
profoundness of his principle, Boehme should hold a much later place in
the history of philosophy, but if we looked chiefly at the imperfect
form of his philosophizing, his rank would be assigned to the mystics of
the Middle Ages, while chronologically we must associate him with the
German Reformation and the protestant elements that were nourished at
that time. His true position is among the forerunners and prophets of
the new age.

Jacob Boehme was born in 1575, in old Seidenburg, a village of upper
Lusace, not far from Goerlitz. His parents were poor peasants. In his
boyhood be took care of the cattle, and in his youth, after he had
acquired the rudiments of reading and writing in a village school, he
was sent to Goerlitz to learn the shoe-maker’s art. He finished his
apprenticeship and settled down at Goerlitz in 1594 as master of his
trade. Even in his youth he had received illuminations or mysterious
revealings, which were subsequently repeated when his soul, striving for
the truth, had become profoundly agitated by the religious conflicts of
the age. Besides the Bible, the only books which Boehme read were some
mystical writings of a theosophic and alchymistic content, _e. g._ those
of Paracelsus. His entire want of culture is seen as soon as he
undertakes to write down his thoughts, or, as he calls them, his
illuminations. Hence the imperious struggle of the thought with the
expression, which, however, not unfrequently rises to a dialectical
acuteness and a poetic beauty. His first treatise, Aurora, composed in
the year 1612, brought Boehme into trouble with the chief pastor in
Goerlitz, Gregorious Richter, who publicly condemned the book from the
pulpit, and even ridiculed the person of its author. The writing of
books was prohibited him by a magistrate, a prohibition which Boehme
observed for many years, till at length the command of the spirit was
too mighty within him, and he took up again his literary labors. Boehme
was a plain, quiet, modest and gentle man. He died in 1624.

To give an exhibition of his theosophy in a few words is very difficult,
since Boehme, instead of clothing his thoughts in a logical form,
dressed them only in pictures of the sense and obscure analogies, and
often availed himself of the most arbitrary and singular modes of
expression. A twilight reigns in his writings, as in a Gothic cathedral
where the light falls through variegated windows. Hence the magic effect
which he has made upon many hearts. The chief thought of his
philosophizing is this, viz., that the distinguishing of the self from
the not-self is the essential determination of spirit, and hence of God
so far as God is to be apprehended as spirit. God, according to Boehme,
is living spirit only at the time and in the degree in which he
conceives the distinction within himself from himself, and is in this
distinction object and consciousness. The distinction of God in himself
is the only source of his and of all actuosity and spontaneity, the
spring and fountain of that self-active life which produces
consciousness out of itself. Boehme is inexhaustible in images by which
this negativity in God, his self-distinguishing and self-renunciation to
the world, may be made conceivable. The great expansion without end, he
says, needs limitation and a compass in which it may manifest itself,
for in expansion without limit there could be no manifestation, there
must be a contraction and an enclosing, in order that a manifestation
may arise. See, he says in another place, if the will were only of one
kind, then would the soul have only one quality, and were an immovable
thing, which would always lie still and never do any thing farther than
one thing; in this there could be no joy, as also no art nor science of
other things, and no wisdom; every thing would be a nothing, and there
would be neither heart nor will for any thing, for there would be only
the single. Hence it cannot be said that the whole God is in one will
and essence, there is a distinction. Nothing can ever become manifest to
itself without resistance, for if it has nothing resisting, it expends
itself and never comes to itself again; but if it does not come to
itself again except in that from which it has originally sprung, it thus
knows nothing of its original condition. The above thought Boehme
expresses when he says in his _Questionibus Theosophicis_; the reader
should know that in yea and nay all things consist, whether divine,
devilish, earthly, or whatever may be named. The one as the yea, is
simple energy and love, and is the truth of God and God himself. But
this were inconceivable, and there were neither delight, nor importance,
nor sensibility, without the nay. The nay is thrown in the way of the
yea, or of truth, in order that the truth may be manifest and something,
in which there may be a contrarium, where eternal love may work and
become sensitive and willing. There is nothing in the one which is an
occasion for willing until the one becomes duplicated, and so there can
be no sensation in unity, but only in duality. In brief, according to
Boehme, neither knowledge nor consciousness is possible, without
distinction, without opposition, without duplication; a thing becomes
clear and an object of consciousness only through something else,
through its own opposition identical with its own being. It was very
natural to connect this thought of a unity distinguishing itself in
itself, with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, as Boehme has, in
fact, repeatedly done when treating of the Divine life and its process
of duplication. Schelling afterwards took up these ideas of Boehme and
philosophically elaborated them.

If we should assign to the theosophy of Boehme a position in the
development of later philosophy corresponding to the inner content of
its principle, it would most properly be placed as a complement to the
system of _Spinoza_. If Spinoza taught the flowing back of all the
finite into the eternal one, Boehme, on the other hand, shows the
procession of the finite from the eternal one, and the inner necessity
of this procession, since the being of this one would be rather a
not-being without such a self-duplication. Compared with Descartes,
Boehme has at least more profoundly apprehended the conception of
self-consciousness and the relation of the finite to God. But his
historical position in other respects is far too isolated and
exceptional, and his mode of statement far too impure, to warrant us in
incorporating him anywhere in a series of systems developed continuously
and in a genetic connection.



The beginner and founder of modern philosophy is _Descartes_. While he,
like the men of the transition epoch just noticed, broke loose entirely
from the previous philosophizing, and began his work wholly _de novo_,
yet he did not content himself, like Bacon, with merely bringing out a
new method, or like Boehme and his contemporaries among the Italians,
with affirming philosophical views without a methodical ground. He went
further than any of these, and making his standpoint one of universal
doubt, he affirms a new, positive, and pregnant philosophical principle,
from which he attempted logically to deduce the chief points of his
system. The character and novelty of his principle makes him the
beginner, and its inner fruitfulness the founder, of modern philosophy.

Rene Descartes (_Renatus Cartesius_) was born in 1596, at La Haye in
Torraine. Possessing an independent property, he volunteered as a
soldier in his twenty-first year, and served in the wars with the Dutch,
the Bavarians, and the Imperialists. After this he travelled a good
deal, and then abode a considerable time in Paris. In 1629 he left his
native land, and betook himself to Holland, that he might there,
undisturbed and unknown, devote himself to philosophy, and elaborate his
scientific ideas. He spent twenty years in Holland, enduring much
vexatious treatment from fanatical theologians, till in 1649 he accepted
an invitation from Queen Christina of Sweden, to visit Stockholm, where
he died in the following year.

The chief content of the Cartesian system may be seen condensed in the
following epitome.

1. If science would have any thing fixed and abiding, it must begin with
the primal ground of things; every presupposition which we may have
cherished from infancy must be abandoned; in a word, we must doubt at
every point to which the least uncertainty is attached. We must
therefore doubt not only the existence of the objects of sense, since
the senses so frequently deceive, but also the truths of mathematics and
geometry—for, however evident the proposition may appear that two and
three make five, or that the square has four sides, yet we cannot know
but what God may have designedly formed us for erroneous judgments. It
is therefore advisable to doubt every thing, in fact to deny every
thing, to posit every thing as false.

2. But though we posit every thing as false to which the slightest doubt
may be attached, yet we cannot deny one thing, viz., the truth that we,
who so think, do exist. But rather from the very fact that I posit every
thing as false, that I doubt every thing, is it manifest that I, the
doubter, exist. Hence the proposition: I think, therefore I am (_cogito
ergo sum_), is the first and most certain position which offers itself
to every one attempting to philosophize. Upon this the most certain of
all propositions, the certainty of all other knowledge depends. The
objection of _Gassendi_ that the truth of existence follows from any
other activity of man as well as from thinking, that I might just as
well say: I go to walk, therefore I exist,—has no weight; for, of all my
actions, I can be absolutely certain only of my thinking.

3. From the proposition I think, therefore, I am, the whole nature of
the mind may be determined. When we examine who we are who hold every
thing to be false that is distinct from ourselves, we see clearly that
neither extension nor figure, nor any thing which can be predicated of
body, but only thought, belongs to our nature. I am therefore only a
thinking being, _i. e._ mind, soul, intelligence, reason. Thought is my
substance. Mind can therefore be apprehended clearly and completely for
itself alone, without any of those attributes which belong to body. Its
conception contains nothing of that which belongs to the conception of
body. It is therefore impossible to apprehend it through any sensuous
representation, or to make an image of it: it apprehends itself only
through the pure intelligence.

4. From the proposition _cogito ergo sum_, follows still farther the
universal rule of all certainty. I am certain that I am a thinking
being, what now is involved in the fact that I am certain of any thing?
Whence comes this certainty? From no other source than the knowledge
that this first proposition contains a clear conception of that which I
affirm. I know of a certainty that I am, and I know any thing else only
when I know it as certainly as I know that I am. Hence I may regard it
as a universal rule, that every thing is true which I know clearly and

5. This rule, however, is only a principle of certainty, not of
knowledge and of truth. We apply it therefore to our thoughts or ideas,
in order to discover what is objectively true. But our ideas are partly
innate, partly acquired, and partly self-originated. Among those of the
first class we find the idea of a God. The question arises, whence have
we this idea? Manifestly not from ourselves; this idea could only be
implanted within us by a being who has the fulness of all perfection in
himself, _i. e._ only by an actually existing God. If I ask now the
question, whence have I the faculty to conceive of a nature more perfect
than my own? the answer must ever come, that I have it only from him
whose nature is actually more perfect. All the attributes of God, the
more I contemplate them, show that their idea could not have originated
with myself alone. For though there might be in me the idea of substance
because I am a substance, yet I could not of myself have the idea of an
infinite substance, since I am finite; such an idea could only be given
me through a substance actually infinite. Moreover, we must not think
that the conception of the infinite is to be gained through abstraction
and negation, as we might gain darkness through the negation of light;
but I perceive, rather, that the infinite contains more reality than the
finite, and that, therefore, the conception of the infinite must be
correspondingly antecedent in me to that of the finite. Since then I
have a clear and determined idea of the infinite substance, and since
this has a greater objective reality than every other, so is there no
other which I have so little reason to doubt. But now since I am certain
that the idea of God has come to me from God himself, it only remains
for me to examine the way in which I have received it from God. I have
never derived it directly nor indirectly from the sense, for ideas
through the sense arise only by affecting the external organs of sense;
neither have I devised it, for I can neither add to it nor diminish it
in any respect,—it must, therefore, be innate as the idea of myself is
innate. Hence the first proof we can assign for the being of a God is
the fact that we find the idea of a God within us, and that we must have
a cause for its being. Again, the being of a God may be concluded from
my own imperfection, and especially from the knowledge of my
imperfection. For since I know that there is a perfection which is
wanting in me, it follows that there must exist a being who is more
perfect than I, on whom I depend and from whom I receive all I
possess.—But the best and most evident proof for the being of a God is,
in fine, that which is gained from the conception of a God. The mind
among all its different ideas singles out the chiefest of all, that of
the most perfect being, and perceives that this has not only the
possibility of existence, _i. e._ accidental existence like all other
ideas, but that it possesses necessary existence in itself. And as the
mind knows that in every triangle its three angles are equal to two
right angles, because this is involved in the very idea of a triangle,
so does the mind necessarily infer that necessary existence belongs to
the conception of the most perfect being, and that, therefore, the most
perfect being actually exists. No other idea which the mind finds within
itself contains necessary existence, but from the idea of the highest
being existence cannot be separated without contradiction. It is only
our prejudices which keep us from seeing this. Since we are accustomed
in every thing to separate its conception from its existence, and since
we often make ideas arbitrarily, it readily happens, that when we
contemplate the highest being we are in doubt whether its idea may not
be one also arbitrarily devised, or at least one in whose conception
existence does not lie.—This proof is essentially different from that of
Thomas (Anselm of Canterbury). His argument was as follows: “If we
understand what is indicated by the word GOD, it is all that can be
conceived of greatness; but now there is actually and in thought more
belonging to him than the word represents, and therefore God exists not
only in word (or representation), but in fact.” Here the defect in the
syllogism is manifest, for from the premise it could only be concluded
that God must therefore be _represented_ as existing in fact, while his
actual existence would not follow. My proof on the other hand is
this,—we may predicate of a thing what we clearly see belongs to its
true and changeless nature, or to its essence, or to its form. But now
after we had examined what God is, we found existence to belong to his
true and changeless nature, and therefore may we properly predicate
existence of God. Necessary existence is contained in the idea of the
most perfect being, not by a fiction of our understanding but because
existence belongs to his eternal and changeless nature.

6. The result just found—the existence of God—is of the highest
consequence. Before attaining this we were obliged to doubt every thing,
and give up even every certainty, for we did not know but that it
belonged to the nature of the human mind to err, but that God had
created us for error. But so soon as we look at the necessary attributes
of God in the innate idea of him, so soon as we know that he is true, it
would be a contradiction to suppose that he would deceive us, or that he
could have made us to err; for though an ability to deceive might prove
his skill, a willingness to deceive would only demonstrate his frailty.
Our reason, therefore, can never apprehend an object which would not be
true so far as the reason apprehended it, _i. e._ so far as it is
clearly known. For God might justly be styled a deceiver if he had given
us a reason so perverted as to hold the false for the true. And thus
every absolute doubt with which we began is dispelled. From the being of
God we derive every certainty. For every sure knowledge it is only
necessary that we have clearly known a thing, and are also certain of
the existence of a God, who would not deceive.

7. From the true idea of God follow the principles of a philosophy of
nature or the doctrine of the two substances. Substance is that which so
exists that it needs nothing else for its existence. In this (highest)
sense God is the only substance. God, as the infinite substance, has his
ground in himself, is the cause of himself. The two created substances,
on the other hand, the thinking and the corporeal substance, mind and
matter, are substances only in a broader sense of the word; they may be
apprehended under the common conception that they are things which need
only the co-operation of God for their existence. Each of these two
substances has an attribute which constitutes its nature and its
essence, and to which all its other determinations may be referred. The
attribute and essence of matter is extension, that of mind, thought. For
every thing else which can be predicated of body presupposes extension,
and is only a mode of extension, as every thing we can find in mind is
only a modification of thought. A substance to which thought immediately
belongs is called mind, and a substance, whose immediate substratum is
extension, is called body. Since thought and extension are distinct from
each other, and since mind cannot only be known without the attributes
of the body, but is in itself the negation of those attributes, we may
say that the essence of these substances is in their reciprocal
negation. Mind and body are wholly distinct, and have nothing in common.

8. We pass by the physics of Descartes, which has only a subordinate
philosophical interest, and notice next his views of anthropology. From
this dualistic relation between mind and matter, there follows a
dualistic relation between soul and body. If matter is essentially
extension, and mind essentially thought, and if the two have nothing in
common, then the union of soul and body can be conceived only as a
mechanical one. The body is to be regarded as an artistic automaton,
which God has made, as a statue or machine formed by God from the earth.
Within this body the soul dwells, closely but not internally connected
with it. The union of the two is only a powerful bringing of the two
together, since each is not only an independent factor, but is
essentially distinct from and even opposed to the other. The body by
itself is a machine fully prepared, in which nothing is changed by the
entrance of the thinking soul, except that through it certain motions
are secured: the wheel-work of the machine remains as it was. It is only
thought which distinguishes this machine from every other; hence,
therefore, brutes which are not self-conscious nor thinking, must be
ranked with all other machines. From this standpoint arose especially
the question concerning the seat of the soul. If body and soul are
independent substances, each essentially opposed to the other, they
cannot interpenetrate each other, but can touch only at one point when
they are powerfully brought together. This point where the soul has its
seat, is, according to Descartes, not the whole brain but the pineal
gland, a little kernel in the middle of the brain. The proof for this
claim, that the pineal gland is the only place where the soul
immediately exhibits its energy, is found in the circumstance that all
other parts of the brain are twofold, which should not be in an organ
where the soul has its seat, else objects would appear double. There is,
therefore, no other place in the body where impressions can be so well
united as in this gland. The pineal gland is, therefore, the chief seat
of the soul, and the place where all our thoughts are formed.

We have thus developed the fundamental thoughts of the Cartesian system,
and will now recapitulate in a few words the features characteristic of
its standpoint and historic position. Descartes was the founder of a new
epoch in philosophy, _first_, from his postulate of universal freedom
from all preconceptions. His protesting against every thing which is not
posited by the thought, against taking any thing for granted in respect
of the truth, has remained from that time onward the fundamental
principle of the new age. _Secondly._ Descartes has brought out the
principle of self-consciousness (the mind or the thinking substance is
regarded by him as an individual self, a particular Ego)—a new
principle, unknown in this view to the ancients. _Thirdly._ Descartes
has shown the opposition between being and thought, existence and
consciousness, and the mediation of this opposition, which has been the
problem of the whole modern philosophy, he first affirmed as the true
philosophical problem. But with these ideas, which make an epoch in the
history of philosophy, there are at the same time connected the defects
of the Cartesian philosophizing. _First._ Descartes gained the content
of his system, namely his three substances, empirically. True, the
system which begins with a protestation against all existence would seem
to take nothing for granted, but to derive every thing from the
thinking. But in fact this protesting is not thoroughly carried out.
That which seems to be cast aside is afterwards, when the principle of
certainty is gained, taken up again unchanged. And so it happens that
Descartes finds at hand not only the idea of God, but his two substances
as something _immediately given_. True, in order to reach them, he
abstracts every thing which lies immediately before him, but in the end
the two substances are seen as that which remains when all else is
abstracted. They are received _empirically_. The _second_ defect is,
that Descartes separates so wholly from each other the two sides of the
opposition between thought and being. He posits both as “substances,”
_i. e._ as powers, which reciprocally exclude and negate each other. The
essence of matter according to him consists _only_ in extension, _i. e._
in the pure being _extra se_ (_Aussersichsein_), and that of mind _only_
in thought, _i. e._ in the pure being _in se_ (_Insichsein_.) The two
stand over against each other as centrifugal and centripetal. But with
this apprehension of mind and matter, an inner mediation of the two is
an impossibility; there must be a powerful act of creation, there must
be the divine assistance in order that the two sides may ever come
together, and be united as they are in man. Nevertheless Descartes
demands and attempts such a mediation of the two sides. But the
impossibility of truly overcoming the dualism of his standpoint is the
_third_, and the chief defect of his system. In the proposition “I
think, therefore I am,” or “I am thinking,” the two sides, being and
thought, are indeed connected together, but only that they may become
fixed independently in respect of each other. If the question is asked,
how does the Ego stand related to the extended? the answer can only be:
by thinking, _i. e._ negatively, by excluding it. The idea of God,
therefore, is all that remains for the mediation of these two sides. The
two substances are created by God, and through the divine will may be
bound together; through the idea of God, the Ego attains the certainty
that the extended exists. God is therefore in a certain degree a _Deus
ex machina_, necessary in order to mediate the conflict of the Ego with
the extended. It is obvious how external such a mediation is.

This defect of the Cartesian system operated as an impelling motive to
those which succeeded.



1. Mind and matter, consciousness and existence, Descartes had fixed in
the farthest separation from each other. Both, with him, are substances,
independent powers, reciprocally excluding oppositions. Mind (_i. e._ in
his view the simple self, the Ego) he regarded as essentially the
abstraction from the sensuous, the distinguishing itself from matter and
the separating of matter from itself; matter was essentially the
complete opposition to thought. If the relation of these two powers be
as has been given, then the question arises, how can there ever be a
filiation (_Rapport_) between them? How, on the one hand, can the
affections of the body work upon the soul, and on the other hand, how
can the volition of the soul direct the body, if the two are absolutely
distinct and opposed to each other? At this point, _Arnold Geulincx_ (a
disciple of Descartes, born at Antwerp 1625, and died as professor of
philosophy at Leyden 1669) took up the Cartesian system, and endeavored
to give it a greater logical perfection. According to Geulincx neither
the soul works immediately upon the body, nor the body immediately upon
the soul. Certainly not the former: for though _I_ can determine and
move my body in many respects arbitrarily, yet _I_ am not the cause of
this movement; for I know not how it happens, I know not in what manner
motion is communicated from my brain to the different parts of my body,
and it is impossible that I should do that in respect of which I cannot
see how it is done. But if I cannot produce motion in my body, much less
can I do this outside of my body. I am therefore simply a contemplator
of the world; the only act which is peculiarly mine is contemplation.
But even this contemplation arises in a singular manner. For if we ask
how we obtain our observations of the external world, we find it
impossible that the external world should directly give them to us. For
however much we may say that, _e. g._ in the act of seeing, the external
objects produce an image in my eye or an impression in my brain as in
wax, yet this impression or picture is after all only something
corporeal or material, and cannot therefore come into my mind, which is
absolutely distinct from every thing material. There remains, therefore,
only that we seek the mediation of the two sides in God. It is God alone
who can unite the outer with the inner, and the inner with the outer;
who can make the outer phenomena to become inner representations or
notions of the mind; who can thus bring the world within the mind’s
observation, and the inner determinations of the will outward into deed.
Hence every working, every act which unites the outer and inner, which
brings the mind and the world into connection, is neither a working of
the mind nor of the world, but only an immediate working of God. The
movement of my limbs does not follow from my will, but only because it
is the will of God that these movements should follow when I will. My
will is an _occasion_ by which God moves my body—an affection of my body
is an _occasion_ by which God brings within me a representation of the
external world: the one is only the occasional cause of the other (hence
the name occasionalism). My will, however, does not move God to move my
limbs, but he who has imparted motion to matter and given it its laws,
created also my will, and has so connected together the most diverse
things, the movement of matter and the arbitrium of my will, that when
my will puts forth a volition, such a motion follows as it wills, and
the motion follows the volition without any interaction or physical
influence exerted by the one upon the other. But just as it is with two
clocks which go exactly alike, the one striking precisely as the other,
their harmony is not the result of any reciprocal interacting, but
follows because both have been fashioned and directed alike,—so is it
with the movements of the body and the will, they harmonize only through
that exalted artist who has in this ineffable way connected them
together. We see from this that Geulincx has carried to its limit the
dualistic basis of Descartes. While Descartes called the union of mind
and matter a conjunction through power, Geulincx named it a miracle.
There is consequently in this view no immanent, but only a transcendent
mediation possible.

2. Closely connected with this view of Geulincx, and at the same time a
real consequence and a wider development of the Cartesian
philosophizing, is the philosophic standpoint of _Nicolas Malebranche_.
He was born at Paris in 1638, chosen a member of the “_Congrégation de
l’oratoire_” in his twenty-second year, won over to philosophy through
the writings of Descartes, and died, after numerous feuds with
theological opposers, in 1715.

Malebranche started with the Cartesian view of the relation between mind
and matter. Both are strictly distinct from each other, and in their
essence opposed. How now does the mind, (_i. e._ the Ego) gain a
knowledge of the external world and have ideas of corporeal things? For
it comes to know things only by means of ideas,—not through itself, not
immediately. Now the mind can neither gain these ideas from itself, nor
from the things themselves. Not from itself, for it is absolutely
opposed to the bodily world, and hence has no capacity to idealize, to
spiritualize material things, though they must become spiritualized
before they can be introduced to the mind; in a word, the mind, which in
relation to the material world is only an opposition, has no power to
destroy this opposition. Just as little has the mind derived these ideas
from things: for matter is not visible through itself, but rather as
antithetic to mind is it that which is absolutely unintelligible, and
which cannot be idealized, that which is absolutely without light and
clearness.—It only remains, therefore, that the mind beholds things in a
third that stands above the opposition of the two, viz., God. God, as
the absolute substance, is the absolute ideality, the infinite power to
spiritualize all things. Material things have no real opposition for
God, to him they are no impenetrable darkness, but an ideal existence;
all things are in him spiritually and ideally; the whole world, as
intellectual or ideal, is God. God is, therefore, the higher mean
between the Ego and the external world. In him we behold ideas, we being
so strictly united with him, that he may properly be called the place of

The philosophy of Malebranche, whose simple thought is this, that we
know and see all things in God,—shows itself, like the occasionalism of
Geulincx, to be a peculiar attempt to stand upon the basis of the
Cartesian philosophy, and with its fundamental thought to overcome its

3. Two defects or inner contradictions have manifested themselves in the
philosophy of Descartes. He had considered mind and matter as
substances, each one of which excluded the other from itself, and had
sought a mediation of the two. But with such conditions no mediation
other than an external one is possible. If thought and existence are
each one substance, then can they only negate and exclude each other.
Unnatural theories, like those which have been mentioned, are the
inevitable result of this. The simplest way out of the difficulty is to
give up the principle first assumed, to strip off their independence
from the two opposites, and instead of regarding them as substances,
view them as accidents of one substance. This way of escape is moreover
indicated by a particular circumstance. According to Descartes, God is
the infinite substance, the peculiar substance in the proper sense of
the word. Mind and matter are indeed substances, but only in relation to
each other; in relation to God they are dependent, and not substances.
This is, strictly taken, a contradiction. The true consequence were
rather to say that neither the Ego (_i. e._ the individual thinking) nor
the material things are independent, but that this can be predicated
only of the one substance, God; this substance alone has a real being,
and all the being which belongs to individual essences these latter
possess not as a substantial being, but only as accidents of the one
only true and real substance. Malebranche approached this consequence.
With him the bodily world is ideally at least resolved and made to sink
in God, in whom are the eternal archetypes of all things. But _Spinoza_
has most decidedly and logically adopted this consequence, and affirmed
the accidence of all individual being and the exclusive substantiality
of God alone. His system is the perfection and the truth of the



Baruch or Benedict Spinoza was born at Amsterdam, Nov. 24, 1632. His
parents were Jews of Portuguese descent, and being merchants of
opulence, they gave him a finished education. He studied with great
diligence the Bible and the Talmud, but soon exchanged the pursuit of
theology for the study of physics and the works of Descartes. He early
became dissatisfied with Judaism, and presently came to an open rupture
with it, though without going over formally to Christianity. In order to
escape the persecutions of the Jews, who had excommunicated him, and who
even went so far as to make an attempt upon his life, he left Amsterdam
and betook himself to Rhynsberg, near Leyden. He finally settled down at
the Hague, where he spent his life in the greatest seclusion, devoted
wholly to scientific pursuits. He supported himself by grinding optic
glasses, which his friends sold for him. The Elector Palatine, Charles
Louis, offered him a Professorship of Philosophy at Heidelberg, with the
full permission to teach as he chose, but Spinoza declined the post.
Naturally of a weak constitution, which consumption had for many years
been undermining, Spinoza died at the age of 44, on the 21st of
February, 1677. In his life there was mirrored the unclouded clearness
and exalted serenity of the perfected sage. Abstemious in his habits,
satisfied with little, the master of his passions, never intemperately
sad nor joyous, gentle and benevolent, with a character of singular
excellence and purity, he faithfully illustrated in his life, the
doctrines of his philosophy. His chief work, the _Ethica_, appeared the
year of his death. His design was probably to have published it during
his life, but the odious report that he was an atheist restrained him.
The friend he most trusted, Louis Mayer, a physician, attended to its
publication after the author’s death and according to his will.

The system of Spinoza rests upon three fundamental conceptions, from
which all the rest may be derived with mathematical necessity. These
conceptions are that of substance, of attribute, and of mode.

1. Spinoza starts from the Cartesian conception of substance: substance
is that which needs nothing other for its existence. But with such a
conception there can exist only one single substance. A number of
substances like that of Descartes is necessarily a contradiction. There
can be nothing which has a substantial being besides the one substance
of all things. This one substance Spinoza calls God. Of course, with
such a view, the Christian idea of God, the notion of a spiritual and
personal being, must be laid aside. Spinoza expressly declares, that his
notion of God is entirely different from that of the Christian; he
denied that understanding and will could be predicated of God; he
ridiculed those who supposed that God worked for an end, and even
scorned the view which regarded the world as a product of the Divine
willing or thinking. God is, with him, only substance, and nothing more.
The propositions that there is only one God, and that the substance of
all things is only one, are with him identical.

What now peculiarly is this substance? What is positive being? This
question it is very difficult to answer directly from the standpoint of
Spinoza, partly because a definition, according to him, must contain
(_i. e._ must be genetically) the immediate cause of that which is to be
explained, but substance is uncreated and can have no cause besides
itself; but prominently because Spinoza held that every determination is
a negation, since it must indicate a want of existence, a relative
not-being. (_Omnis determinatio est negatio_ is an expression which,
though he uses it only occasionally, expresses the fundamental idea of
his whole system.) Hence, by setting up any positive determinations of
being, we only take away from substance its infinity and make it finite.
When we therefore affirm any thing concerning it, we can only speak
negatively, _e. g._ that it has no foreign cause, that it has no
plurality, that it cannot be divided, etc. It is even reluctantly that
Spinoza declares concerning it that it is one, for this predicate might
readily be taken numerically, as implying that others, the many, stood
over against it. Thus there can remain only such positive affirmations
respecting it as express its absolute reference to itself. In this sense
Spinoza says that substance is the cause of itself, _i. e._ its being
concludes existence in itself. When Spinoza calls it eternal, it is only
another expression for the same thought; for by eternity he understands
existence itself, so far as it is conceived to follow from the
definition of the thing, in a sense similar to that in which
geometricians speak of the eternal properties of figures. Still farther
he calls substance infinite, because the conception of infinity
expressed to him the conception of true being, the absolute affirmation
of existence. So also the expression, God is free, affirms nothing more
than those already mentioned, viz., negatively, that every foreign
restraint is excluded from him, and positively, that God is in harmony
with himself, that his being corresponds to the laws of his essence.

The comprehensive statement for the above is, that there is only one
infinite substance that excludes from itself all determination and
negation, and is named God, or nature.

2. Besides the infinite substance or God, Descartes had assumed two
other substances created by God, viz., mind (thought), and matter
(extension). These two Spinoza considers in the light of attributes,
though, like Descartes, he receives them empirically. What, now, is the
relation of these attributes to the infinite substance? This is the
severe question, the tendon-Achilles of Spinoza’s system. They cannot be
essential forms in which the substance may manifest itself or appear,
for this would make them determine the essence of the substance, which
would contradict its conception as already given. Substance, as such, is
neither understanding nor extension. If, then, the two attributes do not
flow out of the essence of the substance, and do not constitute the
substance, there remains only one other supposition, viz., that they are
externally attached to the substance; and this is, in fact, Spinoza’s
view. Attribute, according to him, is that which the understanding
perceives in the substance as constituting its essence. But
understanding, as Spinoza expressly says, does not belong to substance
as such. Attributes, therefore, are those determinations which express
the essence of the substance only for the perceiving understanding;
since they express the essence of the substance in a determinate way,
while substance itself has no determinate way of being, they can only
fall outside the substance, viz., in the reflective understanding. To
the substance itself it is indifferent whether the understanding
contemplate it under these two attributes or not; the substance in
itself has an infinity of attributes, _i. e._ every possible attribute
which is not a limitation, may be predicated of it; it is only the human
understanding which attaches these two attributes to the substance, and
it affixes no more than these, because, among all the conceptions it can
form, these alone are actually positive, or express a reality. God, or
the substance, is therefore thinking, in so far as the understanding
contemplates him under the attribute of thought, and is extended in so
far as the understanding contemplates him under the attribute of
extension. It is, says Spinoza—using a figure to express this relation
of substance to attribute—it is, like a surface reflecting the light,
which (objectively taken) may be hot, though, in reference to the man
looking upon it, it is white. More accurately substance is a surface,
standing opposite to a beholder who can see only through yellow and blue
glasses; to whom, therefore, the surface must appear either yellow or
blue, though it is neither the one nor the other.

In relation to substance, therefore, the attributes must be apprehended
as entirely independent: they must be conceived through themselves:
their conception is not dependent upon that of substance. This is
necessarily true; for since the substance can have no determinateness,
then the attribute which is its determinate being, cannot be explained
from the substance, but only through itself. Only by apprehending the
attribute independently can the unity of the substance be maintained.

In relation to each other, the attributes are to be taken as opposites
strictly and determinately diverse. Between the bodily and the ideal
world there is no reciprocal influence nor interaction: a body can only
spring from a body, and an idea can only have an idea for its source.
Hence, therefore, neither the mind can work upon the body nor the body
upon the mind. Nevertheless there exists between the two worlds a
perfect harmony and an entire parallelism. It is one and the same
substance which is conceived under each of the two attributes, and under
which one of the two we may contemplate it is indifferent to the
substance itself, for each mode of contemplation is equally correct.
From this follows at once the proposition of Spinoza, that the
connection of ideas and of things is the same. Hence the solution to the
problem of the relation of body and soul, so difficult to find from the
Cartesian standpoint, is readily seen from that of Spinoza. Body and
soul are one and the same thing, only viewed under different attributes.
Mind is nothing but the idea of body, _i. e._ it is the same thing as
body, only that it is viewed under the attribute of thought. In the same
way is explained the apparent but not real influence of the body upon
the mind, and the mind upon the body. That which, in one point of view
is bodily motion, in another is an act of thought. In short, the most
perfect parallelism reigns between the world of bodily things and that
of ideas.

3. Individual beings, which considered under the attribute of thought
are ideas, and under the attribute of extension are bodies, Spinoza
comprehends under the conception of accidence, or, as he calls it, mode.
By modes we are therefore to understand the changing forms of substance.
The modes stand related to the substance as the rippling waves of the
sea to the water of the sea, as forms constantly disappearing and never
having a real being. In fact this example goes too far, for the waves of
the sea are at least a part of the water of the sea, while the modes,
instead of being parts of the substance, are essentially nothing and
without being. The finite has no existence as finite; only the infinite
substance has actual existence. Substance, therefore, could not be
regarded more falsely than if it should be viewed as made up of modes.
That would be, Spinoza remarks, as if one should say that the line is
made up out of points. It is just as false to affirm that Spinoza
identifies God and the world. He identifies them so little that he would
rather say that the world, as world, _i. e._ as an aggregate of
individuals, does not at all exist; we might rather say with Hegel that
he denies the world (his system is an acosmism), than with Bayle, that
he makes every thing God, or that he ascribes divinity to every thing.

Whence do finite things or individuals arise, if they can have no
existence by the side of substance? They are only the product of our
deceptive apprehension. There are two chief ways of knowledge—the
intuitive, through the reason, and the imaginative. To the latter belong
the knowledge of experience, and all that is abstract, superficial, and
confused; to the former, the collection of all fitting (adequate) ideas.
It is only the fault of the imagination that we should look upon the
world as a manifoldness of individuals; the manifoldness is only a form
of representation. The imagination isolates and individualizes what the
reason sees together in its unity. Hence it is only as considered
through the imagination (experience or opinion) that modes are _things_;
the reason looks upon them as necessary, or, what is the same thing, as

Such are the fundamental thoughts and features of Spinoza’s system. His
_practical philosophy_ yet remains to be characterized and in a few
words. Its chief propositions follow necessarily from the metaphysical
grounds already cited. First, it follows from these, that what is called
free will cannot be admitted. For since man is only a mode, he, like
every other mode, stands in an endless series of conditioning causes,
and no free will can therefore be predicated of him. The will must thus,
like the body (and the resolution of the will is only a modification of
the body), be determined by something other than itself. Men regard
themselves as free only because they are conscious of their actions and
not of the determining causes. Just so the notions which one commonly
connects with the words good and evil, rest on an error as follows at
once from the conception of the absolute divine causality. Good and evil
are not something actually in the things themselves, but only express
relative conceptions which we have formed from a comparison of things
with one another. Thus, by observing certain things we form a certain
universal conception, which we thereupon treat as though it were the
rule for the being and acting of all individuals, and if any individual
varies from this conception we fancy that it does not correspond to its
nature, and is incomplete. Evil or sin is therefore only something
relative, for nothing happens against God’s will. It is only a simple
negation or deprivation, which only seems to be a reality in our
representation. With God there is no idea of the evil. What is therefore
good and what evil? That is good which is useful to us, and that evil
which hinders us from partaking of a good. That, moreover, is useful to
us which brings us to a greater reality, which preserves and exalts our
being. But our true being is knowledge, and hence that only is useful to
us which aids us in knowing; the highest good is the knowledge of God;
the highest virtue of the mind is to know and love God. From the
knowledge of God we gain the highest gladness and joy of the mind, the
highest blessedness. Blessedness, hence, is not the reward of virtue,
but virtue itself.

The grand feature of Spinoza’s philosophy is that it buries every thing
individual and particular, as a finite, in the abyss of the divine
substance. With its view unalterably fixed upon the eternal one, it
loses sight of every thing which seems actual in the ordinary notions of
men. But its defect consists in its inability to transform this negative
abyss of substance into the positive ground of all-being and becoming.
The substance of Spinoza, has been justly compared to the lair of a
lion, which many footsteps enter, but from which none emerge. The
existence of the phenomenal world, though it be only the apparent and
deceptive reality of the finite, Spinoza does not explain. With his
abstract conception of substance he cannot explain it. And yet the means
to help him out of the difficulty lay near at hand. He failed to apply
universally his fundamental principle that all determination is
negation; he applied it only to the finite, but the abstract infinite,
in so far as it stands over against the finite, is also a determinate;
this infinite must be denied by its negation, which is the case when a
finite world is posited. Jacob Boehme rightly apprehended this, when he
affirmed, that without a self-duplication, without an ingress into the
limited, the finite, the original ground of things is an empty nothing
(_cf._ § XXIII. 8). So the original ground of Spinoza is a nothing, a
purely indeterminate, because with him substance was only a principle of
unity and not also a principle of distinction, because its attributes,
instead of being an expression of an actual difference and a positive
distinction to itself, are rather wholly indifferent to itself. The
system of Spinoza is the most abstract Monotheism that can be thought.
It is not accidental that its author, a Jew, should have brought out
again this view of the world, this view of absolute identity, for it is
in a certain degree with him only a consequence of his national
religion—an echo of the Orient.



We have now reached a point of divergence in the development of
philosophy. Descartes had affirmed and attempted to mediate the
opposition, between thought and being, mind and matter. This mediation,
however, was hardly successful, for the two sides of the opposition he
had fixed in their widest separation, when he posited them as two
substances or powers, which reciprocally negated each other. The
followers of Descartes sought a more satisfactory mediation, but the
theories to which they saw themselves driven, only indicated the more
clearly that the whole premise from which they started must be given up.
At length Spinoza abandoned the false notion, and took away its
substantiality from each of the two opposed principles. Mind and matter,
thought and extension, are now one in the infinite substance. Yet they
are not one _in themselves_, which would be the only true unity of the
two. That they are one in the substance is of little avail, since they
are indifferent to the substance, and are not immanent distinctions in
it. Thus even with Spinoza the two remain strictly separate. The ground
of this isolation we find in the fact that Spinoza himself did not
sufficiently renounce the Cartesian notion, and thus could not escape
the Cartesian dualism. With him, as with Descartes, thought is _only_
thought, and extension _only_ extension, and in such an apprehension of
the two, the one necessarily excludes the other. If we would find an
inner mediation for the two, we must cease to abstract every thing
essential from each. The opposite sides must be mediated even in their
strictest opposition. To do this, two ways alone were possible. A
position could be taken either on the material or on the ideal side, and
the attempt made to explain the ideal under the material, or the
material under the ideal, comprehending one through the other. Both
these attempts were in fact made, and at about the same time. The two
parallel courses of a one-sided _idealism_, and a one-sided _realism_
(Empiricism, Sensualism, Materialism), now begin their development.



The founder of the realistic course and the father of modern Empiricism
and Materialism, is _John Locke_, an Englishman. _Thomas Hobbes_
(1588-1679) was his predecessor and countryman, whose name we need here
only mention, as it has no importance except for the history of natural

John Locke was born at Wrington, 1632. His student years he devoted to
philosophy and prominently to medicine, though his weak health prevented
him from practising as a physician. Few cares of business interrupted
his leisure, and he devoted his time mostly to literary pursuits. His
friendly relations with Lord Anthony Ashley, afterwards Earl of
Shaftesbury, exerted a weighty influence upon his course in life. At the
house of this distinguished statesman and author he always found the
most cordial reception, and an intercourse with the most important men
of England. In the year 1670 he sketched for a number of friends the
first plan of his famous _Essay on the Human Understanding_, though the
completed work did not appear till 1689. Locke died aged 72 in the year
1704. His writings are characterized by clearness and precision,
openness and determinateness. More acute than profound in his
philosophizing, he does not in this respect belie the characteristic of
his nation. The fundamental thoughts and results of his philosophy have
now become common property, especially among the English, though it
should not therefore be forgotten that he is the first who has
scientifically established them, and is, on this account, entitled to a
true place in the history of philosophy, even though his principle was
wanting in an inner capacity for development.

Locke’s Philosophy (_i. e._ his theory of knowledge, for his whole
philosophizing expends itself in investigating the faculty of knowing)
rests upon two thoughts, to which he never ceases to revert: first
(negatively), there are no innate ideas; second (positively), all our
knowledge arises from experience.

Many, says Locke, suppose that there are innate ideas which the soul
receives coetaneous with its origin, and brings with it into the world.
In order to prove that these ideas are innate, it is said that they
universally exist, and are universally valid with all men. But admitting
that this were so, such a fact would prove nothing if this universal
harmony could be explained in any other way. But men mistake when they
claim such a fact. There is, in reality, no fundamental proposition,
theoretical or practical, which would be universally admitted. Certainly
there is no such practical principle, for the example of different
people as well as of different ages shows that there is no moral rule
universally admitted as valid. Neither is there a theoretical one, for
even those propositions which might lay the strongest claim to be
universally valid, _e. g._ the proposition,—“what is, is,” or—“it is
impossible that one and the same thing should be and not be at the same
time,”—receive by no means a universal assent. Children and idiots have
no notion of these principles, and even uncultivated men know nothing of
these abstract propositions. They cannot therefore have been imprinted
on all men by nature. If ideas were innate, then they must be known by
all from earliest childhood. For “to be in the understanding,” and “to
become known,” is one and the same thing. The assertion therefore that
these ideas are imprinted on the understanding while it does not know
it, is hence a manifest contradiction. Just as little is gained by the
subterfuge, that these principles come into the consciousness _so soon_
as men use their reason. This affirmation is directly false, for these
maxims which are called universal come into the consciousness much later
than a great deal of other knowledge, and children, _e. g._ give many
proofs of their use of reason before they know that it is impossible
that a thing should be and at the same time not be. It is only correct
to say that no one becomes conscious of these propositions without
reasoning,—but to say that they are all known with the first reasoning
is false. Moreover, that which is first known is not universal
propositions, but relates to individual impressions. The child knows
that sweet is not bitter long before he understands the logical
proposition of contradiction. He who carefully bethinks himself, will
hesitate before he affirms that particular dicta as “sweet is not
bitter,” are derived from universal ones. If the universal propositions
were innate, then must they be the first in the consciousness of the
child; for that which nature has stamped upon the human soul must come
into consciousness antecedently to any thing which she has not written
there. Consequently, if there are no innate ideas, either theoretical or
practical, there can be just as truly no innate art nor science. The
understanding (or the soul) is essentially a _tabula rasa_,—a blank and
void space, a white paper on which nothing is written.

How now does the understanding become possessed of ideas? Only through
experience, upon which all knowledge rests, and on which as its
principle all knowledge depends. Experience itself is twofold; either it
arises through the perception of external objects by means of the sense,
in which case we call it sensation; or it is a perception of the
activities of our own understanding, in which case it is named the inner
sense, or, better, reflection. Sensation and reflection give to the
understanding all its ideas; they are the windows through which alone
the light of ideas falls upon the naturally dark space of the mind;
external objects furnish us with the ideas of sensible qualities, and
the inner object, which is the understanding itself, offers us the ideas
of its own activities. To show the derivation and to give an explanation
of all the ideas derived from both is the problem of the Lockian
philosophy. For this end Locke divides ideas (representations or
notions) into _simple_ and _compound_. _Simple ideas_, he names those
which are impressed from without upon the understanding while it remains
wholly passive, just as the images of certain objects are represented in
a mirror. These simple ideas are _partly_ such as come to the
understanding through an individual sense, _e. g._ the ideas of color,
which are furnished to the mind through the eye, or those of sound,
which come to it through the ear, or those of solidity or
impenetrability, which we receive through the touch; _partly_ such as a
number of senses have combined to give us, as those of space and of
motion, of which we become conscious by means of the sense both of touch
and of sight; _partly_ such as we receive through reflection, as the
idea of thought and of will; and _partly_, in fine, such as arise from
both sensation and reflection combined, _e. g._ power, unity, &c. These
simple ideas form the material, as it were the letters of all our
knowledge. But now as language arises from a manifold combination of
letters, syllables and words, so the understanding forms complex ideas
by the manifold combination of simple ideas with each other. The complex
ideas may be referred to three classes, viz.: the ideas of mode, of
substance, and of relation. Under the ideas of mode, Locke considers the
modifications of space (as distance, measurement, immensity, surface,
figure, &c.), of time (as succession, duration, eternity), of thought
(perception, memory, abstraction, &c.), of number, power, &c. Special
attention is given by Locke to the conception of substance. He explains
the origin of this conception in this way, viz.: we find both in
sensation and reflection, that a certain number of simple ideas seem
often to be connected together. But as we cannot divest ourselves of the
impression that these simple ideas have not been produced through
themselves, we are accustomed to furnish them with a ground in some
existing substratum, which we indicate with the word substance.
Substance is something unknown, and is conceived of as possessing those
qualities which are necessary to furnish us with simple ideas. But from
the fact that substance is a product of our subjective thinking, it does
not follow that it has no existence outside of ourselves. On the
contrary, this is distinguished from all other complex ideas in the fact
that this is an idea which has its archetype distinct from ourselves,
and possesses objective reality, while other complex ideas are formed by
the mind at pleasure, and have no reality corresponding to them external
to the mind. We do not know what is the archetype of substance, and of
the substance itself we are acquainted only with its attributes. From
considering the conception of substance, Locke next passes over to the
idea of _relation_. A relation arises when the understanding has
connected two things with each other, in such a way, that in considering
them it passes over from the one to the other. Every thing is capable of
being brought by the understanding into relation, or what is the same
thing, to be transformed into something relative. It is consequently
impossible to enumerate the sum of every possible relation. Hence Locke
treats only of some of the more weighty conceptions of relation, among
others, that of identity and difference, but especially that of cause
and effect. The idea of cause and effect arises when our understanding
perceives that any thing whatsoever, be it substance or quality, begins
to exist through the activity of another. So much concerning ideas. The
combination of ideas among themselves gives the conception of knowing.
Hence knowledge stands in the same relation to the simple and complex
ideas as a proposition does to the letters, syllables and words which
compose it. From this it follows that our knowledge does not pass beyond
the compass of our ideas, and hence that it is bounded by experience.

These are the prominent thoughts in the Lockian philosophy. Its
empiricism is clear as day. The mind, according to it, is in itself
bare, and only a mirror of the outer world,—a dark space which passively
receives the images of external objects; its whole content is made by
the impressions furnished it by material things. _Nihil est in
intellectu, quod non fuerit in sensu_—is the watchword of this
standpoint. While Locke, by this proposition, expresses the undoubted
preponderance of the material over the intellectual, he does so still
more decisively when he declares that it is possible and even probable
that the mind is a material essence. He does not admit the reverse
possibility, that material things may be classed under the intellectual
as a special kind. Hence with him mind is the secondary to matter, and
hence he is seen to take the characteristic standpoint of realism (_cf._
§ XXVII). It is true that Locke was not always logically consistent, and
in many points did not thoroughly carry out his empiricism: but we can
clearly see that the road which will be taken in the farther development
of this direction, will result in a thorough denial of the ideal factor.

The empiricism of Locke, wholly national as it is, soon became the
ruling philosophy in England. Standing on its basis we find _Isaac
Newton_, the great mathematician (1642-1727), _Samuel Clarke_, a
disciple of Newton, whose chief attention was given to moral philosophy
(1675-1729), the English moralists of this period, _William Wollaston_
(1659-1724), the Earl of _Shaftesbury_ (1671-1713), _Francis Hutcheson_
(1694-1746), and even some opponents of Locke, as _Peter Brown_, who
died 1735.



As already remarked, Locke had not been wholly consistent with the
standpoint of empiricism. Though conceding to material objects a decided
superiority above the thinking subject, there was yet one point, viz.,
the recognition of substance, where he claimed for the thinking a power
above the objective world. Among all the complex ideas which are formed
by the subjective thinking, the idea of substance is, according to
Locke, the only one which has objective reality; all the rest being
purely subjective, with nothing actually corresponding to them in the
objective world. But in the very fact that the subjective thinking
places the conception of substance, which it has formed, in the
objective world, it affirms an objective relation of things, an
objective connection of them among each other, and an existing
rationality. The reason of the subject in this respect stands in a
certain degree above the objective world, for the relation of substance
is not derived immediately from the world of sense, and is no product of
sensation nor of perception through the sense. On a pure empirical
standpoint—and such was Locke’s—it was therefore illogical to allow the
conception of substance to remain possessed of objective being. If the
understanding is essentially a bare and empty space, a white unwritten
paper, if its whole content of objective knowledge consists in the
impressions made upon it by material things, then must the conception of
substance also be explained as a mere subjective notion, a union of
ideas joined together at the mind’s pleasure, and the subject itself,
thus fully deprived of every thing to which it could lay claim, must
become wholly subordinated to the material world. This stride to a
logical empiricism Hume has made in his criticism on the conception of

David Hume was born at Edinburgh 1711. Devoted in youth to the study of
law, then for some time a merchant, he afterwards gave his attention
exclusively to philosophy and history. His first literary attempt was
hardly noticed. A more favorable reception was, however, given to his
“_Essays_,”—of which he published different collections from 1742 to
1757, making in all five volumes. In these Hume has treated
philosophical themes as a thoughtful and cultivated man of the world,
but without any strict systematic connection. In 1752 he was elected to
the care of a public library in Edinburgh, and began in this same year
his famous history of England. Afterwards he became secretary of
legation at Paris, where he became acquainted with Rousseau. In 1767 he
became under secretary of state, an office, however, which he filled for
only a brief period. His last years were spent in Edinburgh, in a quiet
and contented seclusion. He died 1776.

The centre of Hume’s philosophizing is his criticism of the conception
of cause. Locke had already expressed the thought that we attain the
conception of substance only by the _habit_ of always seeing certain
modes together. Hume takes up this thought with earnestness. Whence do
we know, he asks, that two things stand to each other in the relation of
cause and effect? We do not know it apriori, for since the effect is
something other than the cause, while knowledge apriori embraces only
that which is identical, the effect cannot thus be discovered in the
cause; neither do we know it through experience, for experience reveals
to us only the succession in time of two facts. All our conclusions from
experience, therefore, rest simply upon habit. Because we are in the
habit of seeing that one thing is followed in time by another, do we
form the notion that the latter _must_ follow out of the former: we make
the relation of causality out of the relation of succession; but a
connection in time is naturally something other than a causal
connection. Hence, with the conception of causality, we transcend that
which is given in perception and form for ourselves, notions to which we
are properly not entitled.—That which belongs to causality belongs to
every necessary relation. We find within us conceptions, as those of
power and expression, and in general that of necessary connection; but
let us note how we attain these: not through sensation, for though
external objects seem to us to have coetaneousness of being, they show
as no necessary connection. Do they then come through reflection? True,
it seems as if we might get the idea of power by seeing that the organs
of our body move in consequence of the dictate of our mind. But since we
do not know the means through which the mind works, and since all the
organs of the body cannot be moved by the will, it follows, that we are
indeed pointed to experience in reference to this activity; but since
experience can show us only a frequent conjunction, but no real
connection, it follows also that we come to the conception of power as
of every necessary connection, only because we are _accustomed_ to a
transcending process in our notions. All conceptions which express a
relation of necessity, all knowledge presumptive of a real objective
connection of things, rests therefore ultimately only upon the
association of ideas. Having denied the conception of substance, Hume
was led also to deny that of the Ego or self. If the Ego or self really
exists, it must be a substance possessing inherent qualities. But since
our conception of substance is purely subjective, without objective
reality, it follows that there is no correspondent reality to our
conception of the self or the Ego. The self or the Ego is, in fact,
nothing other than a compound of many notions following rapidly upon
each other; and under this compound we lay a conceived substratum, which
we call soul, self, Ego (I). The self, or the Ego, rests wholly on an
illusion. Of course, with such premises, nothing can be said of the
immortality of the soul. If the soul is only the compound of our
notions, it necessarily ceases with the notions—that which is compounded
of the movements of the body dies with those movements.

There needs no further proof, than simply to utter these chief thoughts
of Hume, to show that his scepticism is only a logical carrying out of
Locke’s empiricism. Every determination of universality and necessity
must fall away, if we derive our knowledge only from perceptions through
the sense; these determinations cannot be comprised in sensation.



The French took up the problem of carrying out the empiricism of Locke,
to its ultimate consequences in sensualism and materialism. Although
this empiricism had sprung up on English soil, and had soon become
universally prevalent there, it was reserved for France to push it to
the last extreme, and show that it overthrew all the foundations of
moral and religious life. This final consequence of empiricism did not
correspond to the English national character. But on the contrary, both
the empiricism of Locke, and the scepticism of Hume, found themselves
opposed in the latter half of the eighteenth century, by a reaction in
the Scotch philosophy (_Reid_ 1701-1799, _Beattie_, _Oswald_, _Dugald
Stewart_, 1753-1828). The attempt was here made to establish certain
principles of truth as innate and immanent in the subject, which should
avail both against the _tabula rasa_ of Locke, and the scepticism of
Hume. These principles were taken in a thoroughly English way, as those
of common sense, as facts of experience, as facts of the moral instinct
and sound human understanding; as something empirically given, and found
in the common consciousness by self-contemplation and reflection. But in
France, on the other hand, there was such a public and social condition
of things during the eighteenth century, that we can only regard the
systems of materialism and egoistic moralism which here appeared, as the
last practical consequences of the empirical standpoint,—to be the
natural result of the universal desolation. The expression of a lady
respecting the system of Helvetius is well known, that it uttered only
the secret of all the world.

Most closely connected with the empiricism of Locke, is the sensualism
of the Abbé _Condillac_. Condillac was born at Grenoble, 1715. In his
first writings he adhered to Locke, but subsequently passed beyond him,
and sought to ground a philosophical standpoint of his own. He was
elected a member of the French Academy in 1768, and died in 1780. His
writings fill twenty-three volumes, and have their origin in a moral and
religious interest.

Condillac, like Locke, started with the proposition that all our
knowledge comes from experience. While, however, Locke had indicated two
sources for this knowledge, sensation and reflection, the outer and the
inner sense, Condillac referred reflection to sensation, and reduced the
two sources to one. Reflection is, with him, only sensation; all
intellectual occurrences, even the combination of ideas and volition,
are to be regarded only as modified sensations. It is the chief problem
and content of Condillac’s philosophizing to carry out this thought, and
derive the different functions of the soul out of the sensations of the
outer sense. He illustrates this thought by a statue, which has been
made with a perfect internal organization like a man, but which
possesses no ideas, and in which only gradually one sense after another
awakens and fills the soul with impressions. In such a view man stands
on the same footing as the brute, for all his knowledge and all his
incentives to action he receives from sensation. Condillac consequently
names men perfect animals, and brutes imperfect men. Still he revolts
from affirming the materiality of the soul, and denying the existence of
God. These ultimate consequences of sensualism were first drawn by
others after him, as would naturally enough follow. As sensualism
affirmed that truth or being could only be perceived through the sense,
so we have only to reverse this proposition, and have the thesis of
materialism, viz.: the sensible alone is, there is no other being but
material being.



_Helvetius_ has exhibited the moral consequences of the sensualistic
standpoint. While theoretical sensualism affirms that all our knowledge
is determined by sensation, practical sensualism adds to this the
analogous proposition that all our volition springs from the same
source, and is regulated by the sensuous desire. Helvetius adopted it as
the principle of morals to satisfy this sensuous desire.

Helvetius was born at Paris in 1715. Gaining a position in his
twenty-third year as farmer-general, he found himself early in the
possession of a rich income, but after a few years he found this office
so vexatious that he abandoned it. The study of Locke decided his
philosophic direction. Helvetius wrote his famed work, _de l’Esprit_,
after he had given up his office and withdrawn himself in seclusion. It
appeared in 1758, and attracted a great attention at home and abroad,
though it drew upon him a violent persecution, especially from the
clergy. It was fortunate for him that the persecution satisfied itself
with suppressing his book. The repose in which he spent his later years
was interrupted only by two journeys which he made to Germany and
England. He died in 1771. His personal character was wholly estimable,
full of kindness and generosity. Especially in his place as
farmer-general he showed himself benevolent towards the poor, and
resolute against the encroachments of his subalterns. The style of his
writings is easy and elegant.

Self-love or interest, says Helvetius, is the lever of all our mental
activities. Even that activity which is purely intellectual, our
instinct towards knowledge, our forming of ideas, rests upon this. Since
now all self-love refers essentially only to bodily pleasure, it follows
that every mental occurrence within us has its peculiar source only in
the striving after this pleasure; but in saying this, we have only
affirmed where the principle of all morality is to be sought. It is an
absurdity to require a man to do the good simply for its own sake. This
is just as impracticable as that he should do the evil simply for the
sake of the evil. Hence if morality would not be wholly fruitless, it
must return to its empirical basis, and venture to adopt the true
principle of all acting, viz., sensuous pleasure and pain, or, in other
words, selfishness as an actual moral principle. Hence, as a correct
legislation is that which secures obedience to its laws through reward
and punishment, _i. e._ through selfishness, so will a correct system of
morals be that which derives the duties of men from self-love, which
shows that that which is forbidden is something which is followed by
disagreeable consequences. A system of ethics which does not involve the
self-interest of men, or which wars against this, necessarily remains



1. It has already been remarked (§ XXX.) that the carrying out of
empiricism to its extremes, as was attempted in France, was most
intimately connected with the general condition of the French people and
state, in the period before the revolution. The contradictory element in
the character of the Middle Ages, the external and dualistic relation to
the spiritual world, had developed itself in Catholic France till it had
corrupted and destroyed every condition. Morality, mainly through the
influence of a licentious court, had become wholly corrupted; the state
had sunk to an unbridled despotism, and the church to a hierarchy as
hypocritical as it was powerful. Thus, as every intellectual edifice was
threatened with ruin, nature, as matter without intellect, as the object
of sensation and desire, alone remained. Yet it is not the materialistic
extreme which constitutes the peculiar character and tendency of the
period now before us. The common character of the philosophers of the
eighteenth century is rather, and most prominently, the opposition
against every ruling restraint, and perversion in morals, religion, and
the state. Their criticism and polemics, which were much more ingenious
and eloquent than strictly scientific, were directed against the whole
realm of traditional and given and positive notions. They sought to show
the contradiction between the existing elements in the state and the
church, and the incontrovertible demands of the reason. They sought to
overthrow in the faith of the world every fixed opinion which had not
been established in the eye of reason, and to give the thinking man the
full consciousness of his pure freedom. In order that we may correctly
estimate the merit of these men, we must bring before us the French
world of that age against which their attacks were directed; the
dissoluteness of a pitiful court, the slavish obedience exacted by a
corrupt priesthood, a church sunken into decay yet seeking worldly
honor, a state constitution, a condition of rights and of society, which
must be profoundly revolting to every thinking man and every moral
feeling. It is the immortal merit of these men that they gave over to
scorn and hatred the abjectness and hypocrisy which then reigned; that
they brought the minds of men to look with indifference upon the idols
of the world, and awakened within them a consciousness of their own

2. The most famous and influential actor in this period of the French
clearing up, is _Voltaire_ (1694-1778). Though a writer of great
versatility, rather than a philosopher, there was yet no philosopher of
that time who exerted so powerful an influence upon the whole thinking
of his country and his age. Voltaire was no atheist. On the contrary, he
regarded the belief in a Supreme Being to be so necessary, that he once
said that if there were no God we should be under the necessity of
inventing one. He was just as little disposed to deny the immortality of
the soul, though he often expressed his doubts upon it. He regarded the
atheistic materialism of a La Mettrie as nothing but nonsense. In these
respects, therefore, he is far removed from the standpoint of the
philosophers who followed him. His whole hatred was expended against
Christianity as a positive religion. To destroy this system he
considered as his peculiar mission, and he left no means untried to
attain this anxiously longed-for end. His unwearied warfare against
every positive religion prepared the way and gave weapons for the
attacks against spiritualism which followed.

3. The Encyclopedists had a more decidedly sceptical relation to the
principles and the basis of spiritualism. The philosophical Encyclopedia
established by _Diderot_ (1713-1784), and published by him in connection
with d’Alembert, is a memorable monument of the ruling spirit in France
in the time before the revolution. It was the pride of France at that
age, because it expressed in a splendid and universally accessible form
the inner consciousness of the French people. With the keenest wit it
reasoned away law from the state, and freedom from morality, and spirit
and God from nature, though all this was done only in scattered, and,
for the most part, timorous intimations. In Diderot’s independent
writings we find talent of much philosophic importance united with great
earnestness. But it is very difficult to fix and accurately to limit his
philosophic views, since they were very gradually formed, and Diderot
expressed them always with some reserve and accommodation. In general,
however, it may be remarked, that in the progress of his speculations he
constantly approached nearer the extreme of the philosophical direction
of his age. In his earlier writings a Deist, he afterwards avowed the
opinion that every thing is God. At first defending the immateriality
and immortality of the soul, he expressed himself at a later period
decidedly against these doctrines, affirming that the species alone has
an abiding being while the individual passes away, and that immortality
is nothing other than to live in the thoughts of coming generations. But
Diderot did not venture to the real extreme of logical materialism; his
moral earnestness restrained him from this.

4. The last word of materialism was spoken with reckless audacity by _La
Mettrie_ (1709-1751), a contemporary of Diderot: every thing spiritual
is a delusion, and physical enjoyment is the highest end of men. Faith
in the existence of a God, says La Mettrie, is just as groundless as it
is fruitless. The world will not be happy till atheism becomes
universally established. Then alone will there be no more religious
strife, then alone will theologians, the most odious of combatants,
disappear, and nature, poisoned at present by their influence, will come
again to its rights. In reference to the human soul, there can be no
philosophy but materialism. All the observation and experience of the
greatest philosophers and physicians declare this. Soul is nothing but a
mere name, which has a rational signification only when we understand by
it that part of our body which thinks. This is the brain, which has its
muscles of thought, just as the limbs have their muscles of motion. That
which gives man his advantage over the brutes is, first, the
organization of his brain, and second, its capacity for receiving
instruction. Otherwise, is man a brute like the beasts around him,
though in many respects surpassed by these. Immortality is an absurdity.
The soul perishes with the body of which it forms a part. With death
every thing is over, _la farce est jouée_! The practical and selfish
application of all this is—let us enjoy ourselves as long as we exist,
and not throw away any satisfaction we can attain.

5. The _Systéme de la Nature_ afterwards attempted to elaborate with
greater earnestness and scientific precision, that which had been
uttered so superficially and so superciliously by La Mettrie, viz., the
doctrine that matter alone exists, while mind is nothing other than
matter refined.

The _Systéme de la Nature_ appeared in London under a fictitious name in
1770. It was then published as a posthumous work of Mirabaud, late
secretary of the Academy. It doubtless had its origin in the circle
which was wont to assemble with Baron Holbach, and of which Diderot,
Grimm, and others formed a part. Whether the Baron Holbach himself, or
his tutor Lagrange is the author of this work, or whether it is the
joint production of a number, cannot now be determined. The _Systéme de
la Nature_ is hardly a French book: the style is too heavy and tedious.

There is, in fact, nothing but matter and motion, says this work. Both
are inseparably connected. If matter is at rest, it is only because
hindered in motion, for in its essence it is not a dead mass. Motion is
twofold, attraction and repulsion. The different motions which we see
are the product of these two, and through these different motions arise
the different connections and the whole manifoldness of things. The laws
which direct in all this are eternal and unchangeable.—The most weighty
consequences of such a doctrine are:

(1.) _The materiality of man._ Man is no twofold being compounded of
mind and matter, as is erroneously believed. If the inquiry is closely
made what the mind is, we are answered, that the most accurate
philosophical investigations have shown, that the principle of activity
in man is a substance whose peculiar nature cannot be known, but of
which we can affirm that it is indivisible, unextended, invisible, &c.
But now, who should conceive any thing determinate in a substance which
is only the negation of that which gives knowledge, an idea which is
peculiarly only the absence of all ideas? Still farther, how can it be
explained upon such a hypothesis, that a substance which itself is not
material can work upon material things; and how can it set these in
motion, since there is no point of contact between the two? In fact,
those who distinguish their soul from their body, have only to make a
distinction between their brain and their body. Thought is only a
modification of our brain, just as volition is another modification of
the same bodily organ.

(2.) Another chimera, the belief in the being of a God, is connected
with the twofold division of man into body and soul. This belief arises
like the hypothesis of a soul-substance, because mind is falsely divided
from matter, and nature is thus made twofold. The evil which men
experienced, and whose natural cause they could not discover, they
assigned to a deity which they imagined for the purpose. The first
notions of a God have their source therefore in sorrow, fear, and
uncertainty. We tremble because our forefathers for thousands of years
have done the same. This circumstance awakens no auspicious
prepossession. But not only the rude, but also the theological idea of
God is worthless, for it explains no phenomenon of nature. It is,
moreover, full of absurdities, for, since it ascribes moral attributes
to God, it renders him human; while on the other hand, by a mass of
negative attributes, it seeks to distinguish him absolutely from every
other being. The true system, the system of nature, is hence atheistic.
But such a doctrine requires a culture and a courage which neither all
men nor most men possess. If we understand by the word atheist one who
considers only _dead_ matter, or who designates the _moving power_ in
nature with the name God, then is there no atheist, or whoever would be
one is a fool. But if the word means one who denies the existence of a
spiritual being, a being whose attributes can only be a source of
annoyance to men, then are there indeed atheists, and there would be
more of them, if a correct knowledge of nature and a sound reason were
more widely diffused. But if atheism is true, then should it be
diffused. There are, indeed, many who have cast off the yoke of
religion, who nevertheless think it is necessary for the common people
in order to keep them within proper limits. But this is just as if we
should determine to give a man poison lest he should abuse his strength.
Every kind of Deism leads necessarily to superstition, since it is not
possible to continue on the standpoint of pure deism.

(3.) With such premises the freedom and immortality of the soul both
disappear. Man, like every other substance in nature, is a link in the
chain of necessary connection, a blind instrument in the hands of
necessity. If any thing should be endowed with self-motion, that is,
with a capacity to produce motion without any other cause, then would it
have the power to destroy motion in the universe; but this is contrary
to the conception of the universe, which is only an endless series of
necessary motions spreading out into wider circles continually. The
claim of an individual immortality is absurd. For to affirm that the
soul exists after the destruction of the body, is to affirm that a
modification of a substance can exist after the substance itself has
disappeared. There is no other immortality than to live in the
remembrance of posterity.

(4.) The practical consequences of these principles are in the highest
degree favorable for the system of nature, the utility of any doctrine
being ever the first criterion of its truth. While the ideas of
theologians are productive only of disquiet and anxiety to man, the
system of nature frees him from all such unrest, teaches him to enjoy
the present moment, and to quietly yield to his destiny, while it gives
him that kind of apathy which every one must regard as a blessing. If
morality would be active, it can rest only upon self-love and
self-interest; it must show man whither his well-considered interest
would lead him. He is a good man who gains his own interest in such a
way that others will find it for their interest to assist him. The
system of self-interest, therefore, demands the union of men among each
other, and hence we have true morality.

The logical dogmatic materialism of the _Système de la Nature_ is the
farthest limit of an empirical direction in philosophy, and consequently
closes that course of the development of a one-sided realism which had
begun with Locke. The attempt first made by Locke to explain and derive
the ideal world from the material, ended in materialism with the total
reduction of every thing spiritual to the material, with the total
denial of the spiritual. We must now, before proceeding farther,
according to the classification made § XXVII., consider the idealistic
course of development which ran parallel with the systems of a partial
realism. At the head of this course stands _Leibnitz_.



As empiricism sprang from the striving to subject the intellectual to
the material, to materialize the spiritual, so on the other hand,
idealism had its source in the effort to spiritualize the material, or
so to apprehend the conception of mind that matter could be subsumed
under it. To the empiric-sensualistic direction, mind was nothing but
refined matter, while to the idealistic direction matter was only
degenerated (_vergröbert_) mind (“a confused notion,” as Leibnitz
expresses it). The former, in its logical development, was driven to the
principle that only material things exist, the latter (as with Leibnitz
and Berkeley) comes to the opposite principle, that there are only souls
and their ideas. For the partial realistic standpoint, material things
were the truly substantial. But for the idealistic standpoint, the
substantial belongs alone to the intellectual world, to the Egos. Mind,
to the partial realism, was essentially void, a _tabula rasa_, its whole
content came to it from the external world. But a partial idealism
sought to carry out the principle that nothing can come into the mind
which had not at least been preformed within it, that all its knowledge
is furnished it by itself. According to the former view knowledge was a
passive relation, according to the latter was it wholly active. While,
in fine, a partial realism had attempted to explain the becoming in
nature for the most part through real, _i. e._ through mechanical
motives (_l’homme machine_ is the title of one of la Mettrie’s
writings), idealism had sought an explanation of the same through ideal
motives, _i. e._ teleologically. While the former had made its prominent
inquiry for moving causes, and had, indeed, often ridiculed the search
for a final cause; it is final causes toward which the latter directs
its chief aim. The mediation between mind and matter, between thought
and being, will now be sought in the final cause, in the teleological
harmony of all things (_pre-established harmony_). The standpoint of
Leibnitz may thus be characterized in a word.

_Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz_ was born in 1646, at Leipsic, where his
father was professor. Having chosen the law as his profession, he
entered the university in 1661, and in 1663 he defended for his degree
of doctor in philosophy, his dissertation _de principio individui_, a
theme well characteristic of the direction of his later philosophizing.
He afterwards went to Jena, and subsequently to Altdorf, where he became
doctor of laws. At Altdorf he was offered a professorship of
jurisprudence, which he refused. The rest of his life was unsettled and
desultory, spent for the most part in courts, where, as a versatile
courtier, he was employed in the most varied duties of diplomacy. In the
year 1672 he went to Paris, in order to induce Louis XIV. to undertake
the conquest of Egypt. He subsequently visited London, whence he was
afterwards called to Hanover, as councillor of the Duke of Brunswick. He
received later a post as librarian at Wolfenbüttel, between which place
and Hanover he spent the most of his subsequent life, though interrupted
with numerous journeys to Vienna, Berlin, etc. He was intimately
associated with the Prussian Electress, Maria Charlotte, a highly
talented woman, who surrounded herself with a circle of the most
distinguished scholars of the time, and for whom Liebnitz wrote, at her
own request, his _Theodicée_. In 1701, after Prussia had become a
kingdom, an academy was established at Berlin, through, his efforts, and
he became its first president. Similar, but fruitless attempts were made
by him to establish academies in Dresden and Vienna. In 1711 the title
of imperial court councillor, and a baronage, was bestowed upon him by
the emperor Charles VI. Soon after, he betook himself to Vienna, where
he remained a considerable period, and wrote his Monadology, at the
solicitation of Prince Eugene. He died in 1716. Next to Aristotle,
Leibnitz was the most highly gifted scholar that had ever lived; with
the richest and most extensive learning, he united the highest and most
penetrating powers of mind. Germany has reason to be proud of him,
since, after Jacob Boehme, he is the first philosopher of any note among
the Germans. With him philosophy found a home in Germany. It is to be
regretted that the great variety of his efforts and literary
undertakings, together with his roving manner of life, prevented him
from giving any connected exhibition of his philosophy. His views are
for the most part developed only in brief and occasional writings and
letters, composed frequently in the French language. It is hence not
easy to state his philosophy in its internal connection, though none of
his views are isolated, but all stand strictly connected with each
other. The following are the chief points:

1. THE DOCTRINE OF MONADS.—The fundamental peculiarity of Leibnitz’s
theory is its opposition to Spinozism. Substance, as the indeterminate
universal, was with Spinoza the only positive. With Leibnitz also the
conception of substance lay at the basis of his philosophy, but his
definition of it was entirely different. While Spinoza had sought to
exclude from his substance every positive determination, and especially
all acting, and had apprehended it simply as pure being, Leibnitz viewed
it as living activity and active energy, an example for which might be
found in a stretched bow, which moved and straightened itself through
its own energy as soon as the external hindrance was removed. That this
active energy forms the essence of substance is a principle to which
Leibnitz ever returns, and from which, in fact, all the other chief
points in his philosophy may be derived. From this there follow at the
outset two determinations of substance directly opposed to Spinozism;
first, that it is a single being, a monad; and second, that there are a
multiplicity of monads. The first follows because substance, in so far
as it exercises an activity similar to an elastic body, is essentially
an excluding activity, or repulsion; the conception of an individual or
a monad being that which excludes another from itself. The second
follows because the existence of one monad involves the existence of
many. The conception of one individual postulates other individuals,
which stand over against the one as excluded from it. Hence the
fundamental thesis of the Leibnitz philosophy in opposition to Spinozism
is this, viz., there is a multiplicity of individual substances or

similar to atoms in their general features. Like these they are
corpuscular units, independent of any external influence, and
indestructible by any external power. But notwithstanding this
similarity, there is an important and characteristic difference between
the two. First, the atoms are not distinguished from each other, they
are all qualitatively alike; but each one of the monads is different in
quality from every other, every one is a peculiar world for itself,
every one is different from every other. According to Leibnitz, there
are no two things in the world which are exactly alike. Secondly, atoms
can be considered as extended and divisible, but the monads are
metaphysical points, and actually indivisible. Here, lest we should
stumble at this proposition (for an aggregate of unextended monads can
never give an extended world), we must take into consideration
Leibnitz’s view of space, which, according to him, is not something
real, but only confused, subjective representation. Thirdly, the monad
is a representative being. With the atomists such a determination would
amount to nothing, but with Leibnitz it has a very important part to
play. According to him, in every monad, every other is reflected; every
monad is a living mirror of the universe, and ideally contains the whole
within itself as in a germ. In thus mirroring the world, however, the
monad is not passive but spontaneously self-active: it does not receive
the images which it mirrors, but produces them spontaneously itself, as
the soul does a dream. In every monad, therefore, the all-seeing and
all-knowing one might read every thing, even the future, since this is
potentially contained in the present. Every monad is a kind of God.
(_Parvus in suo genere Deus._)

3. THE PRE-ESTABLISHED HARMONY.—The universe is thus the sum of all the
monads. Every thing, every composite, is an aggregate of monads. Thus
every bodily organism is not one substance, but many, it is a
multiplicity of monads, like a machine which is made up of a number of
distinct pieces of mechanism. Leibnitz compared bodies to a fish-pond,
which might be full of living elements, though dead itself. The ordinary
view of things is thus wholly set aside; the truly substantial does not
belong to bodies, _i. e._ to the aggregates, but to their original
elements. Matter, in the vulgar sense, as something conceived to be
without mind, does not at all exist. How now must the inner connection
of the universe be conceived? In the following way. Every monad is a
representative being, and at the same time, each one is different from
every other. This difference, therefore, depends alone upon the
difference of representation: there are just as many different degrees
of representation as there are monads, and these degrees may be fixed
according to some of their prominent stages. The representations may be
classified according to the distinction between confused and distinct
knowledge. Hence a monad of the lowest rank (a monad _toute nue_) will
be one which _simply_ represents, _i. e._ which stands on the stage of
most confused knowledge. Leibnitz compares this state with a swoon, or
with our condition in a dreamy sleep, in which we are not without
representations, (notions)—for otherwise we could have none when
awaking—but in which the representations are so numerous that they
neutralize each other and do not come into the consciousness. This is
the stage of inorganic nature. In a higher rank are those monads in
which the representation is active as a formative vital force, though
still without consciousness. This is the stage of the vegetable world.
Still higher ascends the life of the monad when it attains to sensation
and memory, as is the case in the animal kingdom. The lower monads may
be said to sleep, and the brute monads to dream. When still farther the
soul rises to reason or reflection, we call it mind, spirit.—The
distinction of the monads from each other is, therefore, this, that each
one, though mirroring the whole and the same universe in itself, does it
from a different point of view, and, therefore, differently, the one
more, and the rest less perfectly. Each one is a different centre of the
world which it mirrors. Each one contains the whole universe, the whole
infinity within itself, and in this respect is like God, the only
difference being that God knows every thing with perfect distinctness,
while the monad represents it confusedly, though one monad may represent
it more confusedly than another. The limitation of a monad does not,
therefore, consist in its containing less than another or than God, but
only in its containing more imperfectly or in its representing less
distinctly.—Upon this standpoint the universe, in so far as every monad
mirrors one and the same universe, though each in a different way,
represents a drama of the greatest possible difference, as well as of
the greatest possible unity and order, _i. e._ of the greatest possible
perfection, or the _absolute harmony_. For distinction in unity is
harmony.—But in still another respect the universe is a system of
harmony. Since the monads do not work upon each other, but each one
follows only the law of its own being, there is danger lest the inner
harmony of the universe may be disturbed. How is this danger removed?
Thus, viz., every monad mirrors the whole and the same universe. The
changes of the collected monads, therefore, run parallel with each
other, and in this consists the harmony of all as pre-established by

conception of God play in the system of Leibnitz? An almost idle one.
Following the strict consequences of his system, Leibnitz should have
held to no proper theism, but the harmony of the universe should have
taken the place of the Deity. Ordinarily he considers God as the
sufficient cause of all monads. But he was also accustomed to consider
the final cause of a thing as its sufficient cause. In this respect,
therefore, he almost identifies God and the absolute final cause.
Elsewhere he considers the Deity as a simple primitive substance, or as
the individual primitive unity. Again, he speaks of God as a pure
immaterial actuality, _actus purus_, while to the monads belongs matter,
_i. e._ restrained actuality, striving, _appetitio_. Once he calls him a
monad, though this is in manifest contradiction with the determinations
otherwise assigned him. It was for Leibnitz a very difficult problem to
bring his monadology and his theism into harmony with each other,
without giving up the premises of both. If he held fast to the
substantiality of the monads, he was in danger of making them
independent of the Deity, and if he did not, he could hardly escape
falling back into Spinozism.

5. THE RELATION OF SOUL AND BODY is clearly explained on the standpoint
of the pre-established harmony. This relation, taking the premises of
the monadology, might seem enigmatical. If no monad can work upon any
other, how can the soul work upon the body to lead and move it? The
enigma is solved by the pre-established harmony. While the body and
soul, each one independently of the other, follows the laws of its
being, the body working mechanically, and the soul pursuing ends, yet
God has established such a concordant harmony of the two activities,
such a parallelism of the two functions, that there is in fact a perfect
unity for body and soul. There are, says Leibnitz, three views
respecting the relation of body and soul. The first and most common
supposes a reciprocal influence between the two, but such a view is
untenable, because there can be no interchange between mind and matter.
The second and occasional one (_cf._ § XXV. 1), brings about this
interchange through the constant assistance of God, which is nothing
more nor less than to make God a _Deus ex machina_. Hence the only
solution for the problem is the hypothesis of a pre-established harmony.
Leibnitz illustrates these three views in the following example. Let one
conceive of two watches, whose hands ever accurately point to the same
time. This agreement may be explained, first (the common view), by
supposing an actual connection between the hands of each, so that the
hand of the one watch might draw the hand of the other after it, or
second (the occasional view), by conceiving of a watch-maker who
continually keeps the hands alike, or in fine (the pre-established
harmony), by ascribing to each a mechanism so exquisitely wrought that
each one goes in perfect independence of the other, and at the same time
in entire agreement with it.—That the soul is immortal (indestructible),
follows at once from the doctrine of monads. There is no proper death.
That which is called death is only the soul losing a part of the monads
which compose the mechanism of its body, while the living element goes
back to a condition similar to that in which it was before it came upon
the theatre of the world.

6. The monadology has very important consequences in reference to THE
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE. As the philosophy of Leibnitz, by its opposition to
Spinozism, had to do with the doctrine of being, so by its opposition to
the empiricism of Locke must it expound the theory of knowledge. Locke’s
Essay on the Human Understanding had attracted Leibnitz without
satisfying him, and he therefore attempted a new investigation in his
_Nouveaux Essais_, in which he defended the doctrine of innate ideas.
But this hypothesis of innate ideas Leibnitz now freed from that
defective view which had justified the objections of Locke. The
innateness of the ideas must not be held as though they were explicitly
and consciously contained in the mind, but rather the mind possesses
them potentially and only virtually, though with the capacity to produce
them out of itself. All thoughts are properly innate, _i. e._ they do
not come into the mind from without, but are rather produced by it from
itself. Any external influence upon the mind is inconceivable, it even
needs nothing external for its sensations. While Locke had compared the
mind to an unwritten piece of paper, Leibnitz likened it to a block of
marble, in which the veins prefigure the form of the statue. Hence the
common antithesis between rational and empirical knowledge disappears
with Leibnitz in the degrees of greater or less distinctness.—Among
these theoretically innate ideas, Leibnitz recognizes two of special
prominence, which take the first rank as principles of all knowledge and
all ratiocination,—the principle of contradiction (_principium
contradictionis_), and the principle of sufficient cause (_principium
rationis sufficientis_). To these, as a principle of the second rank,
must be added the _principium indiscernibilium_, or the principle that
there are in nature no two things wholly alike.

7. The most elaborate exhibition of Leibnitz’s theological views is
given in his _Théodicée_. The Théodicée, is, however, his weakest work,
and has but a loose connection with the rest of his philosophy. Written
at the instigation of a woman, it belies this origin neither in its form
nor in its content—not in its form, for in its effort to be popular it
becomes diffuse and unscientific, and not in its content, for it
accommodates itself to the positive dogmas and the premises of theology
farther than the scientific basis of the system of Leibnitz would
permit. In this work, Leibnitz investigates the relation of God to the
world in order to show a conformity in this relation to a final cause,
and to free God from the charge of acting without or contrary to an aim.
Why is the world as it is? God might have created it very differently.
True, answers Leibnitz, God saw an infinite number of worlds as possible
before him, but out of all these he chose the one which actually is as
the best. This is the famous doctrine of the best world, according to
which no more perfect world is possible than the one which is.—But how
so? Is not the existence of evil at variance with this? Leibnitz answers
this objection by distinguishing three kinds of evil, the metaphysical,
the physical, and the moral. The metaphysical evil, _i. e._ the
finiteness and incompleteness of things, is necessary because
inseparable from finite existence, and is thus independent of the will
of God. Physical evil (pain, &c.), though not independent of the will of
God, is often a good conditionally, _i. e._ as a punishment or means of
improvement. Moral evil or wickedness can in no way be charged to the
will of God. Leibnitz took various ways to account for its existence,
and obviate the contradiction lying between it and the conception of
God. At one time he says that wickedness is only permitted by God as a
_conditio sine qua non_, because without wickedness there were no
freedom, and without freedom no virtue. Again, he reduces the moral evil
to the metaphysical, and makes wickedness nothing but a want of
perfection, a negation, a limitation, playing the same part as do the
shadows in a painted picture, or the discords in a piece of music, which
do not diminish the beauty, but only increase it through contrast.
Again, he distinguishes between the material and the formal element in a
wicked act. The material of sin, the power to act, is from God, but the
formal element, the wickedness of the act, belongs wholly to man, and is
the result of his limitation, or, as Leibnitz here and there expresses
it, of his eternal self-predestination. In no case can the harmony of
the universe be destroyed through such a cause.

These are the chief points of Leibnitz’s philosophy. The general
characteristic of it as given in the beginning of the present section,
will be found to have its sanction in the specific exhibition that has
now been furnished.



Leibnitz had not carried out the standpoint of idealism to its extreme.
He had indeed, on the one side, explained space and motion and bodily
things as phenomena which had their existence only in a confused
representation, but on the other side, he had not wholly denied the
existence of the bodily world, but had recognized as a reality lying at
its basis, the world of monads. The phenomenal or bodily world had its
fixed and substantial foundation in the monads. Thus Leibnitz, though an
idealist, did not wholly break with realism. The ultimate consequence of
a subjective idealism would have been to wholly deny the reality of the
objective, sensible world, and explain corporeal objects as simply
phenomena, as nothing but subjective notions without any objective
reality as a basis. This consequence the idealistic counterpart to the
ultimate realistic result of materialism—appears in _George Berkeley_,
who was born in Ireland, 1684, made bishop of the Anglican Church in
1734, and died in 1753. Hence, though he followed the empiricism of
Locke, and sustained no outward connection with Leibnitz, we must place
him in immediate succession to the latter as the perfecter of a
subjective idealism.

Our sensations, says Berkeley, are entirely subjective. We are wholly in
error if we believe that we have a sensation of external objects or
perceive them. That which we have and perceive is only our sensations.
It is _e. g._ clear, that by the sense of sight we can _see_ neither the
distance, the size, nor the form of objects, but that we only _conclude_
that these exist, because our experience has taught us that a certain
sensation of sight is always attended by certain sensations of touch.
That which we see is only colors, clearness, obscurity, &c., and it is
therefore false to say that we see and feel the same thing. So also we
never go out of ourselves for those sensations to which we ascribe most
decidedly an objective character. The peculiar objects of our
understanding are only our own affections; all ideas are hence only our
own sensations. But just as there can be no sensations outside of the
sensitive subject, so no idea can have existence outside of him who
possesses it. The so-called objects exist only in our notion, and have a
being only as they are perceived. It is the great error of most
philosophers that they ascribe to corporeal objects a being outside the
conceiving mind, and do not see that they are only mental. It is not
possible that material things should produce any thing so wholly
distinct from themselves as sensations and notions. There is no such
thing as a material external world; _mind alone exists_ as thinking
being, whose nature consists in thinking and willing. But whence then
arise all our sensations which come to us like the images of fancy,
without our agency, and which are thus no products of our will? They
arise from a spirit superior to ourselves—for only a spirit can produce
within us notions—even from God. God gives us ideas; but as it would be
contradictory to assert that a being could give what it does not
possess, so ideas exist _in God_, and we derive them from him. These
ideas in God may be called archetypes, and those in us ectypes.—In
consequence of this view, says Berkeley, we do not deny an independent
reality of things, we only deny that they can exist elsewhere than in an
understanding. Instead therefore of speaking of a nature in which, _e.
g._ the sun is the cause of warmth, &c., the accurate expression would
be this: God announces to us through the sense of sight that we should
soon perceive a sensation of warmth. Hence by nature we are only to
understand the succession or the connection of ideas, and by natural
laws the constant order in which they proceed, _i. e._ the laws of the
association of ideas. This thorough-going subjective idealism, this
complete denial of matter, Berkeley considered as the surest way to
oppose materialism and atheism.



The idealism of Berkeley, as was to be expected from the nature of the
case, remained without any farther development, but the philosophy of
Leibnitz was taken up and subjected to a farther revision by _Christian
Wolff_. He was born in Breslau in 1679. He was chosen professor at
Halle, where he became obnoxious to the charge of teaching a doctrine at
variance with the Scriptures, and drew upon himself such a violent
opposition from the theologians of the university, that a cabinet order
was issued for his dismissal on the 8th of November, 1723, and he was
enjoined to leave Prussia within forty-eight hours on pain of being
hung. He then became professor in Marburg, but was afterwards recalled
to Prussia by Frederic II. immediately upon his accession to the throne.
He was subsequently made baron, and died 1754. In his chief thoughts he
followed Leibnitz, a connection which he himself admitted, though he
protested against the identification of his philosophy with that of
Leibnitz, and objected to the name, _Philosophia Leibnitio-Wolffiana_,
which was taken by his disciple Bilfinger. The historical merit of Wolff
is threefold. First, and most important, he laid claim again to the
whole domain of knowledge in the name of philosophy, and sought again to
build up a systematic framework, and make an encyclopedia of philosophy
in the highest sense of the word. Though he did not himself furnish much
new material for this purpose, yet he carefully elaborated and arranged
that which he found at hand. Secondly, he made again the philosophical
method as such, an object of attention. His own method is, indeed, an
external one as to its content, namely, the mathematical or the
mathematico-syllogistical, recommended by Leibnitz, and by the
application of this his whole philosophizing sinks to a level formalism.
(For instance, in his principles of architecture, the eighth proposition
is—“a window must be wide enough for two persons to recline together
conveniently,”—a proposition which is thus proved: “we are more
frequently accustomed to recline and look out at a window in company
with another person than alone, and hence, since the builder of the
house should satisfy the owner in every respect (§ 1), he must make a
window wide enough for two persons conveniently to recline within it at
the same time”.) Still this formalism is not without its advantage, for
it subjects the philosophical content to a logical treatment. Thirdly,
Wolff has taught philosophy to speak German, an art which it has not
since forgotten. Next to Leibnitz, he is entitled to the merit of having
made the German language for ever the organ of philosophy.

The following remarks will suffice for the content and the scientific
classification of Wolff’s philosophy. He defines philosophy to be the
science of the possible as such. But that is possible which contains no
contradiction. Wolff defends this definition against the charge of
presuming too much. It is not affirmed, he says, with this definition
that either he or any other philosopher knows every thing which is
possible. The definition only claims for philosophy the whole province
of human knowledge, and it is certainly proper that philosophy should be
described according to the highest perfection which it can attain, even
though it has not yet actually reached it.—In what parts now does this
science of the possible consist? Resting on the perception that there
are within the soul two faculties, one of knowing and one of willing,
Wolff divides philosophy into two great parts, theoretical philosophy
(an expression, however, which first appears among his followers), or
metaphysics, and practical philosophy. Logic precedes both as a
preliminary training for philosophical study. Metaphysics are still
farther divided by Wolff into ontology, cosmology, psychology, and
natural theology; practical philosophy he divides into ethics, whose
object is man as man; economics, whose object is man as a member of the
family; and politics, whose object is man as a citizen of the state.

1. ONTOLOGY is the first part of Wolff’s metaphysics. Ontology treats of
what are now called categories, or those fundamental conceptions which
are applied to every object, and must therefore at the outset be
investigated. Aristotle had already furnished a table of categories, but
he had derived them wholly empirically. It is not much better with the
ontology of Wolff; it is laid out like a philosophical dictionary. At
its head he places the principle of contradiction, viz.: it is not
possible for any thing to be, and at the same time not to be. The
conception of the possible at once follows from this principle. That is
possible which contains no contradiction. That is necessary, the
opposite of which contradicts itself, and that is accidental, the
opposite of which is possible. Every thing which is possible is a thing,
though only an imaginary one; that which neither is, nor is possible, is
nothing. When many things together compose a thing, this is a whole, and
the individual things comprehended by it are its parts. The greatness of
a thing consists in the multitude of its parts. If A contains that by
which we can understand the being of B, then that in A by which B
becomes understood is the ground of B, and the whole A which contains
the ground of B is its cause. That which contains the ground of its
properties is the essence of a thing. Space is the arrangement of things
which exist conjointly. Place is the determinate way in which a thing
exists in conjunction with others. Movement is change of place. Time is
the arrangement of that which exists successively, etc.

2. COSMOLOGY.—Wolff defines the world to be a series of changing
objects, which exist conjointly and successively, but which are so
connected together that one ever contains the ground of the other.
Things are connected in space and in time. By virtue of this universal
connection, the world is one united whole; the essence of the world
consists in the manner of its connection. But this manner cannot be
changed. It can neither receive any new ingredients nor lose any of
those it possesses. From the essence of the world spring all its
changes. In this respect the world is a machine. Events in the world are
only hypothetically necessary in so far as previous events have had a
certain character; they are accidental in so far as the world might have
been directed otherwise. In respect to the question whether the world
had a beginning in time, Wolff does not express himself explicitly.
Since God is independent of time, but the world has been from eternity
in time, the world therefore is in no case eternal in any sense like
God. But according to Wolff, neither space nor time has any substantial
being. Body is a connected thing composed of matter, and possessing a
moving power within itself. The powers of a body taken together are
called its nature, and the comprehension of all being is called nature
in general. That which has its ground in the essence of the world is
called natural, and that which has not, is supernatural, or a wonder. At
the close of his cosmology, Wolff treats of the perfection and
imperfection of the world. The perfection of a world consists in the
harmony with each other of every thing which exists conjointly and
successively. But since every thing has its separate rules, the
individual must give up so much from its perfection as is necessary for
the symmetry of the whole.

3. RATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.--The soul is that within us which is
self-conscious. In the self-consciousness of the soul are itself and
other objects. Consciousness is either clear or indistinct. Clear
consciousness is thought. The soul is a simple incorporeal substance.
There dwells within it a power to represent to itself a world. In this
sense brutes also may have a soul, but a soul which possesses
understanding and will is mind, and mind belongs alone to men. The soul
of man is a mind joined to a body, and this is the distinction between
men and superior spirits. The movements of the soul and of the body
harmonize with each other by virtue of the preëstablished harmony. The
freedom of the human soul is the power according to its own arbitrament,
to choose of two possible things that which pleases it best. But the
soul does not decide without motives, it ever chooses that which it
holds to be the best. Thus the soul would seem impelled to its action by
its representations, but the understanding is not constrained to its
representations of that which is good and bad, and hence also the will
is not constrained, but free. As a simple being the soul is indivisible,
and hence incorruptible; the souls of brutes, however, have no
understanding, and hence enjoy no conscious existence after death. This
belongs alone to the human soul, and hence the human soul alone is

4. NATURAL THEOLOGY.—Wolff uses here the cosmological argument to
demonstrate the existence of a God. God might have made different
worlds, but has preferred the present one as the best. This world has
been called into being by the will of God. His aim in its creation was
the manifestation of his own perfection. Evil in the world does not
spring from the Divine will, but from the limited being of human things.
God permits it only as a means of good.

This brief aphoristic exposition of Wolff’s metaphysics, shows how
greatly it is related to the doctrine of Leibnitz. The latter, however,
loses much of its speculative profoundness by the abstract and logical
treatment it receives in the hands of Wolff. For the most part, the
specific elements of the monadology remain in the background; with
Wolff, his simple beings are not representative like the Monads, but
more like the Atoms. Hence there is with him much that is illogical and
contradictory. His peculiar merit in metaphysics is ontology, which he
has elaborated far more strictly than his predecessors. A multitude of
philosophical terminations owe to him their origin, and their
introduction into philosophical language.

The philosophy of Wolff, comprehensible and distinct as it was, and by
its composition in the German language more accessible than that of
Leibnitz, soon became the popular philosophy, and gained an extensive
influence. Among the names which deserve credit for their scientific
treatment of it, we may mention _Thümming_, 1697-1728; _Bilfinger_,
1693-1750; _Baumeister_, 1708-1785; _Baumgarten_ the esthetic,
1714-1762; and his scholar _Meier_, 1718-1777.



Under the influence of the philosophy of Leibnitz and Wolff, though
without any immediate connection with it, there arose in Germany during
the latter half of the eighteenth century, an eclectic popular
philosophy, whose different phases may be embraced under the name of the
German clearing up. It has but little significance for the history of
philosophy, though not without importance in other respects. Its great
aim was to secure a higher culture, and hence a cultivated and polished
style of reasoning is the form in which it philosophized. It is the
_German_ counterpart of the _French_ clearing up. As the latter closed
the realistic period of development by drawing the ultimate consequence
of materialism, so the former closed the idealistic series by its
tendency to an extreme subjectivism. To the men of this direction, the
empirical, individual Ego becomes the absolute; they forget every thing
else for it, or rather every thing else has a value in their eyes only
in proportion as it refers and ministers to the subject by contributing
to its demands and satisfying its inner cravings. Hence the question of
immortality becomes now the great problem of philosophy (in which
respect we may mention _Mendelssohn_, 1727-1786, the most important man
in this direction); the eternal duration of the individual soul is the
chief point of interest; objective ideas or truths of faith, _e. g._ the
personality of God, though not denied, cease to have an interest; it is
held as a standing article of belief that we can know nothing of God. In
another current of this direction, it is moral philosophy and esthetics
(_Garvey_, 1742-1798; _Engel_, 1741-1802; _Abbt_, 1738-1766; _Sulzer_,
1720-1779) which find a scientific treatment, because both these
preserve a subjective interest. In general, every thing is viewed in its
useful relations; the useful becomes the peculiar criterion of truth;
that which is not useful to the subject, or which does not minister to
his subjective ends, is set aside. In connection with this turn of mind
stands the prevailing teleological direction which the investigations of
nature assumed (_Reimarus_, 1694-1765), and the utilitarian character
given to ethics. The happiness of the individual was considered as the
highest principle and the supreme end (_Basedow_, 1723-1790). Even
religion is contemplated from this point of view. Reimarus wrote a
treatise upon the “_advantages_” of religion, in which he attempted to
prove that religion was not subversive of earthly pleasure, but rather
increased it; and _Steinbart_ (1738-1809) elaborated, in a number of
treatises, the theme that all wisdom consists alone in attaining
happiness, _i. e._ enduring satisfaction, and that the Christian
religion, instead of forbidding this, was rather itself the true
doctrine of happiness. In other particulars Christianity received only a
temperate respect; wherever it laid claim to any authority disagreeable
to the subject (as in individual doctrines like that of future
punishment), it was opposed, and in general the effort was made to
counteract, as far as possible, the positive dogma by natural religion.
Reimarus, for example, the most zealous defender of theism and of the
teleological investigation of nature, is at the same time the author of
the Wolfenbüttel fragments. By criticizing the Gospel history, and every
thing positive and transmitted, and by rationalizing the supernatural in
religion, the subject displayed its new-found independence. In fine, the
subjective standpoint of this period exhibits itself in the numerous
autobiographies and self-confessions then so prevalent; the isolated
self is the object of admiring contemplation (_Rousseau_, 1712-1778, and
his confessions); it beholds itself mirrored in its particular
conditions, sensations, and views—a sort of flirtation with itself,
which often rises to sickly sentimentality. According to all this, it is
seen to be the extreme consequence of subjective idealism which
constitutes the character of the German clearing up period, which thus
closes the series of an idealistic development.



The idealistic and the realistic stage of development to which we have
now been attending, each ended with a one-sided result. Instead of
actually and internally reconciling the opposition between thought and
being, they both issued in denying the one or the other of these
factors. Realism, on its side, had made matter absolute; and idealism,
on its side, had endowed the empirical Ego with the same
attribute—extremes in which philosophy was threatened with total
destruction. It had, in fact, in Germany as in France, become merged in
the most superficial popular philosophy. Then _Kant_ arose, and brought
again into one channel the two streams which, when separate from each
other, threatened to lose themselves amid the sands. Kant is the great
renovator of philosophy, who brought back to their point of divergence
the one-sided efforts which had preceded him, and embraced them in their
unity and totality. He stands in some special and fitting relation
either antagonistic or harmonious to all others—to Locke no less than to
Hume, to the Scottish philosophers no less than to the English and
French moralists, to the philosophy of Leibnitz and of Wolff, as well as
to the materialism of the French and the utilitarianism of the German
clearing up period. His relation to the development of a partial
idealism and a one-sided realism is thus stated: Empiricism had made the
Ego purely passive and subordinate to the sensible external
world—idealism had made it purely active, and given it a sovereignty
over the sensible world; Kant attempted to strike a balance between
these two claims, by affirming that the Ego as practical is free and
autonomic, an unconditioned lawgiver for itself, while as theoretical it
is receptive and conditioned by the phenomenal world; but at the same
time the theoretical Ego contains the two sides within itself, for if,
on the one side, empiricism may be justified upon the ground that the
material and only field of all our knowledge is furnished by experience,
so on the other side, rationalism may be justified on the ground that
there is an apriori factor and basis to our knowledge, for in experience
itself we make use of conceptions which are not furnished by experience,
but are contained apriori in our understanding.

In order, now, that we may bring the very elaborate framework of the
Kantian philosophy into a clearer outline, let us briefly glance at its
fundamental conceptions, and notice its chief principles and results.
Kant subjected the activity of the human mind in knowing, and the origin
of our experience, to his critical investigation. Hence his philosophy
is called critical philosophy, or criticism, because it aims to be
essentially an examination of our faculty of knowledge; it is also
called transcendental philosophy, since Kant calls the reflection of the
reason upon its relation to the objective world, a transcendental
reflection (transcendental must not be confounded with transcendent),
or, in other words, a transcendental knowledge is one “which does not
relate so much to objects of knowledge, as to our way of knowing them,
so far as this is apriori possible.” The examination of the faculty of
knowledge, which Kant attempts in his “_Critick of Pure Reason_,” shows
the following results. All knowledge is a product of two factors, the
knowing subject and the external world. Of these two factors, the latter
furnishes our knowledge with experience, as the matter, and the former
with the conceptions of the understanding, as the form, through which a
connected knowledge, or a synthesis of our perceptions in a whole of
experience first becomes possible. If there were no external world, then
would there be no phenomena; if there were no understanding, then these
phenomena, or perceptions, which are infinitely manifold, would never be
brought into the unity of a notion, and thus no experience were
possible. Thus, while intuitions without conceptions are blind, and
conceptions without intuitions are empty, knowledge is a union of the
two, since it requires that the form of conception should be filled with
the matter of experience, and that the matter of experience should be
apprehended in the net of the understanding’s conceptions. Nevertheless,
we do not know things as they are in themselves. _First_, because the
categories, or the forms of our understanding prevent. By bringing that
which is given as the material of knowledge into our own conceptions as
the form, there is manifestly a change in respect of the objects, which
become thought of not as they are, but only as we apprehend them; they
appear to us only as they are transmuted into categories. But besides
this subjective addition, there is yet another. _Secondly_, we do not
know things as they are in themselves, because even the intuitions which
we bring within the form of the understanding’s conceptions, are not
pure and uncolored, but are already penetrated by a subjective medium,
namely, by the universal form of all objects of sense, space and time.
Space and time are also subjective additions, forms of sensuous
intuition, which are just as originally present in our minds as the
fundamental conceptions or categories of our understanding. That which
we would represent intuitively to ourselves we must place in space and
time, for without these no intuition is possible. From this it follows
that it is only phenomena which we know, and not things in themselves
separate from space and time.

A superficial apprehension of these Kantian principles might lead one to
suppose that Kant’s criticism did not essentially go beyond the
standpoint of Locke’s empiricism. But such a supposition disappears upon
a careful scrutiny. Kant was obliged to recognize with Hume that the
conceptions, cause and effect, substance and attribute, and the other
conceptions which the human understanding sees itself necessitated to
think in the phenomena, and in which every one of its thoughts must be
found, do not arise from any experience of the sense. For instance, when
we become affected through different senses, and perceive a white color,
a sweet taste, a rough surface, &c., and predicate all these of one
thing, as a piece of sugar, there come from without only the plurality
of sensations, while the conception of unity cannot come through
sensation, but is a category or conception borne over to the sensations
from the mind itself. But instead of denying, for this reason, the
reality of these conceptions of the understanding, Kant took a step in
advance, assigning a peculiar province to this activity of the
understanding, and showing that these forms of thought thus furnished to
the matter of experience are immanent laws of the human faculty of
knowledge, the peculiar laws of the understanding’s operations, which
may be obtained by a perfect analysis of our thinking activity. (Of
these laws or conceptions there are twelve, viz., unity, plurality,
totality; reality, negation, limitation; substantiality, causality,
reciprocal action; possibility, actuality, and necessity.)

From what has been said we can see the three chief principles of the
Kantian theory of knowledge:

furnished us by the external world becomes so adjusted and altered in
its relations (for we apprehend it at first in the subjective framework
of space and time, and then in the equally subjective forms of our
understanding’s conceptions), that it no longer represents the thing
itself in its original condition, pure and unmixed.

since every knowledge is the product of the matter of experience, and
the form of the understanding, and depends thus upon the co-working of
the sensory and the understanding, then no knowledge is possible of
objects for which one of these factors, experience, fails us; a
knowledge alone from the understanding’s conceptions of the
unconditioned is illusory since the sensory can show no unconditioned
object corresponding to the conception. Hence the questions which Kant
places at the head of his whole Critick; how are synthetical judgments
apriori possible? _i. e._ can we widen our knowledge apriori, by thought
alone, beyond the sensuous experience? is a knowledge of the
supersensible possible? must be answered with an unconditional negative.

3. Still, if the human knowledge makes no effort to stride beyond the
narrow limits of experience, _i. e._ to become transcendent, it involves
itself in the greatest contradictions. The three ideas of the reason,
the psychological, the cosmological, and the theological, viz. (_a_) the
idea of an absolute subject, _i. e._ of the soul, or of immortality,
(_b_) the idea of the world as a totality of all conditions and
phenomena, (_c_) the idea of a most perfect being—are so wholly without
application to the empirical actuality, are so truly regulative, and not
constitutive principles, which are only the pure products of the reason,
and are so entirely without a correspondent object in experience, that
whenever they are applied to experience, _i. e._ become conceived of as
actually existing objects, they lead to pure logical errors, to the most
obvious paralogisms and sophisms. These errors, which are partly false
conclusions and paralogisms, and partly unavoidable contradictions of
the reason with itself, Kant undertook to show in reference to all the
ideas of the reason. Take, _e. g._ the cosmological idea. Whenever the
reason posits any transcendental expressions in reference to the
universe, _i. e._ attempts to apply the forms of the finite to the
infinite, it is at once evident that the antithesis of those expressions
can be proved just as well as the thesis. The affirmation that the world
has a beginning in time, and limits in space, can be proved as well as,
and no better than its opposite, that the world has no beginning in
time, and no spacial limits. Whence it follows that all speculative
cosmology is an assumption by the reason. So also with the theological
idea; it rests on bare logical paralogisms, and false conclusions, as
Kant, with great acuteness, shows in reference to each of the proofs for
the being of a God, which previous dogmatic philosophies had attempted.
It is therefore impossible to prove and to conceive of the existence of
a God as a Supreme Being, or of the soul as a real subject, or of a
comprehending universe. The peculiar problems of metaphysics lie outside
the province of philosophical knowledge.

Such is the negative part of the Kantian philosophy; its positive
complement is found in the “_Critick of the Practical Reason_.” While
the mind as theoretical and cognitive is wholly conditioned, and ruled
by the objective and sensible world, and thus knowledge is only possible
through intuition, yet as practical does it go wholly beyond the given
(the sense impulse), and is determined only through the categorical
imperative, and the moral law, which is itself, and is therefore free
and autonomic; the ends which it pursues are those which itself, as
moral spirit, places before itself; objects are no more its masters and
lawgivers, to which it must yield if it would know the truth, but its
servants, which it may use for its own ends in actualizing its moral
law. While the theoretical mind is united to a world of sense and
phenomena, a world obedient to necessary laws, the practical mind, by
virtue of the freedom essential to it, by virtue of its direction
towards an absolute aim, belongs to a purely intelligible and
supersensible world. This is the practical idealism of Kant, from which
he derives the three practical postulates of the immortality of the
soul, moral freedom, and the being of a God, which, as theoretical
truths, had been before denied.

With this brief sketch for our guidance, let us now pass on to a more
extended exposition of the Kantian Philosophy.



Immanuel Kant was born at Königsberg in Prussia, April 22, 1724. His
father an honest saddlemaker, and his mother a prudent and pious woman,
exerted a good influence upon him in his earliest youth. In the year
1740 he entered the university, where he connected himself with the
theological department, but devoted the most of his time to philosophy,
mathematics, and physics. He commenced his literary career in his
twenty-third year, in 1747, with a treatise entitled “_Thoughts
concerning the true estimate of Living Forces_.” He was obliged by his
pecuniary circumstances to spend some years as a private tutor in
different families in the neighborhood of Königsberg. In 1755 he took a
place in the university as “_privat-docent_,” which position he held for
fifteen years, during which time he gave lectures upon logic,
metaphysics, physics, mathematics, and also, during the latter part of
the time, upon ethics, anthropology, and physical geography. At this
period he adhered for the most part to the school of Wolff, though early
expressing his doubts in respect of dogmatism. From the publication of
his first treatise he applied himself to writing with unwearied
activity, though his great work, the “_Critick of pure Reason_,” did not
appear till his fifty-seventh year, 1781. His “_Critick of the practical
Reason_,” was issued in 1787, and his “_Religion within the bounds of
pure Reason_,” in 1793. In 1770, in his forty-sixth year, he was chosen
ordinary professor of logic and metaphysics, a chair which he continued
to fill uninterruptedly till 1794, when the weakness of age obliged him
to leave it. Invitations to professorships at Jena, Erlangen, and Halle,
were given him and rejected. As soon as he became known, the noblest and
most active minds flocked from all parts of Germany to Königsberg, to
sit at the feet of the sage who was master there. One of his
worshippers, Reuss, professor of philosophy at Würzburg, who abode but a
brief time at Königsberg, entered his chamber, declaring that he had
come one hundred and sixty miles[3] in order to see Kant and to speak
with him.—During the last seventeen years of his life he occupied a
little house with a garden, in a quiet quarter of the city, where his
calm and regular mode of life might be undisturbed. His habits of life
were very simple. He never left his native province even to go as far as
Dantzic. His longest journeys were to visit some country-seats in the
environs of Königsberg. Nevertheless, as his lectures upon physical
geography testify, he acquired by reading the most accurate knowledge of
the earth. He knew all of Rousseau’s works, of which _Emile_ at its
first appearance detained him for a number of days from his customary
walks. Kant died February 12, 1804, in the eightieth year of his life.
He was of medium stature, finely built, with blue eyes, and always
enjoyed sound health till in his latter years, when he became childish.
He was never married. His character was marked by an earnest love of
truth, great candor, and simple modesty.

Though Kant’s great work, the “Critick of pure Reason,” which created an
epoch in the history of philosophy, did not appear till 1781; yet had he
previously shown an approach towards the same standpoint in several
smaller treatises, and particularly in his inaugural dissertation which
appeared in 1770, “_Concerning the form and the principles of the
Sense-World and that of the Understanding_.” Kant himself refers the
inner genesis of his critical standpoint to Hume. “I freely confess,” he
says, “that it was David Hume who first roused me from my dogmatic
slumber, and gave a different direction to my investigations in the
field of speculative philosophy.” The critical view therefore first
became developed in Kant as he left the dogmatic metaphysical school,
the Wolffian philosophy in which he had grown up, and went over to the
study of a sceptical empiricism in Hume. “Hitherto,” says Kant at the
close of his Critick of pure Reason, “men have been obliged to choose
either a dogmatical direction, like Wolff, or a sceptical one, like
Hume. The critical road alone is yet open. If the reader has had
pleasure and patience in travelling along this in my company, let him
now contribute his aid in making this by-path into a highway, in order
that that which many centuries could not effect may now be attained
before the expiration of the present, and the reason become perfectly
content in respect of that which has hitherto, but in vain, engaged its
curiosity.” Kant had the clearest consciousness respecting the relation
of his criticism to the previous philosophy. He compares the revolution
which he himself had brought about in philosophy with that wrought by
Copernicus in astronomy, “Hitherto it has been assumed that all our
knowledge must regulate itself according to the objects; but all
attempts to make any thing out of them apriori, through notions whereby
our knowledge might be enlarged, proved, under this supposition,
abortive. Let us, then, try for once whether we do not succeed better
with the problems of metaphysics, by assuming that the objects must
regulate themselves according to our knowledge, a mode of viewing the
subject which accords so much better with the desired possibility of a
knowledge of them apriori, which must decide something concerning
objects before they are given us. The circumstances are in this case
precisely the same as with the first thoughts of Copernicus, who,
finding that his attempt to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies
did not succeed, when he assumed the whole starry host to revolve around
the spectator, tried whether he should not succeed better, if he left
the spectator himself to turn, and the stars on the contrary at rest.”
In these words we have the principle of a subjective idealism, most
clearly and decidedly expressed.

In the succeeding exposition of the Kantian philosophy we shall most
suitably follow the classification adopted by Kant himself. His
principle of classification is a psychological one. All the faculties of
the soul, he says, may be referred to three, which are incapable of any
farther reduction; knowing, feeling, and desire. The first faculty
contains the principles, the governing laws for all the three. So far as
the faculty of knowledge contains the principles of knowledge itself, is
it theoretical reason, and so far as it contains the principles of
desire and action, is it practical reason, while, so far as it contains
the principles which regulate the feelings of pleasure and pain, is it a
faculty of judgment. Thus the Kantian philosophy (on its critical side)
divides itself into three criticks, (1) Critick of pure _i. e._
theoretical reason, (2) Critick of practical reason, (3) Critick of the

I. CRITICK OF PURE REASON.—The critick of pure reason, says Kant, is the
inventory in which all our possessions through pure reason are
systematically arranged. What are these possessions? When we have a
cognition, what is it that we bring thereto? To answer these questions,
Kant explores the two chief fields of our theoretical consciousness, the
two chief factors of all knowledge, the sensory and the understanding.
Firstly: what does our sensory or our faculty of intuition possess
apriori? Secondly: what is the apriori possession of our understanding?
The first of these questions is discussed in the transcendental
_Æsthetics_ (a title which we must take not in the sense now commonly
attached to the word, but in its etymological signification as the
“science of the apriori principles of the sensory”); and the second in
the transcendental _Logic_ or _Analytics_. Sense and understanding are
thus the two factors of all knowledge, the two stalks—as Kant expresses
it—of our knowledge, which may spring from a common root, though this is
unknown to us: the sensory is the receptivity, and the understanding the
spontaneity of our cognitive faculty; by the sensory, which can only
furnish intuitions, objects become _given_ to us; by the understanding,
which forms conceptions, these objects become _thought_. Conceptions
without intuitions are empty; intuitions without conceptions are blind.
Intuitions and conceptions constitute the reciprocally complemental
elements of our intellectual activity. What now are the apriori
principles respectively of our knowledge, through the sense and through
the thought? The first of these questions, as already said, is answered

1. THE TRANSCENDENTAL ÆSTHETICS.—To anticipate at once the answer, we
may say that the apriori principles of our knowledge through the sense,
the original forms of sensuous intuition, are space and time. Space is
the form of the external sense, by means of which objects are given to
us as existing outside of ourselves separately and conjointly; time is
the form of the inner sense, by means of which the circumstances of our
own soul-life become objects to our consciousness. If we abstract every
thing belonging to the matter of our sensations, space remains as the
universal form in which all the materials of the external sense must be
arranged. If we abstract every thing which belongs to the matter of our
inner sense, time remains as the form which the movement of the mind had
filled. Space and time are the highest forms of the outer and inner
sense. That these forms lie apriori in the human mind, Kant proves,
first, directly from the nature of these conceptions themselves; and,
secondly, indirectly by showing that without apriori presupposing these
conceptions, it were not possible to have any certain science of
undoubted validity. The first of these he calls the _metaphysical_, and
the second the _transcendental discussion_.

(1.) In the _metaphysical discussion_ it is to be shown, (_a_) that
space and time are apriori given, (_b_) that these notions belong to the
sensory (æsthetics) and not to the understanding (logic), _i. e._ that
they are intuitions and not conceptions, (_a_) That space and time are
apriori is clear from the fact that every experience, before it can be,
must presuppose already a space and time. I perceive something as
external to me; but this external presupposes space. Again, I have two
sensations at the same time and successively; this presupposes time,
(_b_) Space and time, however, are by no means conceptions, but forms of
intuition, or intuitions themselves. For in every universal conception
the individual is comprehended under it, and is not a part of it; but in
space and time, all individual spaces and times are parts of and
contained within the universal space and the universal time.

(2.) In the _transcendental discussion_ Kant draws his proof indirectly
by showing that certain sciences, universally recognized as such, can
only be conceived upon the supposition that space and time are apriori.
A pure mathematics is only possible on the ground that space and time
are pure and not empirical intuitions. Kant comprises the whole problem
of the Transcendental Æsthetics in the question—how are pure
mathematical sciences possible? The ground, says Kant, upon which pure
mathematics moves, is space and time. But now mathematics utters its
principles as universal and necessary. Universal and necessary
principles, however, can never come from experience; they must have an
apriori ground; consequently it is impossible that space and time, out
of which mathematics receives its principles, should be first given
aposteriori; they must be given apriori as pure intuitions. Hence we
have a knowledge apriori, and a science which rests upon apriori
grounds; and the matter simply resolves itself into this, viz.:
whosoever should deny that apriori knowledge can be, must also at the
same time deny the possibility of mathematics. But if the fundamental
truths of mathematics are intuitions apriori, we might conclude that
there may be also apriori conceptions, out of which, in connection with
these pure intuitions, a metaphysics could be formed. This is the
positive result of the Transcendental Æsthetics, though with this
positive side the negative is closely connected. Intuition or immediate
knowledge can be attained by man only through the sensory, whose
universal intuitions are only space and time. But since these intuitions
of space and time are no objective relations, but only subjective forms,
there is therefore something subjective mingled with all our intuitions,
and we can know things not as they are in themselves, but only as they
appear to us through this subjective medium of space and time. This is
the meaning of the Kantian principle, that we do not know things in
themselves, but only phenomena. But if on this account we should affirm
that all things are in space and time, this would be too much; they are
in space and time only for us,—all phenomena of the external sense
appearing both in space and in time, and all phenomena of the inner
sense appearing only in time. Notwithstanding this, Kant would in no
ways have admitted that the world of sense is mere appearance. He
affirmed, that while he contended for a transcendental ideality, there
was, nevertheless, an empirical reality of space and time: things
external to ourselves exist just as certainly as do we and the
circumstances within us, only they are not represented to us as they are
in themselves and in their independence of space and of time. As to the
question, whether there is any thing in the thing itself back of the
phenomena, Kant intimates in the first edition of his Critick, that it
is not impossible that the Ego and the thing-in-itself are one and the
same thinking substance. This thought, which Kant threw out as a mere
conjecture, was the source of all the wider developments of the latest
philosophy. It was afterwards the fundamental idea of the Fichtian
system, that the Ego does not become affected through a thing
essentially foreign to it, but purely through itself. In the second
edition of his Critick, however, Kant omitted this sentence.

The Transcendental Æsthetics closes with the discussion of space and
time, _i. e._ with finding out what is in the sensory apriori. But the
human mind cannot be satisfied merely with the receptive relation of the
sensory; it does not simply receive objects, but it applies to these its
own spontaneity, and attempts to think these through its conceptions,
and embrace them in the forms of its understanding. It is the object of
the _Transcendental Analytic_ (which forms the first part of the
_Transcendental Logic_), to examine these apriori conceptions or forms
of thought which lie originally in the understanding, as the forms of
space and time do in the intuitive faculty.

2. THE TRANSCENDENTAL ANALYTIC.—It is the first problem of the Analytic
to attain the pure conceptions of the understanding. Aristotle had
already attempted to form a table of these conceptions or categories,
but he had collected them empirically instead of deriving them from a
common principle, and had numbered among them space and time, though
these are no pure conceptions of the understanding, but only forms of
intuition. But if we would have a perfect, pure, and regularly arranged
table of all the conceptions of the understanding, or all the apriori
forms of thought, we must look for a principle out of which we may
derive them. This principle is the judgment. The general fundamental
conceptions of the understanding may be perfectly attained if we look at
all the different modes or forms of the judgment. For this end Kant
considers the different kinds of judgment as ordinarily pointed out to
us by the science of logic. Now logic shows that there are four kinds of
judgment, viz., judgments of

   _Quantity._       _Quality._      _Relation._         _Modality._
   Universal,        Affirmative,    Categorical,        Problematical,
   Plurative,        Negative,       Hypothetical,       Assertive,
   Singular.         Illimitable.    Disjunctive.        Apodictic.

From these judgments result the same number of fundamental conceptions
or categories of the understanding, viz.:

   _Quantity._       _Quality._      _Relation._         _Modality._
   Totality,         Reality,        Substance and       Possibility and
                                       inherence,          impossibility,
   Multiplicity,     Negation,       Cause and           Being and
                                       dependence,         not-being,
   Unity.            Limitation.     Reciprocal action.  Necessity and

From these twelve categories all the rest may be derived by combination.
From the fact that these categories are shown to belong apriori to the
understanding, it follows, (1) that these conceptions are apriori, and
hence have a necessary and universal validity, (2) that by themselves
they are empty forms, and attain a content only through intuitions. But
since our intuition is wholly through the sense, these categories have
their validity only in their application to the sensuous intuition,
which becomes a proper experience only when apprehended in the
conceptions of the understanding.—Here we meet a second question; how
does this happen? How do objects become subsumed under these forms of
the understanding, which for themselves are so empty?

There would be no difficulty with this subsumption if the objects and
the conceptions of the understanding were the same in kind. But they are
not. Because the objects come to the understanding from the sensory,
they are of the nature of the sense. Hence the question arises: how can
these sensible objects be subsumed under pure conceptions of the
understanding, and fundamental principles (judgments apriori), be formed
from them? This cannot result immediately, but there must come in
between the two, a third, which must have some thing in common with
each, _i. e._ which is in one respect pure and apriori, and in another
sensible. The two pure intuitions of the Transcendental Æsthetics, space
and time, especially the latter, are of such a nature. A transcendental
time determination, as the determination of coetaneousness, corresponds
on the one side to the categories, because it is apriori, and on the
other side to the phenomenal objects, because every thing phenomenal can
be represented only in time. The transcendental time determination, Kant
calls in this respect the transcendental _schema_, and the use which the
understanding makes of it, he calls the transcendental _schematism_ of
the pure understanding. The schema is a product of the imaginative
faculty, which self-actively determines the inner sense to this, though
the schema is something other than a mere image. An image is always
merely an individual and determinate intuition, but the schema merely
represents the universal process of the imagination, by which it
furnishes for a conception a proper image. Hence the schema can only
exist in the conception, and never suffers itself to be brought within
the sensuous intuition. If, now, we consider more closely the schematism
of the understanding, and seek the transcendental time determination for
every category, we find that:

(1) _Quantity_ has for a universal schema _the series of time_ or
number, which represents the successive addition of one and one of the
same kind. I can only represent to myself the pure understanding
conception of greatness, except as I bring into the imagination a number
of units one after another. If I stop this process at its first
beginning, the result is unity; if I let it go on farther I have
plurality; and if I suffer it to continue without limit, there is
totality. Whenever I meet with objects in the phenomenal world, which I
can only apprehend successively, I am directed to apply the conception
of greatness, which would not be possible without the schema of _the
series of time_.

(2) _Quality_ has for its schema _the content of time_. If I wish to
represent to myself the understanding conception of reality, which
belongs to quality, I bring before me in thought a time filled up, or a
content of time. That is real which fills a time. If also I would
represent to myself the pure understanding conception of negation, I
bring into thought a void time.

(3) The categories of _relation_ take their schemata from _the order of
time_; for if I would represent to myself a determinate relation, I
always bring into thought a determinate order of things in time.
Substance appears as the persistence of the real in time; causality as
regular succession in time; reciprocal action as the regular
coetaneousness of the determinations in the one substance, with the
determinations in the other.

(4) The categories of _modality_ take their schema from _the whole of
time_, _i. e._ from whether, and how, an object belongs to time. The
schema of possibility is the general harmony of a representation with
the conditions of time; the schema of actuality is the existence of an
object in a determined time; that of necessity is the existence of an
object for all time.

We are thus furnished with all the means for forming metaphysical
fundamental principles (judgments apriori); we have, _firstly_,
conceptions apriori, and _secondly_, schemata through which we can apply
these conceptions to objects; for since every object which we can
perceive, falls in time, so must it also fall under one of these
schemata, which have been borrowed from time, and must consequently
permit the corresponding category to be applied to it. The judgments
which we here attain are synthetical. They are, corresponding to the
four classes of categories, the following: (1) All phenomena are,
according to intuition, extensive greatness, since they cannot be
apprehended otherwise than through space and time. On this principle the
axioms of intuition rely. (2) All phenomena are, according to sensation,
intensive greatness, since every sensation has a determined degree, and
is capable of increase and diminution. On this principle the
anticipations of perception rest. (3) The phenomena stand under
necessary time-determinations. They contain the substantial, which
abides, and the accidental, which changes. In reference to the change of
accidence, they are subject to the law of the following connection,
through the relation of cause and effect: as substances they are, in
respect of their accidences, in a constant reciprocal action. From this
principle spring the analogies of experience. (4) The postulates of
empirical thinking are contained in the principles: (_a_) that which
coincides with the formal conditions of experience, is possible, and can
become phenomenon; (_b_) that which agrees with the material conditions
of experience is actual, and is phenomenon; (_c_) that, whose connection
with the actual is determined according to the universal conditions of
experience, is necessary, and must be phenomenon. Such are the possible
and authorized synthetical judgments apriori. But it must not be
forgotten that we are entitled to make only an empirical use of all
these conceptions and principles, and that we must ever apply them only
to things as objects of a possible experience, and never to things in
themselves; for the conception without an object is an empty form, but
the object cannot be given to the conception except in intuition, and
the pure intuition of space and time needs to be filled by experience.
Hence, without reference to human experience, these apriori conceptions
and principles are nothing but a sporting of the imagination and the
understanding, with their representations. Their peculiar determination
is only to enable us to spell perceptions, that we may read them as
experiences. But here one is apt to fall into a delusion, which can
hardly be avoided. Since the categories are not grounded upon the
sensory, but have an apriori origin, it would seem as though their
application would reach far beyond the sense; but such a view is a
delusion; our conceptions are not able to lead us to a knowledge of
things in themselves (_noumena_), since our intuition gives us only
phenomena for the content of our conceptions, and the thing in itself
can never be given in a possible experience; our knowledge remains
limited to the phenomena. The source of all the confusions and errors
and strife in previous metaphysics, was in confounding the phenomenal
with the noumenal world.

Besides the categories or conceptions of the understanding, which have
been considered, and which are especially important for experience,
though often applied erroneously beyond the province of experience,
there are other conceptions whose peculiar province is only to deceive;
conceptions whose express determination is to pass beyond the province
of experience, and which may consequently be called transcendent. These
are the fundamental conceptions and principles of the previous
metaphysics. To examine these conceptions, and destroy the appearance of
objective science and knowledge, which they falsely exhibit, is the
problem of the _Transcendental Dialectics_ (the second part of the
transcendental logic).

3. THE TRANSCENDENTAL DIALECTICS.—In a strict sense, the reason is
distinguished from the understanding. As the understanding has its
categories, the reason has its ideas; as the understanding forms
fundamental maxims from conceptions, the reason forms principles from
ideas, in which the maxims of the understanding have their highest
confirmation. The peculiar work of the reason is, in general, to find
the unconditioned for the conditioned knowledge of the understanding,
and to unify it. Hence the reason is the faculty of the unconditioned,
or of principles; but since it has no immediate reference to objects,
but only to the understanding and its judgments, its activity must
remain an immanent one. If it would take the highest unity of the reason
not simply in a transcendental sense, but exalt it to an actual object
of knowledge, then it would become transcendent in that it applied the
conceptions of the understanding to the knowledge of the unconditioned.
From this transcending and false use of the categories, arises the
transcendental appearance which decoys us beyond experience, by the
delusive pretext of widening the domain of the pure understanding. It is
the problem of the transcendental logic to discover this transcendental

The speculative ideas of the reason, derived from the three kinds of
logical conclusion, the categorical, the hypothetical, and the
disjunctive, are threefold.

(1.) The psychological idea, the idea of the soul, as a thinking
substance (the object hitherto of rational psychology).

(2.) The cosmological idea, the idea of the world as including all
phenomena (the object hitherto of cosmology).

(3.) The theological idea, the idea of God as the highest condition of
the possibility of all things (the object hitherto of rational

But with these ideas, in which the reason attempts to apply the
categories of the understanding to the unconditioned, the reason becomes
unavoidably entangled in a semblance and an illusion. This
transcendental semblance, or this optical illusion of the reason,
exhibits itself differently in each of the different ideas. With the
psychological ideas the reason perpetrates a simple paralogism, while
with the cosmological it finds itself driven to contradictory
affirmations or antinomies, and, with the theological, it wanders about
in an empty ideal.

(1.) _The psychological ideas, or the paralogisms of the pure reason._

Kant has attempted, under this rubric, to overthrow all rational
psychology as this had been previously apprehended. Rational psychology
has considered the soul as a thing called by that name with the
attribute of immateriality, as a simple substance with the attribute of
incorruptibility, as a numerically identical, intellectual substance
with the predicate of personality, as an unextended and thinking being
with the predicate of immortality. All these principles of rational
psychology, says Kant, are surreptitious; they are all derived from the
one premise, “I think;” but this premise is neither intuition nor
conception, but a simple consciousness, an act of the mind which
attends, connects, and bears in itself all representations and
conceptions. This thinking is now falsely taken as a real thing; the
being of the Ego as object is connected with the Ego as subject, and
that which is affirmed analytically of the latter is predicated
synthetically of the former. But in order to treat the Ego also as
object, and to be able to apply to it categories, it must be given
empirically, in an intuition, which is not the case. From all this it
follows that the proofs for immortality rest upon false conclusions. I
can, indeed, separate my pure thinking _ideally_ from the body; but
obviously, it does not follow from this that my thinking can exist
_really_ when separate from the body. The result which Kant derives from
his critick of rational psychology is this, viz., there is no rational
psychology as a _doctrine_ which can furnish us with any addition to our
self-knowledge, but only as a _discipline_, which places impassable
limits to the speculative reason in this field, in order that it may
neither throw itself into the bosom of a soulless materialism, nor lose
itself in the delusion of a groundless spiritualism. In this respect
rational psychology would rather remind us, that this refusal of our
reason to give a satisfactory answer to the questions which stretch
beyond this life, should be regarded as an intimation of the reason for
us to leave this fruitless and superfluous speculation, and apply our
self-knowledge to some fruitful and practical use.

(2.) _The Antinomies of Cosmology._

The cosmological ideas cannot be fully attained without the aid of the
categories. (1) So far as the quantity of the world is concerned, space
and time are the original _quanta_ of all intuition. In a quantitative
respect, therefore, the cosmological idea must hold fast to something
concerning the totality of the times and spaces of the world. (2) In
respect of quality, the divisibility of matter must be regarded. (3) In
respect of relation, the complete series of causes must be sought for
the existing effects in the world. (4) In respect of modality, the
accidental according to its conditions, or the complete dependence of
the accidental in the phenomenon must be conceived. When, now, the
reason attempts to establish determinations respecting these problems,
it finds itself at once entangled in a contradiction with itself.
Directly contrary affirmations can be made with equal validity in
reference to each of these four points. We can show, upon grounds
equally valid, (1) the _thesis_, the world has a beginning in time and
limits in space; and the _antithesis_, the world has neither beginning
in time nor limit in space. (2) The thesis: every compound substance in
the world consists of simple parts, and there exists nothing else than
the simple and that which it composes; and the antithesis: no compound
thing consists of simple parts, and there exists nothing simple in the
world. (3) The thesis: causality according to the laws of nature, is not
the only one from which the phenomena of the world may be deduced, but
these may be explained through a causality in freedom; and the
antithesis: there is no freedom, but every thing in the world happens
only according to natural laws. Lastly, (4) the thesis: something
belongs to the world either as its part or its cause, which is an
absolutely necessary being; and the antithesis: there exists no
absolutely necessary being as cause of the world, either in the world or
without it. From this dialectic conflict of the cosmological ideas,
there follows at once the worthlessness of the whole struggle.

(3.) _The ideal of the pure Reason or the idea of God._

Kant shows at first how the reason comes to the idea of a most real
being, and then turns himself against the efforts of previous
metaphysics to prove its valid existence. His critick of the arguments
employed to prove the existence of a God, is essentially the following.

(_a._) _The Ontological proof._—The argument here is as follows: it is
possible that there is a most real being; now existence is implied in
the conception of all reality, and hence, existence necessarily belongs
to the conception of the most real being. But, answers Kant, existence
is not at all a reality, or real predicate which can be added to the
conception of a thing, but it is the position of a thing with all its
properties. A thing, however, may lose its existence, and still be
deprived of none of its properties. Hence if it have any property, it
does not at all follow that it possesses existence. Being is nothing but
the logical copula, which, does not in the least enlarge the content of
the subject. A hundred actual dollars, _e. g._ contain no more than a
hundred possible ones; there is only a difference between them in
reference to my own wealth. Thus the most real being may with perfect
propriety be conceived of as the most real, while at the same time it
should only be conceived of as possible, and not as actual. It was
therefore wholly unnatural, and a simple play of school wit, to take an
idea which had been arbitrarily formed, and deduce from it the existence
of its corresponding object. Any effort and toil which might be spent
upon this famous proof is thus only thrown away, and a man would become
no richer in knowledge out of simple ideas than a merchant would
increase his property by adding a number of ciphers to the balance of
his accounts.

(_b._) _The Cosmological proof._—This, like the ontological, infers the
existence of an absolute being from the necessity of existence. If any
thing exist there must also exist an absolutely necessary being as its
cause. But now there exists at least I myself, and there must hence also
exist an absolutely necessary being as my cause. The last cosmological
antinomy is here brought in to criticise the argument at this stage. The
conclusion is erroneous, because from the phenomenal and the accidental
a necessary being above experience is inferred. Moreover, if we allow
the conclusion to be valid, it is still no God which it gives us. Hence
the farther inference is made: that being can alone be necessary which
includes all reality within itself. If now this proposition should be
reversed, and the affirmation made that that being which includes all
reality is absolutely necessary, then have we again the ontological
proof, and the cosmological falls with this. In the cosmological proof,
the reason uses the trick of bringing forth as a new argument an old one
with a changed dress, that it might seem to have the power of summoning
two witnesses.

(_c._) _The Physico-theological proof._—If thus neither conception nor
experience can furnish a proof for the divine existence, there still
remains a third attempt, viz., to start from a determinate experience,
and endeavor to see whether the existence of a supreme being can not be
inferred from the arrangement and condition of things in the world. Such
is the physico-theological proof, which starts from the evidences of
design in nature, and directs its argument as follows: there is
evidently design in the universe; this is extraneous to the things of
the world, and adheres to them only contingently; there exists therefore
a necessary cause of this design which works with wisdom and
intelligence; this necessary cause must be the most real being; the most
real being has therefore necessary existence.—To this Kant answers: The
physico-theological proof is the oldest, clearest, and most conformable
to the common reason. But it is not demonstration (apodictic). It
infers, from the form of the world, a proportionate and sufficient cause
of this form; but in this way we only attain an originator of the form
of the world, and not an originator of its matter, a world-builder, and
not a world-creator. To help out with this difficulty the cosmological
proof is brought in, and the originator of the form becomes conceived as
the necessary being lying at the ground of the content. Thus we have an
absolute being whose perfection corresponds to that of the world. But in
the world there is no absolute perfection; we have therefore only a very
perfect being; to get the most perfect, we must revert again to the
ontological proof. Thus the teleological proof rests upon the
cosmological, while this in turn has its basis in the ontological, and
from this circle the metaphysical modes of proof cannot escape.

From these considerations, it would follow that the ideal of a supreme
being is nothing other than a regulative principle of the reason, by
which it looks upon every connection in the world _as if_ it sprang from
an all-sufficient and necessary cause; in order that, in explaining this
connection, it may establish the rule of a systematic and necessary
unity, it being also true that in this process the reason through a
transcendental subreption cannot avoid representing to itself this
formal principle as constitutive, and this unity as personal. But in
truth this supreme being remains for the simply speculative use of the
reason, a mere but faultless ideal, a conception which is the summit and
the crown of the whole human knowledge, whose objective reality, though
it cannot be proved with apodictic certainty, can just as little be

With this critick of the ideas of the reason there is still another
question. If these ideas have no objective significance, why are they
found within us? Since they are necessary, they will doubtless have some
good purpose to subserve. What this purpose is, has already been
indicated in speaking of the theological idea. Though not constitutive,
yet are they regulative principles. We cannot better order the faculties
of our soul, than by acting “_as if_” there were a soul. The
cosmological idea leads us to consider the world “_as if_” the series of
causes were infinite, without, however, excluding an intelligent cause.
The theological idea enables us to look upon the world in all its
complexity, as a regulated unity. Thus, while these ideas of the reason
are not constitutive principles, by means of which our knowledge could
be widened beyond experience, they are regulative principles, by means
of which our experience may be ordered, and brought under certain
hypothetical unities. These three ideas, therefore, the psychological,
the cosmological, and the theological, do not form an organon for the
discovery of truth, but only a canon for the simplification and
systematizing of our experiences.

Besides their regulative significance, these ideas of the reason have
also a practical importance. There is a sufficient certainty, not
objective, but subjective, which is especially of a practical nature,
and is called belief or confidence. If the freedom of the will, the
immortality of the soul, and the existence of a God, are three cardinal
principles, which, though not in any way contributing to our knowledge,
are yet pressed continually upon us by the reason, this difficulty is
removed in the practical field where these ideas have their peculiar
significance for the moral confidence. This confidence is not logical,
but moral certainty. Since it rests wholly upon subjective grounds, upon
the moral character, I cannot say it is morally certain that there is a
God, but only I am morally certain, &c. That is, the belief in a God and
in another world is so interwoven with my moral character, that I am in
just as much danger of losing this character as of being deprived of
this belief. We are thus brought to the basis of the PRACTICAL REASON.

II. CRITICK OF THE PRACTICAL REASON.—With the Critick of the Practical
Reason, we enter a wholly different world, where the reason richly
recovers that of which it was deprived in the theoretical province. The
essential problem of the Critick of the Practical Reason is almost
diametrically different from that of the critick of the theoretical
reason. The object of investigation in the critick of the speculative
reason, was,—how can the pure reason know objects apriori; in the
practical reason it is,—how can the pure reason determine apriori the
will in respect of objects. The critick of the speculative reason
inquired after the cognizableness of objects apriori: the practical
reason has nothing to do with the cognizableness of objects, but only
with the determination of the will. Hence, in the latter critick, we
have an order directly the reverse of that which we find in the former.
As the original determinations of our theoretical knowledge are
intuitions, so the original determinations of our will are principles
and conceptions. The critick of the practical reason must, therefore,
start from moral principles, and only after these are firmly fixed, may
we inquire concerning the relation in which the practical reason stands
to the sensory.

Freedom, says Kant, is given to us apriori as an inner fact, it is a
fact of the inner experience. While, therefore, the reason in the
theoretical field had only a negative result, because, when it would
attain to a true thing in itself it became transcendent, yet now in the
practical province it becomes positive through the idea of freedom,
because with the fact of freedom we have no need to go out beyond
ourselves, but possess a principle immanent to the reason. But why then
give a critick of practical reason? In order to determine the relation
of freedom to the sensory. Since the free will works through its acts
upon the sensory, there must be a point of contact between the two. This
is found in the sensuous motives of the will, which exist implanted in
it by nature, in the impulses and inclinations which, as the principle
of the empiric in opposition to the free or pure will, bear in
themselves the character of a want of freedom. Since, then, freedom
cannot be touched, a critick of the practical reason can only relate to
these empirical motives, in the sense of divesting these from the claim
of being exclusively the motives by which the will is determined. While,
therefore, in the theoretical reason the empirical element was immanent,
and the intelligible transcendent, the reverse is the case in the
practical reason, since here the empirical is transcendent, and the
intelligible immanent. It is the object of the Analytic to show the
relation of these two momenta of the will, and the highest moral
principle which springs therefrom, while it belongs to the Dialectic to
solve the antinomies which result from the contradiction of the pure and
empiric will.

(1.) _The Analytic._—Freedom, as the one constituent element which shows
itself in the activity of our will, is the simple _form_ of our actions.
The universal law binding the will, is that it should determine itself
purely from itself, independently of every external incitement. This
capacity of self-lawgiving, or self-determining, Kant calls the
_autonomy of the will_. The free autonomic will says to man: thou
oughtest! and since this moral ought commands to an unconditioned
obedience, the moral imperative is a _categorical imperative_. What is
it now which is categorically commanded by the practical reason? To
answer this question, we must first consider the empirical will, _i. e._
the nature-side of man.

The empirical, as the other constituent element of our will, first
produces a definite deed when it has filled the empty _form_ of action
with the _matter_ of action. The matter of the will is furnished by the
sensory in the desire of pleasure and the dread of pain. Since this
second principle of our actions does not find its seat in the freedom of
the will as the higher faculty of desire, but in the sensory, as the
lower faculty of desire, and a foreign law is thus laid upon the
will,—Kant calls it, in opposition to the autonomy of the reason, the
_heteronomy of the will_.

The categorical imperative is the necessary law of freedom binding upon
all men, and is distinguished from material motives, in that the latter
have no fixed character. For men are at variance in respect of pleasure
and pain, since that which is disagreeable to one may seem pleasant to
another, and if they ever agree, this is simply accidental.
Consequently, these material motives can never act the part of laws
binding upon every being, but each subject may find his end in a
different motive. Such rules of acting, Kant calls _maxims_ of the will.
He also censures those moralists who have exalted such maxims as
universal principles of morality.

Nevertheless, these maxims, though not the highest principles of
morality, are yet necessary to the autonomy of the will, because they
alone furnish for it a content. It is only by uniting the two sides,
that we gain the true principle of morality. To this end the maxims of
acting must be freed from their limitation, and widened to the form of
universal laws of the reason. Only those maxims should be chosen as
motives of action which are capable of becoming universal laws of the
reason. _The highest principle of morality_ will therefore be this: act
so that the maxims of thy will can at the same time be valid as the
principle of a universal lawgiving, _i.e._ that no contradiction shall
arise in the attempt to conceive the maxims of thy acting as a law
universally obeyed. Through this formal moral principle all material
moral principles which can only be of a heteronomic nature, are

The question next arises—what impels the will to act conformably to this
highest moral law? Kant answers: the moral law itself, apprehended and
revered, must be the only moving spring of the human will. If an act
which in itself might be conformable to the moral law, be done only
through some impulse to happiness arising simply from an inclination of
the sense, if it be not done purely for the sake of the law, then have
we simply _legality_ and not _morality_. That which is included in every
inclination of the sense is self-love and self-conceit, and of these the
former is restricted by the moral law, and the latter wholly stricken
down. But that which strikes down our self-conceit and humbles us must
appear to us in the highest degree worthy of esteem. But this is done by
the moral law. Consequently the positive feeling which we shall cherish
in respect of the moral law will be reverence. This reverence, though a
feeling, is neither sensuous nor pathological, for it stands opposed to
these; but is rather an intellectual feeling, since it arises from the
notion of the practical law of the reason. On the one side as
subordination to law, the reverence includes pain; on the other side,
since the coercion can only be exercised through the proper reason, it
includes pleasure. Reverence is the single sensation befitting man in
reference to the moral law. Man, as creature of sense, cannot rest on
any inner inclination to the moral law, for he has ever inclinations
within him which resist the law; love to the law can only be considered
as something ideal.—Thus the moral purism of Kant, or his effort to
separate every impulse of the sense from the motives to action, merges
into rigorism, or the dark view that duty can never be done except with
resistance. A similar exaggeration belongs to the well-known epigram of
Schiller, who answers the following scruple of conscience—

   The friends whom I love, I gladly would serve,
     But to this inclination incites me;
   And so I am forced from virtue to swerve
     Since my act, through affection, delights me—

with the following decision:

   The friends whom thou lov’st, thou must first seek to scorn,
     For to no other way can I guide thee:
   ’Tis alone with disgust thou canst rightly perform
     The acts to which duty would lead thee.

(2.) _The Dialectic._—The pure reason has always its dialectics, since
it belongs to the nature of the reason to demand the unconditioned for
the given conditioned. Hence also the practical reason seeks an
unconditioned highest good for that conditioned good after which man
strives. What is this highest good? If we understand by the highest good
the fundamental condition of all other goods, then it is virtue. But
virtue is not the perfect good, since the finite reason as sensitive
stands in need also of happiness. Hence the highest good is only perfect
when the highest happiness is joined to the highest virtue. The question
now arises: what is the relation of these two elements of the highest
good to each other? Are they analytically or synthetically connected
together? The former would be affirmed by most of the ancients,
especially by the Greek moral philosophers. We might allow with the
Stoics, that happiness is contained as an accidental element in virtue,
or, with the Epicureans, that virtue is contained as an accidental
element in happiness. The Stoics said: to be conscious of one’s virtue
is happiness; the Epicureans said: to be conscious of the maxims leading
one to happiness is virtue. But, says Kant, an analytic connection
between these two conceptions is not possible, since they are wholly
different in kind. Consequently there can be between them only a
synthetic unity, and this unity more closely scanned is seen to be a
causal one, so that the one element is cause, and the other effect. Such
a relation must be regarded as its highest good by the practical reason,
whose thesis must therefore be: virtue and happiness must be bound
together in a correspondent degree as cause and effect. But this thesis
is all thwarted by the actual fact. Neither of the two is the direct
cause of the other. Neither is the striving after happiness a moving
spring to virtue, nor is virtue the efficient cause of happiness. Hence
the antithesis: virtue and happiness do not necessarily correspond, and
are not universally connected as cause and effect. The critical solution
of this antinomy Kant finds in distinguishing between the sensible and
the intelligible world. In the world of sense, virtue and happiness do
not, it is true, correspond; but the reason as _noumenon_ is also a
citizen of a supersensible world, where the counter-strife between
virtue and happiness has no place. In this supersensible world virtue is
always adequate to happiness, and when man passes over into this he may
look for the actualization of the highest good. But the highest good
has, as already remarked, two elements, (1) highest virtue, (2) highest
happiness. The actualization demanded for the first of these elements
postulates the _immortality of the soul_, and for the second, _the
existence of God_.

(_a._) To the highest good belongs in the first place perfect virtue or
holiness. But no creature of sense can be holy: reason united to sense
can only approximate holiness as an ideal in an endless progression. But
such an endless progress is only possible in an endless continuance of
personal existence. If, therefore, the highest good shall ever be
actualized, the immortality of the soul must be presupposed.

(_b._) To the highest good belongs, in the second place, perfect
happiness. Happiness is that condition of a rational creature in the
world, to whom every thing goes according to his desire and will. This
can only occur when all nature is in accord with his ends. But this is
not the case; as acting beings we are not the cause of nature, and there
is not the slightest ground in the moral law for connecting morality and
happiness. Notwithstanding this, we _ought_ to endeavor to secure the
highest good. It must therefore be possible. There is thus postulated
the necessary connection of these two elements, _i. e._ the existence of
a cause of nature distinct from nature, and which contains the ground of
this connection. There must be a being as the common cause of the
natural and moral world, a being who knows our characters of
intelligence, and who, according to this intelligence imparts to us
happiness. Such a being is God.

Thus from the practical reason there issue the ideas of immortality and
of God, as we have already seen to be the case with the idea of freedom.
The reality of the idea of freedom is derived from the possibility of a
moral law; that of the idea of immortality is borrowed from the
possibility of a perfect virtue; that of the idea of a God follows from
the necessary demand of a perfect happiness. These three ideas,
therefore, which the speculative reason has treated as problems that
could not be solved, gain a firm basis in the province of the practical
reason. Still they are not yet theoretical dogmas, but as Kant calls
them practical postulates, necessary premises of moral action. My
theoretical knowledge is not enlarged by them: I only know now that
there are objects corresponding to these ideas, but of these objects I
can know no more. Of God, for instance, we possess and know no more than
this very conception; and if we should attempt to establish the theory
of the supersensible grounded upon such categories, this would be to
make theology like a magic lantern, with its phantasmagorical
representations. Yet has the practical reason acquired for us a
certainty respecting the objective reality of these ideas, which the
theoretical reason had been obliged to leave undecided, and in this
respect the practical reason has the primacy. This relation of the two
faculties of knowledge is wisely established in relation to the destiny
of men. Since the ideas of God and immortality are theoretically obscure
to us, they do not defile our moral motives by fear and hope, but leave
us free space to act through reverence for the moral law.

Thus far Kant’s Critick of the Practical Reason. In connection with this
we may here mention his _views of religion_ as they appear in his
treatise upon “_Religion within the Bounds of Pure Reason_.” The chief
idea of this treatise is the referring of religion to morality. Between
morality and religion there may be the twofold relation, that either
morality is founded upon religion, or else religion upon morality. If
the first relation were real, it would give us fear and hope as
principles of moral action; but this cannot be, and we are therefore
left alone to the second. Morality leads necessarily to religion,
because the highest good is a necessary ideal of the reason, and this
can only be realized through a God; but in no way may religion first
incite us to virtue, for the idea of God may never become a moral
motive. Religion, according to Kant, is the recognition of all our
duties as divine commands. It is revealed religion when I find in it the
divine command, and thus learn my duty; it is natural religion when I
find in it my duty, and thus learn the divine command. The Church is an
ethical community, which has for its end the fulfilment and the most
perfect exhibition of moral commands,—a union of those who with united
energies purpose to resist evil and advance morality. The Church, in so
far as it is no object of a possible experience, is called the invisible
Church, which, as such, is a simple idea of the union of all the
righteous under the divine moral government of the world. The visible
Church, on the other hand, is that which presents the kingdom of God
upon earth, so far as this can be attained through men. The requisites,
and hence also the characteristics of the true visible Church (which are
divided according to the table of the categories since this Church is
given in experience) are the following: (_a_) In respect of _quantity_
the Church must be total or _universal_; and though it may be divided in
accidental opinions, yet must it be instituted upon such principles as
will necessarily lead to a universal union in one single church. (_b_)
The _quality_ of the true visible Church is _purity_, as a union under
no other than moral motives, since it is at the same time purified from
the stupidness of superstition and the madness of fanaticism. (_c_) The
_relation_ of the members of the Church to each other rests upon the
principle of freedom. The Church is, therefore, a _free state_, neither
a hierarchy nor a democracy, but a voluntary, universal, and enduring
union of heart. (_d_) In respect of _modality_ the Church demands that
its constitution should not be changed. The laws themselves may not
change, though one may reserve to himself the privilege of changing some
accidental arrangements which relate simply to the administration.—That
alone which can establish a universal Church is the moral faith of the
reason, for this alone can be shared by the convictions of every man.
But, because of the peculiar weakness of human nature, we can never
reckon enough on this pure faith to build a Church on it alone, for men
are not easily convinced that the striving after virtue and an
irreproachable life is every thing which God demands: they always
suppose that they must offer to God a special service prescribed by
tradition, in which it only comes to this—that he is served.

To establish a Church, we must therefore have a statutory faith
historically grounded upon facts. This is the so-called faith of the
Church, In every Church there are therefore two elements—the purely
moral, or the faith of reason, and the historico-statutory, or the faith
of the Church. It depends now upon the relation of the two elements
whether a Church shall have any worth or not. The statutory element
should ever be only the vehicle of the moral. Just so soon as this
element becomes in itself an independent end, claiming an independent
validity, will the Church become corrupt and irrational, and whenever
the Church passes over to the pure faith of reason, does it approximate
to the kingdom of God. Upon this principle we may distinguish the true
from the spurious service of the kingdom of God, religion from
priestcraft. A dogma has worth alone in so far as it has a moral
content. The apostle Paul himself would with difficulty have given
credit to the dicta of the faith of the Church without this moral faith.
From the doctrine of the Trinity, _e. g._ taken literally, nothing
actually practical can be derived. Whether we have to reverence in the
Godhead three persons or ten makes no difference, if in both cases we
have the same rules for our conduct of life. The Bible also, with its
interpretation, must be considered in a moral point of view. The records
of revelation must be interpreted in a sense which will harmonize with
the universal rules of the religion of reason. Reason is in religious
things the highest interpreter of the Bible. This interpretation in
reference to some texts may seem forced, yet it must be preferred to any
such literal interpretation as would contain nothing for morality, or
perhaps go against every moral motive. That such a moral signification
may always be found without ever entirely repudiating the literal sense,
results from the fact that the foundation for a moral religion lay
originally in the human reason. We need only to divest the
representations of the Bible of their mythical dress (an attempt which
Kant has himself made, by moral explanation of some of the weightiest
doctrines), in order to attain a rational sense which shall be
universally valid. The historical element of the sacred books is in
itself of no account. The maturer the reason becomes, the more it can
hold fast for itself the moral sense, so much the more unnecessary will
be the statutory institutions of the faith of the Church. The transition
of the faith of the Church to the pure faith of reason is the
approximation to the kingdom of God, to which, however, we can only
approach nearer and nearer in an infinite progress. The actual
realization of the kingdom of God is the end of the world, the cessation
of history.

III. CRITICK OF THE FACULTY OF JUDGMENT.—The conception of this science
Kant gives in the following manner. The two faculties of the human mind
hitherto considered were the faculty of knowledge and that of desire. It
was proved in the Critick of pure Reason, that the understanding only as
faculty of knowledge included constitutive principles apriori; and it
was shown in the Critick of Practical Reason, that the reason possesses
constitutive principles apriori, simply in reference to the faculty of
desire. Whether now the _faculty of judgment_, as the middle link
between understanding and reason, can take its object—the feeling of
pleasure and pain as the middle link between the faculty of knowledge
and that of desire—and furnish it apriori with principles which shall be
for themselves constitutive and not simply regulative: this is the point
upon which the Critick of the Faculty of Judgment has to turn.

The faculty of judgment is the middle link between the understanding as
the faculty of conceptions, and the reason as the faculty of principles.
In this position it has the following functions: The speculative reason
had taught us to consider the world only according to natural laws; the
practical reason had inferred for us a moral world, in which every thing
is determined through freedom. There was thus a gulf between the kingdom
of nature and that of freedom, which could not be passed unless the
faculty of judgment should furnish a conception which should unite the
two sides. That it is entitled to do this lies in the very conception of
the faculty of judgment. Since it is the faculty of conceiving the
particular as contained under the universal, it thus refers the
empirical manifoldness of nature to a supersensible, transcendental
principle, which embraces in itself the ground for the unity of the
manifold. The object of the faculty of judgment is, therefore, the
conception of _design_ in nature; for the evidence of this points to
that supersensible unity which contains the ground for the actuality of
an object. And since all design and every actualization of an end is
connected with pleasure, we may farther explain the faculty of judgment
by saying, that it contains the laws for the feeling of pleasure and

The evidence of design in nature can be represented either subjectively
or objectively. In the first case I perceive pleasure and pain,
immediately through the representation of an object, before I have
formed a conception of it; my delight, in this instance, can only be
referred to a designed harmony of relation, between the form of an
object, and my faculty of beholding. The faculty of judgment viewed thus
subjectively, is called the _æsthetic faculty_. In the second case, I
form to myself at the outset, a conception of the object, and then judge
whether the form of the object corresponds to this conception. In order
to find a flower that is beautiful to my beholding, I do not need to
have a conception of the flower; but, if I would see a design in it,
then a conception is necessary. The faculty of judgment, viewed as
capacity to judge of these objective designs, is called the
_teleological faculty_.

analytic of the æsthetic faculty of judgment is divided into two parts,
the analytic of the _beautiful_, and the analytic of the _sublime_.

In order to discover what is required in naming an object _beautiful_,
we must analyze the judgment of taste, as the faculty for deciding upon
the beautiful. (_a_) In respect of quality, the beautiful is the object
of a pure, uninterested satisfaction. This disinterestedness enables us
to distinguish between the satisfaction in the beautiful, and the
satisfaction in the agreeable and the good. In the agreeable and the
good I am interested; my satisfaction in the agreeable is connected with
a sensation of desire; my satisfaction in the good is, at the same time,
a motive for my will to actualize it. My satisfaction in the beautiful
alone is without interest. (_b_) In respect of quantity, the beautiful
is that which universally pleases. In respect of the agreeable, every
one decides that his satisfaction in it is only a personal one; but if
any one should affirm of a picture, that it is beautiful, he would
expect that not only he, but every other one, would also find it so.
Nevertheless, this judgment of the taste does not arise from
conceptions; its universal validity is therefore purely subjective. I do
not judge that all the objects of a species are beautiful, but only that
a certain specific object will appear beautiful to every beholder. All
the judgments of taste are individual judgments. (_c_) In respect of
relation, that is beautiful in which we find the form of design, without
representing to ourselves any specific design. (_d_) In respect of
modality, that is beautiful which is recognized without a conception, as
the object of a necessary satisfaction. Of every representation, it is
at least possible, that it may awaken pleasure. The representation of
the agreeable awakens actual pleasure. The representation of the
beautiful, on the other hand, awakens pleasure necessarily. The
necessity which is conceived in an æsthetic judgment, is a necessity for
determining every thing by a judgment, which can be viewed as an example
of a universal rule, though the rule itself cannot be stated. The
subjective principle which lies at the basis of the judgment of taste,
is therefore a common sense, which determines what is pleasing, and what
displeasing, only through feeling, and not through conception.

The _sublime_ is that which is absolutely, or beyond all comparison,
great, compared with which every thing else is small. But now in nature
there is nothing which has no greater. The absolutely great is only the
infinite, and the infinite is only to be met with in ourselves, as idea.
The sublime, therefore, is not properly found in nature, but is only
carried over to nature from our own minds. We call that sublime in
nature, which awakens within us the idea of the infinite. As in the
beautiful there is prominent reference to quality, so, in the sublime,
the most important element of all, is quantity; and this quantity is
either greatness of extension (the mathematically sublime), or greatness
of power (the dynamically sublime). In the sublime there is a greater
satisfaction in the formless, than in the form. The sublime excites a
vigorous movement of the heart, and awakens pleasure only through pain,
_i. e._ through the feeling that the energies of life are for the moment
restrained. The satisfaction in the sublime is hence not so much a
positive pleasure, but rather an amazement and awe, which may be called
a negative pleasure. The elements for an æsthetic judgment of the
sublime are the same as in the feeling of the beautiful. (_a_) In
respect of quantity, that is sublime which is absolutely great, in
comparison with which every thing else is small. The æsthetic estimate
of greatness does not lie, however, in numeration, but in the simple
intuition of the subject. The greatness of an object of nature, which
the imagination attempts in vain to comprehend, leads to a supersensible
substratum, which is great beyond all the measures of the sense, and
which has reference properly to the feeling of the sublime. It is not
the object itself, as the surging sea, which is sublime, but rather the
subject’s frame of mind, in the estimation of this object. (_b_) In
respect of quality, the sublime does not awaken pure pleasure, like the
beautiful, but first pain, and through this, pleasure. The feeling of
the insufficiency of our imagination, in the æsthetic estimate of
greatness, gives rise to pain; but, on the other side, the consciousness
of our independent reason, for which the faculty of imagination is
inadequate, awakens pleasure. In this respect, therefore, that is
sublime which immediately pleases us, through its opposition to the
interest of the sense. (_c_) In respect of relation, the sublime suffers
nature to appear as a power, indeed, but in reference to which, we have
the consciousness of superiority. (_d_) In respect of modality, the
judgments concerning the sublime are as necessarily valid, as those for
the beautiful; only with this difference, that our judgment of the
sublime finds an entrance to some minds, with greater difficulty than
our judgment of the beautiful, since to perceive the sublime, culture,
and developed moral ideas, are necessary.

(2.) _Dialectic._—A dialectic of the æsthetic faculty of judgment, like
every dialectic, is only possible where we can meet with judgments which
lay claim to universality apriori. For dialectics consists in the
opposition of such judgments. The antinomy of the principles of taste
rests upon the two opposite elements of the judgment of taste, that it
is purely subjective, and at the same time, lays claim to universal
validity. Hence, the two common-place sayings: “there is no disputing
about taste,” and “there is a contest of taste.” From these, we have the
following antinomy. (_a_) Thesis: the judgment of taste cannot be
grounded on conception, else might we dispute it. (_b_) Antithesis: the
judgment of taste must be grounded on conception, else, notwithstanding
its diversity, there could be no contest respecting it.—This antinomy,
says Kant, is, however, only an apparent one, and disappears as soon as
the two propositions are more accurately apprehended. The thesis should
be: the judgment of taste is not grounded upon a definite conception,
and is not strictly demonstrable; the antithesis should be: this
judgment is grounded upon a conception, though an indefinite one, viz.,
upon the conception of a supersensible substratum for the phenomenal.
Thus apprehended, there is no longer any contradiction between the two

In the conclusion of the æsthetic faculty of judgment, we can now answer
the question, whether the fitness of things to our faculty of judgment
(their beauty and sublimity), lies in the things themselves, or in us?
The æsthetic realism claims that the supreme cause of nature designed to
produce things which should affect our imagination, as beautiful and
sublime, and the organic forms of nature strongly support this view. But
on the other band, nature exhibits even in her merely mechanical forms,
such a tendency to the beautiful, that we might believe that she could
produce also the most beautiful organic forms through mechanism alone;
and that thus the design would lie not in nature, but in our soul. This
is the standpoint of idealism, upon which it becomes explicable how we
can determine any thing apriori concerning beauty and sublimity. But the
highest view of the æsthetical, is to use it as a symbol of the moral
good. Thus Kant makes the theory of taste, like religion, to be a
corollary of morality.

have considered the subjective æsthetical design in the objects of
nature. But the objects of nature have also a relation of design to each
other. The teleological faculty of judgment has also to consider this
faculty of design.

(1.) _Analytic of the Teleological Faculty of Judgment._—The analytic
has to determine the kinds of objective design. Objective, material
design, is of two kinds, external, and internal. The external design is
only relative, since it simply indicates a usefulness of one thing for
another. Sand, for instance, which borders the sea shore, is of use in
bearing pine forests. In order that animals can live upon the earth, the
earth must produce nourishment for them, etc. These examples of external
design, show that here the design never belongs to the means in itself,
but only accidentally. We should never get a conception of the sand by
saying that it is a means for pine forests; it is conceivable for
itself, without any reference to the conception of design. The earth
does not produce nourishment, because it is necessary that men should
dwell upon it. In brief, this external or relative design may be
conceived from the mechanism of nature alone. Not so the inner design of
nature, which shows itself prominently in the organic products of
nature. In an organic product of nature, every one of its parts is end,
and every one, means or instrument. In the process of generation, the
natural product appears as species, in growth it appears as individual,
and in the process of complete formation, every part of the individual
shows itself. This natural organism cannot be explained from mechanical
causes, but only through final causes, or teleologically.

(2.) _Dialectic._—The dialectic of the teleological faculty of judgment,
has to adjust this opposition between this mechanism of nature and
teleology. On the one side we have the thesis: every production of
material things must be judged as possible, according to simple
mechanical laws. On the other side we have the antithesis: certain
products of material nature cannot be judged as possible, according to
simple mechanical laws, but demand the conception of design for their
explanation. If these two maxims are posited as constitutive (objective)
principles for the possibility of the objects themselves, then do they
contradict each other, but as simply regulative (subjective) principles
for the investigation of nature, they are not contradictory. Earlier
systems treated the conception of design in nature dogmatically, and
either affirmed or denied its essential existence in nature. But we,
convinced that teleology is only a regulative principle, have nothing to
do with the question whether an inner design belongs essentially to
nature or not, but we only affirm that our faculty of judgment must look
upon nature as designed. We envisage the conception of design in nature,
but leave it wholly undecided whether to another understanding, which
does not think discursively like ours, nature may not be understood,
without at all needing to bring in this conception of design. Our
understanding thinks discursively: it proceeds from the parts, and
comprehends the whole as the product of its parts; it cannot, therefore,
conceive the organic products of nature, where the whole is the ground
and the prius of the parts, except from the point of view of the
conception of design. If there were, on the other hand, an intuitive
understanding, which could know the particular and the parts as
co-determined in the universal and the whole; such an understanding
might conceive the whole of nature out of one principle, and would not
need the conception of end.

If Kant had thoroughly carried out this conception of an intuitive
understanding as well as the conception of an immanent design in nature,
he would have overcome, in principle, the standpoint of subjective
idealism, which he made numerous attempts, in his critick of the faculty
of judgment, to break through; but these ideas he only propounded, and
left them to be positively carried out by his successors.



The Kantian philosophy soon gained in Germany an almost undisputed rule.
The imposing boldness of its standpoint, the novelty of its results, the
applicability of its principles, the moral severity of its view of the
world, and above all, the spirit of freedom and moral autonomy which
appeared in it, and which was so directly counter to the efforts of that
age, gained for it an assent as enthusiastic as it was extended. It
aroused among all cultivated classes a wider interest and participation
in philosophic pursuits, than had ever appeared in an equal degree among
any people. In a short time it had drawn to itself a very numerous
school: there were soon few German universities in which it had not had
its talented representatives, while in every department of science and
literature, especially in theology (it is the parent of theological
rationalism), and in natural rights, as also in belles-lettres
(_Schiller_), it began to exert its influence. Yet most of the writers
who appeared in the Kantian school, confined themselves to an exposition
or popular application of the doctrine as Kant had given it, and even
the most talented and independent among the defenders and improvers of
the critical philosophy (_e. g. Reinhold_, 1758-1823; _Bardili_,
1761-1808; _Schulze_, _Beck_, _Fries_, _Krug_, _Bouterweck_), only
attempted to give a firmer basis to the Kantian philosophy as they had
received it, to obviate some of its wants and deficiencies, and to carry
out the standpoint of transcendental idealism more purely and
consistently. Among those who carried out the Kantian philosophy, only
two men, _Fichte_ and _Herbart_, can be named, who made by their actual
advance an epoch in philosophy; and among its opposers (_e. g. Hamann_,
_Herder_), only one, _Jacobi_, is of philosophic importance. These three
philosophers are hence the first objects for us to consider. In order to
a more accurate development of their principles, we preface a brief and
general characteristic of their relation to the Kantian philosophy.

1. Dogmatism had been critically annihilated by Kant; his Critick of
pure Reason had for its result the theoretical indemonstrableness of the
three ideas of the reason, God, freedom, and immortality. True, these
ideas which, from the standpoint of theoretical knowledge, had been
thrust out, Kant had introduced again as postulates of the practical
reason; but as postulates, as only practical premises, they possess no
theoretic certainty, and remain exposed to doubt. In order to do away
with this uncertainty, and this despairing of knowledge which had seemed
to be the end of the Kantian philosophy, _Jacobi_, a younger cotemporary
of Kant, placed himself upon the standpoint of the faith philosophy in
opposition to the standpoint of criticism. Though these highest ideas of
the reason, the eternal and the divine, cannot be reached and proved by
means of demonstration, yet is it the very essence of the divine that it
is indemonstrable and unattainable for the understanding. In order to be
certain of the highest, of that which lies beyond the understanding,
there is only one organ, viz., feeling. In feeling, therefore, in
immediate knowledge, in faith, Jacobi thought he had found that
certainty which Kant had sought in vain on the basis of discursive

2. While Jacobi stood in an antithetic relation to the Kantian
philosophy, _Fichte_ appears as its immediate consequence. Fichte
carried out to its consequence the Kantian dualism, according to which
the Ego, as theoretic, is subjected to the external world, while as
practical, it is its master, or, in other words, according to which the
Ego stands related to the objective world, now receptively and again
spontaneously. He allowed the reason to be exclusively practical, as
will alone, and spontaneity alone, and apprehended its theoretical and
receptive relation to the objective world as only a circumscribed
activity, as a limitation prescribed to itself by the reason. But for
the reason, so far as it is practical, there is nothing objective except
as it is produced. The will knows no being but only an ought. Hence the
objective being of truth is universally denied, and the thing which is
essentially unknown must fall away of itself as an empty shadow. “Every
thing which is, is the Ego,” is the principle of the Fichtian system,
and represents at the same time the subjective idealism in its
consequence and completion.

3. While the subjective idealism of Fichte was carried out in the
objective idealism of Schelling, and the absolute idealism of Hegel,
there arose cotemporaneously with these systems a third offshoot of the
Kantian criticism, viz., the philosophy of _Herbart_. It had its
subjective origin in the Kantian philosophy, but its objective and
historic connection with Kant is slight. It breaks up all historic
continuity, and holds an isolated position in the history of philosophy.
Its general basis is Kantian, in so far as it makes for its problem a
critical investigation of the subjective experience. We place it between
Fichte and Schelling.



Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi was born at Düsseldorf in 1743. His father
destined him for a merchant. After he had studied in Geneva and become
interested in philosophy, he entered his father’s mercantile
establishment, but afterwards abandoned this business, having been made
chancellor of the exchequer and customs commissioner for Cleves and
Berg, and also privy councillor at Düsseldorf. In this city, or at his
neighboring estate of Pempelfort, he spent a great part of his life
devoted to philosophy and his friends. In the year 1804 he was called to
the newly-formed Academy of Sciences in Munich. In 1807 he was chosen
president of this institution, a post which he filled till his death in
1819. Jacobi had a rich intellect and an amiable character. Besides
being a philosopher, he was also a poet and citizen of the world; and
hence we find in his philosophizing an absence of strict logical
arrangement and precise expression of thought. His writings are no
systematic whole, but are occasional treatises written “rhapsodically
and in grasshopper gait,” for the most part in the form of letters,
dialogues, and romances. “It was never my purpose,” he says himself, “to
set up a system for the schools. My writings have sprung from my
innermost life, and were the result of that which had taken place within
me. In a certain sense I did not make them voluntarily, but they were
drawn out of me by a higher power irresistible to myself.” This want of
an inner principle of classification and of a systematic arrangement,
renders a development of Jacobi’s philosophy not easy. It may best be
represented under the following three points of view:—1. Jacobi’s
polemic against mediate knowledge. 2. His principle of immediate
knowledge. 3. His relation to the cotemporaneous philosophy, especially
to the Kantian criticism.

1. Spinoza was the negative starting point of Jacobi’s philosophizing.
In his work “_On the Doctrine of Spinoza, in letters to Moses
Mendelssohn_” (1785), he directed public attention again to the almost
wholly forgotten philosophy of Spinoza. The correspondence originated
thus: Jacobi made the discovery that Lessing was a Spinozist, and
announces this to Mendelssohn. The latter will not believe it, and
thence grew the farther historical and philosophical examination. The
positive philosophic views which Jacobi exhibits in this treatise can be
reduced to the following three principles: (1) Spinozism is fatalism and
atheism. (2) Every path of philosophic demonstration leads to fatalism
and atheism. (3) In order that we may not fall into these, we must set a
limit to demonstrating, and recognize faith as the element of all
metaphysic knowledge.

(1.) Spinozism is atheism, because, according to it, the cause of the
world is no person—is no being working for an end, and endowed with
reason and will—and hence is no God. It is fatalism, for, according to
it, the human will regards itself only falsely as free.

(2.) This atheism and fatalism is, however, only the necessary
consequence of all strictly demonstrative philosophizing. To conceive a
thing, says Jacobi, is to refer a thing to its nearest cause; it is to
find a possible for an actual, the condition for a conditioned, the
mediation for an immediate. We conceive only that which we can explain
out of another. Hence our conceiving moves in a chain of conditioned
conditions, and this connection forms a mechanism of nature, in whose
investigation our understanding has its immeasurable field. However far
we may carry conception and demonstration, we must hold, in reference to
every object, to a still higher one which conditions it; where this
chain of the conditioned ceases, there do conception and demonstration
also cease; till we give up demonstrating we can reach no infinite. If
philosophy determines to apprehend the infinite with the finite
understanding, then must it bring down the divine to the finite; and
here is where every preceding philosophy has been entangled, while it is
obviously an absurd undertaking to attempt to discover the conditions of
the unconditioned, and make the absolutely necessary a possible, in
order that we may be able to construct it. A God who could be proved is
no God, for the ground of proof is ever above that which is to be
proved; the latter has its whole reality from the former. If the
existence of God should be proved, then God would be derived from a
ground which were before and above him. Hence the paradox of Jacobi; it
is for the interest of science that there be no God, no supernatural and
no extra or supramundane being. Only upon the condition that nature
alone is, and is therefore independent and all in all, can science hope
to gain its goal of perfection, and become, like its object itself, all
in all. Hence the result which Jacobi derives from the “Drama of the
history of philosophy” is this:—“There is no other philosophy than that
of Spinoza. He who considers all the works and acts of men to be the
effect of natural mechanism, and who believes that intelligence is but
an accompanying consciousness, which has only to act the part of a
looker-on, cannot be contended with and cannot be helped till we set him
free from his philosophy. No philosophical conclusion can reach him, for
what he denies cannot be philosophically proved, and what he proves
cannot be philosophically denied.” Whence then is help to come? “The
understanding, taken by itself, is materialistic and irrational; it
denies spirit and God. The reason taken by itself is idealistic, and has
nothing to do with the understanding; it denies nature and makes itself

(3.) Hence we must seek another way of knowing the supersensible, which
is faith. Jacobi calls this flight from cognition through conception to
faith, the _salto mortale_ of the human reason. Every certainty through
a conception demands another certainty, but in faith we are led to an
immediate certainty which needs no ground nor proof, and which is in
fact absolutely exclusive of all proof. Such a confidence which does not
arise from arguments, is called faith. We know the sensible as well as
the supersensible only through faith. All human knowledge springs from
revelation and faith.

These principles which Jacobi brought out in his letters concerning
Spinoza, did not fail to arouse a universal opposition in the German
philosophical world. It was charged upon him that he was an enemy of
reason, a preacher of blind faith, a despiser of science and of
philosophy, a fanatic and a papist. To rebut these attacks, and to
justify his standpoint, he wrote in 1787, a year and a half after the
first appearance of the work already named, his dialogue entitled
“_David Hume_, or _Faith, Idealism, and Realism_,” in which he developes
more extensively and definitely his principle of faith or immediate

2. Jacobi distinguished his faith at the outset from a blind credence in
authority. A blind faith is that which supports itself on a foreign
view, instead of on the grounds of reason. But this is not the case with
his faith, which rather rests upon the innermost necessity of the
subject itself. Still farther: his faith is not an arbitrary
imagination: we can imagine to ourselves every thing possible, but in
order to regard a thing as actual, there must be an inexplicable
necessity of our feeling, which we cannot otherwise name than faith.
Jacobi was not constant in his terminology, and hence did not always
express himself alike in respect of the relation in which faith stood to
the different sides of the human faculty of knowledge. In his earlier
terminology he placed faith (or as he also called it, the power of
faith), on the side of the sense or the receptivity, and let it stand
opposed to the understanding and the reason, taking these two terms as
equivalent expressions for the finite and immediate knowledge of
previous philosophy; afterwards he followed Kant, and, distinguishing
between the reason and the understanding, he called that reason which he
had previously named sense and faith. According to him now, the faith or
intuition of the reason is the organ for perceiving the supersensible.
As such, it stands opposed to the understanding. There must be a higher
faculty which can learn, in a way inconceivable to sense and the
understanding, that which is true in and above the phenomena. Over
against the explaining understanding stands the reason, or the natural
faith of the reason, which does not explain, but positively reveals and
unconditionally decides. As there is an intuition of the sense, so is
there a rational intuition through the reason, and a demonstration has
no more validity in respect of the latter than in respect of the former.
Jacobi justifies his use of the term, intuition of the reason, from the
want of any other suitable designation. Language has no other expression
to indicate the way in which that, which is unattainable to the sense,
becomes apprehended in the transcendental feeling. If any one affirms
that he knows any thing, he may properly be required to state the origin
of his knowledge, and in doing this, he must of necessity go back either
to sensation or to feeling; the latter stands above the former as high
as the human species above the brute. So I affirm, then, without
hesitation, says Jacobi, that my philosophy starts from pure feeling,
and declares the authority of this to be supreme. The faculty of feeling
is the highest in man, and that alone which specifically distinguishes
him from the brute. This faculty is one and the same with reason; or,
reason may be said to find in it its single and only starting point.

Jacobi had the clearest consciousness of the opposition in which he
stood, with this principle of immediate knowledge, to previous
philosophy. In his introduction to his complete works, he says: “There
had arisen since the time of Aristotle an increasing effort in
philosophical schools, to subject the immediate knowledge to the
mediate, to make that faculty of perception which originally establishes
every thing, dependent on the faculty of reflection, which is
conditioned through abstraction; to subordinate the archetype to the
copy, the essence to the word, the reason to the understanding, and, in
fact, to make the former wholly disappear in the latter. Nothing is
allowed to be true which is not capable of a double demonstration, in
the intuition and in the conception, in the thing and in its image or
word; the thing itself, it is said, must truly lie and actually be known
only in the word.” But every philosophy which allows only the reflecting
reason, must lose itself at length in an utter ignorance. Its end is

3. From what has been already said, the position of Jacobi with his
principle of faith, in relation to the Kantian philosophy, can, partly
at least, be seen. Jacobi had separated himself from this philosophy,
partly in the above-named dialogue “David Hume,” (especially in an
appendix to this, in which he discussed the transcendental Idealism),
and partly in his essay “_On the attempt of criticism to bring the
reason to the understanding_” (1801). His relation to it may be reduced
to the following three general points:

(1.) Jacobi does not agree with Kant’s theory of sensuous knowledge. In
opposition to this theory he defends the standpoint of empiricism,
affirms the truthfulness of the sense-perception, and denies the
apriority of space and time, for which Kant contends in order to prove
that objects as well as their relations are simply determinations of our
own self, and do not at all exist externally to us. For, however much it
may be affirmed that there is something corresponding to our notions as
their cause, yet does it remain concealed what this something is.
According to Kant, the laws of our beholding and thinking are without
objective validity, our knowledge has no objective significance. But it
is wrong to claim that in the phenomena there is nothing revealed of the
hidden truth which lies behind them. With such a claim, it were far
better to give up completely the unknown thing-in-itself, and carry out
to its results the consequent idealism. “Logically, Kant is at fault,
when he presupposes objects which make impressions on our soul. He is
bound to teach the strictest idealism.”

(2.) Yet Jacobi essentially agrees with Kant’s critick of the
understanding. Jacobi affirmed, as Kant had done, that the understanding
is insufficient to know the supersensible, and that the highest ideas of
the reason could be apprehended only in faith. Jacobi places Kant’s
great merit in having cleared away the ideas, which were simply the
products of reflection and logical phantasms. “It is very easy for the
understanding, when producing one notion from another, and thus
gradually mounting up to ideas, to imagine that, by virtue of these,
which, though they carry it beyond the intuitions of the sense, are
nothing but logical phantasms, it has not only the faculty but the most
decided determination to fly truly above the world of sense, and to gain
by its flight a higher science independent of the intuition, a science
of the supersensible. Kant discovers and destroys this error and
self-deception. Thus there is gained, at least, a clear place for a
_genuine_ rationalism. This is Kant’s truly great deed, his immortal
merit. But the sound sense of our sage did not allow him to hide from
himself that this clear place must disappear in a gulf, which would
swallow up in itself all knowledge of the true, unless a God should
interpose to hinder it. Here Kant’s doctrine and mine meet.”

(3.) But Jacobi does not fully agree with Kant, in wholly denying to the
theoretical reason the faculty of objective knowledge. He blames Kant
for complaining that the human reason cannot theoretically prove the
reality of its ideas. He affirms that Kant is thus still entangled in
the delusion, that the only reason why these ideas cannot be proved, is
found in the nature of the ideas themselves, and not in the deficient
nature of our knowledge. Kant therefore attempts to seek, in a practical
way, a kind of scientific proof; a roundabout way, which, to every
profound seeker, must seem folly, since every proof is as impossible as
it is unnecessary.

Jacobi agreed better with Kant, than with the post-Kantian philosophy.
The atheistic tendency of the latter was especially repulsive to him.
“To Kant, that profound thinker and upright philosopher, the words God,
freedom, immortality, and religion, signified the same as they have ever
done to the sound human understanding; he in no way treats them as
nothing but deception. He created offence by irresistibly showing the
insufficiency of all proofs of speculative philosophy for these ideas.
That which was wanting in the theoretical proof, he made up by the
necessary postulates of a pure practical reason. With these, according
to Kant’s assurance, philosophy was fully helped out of her difficulty,
and the goal, which had been always missed, actually reached. But the
first daughter of the critical philosophy (Fichte’s system) makes the
living and working moral order itself to be God, a God expressly
declared to be without consciousness and self-existence. These frank
words, spoken publicly and without restraint, roused some attention, but
the fear soon subsided. Presently astonishment ceased wholly, for the
second daughter of the critical philosophy (Schelling’s system) gave up
entirely the distinction which the first had allowed to remain between
natural and moral philosophy, necessity and freedom, and without any
further ado affirmed that the only existence is nature, and that there
is nothing above; this second daughter is Spinozism transfigured and
reversed, an ideal materialism.” This latter allusion to Schelling,
connected as it was with other and harder thrusts in the same essay,
called out from this philosopher the well-known answer: “_Schelling’s
Monument to the Treatise on Divine Things_, 1812.”

If we now take a critical survey of the philosophical standpoint of
Jacobi, we shall find its peculiarity to consist in the abstract
separation of understanding and feeling. These two Jacobi could not
bring into harmony. “There is light in my heart,” he says, “but it goes
out whenever I attempt to bring it into the understanding. Which is the
true luminary of these two? That of the understanding, which, though it
reveals fixed forms, shows behind them only a baseless gulf? Or that of
the heart, which points its light promisingly upwards, though
determinate knowledge escapes it? Can the human spirit grasp the truth
unless it possesses these two luminaries united in one light? And is
this union conceivable except through a miracle?” If now, in order to
escape in a certain degree this contradiction between understanding and
feeling, Jacobi gave to immediate knowledge the place of mediate as
finite knowledge, this was a self-deception. Even that knowledge, which
is supposed to be immediate, and which Jacobi regards as the peculiar
organ for knowing the supersensible, is also mediate, obliged to go
through a course of subjective mediations, and can only give itself out
as immediate when it wholly forgets its own origin.



Johann Gottlieb Fichte was born at Rammenau, in Upper Lusatia, 1762. A
nobleman of Silesia became interested in the boy, and having committed
him first to the instruction of a clergyman, he afterwards placed him at
the high school at Schulpforte. In his eighteenth year, at Michaelmas,
1780, Fichte entered the university at Jena to study theology. He soon
found himself attracted to philosophy, and became powerfully affected by
the study of Spinoza. His pecuniary circumstances were straitened, but
this only served to harden his will and his energy. In 1784 he became
employed as a teacher in a certain family, and spent some time in this
occupation with different families in Saxony. In 1787 he sought a place
as country clergyman, but was refused on account of his religious
opinions. He was now obliged to leave his fatherland, to which he clung
with his whole soul. He repaired to Zurich, where, in 1788, he took a
post as private tutor, and where also he became acquainted with his
future wife, a sister’s daughter of Klopstock. At Easter, 1790, he
returned to Saxony and taught privately at Leipsic, where he became
acquainted with the Kantian philosophy, by means of lessons which he was
obliged to give to a student. In the spring of 1791 we find him as
private tutor at Warsaw, and soon after in Konigsberg, where he
resorted, that he might become personally acquainted with the Kant he
had learned to revere. Instead of a letter of recommendation he
presented him his “_Critick of all Revelation_,” a treatise which Fichte
composed in eight days. In this he attempted to deduce, from the
practical reason, the possibility of a revelation. This is not seen
purely apriori, but only under an empirical condition; we must consider
humanity to be in a moral ruin so complete, that the moral law has lost
all its influence upon the will and all morality is extinguished. In
such a case we may expect that God, as moral governor of the world,
would give man, through the sense, some pure moral impulses, and reveal
himself as lawgiver to them through a special manifestation determined
for this end, in the world of sense. In such a case a particular
revelation were a postulate of the practical reason. Fichte sought also
to determine apriori the possible content of such a revelation. Since we
need to know nothing but God, freedom, and immortality, the revelation
will contain naught but these, and these it must contain in a
comprehensible form, yet so that the symbolical dress may lay no claim
to unlimited veneration. This treatise, which appeared anonymously in
1792, at once attracted the greatest attention, and was at first
universally regarded as a work of Kant. It procured for its author, soon
after, a call to the chair of philosophy at Jena, to succeed Reinhold,
who then went to Kiel. Fichte received this appointment in 1793 at
Zurich, where he had gone to consummate his marriage. At the same time
he wrote and published, also anonymously, his “_Aids to correct views of
the French Revolution_,” an essay which the governments never looked
upon with favor. At Easter, 1794, he entered upon his new office, and
soon saw his public call confirmed. Taking now a new standpoint, which
transcended Kant, he sought to establish this, and carry it out in a
series of writings (the _Wissenschaftslehre_ appeared in 1794, the
_Naturrecht_ in 1796, and the _Sittenlehre_ in 1798), by which he
exerted a powerful influence upon the scientific movement in Germany,
aided as he was in this by the fact that Jena was then one of the most
flourishing of the German universities, and the resort of every vigorous
head. With Goethe, Schiller, the brothers Schlegel, William von
Humboldt, and Hufeland, Fichte was in close fellowship, though this was
unfortunately broken after a few years. In 1795 he became associate
editor of the “_Philosophical Journal_,” which had been established by
Niethammer. A fellow-laborer, Rector Forberg, at Saalfeld, offered for
publication in this journal an article “to determine the conception of
religion.” Fichte advised the author not to publish it, but at length
inserted it in the journal, prefacing it, however, with an introduction
of his own. “_On the ground of our faith in a divine government of the
world_,” in which he endeavored to remove, or at least soften, the views
in the article which might give offence. Both the essays raised a great
cry of atheism. The elector of Saxony confiscated the journal in his
territory, and sent a requisition to the dukes Ernest, who held in
common the university of Jena, to summon the author to trial and
punishment. Fichte answered the edict of confiscation and attempted to
justify himself to the public (1799), by his “_Appeal to the Public. An
essay which it is requested may be read before it is confiscated_;”
while he defended his course to the government by an article entitled
“_The Publishers of the Philosophical Journal justified from the charge
of Atheism_.” The government of Weimar, being as anxious to spare him as
it was to please the elector of Saxony, delayed its decision. But as
Fichte, either with or without reason, had privately learned that the
whole matter was to be settled by reprimanding the accused parties for
their want of caution; and, desiring either a civil acquittal or an open
and proper satisfaction, he wrote a private letter to a member of the
government, in which he desired his dismission in case of a reprimand,
and which he closed with the intimation that many of his friends would
leave the university with him, in order to establish together a new one
in Germany. The government regarded this letter as an application for
his discharge, indirectly declaring that the reprimand was unavoidable.
Fichte, now an object of suspicion, both on account of his religious and
political views, looked about him in vain for a place of refuge. The
prince of Rudolstadt, to whom he turned, denied him his protection, and
his arrival in Berlin (1799) attracted great notice. In Berlin, where he
had much intercourse with Frederick Schlegel, and also with
Schleiermacher and Novalis, his views became gradually modified; the
catastrophe at Jena had led him from the exclusive moral standpoint
which he, resting upon Kant, had hitherto held, to the sphere of
religion; he now sought to reconcile religion with his standpoint of the
_Wissenshaftslehre_, and turned himself to a certain mysticism (the
second form of the Fichtian theory). After he had privately taught a
number of years in Berlin, and had also held philosophical lectures for
men of culture, he was recommended (1805) by Beyme and Altenstein,
chancellor of state of Hardenberg, to a professorship of philosophy in
Erlangen, an appointment which he received together with a permit to
return to Berlin in the winter, and hold there his philosophical
lectures before the public. Thus, in the winter of 1807-8, while a
French marshal was governor of Berlin, and while his voice was often
drowned by the hostile tumults of the enemy through the streets, he
delivered his famous “_Addresses to the German nation_.” Fichte labored
most assiduously for the foundation of the Berlin university, for only
by wholly transforming the common education did he believe the
regeneration of Germany could be secured. As the new university was
opened 1809, he was made in the first year dean of the philosophical
faculty, and in the second was invested with the dignity of rector. In
the “war of liberation,” then breaking out, Fichte took the liveliest
participation by word and deed. His wife had contracted a nervous fever
by her care of the sick and wounded, and though she recovered, he fell a
victim to the same disease. He died Jan. 28, 1814, not having yet
completed his fifty-second year.

In the following exposition of Fichte’s philosophy, we distinguish
between the two internally different periods of his philosophizing, that
of Jena and that of Berlin. The first division will include two
parts—Fichte’s theory of science and his practical philosophy.

has already been shown (§ 39) that the thoroughly-going subjective
idealism of Fichte was only the logical consequence of the Kantian
standpoint. It was wholly unavoidable that Fichte should entirely reject
the Kantian essentially thing (_thing in itself_), which Kant had
himself declared to be unrecognizable though real, and that he should
posit as a proper act of the mind, that external influence which Kant
had referred to the essentially thing. That the Ego alone is, and that
which we regard as a limitation of the Ego by external objects, is
rather the proper self-limitation of the Ego; this is the grand feature
of the Fichtian as of every idealism.

Fichte himself supported the standpoint of this Theory of Science as
follows: In every experience there is conjointly an Ego and a thing, the
intelligence and its object. Which of these two sides must now be
reduced to the other? If the philosopher abstracts the Ego, he has
remaining an essentially thing, and must then apprehend his
representations or sensations as the products of this object; if he
abstracts the object, he has remaining an essentially Ego (an Ego _in
itself_). The former is dogmatism, the latter idealism. Both are
irreconcilable with each other, and there is no third way possible. We
must therefore choose between the two. In order to decide between the
two systems, we must note the following: (1) That the Ego appears in
consciousness, wherefore the essentially thing is a pure invention,
since in consciousness we have only that which is perceived; (2)
Dogmatism must account for the origin of its representation through some
essentially object, it must start from something which does not lie in
the consciousness. But the effect of being is only being, and not
representation. Hence idealism alone can be correct which does not start
from being, but from intelligence. According to idealism, intelligence
is only active, not passive, because it is a first and absolute: and on
this account there belongs to it no being, but simply an acting. The
forms of this acting, the system of the necessary mode in which
intelligence acts, must be found from the essence of intelligence. If we
should take the laws of intelligence from experience, as Kant did his
categories, we fail in two respects: (1) We do not see why intelligence
must so act, nor whether these laws are immanent laws of intelligence;
(2) We do not see how the object itself originates. Hence the
fundamental principles of intelligence, as well as the objective world,
must be derived from the Ego itself.

Fichte supposed that in these results he only expressed the true sense
of the Kantian philosophy. “Whatever my system may properly be, whether
the genuine criticism thoroughly carried out, _as I believe it is_, or
howsoever it be named, is of no account.” His system, Fichte affirms,
had the same view of the matter as Kant’s, while the numerous followers
of this philosopher had wholly mistaken and misunderstood their master’s
idealism. In the second introduction to the Theory of Science (1797),
Fichte grants to these expounders of the Critick of pure Reason that it
contains some passages where Kant would affirm that sensations must be
given to the subject from without as the material conditions of
objective reality; but shows that the innumerably repeated declarations
of the Critick, that there could be no influence upon us of a real
transcendental object outside of us, cannot at all be reconciled with
these passages, if any thing other than a simple thought be understood
as the ground of the sensations. “So long,” adds Fichte, “as Kant does
not expressly declare that he derives sensations from an impression of
some essentially thing, or, to use his terminology, that sensation must
be explained from a transcendental object existing externally to us: so
long will I not believe what these expounders tell us of Kant. But if he
should give such an explanation, I should sooner regard the Critick of
Pure Reason to be a work of chance than of design.” For such an
explanation the aged Kant did not suffer him long to wait. In the
_Intelligenzblatt der Allgemeinen Litteraturzeitung_ (1799), he
formally, and with much emphasis, rejects the Fichtian improvement of
his system, and protests against every interpretation of his writings
according to the conceit of any mind, while he maintains the literal
interpretation of his theory as laid down in the Critick of Reason.
Reinhold remarks upon all this: “Since the well known and public
explanation of Kant respecting Fichte’s philosophy, there can be no
longer a doubt that Kant himself would represent his own system, and
desire to have it represented by his readers, entirely otherwise than
Fichte had represented and interpreted it. But from this it irresistibly
follows, that Kant himself did not regard his system as illogical
because it presupposed something external to the subjectivity.
Nevertheless, it does not at all follow that Fichte erred when he
declared that this system, with such a presupposition, must be
illogical.” So much for Reinhold. That Kant himself did not fail to see
this inconclusiveness, is evident from the changes he introduced into
the second edition of the Critick of Pure Reason, where he suffered the
idealistic side of his system to fall back decidedly behind the

From what has been said, we can see the universal standpoint of the
Theory of Science; the Ego is made a principle, and from the Ego every
thing else is sought to be derived. It hardly needs to be remarked, that
by this Ego we are to understand, not any individual, but the universal
Ego, the universal rationality. The Ego and the individual, the pure and
the empirical Ego, are wholly different conceptions.

We have still the following preface to make concerning the form of the
Theory of Science. A theory of science, according to Fichte, must posit
some supreme principle, from which every other must be derived. This
supreme principle must be absolutely, and through itself, certain. If
our human knowledge should be any thing but fragmentary, there must be
such a supreme principle. But now, since such a principle does not admit
of proof, every thing depends upon giving it a trial. Its test and
demonstration can only be thus gained, viz., if we find a principle to
which all science may be referred, then is this shown to be a
fundamental principle. But besides the first fundamental principle,
there are yet two others to be considered, the one of which is
unconditioned as to its content, but as to its form, conditioned through
and derived from the first fundamental principle; the other the reverse.
The relation of these three principles to each other is, in fine, this,
viz., that the second stands opposed to the first, while a third is the
product of the two. Hence, according to this plan, the first absolute
principle starts from the Ego, the second opposes to the Ego a thing or
a non-Ego, and the third brings forward the Ego again in reaction
against the thing or the non-Ego. This method of Fichte
(thesis,—antithesis,—synthesis) is the same as Hegel subsequently
adopted, and applied to the whole system of philosophy, a union of the
synthetical and analytical methods. We start with a fundamental
synthesis, which we analyze to produce its antitheses, in order to unite
these antitheses again through a second synthesis. But in making this
second synthesis, our analysis discovers still farther antitheses, which
obliges us therefore to find another synthesis, and so onward in the
process, till we come at length to antitheses which can no longer be
perfectly but only approximately connected.

We stand now upon the threshold of the _Theory of Science_. It is
divided into three parts. (1) General principles of a theory of science.
(2) Principles of theoretical knowledge. (3) Principles of practical

As has already been said, there are three _supreme_ fundamental
principles, one absolutely unconditioned, and two relatively

(1.) _The absolutely first and absolutely unconditioned fundamental
principle_ ought to express that act of the mind which lies at the basis
of all consciousness, and alone makes consciousness possible. Such is
the principle of identity, A = A. This principle remains, and cannot be
thought away, though every empirical determination be removed. It is a
fact of consciousness, and must, therefore, be universally admitted: but
at the same time it is by no means conditioned, like every other
empirical fact, but unconditioned, because it is a free act. By
affirming that this principle is certain without any farther ground, we
ascribe to ourselves the faculty of _positing_ something absolutely. We
do not, therefore, affirm that A is, but only that if A is, then it is
equal to A. It is no matter now about the content of the principle, we
need only regard its form. The principle A = A is, therefore,
conditioned (hypothetically) as to its content, and unconditioned only
as to its form and its connection. If we would now have a principle
unconditioned in its content as well as in its connection, we put Ego in
the place of A, as we are fully entitled to do, since the connection of
subject and predicate contained in the judgment A = A is posited in the
Ego and through the Ego. Hence A = A becomes transformed into Ego = Ego.
This principle is unconditioned not only as to its connection, but also
as to its content. While we could not, instead of A = A, say that A is,
yet we can instead of Ego = Ego, say that Ego is. All the facts of the
empirical consciousness find their ground of explanation in this, viz.,
that before any thing else is posited in the Ego, the Ego itself is
there. This fact, that the Ego is absolutely posited and grounded on
itself, is the basis of all acting in the human mind, and shows the pure
character of activity in itself. The Ego _is_, because it posits itself,
and it only is, because this simple positing of itself is wholly by
itself. The being of the Ego is thus seen in the positing of the Ego,
and on the other hand, the Ego is enabled _to posit_ simply by virtue of
its being. It is at the same time the acting, and the product of the
action. I am, is the expression of the only possible deed. Logically
considered we have, in the first principle of a Theory of Science, A =
A, the logical law of identity. From the proposition A = A, we arrive at
the proposition Ego = Ego. The latter proposition, however, does not
derive its validity from the former, but contrarywise. The prius of all
judgments is the Ego, which posits the connection of subject and
predicate. The logical law of identity arises, therefore, from Ego =
Ego. Metaphysically considered, we have in this same first principle of
a Theory of Science, the category of _reality_. We obtain this category
by abstracting every thing from the content, and reflecting simply upon
the mode of acting of the human mind. From the Ego, as the absolute
subject, every category is derived.

(2.) _The second fundamental principle_, conditioned in its content, and
only unconditioned in its form, which is just as incapable as the first
of demonstration or derivation, is also a fact of the empirical
consciousness: it is the proposition non-A is not = A. This sentence is
unconditioned in its form, because it is free act like the first, from
which it cannot be derived; but in its content, as to its matter it is
conditioned, because if a non-A is posited, there must have previously
been posited an A. Let us examine this principle more closely. In the
first principle, A = A, the form of the act was a positing, while in
this second principle it is an oppositing. There is an absolute
opposition, and this opposition, in its simple form, is an act
absolutely possible, standing under no condition, limited by no higher
ground. But as to its matter, the opposition presupposes a position; the
non-A cannot be posited without the A. What non-A is, I do not through
that yet know: I only know concerning non-A that it is the opposite of
A: hence I only know what non-A is under the condition that I know A.
But now A is posited through the Ego; there is originally nothing
posited but the Ego, and nothing but this absolutely posited. Hence
there can be an absolute opposition only to the Ego. That which is
opposed to the Ego is the non-Ego. A non-Ego is absolutely opposed to
the Ego, and this is the second fact of the empirical consciousness. In
every thing ascribed to the Ego, the contrary, by virtue of this simple
opposition, must be ascribed to the non Ego.—As we obtained from the
first principle Ego = Ego, the logical law of identity, so now we have,
from the second sentence Ego is not = non-Ego, the logical law of
contradiction. And metaphysically,—since we wholly abstract the definite
act of judgment, and, simply in the form of sequence, conclude not-being
from opposite being,—we possess from this second principle the category
of _negation_.

(3.) _The third principle_, conditioned in its form, is almost capable
of proof, since it is determined by two others. At every step we
approach the province where every thing can be proved. This third
principle is conditioned in its form, and unconditioned only in its
content: _i. e._ the problem, but not the solution of the act to be
established through it, has been given through the two preceding
principles. The solution is afforded unconditionally and absolutely by a
decisive word of the reason. The problem to be solved by this third
principle is this, viz., to adjust the contradiction contained in the
two former ones. On the one side, the Ego is wholly suppressed by the
non-Ego: there can be no positing of the Ego so far as the non-Ego is
posited. On the other side, the non-Ego is only an Ego posited in the
consciousness, and hence the Ego is not suppressed by the non-Ego. The
Ego appearing on the one side to be suppressed, is not really
suppressed. Such a result would be non-A = A. In order to remove this
contradiction, which threatens to destroy the identity of our
consciousness, and the only absolute foundation of our knowledge, we
must find in _x_ that which will justify both of the first two
principles, and leave the identity of our consciousness undisturbed. The
two opposites, the Ego and the non-Ego, should be united in the
consciousness, should be alike posited without either excluding the
other; they should be received in the identity of the proper
consciousness. How shall being and not-being, reality and negation, be
conceived together without destroying each other? They will reciprocally
_limit_ each other. Hence the unknown quantity _x_, whose terms we are
seeking, stands for these limits: limitation is the sought-for act of
the Ego, and as category in the thought, we have thus the category of
determination or _limitation_. But in limitation, there is also given
the category of _quantity_, for when we say that any thing is limited,
we mean that its reality is through negation, not _wholly_, but only
_partially_ suppressed. Thus the conception of limit contains also the
conception of divisibility, besides the conceptions of reality and
negation. Through the act of limitation, the Ego as well as the non-Ego,
is posited as divisible. Still farther, we see how a logical law follows
from the third fundamental principle as well as from the first two. If
we abstract the definite content, the Ego and the non-Ego, and leave
remaining the simple form of the union of opposites through the
conception of divisibility, we have then the logical _principle of the
ground_, or foundation, which may be expressed in the formula: A in part
= non-A, non-A in part = A. Wherever two opposites are alike in one
characteristic, we consider the ground as a ground of relation, and
wherever two similar things are opposite in one characteristic, we
consider the ground as a ground of distinction.—With these three
principles we have now exhausted the measure of that which is
unconditioned and absolutely certain. We can embrace the three in the
following formula:

_I posit in the Ego a divisible non Ego over against the divisible Ego._
No philosophy can go beyond this cognition, and every fundamental
philosophy should go back to this. Just so far as it does this, it
becomes science (_Wissenschaftslehre_). Every thing which can appear in
a system of knowledge, as well as a farther division of the Theory of
Science itself, must be derived from this. The proposition that the Ego
and the non-Ego reciprocally limit each other, may be divided into the
following two: (1) the Ego posits itself as limited through the non-Ego
(_i. e._ the Ego is in a cognitive (or passive) relation); (2) the Ego
posits the non-Ego as limited through the Ego (_i. e._ the Ego is in an
active relation). The former proposition is the basis of the
theoretical, and the latter of the practical part of the Theory of
Science. The latter part cannot, at the outset, be brought upon the
stage; for the non-Ego, which should be limited by the acting Ego, does
not at the outset exist, and we must wait and see whether it will find,
in the theoretical part, a reality.

_The groundwork of theoretical knowledge_ advances through an
uninterrupted series of antitheses and syntheses. The fundamental
synthesis of the theoretical Theory of Science is the proposition: _the
Ego posits itself as determined_ (limited) _by the non-Ego_. If we
analyze this sentence, we find in it two subordinate sentences which are
reciprocally opposite. (1) The non-Ego as active determines the Ego,
which thus far is passive; but since all activity must start from the
Ego, so (2) the Ego determines itself through an absolute activity.
Herein is a contradiction, that the Ego should be at the same time
active and passive. Since this contradiction would destroy the above
proposition, and also suppress the unity of consciousness, we are forced
to seek some point, some new synthesis, in which these given antitheses
may be united. This synthesis is attained when we find that the
conceptions of action and passion, which are contained under the
categories of reality and negation, find their compensation and due
adjustment in the conception of divisibility. The propositions: “the Ego
determines,” and “the Ego is determined,” are reconciled in the
proposition: “the Ego determines itself in part, and is determined in
part.” Both, however, should be considered as one and the same. Hence
more accurately: as many parts of reality as the Ego posits in itself,
so many parts of negation does it posit in the non-Ego; and as many
parts of reality as the Ego posits in the non-Ego, so many parts of
negation does it posit in itself. This determination is _reciprocal
determination_, or _reciprocal action_. Thus Fichte deduces the last of
the three categories under Kant’s general category of relation. In a
similar way (viz., by finding a synthesis for apparent contradictions),
he deduces the two other categories of this class, viz., that of cause,
and that of substance. The process is thus: So far as the Ego is
determined, and therefore passive, has the non-Ego reality. The category
of reciprocal determination, to which we may ascribe indifferently
either of the two sides, reality or negation, may, more strictly taken,
imply that the Ego is passive, and the non-Ego active. The notion which
expresses this relation is that of _causality_. That, to which activity
is ascribed, is called _cause_ (primal reality), and that to which
passiveness is ascribed, is called _effect_; both, conceived in
connection, may be termed a _working_. On the other side, the Ego
determines itself. Herein is a contradiction; (1) the Ego determines
itself; it is therefore that which determines, and is thus active; (2)
it determines itself; it is therefore that which becomes determined, and
is thus passive. Thus in one respect and in one action both reality and
negation are ascribed to it. To resolve this contradiction, we must find
a mode of action which is activity and passiveness in one; the Ego must
determine its passiveness through activity, and its activity through
passiveness. This solution is attained by aid of the conception of
quantity. In the Ego all reality is first of all posited as absolute
quantum, as absolute totality, and thus far the Ego may be compared to a
greatest circle which contains all the rest. A definite quantum of
activity, or a limited sphere within this greatest circle of activity,
is indeed a _reality_; but when compared with the totality of activity,
is it also a _negation_ of the totality or passiveness. Here we have
found the mediation sought for; it lies in the notion of _substance_. In
so far as the Ego is considered as the whole circle, embracing the
totality of all realities, is it substance; but so far as it becomes
posited in a determinate sphere of this circle, is it accidental. No
accidence is conceivable without substance; for, in order to know that
any thing is a definite reality, it must first be referred to reality in
general, or to substance. In every change we think of substance in the
universal; accidence is something specific (determinate), which changes
with every changing cause. _There is originally but one substance, the
Ego_; in this one substance all possible accidents, and therefore all
possible realities, are posited. The Ego alone is the absolutely
infinite. The Ego, as thinking and as acting, indicates a limitation.
The Fichtian theory is accordingly Spinozism, only (as Jacobi strikingly
called it) a reversed and idealistic Spinozism.

Let us look back a moment. The objectivity which Kant had allowed to
exist Fichte has destroyed. There is _only_ the Ego. But the Ego
presupposes a non-Ego, and therefore a kind of object. How the Ego comes
to posit such an object, must the theoretical Theory of Science now
proceed to show.

There are two extreme views respecting the relation of the Ego to the
non-Ego, according as we start from the conception of cause, or that of
substance. (1) Starting from the conception of cause, we have posited
through the passiveness of the Ego an activity of the non-Ego. This
passiveness of the Ego must have some ground. This cannot lie in the
Ego, which in itself posits only activity. Consequently it lies in the
non-Ego. Here the distinction between action and passion is apprehended,
not simply as quantitative (_i. e._, viewing the passiveness as a
diminished activity), but the passion is in quality opposed to the
action; a presupposed activity of the non-Ego is, therefore, a real
ground of the passiveness in the Ego. (2) Starting from the conception
of substance, we have posited a passiveness of the Ego through its own
activity. Here the passiveness in respect of quality is the same as
activity, it being only a diminished activity. While, therefore,
according to the first view, the passive Ego has a ground distinct in
quality from the Ego, and thus a real ground, yet here its ground is
only a diminished activity of the Ego, distinct only in quantity from
the Ego, and is thus an ideal ground. The former view is dogmatic
realism, the latter is dogmatic idealism. The latter affirms: all
reality of the non-Ego is only a reality given it from the Ego; the
former declares: nothing can be given, unless there be something to
receive, unless an independent reality of the non-Ego, as thing in
itself, be presupposed. Both views present thus a contradiction, which
can only be removed by a new synthesis. Fichte attempted this synthesis
of idealism and realism, by bringing out a mediating system of critical
idealism. For this purpose he sought to show that the ideal ground and
the real ground are one and the same. Neither is the simple activity of
the Ego a ground for the reality of the non-Ego, nor is the simple
activity of the non-Ego a ground for the passiveness in the Ego. Both
must be conceived together in this way, viz., the activity of the Ego
meets a _hindrance_, which is set up against it, not without some
assistance of the Ego, and which circumscribes and reflects in itself
this activity of the Ego. The hindrance is found when the subjective can
be no farther extended, and the expanding activity of the Ego is driven
back into itself, producing as its result self-limitation. What we call
objects are nothing other than the different impinging of the activity
of the Ego on some inconceivable hindrance, and these determinations of
the Ego, we carry over to something external to ourselves, and represent
them to ourselves as space filling matter. That which Fichte calls a
hindrance through the non-Ego, is thus in fact the same as Kant calls
thing essentially, the only difference being that with Fichte it is made
subjective. From this point Fichte then deduces the subjective
activities of the Ego, which mediate, or seek to mediate, theoretically,
the Ego with the non-Ego—as imagination, representation (sensation,
intuition, feeling), understanding, faculty of judgment, reason; and in
connection with this he brought out the subjective projections of the
intuition, space, and time.

We have now reached the third part of the Theory of Science, via., _the
foundation of the practical_. We have seen that the Ego represents. But
that it may represent does not depend upon the Ego alone, but is
determined by something external to it. We could in no way conceive of a
representation, except through the presupposition that the Ego finds
some hindrance to its undetermined and unlimited activity. Accordingly
the Ego, as intelligence, is universally dependent upon an indefinite,
and hitherto wholly indefinable non-Ego, and only through and by means
of such non-Ego, is it intelligence. A finite being is only finite as
intelligence. These limits, however, we shall break through. The
practical law which unites the finite Ego with the infinite, can depend
upon nothing external to ourselves. The Ego, according to all its
determinations, should be posited absolutely through itself, and hence
should be wholly independent of every possible non-Ego. Consequently,
the absolute Ego and the intelligent Ego, both of which should
constitute but one, are opposed to each other. This contradiction is
obviated, when we see that because the absolute Ego is capable of no
passiveness, but is absolute activity, therefore the Ego determines,
through itself, that hitherto unknown non-Ego, to which the hindrance
has been ascribed. The limits which the Ego, as theoretic, has set over
against itself in the non-Ego, it must, as practical, seek to destroy,
and absorb again the non-Ego in itself (or conceive it as the
self-limitation of the Ego). The Kantian primacy of the practical reason
is here made a truth. The transition of the theoretical part into the
practical, the necessity of advancing from the one to the other, Fichte
represents more closely thus:—The theoretical Theory of Science had to
do with the mediation of the Ego, and the non-Ego. For this end it
introduced one connecting link after another, without ever attaining its
end. Then enters the reason with the absolute and decisive word: “there
ought to be no non-Ego, since the non-Ego can in no way be united with
the Ego;” and with this the knot is cut, though not untied. Thus it is
the incongruity between the absolute (practical) Ego, and the finite
(intelligent) Ego, which is carried over beyond the theoretical province
into the practical. True, this incongruity does not wholly disappear,
even in the practical province, where the act is only an infinite
striving to surpass the limits of the non-Ego. The Ego, so far as it is
practical, has, indeed, the tendency to pass beyond the actual world,
and establish an ideal world, as it would be were every reality posited
by the absolute Ego; but this striving is always confined to the finite
partly through itself, because it goes out towards objects, and objects
are finite, and partly through the resistance of the sensible world. We
ought to seek to reach the infinite, but we cannot do it; this striving
and inability is the impress of our destiny for eternity.

Thus—and in these words Fichte brings together the result of the Theory
of Science—the whole being of finite rational natures is comprehended
and exhausted: an original idea of our absolute being; an effort to
reflect upon ourselves, in order to gain this idea; a limitation, not of
this striving, but of our own existence, which first becomes actual
through this limitation, or through an opposite principle, a non-Ego, or
our finiteness; a self-consciousness, and especially a consciousness of
our practical strivings; a determination accordingly of our
representations, and through these of our actions; a constant widening
of our limits into the infinite.

2. FICHTE’S PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY.—The principles which Fichte had
developed in his Theory of Science he applied to practical life,
especially to the theory of rights and morals. He sought to deduce here
every thing with methodical rigidness, without admitting any thing which
could not be proved from experience. Thus, in the theory of rights and
of morals, he will not presuppose a plurality of persons, but first
deduces this: even that the man has a body is first demonstrated,
though, to be sure, not stringently.

_The Theory of Rights_ (_the rights of nature_) Fichte founds upon the
conception of the individual. First, he deduces the conception of
rights, and as follows:—A finite rational being cannot posit itself
without ascribing to itself a free activity. Through this positing of
its faculties to a free activity, this rational being posits an external
world of sense, for it can ascribe to itself no activity till it has
posited an object towards which this activity may be directed. Still
farther, this free activity of a rational being presupposes other
rational beings, for without these it would never be conscious that it
was free. We have therefore a plurality of free individuals, each one of
whom has a sphere of free activity. This co-existence of free
individuals is not possible without a relation of rights. Since no one
with freedom passes beyond his sphere, and each one therefore limits
himself, they recognize each other as rational and free. This relation
of a reciprocal acting through intelligence and freedom between rational
beings, according to which each one has his freedom limited by the
conception of the possibility of the other’s freedom, under the
condition also that this other limits his own freedom also through that
of the first, is called a _relation of rights_. The supreme maxim of a
theory of rights is therefore this: limit thy freedom through the
conception of the freedom of every other person with whom thou canst be
connected. After Fichte has attempted the application of this conception
of rights, and for this end has deduced the corporeity, the
anthropological side of man, he passes over to a proper _theory of
rights_. The theory of rights may be divided into three parts. (1)
Rights which belong to the simple conception of person are called
_original rights_. The original right is the absolute right of the
person to be only a cause in the sensible world, though he may be
absolutely (in other relations than to the sense) an effect. In this are
contained, (_a_) the right of personal (bodily) freedom, and (_b_) the
right of property. But every relation of rights between individual
persons is conditioned through each one’s recognition of the rights of
the other. Each one must limit the quantum of his free acts for the sake
of the freedom of the other, and only so far as the other has respect to
my freedom need I have regard to his. In case, therefore, the other does
not respect my original rights, some mechanical necessity must be sought
in order to secure the rights of person, and this involves (2) the
_Right of Coercion_. The laws of punishment have their end in securing
that the opposite of that which is intended shall follow every
unrighteous aim, that every vicious purpose shall be destroyed, and the
right in its integrity be established. To establish such a law of
coercion, and to secure a universal coercive power, the free individuals
must enter into covenant among themselves. Such a covenant is only
possible on the ground of a common nature. Natural right, _i. e._ the
rightful relation between man and man, presupposes thus (3) a _civil
right_, viz., (_a_) a free covenant, a compact of citizens by which the
free individuals guarantee to each other their reciprocal rights; (_b_)
positive laws, a civil legislation, through which the common will of all
becomes law; (_c_) an executive force, a civil power which executes the
common will, and in which, therefore, the private will and the common
will are synthetically united. The particular view of Fichte’s theory of
rights is this: on the one side there is the state as reason demands
(philosophical theory of rights), and on the other side the state as it
actually is (theory of positive rights and of the state). But now comes
up the problem, to make the actual state ever more and more conformable
to the state of reason. The science which has this approximation for its
aim, is polity. We can demand of no actual state a perfect conformity to
the idea of a state. Every state constitution is according to right, if
it only leaves possible an advancement to a better state, and the only
constitution wholly contrary to right is that whose end is to hold every
thing just as it is.

The absolute Ego of the Theory of Science is separated in the Theory of
Rights into an infinite number of persons with rights: to bring it out
again in its unity is the problem of _Ethics_. Right and morals are
essentially different. Right is the external necessity to omit or to do
something in order not to infringe upon the freedom of another; the
inner necessity to do or omit something wholly independent of external
ends, constitutes the moral nature of man. And as the theory of rights
arose from the conflict of the impulse of freedom in one subject with
the impulse of freedom in another subject, so does the theory of morals
or ethics arise from such a conflict, which, in the present case, is not
external but internal, between two impulses in one and the same person.
(1) The rational being is impelled towards absolute independence, and
strives after freedom for the sake of freedom. This fundamental impulse
may be called the pure impulse, and it furnishes the formal principle of
ethics, the principle of absolute autonomy, of absolute
indeterminableness through anything external to the Ego. But (2) as the
rational being is actually empirical and finite, as it by nature posits
over against itself a non-Ego and posits itself as corporeal, so there
is found beside the pure impulse another, the impulse of nature, which
makes for its end not freedom but enjoyment. This impulse of nature
furnishes the material, utilitarian (eudœmoniacal) principle of striving
after a connected enjoyment. Both impulses, which from a transcendental
standpoint are one and the same original impulse of the human being,
strive after unity, and furnish a third impulse which is a mingling of
the two. The pure impulse gives the form, and the natural impulse the
content of an action. It is true that sensuous objects will be chosen,
but by virtue of the pure impulse these are modified so as to conform to
the absolute Ego. This mingled impulse is now the moral impulse. It
mediates the pure and the natural impulse. But since these two lie
infinitely apart, the approximation of the natural to the pure impulse
is an infinite progression. The intent in an action is directed towards
a complete freeing from nature, and it is only the result of our
limitation that the act should remain still conformable to the natural
impulse. Since the Ego can never be independent so long as it is Ego,
the final aim of the rational being lies in infinity. There must be a
course in whose progress the Ego can conceive itself as approximating
towards absolute independence. This course is determined in infinity in
the idea; there is, therefore, no possible case in which it is not
determined what the pure impulse should demand. We might name this
course the moral determination (destiny) of the finite rational being.
_The principle of ethics is, therefore: Always fulfil thy destiny!_ That
which is in every moment conformable to our moral destiny, is at the
same time demanded by our natural impulse, though it does not follow
that every thing which the latter demands agrees therefore with the
former. I ought to act only when conscious that something is duty, and I
ought to discharge the duty for its own sake. The blind motives of
sympathy, love of mankind, &c., have not, as mere impulses of nature,
morality. The moral impulse has causality as having none, for it demands
be free! Through the conception of the absolute ought, is the rational
being absolutely independent, and is represented thus only when acting
from duty. The formal condition of the morality of our actions, is: act
always according to the best conviction of thy duty; or, act according
to thy conscience. The absolute criterion of the correctness of our
conviction of duty is a feeling of truth and certainty. This immediate
feeling never deceives, for it only exists with the perfect harmony of
our empirical Ego with that which is pure and original. From this point
Fichte developes his particular ethics, or theory of duties, which,
however, we must here pass by.

Fichte’s _theory of religion_ is developed in the above mentioned
treatise: “_On the ground of our faith in a divine government of the
world_,” and in the writings which he subsequently put forth in its
defence. The moral government of the world, says Fichte, we assume to be
the divine. This divine government becomes living and actual in us
through right-doing: it is presupposed in every one of our actions which
are only performed in the presupposition that the moral end is
attainable in the world of sense. The faith in such an order of the
world comprises the whole of faith, for this living and active moral
order is God; we need no other God, and can comprehend no other. There
is no ground in the reason to go out of this moral order of the world,
and by concluding from design to a designer, affirm a separate being as
its cause. Is, then, this order an accidental one? It is the absolute
First of all objective knowledge. But now if you should be allowed to
draw the conclusion that there is a God as a separate being, what have
you gained by this? This being should be distinct from you and the
world, it should work in the latter according to conceptions; it should,
therefore, be capable of conceptions, and possess personality and
consciousness. But what do you call personality and consciousness?
Certainly that which you have found in yourself, which you have learned
to know in yourself, and which you have characterized with such a name.
But that you cannot conceive of this without limitation and finiteness,
you might see by the slightest attention to the construction of this
conception. By attaching, therefore, such a predicate to this being, you
bring it down to a finite, and make it a being like yourself; you have
not conceived God as you intended to do, but have only multiplied
yourself in thought. The conception of God, as a separate substance, is
impossible and contradictory. God has essential existence only as such a
moral order of the world. Every belief in a divine being, which contains
any thing more than the conception of the moral order of the world, is
an abomination to me, and in the highest degree unworthy of a rational
being.—Religion and morality are, on this standpoint, as on that of
Kant, naturally one; both are an apprehending of the supersensible, the
former through action and the latter through faith. This “Religion of
joyous right-doing,” Fichte farther carried out in the writings which he
put forth to rebut the charge of atheism. He affirms that nothing but
the principles of the new philosophy could restore the degenerate
religious sense among men, and bring to light the inner essence of the
Christian doctrine. Especially he seeks to show this in his “Appeal” to
the public. In this he says: to furnish an answer to the questions: what
is good? what is true? is the aim of my philosophical system. We must
start with the affirmation that there is something absolutely true and
good; that there is something which can hold and bind the free flight of
thought. There is a voice in man which cannot be silenced, which affirms
that there is a duty, and that it must be done simply for its own sake.
Resting on this basis, there is opened to us an entirely new world in
our being; we attain a higher existence, which is independent of all
nature, and is grounded simply in ourselves. I would call this absolute
self-satisfaction of the reason, this perfect freedom from all
dependence, blessedness. As the single but unerring means of
blessedness, my conscience points me to the fulfilment of duty. I am,
therefore, impressed by the unshaken conviction, that there is a rule
and fixed order, according to which the purely moral disposition
necessarily makes blessed. It is absolutely necessary, and it is the
essential element in religion, that the man who maintains the dignity of
his reason, will repose on the faith in this order of a moral world,
will regard each one of his duties as an enactment of this order, and
will joyfully submit himself to, and find bliss in, every consequence of
his duty. Thou shalt know God if I can only beget in thee a dutiful
character, and though to others of us thou mayest seem to be still in
the world of sense, yet for thyself art thou already a partaker of
eternal life.

II. THE LATER FORM OF FICHTE’S PHILOSOPHY.—Every thing of importance
which Fichte accomplished as a speculative philosopher, is contained in
the Theory of Science as above considered. Subsequently, after his
departure from Jena, his system gradually became modified, and from
different causes. Partly, because it was difficult to maintain the rigid
idealism of the Theory of Science; partly, because Schelling’s natural
philosophy, which now appeared, was not without an influence upon
Fichte’s thinking, though the latter denied this and became involved in
a bitter controversy with Schelling; and, partly, his outward relations,
which were far from being happy, contributed to modify his view of the
world. Fichte’s writings, in this second period, are for the most part
popular, and intended for a mixed class of readers. They all bear the
impress of his acute mind, and of his exalted manly character, but lack
the originality and the scientific sequence of his earlier productions.
Those of them which are scientific do not satisfy the demands which he
himself had previously laid down with so much strictness, both for
himself and others, in respect of genetic construction and philosophical
method. His doctrine at this time seems rather as a web, of his old
subjective idealistic conceptions and the newly added objective
idealism, so loosely connected that Schelling might call it the
completest syncretism and eclecticism. His new standpoint is chiefly
distinguished from his old by his attempt to merge his subjective
idealism into an objective pantheism (in accordance with the new
Platonism), to transmute the Ego of his earlier philosophy into the
absolute, or the thought of God. God, whose conception he had formerly
placed only at the end of his system, in the doubtful form of a moral
order of the world, becomes to him now the absolute beginning, and
single element of his philosophy. This gave to his philosophy an
entirely new color. The moral severity gives place to a religious
mildness; instead of the Ego and the Ought, life and love are now the
chief features of his philosophy; in place of the exact dialectic of the
Theory of Science, he now makes choice of mystical and metaphorical
modes of expression.

This second period of Fichte’s philosophy is especially characterized by
its inclination to religion and Christianity, as exhibited most
prominently in the essay “_Direction to a Blessed Life_.” Fichte here
affirms that his new doctrine is exactly that of Christianity, and
especially of the Gospel according to John. He would make this gospel
alone the clear foundation of Christian truth, since the other apostles
remained half Jews after their conversion, and adhered to the
fundamental error of Judaism, that the world had a creation in time.
Fichte lays great weight upon the first part of John’s prologue, where
the formation of the world out of nothing is confuted, and a true view
laid down of a revelation co-eternal with God, and necessarily given
with his being. That which this prologue says of the incarnation of the
Logos in the person of Jesus, has, according to Fichte, only a historic
validity. The absolute and eternally true standpoint is, that at all
times, and in every one, without exception, who is vitally sensible of
his union with God, and who actually and in fact yields up his whole
individual life to the divine life within him,—the eternal word becomes
flesh in the same way as in Jesus Christ and holds a personal, sensible,
and human existence. The whole communion of believers, the first-born
alike with the later born, coincides in the Godhead, the common source
of life for all. And so then, Christianity having gained its end,
disappears again in the eternal truth, and affirms that every man should
come to a union with God. So long as man desires to be himself any thing
whatsoever, God does not come to him, for no man can become God. But
just so soon as he purely, wholly, and radically gives up himself, God
alone remains, and is all and in all. The man himself can beget no God,
but he can give up himself as a proper negation, and thus he disappears
in God.

The result of his advanced philosophizing, Fichte has briefly and
clearly comprehended in the following lines, which we extract from two
posthumous sonnets:

                       The Eternal One
   Lives in my life and sees in my beholding.
   Nought is but God, and God is nought but life.
   Clearly the vail of things rises before thee;
   It is thyself, what though the mortal die
   And hence there lives but God in thine endeavors,
   If thou wilt look through that which lives beyond this death,
   The vail of things shall seem to thee as vail,
   And unveiled thou shalt look upon the life divine.



A peculiar, and in many respects noticeable, carrying out of the Kantian
philosophy, was attempted by _Johann Friedrich Herbart_, who was born at
Oldenburg in 1776, chosen professor of philosophy in Göttingen in 1805;
made Kant’s successor at Königsberg in 1808, and recalled to Göttingen
in 1833, where he died in 1841. His philosophy, instead of making, like
most other systems, for its principle, an idea of the reason, followed
the direction of Kant, and expended itself mainly in a critical
examination of the subjective experience. It is essentially a criticism,
but with results which are peculiar, and which differ wholly from those
of Kant. Its fundamental position in the history of philosophy is an
isolated one; instead of regarding antecedent systems as elements of a
true philosophy, it looks upon almost all of them as failures. It is
especially hostile to the post-Kantian German philosophy, and most of
all to Schelling’s philosophy of nature, in which it could only behold a
phantom and a delusion; sooner than come in contact with this, it would
join Hegelianism, of which it is the opposite pole. We will give a brief
exposition of its prominent thoughts.

the common view of things, or a knowledge which shall accord with
experience. A philosophical system is in reality nothing but an attempt
by which a thinker strives to solve certain questions which present
themselves before him. Every question brought up in philosophy should
refer itself singly and solely to that which is given, and must arise
from this source alone, because there is no other original field of
certainty, for men, than experience alone. Every philosophy should begin
with it. The thinking should yield itself to experience, which should
lead it, and not be led by it. Experience, therefore, is the only object
and basis of philosophy; that which is not given cannot be an object of
thought, and it is impossible to establish any knowledge which
transcends the limits of experience.

2. THE FIRST ACT OF PHILOSOPHY.—Though the material furnished by
experience is the basis of philosophy, yet, since it is furnished, it
stands outside of philosophy. The question arises, what is the first act
or beginning of philosophy? The thinking should first separate itself
from experience, that it may clearly see the difficulties of its
undertaking. _The beginning of philosophy_, where the thinking rises
above that which is given, is accordingly doubt or _scepticism_.
Scepticism is twofold, a lower and a higher. The lower scepticism simply
doubts that things are so constituted as they appear to us to be; the
higher scepticism passes beyond the form of the phenomenon, and inquires
whether in reality any thing there exists. It doubts _e. g._ the
succession in time; it asks in reference to the forms of the objects of
nature which exhibit design, whether the design is perceived, or only
attached to them in the thought, &c. Thus the problems which form the
content of metaphysics, are gradually brought out. The result of
scepticism is therefore not negative, but positive. Doubt is nothing but
the thinking upon those conceptions of experience which are the material
of philosophy. Through this reflection, scepticism leads us to the
knowledge that these conceptions of experience, though they refer to
something given, yet contain no conceivable content free from logical

to Herbart, is the science of that which is conceivable in experience.
Our view thus far has been a twofold one. On the one side we hold fast
to the opinion that the single basis of philosophy is experience, and on
the other side, scepticism has shaken the credibility of experience. The
point now is to transform this scepticism into a definite knowledge of
metaphysical problems. Conceptions from experience crowd upon us, which
cannot be thoughts, _i. e._ they may indeed be thought by the ordinary
understanding, but this thinking is obscure and confused, and does not
separate nor compare opposing characteristics. But an acute process of
thought, a logical analysis, will find in the conceptions of experience
(_e. g._ space, time, becoming, motion, &c.) contradictions and
characteristics, which are totally inconsistent with each other. What
now is to be done? We may not reject these conceptions, for they are
given, and beyond the given we cannot step; we cannot retain them, for
they are inconceivable and cannot logically be established. The only way
of escape which remains to us is to remodel them. _To remodel the
conceptions of experience_, to eliminate their contradictions, is the
proper act of speculation. Scepticism has brought to light the more
definite problems which involve a contradiction, and whose solution it
therefore belongs to metaphysics to attempt; the most important of these
are the problems of inherence, change, and the Ego.

The relation between Herbart and Hegel is very clear at this point. Both
are agreed respecting the contradictory nature of the determinations of
thought, and the conceptions of experience. But from this point they
separate. It is the nature of these conceptions as of every thing, says
Hegel, to be an inner contradiction; becoming, for instance, is
essentially the unity of being, and not being, &c. This is impossible,
says Herbart, on the other side, so long as the principle of
contradiction is valid; if the conceptions of experience contain inner
contradictions, this is not the fault of the objective world, but of the
representing subject who must rectify his false apprehension by
remodelling these conceptions, and eliminating the contradiction.
Herbart thus charges the philosophy of Hegel with empiricism, because it
receives from experience these contradictory conceptions unchanged, and
not only regards these as established, but even goes so far as to
metamorphose logic on their account, and this simply because they are
given in experience, though their contradictory nature is clearly seen.
Hegel and Herbart stand related to each other as Heraclitus and
Parmenides (_cf._ § § VI. and VII.)

4. HERBART’S REALS.—From this point Herbart reaches his “reals”
(_Realen_) as follows: To discover the contradictions, he says, in all
our conceptions of experience, might lead us to absolute scepticism, and
to despair of the truth. But here we remember that if the existence of
every thing real be denied, then the appearance, sensation,
representation, and thought itself would be destroyed. We perceive,
therefore, just as strong an indication of being as of appearance. We
cannot, indeed, ascribe to the given any true and essential being _per
se_, it is not _per se_ alone, but only on, or in, or through something
other. _The truly being_ is an absolute being, which as such excludes
every thing relative and dependent; it is _absolute position_, which it
is not for us first to posit, but only to recognize. In so far as this
being is attributed to any thing, this latter possesses reality. The
truly being is, therefore, ever a _quale_, a something which is
considered as being. In order now that this posited may correspond to
the conditions which lie in the conception of absolute position, the
_what_ of the real must be thought (_a_) as absolutely positive or
affirmative, _i. e._ without any negation or limitation, which might
destroy again the absoluteness; (_b_) as absolutely simple, _i. e._ in
no way, as a multiplicity or admitting of inner antitheses; (_c_) as
indeterminate by any conceptions of greatness, _i. e._ not as a quantum
which may be divided and extended in time and space; hence, also, not as
a constant greatness or continuity. But we must never forget that this
being or this absolute reality is not simply something thought, but is
something independent and resting on itself, and hence it is simply to
be recognized by the thinking. The conception of this thinking lies at
the basis of all Herbart’s metaphysics. Take an example of this. The
first problem to be solved in metaphysics is the problem of inherence,
or the thing with its characteristics. Every perceptible thing
represents itself to the senses as a complex of several characteristics.
But all the attributes of a thing which are given in perception are
relative. We say _e. g._ that sound is a property of a certain body. It
sounds—but it cannot-do this without air; what now becomes of this
property in a space without air? Again, we say that a body is heavy, but
it is only so on the earth. Or again, that a body is colored, but light
is necessary for this; what now becomes of such a property in darkness?
Still farther, a multiplicity of properties is incompatible with the
unity of an object. If you ask _what_ is this thing, you are answered
with the sum of its characteristics; it is soft, white, full-sounding,
heavy,—but your question was of one, not of many. The answer only
affirms what the thing has, not what it is. Moreover, the list of
characteristics is always incomplete. The what of a thing can therefore
lie neither in the individual given properties, nor in their unity. In
determining what a thing is, we have only this answer remaining, viz.,
the thing is that unknown, which we must posit before we can posit any
thing as lying in the given properties; in a word, it is the substance.
For if, in order to see what the thing purely and essentially is, we
take away the characteristics which it may have, we find that nothing
more remains, and we perceive that what we considered as the real thing
was only a complex of characteristics, and the union of these in one
whole. But since every appearance indicates a definite reality, and thus
since there must be as much reality as there is appearance, we have to
consider the reality, which lies at the basis of the thing, with its
characteristics, as a complex of many simple substances or monads, and
whose quality is different in different instances. When our experience
has led us to a repeated grouping together of these monads, we call the
group a thing. Let us now briefly look at the formation of those
fundamental conceptions of metaphysics, which involve the same thoughts
through the fundamental conception of being. First, there is the
conception of causality, which cannot be maintained in its ordinary
form. All that we can perceive in the act is succession in time, and not
the necessary connection of cause with effect. The cause in itself can
be neither transcendent nor immanent; it cannot be transcendent, because
a real influence of one real thing upon another, contradicts the
conception of the absolute reality; nor immanent, for then the substance
must be thought as one with its characteristics, which contradicts the
investigations concerning a thing with its characteristics. We can just
as little find in the conception of the real an answer to the question,
how one determinate being can be brought into contact with another, for
the real is the absolute unchangeable. We can therefore only explain the
conception of causality on the ground that the different reals which lie
at the basis of the characteristics are conceived, each one for itself,
as cause of the phenomenon, there being just as many causes as there are
phenomena. The problem of change, is intimately connected with the
conception of cause. Since, however, according to Herbart, there is no
inner change, no self-determination, no becoming and no life; since the
monads are, and remain in themselves unchangeable, they do not therefore
_become_ different in respect of quality, but they _are_ originally
different one from another, and each one exhibits its equality without
ever any change. The problem of change can thus only be solved through
the theory of the disturbance and self-preservation of these essences.
But if that which we call not simply an apparent but an actual event, in
the essence of the monads, may be reduced to a “self-preservation,” as
the last gleam of an activity and life, still we have the question ever
remaining, how to explain the appearance of change. For this it is
necessary to bring in two auxiliary conceptions; first, that of
accidental views, and second, that of intellectual spaces. The
accidental views, an expression taken from mathematics, signify, in
reference to the problem before us this much, viz., one and the same
conception may often be considered in very different relations to some
other essence, without the slightest change in its own essence, _e. g._
a straight line may be considered as radius or as tangent, and a tone as
harmonious or discordant. By help of these accidental views, we may now
regard that which actually results in the monad, when other monads,
opposite in quality, come in contact with it, as on the one side an
actual occurrence, though on the other side, no actual change can be
imputed to the original condition of the monads (a gray color, _e. g._
seems comparatively white by the side of black, and comparatively black
by the side of white, without changing at all its quality). A further
auxiliary conception is that of intellectual space, which, arises when
we must consider these essences as at the same time together and not
together. By means of this conception we can eliminate the
contradictions from the conception of movement. Lastly, it can be seen
that the conception of matter and that of the Ego (in psychologically
explaining which, the rest of the metaphysics is occupied) are, like the
preceding ones, no less contradictory in themselves than they are
irreconcilable with the fundamental conception of the real; for neither
can an extended being, like matter, be formed out of spaceless
monads—and with matter, therefore, fall also the ordinary conceptions of
space and time—nor can we admit, without transformation, the conception
of the Ego, since it exhibits the contradictory conception of a thing
with many and changing characteristics (conditions, powers, faculties,

We are reminded by Herbart’s “_reals_” of the atomic theory of the
atomists (_cf._ § IX. 2), of the Eleatic theory of the one being (_cf._
§ VI.), and of Leibnitz’s monadology. His reals however are
distinguished from the atoms by not possessing impenetrability. The
monads of Herbart may be just as well represented in the same space as a
mathematical point may be conceived as accurately coexisting with
another in the same place. In this respect the “real” of Herbart has a
far greater similarity to the “one” of the Eleatics. Both are simple,
and to be conceived in intellectual spaces, but the essential difference
is, that Herbart’s substances exist in numbers distinct from one
another, and even from opposites among themselves. Herbart’s simple
quantities have already been compared to the monads of Leibnitz, but
these latter have essentially a power of representation; they are
essences with inner circumstances, while, according to Herbart,
representation, just as little as every other circumstance, belongs to
the essence itself.

5. PSYCHOLOGY is connected with metaphysics. The Ego is primarily a
metaphysical problem, and comes in this respect under the category of
the thing with its characteristics. It is a real with many properties
changing circumstances, powers, faculties, activities, &c., and thus is
not without contradictions. But then the Ego is a psychological
principle, and here those contradictions may be considered which lie in
the ideality of subject and object. The subject posits itself and is
therefore itself object. But this posited object is nothing other than
the positing subject. Thus the Ego is, as Fichte says, subject-object,
and, as such, full of the hardest contradictions, for subject and object
will never be affirmed as one and the same without contradiction. But
now if the Ego is given it cannot be thrown away, but must be purified
from its contradictions. This occurs whenever the Ego is conceived as
that which represents, and the different sensations, thoughts, &c. are
embraced under the common conception of changing appearance. The
solution of this problem is similar to that of inherence. As in the
latter problem the thing was apprehended as a complex of as many reals
as it has characteristics, just so here the Ego; but with the Ego inner
circumstances and representations correspond to the characteristics.
Thus that which we are accustomed to name Ego is nothing other than the
soul. The soul as a monad, as absolutely being, is therefore simple,
eternal, indissoluble, from which we may conclude its eternal existence.
From this standpoint Herbart combats the ordinary course of psychology
which ascribes certain powers and faculties to the soul. That which
stands out in the soul is nothing other than self-preservation, which
can only be manifold and changing in opposition to other reals. The
causes of changing circumstances are therefore these other reals, which
come variously in conflict with the soul-monad, and thus produce that
apparently infinite manifoldness of sensations, representations, and
affections. This theory of self-preservation lies at the basis of all
Herbart’s psychology. That which psychology ordinarily calls feeling,
thinking, representing, &c., are only specific differences in the
self-preservation of the soul; they indicate no proper condition of the
inner real essence itself, but only relations between the reals,
relations, which, coming up together at the same time from different
sides, are partly suppressed, partly forwarded, and partly modified.
Consciousness is the sum of those relations in which the soul stands to
other essences. But the relations to the objects, and hence to the
representations corresponding to these, are not all equally strong; one
presses, restricts, and obscures another, a relation of equilibrium
which can be calculated according to the doctrine of statics. But the
suppressed representations do not wholly disappear, but waiting on the
threshold of consciousness for the favorable moment when they shall be
permitted again to arise, they join themselves with kindred
representations, and press forward with united energies. This movement
of the representations (sketched in a masterly manner by Herbart) may be
calculated according to the rules of mathematics, and this is Herbart’s
well known application of mathematics to the empirical theory of the
soul. The representations which were pressed back, which wait on the
threshold of consciousness and only work in the darkness, and of which
we are only half conscious, are feelings. They express themselves as
desires, according as their struggle forward is more or less successful.
Desire becomes will when united with the hope of success. The will is no
separate faculty of the mind, but consists only in the relation of the
dominant representations to the others. The power of deciding and the
character of a man, prominently depend upon the constant presence in the
consciousness of a certain number of representations, while other
representations are weakened, or denied an entrance over the threshold
of consciousness.

important mainly for its metaphysics and psychology. In the other
spheres and activities of the human mind, _e. g._ rights, morality, the
state, art, religion, his philosophy is mostly barren of results, and
though there are not wanting here striking observations, yet these have
no connection with the speculative principles of the system. Herbart
fundamentally isolates the different philosophical sciences,
distinguishing especially and in the strictest manner between
theoretical and practical philosophy. He charges the effort after unity
in philosophy, with occasioning the greatest errors; for logical,
metaphysical, and æsthetic forms are entirely diverse. Ethics and
æsthetics have to do with objects in which an immediate evidence
appears, but this is foreign to the whole nature of metaphysics, which
can only gain its knowledge as errors have been removed. Æsthetic
judgments on which practical philosophy rests, are independent of the
reality of any object, and appear with immediate certainty in the midst
of the strongest metaphysical doubts. Moral elements, says Herbart, are
pleasing and displeasing relations of the will. He thus grounds the
whole practical philosophy upon æsthetic judgments. The æsthetic
judgment is an involuntary and immediate judgment, which attaches to
certain objects, without proof, the predicates of goodness and
badness.—Here is seen the greatest difference between Herbart and Kant.

We may characterize, on the whole, the philosophy of Herbart as a
carrying out of the monadology of Leibnitz, full of enduring acuteness,
but without any inner fruitfulness or capacity of development.



_Schelling_ sprang from _Fichte_. We may pass on to an exposition of his
philosophy without any farther introduction, since that which it
contains from Fichte forms a part of its historical development, and
will therefore be treated of as this is unfolded.

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph _Schelling_ was born at Leonberg, in
Würtemberg, January 27th, 1775. With a very precocious development, he
entered the theological seminary at Tübingen in his fifteenth year, and
devoted himself partly to philology and mythology, but especially to
Kant’s philosophy. During his course as a student, he was in personal
connection with Hölderlin and Hegel. Schelling came before the world as
an author very early. In 1792 appeared his graduating treatise on the
third chapter of Genesis, in which he gave an interesting philosophical
signification to the Mosaic account of the fall. In the following year,
1793, he published in _Paulus’_ Memorabilia an essay of a kindred nature
“_On the Myths and Philosophemes of the Ancient World_.” To the last
year of his abode at Tübingen belong the two philosophical writings:
“_On the Possibility of a Form for Philosophy_” and “_On the Ego as a
Principle of Philosophy, or on the Unconditioned in Human Knowledge_.”
After completing his university studies, Schelling went to Leipsic as
tutor to the Baron von Riedesel, but soon afterwards repaired to Jena,
where he became the pupil and co-laborer of Fichte. After Fichte’s
departure from Jena, he became himself, 1798, teacher of philosophy
there, and now began, removing himself from Fichte’s standpoint, to
develope more and more his own peculiar views. He published in Jena the
_Journal of Speculative Physics_, and also in company with Hegel, _the
Critical Journal_. In the year 1803 he went to Würzburg as professor
_ordinarius_ of philosophy. In 1807 he repaired to Munich as member
_ordinarius_ of the newly established academy of sciences there. The
year after he became general secretary of the Academy of the plastic
arts, and subsequently, when the university professorship was
established at Munich, he became its incumbent. After the death of
Jacobi, he was chosen president of the Munich Academy. In 1841 he
removed to Berlin, where he has sometimes held lectures. For the last
ten years Schelling has written nothing of importance, although he has
repeatedly promised an exposition of his present system. By far the
greater portion of his writings belongs to his early life. Schelling’s
philosophy is no completed system of which his separate works are the
constituent elements; but, like Plato’s, it has a historical
development, a course of formative steps which the philosopher has
passed through in his own life. Instead of systematically elaborating
the separate sciences from the standpoint of his principle, Schelling
has gone back repeatedly to the beginning again, seeking ever for new
foundations and new standpoints, connecting these for the most part
(like Plato) with some antecedent philosophemes, (Fichte, Spinoza, New
Platonism, Leibnitz, Jacob Bœhme, Gnosticism,) which in their order he
attempted to interweave with his system. We must modify accordingly our
exposition of Schelling’s Philosophy, and take up its different periods,
separated according to the different groups of his writings.[4]


Schelling’s starting point was Fichte, whom he decidedly followed in his
earliest writings. In his essay, “_On the Possibility of a Form of
Philosophy_” he shows the necessity of that supreme principle which
Fichte had first propounded. In his essay, “_On the Ego_” Schelling
shows that the ultimate ground of our knowledge can only lie in the Ego,
and hence that every true philosophy must be idealism. If our knowledge
shall possess reality, there must be one point in which ideality and
reality, thought and being, can identically coincide; and if outside of
our knowledge, there were something higher which conditioned it, if
itself were not the highest, then it could not be absolute. Fichte
regarded this essay as a commentary on his _Theory of Science_; yet it
contains already indications of Schelling’s subsequent standpoint, in
its expressly affirming the unity of all knowledge, the necessity that
in the end all the different sciences shall become merged into one. In
the “_Letters on Dogmatism and Criticism_,” 1795, Schelling combatted
the notions of those Kantians who had left the critical and idealistic
standpoint of their master, and fallen back again into the old
dogmatism. It was also on the standpoint of Fichte that Schelling
published in Niethammer’s and Fichte’s Journal, 1797-98, a series of
articles, in which he gave a survey of the recent philosophical
literature. Here he begins to turn his attention towards a philosophical
deduction of nature, though he still remains on the standpoint of Fichte
when he deduces nature wholly from the essence of the Ego. In the essay
which was composed soon after, and entitled “_Ideas for a philosophy of
Nature_,” 1797, and the one “_On the World-soul_,” 1798, he gradually
unfolded more clearly his views. The chief points which are brought out
in the two last named essays are the following: The first origin of the
conception of matter springs from nature and the intuition of the human
mind. The mind is the union of an unlimited and a limiting energy. If
there were no limit to the mind, consciousness would be just as
impossible as if the mind were totally and absolutely limited. Feeling,
perception and knowledge are only conceivable, as the energy which
strives for the unlimited becomes limited through its opposite, and as
this latter becomes itself freed from its limitations. The actual mind
or heart consists only in the antagonism of these two energies, and
hence only in their ever approximate or relative unity. Just so is it in
nature. Matter as such is not the first, for the forces of which it is
the unity are before it. Matter is only to be apprehended as the ever
becoming product of attraction and repulsion; it is not, therefore, a
mere inert grossness, as we are apt to represent it, but these forces
are its original. But force in the material is like something
immaterial. Force in nature is that which we may compare to mind. Since
now the mind or heart exhibits precisely the same conflict, as matter,
of opposite forces, we must unite the two in a higher identity. But the
organ of the mind for apprehending nature is the intuition which takes,
as object of the external sense, the space which has been filled and
limited by the attracting and repelling forces. Thus Schelling was led
to the conclusion that _the same absolute_ appears in nature as in mind,
and that the harmony of these is something more than a thought in
reference to them. “Or if you affirm that we only _carry over_ such an
idea to nature, then have you utterly failed to apprehend the only
nature which there can be to us. For our view of nature is not that it
accidentally meets the laws of our mind—(perhaps through the mediation
of a third)—but that it necessarily and originally not only expresses,
but itself realizes, the laws of our mind, and that it is nature, and is
called such only in so far as it does this.” “Nature should be the
visible mind, and mind invisible nature. Here, therefore, in the
absolute ideality of the mind _within_ us, and nature _without_ us, must
we solve the problem how it is possible for a nature outside of us to
be.” This thought, that nature or matter is just as much the actual
unity of an attracting and a repelling force, as the mind or heart is
the unity of an unlimited and a limiting tendency, and that the
repelling force in matter corresponds to the positive or unlimited
activity of the mind, while the attracting force corresponds to the
mind’s negative or limiting activity—this identical deduction of matter
from the essence of the Ego, is very prominent in all that Schelling
wrote upon natural philosophy during this period. Nature thus appears as
a copy (_Doppelbild_) of the mind, which the mind itself produces, in
order to return, by its means, to pure self-intuition, to
self-consciousness. Hence we have the successive stages of nature, in
which all the stations of the mind in its way to self-consciousness are
externally established. It is especially in the organic world that the
mind can behold its own self-production. Hence, in every thing organic,
there is something symbolical, every plant bears some feature of the
soul. The chief characteristics of an organic formation,—the
self-forming process from within outwards, the conformity to some end,
the change of interpenetration of form and matter—are equally chief
features of the mind. Since now there exists in our mind an endless
striving to organize itself, so there must also be manifested in the
external world a universal tendency to organization. The whole universe
may thus be called a kind of organization which has formed itself from a
centre, rising ever from a lower to a higher stage. From such a point of
view, the natural philosopher will make it his chief effort to bring to
a unity in his contemplations that life of nature, which by many
researches into physical science had been separated into numberless
different powers. “It is a needless trouble which many have given
themselves, to show how very different is the working of fire and
electricity, for every one knows this who has ever seen or heard of the
two. But our mind strives after unity in the system of its knowledge; it
will not endure that there should be pressed upon it a separate
principle for every single phenomenon, and it will only believe that it
sees nature where it can discover the greatest simplicity of laws in the
greatest multiplicity of phenomena, and the highest frugality of means
in the highest prodigality of effects. Therefore, every thought, even
that which is now rough and crude, merits attention so soon as it tends
towards the simplifying of principles, and if it serves no other end, it
at least strengthens the impulse to investigate and trace out the hidden
process of nature.” The special tendency of the scientific investigation
of nature which prevailed at that time, was to make a duality of forces
the predominant element in the life of nature. In mechanics, the Kantian
theory of the opposition of attraction and repulsion was adopted; in
chemistry, by apprehending electricity as positive and negative, its
phenomenon was brought near that of magnetism; in physiology there was
the opposition of irritability and sensibility, &c. In opposition to
these dualities, Schelling now insisted upon the unity of every thing
opposite, the unity of all dualities, and this not simply as an abstract
unity, but as a concrete identity, as the harmonious co-working of the
heterogeneous. The world is the actual unity of a positive and a
negative principle, “and these two conflicting forces taken together, or
represented in their conflict, lead to the idea of an organizing
principle which makes of the world a system, in other words, to the idea
of a world-soul.”

In his above-cited essay on “_the world-soul_,” Schelling took the great
step forward of apprehending nature as entirely autonomic. In the
world-soul nature has a peculiar principle which dwells within it, and
works according to conception. In this way the objective world was
recognized as the independent life of nature in a manner which the
logical idealism of Fichte would not permit. Schelling proceeded still
farther in this direction, and distinguished definitely, as the two
sides of philosophy, the philosophy of nature and a transcendental
philosophy. By placing a philosophy of nature by the side of idealism,
Schelling passed decidedly beyond the standpoint of science, and we thus
enter a second stadium of his philosophizing, though his method still
remained that of Fichte, and he continued to believe that he was
speculating in the spirit of the _Theory of Science_.


This standpoint of Schelling is chiefly carried out in the following
works:—“_First Draft of a System of Natural Philosophy_,” 1799; an
introduction to this, 1799; articles in the “_Journal of Speculative
Physics_,” 1800, 1801; “_System of Transcendental Idealism_,” 1800.
Schelling thus distinguishes the two sides of philosophy. All knowledge
rests upon the harmony of a subject with an object. That which is simply
objective is natural, and that which is simply subjective is the Ego or
intelligence. There are two possible ways of uniting these two sides: we
may either make nature first, and inquire how it is that intelligence is
associated with it (natural philosophy); or we may make the subject
first, and inquire how do objects proceed from the subject
(transcendental philosophy). The end of all philosophy must be to make
either an intelligence out of nature, or a nature out of intelligence.
As the transcendental philosophy has to subject the real to the ideal,
so must natural philosophy attempt to explain the ideal from the real.
Both, however, are only the two poles of one and the same knowledge
which reciprocally attract each other; hence, if we start from either
pole, we are necessarily drawn towards the other.

1. NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.—To philosophize concerning nature is, in a
certain sense, to create nature—to raise it from the dead mechanism in
which it had seemed confined, to inspire it with freedom, and transpose
it into a properly free development. And what, then, is matter, other
than mind which has become extinct? According to this view, since nature
is only the visible organism of our understanding, it can produce
nothing but what is conformable to a rule and an end. But you radically
destroy every idea of nature just so soon as you allow its design to
have come to it from without, by passing over from the understanding of
any being. The complete exhibition of the intellectual world in the laws
and forms of the phenomenal world, and, on the other hand, the complete
conception of these laws and forms from the intellectual world, and
therefore the exhibition of the ideality of nature with the ideal world,
is the work of natural philosophy. Immediate experience is indeed its
starting point; we know originally nothing except through experience;
but just as soon as I gain an insight into the inner necessity of a
principle of experience, it becomes a principle apriori. Natural
philosophy is empiricism extended until it becomes absolute.

Schelling expresses himself as follows, concerning the chief principles
of a philosophy of nature. Nature is a suspension (_Schweben_) between
productivity and product, which is always passing over into definite
forms and products, just as it is always productively passing beyond
these. This suspension indicates a duality of principles, through which
nature is held in a constant activity, and hindered from exhausting
itself in its products. A universal duality is thus the principle of
every explanation of nature; it is the first principle of a philosophic
theory of nature, to end in all nature with polarity and dualism. On the
other hand, the final cause of all our contemplation of nature is to
know that absolute unity which comprehends the whole, and which suffers
only one side of itself to be known in nature. Nature is, as it were,
the instrument of this absolute unity, through which it eternally
executes and actualizes that which is prefigured in the absolute
understanding. The whole absolute is therefore cognizable in nature,
though phenomenal nature only exhibits in a succession, and produces in
an endless development, that which the true or real nature eternally
possesses. Schelling treats of natural philosophy in three sections: (1)
the proof that nature, in its original products, is _organic_; (2) the
conditions of an _inorganic_ nature; (3) the reciprocal determination of
organic and inorganic nature.

(1.) _Organic nature_ Schelling thus deduces: Nature absolutely
apprehended is nothing other than infinite activity, infinite
productivity. If this were unhindered in expressing itself, it would at
once, with infinite celerity, produce an absolute product, which would
allow no explanation for empirical nature. If this latter may be
explained—if there may be finite products, we must consider the
productive activity of nature as restrained by an opposite, a retarding
activity, which lies in nature itself. Thus arises a series of finite
products. But since the absolute productivity of nature tends towards an
absolute product, these individual products are only apparent ones,
beyond each one of which nature herself advances, in order to satisfy
the absoluteness of her inner productivity through an infinite series of
individual products. In this eternal producing of finite products,
nature shows itself as a living antagonism of two opposite forces, a
productive and a retarding tendency. And, indeed, the working of this
latter is infinitely manifold; the original productive impulse of nature
has not only to combat a simple restraint, but it must struggle with an
infinity of reactions, which may be called original qualities. Hence
every organic being is the permanent expression for a conflict of
reciprocally destroying and limiting actions of nature. And from this,
viz., from the original limitation and infinite restraint of the
formative impulse of nature, we see the reason why every organization,
instead of attaining to an absolute product, only reproduces itself _ad
infinitum_. Upon this rests the special significance for the organic
world, of the distinction of sex. The distinction of sex fixes the
organic products of nature, it restrains them within their own processes
of development, and suffers them only to produce the same again. But in
this production nature has no regard for the individual, but only for
the species. The individual is contrary to nature; nature desires the
absolute, and its constant effort is to represent this. Individual
products, therefore, in which the activity of nature is brought to a
stand, can only be regarded as abortive attempts to represent the
absolute. Hence the individual must be the means, and the species the
end of nature. Just so soon as the species is secured, nature abandons
the individuals and labors for their destruction. Schelling divides the
dynamic scale of organic nature according to the three grand functions
of the organic world: (_a_) Formative impulse (reproductive energy);
(_b_) Irritability; (_c_) Sensibility. Highest in rank are those
organisms in which sensibility has the preponderance over irritability;
a lower rank is held by those where irritability preponderates, and
lower still are those where reproduction first comes out in its entire
perfection, while sensibility and irritability are almost extinct. Yet
these three powers are interwoven together in all nature, and hence
there is but one organization, descending through all nature from man to
the plant.

(2.) _Inorganic nature_ offers the antithesis to organic. The existence
and essence of inorganic nature are conditioned through the existence
and essence of organic nature. While the powers of organic nature are
productive, those of inorganic nature are not productive. While organic
nature aims only to establish the species, inorganic nature regards only
the individual, and offers no reproduction of the species through the
individual. It possesses a great multitude of materials, but can only
use these materials in the way of conjoining or separating. In a word,
inorganic nature is simply a mass held together by some external cause
as gravity. Yet it, like organic nature, has its gradations. The power
of reproduction in the latter has its counterpart in the chemical
process in the former; that which in the one case is irritability, in
the other is electricity; and sensibility, which is the highest stage of
organic life, corresponds to the universal magnetism, the highest stage
of the inorganic.

(3.) _The reciprocal determination of the organic and inorganic world_,
is made clear by what has already been said. The result to which every
genuine philosophy of nature must come, is that the distinction between
organic and inorganic nature is only in nature as object, and that
nature, as originally productive, waves over both. If the functions of
an organism are only possible on the condition that there is a definite
external world, and an organic world, then must the external world and
the organic world have a common origin. This can only be explained on
the ground that inorganic nature presupposes in order to its existence a
higher dynamical order of things, to which it is subject. There must be
a third, which can unite again organic and inorganic nature; which can
be a medium, holding the continuity between the two. Both must be
identified in some ultimate cause, through which, as through one common
soul of nature (world-soul), both the organic and inorganic, _i. e._
universal nature, is inspired; in some common principle, which,
fluctuating between inorganic and organic nature, and maintaining the
continuity of the two, contains the first cause of all changes in the
one, and the ultimate ground of all activity in the other. We have here
the idea of a universal organism. That it is one and the same
organization which unites in one the organic and inorganic world, would
appear from what has already been said of the parallel gradations of the
two worlds. That which in universal nature is the cause of magnetism, is
in organic nature the cause of sensibility, and the latter is only a
higher potency of the former. Just as in the organic world through
sensibility, so in universal nature through magnetism, there arises a
duality from the ideality. In this way organic nature appears only as a
higher stage of the inorganic; the very same dualism which is seen in
magnetic polarity, electrical phenomena, and chemical differences,
displays itself also in the organic world.

2. TRANSCENDENTAL PHILOSOPHY.—Transcendental philosophy is the
philosophy of nature become subjective. The whole succession of objects
thus far described, becomes now repeated as a successive development of
the beholding subject. It is the peculiarity of transcendental idealism,
that so soon as it is once admitted, it requires that the origin of all
knowledge shall be sought for anew; that the truth which has long been
considered as established, should be subjected to a new examination, and
that this examination should proceed under at least an entirely new
form. All parts of philosophy must be exhibited in one continuity, and
the whole of philosophy must be regarded as that which it is, viz., the
advancing history of consciousness, which can use only as monuments or
documents that which is laid down in experience. (Schelling’s
transcendental idealism is, in this respect, the forerunner to Hegel’s
_Phœnomenology_, which pursues a similar course). The exhibition of this
connection is properly a succession of intuitions through which the Ego
raises itself to consciousness in the highest potency. Neither
transcendental philosophy nor the philosophy of nature, can alone
represent the parallelism between nature and intelligence; but, in order
to this, both sciences must be united, the former being considered as a
necessary counterpart to the other. The division of transcendental
philosophy follows from its problem, to seek anew the origin of all
knowledge, and to subject to a new examination every previous judgment
which had been held to be established truth. The pre-judgments of the
common understanding are principally two: (1) That a world of objects
exist independent of, and outside of, ourselves, and are represented to
us just as they are. To explain this pre-judgment, is the problem of the
first part of the transcendental philosophy (_theoretical philosophy_).
(2) That we can produce an effect upon the objective world according to
representations which arise freely within us. The solution of this
problem is _practical philosophy_. But, with these two problems we find
ourselves entangled, (3) in a contradiction. How is it possible that our
thought should ever rule over the world of sense, if the representation
is conditional in its origin by the objective? The solution of this
problem, which is the highest of transcendental philosophy, is the
answer to the question: how can the representations be conceived as
directing themselves according to the objects, and at the same time the
objects be conceived as directing themselves according to the
representations? This is only conceivable on the ground that the
activity through which the objective world is produced, is originally
identical with that which utters itself in the will. To show this
identity of conscious and unconscious activity, is the problem of the
third part of transcendental philosophy, or the science of ends in
nature and of art. The three parts of the transcendental philosophy
correspond thus entirely to the three criticks of Kant.

(1.) _The theoretical philosophy_ starts from the highest principle of
knowledge, the self-consciousness, and from this point developes the
history of self-consciousness, according to its most prominent epochs
and stations, viz., sensation, intuition, productive intuition (which
produces matter)—outer and inner intuition (from which space and time,
and all Kant’s categories may be derived), abstraction (by which the
intelligence distinguishes itself from its products)—absolute
abstraction, or absolute act of will. With the act of the will there is
spread before us,

(2.) _The Field of Practical Philosophy._—In practical philosophy the
Ego is no longer beholding, _i. e._ consciousless, but is consciously
producing, _i. e._ realizing. As a whole, nature developes itself from
the original act of self-consciousness, so from the second act, or the
act of free self-determination, there is produced a second nature, to
find the origin for which is the object of practical philosophy. In his
exposition of the practical philosophy, Schelling follows almost wholly
the theory of Fichte, but closes this section with some remarkable
expressions respecting the philosophy of history. History, as a whole,
is, according to him, a gradual and self-disclosing revelation of the
absolute, a progressing demonstration of the existence of a God. The
history of this revelation may be divided into three periods. The first
is that in which the overruling power was apprehended only as destiny,
_i. e._ as a blind power, cold and consciousless, which brings the
greatest and most glorious things of earth to ruin; it is marked by the
decay of the magnificence and wonders of the ancient world, and the fall
of the noblest manhood that has ever bloomed. The second period of
history is that in which this destiny manifests itself as nature, and
the hidden law seems changed into a manifest law of nature, which
compels freedom and every choice to submit to and serve a plan of
nature. This period seems to begin with the spread of the great Roman
republic. The third period will be that where what has previously been
regarded as destiny and nature, will develope itself as Providence. When
this period shall begin, we cannot say; we can only affirm that if it
be, then God will be seen also to be.

(3.) _Philosophy of Art._—The problem of transcendental philosophy is to
harmonize the subjective and the objective. In history, with which
practical philosophy closes, the identity of the two is not exhibited,
but only approximated in an infinite progress. But now the Ego must
attain a position where it can actually look upon this identity, which
constitutes its inner essence. If now all conscious activity exhibits
design, then a conscious and consciousless activity can only coincide in
a product, which, though it exhibits design, was yet produced without
design. Such a product is nature; we have here the principle of all
_teleology_, in which alone the solution of the given problem can be
sought. The peculiarity of nature is this, viz., that though it exhibits
itself as nothing but a blind mechanism, it yet displays design, and
represents an identity of the conscious subjective, and the
consciousless objective activity; in it the Ego beholds its own most
peculiar essence, which consists alone in this identity. But in nature
the Ego beholds this identity, not as something objective, which has a
being only outside of it, but also as that whose principle lies within
the Ego itself. This beholding is the art-intuition. As the production
of nature is consciousless, though similar to that which is conscious,
so the æsthetic production of the artist is a conscious production,
similar to that which is consciousless. _Æsthetics_ must therefore be
joined to teleology. That contradiction between the conscious and the
consciousless, which moves forward untiringly in history, and which is
unconsciously reconciled in nature, finds its conscious reconciliation
in a work of art. In a work of art, the intelligence attains a perfect
intuition of itself. The feeling which accompanies this intuition, is
the feeling of an endless satisfaction; all contradictions being
resolved, and every riddle explained. The unknown, which unexpectedly
harmonizes the objective and the conscious activity, is nothing other
than that absolute and unchangeable identity, to which every existence
must be referred. In the artist it lays aside the veil, which elsewhere
surrounds it, and irresistibly impels him to complete his work. Thus
there is no other eternal revelation but art, and this is also the
miracle which should convince us of the reality of that supreme, which
is never itself objective, but is the cause of all objective. Hence art
holds a higher rank than philosophy, for only in art has the
intellectual intuition objectivity. There is nothing, therefore, higher
to the philosopher than art, because this opens before him, as it were,
the holy of holies, where that which is separate in nature and history,
and which in life and action, as in thought, must ever diverge, burns,
as it were, in one flame, in an eternal and original union. From this we
see also both the fact and the reason for it, that philosophy, as
philosophy, can never be universally valid. Art is that alone to which
is given, an absolute objectivity, and it is through this alone that
nature, consciously productive, concludes and completes itself within

The “_Transcendental Idealism_” is the last work which Schelling wrote
after the method of Fichte. In its principle he goes decidedly beyond
the standpoint of Fichte. That which was with Fichte the inconceivable
limit of the Ego, Schelling derives as a necessary duality, from the
simple essence of the Ego. While Fichte had regarded the union of
subject and object, only as an infinite progression towards that which
ought to be, Schelling looked upon it as actually accomplished in a work
of art. With Fichte God was apprehended only as the object of a moral
faith, but with Schelling he was looked upon as the immediate object of
the æsthetic intuition. This difference between the two could not long
be concealed from Schelling. He was obliged to see that he no longer
stood upon the basis of subjective idealism, but that his real position
was that of objective idealism. If he had already gone beyond Fichte in
setting the philosophy of nature and transcendental philosophy opposite
to each other, it was perfectly consistent for him now to go one step
farther, and, placing himself on the point of indifference between the
two, make the identity of the ideal and the real, of thought and being,
as his principle. This principle _Spinoza_ had already possessed before
him. To this philosophy of identity Schelling now found himself
peculiarly attracted. Instead of following Fichte’s method, he now
availed himself of that of Spinoza, the mathematical, to which he
ascribed the greatest evidence of proof.


The principal writings of this period are:—“_Exposition of my System of
Philosophy_” (Journal for Speculative Physics, ii. 2); the second
edition, with additions, of the “_Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature_”
1803; the dialogue, “_Bruno, or concerning the Divine and the Natural
Principle of Things_” 1802; “_Lectures on the Method of Academical
Study_,” 1803; three numbers of a “_New Journal for Speculative
Physics_,” 1802-3. The characteristic of the new standpoint of
Schelling, to which we now arrive, is perfectly exhibited in the
definition of reason, which he places at the head of the first of the
above-named writings; I give to reason the name absolute, or the reason
in so far as it is conceived as the total _indifference of the
subjective and the objective_. To think of reason is demanded of every
man; to think of it as absolute, and thus to reach the standpoint which
I require, every thing must be abstracted from the thinking subject. To
him who makes this abstraction, reason immediately ceases to be
something subjective, as most men represent it; neither can it be
conceived as something objective, since an objective, or that which is
thought, is only possible in opposition to that which thinks. We thus
rise through this abstraction to the reality of things (_zum wahren
an-sich_), which reality is precisely in the indifference point of the
subjective and the objective. The standpoint of philosophy is the
standpoint of reason; its knowledge is a knowledge of things as they are
in themselves, _i. e._ as they are in the reason. It is the nature of
philosophy to destroy every distinction which the imagination has
mingled with the thinking, and to see in things only that through which
they express the absolute reason, not regarding in them that which is
simply an object for that reflection which expends itself on the laws of
mechanism and in time. Besides reason there is nothing, and in it is
every thing. Reason is the absolute. All objections to this principle
can only arise from the fact, that men are in the habit of looking at
things not as they are in reason, but as they appear. Every thing which
is, is in essence like the reason, and is one with it. It is not the
reason which posits something external to itself, but only the false use
of reason, which is connected with the incapacity of forgetting the
subjective in itself. The reason is absolutely _one_ and like itself.
The highest law for the being of reason, and since there is nothing
besides reason, the highest law for all being, is the law of identity.
Between subject and object therefore—since it is one and the same
absolute identity which displays itself in both—there can be no
difference except a _quantitative_ difference (a difference of more or
less), so that nothing is either simple object or simple subject, but in
all things subject and object are united, this union being in different
proportions, so that sometimes the subject and sometimes the object has
the preponderance. But since the absolute is pure identity of subject
and object, there can be no quantitative difference except outside of
the identity, _i. e._ in the finite. As the fundamental form of the
Infinite is A = A, so the scheme of the finite is A = B (_i. e._ the
union of a subjective with another objective in a different proportion).
But, in reality, nothing is finite, because the identity is the only
reality. So far as there is difference in individual things, the
identity exists in the form of indifference. If we could see together
every thing which is, we should find in all the pure identity, because
we should find in all a perfect quantitative equilibrium of subjectivity
and objectivity. True, we find, in looking at individual objects, that
sometimes the preponderance is on one side and sometimes on the other,
but in the whole this is compensated. The absolute identity is the
absolute totality, the universe itself. There is in reality (_an-sich_)
no individual being or thing. There is in reality nothing beyond the
totality; and if any thing beyond this is beheld, this can only happen
by virtue of arbitrary separation of the individual from the whole,
which is done through reflection, and is the source of every error. The
absolute identity is essentially the same in every part of the universe.
Hence the universe may be conceived under the figure of a line, in the
centre of which is the A = A, while at the end on one side is A⁺ = B, _i.
e._ a transcendence of the subjective, and at the end on the other side
is A = B⁺, _i. e._ a transcendence of the objective, though this must
be conceived so that a relative identity may exist even in these
extremes. The one side is the real or nature, the other side is the
ideal. The real side developes itself according to three potences (a
potence, or power, indicates a definite quantitative difference of
subjectivity and objectivity). (1) The first potence is matter and
weight—the greatest preponderance of the object. (2) The second potence
is light (A²), an inner—as weight is an outer—intuition of nature. The
light is a higher rising of the subjective. It is the absolute identity
itself. (3) The third potence is organism (A³), the common product of
light and weight. Organism is just as original as matter. Inorganic
nature, as such, does not exist: it is actually organized, and is, as it
were, the universal germ out of which organization proceeds. The
organization of every globe is but the inner evolution of the globe
itself; the earth itself, by its own evolving, becomes animal and plant.
The organic world has not formed itself out of the inorganic, but has
been at least potentially present in it from the beginning. That matter
which lies before us, apparently inorganic, is the residuum of organic
metamorphoses, which could not become organic. The human brain is the
highest bloom of the whole organic metamorphosis of the earth. From the
above, Schelling adds, it must be perceived that we affirm an inner
identity of all things, and a potential presence of every thing in every
other, and therefore even the so-called dead matter may be viewed only
as a sleeping-world of animals and plants, which, in some period, the
absolute identity may animate and raise to life. At this point Schelling
stops suddenly, without developing further the three potences of the
ideal series, corresponding to those of the real. Elsewhere he completes
the work by setting up the following three potences of the ideal series:
(1) Knowledge, the potence of reflection; (2) Action, the potence of
subsumption; (3) the Reason as the unity of reflection and subsumption.
These three potences represent themselves: (1) as the true, the
imprinting of the matter in the form; (2) as the good, or the imprinting
of the form in the matter; (3) as the beautiful, or the work of art, the
absolute blending together of form and matter.

Schelling sought also to furnish himself with a new method for knowing
the absolute identity. Neither the analytic nor the synthetical method
seems to him suitable for this, since both are only a finite knowledge.
Gradually, also, he abandoned the mathematical method. The logical forms
of the ordinary method of knowledge, and even the ordinary metaphysical
categories, were now insufficient for him. Schelling now places the
intellectual intuition as the starting point of true knowledge.
Intuition, in general, is an equal positing of thought and being. When I
behold an object, the being of the object and my thought of the object
is for me absolutely the same. But in the ordinary intuition, some
separate sensible being is posited as one with the thought. But in the
intellectual or rational intuition, being in general, and every being is
made identical with the thought, and the absolute _subject-object_ is
beheld. The intellectual intuition is absolute knowledge, and as such it
can only be conceived as that in which thought and being are not opposed
to each other. It is the beginning and the first step towards philosophy
to behold, immediately and intellectually within thyself, that same
indifference of the ideal and the real which thou beholdest projected as
it were from thyself in space and time. This absolutely absolute mode of
knowledge is wholly and entirely in the absolute itself. That it can
never become taught is clear. It cannot, moreover, be seen why
philosophy is bound to have special regard to the unattainable. It seems
much more fitting to make so complete a separation on every side between
the entrance to philosophy and the common knowledge, that no road nor
track shall lead from the latter to the former. The absolute mode of
knowledge, like the truth which it contains, has no true opposition
outside of itself, and as it cannot be demonstrated by any intelligent
being, so nothing can be set up in opposition to it by any.—Schelling
has attempted to bring the intellectual intuition into a method, and has
named this method construction. The possibility and the necessity of the
constructive method is based upon the fact that the absolute is in all,
and that all is the absolute. Construction is nothing other than the
proving that the whole is absolutely expressed in every particular
relation and object. To construe an object, philosophically, is to prove
that in this object the whole inner structure of the absolute repeats

In Schelling’s “_Lectures on the Method of Academical Study_” (delivered
in 1802, and published in 1803), he sought to treat encyclopædiacally,
every philosophical discipline from the given standpoint of identity or
indifference. They furnish a connected and popular exposition of the
outlines of his philosophy, in the form of a critical modelling of the
studies of the university course. The most noticeable feature in them is
Schelling’s attempt at a historical construction of Christianity. The
incarnation of God is an incarnation from eternity. The eternal Son of
God, born from the essence of the father of all things, is the finite
itself, as it is in the eternal intuition of God. Christ is only the
historical and phenomenal pinnacle of the incarnation; as an individual,
he is a person wholly conceivable from the circumstances of the age in
which he appeared. Since God is eternally outside of all time, it is
inconceivable that he should have assumed a human nature at any definite
moment of time. The temporal form of Christianity, the exoteric
Christianity does not correspond to its idea, and has its perfection yet
to be hoped for. A chief hindrance to the perfection of Christianity,
was, and is the so-called Bible, which, moreover, is far inferior to
other religious writings, in a genuine religious content. The future
must bring a new birth of the esoteric Christianity, or a new and higher
form of religion, in which philosophy, religion and poesy shall melt
together in unity.—This latter remark contains already an intimation of
the “_Philosophy of Revelation_,” a work subsequently written by
Schelling, and which exhibited many of the principles current in the age
of the apostle John. In the work we are now considering, there are also
many other points which correspond to this later standpoint of
Schelling. Thus he places at the summit of history a kind of golden age.
It is inconceivable, he says, that man as he now appears, should have
raised himself through himself from instinct to consciousness, from
animality to rationality. Another human race, must, therefore, have
preceded the present, which the old saga have immortalized under the
form of gods and heroes. The first origin of religion and culture is
only conceivable through the instruction of higher natures. I hold the
condition of culture as the first condition of the human race, and
considere the first foundation of states, sciences, religion and arts as
cotemporary, or rather as one thing: so that all these were not truly
separate, but in the completest interpenetration, as it will be again in
the final consummation. Schelling is no more than consistent when he
accordingly apprehends the symbols of mythology which we meet with at
the beginning of history, as disclosures of the highest wisdom. There is
here also a step towards his subsequent “_Philosophy of Mythology_.”

The mystical element revealed in these expressions of Schelling gained
continually a greater prominence with him. Its growth was partly
connected with his fruitless search after an absolute method, and a
fitting form in which he might have satisfactorily expressed his
philosophic intuitions. All noble mysticism rests on the incapacity of
adequately expressing an infinite content in the form of a conception.
So Schelling, after he had been restlessly tossed about in every method,
soon gave up also his method of construction, and abandoned himself
wholly to the unlimited current of his fancy. But though this was partly
the cause of his mysticism, it is also true that his philosophical
standpoint was gradually undergoing a change. From the speculative
science of nature, he was gradually passing over more and more into the
philosophy of mind, by which the determination of the absolute in his
conception became changed. While he had previously determined the
absolute as the indifference of the ideal and the real, he now gives a
preponderance to the ideal over the real, and makes ideality the
fundamental determination of the absolute. The first is the ideal;
secondly, the ideal determines itself in itself to the real, and the
real as such is the third. The earlier harmony of mind and matter is
dissolved: matter appears now as the negative of mind. Since Schelling
in this way distinguishes the universe from the absolute as its
counterpart, we see that he leaves decidedly the basis of Spinozism on
which he had previously stood, and places himself on a new standpoint.


The writings of this period are:—“_Philosophy and Religion_,” 1804.
“_Exposition of the true relation of the Philosophy of Nature to the
improved Theory of Fichte_,” 1806; “_Medical Annual_” (published in
company with _Marcus_) 1805-1808.—As has already been said, the absolute
and the universe were, on the standpoint of indifference, identical.
Nature and history were immediate manifestations of the absolute. But
now Schelling lays stress upon the difference between the two, and the
independence of the world. This he expresses in a striking way in the
first of the above named writings, by placing the origin of the world
wholly after the manner of New-Platonism, in a breaking away or a
falling off from the absolute. From the absolute to the actual, there is
no abiding transition; the origin of the sensible world is only
conceivable as a complete breaking off _per saltum_ from the absolute.
The absolute is the only real, finite things are not real; they can,
therefore, have their ground in no reality imparted to them from the
absolute, but only in a separation and complete falling away from the
absolute. The reconciliation of this fall, and the manifestation of God
made complete, is the final cause of history. With this idea there are
also connected other representations borrowed from New-Platonism, which
Schelling brings out in the same work. He speaks in it of the descent of
the soul from intellectuality, to the world of sense, and like the
Platonic myth he allows this fall of souls to be a punishment for their
selfhood (pride); he speaks also in connection with this of a
regeneration, or transmigration of souls, by which they either begin a
higher life on a better sphere, or intoxicated with matter, they are
driven down to a still lower abode, according as they have in the
present life laid aside more or less of their selfhood, and become
purified in a greater or less degree, to an identity with the infinite;
but we are especially reminded of New-Platonism by the high place and
the mystical and symbolical significance, which Schelling gives in this
work to the Greek mysteries (as did Bruno), and the view that if
religion would be held in its pure ideality, it can only exist as
exoteric, or in the form of mysteries.—This notion of a higher blending
together of religion and philosophy goes through all the writings of
this period. All true experience, says Schelling in the “_Medical
Annual_,” is religious. The existence of God is an empirical truth, and
the ground of all experience. True, religion is not philosophy, but the
philosophy which does not unite in sacred harmony, religion with
science, were unworthy of the name. True, I know something higher than
science. And if science has only these two ways open before it to
knowledge, viz., that of analysis or abstraction, and that of synthetic
derivation, then we deny all science of the absolute. Speculation is
every thing, _i. e._ a beholding, a contemplation of that which is in
God. Science itself has worth only so far as it is speculative, _i. e._
only so far as it is a contemplation of God as he is. But the time will
come when the sciences shall more and more cease, and immediate
knowledge take their place. The mortal eye closes only in the highest
science, where it is no longer the man who sees, but the eternal
beholding which has now become seeing in him.

With this theosophic view of the world, Schelling was led to pay
attention to the earlier mystics. He began to study their writings. He
answered the charge of mysticism in his controversy with Fichte as
follows:—Among the learned of the last century, there was a tacit
agreement never to go beyond a certain height, and, therefore, the
genuine spirit of science was given up to the unlearned. These, because
they were uneducated and had drawn upon themselves the jealousy of the
learned, were called fanatics. But many a philosopher by profession
might well have exchanged all his rhetoric for the fulness of mind and
heart which abound in the writings of such fanatics. Therefore I am not
ashamed of the name of such a fanatic. I will even seek to make this
reproach true; if I have not hitherto studied the writings of these men
correctly, it has been owing to negligence.

Schelling did not omit to verify these words. There were some special
mental affinities between himself and _Jacob Boehme_, with whom he now
became more and more closely joined. A study of his writings is indeed
indicated in Schelling’s works of the present period. One of the most
famous of Schelling’s writings, his theory of freedom, which appeared
after this (“_Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der
menschlichen Freiheit_,” 1809), is composed entirely in the spirit of
Jacob Boehme. We begin with it a new period of Schelling’s
philosophizing, where _the will_ is affirmed as the essence of God, and
we have thus a new definition of the absolute differing from every
previous one.


Schelling had much in common with Jacob Boehme. Both considered the
speculative cognition as a kind of immediate intuition. Both made use of
forms which mingled the abstract and the sensuous, and interpenetrated
the definiteness of logic with the coloring of fancy. Both, in fine,
were speculatively in close contact. The self-duplication of the
absolute was a fundamental thought of Boehme. He started with the
principle, that the divine essence was the indeterminable, infinite, and
inconceivable, the absence of ground (_Ungrund_). This absence of ground
now projects itself in a proper feeling of its abstract and infinite
essence, into the finite, _i. e._ into a ground, or the centre of
nature, in the dark womb of which qualities are produced, from whose
harsh collision the lightning streams forth, which, as mind or principle
of light, is destined to rule and explain the struggling powers of
nature, so that the God who has been raised from the absence of ground
through a ground to the light of the mind, may henceforth move in an
eternal kingdom of joy. This theogony of Jacob Boehme is in striking
accord with the present standpoint of Schelling. As Boehme had
apprehended the absolute as the indeterminable absence of ground, so had
Schelling in his earlier writings apprehended it as indifference. As
Boehme had distinguished this absence of ground from a ground, or from
nature and from God, as the light of minds, so had Schelling, in the
writings of the last period, apprehended the absolute as a
self-renunciation, and a return back from this renunciation into a
higher unity with itself. We have here the three chief elements of that
history of God, around which Schelling’s essay on freedom turns: (1) God
as indifference, or the absence of ground; (2) God as duplication into
ground and existence, real and ideal; (3) Reconciliation of this
duplication, and elevation of the original indifference to identity. The
first element of the divine life is that of pure indifference, or
indistinguishableness. This, which precedes every thing existing, may be
called the original ground, or the absence of ground. The absence of
ground is not a product of opposites, nor are they contained _implicite_
in it, but it is a proper essence separate from every opposite, and
having no predicate but that of predicatelessness. Real and ideal,
darkness and light, can never be predicated of the absence of ground as
opposites; they can only be affirmed of it as not-opposites in a
neither-nor. From this indifference now rises the duality: the absence
of ground separates into two co-eternal beginnings, so that ground and
existence may become one through love, and the indeterminable and
lifeless indifference may rise to a determinate and living identity.
Since nothing is before or external to God, he must have the ground of
his existence in himself. But this ground is not simply logical, as
conception, but real, as something which is actually to be distinguished
in God from existence; it is nature in God, an essence inseparable
indeed from him, but yet distinct. Hence we cannot assign to this ground
understanding and will, but only desire after this; it is the longing to
produce itself. But in that this ground moves in its longing according
to obscure and uncertain laws like a swelling sea, there is,
self-begotten in God, another and reflexive motion, an inner
representation by which he beholds himself in his image. This
representation is the eternal word in God, which rises as light in the
darkness of the ground, and endows its blind longing with understanding.
This understanding, united with the ground, becomes pre-creating will.
Its work is to give order to nature, and to regulate the hitherto
unregulated ground; and from this explanation of the real through the
ideal, comes the creation of the world. The development of the world has
two stadia: (1) the travail of light, or the progressive development of
nature to man; (2) the travail of mind, or the development of mind in

(1.) The progressive development of nature proceeds from a conflict of
the ground with the understanding. The ground originally sought to
produce every thing solely from itself, but its products had no
consistence without the understanding, and went again to the ground, a
creation which we see exhibited in the extinct classes of animals and
plants of the pre-Adamite world. But consecutively and gradually, the
ground admitted the work of the understanding, and every such step
towards light is indicated by a new class of nature’s beings. In every
creature of nature we must, therefore, distinguish two principles:
first, the obscure principle through which the creatures of nature are
separate from God, and have a particular will; second, the divine
principle of the understanding, of the universal will. With irrational
creatures of nature, however, these two principles are not yet brought
to unity; but the particular will is simple seeking and desire, while
the universal will, without the individual will, reigns as an external
power of nature, as controlling instinct.

(2.) The two principles, the particular and the universal will, are
first united in man as they are in the absolute: but in God they are
united inseparably, and in man separably, for otherwise God could not
reveal himself in man. It is even this separableness of the universal
will, and the particular will, which makes good and evil possible. The
good is the subjection of the particular will to the universal will, and
the reverse of this right relation is evil. Human freedom consists in
this possibility of good and evil. The empirical man, however, is not
free, but his whole empirical condition is posited by a previous act of
intelligence. The man must act just as he does, but is nevertheless
free, because he has from eternity freely made himself that which he now
necessarily is. The history of the human race is founded for the most
part on the struggle of the individual will with the universal will, as
the history of nature is founded on the struggle of the ground with the
understanding. The different stages through which evil, as a historical
power, takes its way in conflict with love, constitute the periods of
the world’s history. Christianity is the centre of history: in Christ,
the principle of love came in personal contact with incarnate evil:
Christ was the mediator to reconcile on the highest stage the creation
with God; for that which is personal can alone redeem the personal. The
end of history is the reconciliation of the particular will and love,
the prevalence of the universal will, so that God shall be all in all.
The original indifference is thus elevated to identity.

Schelling has given a farther justification of this his idea of God, in
his controversial pamphlet against Jacobi, (1812). The charge of
naturalism which Jacobi made against him, he sought to refute by showing
how the true idea of God was a union of naturalism and theism.
Naturalism seeks to conceive of God as ground of the world (immanent),
while theism would view him as the world’s cause (transcendent): the
true course is to unite both determinations. God is at the same time
ground and cause. It no way contradicts the conception of God to affirm
that, so far as he reveals himself, he developes himself from himself,
advancing from the imperfect to the perfect: the imperfect is in fact
the perfect itself, only in a state of becoming. It is necessary that
this becoming should be by stages, in order that the fulness of the
perfect may appear on all sides. If there were no obscure ground, no
nature, no negative principle in God, we could not speak of a
consciousness of God. So long as the God of modern theism remains the
simple essence which ought to be purely essential, but which in fact is
without essence, so long as an actual twofoldness is not recognized in
God, and a limiting and denying energy (a nature, a negative principle)
is not placed in opposition to the extending and affirming energy in
God, so long will science be entitled to make its denial of a personal
God. It is universally and essentially impossible to conceive of a being
with consciousness, which has not been brought into limit by some
denying energy within himself—as universally and essentially impossible
as to conceive of a circle without a centre.

VI. Since the essay against Jacobi, which in its philosophical content
accords mainly with his theory of freedom, Schelling has not made public
any thing of importance. He has often announced a work entitled “_Die
Weltalter_,” which should contain a complete and elaborate exposition of
his philosophy, but has always withdrawn it before its appearance.
_Paulus_ has surreptitiously brought his later Berlin lectures before
the public in a manner for which he has been greatly blamed: but since
this publication is not recognized by Schelling himself, it cannot be
used as an authentic source of knowledge of his philosophy. During this
long period, Schelling has published only two articles of a
philosophical content: “_On the Deities of Samothracos_,” 1815, and a
“_Critical Preface_” to _Becker’s_ translation of a preface of _Cousin_,
1834. Both articles are very characteristic of the present standpoint of
Schelling’s philosophizing—he himself calls his present philosophy
_Positive Philosophy, or the Philosophy of Mythology and
Revelation_,—but as they give only intimations of this, and do not reach
a complete exposition, they do not admit of being used for our purpose.



The great want of Schelling’s philosophizing, was its inability to
furnish a suitable form for the philosophic content. Schelling went
through the list of all methods, and at last abandoned all. But this
absence of method into which he ultimately sank, contradicted the very
principle of his philosophizing. If thought and being are identical, yet
form and content cannot be indifferent in respect to each other. On the
standpoint of absolute knowledge, there must be found for the absolute
content an absolute form, which shall be identical with the content.
This is the position assumed by _Hegel_. Hegel has fused the content of
Schelling’s philosophy by means of the _absolute method_. Hegel sprang
as truly from Fichte as from Schelling; the origin of his system is
found in both. His method is essentially that of Fichte, but his general
philosophical standpoint is Schelling’s. He has combined both Fichte and

Hegel has himself, in his “_Phenomenology_,” the first work in which he
appeared as a philosopher on his own hook, having previously been
considered as an adherent of Schelling—clearly expressed his difference
from Schelling, which he comprehensively affirms in the following three
hits (_Schlagworte_):—In Schelling’s philosophy, the absolute is, as it
were, shot out of a pistol; it is only the night in which every cow
looks black; when it is widened to a system, it is like the course of a
painter, who has on his palette but two colors, red and green, and who
would cover a surface with the former when a historical piece was
demanded, and with the latter when a landscape was required. The first
of these charges refers to the mode of attaining the idea of the
absolute, viz., immediately, through intellectual intuition; this leap
Hegel changes, in his _Phenomenology_, to a regular transit, proceeding
step by step. The second charge relates to the way in which the absolute
thus gained is conceived and expressed, viz., simply as the absence of
all finite distinctions, and not as the immanent positing of a system of
distinctions within itself. Hegel declares that every thing depends upon
apprehending and expressing the true not as substance (_i. e._ as
negation of determinateness), but as subject (as a positing and
producing of finite distinction). The third charge has to do with
Schelling’s manner of carrying out his principle through the concrete
content of the facts given in the natural and intellectual worlds, viz.,
by the application of a ready-made schema (the opposition of the ideal
and the real) to the objects, instead of suffering them to unfold and
separate themselves from themselves. The school of Schelling was
especially given to this schematizing formalism, and that which Hegel
remarks, in the introduction to his _Phenomenology_, may very well be
applied to it: “If the formalism of a philosophy of nature should happen
to teach that the understanding is electricity, or that the animate is
nitrogen, the inexperienced might look upon such instructions with deep
amazement, and perhaps revere them as displaying the marks of profound
genius. But the trick of such a wisdom is as readily learned as it is
easily practised; its repetition is as insufferable as the repetition of
a discovered feat of legerdemain. This method of affixing to every thing
heavenly and earthly, to all natural and intellectual forms, the two
determinations of the universal scheme, makes the universe like a
grocer’s shop, in which a row of closed jars stand with their labels
pasted on them.”

The point, therefore, of greatest difference between Schelling and Hegel
is their philosophical method, and this at the same time forms the bond
of close connection which unites Hegel with Fichte. Thesis, antithesis,
synthesis—this was the method by which Fichte had sought to deduce all
being from the Ego, and in precisely the same way Hegel deduces all
being—the intellectual and natural universe—from the thought, only with
this difference, that with him that which was idealistically deduced had
at the same time an objective reality. While the practical idealism of
Fichte stood related to the objective world as a producer, and the
ordinary empiricism as a beholder, yet with Hegel the speculative
(conceiving) reason is at the same time productive and beholding. I
produce (for myself) that which is (in itself) without my producing. The
result of philosophy, says Hegel, is the thought which is by itself, and
which comprehends in itself the universe, and changes it into an
intelligent world. To raise all being to being in the consciousness, to
knowledge, is the problem and the goal of philozophizing, and this goal
is reached when the mind has become able to beget the whole objective
world from itself.

In his first great work, the “_Phenomenology of the Mind_,” Hegel sought
to establish the standpoint of absolute knowledge or absolute idealism.
He furnishes in this work a history of the phenomenal consciousness
(whence its title), a development of the formative epochs of the
consciousness in its progress to philosophical knowledge. The inner
development of consciousness consists in this, viz., that the peculiar
condition in which it finds itself becomes objectified (or conscious),
and through this knowledge of its own being the consciousness rises ever
a new step to a higher condition. The “_Phenomenology_” seeks to show
how, and out of what necessity the consciousness advances from step to
step, from reality to being _per se_ (_vom Ansich zum Fürsich_), from
being to knowledge. The author begins with the immediate consciousness
as the lowest step. He entitled this section: “_The Sensuous Certainty,
or the This and the Mine_.” At this stage the question is asked the Ego:
what is _this_, or what is _here_? and it answers, _e. g._ the tree; and
to the question, what is _now_? it answers now is the night. But if we
turn ourselves around, _here_ is not a tree but a house; and if we write
down the second answer, and look at it again after a little time, we
find that _now_ is no longer night but mid-day. The _this_ becomes,
therefore, a not-this, _i. e._ a universal. And very naturally; for if I
say: this piece of paper, yet each and every paper is a this piece of
paper, and I have only said the universal. By such inner dialectics the
whole field of the immediate certainty of the sense in perception is
gone over. In this way—since every formative step (every form) of the
consciousness of the philosophizing subject is involved in
contradictions, and is carried by this immanent dialectics to a higher
form of consciousness—this process of development goes on till the
contradiction is destroyed, _i. e._ till all strangeness between subject
and object disappears, and the mind rises to a perfect self-knowledge
and self-certainty. To characterize briefly the different steps of this
process, we might say that the consciousness is first found as a
certainty of the sense, or as the _this_ and the _mine_; next as
perception, which apprehends the objective as a thing with its
properties; and then as understanding, _i. e._ apprehending the objects
as being reflected in itself, or distinguishing between power and
expression, being and manifestation, outer and inner. From this point
the consciousness, which has only recognized itself, its own pure being
in its objects and their determinations, and for which therefore every
other thing than itself has, as such, no significance, becomes the
self-like Ego, and rises to the truth and certainty of itself to
self-consciousness. The self-consciousness become universal, or as
reason, now traverses also a series of development-steps, until it
manifests itself as spirit, as the reason which, in accord with all
rationality, and satisfied with the rational world without, extends
itself over the natural and intellectual universe as _its_ kingdom, in
which it finds itself at home. Mind now passes through its stages of
unconstrained morality, culture and refinement, ethics and the ethical
view of the world to religion; and religion itself in its perfection, as
revealed religion becomes absolute knowledge. At this last stage being
and thought are no more separate, being is no longer an object for the
thought, but the thought itself is the object of the thought. Science is
nothing other than the true knowledge of the mind concerning itself. In
the conclusion of the “_Phenomenology_,” Hegel casts the following
retrospect on the course which he has laid down: “The goal which is to
be reached, viz., absolute knowledge, or the mind knowing itself as
mind, requires us to take notice of minds as they are in themselves, and
the organization of their kingdom. These elements are preserved, and
furnished to us either by history, where we look at the side of the
mind’s free existence as it accidentally appears, or by the science of
phenomenal knowledge, where we look at the side of the mind’s ideal
organization. These two sources taken together, as the ideal history,
give us the real history and the true being of the absolute spirit, the
actuality, truth, and certainty of his throne, without which he were
lifeless and alone; only ‘from the cup of this kingdom of minds does
there stream forth for him his infinity.’”



_George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel_ was born at Stuttgart, the 27th of
August, 1770. In his eighteenth year he entered the university of
Tübingen, in order to devote himself to the study of theology. During
his course of study here, he attracted no marked attention; Schelling,
who was his junior in years, shone far beyond all his contemporaries.
After leaving Tübingen, he took a situation as private tutor, first in
Switzerland, and afterwards in Frankfort-on-the-Main till 1801, when he
settled down at Jena. At first he was regarded as a disciple, and
defender of Schelling’s philosophy, and as such he wrote in 1801 his
first minor treatise on the “_Difference between Fichte and Schelling_.”
Soon afterwards he became associated with Schelling in publishing the
“_Critical Journal of Philosophy_,” 1802-3, for which he furnished a
number of important articles. His labors as an academical teacher met at
first with but little encouragement; he gave his first lecture to only
four hearers. Yet in 1806 he became professor in the university, though
the political catastrophe in which the country was soon afterwards
involved, deprived him again of the place. Amid the cannon’s thunder of
the battle of Jena he finished “_the Phenomenology of the Mind_,” his
first great and independent work, the crown of his Jena labors. He was
subsequently in the habit of calling this book which appeared in 1807,
his “voyage of discovery.” From Jena, Hegel for want of the means of
subsistence went to Bamberg, where for two years he was editor of a
political journal published there. In the fall of 1808, he became rector
of the gymnasium at Nuremberg. In this situation he wrote his _Logic_,
1812-16. All his works were produced slowly, and he first properly began
his literary activity as Schelling finished his. In 1816, he received a
call to a professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg, where in 1817 he
published his “_Encyclopædia of the philosophical sciences_,” in which
for the first time he showed the whole circuit of his system. But his
peculiar fame, and his far-reaching activity, dates first from his call
to Berlin in 1818. It was at Berlin that he surrounded himself with an
extensive and very actively scientific school, and where through his
connection with the Prussian government he gained a political influence
and acquired a reputation for his philosophy, as _the_ philosophy of the
State, though this neither speaks favorably for its inner purity, nor
its moral credit. Yet in his “_Philosophy of Rights_,” which appeared in
1821 (a time, to be sure, when the Prussian State had not yet shown any
decidedly anti-constitutional tendency), Hegel does not deny the
political demands of the present age; he declares in favor of popular
representation, freedom of the press, and publicity of judicial
proceedings, trial by jury, and an administrative independence of

In Berlin, Hegel gave lectures upon almost every branch of philosophy,
and these have been published by his disciples and friends after his
death. His manner as a lecturer was stammering, clumsy, and unadorned,
but was still not without a peculiar attraction as the immediate
expression of profound thoughtfulness. His social intercourse was more
with the uncultivated than with the learned; he was not fond of shining
as a genius in social circles. In 1829 he became rector of the
university, an office which he administered in a more practical manner
than Fichte had done. Hegel died with the cholera, Nov. 14th, 1831, the
day also of Leibnitz’s death. He rests in the same churchyard with
Solger and Fichte, near by the latter, and not far from the former. His
writings and lectures form seventeen volumes which have appeared since
1882: Vol. I. Minor Articles; II. Phenomenology; III-V. Logic; VI.-VII.
Encyclopædia; VIII. Philosophy of Rights; IX. Philosophy of History; X.
Æsthetics; XI.-XII. Philosophy of Religion; XIII.-XV. History of
Philosophy; XVI.-XVII. Miscellanies. His life has been written by

Hegel’s system may be divided in a number of ways. The best mode is by
connecting it with Schelling. Schellings’s absolute was the identity or
the indifference point of the ideal and the real. From this Hegel’s
threefold division immediately follows. (1) The exposition of the
indifference point, the development of the pure conceptions or
determinations in thought, which lie at the basis of all natural and
intellectual life; in other words, the logical unfolding of the
absolute,—_the science of logic_. (2) The development of the real world
or of nature—_natural philosophy_. (3) The development of the ideal
world, or of mind as it shows itself concretely in right, morals, the
state, art, religion, and science.—_Philosophy of Mind_. These three
parts of the system represent the three elements of the absolute method,
thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The absolute is at first pure, and
immaterial thought; secondly, it is differentiation (_Andersseyn_) of
the pure thought or its diremption (_Verzerrung_) in space and
time—nature; thirdly, it returns from this self-estrangement to itself,
destroys the differentiation of nature, and thus becomes actual
self-knowing thought or mind.

I. SCIENCE OF LOGIC.—The Hegelian logic is the scientific exposition and
development of the pure conceptions of reason, those conceptions or
categories which lie at the basis of all thought and being, and which
determine the subjective knowledge as truly as they form the indwelling
soul of the objective reality; in a word, those ideas in which the ideal
and the real have their point of coincidence. The domain of logic, says
Hegel, is the truth, as it is _per se_ in its native character. It is as
Hegel himself figuratively expresses it, the representation of God as he
is in his eternal being, before the creation of the world or a finite
mind. In this respect it is, to be sure, a domain of shadows; but these
shadows are, on the other hand, those simple essences freed from all
sensuous matters, in whose diamond net the whole universe is

Different philosophers had already made a thankworthy beginning towards
collecting and examining the pure conceptions of the reason, as
Aristotle in his categories, Wolff in his ontology, and Kant in his
transcendental analytics. But they had neither completely collected, nor
critically sifted, nor (Kant excepted) derived them from one principle,
but had only taken them up empirically, and treated them
lexicologically. But in opposition to this course, Hegel attempted, (1)
to completely collect the pure art-conceptions; (2) to critically sift
them (_i. e._ to exclude every thing but pure thought); and (3)—which is
the most characteristic peculiarity of the Hegelian logic—to derive
these dialectically from one another, and carry them out to an
internally connected system of pure reason. Hegel starts with the view,
that in every conception of the reason, every other is contained
_implicite_, and may be dialectically developed from it. Fichte had
already claimed that the reason must deduce the whole system of
knowledge purely from itself, without any thing taken for granted; that
some principle must be sought which should be of itself certain, and
need no farther proof, and from which every thing else could be derived.
Hegel holds fast to this thought. Starting from the simplest conception
of reason, that of pure being, which needs no farther establishing, he
seeks from this, by advancing from one conception ever to another and a
richer one, to deduce the whole system of the pure knowledge of reason.
The lever of this development is the dialectical method.

Hegel’s dialectical method is partly taken from Plato, and partly from
Fichte. The conception of negation is Platonic. All negation, says
Hegel, is position, affirmation. If a conception is negated, the result
is not the pure nothing—a pure negative, but a concrete positive; there
results a new conception which extends around the negation of the
preceding one. The negation of the one _e. g._ is the conception of the
many. In this way Hegel makes negation a vehicle for dialectical
progress. Every presupposed conception is denied, and from its negation
a higher and richer conception is gained. This is connected with the
method of Fichte, which posits a fundamental synthesis; and by analyzing
this, seeks its antitheses, and then unites again these antitheses
through a second synthesis,—_e. g._ being, nothing, becoming, quality,
quantity, measure, &c. This method, which is at the same time analytical
and synthetical, Hegel has carried through the whole system of science.

We now proceed to a brief survey of the Hegelian Logic. It is divided
into three parts; the doctrine of _being_, the doctrine of _essence_,
and the doctrine of _conception_.

1. THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. (1.) _Quality._—Science begins with the
immediate and indeterminate conception of _being_. This, in its want of
content and emptiness, is nothing more than a pure negation, a
_nothing_. These two conceptions are thus as absolutely identical as
they are absolutely opposed; each of the two disappears immediately in
its contrary. This oscillation of the two is the pure _becoming_, which,
if it be a transition from nothing to being, we call _arising_, or, in
the reverse case, we call it a _departing_. The still and simple
precipitate of this process of arising and departing, is _existence_
(_Daseyn_). Existence is being with a determinateness, or it is
_quality_; more closely, it is _reality_ or limited existence. Limited
existence excludes every other from itself. This reference to itself,
which is seen through its negative relation to every other, we call
being _per se_ (_Fürsichseyn_). Being _per se_ which refers itself only
to itself, and repels every other from itself, is _the one_. But, by
means of this repelling, the one posits immediately _many_ ones. But the
many ones are not distinguished from each other. One is what the other
is. The many are therefore one. But the one is just as truly the
manifold. For its exclusion is the positing of its contrary, or it
posits itself thereby as manifold. By this dialectic of _attraction_ and
_repulsion_, quality passes over into quantity: for indifference in
respect of distinction or qualitative determinateness is _quantity_.

(2.) _Quantity._—Quantity is determination of greatness, which, as such,
is indifferent in respect of quality. In so far as the _greatness_
contains many ones distinguishably within itself, it is a _discrete_, or
has the element of _discretion_; but on the other hand, in so far as the
many ones are similar, and the greatness is thus indistinguishable, it
is _continuous_, or has the element of _continuity_. Each of these two
determinations is at the same time identical with the other; discretion
cannot be conceived without continuity, nor continuity without
discretion. The existence of quantity, or the limited quantity, is the
_quantum_. The quantum has also manifoldness and unity in itself; it is
the enumeration of the unities, _i. e._ _number_. Corresponding to the
quantum or the extensive greatness, is the intensive greatness or _the
degree_. With the conception of degree, so far as degree is simple
determinateness, quantity approaches quality again. The unity of
quantity and quality is _the measure_.

(3.) _The measure_ is a qualitative quantum, a quantum on which the
quality is dependent. An example of quantity determining the quality of
a definite object is found in the temperature of water, which decides
whether the water shall remain water or turn to ice or steam. Here the
quantum of heat actually constitutes the quality of the water. Quality
and quantity are, therefore, ideal determinations, perpetually turning
around _on_ one being, on a _third_, which, is distinguished from the
immediate what and how much (quality and quantity) of a thing. This
third is the _essence_, which is the negation of every thing immediate,
or quality independent of the immediate being. Essence is being in se,
being divided in itself, a self-separation of being. Hence the
twofoldness of all determinations of essence.

2. THE DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. (1.) _The Essence as such._ The essence as
reflected being is the reference to itself only as it is a reference to
something other. We apply to this being the term reflected analogously
with the reflection of light, which, when it falls on a mirror, is
thrown back by it. As now the reflected light is, through its reference
to another object, something mediated or posited, so the reflected being
is that which is shown to be mediated or grounded through another. From
the fact that philosophy makes its problem to know the essence of
things, the immediate being of things is represented as a covering or
curtain behind which the essence is concealed. If, therefore, we speak
of the essence of an object, the immediate being standing over against
the essence (for without this the essence cannot be conceived), is set
down to a mere negative, to an _appearance_. The being appears in the
essence. The essence is, therefore, the being as _appearance in itself_.
The essence when conceived in distinction from the appearance, gives the
conception of the _essential_, and that which only appears in the
essence, is the essenceless, or the _unessential_. But since the
essential has a being only in distinction from the unessential, it
follows that the latter is essential to the former, which needs its
unessential just as much as the unessential needs it. Each of the two,
therefore, appears in the other, or there takes place between them a
reciprocal reference which we call _reflection_. We have, therefore, to
do in this whole sphere with determinations of reflection, with
determinations, each one of which refers to the other, and cannot be
conceived without it (_e. g._ positive and negative, ground and
sequence, thing and properties, content and form, power and expression).
We have, therefore, in the development of the essence, those same
determinations which we found in the development of being, only no
longer in an immediate, but in a reflected form. Instead of being and
nothing, we have now the forms of the positive and negative; instead of
the there-existent (_Daseyn_), we now have existence.

Essence is reflected being, a reference to itself, which, however, is
mediated through a reference to something other which appears in it.
This reflected reference to itself we call _identity_ (which is
unsatisfactorily and abstractly expressed in the so-called first
principle of thought, that A = A). This identity, as a negativity
referring itself to itself, as a repulsion of its own from itself,
contains essentially the determination of _distinction_. The immediate
and external distinction is the _difference_. The essential distinction,
the distinction in itself, is the _antithesis_ (_positive and
negative_). The self-opposition of the essence is the _contradiction_.
The antithesis of identity and distinction is put in agreement in the
conception of the ground. Since now the essence distinguishes itself
from itself, there is the essence as identical with itself or the
_ground_, and the essence as distinguished from itself or the
_sequence_. In the category of ground and sequence the same thing, _i.
e._ the essence, is twice posited; the grounded and the ground are one
and the same content, which makes it difficult to define the ground
except through the sequence, or the sequence except through the ground.
The two can, therefore, be divided only by a powerful abstraction; but
because the two are identical, it is peculiarly a formalism to apply
this category. If reflection would inquire after a ground, it is because
it would see the thing as it were in a twofold relation, once in its
immediateness, and then as posited through a ground.

(2.) _Essence and Phenomenon._—The _phenomenon_ is the appearance which
the essence fills, and which is hence no longer essenceless. There is no
appearance without essence, and no essence which may not enter into
phenomenon. It is one and the same content which at one time is taken as
essence, and at another as phenomenon. In the phenomenal essence we
recognize the positive element which has hitherto been called ground,
but which we now name _content_, and the negative element which we call
the _form_. Every essence is a unity of content and form, _i. e._ _it
exists_. In distinction from immediate being, we call that being which
has proceeded from some ground, _existence_, _i. e._ grounded being.
When we view the essence as existing, we call it _thing_. In the
relation of a thing to its _properties_ we have a repetition of the
relation of form and content. The properties show us the thing in
respect of its form, but it is thing in respect of its content. The
relation between the thing and its properties is commonly indicated by
the verb _to have_ (_e. g._ the thing _has_ properties), in order to
distinguish between the two. The essence as a negative reference to
itself, and as repelling itself from itself in order to a reflection in
an _alterum_, is _power_ and _expression_. In this category, like all
the other categories of essence, one and the same content is posited
twice. The power can only be explained from the expression, and the
expression only from the power; consequently every explanation of which
this category avails itself, is tautological. To regard power as
uncognizable, is only a self-deception of the understanding respecting
its own doing.—A higher expression for the category of power and
expression is the category of _inner_ and _outer_. The latter category
stands higher than the former, because power needs some solicitation to
express itself, but the inner is the essence spontaneously manifesting
itself. Both of these, the inner and the outer, are also identical;
neither is without the other. That, _e. g._ which the man is internally
in respect of his character, is he also externally in his action. The
truth of this relation will be, therefore, the identity of inner and
outer, of essence and phenomenon, viz.:

(3.) _Actuality._—Actuality must be added as a _third_ to being and
existence. In the actuality, the phenomenon is a complete and adequate
manifestation of the essence. The true actuality is, therefore (in
opposition to _possibility_ and _contingency_), a necessary being, a
rational _necessity_. The well-known Hegelian sentence that every thing
is rational, and every thing rational is actual, is seen in this
apprehension of “actuality” to be a simple tautology. The necessary,
when posited as its own ground, identical with itself, is _substance_.
The phenomenal side, the unessential in the substance, and the
contingent in the necessary, are _accidences_. These are no longer
related to the substance, as the phenomenon to the essence, or the outer
to the inner, _i. e._ as an adequate manifestation; they are only
transitory affections of the substance, accidentally changing phenomenal
forms, like sea waves on the water of the sea. They are not produced by
the substance, but are rather destroyed in it. The relation of substance
leads to the relation of _cause_. In the relation of cause there is one
and the same thing posited on the one side as _cause_, and on the other
side as _effect_. The cause of warmth is warmth, and its effect is again
warmth. The effect is a higher conception than the accidence, since it
actually stands over against the cause, and the cause itself passes over
into effect. So far, however, as each side in the relation of cause
presupposes the other, we shall find the true relation one in which each
side is at the same time cause and effect, _i. e._ _reciprocal action_.
Reciprocal action is a higher relation than causality, because there is
no pure causality. There is no effect without counteraction. We leave
the province of essence with the category of reciprocal action. All the
categories of essence had shown themselves as a duplex of two sides, but
when we come to the category of reciprocal action, the opposition
between cause and effect is destroyed, and they meet together; unity
thus takes again the place of duplicity. We have, therefore, again a
being which coincides with mediate being. This unity of being and
essence, this inner or realized necessity, is the conception.

3. THE DOCTRINE OF THE CONCEPTION.—A conception is a rational necessity.
We can only have a conception of that whose true necessity we have
recognized. The conception is, therefore, the truly actual, the peculiar
essence; because it states as well that which is actual as that which
should be.

(1.) _The subjective conception_ contains the elements of _universality_
(the conception of species), _particularity_ (ground of classification,
logical difference), and _individuality_ (species—logical difference).
The conception is therefore a unity of that which is distinct. The
self-separation of the conception is the _judgment_. In the judgment,
the conception appears as self-excluding duality. The twofoldness is
seen in the difference between subject and predicate, and the unity in
the copula. Progress in the different forms of judgment, consists in
this, viz., that the copula fills itself more and more with the
conception. But thus the judgment passes over into the _conclusion_ or
inference, _i. e._ to the conception which is identical with itself
through the conception. In the inference one conception is concluded
with a third through a second. The different figures of the conclusion
are the different steps in the self-mediation of the conception. The
conception is when it mediates itself with itself and the conclusion is
no longer subjective; it is no longer my act, but an objective relation
is fulfilled in it.

(2.) _Objectivity_ is a reality _only_ of the conception. The objective
conception has three steps,—_Mechanism_, or the indifferent relation of
objects to each other; _Chemism_, or the interpenetration of objects and
their neutralization; _Teleology_, or the inner design of objects. The
end accomplishing itself or the self-end is,

(3.) _The idea._—The idea is the highest logical definition of the
absolute. The immediate existence of the idea, we call _life_, or
process of life. Every thing living is self-end immanent-end. The idea
posited in its difference as a relation of objective and subjective, is
the _true_ and _good_. The true is the objective rationality
subjectively posited; the good is the subjective rationality carried
into the objectivity. Both conceptions together constitute the _absolute
idea_, which is just as truly as it _should_ be, _i. e._ the good is
just as truly actualized as the true is living and self-realizing.

The absolute and full idea _is in space_, because it discharges itself
from itself, as its reflection; this its being in space is _Nature_.

II. THE SCIENCE OF NATURE.—Nature is the idea in the form of
differentiation. It is the idea externalizing itself; it is the mind
estranged from itself. The unity of the conception is therefore
concealed in nature, and since philosophy makes it its problem to seek
out the intelligence which is hidden in nature, and to pursue the
process by which nature loses its own character and becomes mind, it
should not forget that the essence of nature consists in being which has
externalized itself, and that the products of nature neither have a
reference to themselves, nor correspond to the conception, but grow up
in unrestrained and unbridled contingency. Nature is a bacchanalian god
who neither bridles nor checks himself. It therefore represents no ideal
succession, rising ever in regular order, but, on the contrary, it every
where obliterates all essential limits by its doubtful structures, which
always defy every fixed classification. Because it is impossible to
throw the determinations of the conception over nature, natural
philosophy is forced at every point, as it were, to capitulate between
the world of concrete individual structures, and the regulative of the
speculative idea.

Natural philosophy has its beginning, its course, and its end. It begins
with the first or immediate determination of nature, with the abstract
universality of its being _extra se_, space and matter; its end is the
dissevering of the mind from nature in the form of a rational and
self-conscious individuality—man; the problem which it has to solve is,
to show the intermediate link between these two extremes, and to follow
out successively the increasingly successful struggles of nature to
raise itself to self-consciousness, to man. In this process, nature
passes through three principal stages.

1. MECHANICS, or matter and an ideal system of matter. Matter is the
being _extra se_ (_Aussersichseyn_) of nature, in its most universal
form. Yet it shows at the outset that tendency to being _per se_ which
forms the guiding thread of natural philosophy—gravity. Gravity is the
being _in se_ (_Insichseyn_) of matter; it is the desire of matter to
come to itself, and shows the first trace of subjectivity. The centre of
gravity of a body is _the one_ which it seeks. This same tendency of
bringing all the manifold unto being _per se_ lies at the basis of the
solar system and of universal gravitation. The centrality which is the
fundamental conception of gravity, becomes here a system, which is in
fact a rational system so far as the form of the orbit, the rapidity of
motion, or the time of revolution may be referred to mathematical laws.

2. PHYSICS.—But matter possesses no individuality. Even in astronomy it
is not the bodies themselves, but only their geometrical relations which
interest us. We have here at the outset to treat of quantitative and not
yet of qualitative determinations. Yet in the solar system, matter has
found its centre, itself. Its abstract and hollow being _in se_ has
resolved itself into form. Matter now, as possessing a quality, is an
object of _physics_. In physics we have to do with matter which has
particularized itself in a body, in an individuality. To this province
belongs inorganic nature, its forms and reciprocal references.

3. ORGANICS.—Inorganic nature, which was the object of physics, destroys
itself in the chemical process. In the chemical process, the inorganic
body loses all its properties (cohesion, color, shining, sound,
transparency, &c.), and thus shows the evanescence of its existence and
that relativity which is its being. This chemical process is overcome by
the organic, the living process of nature. True, the living body is ever
on the point of passing over to the chemical process; oxygen, hydrogen
and salt, are always entering into a living organism, but their chemical
action is always overcome; the living body resists the chemical process
till it dies. Life is self-preservation, self-end. While therefore
nature in physics had risen to individuality, in organics, it progresses
to subjectivity. The idea, as life, represents itself in three stages.

(1.) The general image of life in _geological_ organism, or the _mineral
kingdom_. Yet the mineral kingdom is the result, and the residuum of a
process of life and formation already passed. The primitive rock is the
stiffened crystal of life, and the geological earth is a giant corpse.
The present life which produces itself eternally anew, breaks forth as
the first moving of subjectivity,

(2.) In the organism of _plants_ or the _vegetable kingdom_. The plant
rises indeed to a formative process, to a process of assimilation, and
to a process of species. But it is not yet a totality perfectly
organized in itself. Each part of the plant is the whole individual,
each twig is the whole tree. The parts are related indifferently to each
other; the crown can become a root, and the root a crown. The plant,
therefore, does not yet attain a true being _in se_ of individuality;
for, in order that this may be attained, an absolute unity of the
individual is necessary. This unity, which constitutes an individual and
concrete subjectivity, is first seen in

(3.) The _animal_ organism, the _animal kingdom_. An uninterrupted
intus-susception, free motion and sensation, are first found in the
animal organism. In its higher forms we find an inner warmth and a
voice. In its highest form, man, nature, or rather the spirit, which
works through nature, apprehends itself as conscious individuality, as
Ego. The spirit thus become a free and rational self, has now completed
its self-emancipation from nature.

of nature; it is being removed from its estrangement, and become
identical with itself. Its formal essence, therefore, is freedom, the
possibility of abstracting itself from every thing else; its material
essence is the capacity of manifesting itself as mind, as a conscious
rationality,—of positing the intellectual universe as its kingdom, and
of building a structure of objective rationality. In order, however, to
know itself, and every thing rational,—in order to posit nature more and
more negatively, the mind, like nature, must pass through a series of
stages or emancipative acts. As it comes from nature and rises from its
externality to being, _per se_, it is at first soul or spirit of nature,
and as such, it is an object of _anthropology_ in a strict sense. As
this spirit of nature, it sympathizes with the general planetary life of
the earth, and is in this respect subject to diversity of climate, and
change of seasons and days; it sympathizes with the geographical portion
of the world which it occupies, _i. e._, it is related to a diversity of
race; still farther, it bears a national type, and is moreover
determined by mode of life, formation of the body, &c., while these
natural conditions work also upon its intelligent and moral character.
Lastly, we must here take notice of the way in which nature has
determined the individual subject, _i. e._ his natural temperament,
character, idiosyncrasy, &c. To this belong the natural changes of life,
age, sexual relation, sleep, and waking. In all this the mind is still
buried in nature, and this middle condition between being _per se_ and
the sleep of nature, is sensation, the hollow forming of the mind in its
unconscious and unenlightened (_verstandlos_) individuality. A higher
stage of sensation is feeling, _i. e._ sensation _in se_, where being
_per se_ appears; feeling in its completed form is self-feeling. Since
the subject, in self-feeling, is buried in the peculiarity of his
sensations, but at the same time concludes himself with himself, as a
subjective one, the self-feeling is seen to be the preliminary step to
consciousness. The Ego now appears as the shaft in which all these
sensations, representations, cognitions and thoughts are preserved,
which is with them all, and constitutes the centre in which they all
come together. The mind as conscious, as a conscious being _per se_, as
Ego, is the object of the _phenomenology_ of consciousness.

The mind was individual, so long as it was interwoven with nature; it
is consciousness or Ego when it has divested itself of nature. When
distinguishing itself from nature, the mind withdraws itself into
itself, and that with which it was formerly interwoven, and which gave
it a peculiar (earthly, national, &c.) determination, stands now
distinct from it, as its external world (earth, people, &c). The awaking
of the Ego is thus the act by which the objective world, as such, is
created; while on the other hand, the Ego awakens to a conscious
subjectivity only _in_ the objective world, and in distinction from it.
The Ego, over against the objective world, is consciousness in the
strict sense of the word. Consciousness becomes self-consciousness by
passing through the stages of immediate sensuous consciousness,
perception, and understanding, and convincing itself in this its
formative history, that it has only to do with itself, while it believed
that it had to do with something objective. Again, self-consciousness
becomes universal or rational self-consciousness, as follows: In its
strivings to stamp the impress of the Ego upon the objective, and thus
make the objective subjective, it falls in conflict with other
self-consciousnesses, and begins a war of extermination against them,
but rises from this _bellum omnium contra omnes_, as common
consciousness, as the finding of the proper mean between command and
obedience, _i. e._ as truly universal, _i. e._ rational
self-consciousness. The rational self-consciousness is actually free,
because, when related to another, it is really related to itself, and in
all is still with itself; it has emancipated itself from nature. We have
now mind as mind, divested of its naturalness and subjectivity, and as
such, it is an object of _Pneumatology_.

Mind is at first theoretical mind, or intelligence, and then practical
mind, or will. It is theoretical in that it has to do with the rational
as something given, and now posits it as its own; it is practical in
that it immediately wills the subjective content (truth), which it has
as its own, to be freed from its one-sided subjective form, and
transformed into an objective. The practical mind is, so far, the truth
of the theoretical. The theoretical mind, in its way to the practical,
passes through the stages of intuition, representation, and thought; and
the will on its side forms itself into a free will through impulse,
desire, and inclination. The free will, as having a being in space
(_Daseyn_), is the _objective mind_, right, and the state. In right,
morals and the state, the freedom and rationality, which are chosen by
the will, take on an objective form. Every natural determination and
impulse now becomes moralized, and comes up to view again as ethical
institute, as right and duty (the sexual impulse now appears as
marriage, and the impulse of revenge as civil punishment, &c.)

2. THE OBJECTIVE MIND.—(1.) The immediate objective being (_Daseyn_) of
the free will is _the right_. The individual, so far as he is capable of
rights, so far as he has rights and exercises them, is a person. The
maxim of right is, therefore, be a person and have respect to other
persons. The person allows himself an external sphere for his freedom, a
substratum in which he can exercise his will: as property, possession.
As person I have the right of possession, the absolute right of
appropriation, the right to cast my will over every thing, which thereby
becomes mine. But there exist other persons besides myself. My right is,
therefore, limited through the right of others. There thus arises a
conflict between will and will, which is settled in a compact, in a
common will. The relation of compact is the first step towards the
state, but only the _first_ step, for if we should define the state as a
compact of all with all, this would sink it in the category of private
rights and private property. It does not depend upon the will of the
individual whether he will live in the state or not. The relation of
compact refers to private property. In a compact, therefore, two wills
merge themselves in a common will, which as such becomes a right. But
just here lies also the possibility of a conflict between the individual
will and the right or the universal will. The separation of the two is a
wrong (civil wrong, fraud, crime). This separation demands a
reconciliation, a restoration of the right or the universal will from
its momentary suppression or negation, by the particular will. The right
restoring itself in respect of the particular will, and establishing a
negation of the wrong, is punishment. Those theories, which found the
right of punishment in some end of warning or improvement, mistake the
essence of punishment. Threatening, warning, &c., are finite ends, _i.
e._ means, and moreover uncertain means: but an act of righteousness
should not be made a means; righteousness is not exercised in order that
any thing other than itself shall be gained. The fulfilment and
self-manifestation of righteousness is absolute end, self-end. The
particular views we have mentioned, can only be considered in reference
to the mode of punishment. The punishment which is inflicted on a
criminal, is _his_ right, _his_ rationality, _his_ law, beneath which he
should be subsumed. His act comes back upon himself. Hegel also defends
capital punishment whose abolition seemed to him as an untimely

(2.) The removal of the opposition of the universal and particular will
in the subject constitutes _morality_. In morality the freedom of the
will is carried forward to a self-determination of the subjectivity, and
the abstract right becomes duty and virtue. The moral standpoint is the
standpoint of conscience, it is the right of the subjective will, the
right of a free ethical decision. In the consideration of strict right,
it is no inquiry what my principle or my view might be, but in morality
the question is at once directed towards the purpose and moving spring
of the will. Hegel calls this standpoint of moral reflection and dutiful
action for a reason—morality, in distinction from a substantial,
unconditioned and unreflecting ethics. This standpoint has three
elements; (1) the element of resolution (_vorsatz_), where we consider
the inner determination of the acting subject, that which allows an act
to be ascribed only to me, and the blame of it to rest only on my will
(imputation); (2) the element of purpose, where the completed act is
regarded not according to its consequences, but according to its
relative worth in reference to myself. The resolution was still
internal; but now the act is completed, and I must suffer myself to
judge according to the constituents of the act, because I must have
known the circumstances under which I acted; (3) the element of the
good, where the act is judged according to its universal worth. The good
is peculiarly the reconciliation of the particular subjective will with
the universal will, or with the conception of the will; in other words,
to will the rational is good. Opposed to this is evil, or the elevation
of the subjective will against the universal, the attempt to set up the
peculiar and individual choice as absolute; in other words, to will the
irrational is evil.

(3.) In morality we had conscience and the abstract good (the good which
ought to be) standing over against each other. The concrete identity of
the two, the union of subjective and objective good, is _ethics_. In the
ethical the good has become actualized in an existing world, and a
nature of self-consciousness.

The ethical mind is seen at first immediately, or in a natural form, as
marriage and the _family_. Three elements meet together in marriage,
which should not be separated, and which are so often and so wrongly
isolated. Marriage is (1) a sexual relation, and is founded upon a
difference of sex; it is, therefore, something other than Platonic love
or monkish asceticism; (2) it is a civil contract; (3) it is love. Yet
Hegel lays no great stress upon this subjective element in concluding
upon marriage, for a reciprocal affection will spring up in the married
life. It is more ethical when a determination to marry is first, and a
definite personal affection follows afterwards, for marriage is most
prominently duty. Hegel would, therefore, place the greatest obstacles
in the way of a dissolution of marriage. He has also developed and
described in other respects the family state with a profound ethical

Since the family becomes separated into a multitude of families, it is a
_civil society_, in which the members, though still independent
individuals, are bound in unity by their wants, by the constitution of
rights as a means of security for person and property, and by an outward
administrative arrangement. Hegel distinguished the civil society from
the state in opposition to most modern theorists upon the subject, who,
regarding it as the great end of the state to give security of property
and of personal freedom, reduced the state to a civil society. But on
such a standpoint which would make the state wholly of wants and of
rights, it is impossible, _e. g._ to conceive of war. On the ground of
civil society each one stands for himself, is independent, and makes
himself as end, while every thing else is a means for him. But the
state, on the contrary, knows no independent individuals, each one of
whom may regard and pursue only his own well-being; but in the state,
the whole is the end, and the individual is the means.—For the
administration of justice, Hegel, in opposition to those of our time who
deny the right of legislation, would have written and intelligible laws,
which should be within reach of every one; still farther, justice should
be administered by a public trial by jury.—In respect of the
organization of civil society, Hegel expresses a great preference for a
corporation. Sanctity of marriage, he says, and honor in corporations,
are the two elements around which the disorganization of civil society

Civil society passes over into the _state_ since the interest of the
individual loses itself in the idea of an ethical whole. The state is
the ethical idea actualized, it is the ethical mind as it rules over the
action and knowledge of the individuals conceived in it. Finally the
states themselves, since they appear as individuals in an attracting or
repelling relation to each other, represent, in their destiny, in their
rise and fall, the process of the _world’s history_.

In his apprehension of the state, Hegel approached very near the ancient
notion, which merged the individual and the right of individuality,
wholly in the will of the state. He held fast to the omnipotence of the
state in the ancient sense. Hence his resistance to modern liberalism,
which would allow individuals to postulate, to criticize, and to will
according to their improved knowledge. The state is with Hegel the
rational and ethical substance in which the individual has to live, it
is the existing reason to which the individual has to submit himself
with a free view. He regarded a limited monarchy as the best form of
government, after the manner of the English constitution, to which Hegel
was especially inclined, and in reference to which he uttered his
well-known saying that the king was but the dot upon the i. There must
be an individual, Hegel supposes, who can _affirm_ for the state, who
can prefix an “_I will_” to the resolves of the state, and who can be
the head of a formal decision. The personality of a state, he says, “is
only actual as a person, as monarch.” Hence Hegel defends hereditary
monarchy, but he places the nobility by its side as a mediating element
between people and prince—not indeed to control or limit the government,
nor to maintain the rights of the people, but only that the people may
experience that there is a good rule, that, the consciousness of the
people may be with the government and that the state may enter into the
subjective consciousness of the people.

States and the minds of individual races pour their currents into the
stream of the world’s history. The strife, the victory, and the
subjection of the spirits of individual races, and the passing over of
the world spirit from one people to another, is the content of the
world’s history. The development of the world’s history is generally
connected with some ruling race, which carries in itself the world
spirit in its present stage of development, and in distinction from
which the spirits of other races have no rights. Thus these race-spirits
stand around the throne of the absolute spirit, as the executors of its
actualization, as the witnesses and adornment of its glory.

3. THE ABSOLUTE MIND.—(1.) _Æsthetics_. The absolute mind is immediately
present to the sensuous intuition as the beautiful or as art. The
beautiful is the appearance of the idea through a sensible medium (a
crystal, color, tone, poetry); it is the idea actualized in the form of
a limited phenomenon. To the beautiful (and to its subordinate kinds,
the simply beautiful, the sublime, and the comical) two factors always
belong, thought and matter; but both these are inseparable from each
other; the matter is the outer phenomenon of the thought, and should
express nothing but the thought which inspires it and shines through it.
The different ways in which matter and form are connected, furnish the
different forms of art. In the symbolic form of art the matter
preponderates; the thought presses through it, and brings out the ideal
only with difficulty. In the classic form of art, the ideal has attained
its adequate existence in the matter; content and form are absolutely
befitting each other. Lastly, in romantic art, the mind preponderates,
and the matter is a mere appearance and sign through which the mind
every where breaks out, and struggles up above the material. The system
of particular arts is connected with the different forms of art; but the
distinction of one particular art from another, depends especially upon
the difference of the material.

(_a._) The beginning of art is _Architecture_. It belongs essentially to
the symbolic form of art, since in it the sensible matter far
preponderates, and it first seeks the true conformity between content
and form. Its material is stone, which it fashions according to the laws
of gravity. Hence it has the character of magnitude, of silent
earnestness, of oriental sublimity.

(_b._) _Sculpture._—The material of this art is also stone, but it
advances from the inorganic to the organic. It gives the stone a bodily
form, and makes it only a serving vehicle of the thought. In sculpture,
the material, the stone, since it represents the body, that building of
the soul, in its clearness and beauty, disappears wholly in the ideal;
there is nothing left of the material which does not serve the idea.

(_c._) _Painting._—This is preeminently a romantic art. It represents,
as sculpture cannot do, the life of the soul, the look, the disposition,
the heart. Its medium is no longer a coarse material substratum, but the
colored surface, and the soul-like play of light; it gives the
_appearance_ only of complete spacial dimension. Hence it is able to
represent in a complete dramatic movement the whole scale of feelings,
conditions of heart, and actions.

(_d._) _Music._—This leaves out all relation of space. Its material is
sound, the vibration of a sonorous body. It leaves, therefore, the field
of sensuous intuition, and works exclusively upon the sensation. Its
basis is the breast of the sensitive soul. Music is the most subjective

(_e._) Lastly in _Poetry_, or the speaking art, is the tongue of art
loosed; poetry can represent every thing. Its material is not the mere
sound, but the sound as word, as the sign of a representation, as the
expression of reason. But this material cannot be formed at random, but
only in verse according to certain rhythmical and musical laws. In
poetry, all other arts return again; as epic, representing in a pleasing
and extended narrative the figurative history of races, it corresponds
to the plastic arts; as lyric, expressing some inner condition of soul,
it corresponds to music; as dramatic poetry, exhibiting the struggles
between characters acting out of directly opposite interests, it is the
union of both these arts.

(2.) _Philosophy of Religion._—Poetry forms the transition from art to
religion. In art the idea was present for the intuition, in religion it
is present for the representation. The content of every religion is the
reconciliation of the finite with the infinite, of the subject with God.
All religions seek a union of the divine and the human. This was done in
the crudest form by

(_a._) The natural religions of the oriental world. God is, with them,
but a power of nature, a substance of nature, in comparison with which
the finite and the individual disappear as nothing.

(_b._) A higher idea of God is attained by the religions of spiritual
individuality, in which the divine is looked upon as subject,—as an
exalted subjectivity, full of power and wisdom in Judaism, the religion
of sublimity; as a circle of plastic divine forms in the Grecian
religion, the religion of beauty; as an absolute end of the state in the
Roman religion, the religion of the understanding or of design.

(_c._) The revealed or Christian religion first establishes a positive
reconciliation between God and the world, by beholding the actual unity
of the divine and the human in the person of Christ, the God-man, and
apprehending God as triune, _i. e._ as Himself, as incarnate, and as
returning from this incarnation to Himself. The intellectual content of
revealed religion, or of Christianity, is thus the same as that of
speculative philosophy; the only difference being, that in the one case
the content is represented in the form of the representation, in the
form of a history; while, in the other, it appears in the form of the
conception. Stripped of its form of religious representation, we have
now the standpoint of

(3.) _The Absolute Philosophy_, or the thought knowing itself as all
truth, and reproducing the whole natural and intellectual universe from
itself, having the system of philosophy for its development—a closed
circle of circles.

With Hegel closes the history of philosophy. The philosophical
developments which have succeeded him, and which are partly a carrying
out of his system, and partly the attempt to lay a new basis for
philosophy, belong to the present, and not yet to history.



[Footnote 1: This word literally means _clearing up_, but has a
philosophical sense for which no precise equivalent is found in the
English language. When used physically, it denotes that every
obstruction which prevented the clear sight of the bodily eye is
removed, and when used psychologically it implies the same fact in
reference to our mental vision. The _Aufklärung_ in philosophy is hence
the clearing up of difficulties which have hindered a true philosophical
insight. To express this, I know of no better word than the literal
rendering, “_up-clearing_” or “_clearing up_” which the reader will find
adopted in the following pages.—TRANSLATOR.]

[Footnote 2: The article on Socrates, from page 52 to page 64, was
translated by Prof. N. G. Clark, of the University of Vermont.]

[Footnote 3: A German mile is about four and a half English miles.—TR.]

[Footnote 4: Schelling died August 20th, 1854, at Ragaz, Switzerland,
whither he had gone for the benefit of his health, which had long been




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The New American Cyclopædia.

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The History of Civilization in England.

   By HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE.—2 vols. 8vo. Cloth, $6.

   Whoever misses reading this book, will miss reading what is,
   in various respects, to the best of our judgment and
   experience, the most remarkable book of the day—one, indeed,
   that no thoughtful, inquiring mind would miss reading for a
   good deal. Let the reader be as adverse as he may to the
   writer’s philosophy, let him be as devoted to the obstructive
   as Mr. Buckle is to the progress party, let him be as orthodox
   in church creed as the other is heterodox, as dogmatic as his
   author is skeptical—let him, in short, find his prejudices
   shocked at every turn of the argument, and all his
   prepossessions whistled down the wind—still there is so much
   in this extraordinary volume to stimulate reflection, and
   excite to inquiry, and provoke to earnest investigation,
   perhaps (to this or that reader) on a track hitherto
   untrodden, and across the virgin soil of untilled fields,
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   hostile spirit, the most mistrustful and least sympathetic, to
   read it through without being glad of having done so, or,
   having begun it, or even glanced at almost any one of its 854
   pages, to pass it away unread.—_New Monthly (London)

History of the Romans under the Empire.

   By CHARLES MERIVALE, B.D., late Fellow of St. John’s College.
   7 Vols. small 8vo. Handsomely printed on tinted paper. Price,
   $2 per Vol. (Nearly ready.)


   Vols. I and II.—Comprising the History to the Fall of Julius

   Vol. III.—To the Establishment of the Monarchy by Augustus.

   Vols. IV. and V.—From Augustus to Claudius, B.C. 27 to A.D.

   Vol. VI.—From the Reign of Nero, A.D. 54, to the Fall of
   Jerusalem, A.D. 70.

   Vol. VII.—From the Destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70, to the
   Death of M. Aurelius.

   This valuable work terminates at the point where the narrative
   of Gibbon commences.

   ... “When we enter on a more searching criticism of the two
   writers, it must be admitted that Merivale has as firm a grasp
   of his subject as Gibbon, and that his work is characterized
   by a greater freedom from prejudice, and a sounder philosophy.

   ... “This history must always stand as a splendid monument of
   his learning, his candor, and his vigorous grasp of intellect.
   Though he is in some respects inferior to Macaulay and Grote,
   he must still be classed with them as one of the second great
   triumvirate of English historians.”—_North American Review.
   April, 1863._




   Being a Course of Twelve Lectures delivered before the Royal
   Institution of Great Britain.



   With One Hundred Illustrations. 8vo., 480 pages. Price, $2.00.

   This volume is by the gifted successor of Faraday, the young
   Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Royal Institution of
   England. The author, himself celebrated as a discoverer, an
   ingenious and fertile experimenter, a bold but disciplined
   thinker, a vivid and imaginative speaker, and dealing with the
   most splendid generalizations and the grandest phenomena of
   nature, was listened to with the profoundest attention. The
   new views of the nature of heat, its connections with the
   other forms of force, and the sublime part it plays in the
   scheme of Nature—views which have but recently been adopted in
   the scientific world—are here for the first time brought
   forward, and illustrated with a resource of experiment, a
   brilliancy of illustration, and a clearness and eloquence of
   style for which Professor Tyndall is unequalled.

   From the American Journal of Science.—With all the skill which
   has made Faraday the master of experimental science in Great
   Britain, Professor Tyndall enjoys the advantage of a superior
   general culture, and is thus enabled to set forth his
   philosophy with all the graces of eloquence and the finish of
   superior diction. With a simplicity, and absence of
   technicalities which render his explanations lucid to
   unscientific minds, and at the same time a thoroughness and
   originality by which he instructs the most learned, he unfolds
   all the modern philosophy of heat.

   New York Times.—Professor Tyndall’s course of lectures on heat
   is one of the most beautiful illustrations of a mode of
   handling scientific subjects, which is comparatively new, and
   which promises the best results, both to science and to
   literature generally; we mean the treatment of subjects in a
   style at once _profound_ and _popular_. The title of Professor
   Tyndall’s work indicates the theory of heat held by him, and
   indeed the only one now held by scientific men—_it is a mode
   of motion_.

   Boston Journal.—He exhibits the curious and beautiful workings
   of nature in a most delightful manner. Before the reader
   particles of water lock themselves or fly asunder with a
   movement regulated like a dance. They form themselves into
   liquid flowers with fine serrated petals, or into rosettes of
   frozen gauze, they bound upward in boiling fountains, or creep
   slowly onward in stupendous glaciers. Flames burst into music
   and sing, or cease to sing, as the experimenter pleases, and
   metals paint themselves upon a screen in dazzling hues as the
   painter touches his canvas.

   New York Tribune.—The most original and important contribution
   that has yet been made to the theory and literature of

   Scientific American.—The work is written in a charming style,
   and is the most valuable contribution to scientific literature
   that has been published in many years. It is the most popular
   exposition of the dynamical theory of heat that has yet
   appeared. The old material theory of heat may be said to be

   Louisville Democrat.—This is one of the most delightful
   scientific works we have ever met. The lectures are so full of
   life and spirit that we can almost imagine the lecturer before
   us, and see his brilliant experiments in every stage of their
   progress. The theory is so carefully and thoroughly explained
   that no one can fail to understand it. Such books as these
   create a love for science.

   Troy Whig.—No one can take up these lectures and pursue the
   general train and scope of thought which they compel, without
   having attained already to a love of practical science which
   will inevitably impress itself on his mental habits hereafter.

   Independent.—Professor Tyndall’s expositions and experiments
   are remarkably thoughtful, ingenious, clear and convincing;
   portions of the book have almost the interest of a romance, so
   startling are the descriptions and elucidations.

_Any of these Books sent free by mail to any address on receipt of




   443 & 445 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.

   The Life and Correspondence of THEODORE PARKER, Minister of
   the Twenty-eighth Congregational Society, Boston. By JOHN
   WEISS. With two Portraits on Steel, fac-simile of Handwriting,
   and nineteen Wood Engravings. 2 vols., 8vo. 1,008 pages.
   Price, $6.

   “These volumes contain an account of Mr. Parker’s childhood
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   are described in letters and extracts from his journal. An
   autobiographical fragment is introduced in relation to Mr.
   Parker’s early life, and his letters of friendship on
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   Catechism of the Steam Engine,

   In its various Applications to Mines, Mills, Steam Navigation,
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   Manufacture and Management of Engines of every Class. By JOHN
   BOURNE, C. E. New and Revised Edition. 1 vol., 12mo.
   Illustrated. Cloth. $2.

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   Steam Engine so deservedly successful, and so long considered
   standard, the Publishers have not thought it necessary that it
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   better adapted to the use of American Engineers. On this
   account the size of the page has been increased to a full
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   edition, are often on too small a scale, and some of the
   illustrations themselves have been supplied by others equally
   applicable, more recent, and to us more familiar examples. The
   first part of Chapter XI., devoted in the English edition to
   English portable and fixed agricultural engines, in this
   edition gives place entirely to illustrations from American
   practice, of steam engines as applied to different purposes,
   and of appliances and machines necessary to them. But with the
   exception of some of the illustrations and the description of
   them, and the correction of a few typographical errors, this
   edition is a faithful transcript of the latest English


   History of the Romans under the Empire. By CHARLES MERIVALE,
   B. D., late Fellow of St. John’s College. 7 vols., small 8vo.
   Handsomely printed on tinted paper. Price, in cloth, $2 per
   vol. Half Morocco extra, $3 50.


   Vols. I. and II.—Comprising the History to the Fall of Julius

   Vol. III.—To the Establishment of the Monarchy by Augustus.

   Vols. IV. and V.—From Augustus to Claudius, B. C. 27 to A. D.

   Vol. VI.—From the Reign of Nero, A. D. 54, to the Fall of
   Jerusalem, A. D. 70.

   Vol. VII.—From the Destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, to the
   Death of M. Aurelius.

   This valuable work terminates at the point where the narrative
   of Gibbon commences.

   ... “When we enter on a more searching criticism of the two
   writers, it must be admitted that Merivale has as firm a grasp
   of his subject as Gibbon, and that his work is characterized
   by a greater freedom from prejudice, and a sounder philosophy.

   ... “This history must always stand as a splendid monument of
   his learning, his candor, and his vigorous grasp of intellect.
   Though he is in some respects inferior to Macaulay and Grote,
   he must still be classed with them, as one of the second great
   triumvirate of English historians.”—_North American Review,
   April, 1863._

   Practice in the Executive Department of the Government, under
   the Pension, Bounty, and Prize Laws of the United States, with
   Forms and Instructions for Collecting Arrears of Pay, Bounty,
   and Prize Money, and for Obtaining Pensions. By ROBERT SEWELL,
   Counsellor at Law. 1 vol., 8vo. Sheep. Price, $3 50.

   “I offer this little book with confidence to the profession,
   as certain to save lawyers, in one case, if they never have
   any more, more time and trouble than its cost. To the public
   generally, the book is offered as containing a large amount of
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   home to half the families in the land. To the officers and
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   disseminated, and the prevailing ignorance respecting the
   subject treated of in a great degree removed.”—_Extract from

   Hints to Riflemen.

   By H. W. S. CLEVELAND. 1 vol., 12mo. Illustrated, with
   numerous Designs of Rifles and Rifle Practice. Cloth. Price,
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   “I offer these hints as the contribution of an old sportsman,
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   any of my opinions to be erroneous.”—_Extract from Preface._

   Laws and Principles of Whist, Stated and Explained, and its
   Practice Illustrated on an Original System, by means of hands
   played completely through. By CAVENDISH. From the fifth London
   edition. 1 vol., square 16mo. Gilt edge. $1 25.

   “An excellent and very clearly written treatise; the rules of
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   neatly, in blue and gold, by the publishers.”—_Com. Bulletin._

   Roba di Roma.

   By W. W. STORY. 2 vols., 12mo. Cloth, $3.

   “Till Rome shall fall, the City of the Seven Hills will be
   inexhaustible as a subject of interest. ‘Roba di Roma’
   contains the gatherings of an honest observer and a real
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   Heat considered as a Mode of Motion. Being a Course of Twelve
   Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
   By JOHN TYNDALL, F.R.S. Author of “The Glaciers of the Alps.”
   1 vol., 12mo. With 101 illustrations. Cloth. $2.

   “No one can rend Dr. Tyndall’s book without being impressed
   with the intensity of the author’s conviction of the truth of
   the theory which it is his object to illustrate, or with the
   boldness with which he confronts the difficulties which lie
   encounters.... Dr. Tyndall’s is the first work in which the
   undulatory or mechanical theory of heat has been placed in a
   popular light; but we are sure that no one, however profound
   his knowledge upon the subject of which it treats, will rise
   from its perusal without a feeling that he has been both
   gratified and instructed in a high degree while reading its
   pages.”—_London Reader._

   Life of Edward Livingston, Mayor of the City of New York;
   Member of Congress; Senator of the United States; Secretary of
   State; Minister to France; Author of a System of Penal Law for
   Louisiana; Member of the Institute of France, etc. By CHARLES
   H. HUNT, with an Introduction by GEORGE BANCROFT. 1 vol., 8vo.
   Cloth, $3.50.

   “One of the purest of statesmen and the most genial of men,
   was Edward Livingston, whose career is presented in this

   “The author of this volume has done the country a service. He
   has given us in a becoming form an appropriate memorial of one
   whom succeeding generations will be proud to name as an
   American jurist and statesman.”—_Evangelist._

   Round the Block. An American Novel. With Illustrations. 1
   vol., 12mo. Cloth. Price, $1 50.

   “The story is remarkably clever. It presents the most vivid
   and various pictures of men and manners in the great
   Metropolis. Unlike most novels that now appear, it has no
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   reformer, but a story teller, according to the old pattern,
   and a capital story he has produced, written in the happiest
   style, and full of wit and action. He evidently knows his
   ground, and moves over it with the foot of a master. It is a
   work that will be read and admired, unless all love for good
   novels has departed from us; and we know that such is not the
   case.”—_Boston Traveler._

   The History of Civilization in England. By HENRY THOMAS
   BUCKLE. 2 vols., 8vo. Cloth. $6.

   “Whoever misses reading this book, will miss reading what is,
   in various respects, to the best of our judgment and
   experience, the most remarkable book of the day—one, indeed,
   that no thoughtful, inquiring mind would miss reading for a
   good deal. Let the reader be as averse as he may to the
   writer’s philosophy, let him be as devoted to the obstructive
   as Mr. Buckle is to the progress party, let him be as orthodox
   in church creed as the other is heterodox, as dogmatic as his
   author is skeptical—let him, in short, find his prejudices
   shocked at every turn of the argument, and all his
   prepossessions whistled down the wind—still there is so much
   in this extraordinary volume to stimulate reflection, and
   excite to inquiry, and provoke to earnest investigation,
   perhaps (to this or that reader) on a track hitherto
   untrodden, and across the virgin soil of untilled fields,
   fresh woods and pastures new—that we may fairly defy the most
   hostile spirit, the most mistrustful and least sympathetic, to
   read it through without being glad of having done so, or
   having begun it, or even glanced at almost any one of its
   pages, to pass it away unread.”—_New Monthly (London)

   Illustrations of Universal Progress.

   A Series of Essays. By HERBERT SPENCER, Author of “The
   Principles of Psychology;” “Social Statics;” “Education.” 1
   vol., 12mo. Cloth, $1 75.

   “The readers who have made the acquaintance of Mr. Herbert
   Spencer through his work on Education, and are interested in
   his views upon a larger range of subjects, will welcome this
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   philosophical speculations, we may call attention to a group
   of articles upon moral and political subjects, which are very
   pertinent to the present condition of affairs.”—_Tribune._

   Thirty Poems.

   BY WM. CULLEN BRYANT. 1 vol., 12mo. Cloth, $1.25; cloth gilt,
   $1.75; mor., $3.50.

   “No English poet surpasses him in knowledge of nature, and but
   few are his equals. He is better than Cowper and Thomson in
   their special walks of poetry, and the equal of Wordsworth,
   that great high priest of nature.”—_The World._

   An Introduction to Municipal Law, designed for General
   Readers, and for Students in Colleges and High Schools. By
   JOHN NORTON POMEROY. 1 vol., 8vo. 544 pages. Cloth, $3.

   “I have spent nearly four days in reading your book, and am
   willing to say, in reference to it, that, when considered in
   reference to its scope and the design had in view in entering
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   clearly, discussed with ability, and in the main satisfactory
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   useful to students at law and young lawyers, as there is a
   great deal in the history of the law, and especially in its
   sources, both common and civil, that is very clearly, briefly,
   and logically stated, and more available in the manner
   presented in your work than in any other that I am acquainted
   with.”—_From_ AMOS DEAN, _Esq., Albany Law School_.

   Thackeray; The Humorist and Man of Letters, the Story of his
   Life, with particulars of his early career never before made
   public. By THEODORE TAYLOR, Esq. Illustrated with a Portrait,
   one of the latest taken from life; View of Thackeray’s House;
   Facsimile of his Handwriting; Humorous Illustrations by George
   Cruikshank; and other Pictures and Sketches. One vol., 12mo.
   Cloth. Price, $1 25.

   “The author, Mr. T. Taylor, long resident in Paris, has been
   collecting information for many years, and has much to say of
   Mr. Thackeray’s artist life in that city. The book is
   illustrated with a portrait and some curious original
   sketches.”—_From the Guardian._

   The Iron Manufacture of Great Britain. Theoretically and
   Practically considered: Including Descriptive Details of the
   Ores, Fuels, and Fluxes employed; the Preliminary Operation of
   Calcination; the Blast, Refining, and Puddling Furnaces;
   Engines and Machinery; and the Various Processes in Union,
   etc., etc. By W. TRURAN, C. E., formerly Engineer at the
   Dowlais Iron Works, under the late Sir John Guest, Bart.
   Second Edition, revised from the manuscripts of the late Mr.
   Truran, by J. ARTHUR PHILLIPS, Author of “A Manual of
   Metallurgy,” “Records of Mining,” etc., and WM. H. DORMAN. One
   vol., imperial 8vo. Containing 84 Plates. Price, $10.

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