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Title: Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume One (of 3)
Author: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume One (of 3)" ***

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                        HEGEL’S LECTURES ON THE
                         HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

                              VOLUME ONE

                          Hegel’s Lectures on

                            THE HISTORY OF


                    _Translated from the German by_

                             E. S. HALDANE

                          _In three volumes_

                              VOLUME ONE


                      ROUTLEDGE & KEGAN PAUL LTD

                   Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane

                             London, E.C.4

                   _First published in England 1892
               by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd
                            Reprinted 1955
                     by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd
                   Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane
                            London, E.C.4_

             _Reprinted by lithography in Great Britain by
                  Jarrold and Sons Limited, Norwich_

                           TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

IT is perhaps unnecessary to say anything respecting the difficulty
of making any adequate translation of Hegel’s writings. In the case
of the History of Philosophy, that difficulty is possibly enhanced
by the fact that the greater part of the book is put together from
the notes of different courses of lectures delivered on the subject
at various times. Hegel, as we learn from Michelet, in his preface
to the first edition of this work, lectured in all nine times on the
History of Philosophy: first in Jena in 1805-1806, then in Heidelberg
in 1816-1817 and 1817-1818, and the other six times in Berlin between
the years 1819 and 1830. He had begun the tenth course on the subject
in 1831 when death cut his labours short. It was only for the first
course of lectures—that delivered in Jena—that Hegel fully wrote out
his lectures; this was evidently done with the intention of future
publication in book form. At Heidelberg he composed a short abstract
of his subject, giving in a few terse words the main points dealt with
in each system of Philosophy. In the later courses of lectures Hegel
trusted to extempore speaking, but at the same time made considerable
use of the above writings, the margins of which he annotated with
subsequent additions. Besides these annotations he left behind him a
large number of miscellaneous notes, which have proved of the greatest
value. The present translation is taken from the second and amended
edition of the “Geschichte der Philosophie,” published in 1840. This
edition is derived from no one set of lectures in particular, but
available sources, including the notes of students. The Jena volume
is, however, made the basis, as representing the main elements of the
subject afterwards to be more fully amplified; or, in Michelet’s words,
as the skeleton which was afterwards to be clothed with flesh.

I have endeavoured to make this translation as literal as possible
consistently with intelligibility, and have attempted, so far as
might be, to give the recognized symbols for the words for which we
have in English no satisfactory equivalents. “Begriff,” when used in
its technical sense, is translated by “Notion,” “Idee” by “Idea,” as
distinguished from the colloquial “idea”; “Vorstellung” is usually
rendered by “popular” or “ordinary conception.”

Miss Frances H. Simson has rendered very valuable assistance in going
carefully over most of the proofs of the first volume, and she is now
engaged with me in the translation of the volumes following.

  E. S. H.



  INTRODUCTION                                                        1

  A. Notion of the History of Philosophy                              7

      1. Common Ideas regarding the History of Philosophy            10

      2. Explanatory remarks upon the Definition of the
          History of Philosophy                                      19
      3. Results obtained with respect to the Notion of the
          History of Philosophy                                      29

  B. The Relation of Philosophy to other Departments of
      Knowledge                                                      49

      1. The Historical side of this Connection                      50

      2. Separation of Philosophy from other allied departments
          of Knowledge                                               55

      3. Commencement of Philosophy and its History                  94

  C. Division, Sources, and Method adopted in treating of the
      History of Philosophy                                         101

      1. Division of the History of Philosophy                      101

      2. Sources of the History of Philosophy                       110

      3. Method of Treatment adopted                                114

  ORIENTAL PHILOSOPHY                                               117

  A.  Chinese Philosophy                                            119

      1. Confucius                                                  120

      2. The Philosophy of the Y-king                               121

      3. The Sect of the Tao-See                                    124

  B.  Indian Philosophy                                             125

      1. The Sanc’hya Philosophy of Capila                          128

      2. The Philosophy of Gotama and Canade                        141



  Introduction                                                      149

  The Seven Sages                                                   156

  Division of the Subject                                           163


  CHAPTER I.—FIRST PERIOD, FIRST DIVISION                           166

  A. The Ionic Philosophy                                           171

      1. Thales                                                     171

      2. Anaximander                                                185

      3. Anaximenes                                                 189

  B.  Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans                               194

      1. The System of Numbers                                      208

      2. Application of the System to the Universe                  224

      3. Practical Philosophy                                       235

  C.  The Eleatic School                                            239

      1. Xenophanes                                                 241

      2. Parmenides                                                 249

      3. Melissus                                                   257

      4. Zeno                                                       261

  D.  Heraclitus                                                    278

      1. The Logical Principle                                      282

      2. Natural Philosophy                                         285

      3. Relation of the Principle to Consciousness                 293

  E.  Empedocles, Leucippus and Democritus                          298

      1. Leucippus and Democritus                                   299
        _a._ The Logical Principle                                  302
        _b._ The Constitution of the World                          304
        _c._ The Soul                                               310

      2. Empedocles                                                 310

  F.  Philosophy of Anaxagoras                                      319

      1. The Universal Principle                                    329

      2. The Homœomeriæ                                             333

      3. The Relation of the Two                                    339

  CHAPTER II.—FIRST PERIOD, SECOND DIVISION                        350

  A. The Sophists                                                   352

      1. Protagoras                                                 372

      2. Gorgias                                                    378

  B. Socrates                                                       384

      1. The Socratic Method                                        397

      2. The Principle of the Good                                  406

      3. The Fate of Socrates                                       425

  C. The Philosophy of the Socratics                                448

      1. The Megarics                                               454
        _a._ Euclides                                               455
        _b._ Eubulides                                              456
        _c._ Stilpo                                                 464

      2. The Cyrenaic School                                        469
        _a._ Aristippus                                             470
        _b._ Theodoras                                              475
        _c._ Hegesias                                               477
        _d._ Anniceris                                              478

      3. The Cynic School                                           479
        _a._ Antisthenes                                            481
        _b._ Diogenes                                               484
        _c._ Later Cynics                                           486



GENTLEMEN,—Since the History of Philosophy is to be the subject of
these lectures, and to-day I am making my first appearance in this
University, I hope you will allow me to say what satisfaction it
gives me to take my place once more in an Academy of Learning at this
particular time. For the period seems to have been arrived at when
Philosophy may again hope to receive some attention and love—this
almost dead science may again raise its voice, and hope that the world
which had become deaf to its teaching, may once more lend it an ear.
The necessities of the time have accorded to the petty interests of
every-day life such overwhelming attention: the deep interests of
actuality and the strife respecting these have engrossed all the powers
and the forces of the mind—as also the necessary means—to so great
an extent, that no place has been left to the higher inward life, the
intellectual operations of a purer sort; and the better natures have
thus been stunted in their growth, and in great measure sacrificed.
Because the spirit of the world was thus occupied, it could not look
within and withdraw into itself. But since this stream of actuality
is checked, since the German nation has cut its way out of its most
material conditions, since its nationality, the basis of all higher
life, has been saved, we may hope that, in addition to the State, which
has swallowed up all other interests in its own, the Church may now
resume her high position—that in addition to the kingdom of the world
to which all thoughts and efforts have hitherto been directed; the
Kingdom of God may also be considered. In other words, along with the
business of politics and the other interests of every-day life, we may
trust that Science, the free rational world of mind, may again flourish.

We shall see in the History of Philosophy that in other European
countries in which the sciences and the cultivation of the
understanding have been prosecuted with zeal and with respect,
Philosophy, excepting in name, has sunk even from memory, and that
it is in the German nation that it has been retained as a peculiar
possession. We have received the higher call of Nature to be the
conservers of this holy flame, just as the Eumolpidæ in Athens had
the conservation of the Eleusinian mysteries, the inhabitants of the
island of Samothrace the preservation and maintenance of a higher
divine service; and as, earlier still, the World-spirit reserved to the
Jewish nation the highest consciousness that it should once more rise
from thence as a new spiritual force. We have already got so far, and
have attained to a seriousness so much greater and a consciousness so
much deeper, that for us ideas and that which our reason justifies, can
alone have weight; to speak more plainly, the Prussian State is a State
constituted on principles of intelligence. But the needs of the time
and the interests of the events in the world already mentioned, have
repressed a real and earnest effort after Philosophy and driven hence
any general attention to it. It has thus happened that because vigorous
natures turned to the practical, insipidity and dulness appropriated
to themselves the preeminence in Philosophy and flourished there. It
may indeed be said that since Philosophy began to take a place in
Germany, it has never looked so badly as at the present time—never
have emptiness and shallowness overlaid it so completely, and never
have they spoken and acted with such arrogance, as though all power
were in their hands! To combat the shallowness, to strive with German
earnestness and honesty, to draw Philosophy out of the solitude into
which it has wandered—to do such work as this we may hope that we are
called by the higher spirit of our time. Let us together greet the dawn
of a better time in which the spirit, hitherto a prey to externalities,
may return within itself, come to itself again, and win space and
room for a kingdom of its own, where true minds will rise above the
interests of the moment, and obtain the power to receive the true,
eternal and divine, the power to consider and to grasp the highest.

We elders, who in the storms of the age have ripened into men, may
think you happy whose youth falls in the day in which you may devote
the same undisturbed to Science and to Truth. I have dedicated my life
to Science, and it is a true joy to me to find myself again in this
place where I may, in a higher measure and more extensive circle,
work with others in the interests of the higher sciences, and help to
direct your way therein. I hope that I may succeed in deserving and
obtaining your confidence. But in the first place, I can ask nothing of
you but to bring with you, above all, a trust in science and a trust
in yourselves. The love of truth, faith in the power of mind, is the
first condition in Philosophy. Man, because he is Mind, should and must
deem himself worthy of the highest; he cannot think too highly of the
greatness and the power of his mind, and, with this belief, nothing
will be so difficult and hard that it will not reveal itself to him.
The Being of the universe, at first hidden and concealed, has no power
which can offer resistance to the search for knowledge; it has to lay
itself open before the seeker—to set before his eyes and give for his
enjoyment, its riches and its depths.


IN the History of Philosophy the observation is immediately forced
upon us that it certainly presents great interest if its subject is
regarded from a favourable point of view, but that it would still
possess interest even if its end were regarded as opposite to what it
is. Indeed, this interest may seem to increase in the degree in which
the ordinary conception of Philosophy, and of the end which its history
serves, is reversed; for from the History of Philosophy a proof of the
futility of the science is mainly derived.

The demand that a history, whatever the subject may be, should state
the facts without prejudice and without any particular object or end
to be gained by its means, must be regarded as a fair one. But with a
commonplace demand like this, we do not get far; for the history of a
subject is necessarily intimately connected with the conception which
is formed of it. In accordance with this what is important in it is
determined, and the relation of the events to the end regulates the
selection of facts to be recorded, the mode of comprehending them, and
the point of view under which they are regarded. It may happen from the
ideas formed of what a State really is, that a reader of the political
history of a country may find therein nothing of what he looks for.
Still more may this be the case in the history of Philosophy, and
representations of this history may be instanced in which everything,
excepting what was supposed to be Philosophy, appears to be found.

In other histories we have a clear conception of their subjects, at
least so far as their principal points are concerned; we know whether
they concern a particular land, people or race, or whether their
subject is the science of mathematics, physics, &c., or an art, such as
painting. The science of Philosophy has, however, this distinguishing
feature, and, if you will, this disadvantage as compared with other
sciences, that we find the most varied points of view as regards its
Notion, and regarding that which it ought to and can accomplish. If
this first assumption, the conception of the subject of the history, is
not established, the history itself is necessarily made vacillating,
and it only obtains consistency when it sets forth a definite
conception: but then in view of the various ways of regarding its
subject, it easily draws upon itself the reproach of one-sidedness.

That drawback relates, however, only to an external consideration of
this narrative; there is another and greater disadvantage allied to
it. If there are different Notions of the science of Philosophy, it
is the true Notion alone that puts us in a position to understand the
writings of philosophers who have worked in the knowledge of it. For in
thought, and particularly in speculative thought, comprehension means
something quite different from understanding the grammatical sense
of the words alone, and also from understanding them in the region
of ordinary conception only. Hence we may possess a knowledge of the
assertions, propositions, or of the opinions of philosophers; we may
have occupied ourselves largely with the grounds of and deductions from
these opinions, and the main point in all that we have done may be
wanting—the comprehension of the propositions. There is hence no lack
of voluminous and even learned histories of Philosophy in which the
knowledge of the matter itself about which so much ado has been made,
is absent. The authors of such histories may be compared to animals
which have listened to all the tones in some music, but to whose senses
the unison, the harmony of their tones, has not penetrated.

The circumstance mentioned makes it in no science so necessary as in
the history of Philosophy to commence with an Introduction, and in it
correctly to define, in the first place, the subject of the history
about to be related. For it may be said, How should we begin to treat
a subject, the name of which is certainly mentioned often enough, but
of whose nature we as yet know nothing? In treating the history of
Philosophy thus, we could have no other guidance than that of seeking
out and taking up whatever has received the name of Philosophy,
anywhere or any time. But in fact, when the Notion of Philosophy is
established, not arbitrarily but in a scientific way, such treatment
becomes the science of Philosophy itself. For in this science the
peculiar characteristic is that its Notion forms the beginning in
appearance merely, and it is only the whole treatment of the science
that is the proof, and indeed we may say the finding of its Notion; and
this is really a result of that treatment.

In this Introduction the Notion of the science of Philosophy, of the
subject of its history, has thus likewise to be set forth. At the same
time, though this Introduction professes to relate to the history of
Philosophy only, what has just been said of Philosophy on the whole,
also holds good. What can be said in this Introduction is not so much
something which may be stated beforehand, as what can be justified or
proved in the treatment of the history. These preparatory explanations
are for this reason only, not to be placed in the category of arbitrary
assumptions. But to begin with stating what in their justification are
really results, can only have the interest which may be possessed by a
summary, given in advance, of the most general contents of a science.
It must serve to set aside many questions and demands which might, from
our ordinary prejudices, arise in such a history.


THERE are various aspects under which the History of Philosophy may
possess interest. We shall find the central point of this interest in
the essential connection existing between what is apparently past and
the present stage reached by Philosophy. That this connection is not
one of the external considerations which may be taken into account in
the history of Philosophy, but really expresses its inner character:
that the events of this history, while they perpetuate themselves in
their effects like all other events, yet produce their results in a
special way—this it is which is here to be more clearly expounded.

What the history of Philosophy shows us is a succession of noble minds,
a gallery of heroes of thought, who, by the power of Reason, have
penetrated into the being of things, of nature and of spirit, into
the Being of God, and have won for us by their labours the highest
treasure, the treasure of reasoned knowledge.

The events and actions of this history are therefore such that
personality and individual character do not enter to any large degree
into its content and matter. In this respect the history of Philosophy
contrasts with political history, in which the individual, according to
the peculiarity of his disposition, talents, affections, the strength
or weakness of his character, and in general, according to that through
which he is this individual, is the subject of actions and events. In
Philosophy, the less deserts and merits are accorded to the particular
individual, the better is the history; and the more it deals with
thought as free, with the universal character of man as man, the more
this thought, which is devoid of special characteristic, is itself
shown to be the producing subject.

The acts of thought appear at first to be a matter of history, and,
therefore, things of the past, and outside our real existence. But in
reality we are what we are through history: or, more accurately, as
in the history of Thought, what has passed away is only one side, so
in the present, what we have as a permanent possession is essentially
bound up with our place in history. The possession of self-conscious
reason, which belongs to us of the present world, did not arise
suddenly, nor did it grow only from the soil of the present. This
possession must be regarded as previously present, as an inheritance,
and as the result of labour—the labour of all past generations of men.
Just as the arts of outward life, the accumulated skill and invention,
the customs and arrangements of social and political life, are the
result of the thought, care, and needs, of the want and the misery, of
the ingenuity, the plans and achievements of those who preceded us in
history, so, likewise, in science, and specially in Philosophy, do we
owe what we are to the tradition which, as Herder has put it,[1] like
a holy chain, runs through all that was transient, and has therefore
passed away. Thus has been preserved and transmitted to us what
antiquity produced.

But this tradition is not only a stewardess who simply guards
faithfully that which she has received, and thus delivers it unchanged
to posterity, just as the course of nature in the infinite change and
activity of its forms ever remains constant to its original laws and
makes no step in advance. Such tradition is no motionless statue, but
is alive, and swells like a mighty river, which increases in size the
further it advances from its source. The content of this tradition is
that which the intellectual world has brought forth, and the universal
Mind does not remain stationary. But it is just the universal Mind
with which we have to do. It may certainly be the case with a single
nation that its culture, art, science—its intellectual activities as a
whole—are at a standstill. This appears, perhaps, to be the case with
the Chinese, for example, who may have been as far advanced in every
respect two thousand years ago as now. But the world-spirit does not
sink into this rest of indifference; this follows from its very nature,
for its activity is its life. This activity presupposes a material
already present, on which it acts, and which it does not merely augment
by the addition, of new matter, but completely fashions and transforms.
Thus that which each generation has produced in science and in
intellectual activity, is an heirloom to which all the past generations
have added their savings, a temple in which all races of men thankfully
and cheerfully deposit that which rendered aid to them through life,
and which they had won from the depths of Nature and of Mind. To
receive this inheritance is also to enter upon its use. It constitutes
the soul of each successive generation, the intellectual substance of
the time; its principles, prejudices, and possessions; and this legacy
is degraded to a material which becomes metamorphosed by Mind. In this
manner that which is received is changed, and the material worked upon
is both enriched and preserved at the same time.

This is the function of our own and of every age: to grasp the
knowledge which is already existing, to make it our own, and in so
doing to develop it still further and to raise it to a higher level. In
thus appropriating it to ourselves we make it into something different
from what it was before. On the presupposition of an already existing
intellectual world which is transformed in our appropriation of it,
depends the fact that Philosophy can only arise in connection with
previous Philosophy, from which of necessity it has arisen. The course
of history does not show us the Becoming of things foreign to us, but
the Becoming of ourselves and of our own knowledge.

The ideas and questions which may be present to our mind regarding the
character and ends of the history of Philosophy, depend on the nature
of the relationship here given. In this lies the explanation of the
fact that the study of the history of Philosophy is an introduction to
Philosophy itself. The guiding principles for the formation of this
history are given in this fact, the further discussion of which must
thus be the main object of this introduction. We must also, however,
keep in mind, as being of fundamental importance, the conception of
the aim of Philosophy. And since, as already mentioned, the systematic
exposition of this conception cannot here find a place, such discussion
as we can now undertake, can only propose to deal with the subject
provisionally and not to give a thorough and conclusive account of the
nature of the Becoming of Philosophy.

This Becoming is not merely a passive movement, as we suppose movements
such as those of the sun and moon to be. It is no mere movement in
the unresisting medium of space and time. What we must represent to
ourselves is the activity of free thought; we have to present the
history of the world of thought as it has arisen and produced itself.

There is an old tradition that it is the faculty of thought which
separates men from beasts; and to this tradition we shall adhere. In
accordance with this, what man has, as being nobler than a beast,
he has through thinking. Everything which is human, however it may
appear, is so only because the thought contained in it works and has
worked. But thought, although it is thus the essential, substantial,
and effectual, has many other elements. We must, however, consider it
best when Thought does not pursue anything else, but is occupied only
with itself—with what is noblest—when it has sought and found itself.
The history which we have before us is the history of Thought finding
itself, and it is the case with Thought that it only finds itself in
producing itself; indeed, that it only exists and is actual in finding
itself. These productions are the philosophic systems; and the series
of discoveries on which Thought sets out in order to discover itself,
forms a work which has lasted twenty-five hundred years.

If the Thought which is essentially Thought, is in and for itself
and eternal, and that which is true is contained in Thought alone,
how, then, does this intellectual world come to have a history? In
history what appears is transient, has disappeared in the night of
the past and is no more. But true, necessary thought—and it is only
with such that we have to do—is capable of no change. The question
here raised constitutes one of those matters first to be brought
under our consideration. But in the second place, there are also
many most important things outside of Philosophy, which are yet the
work of Thought, and which are left unconsidered. Such are Religion,
Political History, forms of Government, and the Arts and Sciences. The
question arises as to how these operations differ from the subject of
consideration, and how they are related in history? As regards these
two points of view, it is desirable to show in what sense the history
of Philosophy is here taken, in order to see clearly what we are about.
Moreover, in the third place, we must first take a general survey
before we descend to particulars, else the whole is not seen for the
mere details—the wood is not seen for the trees, nor Philosophy for
mere philosophies. We require to have a general idea of the nature and
aim of the whole in order to know what to look for. Just as we first
desire to obtain a general idea of a country, which we should no longer
see in going into detail, so we desire to see the relation which single
philosophies bear to the whole; for in reality, the high value of the
detail lies in its relation to the whole. This is nowhere more the
case than with Philosophy, and also with its history. In the case of a
history, indeed, the establishment of the Universal seems to be less
needful than in that of one of the sciences proper. For history seems
at first to be a succession of chance events, in which each fact stands
isolated by itself, which has Time alone as a connecting-link. But even
in political history we are not satisfied with this. We see, or at
least divine in it, that essential connection in which the individual
events have their place and relation to an end or aim, and in this
way obtain significance. For the significant in history is such only
through its relation to and connection with a Universal. To perceive
this Universal is thus to apprehend the significance.

There are, therefore, the following points with which I wish to deal in
this introduction.

The first of these will be to investigate the character of the history
of Philosophy, its significance, its nature, and its aim, from which
will follow inferences as to its treatment. In particular, we shall
get an insight into the relation of the history of Philosophy to the
science of Philosophy, and this will be the most interesting point of
all. That is to say, this history represents, not merely the external,
accidental, events contained within it, but it shows how the content,
or that which appears to belong to mere history, really belongs to the
science of Philosophy. The history of Philosophy is itself scientific,
and thus essentially becomes the science of Philosophy.

In the second place, the Notion of Philosophy must be more adequately
determined, and from it must be deduced what should be excluded
from the history of Philosophy out of the infinite material and the
manifold aspects of the intellectual culture of the nations. Religion,
certainly, and the thoughts contained in and regarding it, particularly
when these are in the form of mythology, are, on account of their
matter, and the sciences with their ideas on the state, duties and
laws, on account of their form, so near Philosophy that the history
of the science of Philosophy threatens to become quite indefinite in
extent. It might be supposed that the history of Philosophy should take
account of all these ideas. Has not everything been called Philosophy
and philosophizing? On the one hand, the close connection has to be
further considered in which Philosophy stands with its allied subjects,
religion, art, the other sciences, and likewise with political history.
On the other hand, when the province of Philosophy has been correctly
defined, we reach, with the determination of what Philosophy is and
what pertains to it, the starting-point of its history, which must
be distinguished from the commencements of religious ideas and mere
thoughtful conjectures.

From the idea of the subject which is contained in these first two
points of view, it is necessary to pass on to the consideration of the
third point, to the general review of this history and to the division
of its progress into natural periods—such an arrangement to exhibit
it as an organic, progressive whole, as a rational connection through
which this history attains the dignity of a science. And I will not
occupy further space with reflections on the use of the history of
Philosophy, and other methods of treating it. The use is evident.
But, in conclusion, I wish to consider the sources of the history of
Philosophy, for this is customary.



THE thought which may first occur to us in the history of Philosophy,
is that the subject itself contains an inner contradiction. For
Philosophy aims at understanding what is unchangeable, eternal, in and
for itself: its end is Truth. But history tells us of that which has at
one time existed, at another time has vanished, having been expelled by
something else. Truth is eternal; it does not fall within the sphere of
the transient, and has no history. But if it has a history, and as this
history is only the representation of a succession of past forms of
knowledge, the truth is not to be found in it, for the truth cannot be
what has passed away.

It might be said that all this argument would affect not only the other
sciences, but in like degree the Christian religion, and it might be
found inconsistent that a history of this religion and of the other
sciences should exist; but it would be superfluous further to examine
this argument, for it is immediately contradicted by the very fact that
there are such histories. But in order to get a better understanding
of this apparent contradiction, we must distinguish between the
outward history of a religion or a science and the history of the
subject itself. And then we must take into account that the history
of Philosophy because of the special nature of its subject-matter,
is different from other histories. It is at once evident that the
contradiction in question could not refer to the outward history, but
merely to the inward, or that of the content itself. There is a history
of the spread of Christianity and of the lives of those who have avowed
it, and its existence has formed itself into that of a Church. This in
itself constitutes an external existence such that being brought into
contact with temporal affairs of the most diverse kind, its lot is a
varied one and it essentially possesses a history. And of the Christian
doctrine it is true that it, too, has its history, but it necessarily
soon reached its full development and attained to its appointed powers.
And this old creed has been an acknowledged influence to every age, and
will still be acknowledged unchanged as the Truth, even though this
acknowledgment were become no more than a pretence, and the words
an empty form. But the history of this doctrine in its wider sense
includes two elements: first the various additions to and deviations
from the truth formerly established, and secondly the combating of
these errors, the purification of the principles that remain from such
additions, and a consequent return to their first simplicity.

The other sciences, including Philosophy, have also an external history
like Religion. Philosophy has a history of its origin, diffusion,
maturity, decay, revival; a history of its teachers, promoters, and
of its opponents—often, too, of an outward relation to religion
and occasionally to the State. This side of its history likewise
gives occasion to interesting questions. Amongst other such, it is
asked why Philosophy, the doctrine of absolute Truth, seems to have
revealed itself on the whole to a small number of individuals, to
special nations, and how it has limited itself to particular periods
of time. Similarly with respect to Christianity, to the Truth in
a much more universal form than the philosophical, a difficulty
has been encountered in respect to the question whether there is a
contradiction in the fact that this religion should have appeared so
late in time, and that it should have remained so long and should still
remain limited to special races of men. But these and other similar
questions are too much a matter of detail to depend merely on the
general conflict referred to, and when we have further touched upon the
peculiar character of philosophic knowledge, we may go more specially
into the aspects which relate to the external existence and external
history of Philosophy.

But as regards the comparison between the history of Religion and that
of Philosophy as to inner content, there is not in the latter as there
is in Religion a fixed and fundamental truth which, as unchangeable, is
apart from history. The content of Christianity, which is Truth, has,
however, remained unaltered as such, and has therefore little history
or as good as none.[2] Hence in Religion, on account of its very nature
as Christianity, the conflict referred to disappears. The errors and
additions constitute no difficulty. They are transitory and altogether
historical in character.

The other sciences, indeed, have also according to their content a
History, a part of which relates to alterations, and the renunciation
of tenets which were formerly current. But a great, perhaps the
greater, part of the history relates to what has proved permanent,
so that what was new, was not an alteration on earlier acquisitions,
but an addition to them. These sciences progress through a process of
juxtaposition. It is true that in Botany, Mineralogy, and so on, much
is dependent on what was previously known, but by far the greatest
part remains stationary and by means of fresh matter is merely added
to without itself being affected by the addition. With a science
like Mathematics, history has, in the main, only the pleasing task
of recording further additions. Thus to take an example, elementary
geometry in so far as it was created by Euclid, may from his time on be
regarded as having no further history.

The history of Philosophy, on the other hand, shows neither the
motionlessness of a complete, simple content, nor altogether the onward
movement of a peaceful addition of new treasures to those already
acquired. It seems merely to afford the spectacle of ever-recurring
changes in the whole, such as finally are no longer even connected by a
common aim.


At this point appear these ordinary superficial ideas regarding the
history of Philosophy which have to be referred to and corrected. As
regards these very current views, which are doubtless known to you,
gentlemen, for indeed they are the reflections most likely to occur
in one’s first crude thoughts on a history of Philosophy, I will
shortly explain what requires explanation, and the explanation of the
differences in philosophies will lead us further into the matter itself.

a. _The History of Philosophy as an accumulation of Opinions._

History, at the first glance, includes in its aim the narration of
the accidental circumstances of times, of races, and of individuals,
treated impartially partly as regards their relation in time,
and partly as to their content. The appearance of contingency in
time-succession is to be dealt with later on. It is contingency of
content which is the idea with which we have first to deal—the idea of
contingent actions. But thoughts and not external actions, or griefs,
or joys, form the content of Philosophy. Contingent thoughts, however,
are nothing but opinions, and philosophical opinions are opinions
relating to the more special content of Philosophy, regarding God,
Nature and Spirit.

Thus we now meet the view very usually taken of the history of
Philosophy which ascribes to it the narration of a number of
philosophical opinions as they have arisen and manifested themselves
in time. This kind of matter is in courtesy called opinions; those who
think themselves more capable of judging rightly, call such a history
a display of senseless follies, or at least of errors made by men
engrossed in thought and in mere ideas. This view is not only held by
those who recognize their ignorance of Philosophy. Those who do this,
acknowledge it, because that ignorance is, in common estimation, held
to be no obstacle to giving judgment upon what has to do with the
subject; for it is thought that anybody can form a judgment on its
character and value without any comprehension, of it whatever. But
the same view is even held by those who write or have written on the
history of Philosophy. This history, considered only as the enumeration
of various opinions, thus becomes an idle tale, or, if you will, an
erudite investigation. For erudition is, in the main, acquaintance with
a number of useless things, that is to say, with that which has no
intrinsic interest or value further than being known. Yet it is thought
that profit is to be derived from learning the various opinions and
reflections of other men. It stimulates the powers of thought and also
leads to many excellent reflections; this signifies that now and then
it occasions an idea, and its art thus consists in the spinning one
opinion out of the other.

If the history of Philosophy merely represented various opinions in
array, whether they be of God or of natural and spiritual things
existent, it would be a most superfluous and tiresome science, no
matter what advantage might be brought forward as derived from such
thought-activity and learning. What can be more useless than to learn
a string of bald opinions, and what more unimportant? Literary works,
being histories of Philosophy in the sense that they produce and
treat the ideas of Philosophy as if they were opinions, need be only
superficially glanced at to find how dry and destitute of interest
everything about them is.

An opinion is a subjective conception, an uncontrolled thought, an
idea which may occur to me in one direction or in another: an opinion
is mine,[3] it is in itself a universal thought which is existent in
and for itself. But Philosophy possesses no opinions, for there is no
such thing as philosophical opinions. When we hear a man speaking of
philosophical opinions, even though he be an historian of philosophy
itself, we detect at once this want of fundamental education.
Philosophy is the objective science of truth, it is science of
necessity, conceiving knowledge, and neither opinion nor the spinning
out of opinions.

The more precise significance of this idea is that we get to know
opinions only, thus laying emphasis upon the word Opinion. Now the
direct opposite of opinion is the Truth; it is Truth before which
mere opinion pales. Those who in the history of Philosophy seek mere
theories, or who suppose that on the whole only such are to be found
within it, also turn aside when that word Truth confronts them.
Philosophy here encounters opposition from two different sides. On the
one hand piety openly declares Reason or Thought to be incapable of
apprehending what is true, and to lead only to the abyss of doubt; it
declares that independent thought must be renounced, and reason held in
bounds by faith in blind authority, if Truth is to be reached. Of the
relation existing between Religion and Philosophy and of its history,
we shall deal later on. On the other hand, it is known just as well,
that so-called reason has maintained its rights, abandoning faith in
mere authority, and has endeavoured to make Christianity rational, so
that throughout it is only my personal insight and conviction which
obliges me to make any admissions. But this affirmation of the right
of reason is turned round in an astonishing manner, so that it results
in making knowledge of the truth through reason an impossibility.
This so-called reason on the one hand has combated religious faith in
the name and power of thinking reason, and at the same time it has
itself turned against reason and is true reason’s adversary. Instinct
and feeling are maintained by it against the true reason, thus making
the measure of true value the merely subjective—that is a particular
conviction such as each can form in and for himself in his subjective
capacity. A personal conviction such as this is no more than the
particular opinion that has become final for men.

If we begin with what meets us in our very first conceptions, we cannot
neglect to make mention of this aspect in the history of Philosophy.
In its results it permeates culture generally, being at once the
misconception and true sign of our times. It is the principle through
which men mutually understand and know each other; an hypothesis
whose value is established and which is the ground of all the other
sciences. In theology it is not so much the creed of the church that
passes for Christianity, as that every one to a greater or less degree
makes a Christianity of his own to tally with his conviction. And in
history we often see theology driven into acquiring the knowledge of
various opinions in order that an interest may thus be furnished to
the science, and one of the first results of the attention paid them
is the honour awarded to all convictions, and the esteem vouchsafed to
what has been constituted merely by the individual. The endeavour to
know the Truth is then of course relinquished. It is true that personal
conviction is the ultimate and absolute essential which reason and its
philosophy, from a subjective point of view, demand in knowledge. But
there is a distinction between conviction when it rests on subjective
grounds such as feelings, speculations and perceptions, or, speaking
generally, on the particular nature of the subject, and when it rests
on thought proceeding from acquaintance with the Notion and the nature
of the thing. In the former case conviction is opinion.

This opposition between mere opinion and truth now sharply defined, we
already recognize in the culture of the period of Socrates and Plato—a
period of corruption in Greek life—as the Platonic opposition between
opinion _δόξα_ and Science _ἐπιστήμη_. It is the same opposition as
that which existed in the decadence of Roman public and political life
under Augustus, and subsequently when Epicureanism and indifference set
themselves up against Philosophy. Under this influence, when Christ
said, “I came into the world that I should bear witness unto the
Truth,” Pilate answered, “What is Truth?” That was said in a superior
way, and signifies that this idea of truth is an expedient which is
obsolete: we have got further, we know that there is no longer any
question about knowing the Truth, seeing that we have gone beyond it.
Who makes this statement has gone beyond it indeed. If this is made our
starting point in the history of Philosophy, its whole significance
will consist in finding out the particular ideas of others, each one of
which is different from the other: these individual points of view are
thus foreign to me: my thinking reason is not free, nor is it present
in them: for me they are but extraneous, dead historic matter, or so
much empty content, and to satisfy oneself with empty vanity is mere
subjective vanity itself.

To the impartial man, the Truth has always been a heart-stirring word
and one of great import. As to the assertion that the Truth cannot be
known, we shall consider it more closely in the history of Philosophy
itself where it appears. The only thing to be here remarked is that
if this assumption be allowed, as was the case with Tennemann, it is
beyond conception why anyone should still trouble about Philosophy,
since each opinion asserts falsely in its turn that it has found
the truth. This immediately recalls to me the old belief that Truth
consists in knowledge, but that an individual only knows the Truth in
so far as he reflects and not as he walks and stands: and that the
Truth cannot be known in immediate apprehension and perception, whether
it be external and sensuous, or whether it be intellectual perception
(for every perception as a perception is sensuous) but only through the
labour of thought.

b. _Proof of the futility of Philosophical Knowledge obtained through
the History of Philosophy itself._

From another point of view another consequence ensues from the above
conception of the history of Philosophy which may at will be looked
at as an evil or a benefit. In view of such manifold opinions and
philosophical systems so numerous, one is perplexed to know which
one ought to be accepted. In regard to the great matters to which
man is attracted and a knowledge of which Philosophy would bestow,
it is evident that the greatest minds have erred, because they have
been contradicted by others. “Since this has been so with minds so
great, how then can _ego homuncio_ attempt to form a judgment?” This
consequence, which ensues from the diversity in philosophical systems,
is, as may be supposed, the evil in the matter, while at the same time
it is a subjective good. For this diversity is the usual plea urged by
those who, with an air of knowledge, wish to make a show of interest
in Philosophy, to explain the fact that they, with this pretence of
good-will, and, indeed, with added motive for working at the science,
do in fact utterly neglect it. But this diversity in philosophical
systems is far from being merely an evasive plea. It has far more
weight as a genuine serious ground of argument against the zeal
which Philosophy requires. It justifies its neglect and demonstrates
conclusively the powerlessness of the endeavour to attain to
philosophic knowledge of the truth. When it is admitted that Philosophy
ought to be a real science, and one Philosophy must certainly be the
true, the question arises as to which Philosophy it is, and when it can
be known. Each one asserts its genuineness, each even gives different
signs and tokens by which the Truth can be discovered; sober reflective
thought must therefore hesitate to give its judgment.

This, then, is the wider interest which the history of Philosophy is
said to afford. Cicero (De natura Deorum I. 8 sq.) gives us from this
point of view, a most slovenly history of philosophic thought on God.
He puts it in the mouth of an Epicurean, but he himself knew of nothing
more favourable to say, and it is thus his own view. The Epicurean
says that no certain knowledge has been arrived at. The proof that
the efforts of philosophy are futile is derived directly from the
usual superficial view taken of its history; the results attendant
on that history make it appear to be a process in which the most
various thoughts arise in numerous philosophies, each of which opposes,
contradicts and refutes the other. This fact, which cannot be denied,
seems to contain the justification, indeed the necessity for applying
to Philosophy the words of Christ, “Let the dead bury their dead;
arise, and follow Me.” The whole of the history of Philosophy becomes
a battlefield covered with the bones of the dead; it is a kingdom
not merely formed of dead and lifeless individuals, but of refuted
and spiritually dead systems, since each has killed and buried the
other. Instead of “Follow thou Me,” here then it must indeed be said,
“Follow thine own self”—that is, hold by thine own convictions, remain
steadfast to thine own opinion, why adopt another?

It certainly happens that a new philosophy makes its appearance, which
maintains the others to be valueless; and indeed each one in turn
comes forth at first with the pretext that by its means all previous
philosophies not only are refuted, but what in them is wanting is
supplied, and now at length the right one is discovered. But following
upon what has gone before, it would rather seem that other words of
Scripture are just as applicable to such a philosophy—the words which
the Apostle Peter spoke to Ananias, “Behold the feet of them that shall
carry thee out are at the door.” Behold the philosophy by which thine
own will be refuted and displaced shall not tarry long as it has not
tarried before.

c. _Explanatory remarks on the diversity in Philosophies._

Certainly the fact is sufficiently well established that there are and
have been different philosophies. The Truth is, however, one; and the
instinct of reason maintains this irradicable intuition or belief. It
is said that only one philosophy can be true, and, because philosophies
are different, it is concluded that all others must be erroneous.
But, in fact, each one in turn gives every assurance, evidence and
proof of being the one and true Philosophy. This is a common mode of
reasoning and is what seems in truth to be the view of sober thought.
As regards the sober nature of the word at issue—thought—we can tell
from every-day experience that if we fast we feel hunger either at once
or very soon. But sober thought always has the fortunate power of not
resulting in hunger and desire, but of being and remaining as it is,
content. Hence the thought expressed in such an utterance reveals the
fact that it is dead understanding; for it is only death which fasts
and yet rests satisfied. But neither physical life nor intellectual
remains content with mere abstention; as desire it presses on through
hunger and through thirst towards Truth, towards knowledge itself. It
presses on to satisfy this desire and does not allow itself to feast
and find sufficiency in a reflection such as this.

As to this reflection, the next thing to be said of it is that however
different the philosophies have been, they had a common bond in
that they were Philosophy. Thus whoever may have studied or become
acquainted with a philosophy, of whatever kind, provided only that it
is such, has thereby become acquainted with Philosophy. That delusive
mode of reasoning which regards diversity alone, and from doubt of
or aversion to the particular form in which a Universal finds its
actuality, will not grasp or even allow this universal nature, I
have elsewhere[4] likened to an invalid recommended by the doctor to
eat fruit, and who has cherries, plums or grapes, before him, but
who pedantically refuses to take anything because no part of what is
offered him is fruit, some of it being cherries, and the rest plums or

But it is really important to have a deeper insight into the bearings
of this diversity in the systems of Philosophy. Truth and Philosophy
known philosophically, make such diversity appear in another light from
that of abstract opposition between Truth and Error. The explanation
of how this comes about will reveal to us the significance of the
whole history of Philosophy. We must make the fact conceivable, that
the diversity and number of philosophies not only does not prejudice
Philosophy itself, that is to say the possibility of a philosophy,
but that such diversity is, and has been, absolutely necessary to the
existence of a science of Philosophy and that it is essential to it.

This makes it easy to us to comprehend the aim of Philosophy, which
is in thought and in conception to grasp the Truth, and not merely
to discover that nothing can be known, or that at least temporal,
finite truth, which also is an untruth, can alone be known and not
the Truth indeed. Further we find that in the history of Philosophy
we have to deal with Philosophy itself. The facts within that history
are not adventures and contain no more romance than does the history
of the world. They are not a mere collection of chance events, of
expeditions of wandering knights, each going about fighting, struggling
purposelessly, leaving no results to show for all his efforts. Nor is
it so that one thing has been thought out here, another there, at will;
in the activity of thinking mind there is real connection, and what
there takes place is rational. It is with this belief in the spirit of
the world that we must proceed to history, and in particular to the
history of Philosophy.


The above statement, that the Truth is only one, is still abstract
and formal. In the deeper sense it is our starting point. But the
aim of Philosophy is to know this one Truth as the immediate source
from which all else proceeds, both all the laws of nature and all
the manifestations of life and consciousness of which they are
mere reflections, or to lead these laws and manifestations in ways
apparently contrary, back to that single source, and from that source
to comprehend them, which is to understand their derivation. Thus what
is most essential is to know that the single truth is not merely a
solitary, empty thought, but one determined within itself. To obtain
this knowledge we must enter into some abstract Notions which, as
such, are quite general and dry, and which are the two principles of
_Development_ and of the _Concrete_. We could, indeed, embrace the
whole in the single principle of development; if this were clear, all
else would result and follow of its own accord. The product of thinking
is the thought; thought is, however, still formal; somewhat more
defined it becomes Notion, and finally Idea is Thought in its totality,
implicitly and explicitly determined. Thus the Idea, and it alone is
Truth. Now it is essentially in the nature of the Idea to develop, and
only through development to arrive at comprehension of itself, or to
become what it is. That the Idea should have to make itself what it is,
seems like a contradiction; it may be said that it is what it is.

a. _The Notion of Development._

The idea of development is well known, but it is the special
characteristic of Philosophy to investigate such matters as were
formerly held as known. What is dealt with or made use of without
consideration as an aid to daily life, is certainly the unknown to man
unless he be informed in Philosophy. The further discussion of this
idea belongs to the science of Logic.

In order to comprehend what development is, what may be called two
different states must be distinguished. The first is what is known as
capacity, power, what I call being-in-itself (_potentia_, _δύναμις_);
the second principle is that of being-for-itself, actuality (_actus_,
_ἐνέργεια_). If we say, for example, that man is by nature rational,
we would mean that he has reason only inherently or in embryo: in this
sense, reason, understanding, imagination, will, are possessed from
birth or even from the mother’s womb. But while the child only has
capacities or the actual possibility of reason, it is just the same as
if he had no reason; reason does not yet exist in him since he cannot
yet do anything rational, and has no rational consciousness. Thus what
man is at first implicitly becomes explicit, and it is the same with
reason. If, then, man has actuality on whatever side, he is actually
rational; and now we come to reason.

What is the real meaning of this word? That which is in itself must
become an object to mankind, must arrive at consciousness, thus
becoming for man. What has become an object to him is the same as what
he is in himself; through the becoming objective of this implicit
being, man first becomes for himself; he is made double, is retained
and not changed into another. For example, man is thinking, and thus he
thinks out thoughts. In this way it is in thought alone that thought is
object; reason produces what is rational: reason is its own object. The
fact that thought may also descend to what is destitute of reason is
a consideration involving wider issues, which do not concern us here.
But even though man, who in himself is rational, does not at first
seem to have got further on since he became rational for himself—what
is implicit having merely retained itself—the difference is quite
enormous: no new content has been produced, and yet this form of
being for self makes all the difference. The whole variation in the
development of the world in history is founded on this difference.
This alone explains how since all mankind is naturally rational, and
freedom is the hypothesis on which this reason rests, slavery yet has
been, and in part still is, maintained by many peoples, and men have
remained contented under it. The only distinction between the Africans
and the Asiatics on the one hand, and the Greeks, Romans, and moderns
on the other, is that the latter know and it is explicit for them, that
they are free, but the others are so without knowing that they are,
and thus without existing as being free. This constitutes the enormous
difference in their condition. All knowledge, and learning, science,
and even commerce have no other object than to draw out what is inward
or implicit and thus to become objective.

Because that which is implicit comes into existence, it certainly
passes into change, yet it remains one and the same, for the whole
process is dominated by it. The plant, for example, does not lose
itself in mere indefinite change. From the germ much is produced when
at first nothing was to be seen; but the whole of what is brought
forth, if not developed, is yet hidden and ideally contained within
itself. The principle of this projection into existence is that
the germ cannot remain merely implicit, but is impelled towards
development, since it presents the contradiction of being only implicit
and yet not desiring so to be. But this coming without itself has
an end in view; its completion fully reached, and its previously
determined end is the fruit or produce of the germ, which causes a
return to the first condition. The germ will produce itself alone and
manifest what is contained in it, so that it then may return to itself
once more thus to renew the unity from which it started. With nature it
certainly is true that the subject which commenced and the matter which
forms the end are two separate units, as in the case of seed and fruit.
The doubling process has apparently the effect of separating into two
things that which in content is the same. Thus in animal life the
parent and the young are different individuals although their nature is
the same.

In Mind it is otherwise: it is consciousness and therefore it is free,
uniting in itself the beginning and the end. As with the germ in
nature, Mind indeed resolves itself back into unity after constituting
itself another. But what is in itself becomes for Mind and thus
arrives at being for itself. The fruit and seed newly contained within
it on the other hand, do not become for the original germ, but for us
alone; in the case of Mind both factors not only are implicitly the
same in character, but there is a being for the other and at the same
time a being for self. That for which the “other” is, is the same
as that “other;” and thus alone Mind is at home with itself in its
“other.” The development of Mind lies in the fact that its going forth
and separation constitutes its coming to itself.

This being-at-home-with-self, or coming-to-self of Mind may be
described as its complete and highest end: it is this alone that it
desires and nothing else. Everything that from eternity has happened
in heaven and earth, the life of God and all the deeds of time simply
are the struggles for Mind to know itself, to make itself objective
to itself, to find itself, be for itself, and finally unite itself to
itself; it is alienated and divided, but only so as to be able thus to
find itself and return to itself. Only in this manner does Mind attain
its freedom, for that is free which is not connected with or dependent
on another. True self-possession and satisfaction are only to be found
in this, and in nothing else but Thought does Mind attain this freedom.
In sense-perception, for instance, and in feeling, I find myself
confined and am not free; but I am free when I have a consciousness of
this my feeling. Man has particular ends and interests even in will; I
am free indeed when this is mine. Such ends, however, always contain
“another,” or something which constitutes for me “another,” such as
desire and impulse. It is in Thought alone that all foreign matter
disappears from view, and that Mind is absolutely free. All interest
which is contained in the Idea and in Philosophy is expressed in it.

b. _The Notion of the Concrete._

As to development, it may be asked, what does develop and what forms
the absolute content? Development is considered in the light of a
formal process in action and as destitute of content. But the act
has no other end but activity, and through this activity the general
character of the content is already fixed. For being-in-self and
being-for-self are the moments present in action; but the act is the
retention of these diverse elements within itself. The act thus is
really one, and it is just this unity of differences which is the
concrete. Not only is the act concrete, but also the implicit, which
stands to action in the relation of subject which begins, and finally
the product is just as concrete as the action or as the subject which
begins. Development in process likewise forms the content, the Idea
itself; for this we must have the one element and then the other: both
combined will form a unity as third, because the one in the other is
at home with, and not without, itself. Thus the Idea is in its content
concrete within itself, and this in two ways: first it is concrete
potentially, and then it is its interest that what is in itself should
be there for it.

It is a common prejudice that the science of Philosophy deals only with
abstractions and empty generalities, and that sense-perception, our
empirical self-consciousness, natural instinct, and the feelings of
every-day life, lie, on the contrary, in the region of the concrete and
the self-determined. As a matter of fact, Philosophy is in the region
of thought, and has therefore to deal with universals; its content
is abstract, but only as to form and element. In itself the Idea is
really concrete, for it is the union of the different determinations.
It is here that reasoned knowledge differs from mere knowledge of the
understanding, and it is the business of Philosophy, as opposed to
understanding, to show that the Truth or the Idea does not consist
in empty generalities, but in a universal; and that is within itself
the particular and the determined. If the Truth is abstract it must
be untrue. Healthy human reason goes out towards what is concrete;
the reflection of the understanding comes first as abstract and
untrue, correct in theory only, and amongst other things unpractical.
Philosophy is what is most antagonistic to abstraction, and it leads
back to the concrete.

If we unite the Notion of the concrete with that of development we have
the motion of the concrete. Since the implicit is already concrete
within itself, and we only set forth what is implicitly there, the new
form which now looks different and which was formerly shut up in the
original unity, is merely distinguished. The concrete must become for
itself or explicit; as implicit or potential it is only differentiated
within itself, not as yet explicitly set forth, but still in a state
of unity. The concrete is thus simple, and yet at the same time
differentiated. This, its inward contradiction, which is indeed the
impelling force in development, brings distinction into being. But
thus, too, its right to be taken back and reinstated extends beyond
the difference; for its truth is only to be found in unity. Life, both
that which is in Nature and that which is of the Idea, of Mind within
itself, is thus manifested. Were the Idea abstract, it would simply be
the highest conceivable existence, and that would be all that could
be said of it; but such a God is the product of the understanding of
modern times. What is true is rather found in motion, in a process,
however, in which there is rest; difference, while it lasts, is but a
temporary condition, through which comes unity, full and concrete.

We may now proceed to give examples of sensuous things, which will help
us further to explain this Notion of the concrete. Although the flower
has many qualities, such as smell, taste, form, colour, &c., yet it is
one. None of these qualities could be absent in the particular leaf or
flower: each individual part of the leaf shares alike all the qualities
of the leaf entire. Gold, similarly contains in every particle all
its qualities unseparated and entire. It is frequently allowed with
sensuous things that such varied elements may be joined together, but,
in the spiritual, differentiation is supposed to involve opposition. We
do not controvert the fact, or think it contradictory, that the smell
and taste of the flower, although otherwise opposed, are yet clearly
in one subject; nor do we place the one against the other. But the
understanding and understanding thought find everything of a different
kind, placed in conjunction, to be incompatible. Matter, for example,
is complex and coherent, or space is continuous and uninterrupted.
Likewise we may take separate points in space and break up matter
dividing it ever further into infinity. It then is said that matter
consists of atoms and points, and hence is not continuous. Therefore
we have here the two determinations of continuity and of definite
points, which understanding regards as mutually exclusive, combined
in one. It is said that matter must be clearly either continuous or
divisible into points, but in reality it has both these qualities. Or
when we say of the mind of man that it has freedom, the understanding
at once brings up the other quality, which in this case is necessity,
saying, that if Mind is free it is not in subjection to necessity, and,
inversely, if its will and thought are determined through necessity, it
is not free—the one, they say, excludes the other. The distinctions
here are regarded as exclusive, and not as forming something concrete.
But that which is true, the Mind, is concrete, and its attributes are
freedom and necessity. Similarly the higher point of view is that Mind
is free in its necessity, and finds its freedom in it alone, since
its necessity rests on its freedom. But it is more difficult for us
to show the unity here than in the case of natural objects. Freedom
can, however, be also abstract freedom without necessity, which
false freedom is self-will, and for that reason it is self-opposed,
unconsciously limited, an imaginary freedom which is free in form

The fruit of development, which comes third, is a result of motion,
but inasmuch as it is merely the result of one stage in development,
as being last in this stage, it is both the starting point and the
first in order in another such stage. Goethe somewhere truly says,
“That which is formed ever resolves itself back into its elements.”
Matter—which as developed has form—constitutes once more the material
for a new form. Mind again takes as its object and applies its activity
to the Notion in which in going within itself, it has comprehended
itself, which it is in form and being, and which has just been
separated from it anew. The application of thought to this, supplies it
with the form and determination of thought. This action thus further
forms the previously formed, gives it additional determinations, makes
it more determinate in itself, further developed and more profound. As
concrete, this activity is a succession of processes in development
which must be represented not as a straight line drawn out into vague
infinity, but as a circle returning within itself, which, as periphery,
has very many circles, and whose whole is a large number of processes
in development turning back within themselves.

c. _Philosophy as the apprehension of the development of the Concrete._

Having thus generally explained the nature of the Concrete, I now add
as regards its import, that the Truth thus determined within itself
is impelled towards development. It is only the living and spiritual
which internally bestirs and develops itself. Thus the Idea as concrete
in itself, and self-developing, is an organic system and a totality
which contains a multitude of stages and of moments in development.
Philosophy has now become for itself the apprehension of this
development, and as conceiving Thought, is itself this development in
Thought. The more progress made in this development, the more perfect
is the Philosophy.

This development goes no further out than into externality, but the
going without itself of development also is a going inwards. That
is to say, the universal Idea continues to remain at the foundation
and still is the all-embracing and unchangeable. While in Philosophy
the going out of the Idea in course of its development is not a
change, a becoming “another,” but really is a going within itself,
a self-immersion, the progress forward makes the Idea which was
previously general and undetermined, determined within itself. Further
development of the Idea or its further determination is the same
thing exactly. Depth seems to signify intensiveness, but in this case
the most extensive is also the most intensive. The more intensive is
the Mind, the more extensive is it, hence the larger is its embrace.
Extension as development, is not dispersion or falling asunder, but
a uniting bond which is the more powerful and intense as the expanse
of that embraced is greater in extent and richer. In such a case what
is greater is the strength of opposition and of separation; and the
greater power overcomes the greater separation.

These are the abstract propositions regarding the nature of the Idea
and of its development, and thus within it Philosophy in its developed
state is constituted: it is one Idea in its totality and in all its
individual parts, like one life in a living being, one pulse throbs
throughout all its members. All the parts represented in it, and their
systematization, emanate from the one Idea; all these particulars are
but the mirrors and copies of this one life, and have their actuality
only in this unity. Their differences and their various qualities are
only the expression of the Idea and the form contained within it. Thus
the Idea is the central point, which is also the periphery, the source
of light, which in all its expansion does not come without itself, but
remains present and immanent within itself. Thus it is both the system
of necessity and its own necessity, which also constitutes its freedom.


Thus we see that Philosophy is system in development; the history of
Philosophy is the same; and this is the main point to be noted and the
first principle to be dealt with in this treatise on that history. In
order to make this evident, the difference in respect to the possible
modes of manifestation must first be pointed out. That is to say, the
progression of the various stages in the advance of Thought may occur
with the consciousness of necessity, in which case each in succession
deduces itself, and this form and this determination can alone emerge.
Or else it may come about without this consciousness as does a natural
and apparently accidental process, so that while inwardly, indeed,
the Notion brings about its result consistently, this consistency is
not made manifest. This is so in nature; in the various stages of the
development of twigs, leaves, blossom and fruit, each proceeds for
itself, but the inward Idea is the directing and determining force
which governs the progression. This is also so with the child whose
bodily powers, and above all whose intellectual activities, make their
appearance one after the other, simply and naturally, so that those
parents who form such an experience for the first time, marvel whence
all that is now showing itself from within, comes from; for the whole
of these manifestations merely have the form of a succession in time.

The one kind of progression which represents the deduction of the
forms, the necessity thought out and recognized, of the determinations,
is the business of Philosophy; and because it is the pure Idea which
is in question and not yet its mere particularized form as Nature and
as Mind, that representation is, in the main, the business of logical
Philosophy. But the other method, which represents the part played by
the history of Philosophy, shows the different stages and moments in
development in time, in manner of occurrence, in particular places,
in particular people or political circumstances, the complications
arising thus, and, in short, it shows us the empirical form. This point
of view is the only one worthy of this science. From the very nature
of the subject it is inherently the true one, and through the study of
this history it will be made manifest that it actually shows and proves
itself so.

Now in reference to this Idea, I maintain that the sequence in the
systems of Philosophy in History is similar to the sequence in the
logical deduction of the Notion-determinations in the Idea. I maintain
that if the fundamental conceptions of the systems appearing in the
history of Philosophy be entirely divested of what regards their
outward form, their relation to the particular and the like, the
various stages in the determination of the Idea are found in their
logical Notion. Conversely in the logical progression taken for
itself, there is, so far as its principal elements are concerned,
the progression of historical manifestations; but it is necessary to
have these pure Notions in order to know what the historical form
contains. It may be thought that Philosophy must have another order as
to the stages in the Idea than that in which these Notions have gone
forth in time; but in the main the order is the same. This succession
undoubtedly separates itself, on the one hand, into the sequence in
time of History, and on the other into succession in the order of
ideas. But to treat more fully of this last would divert us too far
from our aim.

I would only remark this, that what has been said reveals that the
study of the history of Philosophy is the study of Philosophy itself,
for, indeed, it can be nothing else. Whoever studies the history of
sciences such as Physics and Mathematics, makes himself acquainted with
Physics and Mathematics themselves. But in order to obtain a knowledge
of its progress as the development of the Idea in the empirical,
external form in which Philosophy appears in History, a corresponding
knowledge of the Idea is absolutely essential, just as in judging of
human affairs one must have a conception of that which is right and
fitting. Else, indeed, as in so many histories of Philosophy, there is
presented to the vision devoid of idea, only a disarranged collection
of opinions. To make you acquainted with this Idea, and consequently
to explain the manifestations, is the business of the history of
Philosophy, and to do this is my object in undertaking to lecture on
the subject. Since the observer must bring with him the Notion of
the subject in order to see it in its phenomenal aspect and in order
to expose the object faithfully to view, we need not wonder at there
being so many dull histories of Philosophy in which the succession of
its systems are represented simply as a number of opinions, errors and
freaks of thought. They are freaks of thought which, indeed, have been
devised with a great pretension of acuteness and of mental exertion,
and with everything else which can be said in admiration of what is
merely formal. But, considering the absence of philosophic mind in
such historians as these, how should they be able to comprehend and
represent the content, which is reasoned thought?

It is shown from what has been said regarding the formal nature of the
Idea, that only a history of Philosophy thus regarded as a system of
development in Idea, is entitled to the name of Science: a collection
of facts constitutes no science. Only thus as a succession of phenomena
established through reason, and having as content just what is reason
and revealing it, does this history show that it is rational: it shows
that the events recorded are in reason. How should the whole of what
has taken place in reason not itself be rational? That faith must
surely be the more reasonable in which chance is not made ruler over
human affairs, and it is the business of Philosophy to recognize that
however much its own manifestations may be history likewise, it is yet
determined through the Idea alone.

Through these general preliminary conceptions the categories are now
determined, the more immediate application of which to the history of
Philosophy we have now to consider. This application will bring before
us the most significant aspects in this history.

a. _The development in Time of the various Philosophies._

The first question which may be asked in reference to this history,
concerns that distinction in regard to the manifestation of the Idea,
which has just been noticed. It is the question as to how it happens
that Philosophy appears to be a development in time and has a history.
The answer to this question encroaches on the metaphysics of Time, and
it would be a digression from our object to give here more than the
elements on which the answer rests.

It has been shown above in reference to the existence of Mind, that
its Being is its activity. Nature, on the contrary, is, as it is; its
changes are thus only repetitions, and its movements take the form of a
circle merely. To express this better, the activity of Mind is to know
itself. I am, immediately, but this I am only as a living organism;
as Mind I am only in so far as I know myself. _Γνῶθι σεαυτόν_, Know
thyself, the inscription over the temple of the oracle at Delphi,
is the absolute command which is expressed by Mind in its essential
character. But consciousness really implies that for myself, I am
object to myself. In forming this absolute division between what is
mine and myself, Mind constitutes its existence and establishes itself
as external to itself. It postulates itself in the externality which is
just the universal and the distinctive form of existence in Nature. But
one of the forms of externality is Time, and this form requires to be
further examined both in the Philosophy of Nature and the finite Mind.

This Being in existence and therefore Being in time is a moment not
only of the individual consciousness, which as such is essentially
finite, but also of the development of the philosophical Idea in the
element of Thought. For the Idea, thought of as being at rest, is,
indeed, not in Time. To think of it as at rest, and to preserve it in
the form of immediacy is equivalent to its inward perception. But the
Idea as concrete, is, as has been shown, the unity of differences; it
is not really rest, and its existence is not really sense-perception,
but as differentiation within itself and therefore as development,
it comes into existent Being and into externality in the element of
Thought, and thus pure Philosophy appears in thought as a progressive
existence in time. But this element of Thought is itself abstract and
is the activity of a single consciousness. Mind is, however, not only
to be considered as individual, finite consciousness, but as that
Mind which is universal and concrete within itself; this concrete
universality, however, comprehends all the various sides and modes
evolved in which it is and becomes object to the Idea. Thus Mind’s
thinking comprehension of self is at the same time the progression of
the total actuality evolved. This progression is not one which takes
its course through the thought of an individual and exhibits itself
in a single consciousness, for it shows itself to be universal Mind
presenting itself in the history of the world in all the richness of
its form. The result of this development is that one form, one stage in
the Idea comes to consciousness in one particular race, so that this
race and this time expresses only this particular form, within which it
constructs its universe and works out its conditions. The higher stage,
on the other hand, centuries later reveals itself in another race of

Now if we thus grasp the principles of the Concrete and of Development,
the nature of the manifold obtains quite another signification, and
what is said of the diversity in philosophies as if the manifold were
fixed and stationary and composed of what is mutually exclusive, is at
once refuted and relegated to its proper place. Such talk is that in
which those who despise Philosophy think they possess an invincible
weapon against it, and in their truly beggarly pride in their pitiful
representations of it, they are in perfect ignorance even of what they
have and what they have to know in any meagre ideas attained, such as
in that of the manifold and diverse. Yet this category is one which
anybody can understand; no difficulty is made in regard to it, for
it is thoroughly known, and those who use it think they can do so as
being entirely comprehensible—as a matter of course they understand
what it is. But those who believe the principle of diversity to be
one absolutely fixed, do not know its nature, or its dialectic; the
manifold or diverse is in a state of flux; it must really be conceived
of as in the process of development, and as but a passing moment.
Philosophy in its concrete Idea is the activity of development in
revealing the differences which it contains within itself; these
differences are thoughts, for we are now speaking of development in
Thought. In the first place, the differences which rest in the Idea
are manifested as thoughts. Secondly, these distinctions must come
into existence, one here and the other there; and in order that they
may do this, they must be complete, that is, they must contain within
themselves the Idea in its totality. The concrete alone as including
and supporting the distinctions, is the actual; it is thus, and thus
alone, that the differences are in their form entire.

A complete form of thought such as is here presented, is a Philosophy.
But the Idea contains the distinctions in a peculiar form. It may be
said that the form is indifferent, and that the content, the Idea, is
the main consideration; and people think themselves quite moderate and
reasonable when they state that the different philosophies all contain
the Idea, though in different forms, understanding by this that these
forms are contingent. But everything hangs on this: these forms are
nothing else than the original distinctions in the Idea itself, which
is what it is only in them. They are in this way essential to, and
constitute the content of the Idea, which in thus sundering itself,
attains to form. The manifold character of the principles which
appear, is, however, not accidental, but necessary: the different
forms constitute an integral part of the whole form. They are the
determinations of the original Idea, which together constitute the
whole; but as being outside of one another, their union does not take
place in them, but in us, the observers. Each system is determined as
one, but it is not a permanent condition that the differences are thus
mutually exclusive. The inevitable fate of these determinations must
follow, and that is that they shall be drawn together and reduced to
elements or moments. The independent attitude taken up by each moment
is again laid aside. After expansion, contraction follows—the unity
out of which they first emerged. This third may itself be but the
beginning of a further development. It may seem as if this progression
were to go on into infinitude, but it has an absolute end in view,
which we shall know better later on; many turnings are necessary,
however, before Mind frees itself in coming to consciousness.

The temple of self-conscious reason is to be considered from this the
point of view alone worthy of the history of Philosophy. It is hence
rationally built by an inward master worker, and not in Solomon’s
method, as freemasons build. The great assumption that what has taken
place on this side, in the world, has also done so in conformity
with reason—which is what first gives the history of Philosophy
its true interest—is nothing else than trust in Providence, only
in another form. As the best of what is in the world is that which
Thought produces, it is unreasonable to believe that reason only is
in Nature, and not in Mind. That man who believes that what, like the
philosophies, belongs to the region of mind must be merely contingent,
is insincere in his belief in divine rule, and what he says of it is
but empty talk.

A long time is undoubtedly required by Mind in working out Philosophy,
and when one first reflects on it, the length of the time may seem
astonishing, like the immensity of the space spoken of in astronomy.
But it must be considered in regard to the slow progress of the
world-spirit, that there is no need for it to hasten:—“A thousand
years are in Thy sight as one day.” It has time enough just because it
is itself outside of time, because it is eternal. The fleeting events
of the day pass so quickly that there is not time enough for all that
has to be done. Who is there who does not die before he has achieved
his aims? The world-spirit has time enough, but that is not all. It
is not time alone which has to be made use of in the acquisition of
a conception; much else is required. The fact that so many races and
generations are devoted to these operations of its consciousness by
Mind, and that the appearance is so perpetually presented of rising
up and passing away, concern it not at all; it is rich enough for
such displays, it pursues its work on the largest possible scale,
and has nations and individuals enough and to spare. The saying that
Nature arrives at its end in the shortest possible way, and that this
is right, is a trivial one. The way shown by mind is indirect, and
accommodates itself to circumstances. Considerations of finite life,
such as time, trouble, and cost, have no place here. We ought, too, to
feel no disappointment that particular kinds of knowledge cannot yet be
attained, or that this or that is still absent. In the history of the
world progression is slow.

b. _The application of the foregoing to the treatment of Philosophy._

The first result which follows from what has been said, is that the
whole of the history of Philosophy is a progression impelled by an
inherent necessity, and one which is implicitly rational and _à priori_
determined through its Idea; and this the history of Philosophy has to
exemplify. Contingency must vanish on the appearance of Philosophy.
Its history is just as absolutely determined as the development of
Notions, and the impelling force is the inner dialectic of the forms.
The finite is not true, nor is it what it is to be—its determinate
nature is bound up with its existence. But the inward Idea abolishes
these finite forms: a philosophy which has not the absolute form
identical with the content, must pass away because its form is not that
of truth.

What follows, secondly from what we have said, is that every philosophy
has been and still is necessary. Thus none have passed away, but
all are affirmatively contained as elements in a whole. But we must
distinguish between the particular principle of these philosophies as
particular, and the realization of this principle throughout the whole
compass of the world. The principles are retained, the most recent
philosophy being the result of all preceding, and hence no philosophy
has ever been refuted. What has been refuted is not the principle of
this philosophy, but merely the fact that this principle should be
considered final and absolute in character. The atomic philosophy,
for example, has arrived at the affirmation that the atom is the
absolute existence, that it is the indivisible unit which is also the
individual or subject; seeing, then, that the bare unit also is the
abstract being-for-self, the Absolute would be grasped as infinitely
many units. The atomic theory has been refuted, and we are atomists
no longer. Mind is certainly explicitly existent as a unit or atom,
but that is to attribute to it a barren character and qualities
incapable of expressing anything of its depth. The principle is indeed
retained, although it is not the absolute in its entirety. This same
contradiction appears in all development. The development of the tree
is the negation of the germ, and the blossom that of the leaves, in so
far as that they show that these do not form the highest and truest
existence of the tree. Last of all, the blossom finds its negation in
the fruit. Yet none of them can come into actual existence excepting
as preceded by all the earlier stages. Our attitude to a philosophy
must thus contain an affirmative side and a negative; when we take both
of these into consideration, we do justice to a philosophy for the
first time. We get to know the affirmative side later on both in life
and in science; thus we find it easier to refute than to justify.

In the third place, we shall limit ourselves to the particular
consideration of the principle itself. Each principle has reigned for a
certain time, and when the whole system of the world has been explained
from this special form, it is called a philosophical system. Its whole
theory has certainly to be learned, but as long as the principle is
abstract it is not sufficient to embrace the forms belonging to our
conception of the world. The Cartesian principles, for instance, are
very suitable for application to mechanism, but for nothing further;
their representation of other manifestations in the world, such as
those of vegetable and animal nature, are insufficient, and hence
uninteresting. Therefore we take into consideration the principles of
these philosophies only, but in dealing with concrete philosophies
we must also regard the chief forms of their development and their
applications. The subordinate philosophies are inconsistent; they have
had bright glimpses of the truth, which are, however, independent
of their principles. This is exemplified in the Timæus of Plato, a
philosophy of nature, the working out of which is empirically very
barren because its principle does not as yet extend far enough, and it
is not to its principle that we owe the deep gleams of thought there

In the fourth place it follows that we must not regard the history
of Philosophy as dealing with the past, even though it is history.
The scientific products of reason form the content of this history,
and these are not past. What is obtained in this field of labour is
the True, and, as such, the Eternal; it is not what exists now, and
not then; it is true not only to-day or to-morrow, but beyond all
time, and in as far as it is in time, it is true always and for every
time. The bodily forms of those great minds who are the heroes of this
history, the temporal existence and outward lives of the philosophers,
are, indeed, no more, but their works and thoughts have not followed
suit, for they neither conceived nor dreamt of the rational import
of their works. Philosophy is not somnambulism, but is developed
consciousness; and what these heroes have done is to bring that which
is implicitly rational out of the depths of Mind, where it is found at
first as substance only, or as inwardly existent, into the light of
day, and to advance it into consciousness and knowledge. This forms a
continuous awakening. Such work is not only deposited in the temple of
Memory as forms of times gone by, but is just as present and as living
now as at the time of its production. The effects produced and work
performed are not again destroyed or interrupted by what succeeds, for
they are such that we must ourselves be present in them. They have as
medium neither canvas, paper, marble, nor representation or memorial
to preserve them. These mediums are themselves transient, or else form
a basis for what is such. But they do have Thought, Notion, and the
eternal Being of Mind, which moths cannot corrupt, nor thieves break
through and steal. The conquests made by Thought when constituted
into Thought form the very Being of Mind. Such knowledge is thus not
learning merely, or a knowledge of what is dead, buried and corrupt:
the history of Philosophy has not to do with what is gone, but with the
living present.

c. _Further comparison between the History of Philosophy and Philosophy

We may appropriate to ourselves the whole of the riches apportioned
out in time: it must be shown from the succession in philosophies how
that succession is the systematization of the science of Philosophy
itself. But a distinction is to be noted here: that which first
commences is implicit, immediate, abstract, general—it is what has
not yet advanced; the more concrete and richer comes later, and the
first is poorer in determinations. This may appear contrary to one’s
first impressions, but philosophic ideas are often enough directly
opposed to ordinary ideas, and what is generally supposed, is not found
to be the case. It may be thought that what comes first must be the
concrete. The child, for instance, as still in the original totality
of his nature, is thought to be more concrete than the man, hence we
imagine the latter to be more limited, no longer forming a totality,
but living an abstract life. Certainly the man acts in accordance with
definite ends, not bringing his whole soul and mind into a subject,
but splitting his life into a number of abstract unities. The child
and the youth, on the contrary, act straight from the fulness of the
heart. Feeling and sense-perception come first, thought last, and thus
feeling appears to us to be more concrete than thought, or the activity
of abstraction and of the universal. In reality, it is just the other
way. The sensuous consciousness is certainly the more concrete, and if
poorer in thought, at least richer in content. We must thus distinguish
the naturally concrete from the concrete of thought, which on its
side, again, is wanting in sensuous matter. The child is also the most
abstract and the poorest in thought: as to what pertains to nature, the
man is abstract, but in thought he is more concrete than the child.
Man’s ends and objects are undoubtedly abstract in general affairs,
such as in maintaining his family or performing his business duties,
but he contributes to a great objective organic whole, whose progress
he advances and directs. In the acts of a child, on the other hand,
only a childish and, indeed, momentary “I,” and in those of the youth
the subjective constitution or the random aim, form the principle
of action. It is in this way that science is more concrete than

In applying this to the different forms of Philosophy, it follows in
the first place, that the earliest philosophies are the poorest and the
most abstract. In them the Idea is least determined; they keep merely
to generalities not yet realized. This must be known in order that we
may not seek behind the old philosophies for more than we are entitled
to find; thus we need not require from them determinations proceeding
from a deeper consciousness. For instance, it has been asked whether
the philosophy of Thales is, properly speaking, Theism or Atheism,[5]
whether he asserted a personal God or merely an impersonal, universal
existence. The question here regards the attribution of subjectivity
to the highest Idea, the conception of the Personality of God. Such
subjectivity as we comprehend it, is a much richer, more concentrated,
and therefore much later conception, which need not be sought for in
distant ages. The Greek gods had, indeed, personality in imagination
and idea like the one God of the Jewish religion, but to know what
is the mere picture of fancy, and what the insight of pure Thought
and Notion, is quite another thing. If we take as basis our own
ideas judged by these deeper conceptions, an ancient Philosophy may
undoubtedly be spoken of as Atheism. But this expression would at the
same time be false, for the thoughts as thoughts in beginning, could
not have arrived at the development which we have reached.

From this it follows—since the progress of development is equivalent
to further determination, and this means further immersion in and a
fuller grasp of the Idea itself—that the latest, most modern and
newest philosophy is the most developed, richest and deepest. In that
philosophy everything which at first seems to be past and gone must be
preserved and retained, and it must itself be a mirror of the whole
history. The original philosophy is the most abstract, because it is
the original and has not as yet made any movement forward; the last,
which proceeds from this forward and impelling influence, is the
most concrete. This, as may at once be remarked, is no mere pride in
the philosophy of our time, because it is in the nature of the whole
process that the more developed philosophy of a later time is really
the result of the previous operations of the thinking mind; and that
it, pressed forwards and onwards from the earlier standpoints, has not
grown up on its own account or in a state of isolation.

It must also be recollected that we must not hesitate to say, what is
naturally implied, that the Idea, as comprehended and shown forth in
the latest and newest philosophy, is the most developed, the richest
and deepest. I call this to remembrance because the designation, new
or newest of all in reference to Philosophy, has become a very common
by-word. Those who think they express anything by using such terms
might quite easily render thanks respecting any number of philosophies
just as fast as their inclination directs, regarding either every
shooting-star and even every candle-gleam in the light of a sun, or
else calling every popular cry a philosophy, and adducing as proof that
at any rate there are so many philosophies that every day one displaces
another. Thus they have the category in which they can place any
apparently significant philosophy, and through which they may at the
same time set it aside; this they call a fashion-philosophy.

  “Scoffer, thou call’st this but a fleeting phase
  When the Spirit of Man once again and anew,
  Strives earnestly on, towards forms that are higher.”

A second consequence has regard to the treatment of the older
philosophies. Such insight also prevents us from ascribing any blame
to the philosophies when we miss determinations in them which were not
yet present to their culture, and similarly it prevents our burdening
them with deductions and assertions which were neither made nor thought
of by them, though they might correctly enough allow themselves to
be derived from the thought of such a philosophy. It is necessary
to set to work on an historical basis, and to ascribe to Philosophy
what is immediately given to us, and that alone. Errors crop up here
in most histories of Philosophy, since we may see in them a number
of metaphysical propositions ascribed to a philosopher and given out
as an historical statement of the views which he has propounded, of
which he neither thought nor knew a word, and of which there is not
the slightest trace found in history. Thus in Brucker’s great History
of Philosophy (Pt. I. pp. 465-478 seq.) a list of thirty, forty, or a
hundred theorems are quoted from Thales and others, no idea of which
can be traced in history as having been present to these philosophers.
There are also propositions in support of them and citations taken
from discussions of a similar kind with which we may occupy ourselves
long enough. Brucker’s method is to endow the single theorem of an
ancient philosopher with all the consequences and premises which must,
according to the idea of the Wolffian Metaphysics, be the premises and
conclusions of that theorem, and thus easily to produce a simple, naked
fiction as if it were an actual historical fact. Thus, according to
Brucker, Thales said, _Ex nihilo fit nihil_, since he said that water
was eternal. Thus, too, he was to be counted amongst the philosophers
who deny creation out of nothing; and of this, historically at least,
Thales was ignorant. Professor Ritter, too, whose history of Ionic
Philosophy is carefully written, and who on the whole is cautious not
to introduce foreign matter, has very possibly ascribed to Thales more
than is found in history. He says (pp. 12, 13), “Hence we must regard
the view of nature which we find in Thales as dynamic in principle.
He regarded the world as the all-embracing, living animal which
has developed from a germ like every other animal, and this germ,
like that of all other animals, is either damp or water. Thus the
fundamental idea of Thales is that the world is a living whole which
has developed from a germ and carries on its life as does an animal,
by means of nourishment suitable to its nature” (cf. p. 16). This is
quite a different account from that of Aristotle, and none of it is
communicated by the ancients regarding Thales. The sequence of thought
is evident, but historically it is not justified. We ought not by such
deductions to make an ancient philosophy into something quite different
from what it originally was.

We are too apt to mould the ancient philosophers into our own forms of
thought, but this is just to constitute the progress of development;
the difference in times, in culture and in philosophies, depends on
whether certain reflections, certain thought determinations, and
certain stages in the Notion have come to consciousness, whether a
consciousness has been developed to a particular point or not. The
history of Philosophy has simply to deal with this development and
bringing forth of thought. The determinations involved certainly follow
from a proposition, but whether they are put forth as yet or not is
quite another thing, and the bringing forth of the inner content is the
only matter of importance. We must therefore only make use of the words
which are actually literal, for to use further thought determinations
which do not yet belong to the consciousness of the philosopher in
question, is to carry on development. Thus Aristotle states that
Thales has defined the principle (_ἀρχή_) of every thing to be water.
But Anaximander first made use of _ἀρχή_, and Thales thus did not
possess this determination of thought at all; he recognized _ἀρχή_ as
commencement in time, but not as the fundamental principle. Thales did
not once introduce the determination of cause into his philosophy, and
first cause is a further determination still. There are whole nations
which have not this conception at all; indeed it involves a great step
forward in development. And seeing that difference in culture on the
whole depends on difference in the thought determinations which are
manifested, this must be so still more with respect to philosophies.

Now, as in the logical system of thought each of its forms has its
own place in which alone it suffices, and this form becomes, by means
of ever-progressing development, reduced to a subordinate element,
each philosophy is, in the third place, a particular stage in the
development of the whole process and has its definite place where it
finds its true value and significance. Its special character is really
to be conceived of in accordance with this determination, and it is to
be considered with respect to this position in order that full justice
may be done to it. On this account nothing more must be demanded or
expected from it than what it actually gives, and the satisfaction
is not to be sought for in it, which can only be found in a fuller
development of knowledge. We must not expect to find the questions of
our consciousness and the interest of the present world responded to
by the ancients; such questions presuppose a certain development in
thought. Therefore every philosophy belongs to its own time and is
restricted by its own limitations, just because it is the manifestation
of a particular stage in development. The individual is the offspring
of his people, of his world, whose constitution and attributes are
alone manifested in his form; he may spread himself out as he will, he
cannot escape out of his time any more than out of his skin, for he
belongs to the one universal Mind which is his substance and his own
existence. How should he escape from this? It is the same universal
Mind that is embraced by thinking Philosophy; that Philosophy is
Mind’s thought of itself and therefore its determinate and substantial
content. Every philosophy is the philosophy of its own day, a link in
the whole chain of spiritual development, and thus it can only find
satisfaction for the interests belonging to its own particular time.

On this account an earlier philosophy does not give satisfaction
to the mind in which a deeper conception reigns. What Mind seeks
for in Philosophy is this conception which already constitutes its
inward determination and the root of its existence conceived of as
object to thought; Mind demands a knowledge of itself. But in the
earlier philosophy the Idea is not yet present in this determinate
character. Hence the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, and indeed
all philosophies, ever live and are present in their principles, but
Philosophy no longer has the particular form and aspect possessed
by that of Plato and of Aristotle. We cannot rest content with
them, and they cannot be revived; hence there can be no Platonists,
Aristotelians, Stoics, or Epicureans to-day. To re-awaken them would
be to try to bring back to an earlier stage the Mind of a deeper
culture and self-penetration. But this cannot be the case; it would be
an impossibility and as great a folly as were a man to wish to expend
his energies in attaining the standpoint of the youth, the youth in
endeavouring to be the boy or child again; whereas the man, the youth,
and the child, are all one and the same individual. The period of
revival in the sciences, the new epoch in learning which took place in
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, began not only with the revived
study of, but also with the re-animation of the old philosophies.
Marsilius Ficinus was a Platonist; an Academy of Platonic philosophy
was established and installed with professors by Cosmos de Medici, and
Ficinus was placed at the head of it. There were pure Aristotelians
like Pomponius: Gassendi later on maintained the Epicurean philosophy,
for his philosophy dealt with Physics after the manner of the
Epicureans; Lipsius wished to be a Stoic, and so on. The sense of
opposition was so great, ancient philosophy and Christianity—from or
in which no special philosophy had developed—were so diverse, that
no philosophy peculiar to itself could develop in Christianity. What
was or could be had as philosophy, either in conformity with or in
opposition to Christianity, was a certain ancient philosophy which was
thus taken up anew. But mummies when brought amongst living beings
cannot there remain. Mind had for long possessed a more substantial
life, a more profound Notion of itself, and hence its thought had
higher needs than such as could be satisfied by these philosophies.
A revival such as this is then to be regarded only as the transitory
period in which we learn to know the forms which are implied and which
have gone before, and as the renewal of former struggles through the
steps necessary in development. Such reconstructions and repetitions in
a distant time of principles which have become foreign to Mind, are in
history transitory only, and formed in a language which is dead. Such
things are translations only and not originals, and Mind does not find
satisfaction excepting in knowledge of its own origination.

When modern times are in the same way called upon to revert to the
standpoint of an ancient philosophy (as is recommended specially in
regard to the philosophy of Plato) in order to make this a means of
escaping from the complications and difficulties of succeeding times,
this reversion does not come naturally as in the first case. This
discreet counsel has the same origin as the request to cultivated
members of society to turn back to the customs and ideas of the savages
of the North American forests, or as the recommendation to adopt the
religion of Melchisedec which Fichte[6] has maintained to be the
purest and simplest possible, and therefore the one at which we must
eventually arrive. On the one hand, in this retrogression the desire
for an origin and for a fixed point of departure is unmistakable,
but such must be sought for in thought and Idea alone and not in an
authoritatively given form. On the other hand, the return of the
developed, enriched Mind to a simplicity such as this—which means to
an abstraction, an abstract condition or thought—is to be regarded
only as the escape of an incapacity which cannot enjoy the rich
material of development which it sees before it, and which demands to
be controlled and comprehended in its very depths by thought, but seeks
a refuge in fleeing from the difficulty and in mere sterility.

From what has been said it is quite comprehensible how so many of
those who, whether induced by some special attraction such as this,
or simply by the fame of a Plato or ancient philosophy in general,
direct their way thereto in order to draw their own philosophy from
these sources, do not find themselves satisfied by the study, and
unjustifiably quit such altogether. Satisfaction is found in them to
a certain extent only. We must know in ancient philosophy or in the
philosophy of any given period, what we are going to look for. Or at
least we must know that in such a philosophy there is before us a
definite stage in the development of thought, and in it those forms
and necessities of Mind which lie within the limits of that stage
alone are brought into existence. There slumber in the Mind of modern
times ideas more profound which require for their awakening other
surroundings and another present than the abstract, dim, grey thought
of olden times. In Plato, for instance, questions regarding the nature
of freedom, the origin of evil and of sin, providence, &c., do not
find their philosophic answer. On such subjects we certainly may in
part take the ordinary serious views of the present time, and in part
philosophically set their consideration altogether aside, or else
consider sin and freedom as something negative only. But neither the
one plan nor the other gives freedom to Mind if such subjects have once
been explicitly for it, and if the opposition in self-consciousness
has given it the power of sinking its interests therein. The case is
similar with regard to questions regarding the limits of knowledge, the
opposition between subjectivity and objectivity which had not yet come
up in Plato’s age. The independence of the “I” within itself and its
explicit existence was foreign to him; man had not yet gone back within
himself, had not yet set himself forth as explicit. The subject was
indeed the individual as free, but as yet he knew himself only as in
unity with his Being. The Athenian knew himself to be free, as such,
just as the Roman citizen would, as _ingenuus_. But the fact that man
is in and for himself free, in his essence and as man, free born, was
known neither by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, nor the Roman legislators,
even though it is this conception alone which forms the source of
law. In Christianity the individual, personal mind for the first time
becomes of real, infinite and absolute value; God wills that all men
shall be saved. It was in the Christian religion that the doctrine
was advanced that all men are equal before God, because Christ has
set them free with the freedom of Christianity. These principles make
freedom independent of any such things as birth, standing or culture.
The progress made through them is enormous, but they still come short
of this, that to be free constitutes the very idea of man. The sense
of this existent principle has been an active force for centuries and
centuries, and an impelling power which has brought about the most
tremendous revolutions; but the conception and the knowledge of the
natural freedom of man is a knowledge of himself which is not old.



The History of Philosophy has to represent this science in that form
of time and individualities from which its outward form has resulted.
Such a representation has, however, to shut out from itself the
external history of the time, and to take into account only the general
character of the people and time, and likewise their circumstances as a
whole. But as a matter of fact, the history of Philosophy does present
this character, and that indeed in the highest possible degree;
its connection with it is of the closest kind, and the particular
appearance presented by a philosophy belonging to one special period,
is only a particular aspect or element in the character. Because of
this inward correspondence we have partly to consider more closely
the particular relation borne by a philosophy to its historical
surroundings, and partly, but pre-eminently, what is proper to itself,
from which alone, after separating everything related however closely,
we can fix our standpoint. This connection, which is not merely
external but essential, has thus two sides, which we must consider. The
first is the distinctly historical side, the second is the connection
with other matters—the connection of Philosophy with Religion, for
instance, by which we at once obtain a deeper conception of Philosophy


It is usually said that political affairs and such matters as Religion
are to be taken into consideration because they have exercised a great
influence on the Philosophy of the time, and similarly it exerts an
influence upon them. But when people are content with such a category
as “great influence” they place the two in an external relationship,
and start from the point of view that both sides are for themselves
independent. Here, however, we must think of this relationship in
another category, and not according to the influence or effect of one
upon the other. The true category is the unity of all these different
forms, so that it is one Mind which manifests itself in, and impresses
itself upon these different elements.

a. _Outward and historical conditions imposed upon Philosophy._

It must be remarked in the first place, that a certain stage is
requisite in the intellectual culture of a people in order that it
may have a Philosophy at all. Aristotle says, “Man first begins to
philosophize when the necessities of life are supplied” (Metaphysics,
I. 2); because since Philosophy is a free and not self-seeking
activity, cravings of want must have disappeared, a strength, elevation
and inward fortitude of mind must have appeared, passions must be
subdued and consciousness so far advanced, before what is universal
can be thought of. Philosophy may thus be called a kind of luxury,
in so far as luxury signifies those enjoyments and pursuits which do
not belong to external necessity as such. Philosophy in this respect
seems more capable of being dispensed with than anything else; but that
depends on what is called indispensable. From the point of view of
mind, Philosophy may even be said to be that which is most essential.

b. _The commencement in History of an intellectual necessity for

However much Philosophy, as the thought and conception of the Mind
of a particular time, is _à priori_, it is at the same time just as
really a result, since the thought produced and, indeed, the life and
action are produced to produce themselves. This activity contains the
essential element of a negation, because to produce is also to destroy;
Philosophy in producing itself, has the natural as its starting point
in order to abrogate it again. Philosophy thus makes its appearance
at a time when the Mind of a people has worked its way out of the
indifference and stolidity of the first life of nature, as it has also
done from the standpoint of the emotional, so that the individual aim
has blotted itself out. But as Mind passes on from its natural form,
it also proceeds from its exact code of morals and the robustness of
life to reflection and conception. The result of this is that it lays
hold of and troubles this real, substantial kind of existence, this
morality and faith, and thus the period of destruction commences.
Further progress is then made through the gathering up of thought
within itself. It may be said that Philosophy first commences when a
race for the most part has left its concrete life, when separation and
change of class have begun, and the people approach toward their fall;
when a gulf has arisen between inward strivings and external reality,
and the old forms of Religion, &c., are no longer satisfying; when Mind
manifests indifference to its living existence or rests unsatisfied
therein, and moral life becomes dissolved. Then it is that Mind takes
refuge in the clear space of thought to create for itself a kingdom of
thought in opposition to the world of actuality, and Philosophy is the
reconciliation following upon the destruction of that real world which
thought has begun. When Philosophy with its abstractions paints grey in
grey, the freshness and life of youth has gone, the reconciliation is
not a reconciliation in the actual, but in the ideal world. Thus the
Greek philosophers held themselves far removed from the business of
the State and were called by the people idlers, because they withdrew
themselves within the world of thought.

This holds good throughout all the history of Philosophy. It was so
with Ionic Philosophy in the decline of the Ionic States in Asia Minor.
Socrates and Plato had no more pleasure in the life of the State in
Athens, which was in the course of its decline; Plato tried to bring
about something better with Dionysius. Thus in Athens, with the ruin of
the Athenian people, the period was reached when Philosophy appeared.
In Rome, Philosophy first expanded in the decline of the Republic and
of Roman life proper, under the despotism of the Roman Emperors: a
time of misfortune for the world and of decay in political life, when
earlier religious systems tottered and everything was in the process
of struggle and disintegration. With the decline of the Roman Empire,
which was so great, rich and glorious, and yet inwardly dead, the
height and indeed the zenith of ancient Philosophy is associated
through the Neo-Platonists at Alexandria. It was also in the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries, when the Teutonic life of the Middle Ages
acquired another form, that Philosophy first became taught, though it
was later on that it attained to independence. Before that, political
life still existed in unity with Religion, or if the State fought
against the Church, the Church still kept the foremost place, but now
the gulf between Church and State came into existence. Philosophy thus
comes in at a certain epoch only in the development of the whole.

c. _Philosophy as the thought of its time._

But men do not at certain epochs, merely philosophize in general,
for there is a definite Philosophy which arises among a people, and
the definite character of the standpoint of thought is the same
character which permeates all the other historical sides of the spirit
of the people, which is most intimately related to them, and which
constitutes their foundation. The particular form of a Philosophy is
thus contemporaneous with a particular constitution of the people
amongst whom it makes its appearance, with their institutions and forms
of government, their morality, their social life and the capabilities,
customs and enjoyments of the same; it is so with their attempts and
achievements in art and science, with their religious, warfares and
external relationships, likewise with the decadence of the States in
which this particular principle and form had maintained its supremacy,
and with the origination and progress of new States in which a higher
principle finds its manifestation and development. Mind in each case
has elaborated and expanded in the whole domain of its manifold nature
the principle of the particular stage of self-consciousness to which
it has attained. Thus the Mind of a people in its richness is an
organization, and, like a Cathedral, is divided into numerous vaults,
passages, pillars and vestibules, all of which have proceeded out of
one whole and are directed to one end. Philosophy is one form of these
many aspects. And which is it? It is the fullest blossom, the Notion
of Mind in its entire form, the consciousness and spiritual essence of
all things, the spirit of the time as spirit present in itself. The
multifarious whole is reflected in it as in the single focus, in the
Notion which knows itself.

The Philosophy which is essential within Christianity could not be
found in Rome, for all the various forms of the whole are only the
expression of one and the same determinate character. Hence political
history, forms of government, art and religion are not related to
Philosophy as its causes, nor, on the other hand, is Philosophy the
ground of their existence—one and all have the same common root, the
spirit of the time. It is one determinate existence, one determinate
character which permeates all sides and manifests itself in politics
and in all else as in different elements; it is a condition which hangs
together in all its parts, and the various parts of which contain
nothing which is really inconsistent, however diverse and accidental
they may appear to be, and however much they may seem to contradict one
another. This particular stage is the product of the one preceding. But
to show how the spirit of a particular time moulds its whole actuality
and destiny in accordance with its principle, to show this whole
edifice in its conception, is far from us—for that would be the object
of the whole philosophic world-history. Those forms alone concern us
which express the principle of the Mind in a spiritual element related
to Philosophy.

This is the position of Philosophy amongst its varying forms, from
which it follows that it is entirely identical with its time. But
if Philosophy does not stand above its time in content, it does so
in form, because, as the thought and knowledge of that which is the
substantial spirit of its time, it makes that spirit its object. In
as far as Philosophy is in the spirit of its time, the latter is its
determined content in the world, although as knowledge, Philosophy is
above it, since it places it in the relation of object. But this is in
form alone, for Philosophy really has no other content. This knowledge
itself undoubtedly is the actuality of Mind, the self-knowledge of Mind
which previously was not present: thus the formal difference is also a
real and actual difference. Through knowledge, Mind makes manifest a
distinction between knowledge and that which is; this knowledge is thus
what produces a new form of development. The new forms at first are
only special modes of knowledge, and it is thus that a new Philosophy
is produced: yet since it already is a wider kind of spirit, it is the
inward birthplace of the spirit which will later arrive at actual form.
We shall deal further with this in the concrete below, and we shall
then see that what the Greek Philosophy was, entered, in the Christian
world, into actuality.


The history of the other Sciences, of culture and above all the history
of art and of religion are, partly in regard to the elements contained
in them, and partly to their particular objects, related to the history
of Philosophy. It is through this relationship that the treatment
of the history of Philosophy has been so confused. If it is to
concern itself with the possession of culture generally and then with
scientific culture, and then again with popular myths and the dogmas
contained only in them, and yet farther with the religious reflections
which are already thoughts of a speculative kind, and which make their
appearance in them, no bounds are left to Philosophy at all. This is
so, partly on account of the amount of material itself and the labour
required in working it up and preparing it, and partly because it is in
immediate connection with so much else. But the separation must not be
made arbitrarily or as by chance, but must be derived from fundamental
determinations. If we merely look at the name of Philosophy, all this
matter will pertain to its history.

I shall speak of this material from three points of view, for three
related aspects are to be eliminated and separated from Philosophy. The
first of these is that which is generally considered to be the domain
of science, and in which are found the beginnings of understanding
thought. The second region is that of mythology and religion; the
relation of Philosophy to them seems often to be inimical both in
the time of the Greeks and of the Christians. The third is that of
philosophizing and the metaphysics of the understanding. While we
distinguish what is related to Philosophy, we must also take note of
the elements in this related matter which belong to the Notion of
Philosophy, but which appear to us to be partially separated from it:
and thus we may become acquainted with the Notion of Philosophy.

a. _Relation of Philosophy to Scientific Knowledge._

Knowledge and thought certainly form the element of whatever has to do
with particular sciences as they form the element of Philosophy; but
their subjects are mainly finite subjects and appearance. A collection
of facts known about this content is by its nature excluded from
Philosophy: neither this content nor such a form has anything to do
with it. But even if the sciences are systematic and contain universal
principles and laws from which they proceed, they are still related to
a limited circle of objects. The ultimate principles are assumed as are
the objects themselves; that is, the outward experience or the feelings
of the heart, natural or educated sense of right and duty, constitute
the source from which they are created. Logic and the determinations
and principles of thought in general are in their methods assumed.

The forms of thought or the points of view and principles which hold
good in the sciences and constitute the ultimate support of all their
matter, are not peculiar to them, but are common to the condition
and culture of the time and of the people. This culture consists
mainly in the general ideas and aims, in the whole extent of the
particular intellectual powers dominating consciousness and life. Our
consciousness has these ideas and allows them to be considered ultimate
determinations; it makes use of them as guiding and connecting links,
but does not know them and does not even make them the objects of its
consideration. To give an abstract example, each act of consciousness
has and requires the whole abstract thought-determination of Being.
“The sun is in the heavens, the bunch of grapes is ripe,” and so on
into infinitude. Again, in a higher culture, such relations as those
of cause and effect are involved, as also those of force and its
manifestation. All its knowledge and ideas are permeated and governed
by a metaphysic such as this; it is the net in which all the concrete
matter which occupies mankind in action and in impulses, is grasped.
But this web and its knots in our ordinary consciousness are sunk into
a manifold material, for it contains the objects and interests which we
know and which we have before us. These common threads are not drawn up
and made explicitly the objects of our reflection.

We Germans seldom now count general scientific knowledge as Philosophy.
And yet traces of this are found, as for instance, in the fact that
the philosophic Faculty contains all the Sciences which have not as
their immediate aim the Church and State. In connection with this,
the significance of the name of Philosophy, which is even now an
important matter of discussion in England, comes in question. Natural
Sciences are in England called Philosophy. A “Philosophic Journal”
in England, edited by Thompson, treats of Chemistry, Agriculture,
Manuring, Husbandry, Technology, like Hermbstädt’s Journal, and gives
inventions connected therewith. The English call physical instruments,
such as the barometer and thermometer, philosophical instruments.
Theories too, and especially morality and the moral sciences, which
are derived from the feelings of the human heart or from experience,
are called Philosophy, and finally this is also so with the theories
and principles of Political Economy. And thus at least in England, is
the name of Philosophy respected. Some time ago a banquet took place
under the presidency of Lord Liverpool, at which the minister Canning
was also present. The latter in returning thanks congratulated England
in having philosophic principles of government there brought into
operation. There, at least, Philosophy is no by-word.

In the first beginnings of culture, however, we are more often met by
this admixture of Philosophy and general knowledge. There comes a time
to a nation when mind applies itself to universal objects, when, for
example, in seeking to bring natural things under general modes of
understanding, it tries to learn their causes. Then it is said that a
people begins to philosophize, for this content has thought in common
with Philosophy. At such a time we find deliverances about all the
common events of Nature, as we also find intellectual maxims, moral
sentences, general principles respecting morality, the will, duty,
and the like, and those who expressed them have been called wise men
or philosophers. Thus in the beginnings of Greek Philosophy we find
the seven sages and the Ionic Philosophers. From them a number of
ideas and discoveries are conveyed to us which seem like philosophic
propositions. Thus Thales, amongst others, has explained that the
eclipse of sun and moon is due to the intervention of the moon or
earth. This is called a theorem. Pythagoras found out the principle
of the harmony of sounds. Others have had ideas about the stars: the
heavens were supposed to be composed of perforated metal, by which we
see throughout the empyrean region, the eternal fire which surrounds
the world. Such propositions as products of the understanding, do not
belong to the history of Philosophy, although they imply that the
merely sensuous gaze has been left behind, as also the representation
of those objects by the imagination only. Earth and heaven thus become
unpeopled with gods, because the understanding distinguishes things in
their outward and natural qualities from Mind.

In a later time the epoch of the revival in the sciences is as
noteworthy in this respect. General principles regarding the state,
&c., were given expression to, and in them a philosophic side cannot be
mistaken. To this place the philosophic systems of Hobbes and Descartes
belong: the writings of the latter contain philosophic principles, but
his Philosophy of Nature is quite empirical. Hugo Grotius composed
an international law in which what was historically held by the
people as law, the _consensus gentium_, was a main element. Though,
earlier, medicine was a collection of isolated facts and a theosophic
combination mixed up with astrology, &c. (it is not so long ago since
cures were effected by sacred relics), a mode of regarding nature
came into vogue according to which men went forth to discover the
laws and forces of Nature. The _à priori_ reasoning regarding natural
things, according to the metaphysics of the Scholastic Philosophy or
to Religion, has now been given up. The Philosophy of Newton contains
nothing but Natural Science, that is, the knowledge of the laws,
forces, and general constitution of Nature, derived from observation
and from experience. However much this may seem to be contrary to the
principle of Philosophy, it has in common with it the fact that the
bases of both are universal, and still further that _I_ have made
this experience, that it rests on my consciousness and obtains its
significance through me.

This form is in its general aspect antagonistic to the positive, and
has come forward as particularly opposed to Religion and to that which
is positive in it. If, in the Middle Ages, the Church had its dogmas
as universal truths, man, on the contrary, has now obtained from the
testimony of his “own thought,” feeling and ideas, a mistrust of these.
It is merely to be remarked of this that “my own thought” is in itself
a pleonasm, because each individual must think for himself, and no one
can do so for another. Similarly this principle has turned against the
recognized constitutions and has sought different principles instead,
by them to correct the former. Universal principles of the State have
now been laid down, while earlier, because religion was positive, the
ground of obedience of subjects to princes and of all authority were
also so. Kings, as the anointed of the Lord, in the sense that Jewish
kings were so, derived their power from God, and had to give account to
Him alone, because all authority is given by God. So far theology and
jurisprudence were on the whole fixed and positive sciences, wherever
this positive character might have been derived. Against this external
authority reflection has been brought to bear, and thus, especially
in England, the source of public and civil law became no longer mere
authority derived from God like the Mosaic Law. For the authority of
kings other justification was sought, such as the end implied in the
State, the good of the people. This forms quite another source of
truth, and it is opposed to that which is revealed, given and positive.
This substitution of another ground than that of authority has been
called philosophizing.

The knowledge was then a knowledge of what is finite—the world of
the content of knowledge. Because this content proceeded through
the personal insight of human reason, man has become independent in
his actions. This independence of the Mind is the true moment of
Philosophy, although the Notion of Philosophy through this formal
determination, which limits it to finite objects, has not yet been
exhausted. This independent thought is respected, has been called
human wisdom or worldly wisdom, for it has had what is earthly as its
object, and it took its origin in the world. This was the meaning of
Philosophy, and men did rightly to call it worldly wisdom. Frederick
von Schlegel revived this by-name for Philosophy, and desired to
indicate by it that what concerns higher spheres, such as religion,
must be kept apart; and he had many followers. Philosophy, indeed,
occupies itself with finite things, but, according to Spinoza, as
resting in the divine Idea: it has thus the same end as religion. To
the finite sciences which are now separated also from Philosophy, the
Churches objected that they led men away from God, since they have as
objects only what is finite. This defect in them, conceived of from the
point of view of content, leads us to the second department allied to
Philosophy,—that is, to Religion.

b. _Relation of Philosophy to Religion.

_As the first department of knowledge was related to Philosophy
principally by means of formal and independent knowledge, Religion,
though in its content quite different from this first kind or sphere
of knowledge, is through it related to Philosophy. Its object is not
the earthly and worldly, but the infinite. In the case of art and
still more in that of Religion, Philosophy has in common a content
composed entirely of universal objects; they constitute the mode in
which the highest Idea is existent for the unphilosophical feeling, the
perceiving and imagining consciousness. Inasmuch as in the progress of
culture in time the manifestation of Religion precedes the appearance
of Philosophy, this circumstance must really be taken account of, and
the conditions requisite for beginning the History of Philosophy have
to depend on this, because it has to be shown in how far what pertains
to Religion is to be excluded from it, and that a commencement must not
be made with Religion.

In Religion, races of men have undoubtedly expressed their idea of the
nature of the world, the substance of nature and of intellect and the
relation of man thereto. Absolute Being is here the object of their
consciousness; and as such, is for them pre-eminently the “other,” a
“beyond,” nearer or further off, more or less friendly or frightful
and alarming. In the act and forms of worship this opposition is
removed by man, and he raises himself to the consciousness of unity
with his Being, to the feeling of, or dependence on, the Grace of
God, in that God has reconciled mankind to Himself. In conception,
with the Greeks, for instance, this existence is to man one which is
already in and for itself and friendly, and thus worship is but the
enjoyment of this unity. This existence is now reason which is existent
in and for itself, the universal and concrete substance, the Mind
whose first cause is objective to itself in consciousness; it thus is
a representation of this last in which not only reason in general,
but the universal infinite reason is. We must, therefore, comprehend
Religion, as Philosophy, before everything else, which means to know
and apprehend it in reason; for it is the work of self-revealing reason
and is the highest form of reason. Such ideas as that priests have
framed a people’s Religion in fraud and self-interest are consequently
absurd; to regard Religion as an arbitrary matter or a deception is as
foolish as it is perverted. Priests have often profaned Religion—the
possibility of which is a consequence of the external relations
and temporal existence of Religion. It can thus, in this external
connection, be laid hold of here and there, but because it is Religion,
it is really that which stands firm against finite ends and their
complications and constitutes a region exalted high above them. This
region of Mind is really the Holy place of Truth itself, the Holy place
in which are dissolved the remaining illusions of the sensuous world,
of finite ideas and ends, and of the sphere of opinion and caprice.

Inasmuch as it really is the content of religions, this rational matter
might now seem to be capable of being abstracted and expressed as a
number of historical theorems. Philosophy stands on the same basis
as Religion and has the same object—the universal reason existing
in and for itself; Mind desires to make this object its own, as is
done with Religion in the act and form of worship. But the form, as
it is present in Religion, is different from what is found to be
contained in Philosophy, and on this account a history of Philosophy
is different from a history of Religion. Worship is only the operation
of reflection; Philosophy attempts to bring about the reconciliation
by means of thinking knowledge, because Mind desires to take up its
Being into itself. Philosophy is related in the form of thinking
consciousness to its object; with Religion it is different. But the
distinction between the two should not be conceived of so abstractly as
to make it seem that thought is only in Philosophy and not in Religion.
The latter has likewise ideas and universal thoughts. Because both are
so nearly related, it is an old tradition in the history of Philosophy
to deduce Philosophy from Persian, Indian, or similar philosophy, a
custom which is still partly retained in all histories of Philosophy.
For this reason, too, it is a legend universally believed, that
Pythagoras, for instance, received his Philosophy from India and Egypt;
the fame of the wisdom of these people, which wisdom is understood also
to contain Philosophy, is an old one. The Oriental ideas and religious
worship which prevailed throughout the West up to the time of the Roman
Empire, likewise bear the name of Oriental Philosophy. The Christian
Religion and Philosophy are thought of in the Christian world, as more
definitely divided; in these Eastern days, on the other hand, Religion
and Philosophy are still conceived of as one in so far as that the
content has remained in the form in which it is Philosophy. Considering
the prevalence of these ideas and in order to have a definite limit to
the relations between a history of Philosophy and religious ideas, it
is desirable to note some further considerations as to the form which
separates religious ideas from philosophical theorems.

Religion has not only universal thought as inward content _implicite_
contained in its myths, ideas, imaginations and in its exact and
positive histories, so that we require first of all to dig this
content out of such myths in the form of theorems, but it often has
its content _explicite_ in the form of thought. In the Persian and
Indian Religions very deep, sublime and speculative thoughts are even
expressed. Indeed, in Religion we even meet philosophies directly
expressed, as in the Philosophy of the Fathers. The scholastic
Philosophy really was Theology; there is found in it a union or, if you
will, a mixture of Theology and Philosophy which may very well puzzle
us. The question which confronts us on the one side is, how Philosophy
differs from Theology, as the science of Religion, or from Religion
as consciousness? And then, in how far have we in the history of
Philosophy to take account of what pertains to Religion? For the reply
to this last question three aspects have again to be dealt with; first
of all the mythical and historical aspect of Religion and its relation
to Philosophy; in the second place the theorems and speculative
thoughts directly expressed in Religion; and in the third place we must
speak of Philosophy within Theology.

_α. Difference between Philosophy and Religion._

The consideration of the mythical aspect of Religion or the historical
and positive side generally, is interesting, because from it the
difference in respect of form will show in what this content is
antagonistic to Philosophy. Indeed, taken in its connections, its
difference passes into apparent inconsistency. This diversity is not
only found in our contemplation but forms a very definite element
in history. It is required by Philosophy that it should justify its
beginning and its manner of knowledge, and Philosophy has thus placed
itself in opposition to Religion. On the other hand Philosophy is
combated and condemned by Religion and by the Churches. The Greek
popular religion indeed, proscribed several philosophers; but the
opposition is even more apparent in the Christian Church. The question
is thus not only whether regard is to be paid to Religion in the
history of Philosophy, for it has been the case that Philosophy has
paid attention to Religion, and the latter to the former. Since neither
of the two has allowed the other to rest undisturbed, we are not
permitted to do so either. Of their relations, therefore, we must speak
definitely, openly and honestly—_aborder la question_, as the French
say. We must not hesitate, as if such a discussion were too delicate,
nor try to help ourselves out by beating about the bush; nor must we
seek to find evasions or shifts, so that in the end no one can tell
what we mean. We must not seem to wish to leave Religion alone. This is
nothing else than to appear to wish to conceal the fact that Philosophy
has directed its efforts against Religion. Religion, that is, the
theologians, are indeed the cause of this; they ignore Philosophy, but
only in order that they may not be contradicted in their arbitrary

It may appear as if Religion demanded that man should abstain from
thinking of universal matters and Philosophy because they are merely
worldly wisdom and represent human operations. Human reason is
here opposed to the divine. Men are, indeed, well accustomed to a
distinction between divine teaching and laws and human power and
inventions, such that under the latter everything is comprehended which
in its manifestation proceeds from the consciousness, the intelligence
or the will of mankind; which makes all this opposed to the knowledge
of God and to things rendered divine by divine revelation. But the
depreciation of what is human expressed by this opposition is then
driven further still, inasmuch as while it implies the further view
that man is certainly called upon to admire the wisdom of God in
Nature, and that the grain, the mountains, the cedars of Lebanon in all
their glory, the song of the birds in the bough, the superior skill
and the domestic instincts of animals are all magnified as being the
work of God, it also implies that the wisdom, goodness and justice of
God is, indeed, pointed out in human affairs, but not so much in the
disposition or laws of man or in actions performed voluntarily and in
the ordinary progress of the world, as in human destiny, that is, in
that which is external and even arbitrary in relation to knowledge
and free-will. Thus what is external and accidental is regarded as
emphatically the work of God, and what has its root in will and
conscience, as the work of man. The harmony between outward relations,
circumstances and events and the general aims of man is certainly
something of a higher kind, but this is the case only for the reason
that this harmony is considered with respect to ends which are human
and not natural—such as those present in the life of a sparrow which
finds its food. But if the summit of everything is found in this, that
God rules over Nature, what then is free-will? Does He not rule over
what is spiritual, or rather since He himself is spiritual, in what
is spiritual? and is not the ruler over or in the spiritual region
higher than a ruler over or in Nature? But is that admiration of God as
revealed in natural things as such, in trees and animals as opposed to
what is human, far removed from the religion of the ancient Egyptians,
which derived its knowledge of what is divine from the ibis, or from
cats and dogs? or does it differ from the deplorable condition of the
ancient and the modern Indians, who held and still hold cows and apes
in reverence, and are scrupulously concerned for the maintenance and
nourishment of these animals, while they allow men to suffer hunger;
who would commit a crime by removing the pangs of starvation through
their slaughter or even by partaking of their food?

It seems to be expressed by such a view that human action as regards
Nature is ungodly; that the operations of Nature are divine operations,
but what man produces is ungodly. But the productions of human reason
might, at least, be esteemed as much as Nature. In so doing, however,
we cede less to reason than is permitted to us. If the life and the
action of animals be divine, human action must stand much higher, and
must be worthy to be called divine in an infinitely higher sense. The
preeminence of human thought must forthwith be avowed. Christ says on
this subject (Matt. vi. 26-80), “Behold the fowls of the air,” (in
which we may also include the Ibis and the _Kokilas_,) “are ye not much
better than they? Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,
which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not
much more clothe you?” The superiority of man, of the image of God, to
animals and plants is indeed implicitly and explicitly established,
but in asking wherein the divine element is to be sought and seen—in
making use of such expressions—none of the superior, but only the
inferior nature, is indicated. Similarly, in regard to the knowledge of
God, it is remarkable that Christ places the knowledge of and faith in
Him not in any admiration of the creatures of nature nor in marvelling
at any so-called dominion, over them, nor in signs and wonders, but in
the witness of the Spirit. Spirit is infinitely high above Nature, in
it the Divine Nature manifests itself more than in Nature.

But the form in which the universal content which is in and for itself,
first belongs to Philosophy is the form of Thought, the form of the
universal itself. In Religion, however, this content is for immediate
and outward perception, and further for idea and sensation through art.
The import is for the sensuous nature; it is the evidence of the Mind
which comprehends that content. To make this clearer, the difference
must be recollected between that which we are and have, and how we know
the same—that is, in what manner we know it and have it as our object.
This distinction is an infinitely important matter, and it alone is
concerned in the culture of races and of individuals. We are men and
have reason; what is human, or above all, what is rational vibrates
within us, both in our feelings, mind and heart and in our subjective
nature generally. It is in this corresponding vibration and in the
corresponding motion effected that a particular content becomes our own
and is like our own. The manifold nature of the determinations which
it contains is concentrated and wrapt up within this inward nature—an
obscure motion of Mind in itself and in universal substantiality. The
content is thus directly identical with the simple abstract certainty
of ourselves and with self-consciousness. But Mind, because it is
Mind, is as truly consciousness. What is confined within itself in its
simplicity must be objective to itself and must come to be known. The
whole difference lies in the manner and method of this objectivity, and
hence in the manner and method of consciousness.

This method and manner extends from the simple expression of the
dulness of mere feeling to the most objective form, to that which is
in and for itself objective, to Thought. The most simple, most formal
objectivity is the expression of a name for that feeling and for the
state of mind according with it, as seen in these words, worship,
prayer, etc. Such expressions as “Let us pray” and “Let us worship”
are simply the recalling of that feeling. But “Let us think about God”
brings with it something more; it expresses the absolutely embracing
content of that substantial feeling, and the object, which differs
from mere sensation as subjective self-conscious activity; or which is
content distinguished from this activity as form. This object, however,
comprehending in itself the whole substantial content, is itself still
undeveloped and entirely undetermined. To develop that content, to
comprehend, express and bring to consciousness its relations, is the
commencement, creation and manifestation of Religion. The form in which
this developed content first possesses objectivity is that of immediate
perception, of sensuous idea or of a more defined idea deduced from
natural, physical or mental manifestations and conditions.

Art brings about this consciousness, in that it gives permanence and
cohesion to the fleeting visible appearance through which objectivity
passes in sensation. The shapeless, sacred stone, the mere place, or
whatever it is to which the desire for objectivity first attaches
itself, receives from art, form, feature, determinate character and
content which can be known and which is now present for consciousness.
Art has thus become the instructress of the people. This was the case
with Homer and Hesiod for instance, who, according to Herodotus (II.
53), “Made the Greeks their Theogony,” because they elevated and
consolidated ideas and traditions in unison with the spirit of the
people, wherever and in whatever confusion they might be found, into
definite images and ideas. This is not the art which merely gives
expression in its own way to the content, already perfectly expressed,
of a Religion which in thought, idea and words has already attained
complete development; that is to say, which puts its matter into stone,
canvas, or words as is done by modern art, which, in dealing either
with religious or with historical objects, takes as its groundwork
ideas and thoughts which are already there. The consciousness of this
Religion is rather the product of thinking imagination, or of thought
which comprehends through the organ of imagination alone and finds
expression in its forms.

If the infinite Thought, the absolute Mind, has revealed and does
reveal itself in true Religion, that in which it reveals itself is the
heart, the representing consciousness and the understanding of what
is finite. Religion is not merely directed to every sort of culture.
“To the poor is the Gospel preached,” but it must as being Religion
expressly directed towards heart and mind, enter into the sphere of
subjectivity and consequently into the region of finite methods of
representation. In the perceiving and, with reference to perceptions,
reflecting consciousness, man possesses for the speculative relations
belonging to the absolute, only finite relations, whether taken in an
exact or in a symbolical sense, to serve him to comprehend and express
those qualities and relationships of the infinite.

In Religion as the earliest and the immediate revelations of God, the
form of representation and of reflecting finite thought cannot be the
only form in which He gives existence to Himself in consciousness, but
it must also appear in this form, for such alone is comprehensible
to religious consciousness. To make this clearer, something must be
said as to what is the meaning of comprehension. On the one hand,
as has been remarked above, there is in it the substantial basis of
content, which, coming to Mind as its absolute Being, affects it in
its innermost, finds an answering chord, and thereby obtains from
it confirmation. This is the first absolute condition necessary to
comprehension; what is not implicitly there cannot come within it or
be for it—that is, a content which is infinite and eternal. For the
substantial as infinite, is just that which has no limitations in that
to which it is related, for else it would be limited and not the true
substantial. And Mind is that alone which is not implicit, which is
finite and external; for what is finite and external is no longer what
is implicit but what is for another, what has entered into a relation.
But, on the other hand, because the true and eternal must be for Mind
become known, that is, enter into finite consciousness, the Mind for
which it is, is finite and the manner of its consciousness consists
in the ideas and forms of finite things and relations. These forms
are familiar and well known to consciousness, the ordinary mode of
finality, which mode it has appropriated to itself, having constituted
it the universal medium of its representation, into which everything
that comes to consciousness must be resolved in order that it may have
and know itself therein.

The assertion of Religion is that the manifestation of Truth which
is revealed to us through it, is one which is given to man from
outside, and on this account it is also asserted that man has humbly
to assent to it, because human reason cannot attain to it by itself.
The assertion of positive Religion is that its truths exist without
having their source known, so that the content as given, is one which
is above and beyond reason. By means of some prophet or other divine
instrument, the truth is made known: just as Ceres and Triptolemus who
introduced agriculture and matrimony, for so doing were honoured by
the Greeks, men have rendered thanks to Moses and to Mahomed. Through
whatever individual the Truth may have been given, the external matter
is historical, and this is indifferent to the absolute content and to
itself, since the person is not the import of the doctrine. But the
Christian Religion has this characteristic that the Person of Christ
in His character of the Son of God, Himself partakes of the nature
of God. If Christ be for Christians only a teacher like Pythagoras,
Socrates or Columbus, there would be here no universal divine content,
no revelation or knowledge imparted about the Nature of God, and it is
regarding this alone that we desire to obtain knowledge.

Whatever stage it may itself have reached, the Truth must undoubtedly
in the first place come to men from without as a present object,
sensuously represented, just as Moses saw God in the fiery bush, and as
the Greek brought the god into conscious being by means of sculpture
or other representations. But there is the further fact, that neither
in Religion nor in Philosophy does this external form remain, nor can
it so remain. A form of the imagination or an historical form, such
as Christ, must for the spirit be spiritual; and thus it ceases to be
an external matter, seeing that the form of externality is dead. We
must know God “in Spirit and in Truth.” He is the absolute and actual
Spirit. The relation borne by the human spirit to this Spirit involves
the following considerations.

When man determines to adopt a Religion he asks himself, “What is the
ground of my faith?” The Christian Religion replies—“The Spirit’s
witness to its content.” Christ reproved the Pharisees for wishing to
see miracles; the Spirit alone comprehends Spirit, the miracle is only
a presentiment of that Spirit; and if the miracle be the suspension
of natural laws, Spirit itself is the real miracle in the operations
of nature. Spirit in itself is merely this comprehension of itself.
There is only one Spirit, the universal divine Spirit. Not that it
is merely everywhere; it is not to be comprehended as what is common
to everything, as an external totality, to be found in many or in
all individuals, which are essentially individuals; but it must be
understood as that which permeates through everything, as the unity
of itself and of a semblance of its “other,” as of the subjective and
particular. As universal, it is object to itself, and thus determined
as a particular, it is this individual: but as universal it reaches
over this its “other,” so that its “other” and itself are comprised in
one. The true universality seems, popularly expressed, to be two—what
is common to the universal itself and to the particular. A division
is formed in the understanding of itself, and the Spirit is the unity
of what is understood and the understanding person. The divine Spirit
which is comprehended, is objective; the subjective Spirit comprehends.
But Spirit is not passive, or else the passivity can be momentary only;
there is one spiritual substantial unity. The subjective Spirit is the
active, but the objective Spirit is itself this activity; the active
subjective Spirit is that which comprehends the divine, and in its
comprehension of it it is itself the divine Spirit. The relation of
Spirit to self alone is the absolute determination; the divine Spirit
lives in its own communion and presence. This comprehension has been
called Faith, but it is not an historical faith; we Lutherans—I am
a Lutheran and will remain the same—have only this original faith.
This unity is not the Substance of Spinoza, but the apprehending
Substance in self-consciousness which makes itself eternal and relates
to universality. The talk about the limitations of human thought is
futile; to know God is the only end of Religion. The testimony of the
Spirit to the content of Religion is itself Religion; it is a testimony
that both bears witness and at the same time is that witness. The
Spirit proves itself, and does so first in the proof; it is only proved
because it proves itself and shows or manifests itself.

It has further to be said, that this testimony, this inward stirring
and self-consciousness, reveals itself, while in the enshrouded
consciousness of devotion it does not arrive at the proper
consciousness of an object, but only at the consciousness of immersion
in absolute Being. This permeating and permeated Spirit now enters
into conception; God goes forth into the “other” and makes Himself
objective. All that pertains to revelation and its reception, and
which comes before us in mythology, here appears; everything which is
historical and which belongs to what is positive has here its proper
place. To speak more definitely, we now have the Christ who came into
the world nearly two thousand years ago. But He says, “I am with you
even unto the ends of the earth; where two or three are gathered
together in My Name, there will I be in the midst.” I shall not be seen
of you in the flesh, but “The Spirit of Truth will guide you into all
Truth.” The external is not the true relation; it will disappear.

The two stages have here been given, the first of which is the stage
of devotion, of worship, such as that reached in partaking of the
Communion. That is the perception of the divine Spirit in the community
in which the present, indwelling, living Christ as self-consciousness
has attained to actuality. The second stage is that of developed
consciousness, when the content becomes the object; here this present,
indwelling Christ retreats two thousand years to a small corner of
Palestine, and is an individual historically manifested far away at
Nazareth or Jerusalem. It is the same thing in the Greek Religion where
the god present in devotion changes into prosaic statues and marble;
or in painting, where this externality is likewise arrived at, when
the god becomes mere canvas or wood. The Supper is, according to the
Lutheran conception, of Faith alone; it is a divine satisfaction,
and is not adored as if it were the Host. Thus a sacred image is no
more to us than is a stone or thing. The second point of view must
indeed be that with which consciousness begins; it must start from the
external comprehension of this form: it must passively accept report
and take it up into memory. But if it remain where it is, that is the
unspiritual point of view; to remain fixed in this second standpoint
in this dead far-away historic distance, is to reject the Spirit. The
sins of him who lies against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven. That
lie is the refusal to be a universal, to be holy, that is to make
Christ become divided, separated, to make Him only another person as
this particular person in Judea; or else to say that He now exists, but
only far away in Heaven, or in some other place, and not in present
actual form amongst His people. The man who speaks of the _merely_
finite, of _merely_ human reason, and of the limits to mere reason,
lies against the Spirit, for the Spirit as infinite and universal, as
self-comprehension, comprehends itself not in a “merely” nor in limits,
nor in the finite as such. It has nothing to do with this, for it
comprehends itself within itself alone, in its infinitude.

If it be said of Philosophy that it makes reality the subject of its
knowledge, the principal point is that the reality should not be one
outside of that of which it is the reality. For example, if from the
real content of a book, I abstract the binding, paper, ink, language,
the many thousand letters that are contained in it, the simple
universal content as reality, is not outside of the book. Similarly
law is not outside of the individual, but it constitutes the true
Being of the individual. The reality of my Mind is thus in my Mind
itself and not outside of it; it is my real Being, my own substance,
without which I am without existence. This reality is, so to speak, the
combustible material which may be kindled and lit up by the universal
reality as such as objective; and only so far as this phosphorus is
in men, is comprehension, the kindling and lighting up, possible.
Feeling, anticipation, knowledge of God, are only thus in men; without
such, the divine Mind would not be the in and for itself Universal.
Reality is itself a real content and not the destitute of content
and undetermined; yet, as the book has other content besides, there
is in the individual mind also a great amount of other matter which
belongs only to the manifestation of this reality, and the individual
surrounded with what is external, must be separated from this
existence. Since reality is itself Spirit and not an abstraction, “God
is not a God for the dead but for the living,” and indeed for living

  The great Creator was alone
  And experienced desire,
  Therefore He created Spirits,
  Holy mirrors of His holiness.
  The noblest Being He found no equal;
  From out the bowl of all the spiritual world,
  There sparkled up to Him infinitude.

Religion is also the point of view from which this existence is known.
But as regards the different forms of knowledge existing in Religion
and Philosophy, Philosophy appears to be opposed to the conception in
Religion that the universal mind first shows itself as external, in the
objective mode of consciousness. Worship, commencing with the external,
then turns against and abrogates it as has just been said, and thus
Philosophy is justified through the acts and forms of worship, and only
does what they do. Philosophy has to deal with two different objects;
first as in the Religion present in worship, with the substantial
content, the spiritual soul, and secondly with bringing this before
consciousness as object, but in the form of thought. Philosophy
thinks and conceives of that which Religion represents as the object
of consciousness, whether it is as the work of the imagination or as
existent facts in history. The form of the knowledge of the object
is, in religious consciousness, such as pertains to the ordinary
idea, and is thus more or less sensuous in nature. In Philosophy
we do not say that God begot a Son, which is a relation derived
from natural life. Thought, or the substance of such a relation, is
therefore still recognized in Philosophy. Since Philosophy thinks its
object, it has the advantage of uniting the two stages of religious
consciousness—which in Religion are different moments—into one unity
in philosophic thought.

It is these two forms which are different from one another and which,
as opposed, may therefore seem to be mutually conflicting; and it
is natural and it necessarily seems to be the case, that on first
definitely coming to view they are so to speak conscious of their
diversity, and hence at first appear as inimical to one another. The
first stage in the order of manifestation is definite existence, or
a determinate Being-for-self as opposed to the other. The later form
is that Thought embraces itself in the concrete, immerses itself in
itself, and Mind, as such, comes in it to consciousness. In the earlier
stage, Mind is abstract, and in this constraint it knows itself to be
different, and in opposition to the other. When it embraces itself in
the concrete, it is no more simply confined in determinate existence,
only knowing or possessing itself in that diversity, but it is the
Universal which, inasmuch as it determines itself, contains its “other”
within itself. As concrete intelligence, Mind thus comprehends the
substantial in the form which seemed to differ from it, of which it had
only grasped the outward manifestation and had turned away from it; it
recognizes itself in its inward content, and so it for the first time
grasps its object, and deals justice to its opposite.

Generally speaking, the course of this antithesis in history is that
Thought first of all comes forth within Religion, as not free and in
separate manifestations. Secondly, it strengthens itself, feels itself
to be resting upon itself, holds and conducts itself inimically towards
the other form, and does not recognize itself therein. In the third
place, it concludes by acknowledging itself as in this other. Or else
Philosophy has to begin with carrying on its work entirely on its
own account, isolating Thought from all popular beliefs, and taking
for itself quite a different field of operation, a field for which
the world of ordinary ideas lies quite apart, so that the two exist
peacefully side by side, or, to put it better, so that no reflection
on their opposition is arrived at. Just as little did the thought of
reconciling them occur, since in the popular beliefs the same content
appeared as in any external form other than the notion—the thought
that is, of explaining and justifying popular belief, in order thus to
be able again to express the conceptions of free thought in the form of
popular religion.

Thus we see Philosophy first restrained and confined within the range
of the Greek heathen world; then resting upon itself, it goes forth
against popular religion and takes up an unfriendly attitude to it,
until it grasps that religion in its innermost and recognizes itself
therein. Thus the ancient Greek philosophers generally respected the
popular religion, or at least they did not oppose it, or reflect upon
it. Those coming later, including even Xenophanes, handled popular
ideas most severely, and thus many so-called atheists made their
appearance. But as the spheres of popular conception, and abstract
thought stood peacefully side by side, we also find Greek philosophers
of even a later period in development, in whose case speculative
thought and the act of worship, as also the pious invocation upon
and sacrifice to the gods, coexist in good faith, and not in mere
hypocrisy. Socrates was accused of teaching other gods than those
belonging to the popular religion; his _δαιμόνιον_ was indeed opposed
to the principles of Greek morals and religion, but at the same time
he followed quite honestly the usages of his religion, and we know
besides that his last request was to ask his friends to offer a cock to
Æsculapius—a desire quite inconsistent with his conclusions regarding
the existence of God and above all regarding morality. Plato declaimed
against the poets and their gods. It was in a much later time that
the Neo-platonists first recognized in the popular mythology rejected
earlier by the philosophers, the universal content; they transposed
and translated it into what is significant for thought, and thus used
mythology itself as a symbolical imagery for giving expression to their

Similarly do we see in the Christian Religion, thought which is not
independent first placing itself in conjunction with the form belonging
to this Religion and acting within it—that is to say, taking the
Religion as its groundwork, and proceeding from the absolute assumption
of the Christian doctrine. We see later on the opposition between
so-called faith and so-called reason; when the wings of thought have
become strengthened, the young eaglet flies away for himself to the sun
of Truth; but like a bird of prey he turns upon Religion and combats
it. Latest of all Philosophy permits full justice to be done to the
content of Religion through the speculative Notion, which is through
Thought itself. For this end the Notion must have grasped itself in the
concrete and penetrated to concrete spirituality. This must be the
standpoint of the Philosophy of the present time; it has begun within
Christianity and can have no other content than the world-spirit. When
that spirit comprehends itself in Philosophy, it also comprehends
itself in that form which formerly was inimical to Philosophy.

Thus Religion has a content in common with Philosophy the forms alone
being different; and the only essential point is that the form of the
Notion should be so far perfected as to be able to grasp the content of
Religion. The Truth is just that which has been called the mysteries
of Religion. These constitute the speculative element in Religion
such as were called by the Neo-platonists _μυεῖν, μυεῖσθαι_ (being
initiated), or being occupied with speculative Notions. By mysteries is
meant, superficially speaking, the secret, what remains such and does
not arrive at being known. But in the Eleusinian mysteries there was
nothing unknown; all Athenians were initiated into them, Socrates alone
shut himself out. Openly to make them known to strangers was the one
thing forbidden, as indeed it was made a crime in the case of certain
people. Such matters however, as being holy, were not to be spoken of.
Herodotus often expressly says (e.g. ii. 45-47) that he would speak
of the Egyptian Divinities and mysteries in as far as it was pious so
to do: he knew more, but it would be impious to speak of them. In the
Christian Religion dogmas are called mysteries. They are that which man
knows about the Nature of God. Neither is there anything mysterious in
this; it is known by all those who are partakers in that Religion, and
these are thus distinguished from the followers of other Religions.
Hence mystery here signifies nothing unknown, since all Christians are
in the secret. Mysteries are in their nature speculative, mysterious
certainly to the understanding, but not to reason; they are rational,
just in the sense of being speculative. The understanding does not
comprehend the speculative which simply is the concrete because it
holds to the differences in their separation; their contradiction
is indeed contained in the mystery, which, however, is likewise the
resolution of the same.

Philosophy, on the contrary, is opposed to the so-called Rationalism
of the new Theology which for ever keeps reason on its lips, but which
is dry understanding only; no reason is recognizable in it as the
moment of independent thought which really is abstract thought and that
alone. When the understanding which does not comprehend the truths of
Religion, calls itself the illuminating reason and plays the lord and
master, it goes astray. Rationalism is opposed to Philosophy in content
and form, for it has made the content empty as it has made the heavens,
and has reduced all that is, to finite relations—in its form it is a
reasoning process which is not free and which has no conceiving power.
The supernatural in Religion is opposed to rationalism, and if indeed
the latter is related in respect of the real content to Philosophy,
yet it differs from it in form, for it has become unspiritual and
wooden, looking for its justification to mere external authority. The
scholastics were not supernaturalists in this sense; they knew the
dogmas of the Church in thought and in conception. If Religion in the
inflexibility of its abstract authority as opposed to thought, declares
of it that “the gates of Hell shall not triumph over it,” the gates of
reason are stronger than the gates of Hell, not to overcome the Church
but to reconcile itself to the Church. Philosophy, as the conceiving
thought of this content, has as regards the idea of Religion, the
advantage of comprehending both sides—it comprehends Religion and
also comprehends both rationalism and supernaturalism and itself
likewise. But this is not the case on the other side. Religion from the
standpoint of idea, comprehends only what stands on the same platform
as itself, and not Philosophy, the Notion, the universal thought
determinations. Often no injustice is done to a Philosophy when its
opposition to Religion has been made matter of reproach; but often,
too, a wrong has been inflicted where this is done from the religious
point of view.

The form of Religion is necessary to Mind as it is in and for
itself; it is the form of truth as it is for all men, and for every
mode of consciousness. This universal mode is first of all for men
in the form of sensuous consciousness, and then, secondly, in the
intermingling of the form of the universal with sensuous manifestation
or reflection—the representing consciousness, the mythical, positive
and historical form, is that pertaining to the understanding. What
is received in evidence of Mind only becomes object to consciousness
when it appears in the form of the understanding, that is to say,
consciousness must first be already acquainted with these forms from
life and from experience. Now, because thinking consciousness is not
the outward universal form for all mankind, the consciousness of the
true, the spiritual and the rational, must have the form of Religion,
and this is the universal justification of this form.

We have here laid down the distinction between Philosophy and Religion,
but taking into account what it is we wish to deal with in the history
of Philosophy, there is something still which must be remarked upon,
and which partly follows from what has been already said. There is
the question still confronting us as to what attitude we must take in
reference to this matter in the history of Philosophy.

_β. The religious element to be excluded from the content of the
History of Philosophy._

_αα_. Mythology first meets us, and it seems as if it might be drawn
within the history of Philosophy. It is indeed a product of the
imagination, but not of caprice, although that also has its place
here. But the main part of mythology is the work of the imaginative
reason, which makes reality its object, but yet has no other means
of so doing, than that of sensuous representation, so that the gods
make their appearance in human guise. Mythology can now be studied for
art, &c. But the thinking mind must seek out the substantial content,
the thought and the theory implicitly contained therein, as reason
is sought in Nature. This mode of treating mythology was that of the
Neo-platonists; in recent times it has for the most part become the
work of my friend Creuzer in symbolism. This method of treatment is
combated and condemned by others. Man, it is said, must set to work
historically alone, and it is not historic when a theory unthought
of by the ancients, is read into a myth, or brought out of it. In
one light, this is quite correct, for it points to a method adopted
by Creuzer, and also by the Alexandrians who acted in a similar way.
In conscious thought the ancients had not such theories before them,
nor did anyone maintain them, yet to say that such content was not
implicitly present, is an absurd contention. As the products of reason,
though not of thinking reason, the religions of the people, as also
the mythologies, however simple and even foolish they may appear,
indubitably contain as genuine works of art, thoughts, universal
determinations and truth, for the instinct of reason is at their basis.
Bound up with this is the fact that since mythology in its expression
takes sensuous forms, much that is contingent and external becomes
intermingled, for the representation of the Notion in sensuous forms
always possesses a certain incongruity, seeing that what is founded on
imagination cannot express the Idea in its real aspect. This sensuous
form produced as it is by an historic or natural method, must be
determined on many sides, and this external determination must, more or
less, be of such a nature as not to express the Idea. It may also be
that many errors are contained in that explanation, particularly when
a single one is brought within our notice; all the customs, actions,
furnishings, vestments, and offerings taken together, may undoubtedly
contain something of the Idea in analogy, but the connection is far
removed, and many contingent circumstances must find their entrance.
But that there is a Reason there, must certainly be recognized, and it
is essential so to comprehend and grasp mythology.

But Mythology must remain excluded from our history of Philosophy.
The reason of this is found in the fact that in Philosophy we have
to do not with theorems generally, or with thoughts which only are
_implicite_ contained in some particular form or other, but with
thoughts which are explicit, and only in so far as they are explicit
and in so far as a content such as that belonging to Religion, has
come to consciousness in the form of Thought. And this is just what
forms the immense distinction which we saw above, between capacity and
actuality. The theorems which are _implicite_ contained within Religion
do not concern us; they must be in the form of thoughts, since Thought
alone is the absolute form of the Idea.

In many mythologies, images are certainly used along with their
significance, or else the images are closely attended by their
interpretation. The ancient Persians worshipped the sun, or fire, as
being the highest existence; the first cause in the Persian Religion
is Zervane Akerene—unlimited time, eternity. This simple eternal
existence possesses according to Diogenes Lærtius (I. 8), “the two
principles Ormuzd (_Ὠρομάσδης_) and Ahriman (_Ἀρειμάνος_), the rulers
over good and evil.” Plutarch in writing on Isis and Osiris (T. II. p.
369, ed. Xyl.) says, “It is not one existence which holds and rules
the whole, but good is mingled with evil; nature as a rule brings
forth nothing pure and simple; it is not one dispenser, who, like a
host, gives out and mixes up the drink from two different barrels. But
through two opposed and inimical principles of which the one impels
towards what is right, and the other in the opposite direction, if not
the whole world, at least this earth is influenced in different ways.
Zoroaster has thus emphatically set up the one principle (Ormuzd) as
being the Light, and the other (Ahriman) as the Darkness. Between the
two (_μέσος δὲ ἀμφοῖν_) is Mithra, hence called by the Persians the
Mediator (_μεσίτης_).” Mithra is then likewise substance, the universal
existence, the sun raised to a totality. It is not the mediator between
Ormuzd and Ahriman by establishing peace and leaving each to remain
as it was; it does not partake of good and evil both, like an unblest
middle thing, but it stands on the side of Ormuzd and strives with him
against the evil. Ahriman is sometimes called the first-born son of the
Light, but Ormuzd only remained within the Light. At the creation of
the visible world, Ormuzd places on the earth in his incomprehensible
kingdom of Light, the firm arches of the heavens which are above yet
surrounded on every side with the first original Light. Midway to the
earth is the high hill Albordi, which reaches into the source of Light.
Ormuzd’s empire of Light extended uninterruptedly over the firm vault
of the heavens and the hill Albordi, and over the earth too, until
the third age was reached. Then Ahriman, whose kingdom of night was
formerly bound beneath the earth, broke in upon Ormuzd’s corporeal
world and ruled in common with him. Now the space between heaven and
earth was divided into light and night. As Ormuzd had formerly only a
spiritual kingdom of light, Ahriman had only one of night, but now that
they were intermingled he placed the terrestrial light thus created in
opposition to the terrestrial night. From this time on, two corporeal
worlds stand opposed, one pure and good, and one impure and evil, and
this opposition permeates all nature. On Albordi, Ormuzd created Mithra
as mediator for the earth. The end of the creation of the bodily world
is none other than to reinstate existence, fallen from its creator,
to make it good again, and thus to make the evil disappear for ever.
The bodily world is the battle-ground between good and evil; but the
battle between light and darkness is not in itself an absolute and
irreconcilable opposition, but one which can be conquered, and in it
Ormuzd, the principle of Light, will be the conqueror.

I would remark of this, that when we consider the elements in these
ideas which bear some further connection with Philosophy, the universal
of that duality with which the Notion is necessarily set forth can
alone be interesting and noteworthy to us; for in it the Notion is just
the immediate opposite of itself, the unity of itself with itself in
the “other:” a simple existence in which absolute opposition appears
as the opposition of existence, and the sublation of that opposition.
Because properly the Light principle is the only existence of both, and
the principle of Darkness is the null and void,—the principle of Light
identifies itself with Mithra, which was before called the highest
existence. The opposition has laid aside the appearance of contingency,
but the spiritual principle is not separate from the physical, because
the good and evil are both determined as Light and Darkness. We thus
here see thought breaking forth from actuality, and yet not such a
separation as only takes place in Religion, when the supersensuous
is itself again represented in a manner sensuous, notionless and
dispersed, for the whole of what is dispersed in sensuous form is
gathered together in the one single opposition, and activity is thus
simply represented. These determinations lie much nearer to Thought;
they are not mere images or symbols, but yet these myths do not concern
Philosophy. In them Thought does not take the first place, for the
myth-form remains predominant. In all religions this oscillation
between form and thought is found, and such a combination still lies
outside Philosophy.

This is also so in the Sanchuniathonic Cosmogony of the Phœnicians.
These fragments, which are found in Eusebius (Præpar. Evang. I. 10),
are taken from the translation of the Sanchuniathon from Phœnician
into Greek made by a Grammarian named Philo from Biblus. Philo
lived in the time of Vespasian and ascribes great antiquity to the
Sanchuniathon. It is there said, “The principles of things are found
in Chaos, in which the elements exist undeveloped and confused, and
in a Spirit of Air. The latter permeated the chaos, and with it
engendered a slimy matter or mud (_ἰλύν_) which contained within it the
living forces and the germs of animals. By mingling this mud with the
component matter of chaos and the resulting fermentation, the elements
separated themselves. The fire elements ascended into the heights and
formed the stars. Through their influence in the air, clouds were
formed and the earth was made fruitful. From the mingling of water
and earth, through the mud converted into putrefying matter, animals
took their origin as imperfect and senseless. These again begot other
animals perfect and endowed with senses. It was the crash of thunder in
a thunder-storm that caused the first animals still sleeping in their
husks to waken up to life.”[7]

The fragments of Berosus of the Chaldeans were collected from Josephus,
Syncellus and Eusebius under the title _Berosi Chaldaica_, by Scaliger,
as an appendix to his work _De emendatione temporum_, and they are
found complete in the Greek Library of Fabricius (T. xiv. pp. 175-211).
Berosus lived in the time of Alexander, is said to have been a Priest
of Bel and to have drawn upon the archives of the temple at Babylon.
He says, “The original god is Bel and the goddess Omoroka (the sea),
but beside them there were yet other gods. Bel divided Omoroka in two,
in order to create from her parts heaven and earth. Hereupon he cut
off his own head and the human race originated from the drops of his
divine blood. After the creation of man, Bel banished the darkness,
divided heaven and earth, and formed the world into its natural shape.
Since certain parts of the earth seemed to him to be insufficiently
populated, he compelled another god to lay hands upon himself, and from
his blood more men and more kinds of animals were created. At first
the men lived a wild and uncultivated life, until a monster” (called
by Berosus, Oannes) “joined them into a state, taught them arts and
sciences, and in a word brought Humanity into existence. The monster
set about this end with the rising of the sun out of the sea, and with
its setting he again hid himself under the waves.”

_ββ_. What belongs to Mythology may in the second place make a pretence
of being a kind of Philosophy. It has produced philosophers who availed
themselves of the mythical form in order to bring their theories and
systems more prominently before the imagination, for they made the
thoughts the content of the myth. But the myth is not a mere cloak
in the ancient myths; it is not merely that the thoughts were there
and were concealed. This may happen in our reflecting times; but the
first poetry does not start from a separation of prose and poetry. If
philosophers used myths, it was usually the case that they had the
thoughts and then sought for images appropriate to them; Plato has
many beautiful myths of this kind. Others likewise have spoken in
myths, as for example, Jacobi, whose Philosophy took the form of the
Christian Religion, through which he gave utterance to matter of a
highly speculative nature. But this form is not suitable to Philosophy.
Thought which has itself as object, must have raised itself to its own
form, to the form of thought. Plato is often esteemed on account of his
myths; he is supposed to have evinced by their means greater genius
than other philosophers were capable of. It is contended here that
the myths of Plato are superior to the abstract form of expression,
and Plato’s method of representation is certainly a wonderful one.
On closer examination we find that it is partly the impossibility of
expressing himself after the manner of pure thought that makes Plato
put his meaning so, and also such methods of expression are only used
by him in introducing a subject. When he comes to the matter in point,
Plato expresses himself otherwise, as we see in the Parmenides, where
simple thought determinations are used without imagery. Externally
these myths may certainly serve when the heights of speculative thought
are left behind, in order to present the matter in an easier form, but
the real value of Plato does not rest in his myths. If thought once
attains power sufficient to give existence to itself within itself
and in its element, the myth becomes a superfluous adornment, by
which Philosophy is not advanced. Men often lay hold of nothing but
these myths. Hence Aristotle has been misunderstood just because he
intersperses similes here and there; the simile can never be entirely
in accord with thought, for it always carries with it something more.
The difficulty of representing thoughts as thoughts always attaches to
the expedient of expression in sensuous form. Thought, too, ought not
to be concealed by means of the myth, for the object of the mythical
is just to give expression to and to reveal thought. The symbol is
undoubtedly insufficient for this expression; thought concealed in
symbols is not yet possessed, for thought is self-revealing, and hence
the myth does not form a medium adequate for its conveyance. Aristotle
(Metaph. III. 4) says, “It is not worth while to treat seriously of
those whose philosophy takes a mythical form.” Such is not the form in
which thought allows itself to be stated, but only is a subordinate

Connected with this, there is a similar method of representing the
universal content by means of numbers, lines and geometric figures.
These are figurative, but not concretely so, as in the case of myths.
Thus it may be said that eternity is a circle, the snake that bites
its own tail. This is only an image, but Mind does not require such
a symbol. There are people who value such methods of representation,
but these forms do not go far. The most abstract determinations
can indeed be thus expressed, but any further progress brings about
confusion. Just as the freemasons have symbols which are esteemed
for their depth of wisdom—depth as a brook is deep when one cannot
see the bottom—that which is hidden very easily seems to men deep,
or as if depth were concealed beneath. But when it is hidden, it may
possibly prove to be the case that there is nothing behind. This is so
in freemasonry, in which everything is concealed to those outside and
also to many people within, and where nothing remarkable is possessed
in learning or in science, and least of all in Philosophy. Thought is,
on the contrary, simply its manifestation; clearness is its nature and
itself. The act of manifestation is not a condition which may be or
may not be equally, so that thought may remain as thought when it is
not manifested, but its manifestation is itself, its Being. Numbers,
as will be remarked in respect of the Pythagoreans, are unsuitable
mediums for expressing thoughts; thus _μονάς_, _δυάς_, _τριάς_ are,
with Pythagoras, unity, difference, and unity of the unity and of
the difference. The two first of the three are certainly united by
addition; this kind of union is, however, the worst form of unity.
In Religion the three make their appearance in a deeper sense as the
Trinity, and in Philosophy as the Notion, but enumeration forms a
bad method of expression. There is the same objection to it as would
exist to making the mensuration of space the medium for expressing the
absolute. People also quote the Philosophy of the Chinese, of the Foï,
in which it is said that thoughts are represented by numbers. Yet the
Chinese have explained their symbols and hence have made their meaning
evident. Universal simple abstractions have been present to all people
who have arrived at any decree of culture.

_γγ_. We have still to remark in the third place, that Religion, as
such, does not merely form its representations after the manner of
art; and also that Poetry likewise contains actual thoughts. In the
case of the poets whose art has speech as medium, we find all through
deep universal thought regarding reality; these are more explicitly
expressed in the Indian Religion, but with the Indians everything is
mixed up. Hence it is said that such races have also had a Philosophy
proper to themselves; but the universal thoughts of interest in Indian
books limit themselves to what is most abstract, to the idea of rising
up and passing away, and thus of making a perpetual round. The story of
the Phœnix is well known as an example of this; it is one which took
its origin in the East. We are able similarly to find thoughts about
life and death and of the transition of Being into passing away; from
life comes death and from death comes life; even in Being, in what
is positive, the negation is already present. The negative side must
indeed contain within it the positive, for all change, all the process
of life is founded on this. But such reflections only occasionally come
forth; they are not to be taken as being proper philosophic utterances.
For Philosophy is only present when thought, as such, is made the
absolute ground and root of everything else, and in these modes of
representation this is not so.

Philosophy does not reflect on any particular thing or object already
existing as a first substratum; its content is just Thought, universal
thought which must plainly come first of all; to put it otherwise, the
Absolute must in Philosophy be in the form of thought. In the Greek
Religion we find the thought-determination “eternal necessity;” which
means an absolute and clearly universal relation. But such thought has
other subjects besides; it only expresses a relation, the necessity to
be the true and all-embracing Being. Thus neither must we take this
form into our consideration. We might speak in that way of a philosophy
of Euripides, Schiller or Goethe. But all such reflection respecting,
or general modes of representing what is true, the ends of men,
morality and so on, are in part only incidentally set forth, and in
part they have not reached the proper form of thought, which implies
that what is so expressed must be ultimate, thus constituting the

_γ. Particular theories found in Religion._

In conclusion, the philosophy which we find within Religion does not
concern us. We find deep, speculative thoughts regarding the nature
of God not only in the Indian Religions, but also in the Fathers and
the Schoolmen. In the history of dogmatism there is a real interest
in becoming acquainted with these thoughts, but they do not belong
to the history of Philosophy. Nevertheless more notice must be taken
of the Schoolmen than of the Fathers, for they were certainly great
philosophers to whom the culture of Christendom owes much. But their
speculations belong in part to other philosophies such as to that of
Plato, which must in so far be considered for themselves; partly, too,
they emanate from the speculative content of Religion itself which
already exists as independent truth in the doctrine of the Church,
and belongs primarily to faith. Thus such modes of thought rest on an
hypothesis and not on Thought itself; they are not properly speaking
themselves Philosophy or thought which rests on itself, but as ideas
already firmly rooted, they act on its behalf either in refuting
other ideas and conclusions or in philosophically vindicating against
them their own religious teaching. Thought in this manner does not
represent and know itself as the ultimate and absolute culmination of
the content, or as the inwardly self-determining Thought. Hence, too,
when the Fathers, seeing that the content of the Christian Religion can
only be grasped after the speculative form, did, within the teaching
of the Church, produce thoughts of a highly speculative nature, the
ultimate justification of these was not found in Thought as such, but
in the teaching of the Church. Philosophic teaching here finds itself
within a strongly bound system and not as thought which emanates freely
from itself. Thus with the scholastics, too, Thought does not construct
itself out of itself, but depends upon hypotheses; and although it ever
rests more and more upon itself, it never does so in opposition to the
doctrine of the Church. Both must and do agree, since Thought has to
prove from itself what the Church has already verified.

c. _Philosophy proper distinguished from Popular Philosophy._

Of the two departments of knowledge allied to Philosophy we found
that the one, that of the special sciences, could not be called a
philosophy in that it, as independent seeing and thinking immersed in
finite matter, and as the active principle in becoming acquainted with
the finite, was not the content, but simply the formal and subjective
moment. The second sphere, Religion, is deficient in that it only had
the content or the objective moment in common with Philosophy. In it
independent thought was an essential moment, since the subject had
an imaginary or historical form. Philosophy demands the unity and
intermingling of these two points of view; it unites the Sunday of
life when man in humility renounces himself, and the working-day when
he stands up independently, is master of himself and considers his
own interests. A third point of view seems to unite both elements,
and that is popular Philosophy. It deals with universal objects and
philosophizes as to God and the world; and thought is likewise occupied
in learning about these matters. Yet this Philosophy must also be
cast aside. The writings of Cicero may be put under this category;
they contain a kind of philosophy that has its own place and in which
excellent things are said. Cicero formed many experiences both in the
affairs of life and mind, and from them and after observing what takes
place in the world, he deduced the truth. He expresses himself with
culture on the concerns most important to man, and hence his great
popularity. Fanatics and mystics may from another point of view be
reckoned as in this category. They give expression to a deep sense of
devotion, and have had experiences in the higher regions. They are able
to express the highest content, and the result is attractive. We thus
find the brightest gleams of thought in the writings of a Pascal—as we
do in his _Pensées_.

But the drawback that attaches to this Philosophy is that the ultimate
appeal—even in modern times—is made to the fact that men are
constituted such as they are by nature, and with this Cicero is very
free. Here the moral instinct comes into question, only under the
name of feeling; Religion now rests not on what is objective but on
religious feeling, because the immediate consciousness of God by men
is its ultimate ground. Cicero makes copious use of the _consensus
gentium_; in more modern times this appeal has been more or less left
alone, since the individual subject has to rest upon himself. Feeling
is first of all laid hold of, then comes reasoning from what is given,
but in these we can appeal to what is immediate only. Independent
thought is certainly here advanced; the content too, is taken from the
self; but we must just as necessarily exclude this mode of thinking
from Philosophy. For the source from which the content is derived is
of the same description as in the other cases. Nature is the source in
finite sciences, and in Religion it is Spirit; but here the source is
in authority; the content is given and the act of worship removes but
momentarily this externality. The source of popular Philosophy is in
the heart, impulses and capacities, our natural Being, my impression of
what is right and of God; the content is in a form which is of nature
only. I certainly have everything in feeling, but the whole content is
also in Mythology, and yet in neither is it so in veritable form. The
laws and doctrines of Religion are that in which this content always
comes to consciousness in a more definite way, while in feeling there
still is intermingled the arbitrary will of that which is subjective.


Now that we have thus defined the Notion of Philosophy to be the
Thought which, as the universal content, is complete Being, it will
be shown in the history of Philosophy how the determinations in this
content make their appearance little by little. At first we only ask
where Philosophy and its History begin.

_a. Freedom of Thought as a first condition._

The general answer is in accordance with what has been said. Philosophy
begins where the universal is comprehended as the all-embracing
existence, or where the existent is laid hold of in a universal form,
and where thinking about thought first commences. Where, then, has
this occurred? Where did it begin? That is a question of history.
Thought must be for itself, must come into existence in its freedom,
liberate itself from nature and come out of its immersion in mere
sense-perception; it must as free, enter within itself and thus arrive
at the consciousness of freedom. Philosophy is properly to be commenced
where the Absolute is no more in the form of ordinary conception, and
free thought not merely thinks the Absolute but grasps its Idea. That
is to say where Thought grasps as Thought, the Being (which may be
Thought itself), which it recognizes as the essence of things, the
absolute totality and the immanent essence of everything, and does so
as an external Being. The simple existence which is not sensuous and
which the Jews thought of as God (for all Religion is thinking), is
thus not a subject to be treated of by Philosophy, but just such a
proposition as that “The existence or principle of things is water,
fire or thought.”

Thought, this universal determination which sets forth itself, is
an abstract determinateness; it is the beginning of Philosophy, but
this beginning is at the same time in history, the concrete form taken
by a people, the principle of which constitutes what we have stated
above. If we say that the consciousness of freedom is connected with
the appearance of Philosophy, this principle must be a fundamental
one with those with whom Philosophy begins; a people having this
consciousness of freedom founds its existence on that principle seeing
that the laws and the whole circumstances of the people are based
only on the Notion that Mind forms of itself, and in the categories
which it has. Connected with this on the practical side, is the fact
that actual freedom develops political freedom, and this only begins
where the individual knows himself as an independent individual to be
universal and real, where his significance is infinite, or where the
subject has attained the consciousness of personality and thus desires
to be esteemed for himself alone. Free, philosophic thought has this
direct connection with practical freedom, that as the former supplies
thought about the absolute, universal and real object, the latter,
because it thinks itself, gives itself the character of universality.
Thinking means the bringing of something into the form of universality;
hence Thought first treats of the universal, or determines what is
objective and individual in the natural things which are present in
sensuous consciousness, as the universal, as an objective Thought. Its
second attribute is that in recognizing and knowing this objective and
infinite universal, I, at the same time, remain confronting it from the
standpoint of objectivity.

On account of this general connection between political freedom and the
freedom of Thought, Philosophy only appears in History where and in as
far as free institutions are formed. Since Mind requires to separate
itself from its natural will and engrossment in matter if it wishes
to enter upon Philosophy, it cannot do so in the form with which the
world-spirit commences and which takes precedence of that separation.
This stage of the unity of Mind with Nature which as immediate is not
the true and perfect state, is mainly found in the Oriental conception
of existence, therefore Philosophy first begins in the Grecian world.

b. _Separation of the East and its Philosophy._

Some explanations have to be given regarding this first form.
Since Mind in it, as consciousness and will, is but desire,
self-consciousness still stands upon its first stage in which the
sphere of its idea and will is finite. As intelligence is thus finite
too, its ends are not yet a universal for themselves; but if a people
makes for what is moral, if laws and justice are possessed, the
character of universality underlies its will. This presupposes a new
power in Mind with which it commences to be free, for the universal
will as the relation of thought to thought or as the universal,
contains a thought which is at home with itself. If a people desire to
be free, they will subordinate their desires to universal laws, while
formerly that which was desired was only a particular. Now finitude
of the will characterizes the orientals, because with them the will
has not yet grasped itself as universal, for thought is not yet free
for itself. Hence there can but be the relation of lord and slave,
and in this despotic sphere fear constitutes the ruling category.
Because the will is not yet free from what is finite, it can therein
be comprehended and the finite can be shown forth as negative. This
sensation of negation, that something cannot last, is just fear as
distinguished from freedom which does not consist in being finite
but in being for itself, and this cannot be laid hold of. Religion
necessarily has this character, since the fear of the Lord is the
essential element beyond which we cannot get. “The fear of the Lord is
the beginning of wisdom” is indeed a true saying; man must begin with
this in order to know the finite ends in their negative character. But
man must also have overcome fear through the relinquishment of finite
ends, and the satisfaction which that Religion affords is confined
to what is finite, seeing that the chief means of reconciliation are
natural forms which are impersonated and held in reverence.

The oriental consciousness raises itself, indeed, above the natural
content to what is infinite; but it only knows itself as accidental
in reference to the power which makes the individual fear. This
subordination may take two forms and must indeed from one extreme pass
to the other. The finite, which is for consciousness, may have the form
of finitude as finite, or it may become the infinite, which is however
an abstraction. The man who lives in fear, and he who rules over
men through fear, both stand upon the same platform; the difference
between them is only in the greater power of will which can go forth to
sacrifice all that is finite for some particular end. The despot brings
about what his caprice directs, including certainly what is good, not
as law, but as arbitrary will: the passive will, like that of slavery,
is converted into the active energy of will, which will, however, is
arbitrary still. In Religion we even find self-immersion in the deepest
sensuality represented as the service of God, and then there follows in
the East a flight to the emptiest abstraction as to what is infinite,
as also the exaltation attained through the renunciation of everything,
and this is specially so amongst the Indians, who torture themselves
and enter into the most profound abstraction. The Indians look straight
before them for ten years at a time, are fed by those around, and are
destitute of other spiritual content than that of knowing what is
abstract, which content therefore is entirely finite. This, then, is
not the soil of freedom.

In the East, Mind indeed begins to dawn, but it is still true of it
that the subject is not presented as a person, but appears in the
objectively substantial, which is represented as partly supersensuous
and partly, and even more, material, as negative and perishing. The
highest point attainable by the individual, the everlasting bliss, is
made an immersion into substance, a vanishing away of consciousness,
and thus of all distinction between substance and individuality—hence
an annihilation. A spiritually dead relation thus comes into existence,
since the highest point there to be reached is insensibility. So
far, however, man has not attained that bliss, but finds himself to
be a single existent individual, distinguished from the universal
substance. He is thus outside the unity, has no significance, and as
being what is accidental and without rights, is finite only; he finds
himself limited through Nature—in caste for instance. The will is
not here the substantial will; it is the arbitrary will given up to
what is outwardly and inwardly contingent, for substance alone is the
affirmative. With it greatness, nobility, or exaltitude of character,
are certainly not excluded, but they are only present as the naturally
determined or the arbitrary will, and not in the objective forms of
morality and law to which all owe respect, which hold good for all, and
in which for that same reason all are recognized. The oriental subject
thus has the advantage of independence, since there is nothing fixed;
however undetermined is the substance of the Easterns, as undetermined,
free and independent may their character be. What for us is justice
and morality is also in their state, but in a substantial, natural,
patriarchal way, and not in subjective freedom. Conscience does not
exist nor does morality. Everything is simply in a state of nature,
which allows the noblest to exist as it does the worst.

The conclusion to be derived from this is that no philosophic knowledge
can be found here. To Philosophy belongs the knowledge of Substance,
the absolute Universal, that whether I think it and develop it or not,
confronts me still as for itself objective; and whether this is to me
substantial or not, still just in that I think it, it is mine, that in
which I possess my distinctive character or am affirmative: thus my
thoughts are not mere subjective determinations or opinions, but, as
being my thoughts, are also thoughts of what is objective, or they are
substantial thoughts. The Eastern form must therefore be excluded from
the History of Philosophy, but still, upon the whole, I will take some
notice of it. I have touched on this elsewhere,[8] for some time ago we
for the first time reached a position to judge of it. Earlier a great
parade was made about the Indian wisdom without any real knowledge of
what it was; now this is for the first time known, and naturally it is
found to be in conformity with the rest.

c. _Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece._

Philosophy proper commences in the West. It is in the West that
this freedom of self-consciousness first comes forth; the natural
consciousness, and likewise Mind disappear into themselves. In the
brightness of the East the individual disappears; the light first
becomes in the West the flash of thought which strikes within itself,
and from thence creates its world out of itself. The blessedness of
the West is thus so determined that in it the subject as such endures
and continues in the substantial; the individual mind grasps its Being
as universal, but universality is just this relation to itself. This
being at home with self, this personality and infinitude of the “I”
constitutes the Being of Mind; it is thus and can be none else. For a
people to know themselves as free, and to be only as universal, is for
them to be; it is the principle of their whole life as regards morality
and all else. To take an example, we only know our real Being in so far
as personal freedom is its first condition, and hence we never can be
slaves. Were the mere arbitrary will of the prince a law, and should
he wish slavery to be introduced, we would have the knowledge that this
could not be. To sleep, to live, to have a certain office, is not our
real Being, and certainly to be no slave is such, for that has come to
mean the being in nature. Thus in the West we are upon the soil of a
veritable Philosophy.

Because in desire I am subject to another, and my Being is in a
particularity, I am, as I exist, unlike myself; for I am “I,” the
universal complete, but hemmed in by passion. This last is self-will
or formal freedom, which has desire as content. Amongst the Greeks we
first find the freedom which is the end of true will, the equitable and
right, in which I am free and universal, and others, too, are free, are
also “I” and like me; where a relationship between free and free is
thus established with its actual laws, determinations of the universal
will, and justly constituted states. Hence it is here that Philosophy

In Greece we first see real freedom flourish, but still in a restricted
form, and with a limitation, since slavery was still existent, and the
states were by its means conditioned. In the following abstractions we
may first of all superficially describe the freedom of the East, of
Greece, and of the Teutonic world. In the East only one individual is
free, the despot; in Greece the few are free; in the Teutonic world
the saying is true that all are free, that is, man is free as man. But
since the one in Eastern countries cannot be free because that would
necessitate the others also being free to him, impulse, self-will, and
formal freedom, can there alone be found. Since in Greece we have to
deal with the particular, the Athenians, and the Spartans, are free
indeed, but not the Messenians or the Helots. The principle of the
“few” has yet to be discovered, and this implies some modifications of
the Greek point of view which we must consider in connection with the
History of Philosophy. To take these into consideration means simply to
proceed to the dividing up of Philosophy.




Since we set to work systematically this division must present itself
as necessary. Speaking generally, we have properly only two epochs to
distinguish in the history of Philosophy, as in ancient and modern
art—these are the Greek and the Teutonic. The Teutonic Philosophy
is the Philosophy within Christendom in so far as it belongs to the
Teutonic nations; the Christian-European people, inasmuch as they
belong to the world of science, possess collectively Teutonic culture;
for Italy, Spain, France, England, and the rest, have through the
Teutonic nations, received a new form. The influence of Greece also
reaches into the Roman world, and hence we have to speak of Philosophy
in the territory of the Roman world; but the Romans produced no proper
Philosophy any more than any proper poets. They have only received
from and imitated others, although they have often done this with
intelligence; even their religion is derived from the Greek, and the
special character that it has, makes no approach to Philosophy and Art,
but is unphilosophical and inartistic.

A further description of these two outstanding opposites must be given.
The Greek world developed thought as far as to the Idea; the Christian
Teutonic world, on the contrary, has comprehended Thought as Spirit;
Idea and Spirit are thus the distinguishing features. More particularly
the facts are as follows. Because God, the still undetermined and
immediate Universal, Being, or objective Thought, jealously allowing
nothing to exist beside Him, is the substantial groundwork of all
Philosophy, which never alters, but ever sinks more deeply within
itself, and through the development of determinations manifests itself
and brings to consciousness, we may designate the particular character
of the development in the first period of Philosophy by saying that
this development is a simple process of determinations, figurations,
abstract qualities, issuing from the one ground that potentially
already contains the whole.

The second stage in this universal principle is the gathering up of
the determinations manifested thus, into ideal, concrete unity, in the
mode of subjectivity. The first determinations as immediate, were still
abstractions, but now the Absolute, as the endlessly self-determining
Universal, must furthermore be comprehended as active Thought, and not
as the Universal in this determinate character. Hence it is manifested
as the totality of determinations and as concrete individuality. Thus,
with the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras, and still more with Socrates, there
commences a subjective totality in which Thought grasps itself, and
thinking activity is the fundamental principle.

The third stage, then, is that this totality, which is at first
abstract, in that it becomes realized through the active,
determining, distinguishing thought, sets itself forth even in the
separated determinations, which, as ideal, belong to it. Since these
determinations are contained unseparated in the unity, and thus
each in it is also the other, these opposed moments are raised into
totalities. The quite general forms of opposition are the universal
and the particular, or, in another form, Thought as such, external
reality, feeling or perception. The Notion is the identity of universal
and particular; because each of these is thus set forth as concrete in
itself, the universal is in itself at once the unity of universality
and particularity, and the same holds good of particularity. Unity
is thus posited in both forms, and the abstract moments can be made
complete through this unity alone; thus it has come to pass that the
differences themselves are each raised up to a system of totality,
which respectively confront one another as the Philosophy of Stoicism
and of Epicureanism. The whole concrete universal is now Mind; and
the whole concrete individual, Nature. In Stoicism pure Thought
develops into a totality; if we make the other side from Mind—natural
being or feeling—into a totality, Epicureanism is the result. Each
determination is formed into a totality of thought, and, in accordance
with the simple mode which characterizes this sphere, these principles
seem to be for themselves and independent, like two antagonistic
systems of Philosophy. Implicitly both are identical, but they
themselves take up their position as conflicting, and the Idea is also,
as it is apprehended, in a one-sided determinateness.

The higher stage is the union of these differences. This may occur
in annihilation, in scepticism; but the higher point of view is the
affirmative, the Idea in relation to the Notion. If the Notion is,
then, the universal—that which determines itself further within
itself, but yet remains there in its unity and in the ideality and
transparency of its determinations which do not become independent—the
further step is, on the other hand, the reality of the Notion in which
the differences are themselves brought to totalities. Thus the fourth
stage is the union of the Idea, in which all these differences, as
totalities, are yet at the same time blended into one concrete unity of
Notion. This comprehension first takes place without constraint, since
the ideal is itself only apprehended in the element of universality.

The Greek world got as far as this Idea, since they formed an ideal
intellectual world; and this was done by the Alexandrian Philosophy,
in which the Greek Philosophy perfected itself and reached its end.
If we wish to represent this process figuratively, _A._ Thought, is
(_α_) speaking generally abstract, as in universal or absolute space,
by which empty space is often understood; (_β_) then the most simple
space determinations appear, in which we commence with the point in
order that we may arrive at the line and angle; (_γ_) what comes third
is their union into the triangle, that which is indeed concrete, but
which is still retained in this abstract element of surface, and
thus is only the first and still formal totality and limitation which
corresponds to the _νοῦς_. _B._ The next point is, that since we allow
each of the enclosing lines of the triangle to be again surface, each
forms itself into the totality of the triangle and into the whole
figure to which it belongs; that is the realization of the whole in the
sides as we see it in Scepticism or Stoicism. _C._ The last stage of
all is, that these surfaces or sides of the triangle join themselves
into a body or a totality; the body is for the first time the perfect
spacial determination, and that is a reduplication of the triangle.
But in as far as the triangle which forms the basis is outside of the
pyramid, this simile does not hold good.

Grecian Philosophy in the Neo-platonists finds its end in a perfect
kingdom of Thought and of bliss, and in a potentially existent world
of the ideal, which is yet unreal because the whole only exists in the
element of universality. This world still lacks individuality as such,
which is an essential moment in the Notion; actuality demands that in
the identity of both sides of the Idea, the independent totality shall
be also posited as negative. Through this self-existent negation, which
is absolute subjectivity, the Idea is first raised into Mind. Mind is
the subjectivity of self-knowledge; but it is only Mind inasmuch as
it knows what is object to itself, and that is itself, as a totality,
and is for itself a totality. That is to say, the two triangles which
are above and below in the prism must not be two in the sense of being
doubled, but they must be one intermingled unity. Or, in the case of
body, the difference arises between the centre and the peripheral
parts. This opposition of real corporeality and centre as the simple
existence, now makes its appearance, and the totality is the union of
the centre and the substantial—not, however, the simple union, but a
union such that the subjective knows itself as subjective in relation
to the objective and substantial. Hence the Idea is this totality,
and the Idea which knows itself is essentially different from the
substantial; the former manifests itself independently, but in such a
manner that as such it is considered to be for itself substantial. The
subjective Idea is at first only formal, but it is the real possibility
of the substantial and of the potentially universal; its end is to
realize itself and to identify itself with substance. Through this
subjectivity and negative unity, and through this absolute negativity,
the ideal becomes no longer our object merely, but object to itself,
and this principle has taken effect in the world of Christianity. Thus
in the modern point of view the subject is for itself free, man is
free as man, and from this comes the idea that because he is Mind he
has from his very nature the eternal quality of being substantial. God
becomes known as Mind which appears to itself as double, yet removes
the difference that it may in it be for and at home with itself. The
business of the world, taking it as a whole, is to become reconciled
with Mind, recognizing itself therein, and this business is assigned to
the Teutonic world.

The first beginning of this undertaking is found in the Religion which
is the contemplation of and faith in this principle as in an actual
existence before a knowledge of the principle has been arrived at. In
the Christian Religion this principle is found more as feeling and
idea; in it man as man is destined to everlasting bliss, and is an
object of divine grace, pity and interest, which is as much as saying
that man has an absolute and infinite value. We find it further in
that dogma revealed through Christ to men, of the unity of the divine
and human nature, according to which the subjective and the objective
Idea—man and God—are one. This, in another form, is found in the
old story of the Fall, in which the serpent did not delude man, for
God said, “Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and
evil.” We have to deal with this unity of subjective principle and of
substance; it constitutes the process of Mind that this individual
one or independent existence of subject should put aside its immediate
character and bring itself forth as identical with the substantial.
Such an aim is pronounced to be the highest end attainable by man.
We see from this that religious ideas and speculation are not so far
asunder as was at first believed, and I maintain these ideas in order
that we may not be ashamed of them, seeing that we still belong to
them, and so that if we do get beyond them, we may not be ashamed of
our progenitors of the early Christian times, who held these ideas in
such high esteem.

The first principle of that Philosophy which has taken its place in
Christendom is thus found in the existence of two totalities. This
is a reduplication of substance which now, however, is characterized
by the fact that the two totalities are no longer external to one
another, but are clearly both required through their relation to one
another. If formerly Stoicism and Epicureanism, whose negativity was
Scepticism, came forth as independent, and if finally the implicitly
existent universality of both was established, these moments are now
known as separate totalities, and yet in their opposition they have
to be thought of as one. We have here the true speculative Idea, the
Notion in its determinations, each of which is brought into a totality
and clearly relates to the other. We thus have really two Ideas, the
subjective Idea as knowledge, and then the substantial and concrete
Idea; and the development and perfection of this principle and its
coming to the consciousness of Thought, is the subject treated by
modern Philosophy. Thus the determinations are in it more concrete than
with the ancients. This opposition in which the two sides culminate,
grasped in its widest significance, is the opposition between Thought
and Being, individuality and substance, so that in the subject himself
his freedom stands once more within the bounds of necessity; it is the
opposition between subject and object, and between Nature and Mind, in
so far as this last as finite stands in opposition to Nature.

The Greek Philosophy is free from restraint because it does not yet
have regard to the opposition between Being and Thought, but proceeds
from the unconscious presupposition that Thought is also Being.
Certainly certain stages in the Greek Philosophy are laid hold of which
seem to stand on the same platform as the Christian philosophies.
Thus when we see, for instance, in the Philosophy of the Sophists,
the new Academics, and the Sceptics, that they maintain the doctrine
that the truth is not capable of being known, they might appear to
accord with the later subjective philosophies in asserting that all
thought-determinations were only subjective in character, and that
hence from these no conclusions could be arrived at as regards what is
objective. But there is really a difference. In the case of ancient
philosophies, which said that we know only the phenomenal, everything
is confined to that; it is as regards practical life that the new
Academy and the Sceptics also admitted the possibility of conducting
oneself rightly, morally and rationally, when one adopts the phenomenal
as one’s rule and guide in life. But though it is the phenomenal that
lies at the foundation of things, it is not asserted that there is
likewise a knowledge of the true and existent, as in the case of the
merely subjective idealists of a more modern day. These last still
keep in the background a potentiality, a beyond which cannot be known
through thought or through conception. This other knowledge is an
immediate knowledge—a faith in, a view of, and a yearning after,
the beyond such as was evinced by Jacobi. The ancients have no such
yearning; on the contrary, they have perfect satisfaction and rest in
the certitude that only that which appears is for Knowledge. Thus it
is necessary in this respect to keep strictly to the point of view
from which we start, else through the similarity of the results, we
come to see in that old Philosophy all the determinate character of
modern subjectivity. Since in the simplicity of ancient philosophy the
phenomenal was itself the only sphere, doubts as to objective thought
were not present to it.

The opposition defined, the two sides of which are in modern times
really related to one another as totalities, also has the form of an
opposition between reason and faith, between individual perception
and the objective truth which must be taken without reason of one’s
own, and even with a complete disregard for such reason. This is faith
as understood by the church, or faith in the modern sense, i.e. a
rejection of reason in favour of an inward revelation, called a direct
certainty or perception, or an implicit and intuitive feeling. The
opposition between this knowledge, which has first of all to develop
itself, and that knowledge which has already developed itself inwardly,
arouses a peculiar interest. In both cases the unity of thought or
subjectivity and of Truth or objectivity is manifested, only in the
first form it is said that the natural man knows the Truth since
he intuitively believes it, while in the second form the unity of
knowledge and Truth is shown, but in such a way that the subject raises
itself above the immediate form of sensuous consciousness and reaches
the Truth first of all through Thought.

The final end is to think the Absolute as Mind, as the Universal, that
which, when the infinite bounty of the Notion in its reality freely
emits its determinations from itself, wholly impresses itself upon and
imparts itself to them, so that they may be indifferently outside of
or in conflict with one another, but so that these totalities are one
only, not alone implicitly, (which would simply be our reflection) but
explicitly identical, the determinations of their difference being thus
explicitly merely ideal. Hence if the starting-point of the history of
Philosophy can be expressed by saying that God is comprehended as the
immediate and not yet developed universality, and that its end—the
grasping of the Absolute as Mind through the two and a half thousand
years’ work of the thus far inert world-spirit—is the end of our time,
it makes it easy for us from one determination to go on through the
manifestation of its needs, to others. Yet in the course of history
this is difficult.

We thus have altogether two philosophies—the Greek and the Teutonic.
As regards the latter we must distinguish the time when Philosophy made
its formal appearance as Philosophy and the period of formation and of
preparation for modern times. We may first begin Teutonic philosophy
where it appears in proper form as Philosophy. Between the first
period and those more recent, comes, as an intermediate period, that
fermentation of a new Philosophy which on the one side keeps within the
substantial and real existence and does not arrive at form, while on
the other side, it perfects Thought, as the bare form of a presupposed
truth, until it again knows itself as the free ground and source of
Truth. Hence the history of Philosophy falls into three periods—that
of the Greek Philosophy, the Philosophy of the Middle Ages and the
modern Philosophy. Of these the first is speaking generally, regulated
by Thought, the second falls into the opposition between existence and
formal reflection, but the third has the Notion as its ground. This
must not be taken to mean that the first contains Thought alone; it
also has conceptions and ideas, just as the latter begins from abstract
thoughts which yet constitute a duality.

_First Period._—This commences at the time of Thales, about 600 B.C.,
and goes on to the coming to maturity of the Neo-platonic philosophy
with Plotinus in the third century; from thence to its further progress
and development with Proclus in the fifth century until the time when
all philosophy was extinguished. The Neo-platonic philosophy then made
its entrance into Christianity later on, and many philosophies within
Christianity have this philosophy as their only groundwork. This is a
space of time extending to about 1000 years, the end of which coincides
with the migration of the nations and the decline of the Roman Empire.

_Second Period._—The second period is that of the Middle Ages.
The Scholastics are included in it, and Arabians and Jews are also
historically to be noticed, but this philosophy mainly falls within the
Christian Church. This period is of something over 1000 years’ duration.

_Third Period._—The Philosophy of modern times made its first
independent appearance after the Thirty Years’ War, with Bacon, Jacob
Böhm and Descartes; it begins with the distinction contained in:
_cogito ergo sum_. This period is one of a couple of centuries and the
philosophy is consequently still somewhat modern.


We have to seek for sources of another kind in this than in political
history. There historians are the fountainheads, which again have
as sources the deeds and sayings of individuals; and the historians
who are not original have over and above performed their work at
secondhand. But historians always have the deeds already present
in history, that is to say, here brought into the form of ordinary
conception; for the name of history has two meanings: it signifies
on the one hand the deeds and events themselves, and on the other,
it denotes them in so far as they are formed through conception for
conception. In the history of Philosophy there are, on the contrary,
not any sources which can be derived from historians, but the deeds
themselves lie before us, and these—the philosophic operations
themselves—are the true sources. If we wish to study the history of
Philosophy in earnest, we must go to such springs as these. Yet these
operations form too wide a field to permit of our keeping to it alone
in this history. In the case of many philosophers it is absolutely
necessary to confine oneself to the original authors, but in many
periods, in which we cannot obtain original sources, seeing that they
have not been preserved to us, (as, for instance, in that of the older
Greek philosophy) we must certainly confine our attention simply to
historians and other writers. There are other periods, too, where it is
desirable that others should have read the works of the philosophers
and that we should receive abstracts therefrom. Several schoolmen
have left behind them works of sixteen, twenty-four and twenty-six
folios, and hence we must in their case confine ourselves to the
researches of others. Many philosophic works are also rare and hence
difficult to obtain. Many philosophers are for the most part important
from an historic or literary point of view only, and hence we may
limit ourselves to the compilations in which they are dealt with. The
most noteworthy works on the history of Philosophy are, however, the
following, regarding which I refer for particulars to the summary of
Tennemann’s History of Philosophy, by A. Wendt, since I do not wish to
give any complete list.

1. One of the first Histories of Philosophy, which is only interesting
as an attempt, is the “History of Philosophy,” by Thomas Stanley
(London, 1655, folio ed. III., 1701, 4. translated into Latin by
Godofr. Olearius, Lipsiæ, 1711, 4). This history is no longer much
used, and only contains the old philosophic schools in the form of
sects and as if no new ones had existed. That is to say, it keeps to
the old belief commonly held at that time, that there only were ancient
philosophies and that the period of philosophy came to an end with
Christianity, as if Philosophy were something belonging to heathendom
and the truth only could be found in Christianity. In it a distinction
was drawn between Truth as it is created from the natural reason in the
ancient philosophies, and the revealed truth of the Christian religion,
in which there was consequently no longer any Philosophy. In the time
of the Revival of Learning there certainly were no proper philosophies,
and above all in Stanley’s time systems of Philosophy proper were too
young for the older generations to have the amount of respect for them
necessary to allow of their being esteemed as realities.

2. _Jo. Jac. Bruckeri Historia critica philosophiæ, Lipsiæ_, 1742-1744,
four parts, or five volumes in four, for the fourth part has two
volumes. The second edition, unaltered, but with the addition of
a supplement, 1766-1767, four parts in six quartos, the last of
which forms the supplement. This is an immense compilation which is
not formed straight from the original sources, but is mixed with
reflections after the manner of the times. As we have seen from an
example above (p. 43) the accounts given are in the highest degree
inaccurate. Brucker’s manner of procedure is entirely unhistoric, and
yet nowhere ought we to proceed in a more historic manner than in
the history of Philosophy. This work is thus simply so much useless
ballast. An epitome of the same is _Jo. Jac. Bruckeri Institutiones
historiæ philosophicæ, usui academicæ juventutis adornatæ, Lipsiæ_,
1747, 8; second edition, Leipzig, 1756; third edition prepared by Born,
Leipzig, 1790, 8.

3. Dietrich Tiedmann’s _Geist der Speculativen Philosophie_, Marburg,
1791-1797, 6 vols., 8. He treats of political history diffusely, but
without any life, and the language is stiff and affected. The whole
work is a melancholy example of how a learned professor can occupy his
whole life with the study of speculative philosophy, and yet have no
idea at all of speculation. His _argumenta_ to the Plato of Brucker
are of the same description. In every history he makes abstracts from
the philosophers so long as they keep to mere ratiocination, but when
the speculative is arrived at, he becomes irate, declaring it all to
be composed of empty subtleties, and stops short with the words “we
know better.” His merit is that he has supplied valuable abstracts
from rare books belonging to the Middle Ages and from cabalistic and
mystical works of that time.

4. Joh. Gottlieb Buhle: _Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie und
einer kritischen Literatur derselben_, Göttingen, 1796 to 1804, eight
parts, 8. Ancient philosophy is treated with disproportionate brevity;
the further Buhle went on, the more particular he became. He has many
good summaries of rare works, as for instance those of Giordano Bruno,
which were in the Göttingen Library.

5. Wilh. Gottl. Tennemann’s _Geschichte der Philosophie_, Leipzig,
1798—1819, eleven parts, 8. The eighth part, the Scholastic
Philosophy, occupies two volumes. The philosophies are fully described,
and the more modern times are better done than the ancient. The
philosophies of recent times are easier to describe, since it is only
necessary to make an abstract or to interpret straight on, for the
thoughts contained in them lie nearer to ours. It is otherwise with
the ancient philosophers, because they stand in another stage of
the Notion, and on this account they are likewise more difficult to
grasp. That is to say, what is old is easily overthrown by something
else more familiar to us, and where Tennemann comes across such he is
almost useless. In Aristotle, for instance, the misinterpretation is so
great, that Tennemann foists upon him what is directly opposite to his
beliefs, and thus from the adoption of the opposite to what Tennemann
asserts to be Aristotle’s opinion, a correct idea of Aristotelian
philosophy is arrived at. Tennemann is then candid enough to place the
reference to Aristotle underneath the text, so that the original and
the interpretation often contradict one another. Tennemann thinks that
it is really the case that the historian should have no philosophy, and
he glories in that; yet he really has a system and he is a critical
philosopher. He praises philosophers, their work and their genius,
and yet the end of the lay is that all of them will be pronounced to
be wanting in that they have one defect, which is not to be Kantian
philosophers and not yet to have sought the source of knowledge. From
this the result is that the Truth could not be known.

Of compendiums, three have to be noticed. 1. Frederick Aft’s _Grundriss
einer Geschichte der Philosophie_. (Landshut, 1807, 8; second edition,
1825) is written from a better point of view; the Philosophy is that
of Schelling for the most part, but it is somewhat confused. Aft by
some formal method has distinguished ideal philosophy from real. 2.
Professor Wendt’s Göttingen edition of Tennemann (fifth edition,
Leipzig, 1828, 8). It is astonishing to see what is represented as
being Philosophy, without any consideration as to whether it has any
meaning or not. Such so-called new philosophies grow like mushrooms out
of the ground. There is nothing easier than to comprehend in harmony
with a principle; but it must not be thought that hence something
new and profound has been accomplished. 3. Rirner’s _Handbuch der
Geschichte der Philosophie_, 3 vols., Sulzbach, 1822-1823, 8 (second
amended edition, 1829) is most to be commended, and yet I will not
assert that it answers all the requirements of a History of Philosophy.
There are many points which leave much to desire, but the appendices
to each volume in which the principal original authorities are quoted,
are particularly excellent for their purpose. Selected extracts, more
specially from the ancient philosophers, are needed, and these would
not be lengthy, since there are not very many passages to be given from
the philosophers before Plato.


As regards external history I shall only touch upon that which is
the concern of universal history, the spirit or the principle of the
times, and hence I will treat of conditions of life in reference to
the outstanding philosophers. Of philosophies, however, only those
are to be made mention of the principles of which have caused some
sensation, and through which science has made an advance; hence I shall
put aside many names which would be taken up in a learned treatise, but
which are of little value in respect to Philosophy. The history of the
dissemination of a doctrine, its fate, those who have merely taught a
particular doctrine, I pass over, as the deduction of the whole world
from one particular principle.

The demand that in Philosophy an historian should have no system,
should put into the philosophy nothing of his own, nor assail it with
his ideas, seems a plausible one. The history of Philosophy should
show just this impartiality, and it seems in so far that to give only
summaries of the philosophers proves a success. He who understands
nothing of the matter, and has no system, but merely historic
knowledge, will certainly be impartial. But political history has to
be carefully distinguished from the history of Philosophy. That is
to say, though in the former, one is not indeed at liberty to limit
oneself to representing the events chronologically only, one can yet
keep to what is entirely objective, as is done in the Homeric epic.
Thus Herodotus and Thucydides, as free men, let the objective world
do freely and independently as it would; they have added nothing of
their own, neither have they taken and judged before their tribunal the
actions which they represented. Yet even in political history there is
also a particular end kept in view. In Livy the main points are the
Roman rule, its enlargement, and the perfecting of the constitution;
we see Rome arise, defend itself, and exercise its mastery. It is thus
that the self-developing reason in the history of Philosophy makes of
itself an end, and this end is not foreign or imported, but is the
matter itself, which lies at the basis as universal, and with which the
individual forms of themselves correspond. Thus when the history of
Philosophy has to tell of deeds in history, we first ask, what a deed
in Philosophy is; and whether any particular thing is philosophic or
not. In external history everything is in action—certainly there is in
it what is important and that which is unimportant—but action is the
idea immediately placed before us. This is not the case in Philosophy,
and on this account the history of Philosophy cannot be treated
throughout without the introduction of the historian’s views.


THE first Philosophy in order is the so-called Oriental, which,
however, does not enter into the substance or range of our subject
as represented here. Its position is preliminary, and we only deal
with it at all in order to account for not treating of it at greater
length, and to show in what relation it stands to Thought and to true
Philosophy. The expression Eastern philosophy is specially employed
in reference to the period in which this great universal Oriental
conception aroused the East—the land of circumscription and of
limitation, where the spirit of subjectivity reigns. More particularly
in the first centuries of Christendom—that significant period—did
these great Oriental ideas penetrate into Italy; and in the Gnostic
philosophy they began to force the idea of the illimitable into the
Western mind, until in the Church the latter again succeeded in
obtaining the ascendency and hence in firmly establishing the Divine.
That which we call Eastern Philosophy is more properly the religious
mode of thought and the conception of the world belonging generally
to the Orientals and approximates very closely to Philosophy; and to
consider the Oriental idea of religion just as if it were religious
philosophy, is to give the main reason why it is so like.

We do not similarly maintain that the Roman, Greek and Christian
Religions constitute Philosophy. These bear all the less similarity
thereto in that the Greek and Roman gods as also Christ and the God
of the Jews, on account of the principle of individual freedom which
penetrates the Greek and still more the Christian element, make their
appearance immediately as the explicit, personal forms, which, being
mythological or Christian, must first be themselves interpreted and
changed into a philosophic form. In the case of Eastern Religion, on
the contrary, we are much more directly reminded of the philosophic
conception, for since in the East the element of subjectivity has
not come forth, religious ideas are not individualized, and we have
predominating a kind of universal ideas, which hence present the
appearance of being philosophic ideas and thoughts. The Orientals
certainly have also individual forms, such as Brahma, Vishnu and Civa,
but because freedom is wanting the individuality is not real, but
merely superficial. And so much is this the case, that when we suppose
that we have to deal with a human form, the same loses itself again and
expands into the illimitable. Just as we hear amongst the Greeks of a
Uranus and Chronos—of Time individualized—we find with the Persians,
Zeroane Akerene, but it is Time unlimited. We find Ormuzd and Ahriman
to be altogether general forms and ideas; they appear to be universal
principles which thus seem to bear a relationship to Philosophy or even
seem to be themselves philosophic.

Just as the content of the Eastern religions, God, the essentially
existent, the eternal, is comprehended somewhat in the light of
universal, we find the relative positions of individuals to Him to be
the same. In the Eastern religions the first condition is that only
the one substance shall, as such, be the true, and that the individual
neither can have within himself, nor can he attain to any value in as
far as he maintains himself as against the being in and for itself.
He can have true value only through an identification with this
substance in which he ceases to exist as subject and disappears into
unconsciousness. In the Greek and Christian Religion, on the other
hand, the subject knows himself to be free and must be maintained as
such; and because the individual in this way makes himself independent,
it is undoubtedly much more difficult for Thought to free itself from
this individuality and to constitute itself in independence. The
higher point of view implicitly contained in the Greek individual
freedom, this happier, larger life, makes more difficult the work of
Thought, which is to give due value to the universal. In the East,
on the contrary, the substantial in Religion is certainly on its own
view the principal matter, the essential—and with it lawlessness,
the absence of individual consciousness is immediately connected—and
this substance is undoubtedly a philosophic idea. The negation of
the finite is also present, but in such a manner that the individual
only reaches to its freedom in this unity with the substantial. In as
far as in the Eastern mind, reflection, consciousness come through
thought to distinction and to the determination of principles, there
exist such categories and such definite ideas not in unity with the
substantial. The destruction of all that is particular either is an
illimitable, the exaltitude of the East, or, in so far as that which
is posited and determined for itself is known, it is a dry, dead
understanding, which cannot take up the speculative Notion into itself.
To that which is true, this finite can exist only as immersed in
substance; if kept apart from this it remains dead and arid. We thus
find only dry understanding amongst the Easterns, a mere enumeration
of determinations, a logic like the Wolffian of old. It is the same as
in their worship, which is complete immersion in devotion and then an
endless number of ceremonials and of religious actions; and this on the
other side is the exaltitude of that illimitable in which everything

There are two Eastern nations with which I wish just now to deal—the
Chinese and the Indian.


It is true of the Chinese as well as of the Indians that they have a
great reputation for culture; but this, as well as the amount of Indian
literature which exists, has largely diminished through a further
knowledge of it. The great knowledge of these people bears upon such
subjects as Religion, Science, the constitution and administration
of the state, poetry, handicrafts and commerce. But when we compare
the laws and constitution of China with the European, we find that
we can only do so in respect of what is formal, for the content is
very different. It is also felt, however consistently they may be
constituted as to form, that they cannot find their place with us, that
we could not allow of their giving us satisfaction, and that they take
the place of law, or rather that they put an end to it. It is the same
thing when we compare Indian poetry with European; considered as a mere
play of the imagination it is as brilliant, rich and cultured as that
of any other people. But in poetry we have to do with content, and that
is the important part of it. Even the Homeric poetry is not serious for
us, and hence such poetry cannot last. It is not the lack of genius
in the Oriental poetry; the amount of genius is the same and the form
may be very much developed, but the content remains confined within
certain bounds and cannot satisfy us, nor can it be our content. This
is at outset a fact applying universally to such comparisons, inasmuch
as men let themselves be dazzled by form, making it equal with, or even
preferring it to ours.

1. _Confucius_. The first subject of remark with regard to the Chinese
respects the teaching of Confucius (500 years before Christ) which
made a great sensation in Liebnitz’ time; this teaching is a moral
philosophy. Confucius has, besides, commented upon the old traditional
principles of the Chinese; his high moral teaching, however, gave him
his great fame, and that teaching is the authority most esteemed in
China. Confucius’ Biography has been translated by French missionaries
from the original Chinese; from this he appears to have been almost
contemporaneous with Thales, to have been for a considerable time
Minister, to have then fallen into disfavour, lost his place and
lived and philosophized amongst his own friends, while still being
often asked to give advice. We have conversations between Confucius
and his followers in which there is nothing definite further than a
commonplace moral put in the form of good, sound doctrine, which may be
found as well expressed and better, in every place and amongst every
people. Cicero gives us _De Officiis_, a book of moral teaching more
comprehensive and better than all the books of Confucius. He is hence
only a man who has a certain amount of practical and worldly wisdom—one
with whom there is no speculative philosophy. We may conclude from his
original works that for their reputation it would have been better had
they never been translated. The treatise which the Jesuits produced[9]
is, however, more a paraphrase than a translation.

2. _The Philosophy of the Y-king_. A second matter of remark is
that the Chinese have also taken up their attention with abstract
thoughts and with pure categories. The old book Y-king, or the Book of
Principles, serves as the foundation for such; it contains the wisdom
of the Chinese, and its origin is attributed to Fohi. That which is
there by him related passes into what is quite mythological, fabulous
and even senseless. The main point in it is the ascription to him of
the discovery of a table with certain signs or figures (Ho-tu) which
he saw on the back of a horse-dragon as it rose out of the river.[10]
This table contains parallel lines above one another, which have a
symbolical signification; and the Chinese say that these lines are
the foundation of their characters as also of their philosophy. These
symbols are quite abstract categories, and consequently the most
superficial determinations of the understanding. It must certainly be
considered that pure thoughts are brought to consciousness, but in this
case we make no advance, merely remaining stationary so far as they
are concerned. The concrete is not conceived of speculatively, but
is simply taken from ordinary ideas, inasmuch as it is expressed in
accordance with their forms of representation and of perception. Hence
in this collection of concrete principles there is not to be found
in one single instance a sensuous conception of universal natural or
spiritual powers.

To satisfy the curious, I will give these principles in greater detail.
The two fundamental, figures are a horizontal line (⚊, Yang) and the
one which is broken into two equal parts (⚋, Yin). The first which is
the perfect, the father, the manlike, the unity, such as is represented
by the Pythagoreans, represents the affirmative; the second is the
imperfect, the mother, the womanly, the duality and the negation.
These signs are held in high esteem, for they are considered to be
the Principles of things. First of all they are placed in combination
of two from which four figures result: ⚌, ⚍, ⚎, ⚏, or the great Yang,
the little Yang, the little Yin, and the great Yin. The signification
of these four representations is matter as perfect and imperfect. The
two Yangs are perfect matter: the first is in the category of youth
and power; the second is the same matter, but as old and powerless.
The third and fourth images, where Yin constitutes the basis, are
imperfect matter, which has again the two determinations of youth and
age, strength and weakness. These lines are further united in sets of
three, and thus eight figures result, which are called Kua, ☰, ☱, ☲, ☳,
☴, ☵, ☶, ☷. I will give the interpretation of these Kua just to show
how superficial it is. The first sign, containing the great Yang and
the Yang is the Heavens (Tien) or the all-pervading ether. The Heavens
to the Chinese means what is highest, and it has been a great source
of division amongst the missionaries whether they ought to call the
Christian God, Tien, or not. The second sign is pure water (Tui),
the third pure fire (Li), the fourth thunder (Tschin), the fifth wind
(Siun), the sixth common water (Kan), the seventh mountains (Ken), the
eighth the earth (Kuen). We should not place heaven, thunder, wind
and mountains on the same footing. We may thus obtain a philosophic
origin for everything out of these abstract thoughts of absolute unity
and duality. All symbols have the advantage of indicating thoughts
and of calling up significations, and in this way such are likewise
present there. Thought thus forms the first beginning, but afterwards
it goes into the clouds, and Philosophy does likewise. Therefore
if Windischmann[11] in his commentary recognizes in this system of
Confucius, a “thorough interconnection between all Kua in the whole
series,” it should be remembered that not a particle of the Notion is
to be found in it.

United further in sets of four, the lines produce sixty-four figures,
which the Chinese consider to be the origin of their characters,
since there have been added to these straight lines those which are
perpendicular and inclined in different directions.

In Schuking there is also a chapter on Chinese wisdom, where the five
elements from which everything is made make their appearance. These are
fire, water, wood, metal and earth, which exist all in confusion, and
which we should no more than we did before, allow to be principles. The
first canon in the law is found in the Schuking, as the naming of the
five elements; the second, considerations upon the last, and so it goes
on.[12] Universal abstraction with the Chinese thus goes on to what is
concrete, although in accordance with an external kind of order only,
and without containing anything that is sensuous. This is the principle
of all Chinese wisdom and of all the objects of study in China.

3. _The Sect of the Tao-See_. There is yet another separate sect,
that of the Tao-See, the followers of which are not mandarins and
attached to the state religion, nor are they Buddhists or Lamaics. The
originator of this philosophy and the one who was closely connected
with it in his life, is Lao-Tsö, who was born in the end of the seventh
century before Christ and who was older than Confucius, for this
representative of the more political school went to him in order to
ask his advice. The book of the Lao-Tsö, Tao-king, is certainly not
included in the proper Kings and has not their authority, but it is
an important work amongst the Taosts or the followers of reason, who
call their rule in life Tao-Tao, which means the observation of the
dictates or the laws of reason. They dedicate their lives to the study
of reason, and maintain that he who knows reason in its source will
possess universal science, remedies for every ill and all virtue; he
will also have obtained a supernatural power of being able to fly to
heaven and of not dying.[13]

His followers say of Lao-Tsö himself that he is Buddha who as man
became the ever-existent God. We still have his principal writings;
they have been taken to Vienna, and I have seen them there myself.
One special passage is frequently taken from them: “Without a name
Tao[14] is the beginning of Heaven and Earth, and with a name she is
the Mother of the Universe. It is only in her imperfect state that she
is considered with affection; who desires to know her must be devoid
of passions.” Abel Rémusat says that taken at its best this might be
expressed by the Greek in _όογος_. The celebrated passage which is
often quoted by the ancients is this,[15] “Reason has brought forth
the one; the one has brought forth the two; the two have brought forth
the three; and the three have produced the whole world.” In this men
have tried to find a reference to the Trinity. “The Universe rests
upon the principle of Darkness, the universe embraces the principle of
Light,” or “it is embraced by ether;” it can be thus reversed, because
the Chinese language has no case inflection, the words merely standing
in proximity. Another passage in the same place has this sense, “He
whom ye look at and do not see, is named I; thou hearkenest to him and
hearest him not, and he is called Hi; thou seekest for him with thy
hand and touchest him not, and his name is Weï. Thou meetest him and
seest not his head; thou goest behind him and seest not his back.”
These contradictory expressions are called the “chain of reason.” One
naturally thinks in quoting these passages of יהרה and of the African
kingly name of Juba and also of _Jovis_. This I-hi-weï or I-H-W[16] is
further made to signify an absolute vacuity and that which is Nothing;
to the Chinese what is highest and the origin of things is nothing,
emptiness, the altogether undetermined, the abstract universal, and
this is also called Tao or reason. When the Greeks say that the
absolute is one, or when men in modern times say that it is the highest
existence, all determinations are abolished, and by the merely abstract
Being nothing has been expressed excepting this same negation, only in
an affirmative form. But if Philosophy has got no further than to such
expression, it still stands on its most elementary stage. What is there
to be found in all this learning?


If we had formerly the satisfaction of believing in the antiquity
of the Indian wisdom and of holding it in respect, we now have
ascertained through being acquainted with the great astronomical
works of the Indians, the inaccuracy of all figures quoted. Nothing
can be more confused, nothing more imperfect than the chronology of
the Indians; no people which has attained to culture in astronomy,
mathematics, &c., is as incapable for history; in it they have neither
stability nor coherence. It was believed that such was to be had in
the time of Wikramaditya, who was supposed to have lived about 50
B.C., and under whose reign the poet Kalidasa, author of Sakontala,
lived. But further research discovered half a dozen Wikramadityas and
careful investigation has placed this epoch in our eleventh century.
The Indians have lines of kings and an enormous quantity of names, but
everything is vague.

We know how the ancient glory of this land was held in the highest
estimation even by the Greeks, just as they knew about the
Gymnosophists, who were excellent men, though people ventured to call
them otherwise—men who having dedicated themselves to a contemplative
life, lived in abstraction from external life, and hence, wandering
about in hordes, like the Cynics renounced all ordinary desires. These
latter in their capacity as philosophers, were also more especially
known to the Greeks, inasmuch as Philosophy is also supposed to exist
in this abstraction, in which all the relationships of ordinary life
are set aside; and this abstraction is a feature which we wish to bring
into prominence and consider.

Indian culture is developed to a high degree, and it is imposing, but
its Philosophy is identical with its Religion, and the objects to
which attention is devoted in Philosophy are the same as those which
we find brought forward in Religion. Hence the holy books or Vedas
also form the general groundwork for Philosophy. We know the Vedas
tolerably well; they contain principally prayers addressed to the
many representations of God, direction as to ceremonials, offerings,
&c. They are also of the most various periods; many parts are very
ancient, and others have taken their origin later, as, for instance,
that which treats of the service of Vishnu. The Vedas even constitute
the basis for the atheistical Indian philosophies; these, too, are not
wanting in gods, and they pay genuine attention to the Vedas. Indian
Philosophy thus stands within Religion just as scholastic Philosophy
stands within Christian dogmatism, having at its basis and presupposing
the doctrines of the church. Mythology takes the form of incarnation
or individualization, from which it might be thought that it would be
opposed to Philosophy in its universality and ideality; incarnation is
not, however, here taken in so definite a sense, for almost everything
is supposed to partake of it, and the very thing that seems to define
itself as individuality falls back directly within the mist of the
universal. The idea of the Indians more appropriately expressed, is
that there is one universal substance which may be laid hold of in the
abstract or in the concrete, and out of which everything takes its
origin. The summit of man’s attainment is that he as consciousness
should make himself identical with the substance, in Religion by means
of worship, offerings, and rigid acts of expiation, and in Philosophy
through the instrumentality of pure thought.

It is quite recently that we first obtained a definite knowledge of
Indian Philosophy; in the main we understand by it religious ideas,
but in modern times men have learned to recognize real philosophic
writings. Colebrooke,[17] in particular, communicated abstracts
to us from two Indian philosophic works, and this forms the first
contribution we have had in reference to Indian Philosophy. What
Frederick von Schlegel says about the wisdom of the Indians is taken
from their religious ideas only. He is one of the first Germans who
took up his attention with Indian philosophy, yet his work bore little
fruit because he himself read no more than the index to the Ramayana.
According to the abstract before mentioned, the Indians possess ancient
philosophic systems; one part of these they consider to be orthodox,
and those which tally with the Vedas are particularly included; the
others are held to be heterodox and as not corresponding with the
teaching of the holy books. The one part, which really is orthodox, has
no other purpose than to make the deliverances of the Vedas clearer,
or to derive from the text of these original treatises an ingeniously
thought-out Psychology. This system is called Mimansa, and two schools
proceed from it. Distinguished from these there are other systems,
amongst which the two chief are those of the Sanc’hya and Nyaya. The
former again divides into two parts which are, however, different in
form only. The Nyaya is the most developed; it more particularly gives
the rules for reasoning, and may be compared to the Logic of Aristotle.
Colebrooke has made abstracts from both of these systems, and he says
that there are many ancient treatises upon them, and that the _versus
memoriales_ from them are very extensive.

1. _The Sanc’hya Philosophy of Capila_. The originator of the Sanc’hya
is called Capila, and he was an ancient sage of whom it was said that
he was a son of Brahma, and one of the seven great Holy men; others
say that he was an incarnation of Vishnu, like his disciple Asuri,
and that he was identified with fire. As to the age of the Aphorisms
(Sutras) of Capila, Colebrooke can say nothing; he merely mentions that
they were already mentioned in other very ancient books, but he does
not feel able to say anything definite in the matter. The Sanc’hya is
divided into different schools, of which there are two or three, which,
however, differ from one another only in a few particulars. It is held
to be partly heterodox and partly orthodox.

The real aim of all Indian schools and systems of Philosophy, whether
atheistic or theistic, is to teach the means whereby eternal happiness
can be attained before, as well as after, death. The Vedas say, “What
has to be known is the Soul; it must be distinguished from nature, and
hence it will never come again.” That means that it is exempt from
metempsychosis and likewise from bodily form, so that it does not after
death make its appearance in another body. This blessed condition
therefore is, according to the Sanc’hya, a perfect and eternal
release from every kind of ill. It reads:—“Through Thought, the true
Science, this freedom can be accomplished; the temporal and worldly
means of procuring enjoyment and keeping off spiritual or bodily evil
are insufficient; even the methods advocated by the Vedas are not
effectual for the purpose, and these are found in the revealed form
of worship, or in the performance of religious ceremonies as directed
in the Vedas.” The offering up of animals is specially valuable as
such a means; and in this regard the Sanc’hya rejects the Vedas; such
an offering is not pure, because it is connected with the death of
animals, and the main tenet in the former is not to injure any animal.
Other methods of deliverance from evil are in the excessive acts of
penance performed by the Indians, to which a retreat within themselves
is added. Now when the Indian thus internally collects himself, and
retreats within his own thoughts, the moment of such pure concentration
is called Brahma, the one and the clearly supersensuous state, which
the understanding calls the highest possible existence. When this is
so with me, then am I Brahma. Such a retreat into Thought takes place
in the Religion as well as in the Philosophy of the Indians, and they
assert with reference to this state of bliss that it is what is highest
of all, and that even the gods do not attain to it. Indra, for example,
the god of the visible heavens, is much lower than the soul in this
life of internal contemplation; many thousand Indras have passed away,
but the soul is exempt from every change. The Sanc’hya only differs
from Religion in that it has a complete system of thought or logic, and
that the abstraction is not made a reduction to what is empty, but is
raised up into the significance of a determinate thought. This science
is stated to subsist in the correct knowledge of the principles—which
may be outwardly perceptible or not—of the material and of the
immaterial world.

The Sanc’hya system separates itself into three parts: the method of
knowledge, the object of knowledge, and the determinate form of the
knowledge of principles.

_a._ As regards the methods of obtaining knowledge, the Sanc’hya says
that there are three kinds of evidence possible: first of all, that of
perception; secondly, that of inference; thirdly, that of affirmation,
which is the origin of all others, such as reverence for authority, a
teachable disposition, and tradition. Perception is said to require no
explanation. Inference is a conclusion arrived at from the operation of
cause and effect, by which one determination merely passes over into
a second. There are three forms, because inferences are made either
from cause to effect, from effect to cause, or in accordance with
different relations of cause and effect. Rain, we may say, is foretold
when a cloud is seen to be gathering; fire, when a hill is seen to be
smoking; or the movement of the moon is inferred when, at different
times, it is observed to be in different places. These are simple,
dry relations, originating from the understanding. Under affirmation,
tradition or revelation is understood, such as that of the orthodox
Vedas; in a wider sense, immediate certainty or the affirmation in my
consciousness, and in a less wide sense, an assurance through verbal
communication or through tradition is so denominated.

_b._ Of objects of knowledge or of principles, the Sanc’hya gives
five-and-twenty; and these I will mention to show the want of order
that is in them.

1. Nature, as the origin of everything, is said to be the
universal, the material cause, eternal matter, undistinguished and
undistinguishable, without parts, productive but without production,
absolute substance. 2. Intelligence, the first production of Nature
and itself producing other principles, distinguishable as three gods
through the efficacy of three qualities, which are Goodness, Foulness
and Darkness. These form one person and three gods, namely, Brahma,
Vishnu, and Maheswara. 3. Consciousness, personality, the belief that
in all perceptions and meditations I am present, that the objects of
sense, as well as of intelligence, concern me, in short that I am I.
It issues from the power of intelligence, and itself brings forth the
following principles. 4-8. Five very subtle particles, rudiments or
atoms, which are only perceptible to an existence of a higher order,
and not through the senses of men; these proceed from the principle
of consciousness, and bring forth on their own account the five
elements—space and the first origination of earth, water, fire and
air. 9-19. The eleven succeeding principles are the organs of feeling,
which are produced by the personality. There are ten external organs,
comprising the five senses and five active organs—the organs of the
voice, hands and feet, the excretory and genital organs. The eleventh
organ is that of the inward sense. 20 to 24. These principles are the
five elements brought forth from the earlier-named rudiments—the ether
which takes possession of space, air, fire, water and earth. 25. The
soul. In this very unsystematic form we see only the first beginnings
of reflection, which seem to be put together as a universal. But
this arrangement is, to say nothing of being unsystematic, not even

Formerly the principles were outside of and successive to one another;
their unity is found in the Soul. It is said of the latter that
it is not produced, and is not productive; it is individual, and
hence there are many souls; it is sentient, eternal, immaterial and
unchangeable. Colebrooke here distinguishes between the theistic and
atheistic systems of the Sanc’hya, since the former not only admits
of individual souls, but also upholds God (Iswara) as the ruler of the
world. The knowledge of the soul still remains the principal point. It
is through the consideration of nature and through abstraction from
nature that the unity of the soul with nature is brought about, just
as the lame man and the blind are brought together for the purposes of
transport and of guidance—the one being the bearer and being directed
(nature?), the other being borne and guiding (soul?). Through the union
of Soul and Nature, the creation is effected, and this consists in
the development of intelligence and of other principles. This unity
is the actual support for that which is, and the means by which it is
so maintained. It is at the same time an important consideration that
the negation of the object which is contained in thought, is necessary
in order to comprehend; this reflection has far more depth than the
ordinary talk about immediate consciousness. The view is superficial
and perverted which maintains the Easterns to have lived in unity
with nature; the soul in its activity, mind, is indeed undoubtedly in
relation with nature and in unity with the truth of nature. But this
true unity essentially contains the moment of the negation of nature
as it is in its immediacy; such an immediate unity is merely the life
of animals, the life and perception of the senses. The idea which is
present to the Indians is thus indeed the unity of nature and of soul,
but the spiritual is only one with nature in so far as it is within
itself, and at the same time manifests the natural as negative. As
regards the creation, this is further signified. The soul’s desire
and end is for satisfaction and freedom, and with this view it is
endowed with a subtle environment, in which all the above-mentioned
principles are contained, but only in their elementary development.
Something of our ideal, or of the implicit is present in this idea; it
is like the blossom which is ideally in the bud, and yet is not actual
and real. The expression for this is Lingam, the generative power of
nature, which holds a high place in the estimation of all Indians. This
subtle form, says the Sanc’hya, also assumes a coarse bodily shape,
and clothes itself in several garbs; and as a means of preventing
the descent into a coarse materiality, philosophic contemplation is

Hitherto we have observed the abstract principles; the following is
to be noticed regarding the creation of the concrete actuality of
the universe. The bodily creation consists of the soul habited in
a material body; it comprehends eight orders of higher beings and
five orders of lower beings, which constitute—with men, who form
a single class—fourteen orders, and these are divided into three
worlds or classes. The first eight orders have appellations which
appear in Indian mythology, viz. Brahma, Prajapatis, Indra, &c.;
there are both gods and demi-gods, and Brahma himself is represented
here as if he were created. The five lower orders are composed of
animals: the four-footed animals are in two classes, birds come third,
reptiles, fishes, and insects fourth, and, finally, vegetable and
inorganic nature comes fifth. The abode of the eight higher classes
is in heaven; they are, it is said, in the enjoyment of that which is
good and virtuous, and consequently are happy, though still they are
but imperfect and transient; underneath is the seat of darkness or
delusion, where beings of the lower orders live; and between is the
world of men, where untruth or passion reigns.

Against these three worlds, which have their place in the material
creation, the system places yet another creation, and that is the
Intellectual, consisting of the powers of understanding and the
senses. These last are again divided into four classes, viz. those
determinations which impede, those which incapacitate, those which
satisfy, and those which perfect the intelligence. 1. Sixty-two of
the impeding determinations are adduced; eight kinds of error, as
many of opinion or of illusion, ten of passion as being illusion
carried to extremity, eighteen of hate or sullenness, and the same of
grief. Here there is shown somewhat of an empirical, psychological,
and observing mode of treatment. 2. The incapacity of intelligence
has again eight-and-twenty variations: injury, want of organs, &c.
3. Satisfaction is either inward or outward. The inward satisfaction
is fourfold; the first concerns nature, the whole universal or
substantial, and is set forth in the opinion that philosophic knowledge
is a modification of the principle of nature itself, with which there
is immediately united the anticipation of a liberty given through
the act of nature; yet the true liberty is not to be expected as
an act of nature, for it is the soul which has to bring forth that
liberty through itself and through its thinking activity. The second
satisfaction is in the belief of securing liberty through ascetic
exercises, pains, torments, and penances. The third has to do with
time—the idea that liberty will come in the course of time and without
study. The fourth satisfaction is obtained in a belief in luck—in
believing that liberty depends on fate. The external mode of obtaining
satisfaction relates to continence from enjoyment, but continence
from sensuous motives, such as dislike to the unrest of acquisition,
and fear of the evil consequences of enjoyment. 4. There are, again,
several means of perfecting the intelligence adduced, and, amongst
others, there is the direct psychological mode of perfecting mind, as
is seen in the act of reasoning, in friendly converse, and so on. This
we may find, indeed, in our applied logic.

There is still somewhat to be remarked as to the main points of
the system. The Sanc’hya, and likewise the other Indian systems of
Philosophy, occupy themselves particularly with the three _qualities_
(Guna) of the absolute Idea, which are represented as substances and
as modifications of nature. It is noteworthy that in the observing
consciousness of the Indians it struck them that what is true and
in and for itself contains three determinations, and the Notion of
the Idea is perfected in three moments. This sublime consciousness
of the trinity, which we find again in Plato and others, then went
astray in the region of thinking contemplation, and retains its place
only in Religion, and there but as a Beyond. Then the understanding
penetrated through it, declaring it to be senseless; and it was Kant
who broke open the road once more to its comprehension. The reality and
totality of the Notion of everything, considered in its substance, is
absorbed by the triad of determinations; and it has become the business
of our times to bring this to consciousness. With the Indians, this
consciousness proceeded from sensuous observation merely, and they now
further define these qualities as follows: The first and highest is
with them the Good (Sattva); it is exalted and illuminating—allied
to joy and felicity—and piety predominates within it. It prevails
in fire, and therefore flames rise up and sparks fly upwards; if it
has ascendency in men, as it does have in the eight higher orders,
it is the origin of virtue. This also is the universal—throughout
and in every aspect the affirmative—in abstract form. The second
and mediate quality is deceit or passion (Najas, Tejas) which for
itself is blind; it is that which is impure, harmful, hateful; it is
active, vehement, and restless, allied to evil and misfortune, being
prevalent in the air, on which account the wind moves transversely;
amongst living beings it is the cause of vice. The third and last
quality is darkness (Tamas); it is inert and obstructive, allied to
care, dullness, and disappointment, predominating in earth and water,
and hence these fall down and tend ever downwards. With living beings
stupidity takes its origin in this. The first quality is thus the
unity with itself; the second the manifestation or the principle of
difference, desire, disunion, as wickedness; the third, however, is
mere negation, as in mythology it is concretely represented in the form
of Siva, Mahadeva, or Maheswara, the god of change or destruction. As
far as we are concerned, the important distinction is that the third
principle is not the return to the first which Mind and Idea demand,
and which is effected by the removal of the negation in order to effect
a reconciliation with itself and to go back within itself. With the
Indians the third is still change and negation.

These three qualities are represented as the essential being of nature.
The Sanc’hya says, “We speak of them as we do of the trees in a wood.”
Yet this is a bad simile, for the wood is but an abstract universal, in
which the individuals are independent. In the religious ideas of the
Vedas, where these qualities also appear as Trimurti, they are spoken
of as if they were successive modifications, so that “Everything was
darkness first, then received the command to transform itself, and in
this manner the form”—which, however, is a worse one—“of movement and
activity (foulness) was assumed, until finally, by yet another command
from Brahma, the form of goodness was adopted.”

Further determinations of the intelligence in respect of these
qualities follow. It is said that eight kinds of intelligence are
counted, of which four pertain to what is good:—virtue first,
science and knowledge second, thirdly, freedom from passion, which,
may have either an external and sensuous motive—the repugnance to
disturbance—or be of an intellectual nature, and emanate from the
conviction that nature is a dream, a mere jugglery and sham; the fourth
is power. This last is eight-fold, and hence eight special qualities
are given as being present; viz. the power to contract oneself into a
quite small form, for which everything shall be penetrable; the power
to expand into a gigantic body; the power to become light enough to
be able to mount to the sun on a sunbeam; the possession of unlimited
power of action in the organs, so that with the finger-tips the moon
may be touched; irresistible will, so that, for instance, one may dive
into the earth as easily as in the water; mastery over all living and
lifeless existence; the power to change the course of nature; and the
power to perform everything that is wished. “The feeling that such
transcendent power,” Colebrooke goes on, “is within the reach of man
in his life is not peculiar to the Sanc’hya sect, but is common to all
systems and religious ideas, and such a power is in good faith ascribed
to many holy men and Brahmins in dramas and popular narratives.”
Sensuous evidence is of no account as opposed to this, for with the
Indian, perception of the senses is, generally speaking, absent:
everything adopts the form of imaginary images, every dream is esteemed
just as much as truth and actuality. The Sanc’hya ascribes this power
to man, in so far as he elevates himself through the working of his
thought into inward subjectivity. Colebrooke says, “The Yoga-sastra
names in one of its four chapters a number of acts by which such power
may be attained; these are exemplified by a profound meditation,
accompanied by holding back the breath and inactivity of the senses,
while a fixed position is constantly preserved. By means of such acts
the adept reaches the knowledge of all that is past as well as future;
he has learned to divine the thoughts of others, to have the strength
of elephants, the courage of lions, the swiftness of the wind, the
power to fly in the air, to swim in the water, to dive into the earth,
to behold every possible world in one moment, and to accomplish other
wonderful deeds. But the quickest mode of reaching happiness through
deep contemplation is that worship of God which consists in ever
murmuring the mystic name of God, ‘Om.’” This idea is a very general

Colebrooke deals more particularly with the theistic and atheistic
divisions of the Sanc’hya as distinguished. While in the theistic
system, Iswara, the chief ruler of the world, is a soul or spirit
distinguished from the other souls, Capila, in the atheistic Sanc’hya,
disowns Iswara, the originator of the world by volition, alleging that
there is no proof of the existence of God, since it is not shown by
perception, nor is it possible that it should be deduced from argument.
He recognizes, indeed, an existence proceeding from nature which is
Absolute Intelligence, the source of all individual intelligences and
the origin of all other existences, which gradually develop out of it:
about the Creator of the world, understanding this to be creation, he
emphatically remarks that “the truth of such an Iswara is proved.”
But, he says, “the existence of effects depends on the soul, on
consciousness, and not on Iswara. Everything proceeds from the great
Principle, which is Intelligence;” to this the individual soul belongs,
and through this it is brought about.

_c._ As to the third division of the Sanc’hya, the more particular
consideration of the forms of knowledge as regards the principle, I
shall make a few more remarks, which may perhaps have some interest.
Of the various kinds of knowledge already given, that of reasoning, of
the connection existing with the conclusion through the relation of
cause and effect, remains the chief, and I will show how the Indians
comprehend this relation. The understanding and all other principles
derived from it are to them effects, and from these they reason to
their causes; in one respect this is analogous to our inference, but
in another different. They perceive that “effects exist even before
the operation of the causes; for what does not exist cannot be made
explicit in existence through causality.” Colebrooke says, “This means
that effects are educts rather than products.” But the question is just
what products are. As an example of how the effect is already contained
in the cause, the following is given:—Oil is already existent in the
seeds of sesamum before it is pressed out; rice is in the husk before
it is thrashed; milk is in the udder of the cow before it is milked.
Cause and effect are in reality the same; a piece of a dress is not
really different from the yarn from which it is woven, for the material
is the same. This is how this relation is understood. A consequence
derived from it was the eternity of the world, for the saying “Out
of nothing there comes nothing,” which Colebrooke also mentions, is
opposed to the belief in a creation of the world from nothing in our
religious sense. As a matter of fact, it must also be said, “God
creates the world not out of nothing, but out of Himself; it is His
own determination, by Him brought into existence.” The distinction
between cause and effect is only a formal distinction; it is the
understanding that keeps them separate, and not reason. Moisture is the
same as rain; or again we speak in mechanics of different movements,
whereas motion has the same velocity before as after impact. The
ordinary consciousness cannot comprehend the fact that there is no real
distinction between cause and effect.

The Indians infer the existence of “a universal cause which is
undistinguishable, while determinate things are finite,” and on
this account there must be a cause permeating through them. Even
intelligence is an effect of this cause, which is the soul in so far
as it is creative in this identity with nature after its abstraction
from it. Effect proceeds from cause, yet, on the other hand, this
last is not independent, but goes back into universal cause. General
destruction is postulated along with what is called the creation of
the three worlds. Just as the tortoise stretches out its limbs and
then draws them back again within its shell, the five elements, earth,
&c., which constitute the three worlds, are in the general ruin and
dissolution of things which takes place within a certain time, again
drawn back in the reverse order to that in which they emerged from
the original principle, because they return, step by step, to their
first cause—that is, to what is highest and inseparable, which is
Nature. To this the three qualities, goodness, passion, and darkness,
are attributed; the further attributes of these determinations may be
very interesting, but they are understood in a very superficial way.
For it is said that nature operates through the admixture of these
three qualities; each thing has all three within itself, like three
streams which flow together; it also works by means of modifications,
just as water which is soaked in through the roots of plants and led
up into the fruit, obtains a special flavour. There are hence only
the categories of admixture and of modification present. The Indians
say:—“Nature has these three qualities in her own right as her forms
and characteristics; other things have them only because they are
present in them as effects of the former.”

We still have to consider the relation of nature to spirit. “Nature,
although it is quite inanimate, performs the office of preparing
the soul for its freedom, just as it is the function of milk—of a
substance having no sensation—to nourish the calf.” The Sanc’hya makes
the following simile. Nature is like a _bajadere_ showing herself to
the soul as to an audience; she is abused for her impudence in exposing
herself too often to the rude gaze of the spectators. “But she retires
when she has shown herself sufficiently; she does so because she
has been seen, and the audience retires because it has seen. Nature
has no further use as regards the soul, and yet the union remains a
lasting one.” With the attainment of intellectual knowledge through
the study of principles, the final, incontrovertible, single truth is
learnt, that “I neither am, nor is anything mine, nor do I exist.”
That is, the personality is still distinguished from the soul, and
finally personality and self-consciousness disappear for the Indian.
“Everything that comes forth in consciousness is reflected by the
soul, but like an image which does not dull the crystal of the soul,
and does not belong to it. In possession of this self-knowledge”
(without personality) “the soul contemplates nature at its ease,
thus exempt from all terrible variation, and freed from every other
form and operation of the understanding, with the exception of this
spiritual knowledge.” This is a mediate spiritual knowledge of the
likewise spiritualized content—a knowledge without personality and
consciousness. “The soul still indeed remains for some time in bodily
garb, but this is only so after the same manner as the potter’s wheel,
when the jar is perfected, still turns round from the effect of the
previously given impulse.” The soul thus has, according to the Indians,
nothing further to do with the body, and its connection therewith is
therefore a superfluous one. “But when the separation of the already
prepared soul from its body at length comes to pass, and nature is done
with soul, the absolute and final liberation is accomplished.” Here we
find the crowning moments in the Sanc’hya philosophy.

2. _The Philosophy of Gotama and Canade_. The philosophy of Gotama and
that of Canade belong to one another.[18] The philosophy of Gotama is
called Nyaya (reasoning), and that of Canade, Vaiseshica (particular).
The first is a specially perfect dialectic, and the second, on the
other hand, occupies itself with physics, that is, with particular or
sensuous objects. Colebrooke says:—“No department of science or of
literature has taken up the attention of the Indians more than the
Nyaya; and the fruit of this study is an infinite number of writings,
included in which there may be found the works of very celebrated
men of learning. The system which Gotama and Canade observe is that
indicated in one part of the Vedas as being the path which must be
trodden in the pursuit of learning and study; viz., enunciation,
definition, and investigation. Enunciation is the specification of
a thing by its name, that is, by the expression denoting it, as
revelation directs; for language is considered as revealed to man.
Definition sets forth the particular quality which constitutes the
real character of a thing. Investigation consists in an inquiry into
the adequacy and sufficiency of the definition. In conformity with
this, the teachers of philosophy presuppose scientific terms, proceed
to definitions and then come to the investigation of the thus premised
subjects.” By the name, the ordinary conception is indicated, and with
it what is given in definition is compared in investigation. What comes
next is the object to be contemplated. “Gotama here adduces sixteen
points, amongst which proof, evidence” (which is formal), “and what has
to be proved, are the principal; the others are merely subsidiary and
accessory, as contributing to the knowledge and confirmation of the
truth. The Nyaya concurs with the other psychological schools in this,
that it promises happiness, final excellence, and freedom from evil as
the reward of a perfect knowledge of the principles which it teaches,
that is to say, of the Truth, meaning the conviction of the eternal
existence of the soul as separable from body,” which makes spirit
independent. Soul then is itself the object which is to be known and
proved. This has still to be shown more particularly.

_a._ The first point of importance, the evidence brought forth
as proof, is said to be divided into four kinds:—first of all,
perception; secondly, inference, of which there are three kinds,
viz. inference from result to cause, that from cause to effect, and
that derived from analogy. The third kind of evidence is comparison,
the fourth, trustworthy authority, including both tradition and the
revelation implied in it. These kinds of proof are much brought
forward, both in the ancient Treatise ascribed to Gotama and in
innumerable commentaries.

_b._ The second point of importance is found in the subjects which
have to be proved, and which have to be made evident; and of these
twelve are here given. The first and most important is, however, the
soul, as the seat, distinguished from the body and from the senses,
of feeling and of knowledge, the existence of which is proved through
inclination, disinclination, will, &c. It has fourteen qualities:
number, size, individuality, connection, separation, intelligence,
pleasure, pain, desire, dislike, will, merit, fault, and imagination.
We see in this first commencement of reflection, which is quite without
order, neither connection nor any totality of determinations. The
second object of knowledge is body; the third, the organs of sensation,
as the five outward senses are called. These are not modifications of
consciousness, as the Sanc’hya asserts, but matter constructed out of
the elements, which respectively consist of earth, water, light, air,
and ether. The pupil of the eye is not, they say, the organ of sight,
nor the ear of hearing, but the organ of seeing is a ray of light that
proceeds from the eye to the object; the organ of hearing is the ether
that in the cavity of the ear communicates with the object heard,
through the ether that is found between. The ray of light is usually
invisible, just as a light is not seen at mid-day, but in certain
circumstances it is visible. In taste, a watery substance like saliva
is the organ, and so on. We find something similar to what is here said
about sight in Plato’s Timæus (pp. 45, 46, Steph.; pp. 50-53, Bekk.);
there are interesting remarks upon the phosphorus of the eyes in a
paper by Schultz, contained in Goethe’s Morphology. Examples of men
seeing at night, so that their eyes lighted up the object, are brought
forward in numbers, but the demonstration certainly demands particular
conditions. The objects of sense form the fourth subject. Here Cesava,
a commentator, inserts the categories of Canade, of which there are
six. The first of these is substance, and of this there are nine kinds:
earth, water, light, air, ether, time, space, soul, understanding. The
fundamental elements of material substances are by Canade regarded as
if they were original atoms, and afterwards aggregates of the same; he
maintains the everlasting nature of atoms, and thus much is adduced
about the union of atoms, by which means motes are also produced. The
second category is that of Quality, and of it there are twenty-four
kinds, viz. 1, colour; 2, taste; 3, smell; 4, tangibility; 5, numbers;
6, size; 7, individuality; 8, conjunction; 9, separation; 10,
priority; 11, posteriority; 12, weight; 13, fluidity; 14, viscidity;
15, sound; 16, intelligence; 17, pleasure; 18, pain; 19, desire; 20,
dislike; 21, will; 22, virtue; 23, vice; 24, a capacity which includes
three different qualities, viz. celerity, elasticity, and power of
imagination. The third category is action; the fourth, association of
qualities; the fifth, distinction; the sixth, is aggregation, and,
according to Canade, this is the last; other writers add negation as
the seventh. This is the manner in which philosophy is regarded by the

_c._ The philosophy of Gotama makes doubt the third topic, succeeding
those of the evidence of knowledge, and the subjects of interest to
knowledge. Another topic is regular proof, formal reasoning, or the
perfect syllogism (Nyaya), which consists of five propositions:—1, the
proposition; 2, the reason; 3, the instance; 4, the application; 5, the
conclusion. To take examples:—1. This hill is burning; 2, because it
smokes; 3, what smokes is burning, like a kitchen fire; 4, accordingly
the hill smokes; 5, therefore it is on fire. This is propounded as
syllogisms are with us, but in the manner adopted, the matter which is
in point is propounded first. We should, on the contrary, begin with
the general. This is the ordinary form, and these examples may satisfy
us, yet we shall recapitulate the matter once more.

We have seen that in India the point of main importance is the
soul’s drawing itself within itself, raising itself up into liberty,
or thought, which constitutes itself for itself. This becoming
explicit of soul in the most abstract mode may be called intellectual
substantiality, but here it is not the unity of mind and nature that
is present, but directly the opposite. To mind, the consideration of
nature is only the vehicle of thought or its exercise, which has as
its aim the liberation of mind. Intellectual substantiality is in India
the end, while in Philosophy it is in general the true commencement;
to philosophize is the idealism of making thought, in its own right,
the principle of truth. Intellectual substantiality is the opposite
of the reflection, understanding, and the subjective individuality of
the European. With us it is of importance that I will, know, believe,
think this particular thing according to the grounds that I have for
so doing, and in accordance with my own free will; and upon this
an infinite value is set. Intellectual substantiality is the other
extreme from this; it is that in which all the subjectivity of the “I”
is lost; for it everything objective has become vanity, there is for
it no objective truth, duty or right, and thus subjective vanity is
the only thing left. The point of interest is to reach intellectual
substantiality in order to drown in it that subjective vanity with all
its cleverness and reflection. This is the advantage of arriving at
this point of view.

The defect in such a view is that because intellectual substantiality,
while represented as end and aim for the subject, as a condition that
has to be produced in the interest of the subject, even though it be
most objective, is yet only quite abstractly objective; and hence the
essential form of objectivity is wanting to it. That intellectual
substantiality that thus remaining in abstraction, has as its
existence the subjective soul alone. Just as in empty vanity, where
the subjective power of negation alone remains, everything disappears,
this abstraction of intellectual substantiality only signifies
an escape into what is empty and without determination, wherein
everything vanishes. Therefore what remains to be done is to force
forward the real ground of the inwardly self-forming and determining
objectivity—the eternal form within itself, which is what men call
Thought. Just as this Thought in the first place, as subjective, is
mine, because I think, but in the second place is universality which
comprehends intellectual substantiality, it is likewise in the third
place forming activity, the principle of determination. This higher
kind of objectivity that unfolds itself, alone gives a place to the
particular content, allows it to have free scope and receives it
into itself. If in the Oriental view, the particular shakes and is
destined to fall, it still has its place grounded on thought. It is
able to root itself in itself, it is able to stand firm, and this is
the hard European understanding. Such Eastern ideas tend to destroy
it, but it is preserved active in the soil of thought; it cannot exist
when regarded as independent, but must exist only as a moment in the
whole system. In the Eastern Philosophy we have also discovered a
definite content, which is brought under our consideration; but the
consideration is destitute of thought or system because it comes
from above and is outside of the unity. On that side there stands
intellectual substantiality, on this side it appears dry and barren;
the particular thus only has the dead form of simple reason and
conclusion, such as we find in the Scholastics. Based on the ground of
thought, on the other hand, the particular may receive its dues; it may
be regarded and grasped as a moment in the whole organization. The Idea
has not become objective in the Indian Philosophy; hence the external
and objective has not been comprehended in accordance with the Idea.
This is the deficiency in Orientalism.

The true, objective ground of thought finds its basis in the real
freedom of the subject; the universal or substantial must itself have
objectivity. Because thought is this universal, the ground of the
substantial and likewise “I”—thought is the implicit and exists as
the free subject—the universal has immediate existence and actual
presence; it is not only an end or condition to be arrived at, but the
absolute character is objective. It is this principle that we find in
the Greek world, and the object of our further consideration is its
development. The universal first appears as quite abstract, and as such
it confronts the concrete world; but its value is both for the ground
of the concrete world and for that which is implicit. It is not a
beyond, for the value of the present lies in the fact that it exists in
the implicit; or that which is implicit, the universal, is the truth of
present objects.




THE name of Greece strikes home to the hearts of men of education in
Europe, and more particularly is this so with us Germans. Europeans
have taken their religion, the life to come, the far-off land, from a
point somewhat further off than Greece—they took it from the East, and
more especially from Syria. But the here, the present, art and science,
that which in giving liberty to our spiritual life, gives it dignity as
it likewise bestows upon it ornament, we know to have proceeded from
Greece either directly or indirectly—through the circuitous road of
Rome. The latter of these two ways was the earlier form in which this
culture came to us; it also came from the formerly universal church
which derived its origin as such from Rome, and has retained its speech
even until now. The sources of authority in addition to the Latin
Gospels have been the Fathers. Our law, too, boasts of deriving its
most perfect forms from Rome. Teutonic strength of mind has required
to pass through the hard discipline of the church and law which came
to us from Rome, and to be kept in check; it is in this way that the
European character first obtained its pliability and capacity for
freedom. Thus it was after European manhood came to be at home with
itself and to look upon the present, that the historical and that which
is of foreign derivation was given. When man began to be at home with
himself, he turned to the Greeks to find enjoyment in it. Let us leave
the Latin and the Roman to the church and to jurisprudence. Higher,
freer philosophic science, as also the beauty of our untrammelled art,
the taste for, and love of the same, we know to have taken their root
in Greek life and to have created therefrom their spirit. If we were to
have an aspiration, it would be for such a land and such conditions.

But what makes us specially at home with the Greeks is that they
made their world their home; the common spirit of homeliness unites
us both. In ordinary life we like best the men and families that are
homely and contented in themselves, not desiring what is outside and
above them, and so it is with the Greeks. They certainly received the
substantial beginnings of their religion, culture, their common bonds
of fellowship, more or less from Asia, Syria and Egypt; but they have
so greatly obliterated the foreign nature of this origin, and it is
so much changed, worked upon, turned round, and altogether made so
different, that what they, as we, prize, know, and love in it, is
essentially their own. For this reason, in the history of Greek life,
when we go further back and seem constrained so to go back, we find
we may do without this retrogression and follow within the world and
manners of the Greeks, the beginnings, the germination and the progress
of art and science up to their maturity, even seeing the origin of
their decay—and this completely comprehended within their own range.
For their spiritual development requires that which is received or
foreign, as matter or stimulus only; in such they have known and borne
themselves as men that were free. The form which they have given to the
foreign principle is this characteristic breath of spirituality, the
spirit of freedom and of beauty which can in the one aspect be regarded
as form, but which in another and higher sense is simply substance.

They have thus not only themselves created the substantial in their
culture and made their existence their own, but they have also held
in reverence this their spiritual rebirth, which is their real birth.
The foreign origin they have so to speak thanklessly forgotten,
putting it in the background—perhaps burying it in the darkness of
the mysteries which they have kept secret from themselves. They have
not only done this, that is they have not only used and enjoyed all
that they have brought forth and formed, but they have become aware of
and thankfully and joyfully placed before themselves this at-homeness
[Heimathlichkeit] in their whole existence, the ground and origin of
themselves, not merely existing in it, possessing and making use of
it. For their mind, when transformed in this spiritual new birth, is
just the living in their life, and also the becoming conscious of that
life as it has become actual. They represent their existence as an
object apart from themselves, which manifests itself independently and
which in its independence is of value to them; hence they have made for
themselves a history of everything which they have possessed and have
been. Not only have they represented the beginning of the world—that
is, of gods and men, the earth, the heavens, the wind, mountains
and rivers—but also of all aspects of their existence, such as the
introduction of fire and the offerings connected with it, the crops,
agriculture, the olive, the horse, marriage, property, laws, arts,
worship, the sciences, towns, princely races, &c. Of all these it is
pleasingly represented through tales how they have arisen in history as
their own work.

It is in this veritable homeliness, or, more accurately, in the spirit
of homeliness, in this spirit of ideally being-at-home-with-themselves
in their physical, corporate, legal, moral and political existence; it
is in the beauty and the freedom of their character in history, making
what they are to be also a sort of Mnemosyne with them, that the kernel
of thinking liberty rests; and hence it was requisite that Philosophy
should arise amongst them. Philosophy is being at home with self, just
like the homeliness of the Greek; it is man’s being at home in his
mind, at home with himself. If we are at home with the Greeks, we must
be at home more particularly in their Philosophy; not, however, simply
as it is with them, for Philosophy is at home with itself, and we have
to do with Thought, with what is most specially ours, and with what is
free from all particularity. The development and unfolding of thought
has taken place with them from its earliest beginning, and in order to
comprehend their Philosophy we may remain with them without requiring
to seek for further and external influences.

But we must specify more particularly their character and point of
view. The Greeks have a starting-point in history as truly as they have
arisen from out of themselves: this starting-point, comprehended in
thought, is the oriental substantiality of the natural unity between
the spiritual and the natural. To start from the self, to live in the
self, is the other extreme of abstract subjectivity, when it is still
empty, or rather has made itself to be empty; such is pure formalism,
the abstract principle of the modern world. The Greeks stand between
both these extremes in the happy medium; this therefore is the medium
of beauty, seeing that it is both natural and spiritual, but yet
that the spiritual still remains the governing, determining subject.
Mind immersed in nature is in substantial unity with it, and in so
far as it is consciousness, it is essentially sensuous perception:
as subjective consciousness it is certainly form-giving though it is
devoid of measure. For the Greeks, the substantial unity of nature and
spirit was a fundamental principle, and thus being in the possession
and knowledge of this, yet not being overwhelmed in it, but having
retired into themselves, they have avoided the extreme of formal
subjectivity, and are still in unity with themselves. Thus it is a
free subject which still possesses that original unity in content,
essence and substratum, and fashions its object into beauty. The stage
reached by Greek consciousness is the stage of beauty. For beauty is
the ideal; it is the thought which is derived from Mind, but in such a
way that the spiritual individuality is not yet explicit as abstract
subjectivity that has then in itself to perfect its existence into a
world of thought. What is natural and sensuous still pertains to this
subjectivity, but yet the natural form has not equal dignity and rank
with the other, nor is it predominant as is the case in the East.
The principle of the spiritual now stands first in rank, and natural
existence has no further value for itself, in its existent forms,
being the mere expression of the Mind shining through, and having been
reduced to be the vehicle and form of its existence. Mind, however,
has not yet got itself as a medium whereby it can represent itself in
itself, and from which it can form its world.

Thus free morality could and necessarily did find a place in Greece,
for the spiritual substance of freedom was here the principle of
morals, laws and constitutions. Because the natural element is,
however, still contained in it, the form taken by the morality of
the state is still affected by what is natural; the states are
small individuals in their natural condition, which could not unite
themselves into one whole. Since the universal does not exist in
independent freedom, that which is spiritual still is limited. In
the Greek world what is potentially and actually eternal is realized
and brought to consciousness through Thought; but in such a way that
subjectivity confronts it in a determination which is still accidental,
because it is still essentially related to what is natural; and in this
we find the reason as promised above, for the fact that in Greece the
few alone are free.

The measureless quality of substance in the East is brought, by
means of the Greek mind, into what is measurable and limited; it
is clearness, aim, limitation of forms, the reduction of what is
measureless, and of infinite splendour and riches, to determinateness
and individuality. The riches of the Greek world consist only of an
infinite quantity of beautiful, lovely and pleasing individualities
in the serenity which pervades all existence; those who are greatest
amongst the Greeks are the individualities, the connoisseurs in art,
poetry, song, science, integrity and virtue. If the serenity of the
Greeks, their beautiful gods, statues, and temples, as well as their
serious work, their institutions and acts, may seem—compared to the
splendour and sublimity, the colossal forms of oriental imagination,
the Egyptian buildings of Eastern kingdoms—to be like child’s play,
this is the case yet more with the thought that comes into existence
here. Such thought puts a limit on this wealth of individualities as on
the oriental greatness, and reduces it into its one simple soul, which,
however, is in itself the first source of the opulence of a higher
ideal world, of the world of Thought.

“From out of thy passions, oh, man,” exclaimed an ancient, “thou
hast derived the materials for thy gods,” just as the Easterns, and
especially the Indians, did from the elements, powers and forms of
Nature. One may add, “out of Thought thou takest the element and
material for God.” Thus Thought is the ground from which God comes
forth, but it is not Thought in its commencement that constitutes the
first principle from which all culture must be grasped. It is quite the
other way. In the beginning, thought comes forth as altogether poor,
abstract, and of a content which is meagre in comparison to that given
to his subject by the oriental; for as immediate, the beginning is
just in the form of nature, and this it shares with what is oriental.
Because it thus reduces the content of the East to determinations which
are altogether poor, these thoughts are scarcely worth observation on
our part, since they are not yet proper thoughts, neither being in the
form of, or determined as thought, but belonging really to Nature.
Thus Thought is the Absolute, though not as Thought. That is, we have
always two things to distinguish, the universal or the Notion, and
the reality of this universal, for the question here arises as to
whether the reality is itself Thought or Nature. We find in the fact
that reality at first has still the immediate form and is only Thought
potentially, the reason for commencing with the Greeks and from the
natural philosophy of the Ionic school.

As regards the external and historical condition of Greece at this
time, Greek philosophy commences in the sixth century before Christ in
the time of Cyrus, and in the period of decline in the Ionic republics
in Asia Minor. Just because this world of beauty which raised itself
into a higher kind of culture went to pieces, Philosophy arose. Crœsus
and the Lydians first brought Ionic freedom into jeopardy; later on the
Persians were those who destroyed it altogether, so that the greater
part of the inhabitants sought other spots and created colonies, more
particularly in the West. At the time of the decline in Ionic towns,
the other Greece ceased to be under its ancient lines of kings; the
Pelopideans and the other, and for the most part foreign, princely
races had passed away. Greece had in many ways come into touch with
the outside world and the Greek inhabitants likewise sought within
themselves for a bond of fellowship. The patriarchal life was past, and
in many states it came to be a necessity that they should constitute
themselves as free, organized and regulated by law. Many individuals
come into prominence who were no more rulers of their fellow-citizens
by descent, but who were by means of talent, power of imagination and
scientific knowledge, marked out and reverenced, and such individuals
came into many different relations with their fellows. Part of them
became advisers, but their advice was frequently not followed; part
of them were hated and despised by their fellow-citizens, and they
drew back from public affairs; others became violent, if not fierce
governors of the other citizens, and others again finally became the
administrators of liberty.

_The Seven Sages_. Amongst these men just characterized, the seven
sages—in modern times excluded from the history of Philosophy—take
their place. In as far as they may be reckoned as milestones in the
history of Philosophy, something about their character should, in the
commencement of Philosophy, be shortly said. They came into prominence,
partly as taking part in the battles of the Ionic towns, partly as
expatriated, and partly as individuals of distinction in Greece. The
names of the seven are given differently: usually, however, as Thales,
Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias, Pittacus. Hermippus in
Diogenes Laertius (1, 42) specifies seventeen, and, amongst these,
various people pick out seven in various ways. According to Diogenes
Laertius (1, 41) Dicæarchus, who came still earlier in history, only
names four, and these are placed amongst the seven by all; they are
Thales, Bias, Pittacus and Solon. Besides these, Myson, Anacharsis,
Acusilaus, Epimenides, Pherecydes, &c., are mentioned. Dicæarchus
in Diogenes (1, 40), says of them that they are neither wise men
(_σοφούς_) nor philosophers, but men of understanding (_συνετξύς_) and
law-givers; this judgment has become the universal one and is held
to be just. They come in a period of transition amongst the Greeks—a
transition from a patriarchal system of kings into one of law or force.
The fame of the wisdom of these men depends, on the one hand, on the
fact that they grasped the practical essence of consciousness, or the
consciousness of universal morality as it is in and for itself, giving
expression to it in the form of moral maxims and in part in civil laws,
making these actual in the state; on the other hand it depends on
their having, in theoretic form, expressed the same in witty sayings.
Some of these sayings could not merely be regarded as thoughtful or
good reflections, but in so far, as philosophic and speculative; they
have a comprehensive, universal significance ascribed to them, which,
however, does not explain them. These men have not really made science
and Philosophy their aim; it is expressly said of Thales that it was
in the latter part of his life that he first took to Philosophy. What
had relation to politics appeared most frequently; they were practical
men, men of affairs, but not in our sense of the word; with us
practical activity devotes itself to a special line of administration
or to a particular business, or to economics, &c. They lived in
democratic states and thus shared the responsibilities of the general
administration and rule. They were not statesmen like the great Greek
personalities, like Miltiades, Themistocles, Pericles and Demosthenes,
but they were statesmen in a time when safety, preservation and,
indeed, the whole well-being, disposition and well nigh the very
foundation of civic life were in question; and certainly when this was
so with the foundations of legally established institutions.

Thales and Bias thus appear as the representatives of the Ionic
towns. Herodotus (I. 169-171) speaks of both, and says of Thales
that he advised even before the overthrow of the Ionians (apparently
through Crœsus), that they should constitute a supreme council (_ἓν
βουλευτήριον_) in Teos, in the centre of the Ionian people, and thus
make a federal state with a capital and principal federal town, so that
they might still remain separate nations (_δῆμοι_) as before. However,
they did not follow this advice, and this isolated and weakened them,
and the result was their conquest; it has always been a difficult thing
for the Greeks to give up their individuality. Later on, when Harpagus,
the general of Cyrus who accomplished their overthrow, pressed in upon
them, the Ionians took no better the most excellent advice of Bias of
Priene, given them at the decisive moment when they were assembled at
Panionium, “to go in a common fleet to Sardinia, there to found an
Ionic state. By so doing they would escape servitude, be happy, and,
inhabiting the largest island, subdue the others. But if they remained
in Ionia there was no hope of liberty to be seen for them.” Herodotus
gives his corroboration to this advice—“If they had followed him they
would have been the happiest of Greeks.” Such things take place, but
through force and not voluntarily.

We find the other sages under similar conditions. Solon was an
administrator in Athens, and thereby became famous; few men have
attained the honourable position of being a law-giver. Solon shares it
with Moses, Lycurgus, Zaleucus, Numa, &c., alone. No individuals can be
found amongst Teutonic peoples who possess the distinction of being the
law-givers of their people. Nowadays there can be law-givers no longer;
legal institutions and regulations are in modern times always ready to
hand, and the little that can still be done by means of the law-giver
and by law-making assemblies is simply the further modification of
details or making very insignificant additions. What is dealt with is
the compilation, wording and perfecting of the particular only; and
yet neither Solon and Lycurgus did more than respectively bring the
Ionic mind and the Doric character—being that which had been given
them and which was implicitly present—into the form of consciousness,
and obviate the temporary inconvenience of disorder through effective
laws. Solon was thus not a perfect statesman; this is manifest from
the sequel of his history. A constitution which allowed Pisistratus
in Solon’s own time to raise himself into the Tyranny, showing itself
to be so destitute of strength and organization that it could not
prevent its own overthrow, (and by what a power!) manifests some inward
want. This may seem strange, for a constitution must be able to afford
resistance to such an attack. But let us see what Pisistratus did.

What the so-called tyrants really were, is most clearly shown by the
relation borne by Solon to Pisistratus. When orderly institutions and
laws were necessary to the Greeks, we find law-givers and regents of
states appearing, who laid down laws, and ruled accordingly. The law,
as universal, seemed and still seems now to the individual to be
force, inasmuch as he does not have regard to or comprehend the law:
it applies first to all the people, and then only, to the individual;
it is essential first of all to use constraint until the individual
attains discernment, and law to him becomes his law, and ceases to be
something foreign. Most of the law-givers and administrators of states
undertook themselves to constrain the people and to be their tyrants.
In states where they did not undertake it, it had to be done by other
individuals, for it was essential. According to Diogenes Laertius’
account (I. 48-50), we find Solon—whom his friends advised to secure
the mastery for himself since the people held to him (_προσεῖχον_), and
would have liked to see him become tyrant—repulse them, and try to
prevent any such occurrence, when he became suspicious of Pisistratus’
intentions. What he did when he remarked upon the attitude of
Pisistratus, was to come into the assembly of the people, and tell them
the design of Pisistratus, accoutred in armour and shield; this was
then unusual, for Thucydides (1, 6) makes it a distinguishing feature
between Greeks and Barbarians, that the former, and pre-eminently the
Athenians, put aside their arms in time of peace. He said, “Men of
Athens, I am wiser than some and braver than others: I am wiser than
those who do not see the deceit of Pisistratus, braver than those
who certainly see it, but say nothing from fear.” As he could not do
anything, he left Athens. Pisistratus is said to have then written a
most honourable letter to Solon in his absence, which Diogenes (I.
53, 54) has preserved for us, inviting him to return to Athens, and
live with him as a free citizen. “Not only am I not the only one of
the Greeks to have seized the tyranny, but I have not taken anything
which was not my due, for I am of the race of Codrus. I have only taken
back to myself what the Athenians swore they would preserve to Codrus
and his race, and yet took from them. Moreover I am doing no evil
toward gods and men, but as thou hast given laws to the Athenians, I
take care (_ἐπιτροπῶ_) that in civil life they shall carry them out
(_πολιτεύειν_.) His son Hippias did the same. And these relations are
carried out better than they would be in a democracy, for I allow
nobody to do evil (_ὑβρίζειν_), and as Tyrant, I lay claim to no more
(_πλεῖόν τι φέρομαι_) than such consideration and respect and specified
gifts (_τὰ ῥητὰ γέρα_) as would have been offered to the kings in
earlier times. Every Athenian gives the tenth part of his revenue,
not to me, but towards the cost of the public offering, and besides
for the commonwealth, and for use in case of war. I am not angry that
thou hast disclosed my project. For thou didst it more out of love to
the people than hate against me, and because thou didst not know how I
would conduct my rule. For if thou hadst known this, thou wouldst have
submitted to it willingly, and wouldst not have taken flight;” and so
he goes on. Solon, in the answer given by Diogenes, (I. 66, 67) says,
that he “has not a personal grudge against Pisistratus, and he must
call him the best of tyrants; but to turn back does not befit him. For
he made equality of rights essential in the Athenian constitution, and
himself refused the tyranny. By his return he would condone what was
done by Pisistratus.” The rule of Pisistratus accustomed the Athenians
to the laws of Solon, and brought them into usage, so that after this
usage came to be general, supremacy was superfluous; his sons were
hence driven out of Athens, and for the first time the constitution of
Solon upheld itself. Solon undoubtedly gave the laws, but it is another
thing to make such regulations effectual in the manners, habits and
life of a people. What was separate in Solon and Pisistratus, we find
united in Periander in Corinth, and Pittacus in Mitilene.

This may be enough about the outward life of the seven sages. They are
also famed for the wisdom of the sayings which have been preserved to
us; these sayings seem in great measure, however, to be superficial
and hackneyed. The reason for this is found in the fact that, to
our reflection, general propositions are quite usual; much in the
Proverbs of Solomon seems to us to be superficial and commonplace
for the same reason. But it is quite another thing to bring to the
ordinary conception for the first time this same universal in the
form of universality. Many distichs are ascribed to Solon which we
still retain; their object is to express in maxims general obligations
towards the gods, the family and the country. Diogenes (I. 58) tells us
that Solon said: “Laws are like a spider’s web; the small are caught,
the great tear it up: speech is the image of action,” &c. Such sayings
are not philosophy, but general reflections, the expression of moral
duties, maxims, necessary determinations. The wisdom of the sages is
of this kind; many sayings are insignificant, but many seem to be more
insignificant than they are. For instance, Chilon says: “Stand surety,
and evil awaits thee” (_ἐγγύα, πάρα δ̓ ἄτα_). On the one hand this is
quite a common rule of life and prudence, but the sceptics gave to
this proposition a much higher universal significance, which is also
accredited to Chilon. This sense is, “Ally thyself closely to any
particular thing, and unhappiness will fall upon thee.” The sceptics
adduced this proposition independently, as demonstrating the principle
of scepticism, which is that nothing is finite and definite in and for
itself, being only a fleeting, vacillating phase which does not last.
Cleobulus says, _μέτρον ἄριστον_, another _μηδὲν ἄγαν_, and this has
likewise a universal significance which is that limitation, the _πέρας_
of Plato as opposed to the _ἄπειρον_—-the self-determined as opposed
to undetermined—is what is best; and thus it is that in Being limit or
measure is the highest determination.

One of the most celebrated sayings is that of Solon in his conversation
with Crœsus, which Herodotus (I. 30-33) has in his own way given us
very fully. The result arrived at is this:—“Nobody is to be esteemed
happy before his death.” But the noteworthy point in this narrative
is that from it we can get a better idea of the standpoint of Greek
reflection in the time of Solon. We see that happiness is put forward
as the highest aim, that which is most to be desired and which is the
end of man; before Kant, morality, as eudæmonism, was based on the
determination of happiness. In Solon’s sayings there is an advance over
the sensuous enjoyment which is merely pleasant to the feelings. Let us
ask what happiness is and what there is within it for reflection, and
we find that it certainly carries with it a certain satisfaction to the
individual, of whatever sort it be—whether obtained through physical
enjoyment or spiritual—the means of obtaining which lie in men’s own
hands. But the fact is further to be observed that not every sensuous,
immediate pleasure can be laid hold of, for happiness contains a
reflection on the circumstances as a whole, in which we have the
principle to which the principle of isolated enjoyment must give way.
Eudæmonism signifies happiness as a condition for the whole of life;
it sets up a totality of enjoyment which is a universal and a rule
for individual enjoyment, in that it does not allow it to give way to
what is momentary, but restrains desires and sets a universal standard
before one’s eyes. If we contrast it with Indian philosophy, we find
eudæmonism to be antagonistic to it. There the liberation of the soul
from what is corporeal, the perfect abstraction, the necessity that the
soul shall, in its simplicity, be at home with itself, is the final
end of man. With the Greeks the opposite is the case; the satisfaction
there is also satisfaction of the soul, but it is not attained through
flight, abstraction, withdrawal within self, but through satisfaction
in the present, concrete satisfaction in relation to the surroundings.
The stage of reflection that we reach in happiness, stands midway
between mere desire and the other extreme, which is right as right and
duty as duty. In happiness, the individual enjoyment has disappeared;
the form of universality is there, but the universal does not yet come
forth on its own account, and this is the issue of the conversation
between Crœsus and Solon. Man as thinking, is not solely engrossed
with present enjoyment, but also with the means for obtaining that to
come. Crœsus points out to him these means, but Solon still objects
to the statement of the question of Crœsus. For in order that any one
should be conceived of as happy, we must await his death, for happiness
depends upon his condition to the end, and upon the fact that his
death should be a pious one and be consistent with his higher destiny.
Because the life of Crœsus had not yet expired, Solon could not deem
him happy. And the history of Crœsus bears evidence that no momentary
state deserves the name of happiness. This edifying history holds in
its embrace the whole standpoint of the reflection of that time.

_Division of the Subject_. In the consideration of Greek philosophy we
have now to distinguish further three important periods:—in the first
place the period from Thales to Aristotle; secondly, Greek philosophy
in the Roman world; thirdly, the Neo-platonic philosophy.

1. We begin with thought, as it is in a quite abstract, natural or
sensuous form, and we proceed from this to the Idea as determined. This
first period shows the beginning of philosophic thought, and goes on to
its development and perfection as a totality of knowledge in itself;
this takes place in Aristotle as representing the unity of what has
come before. In Plato there is just such a union of what came earlier,
but it is not worked out, for he only represents the Idea generally.
The Neo-platonists have been called eclectics, and Plato was said to
have brought about the unity; they were not, however, eclectics, but
they had a conscious insight into the necessity for uniting these

2. After the concrete Idea was reached, it came forth as if in
opposites, perfecting and developing itself. The second period is that
in which science breaks itself up into different systems. A one-sided
principle is carried through the whole conception of the world; each
side is in itself formed into a totality, and stands in the relation
of one extreme to another. The philosophical systems of Stoicism
and Epicureanism are such; scepticism forms the negative to their
dogmatism, while the other philosophies disappear.

3. The third period is the affirmative, the withdrawal of the
opposition into an ideal world or a world of thought, a divine world.
This is the Idea developed into totality, which yet lacks subjectivity
as the infinite being-for-self.



IN this first period we shall again make three divisions:—

1. The first extends from Thales to Anaxagoras, from abstract
thought which is in immediate determinateness to the thought of the
self-determining Thought. Here a beginning is made with the absolutely
simple, in which the earliest methods of determination manifest
themselves as attempts, until the time of Anaxagoras; he determines
the true as the _νοῦς_, and as active thought which no longer is in a
determinate character, but which is self-determining.

2. The second division comprises the Sophists, Socrates, and the
followers of Socrates. Here the self-determining thought is conceived
of as present and concrete in me; that constitutes the principle of
subjectivity if not also of infinite subjectivity, for thought first
shows itself here only partly as abstract principle and partly as
contingent subjectivity.

3. The third division, which deals with Plato and Aristotle, is found
in Greek science where objective thought, the Idea, forms itself into
a whole. The concrete, in itself determining Thought, is, with Plato,
the still abstract Idea, but in the form of universality; while with
Aristotle that Idea was conceived of as the self-determining, or in the
determination of its efficacy or activity.



SINCE we possess only traditions and fragments of this epoch, we may
speak here of the sources of these.

1. The first source is found in Plato, who makes copious reference to
the older philosophers. For the reason that he makes the earlier and
apparently independent philosophies, which are not so far apart when
once their Notion is definitely grasped, into concrete moments of one
Idea, Plato’s philosophy often seems to be merely a clearer statement
of the doctrines of the older philosophers, and hence it draws upon
itself the reproach of plagiarism. Plato was willing to spend much
money in procuring the writings of the older philosophers, and, from
his profound study of these, his conclusions have much weight. But
because in his writings he never himself appeared as teacher, but
always represented other people in his dialogues as the philosophers, a
distinction never has been made between what really belonged to them in
history and what was added by him through the further development which
he effected in their thoughts. In the Parmenides, for instance, we
have the Eleatic philosophy, and yet the working out of this doctrine
belongs peculiarly to Plato.

2. Aristotle is our most abundant authority; he studied the older
philosophers expressly and most thoroughly, and he has, in the
beginning of his Metaphysics especially, and also to a large extent
elsewhere, dealt with them, in historical order: he is as philosophic
as erudite, and we may rely upon him. We can do no better in Greek
philosophy than study the first book of his Metaphysics. When the
would-be-wise man depreciates Aristotle, and asserts that he has not
correctly apprehended Plato, it may be retorted that as he associated
with Plato himself, with his deep and comprehensive mind, perhaps no
one knew him better.

3. Cicero’s name may also occur to us here—although he certainly is
but a troubled spring—since he undoubtedly gives us much information;
yet because he was lacking in philosophic spirit, he understood
Philosophy rather as if it were a matter of history merely. He does
not seem to have himself studied its first sources, and even avows
that, for instance, he never understood Heraclitus; and because
this old and deep philosophy did not interest him, he did not give
himself the trouble to study it. His information bears principally
on later philosophers—the Stoics, Epicureans, the new Academy, and
the Peripatetics. He saw what was ancient through their medium,
and, generally speaking, through a medium of reasoning and not of

4. Sextus Empiricus, a later sceptic, has importance through his
writings, _Hypotyposes Pyrrhonicæ_ and _adversus Mathematicos_.
Because, as a sceptic, he both combated the dogmatic philosophy and
also adduced other philosophers as testifying to scepticism (so that
the greater part of his writings is filled with the tenets of other
philosophers), he is the most abundant source we have for the history
of ancient philosophy, and he has retained for our use many valuable

5. The book of Diogenes Laertius (_De vitis_, &c., Philoss. lib.
x., ed. Meibom. c. notis Menagii, Amstel. 1692) is an important
compilation, and yet it brings forward copious evidence without much
discrimination. A philosophic spirit cannot be ascribed to it; it
rambles about amongst bad anecdotes extraneous to the matter in hand.
For the lives of philosophers, and here and there for their tenets, it
is useful.

6. Finally, we must speak of Simplicius, a later Greek, from Cilicia,
living under Justinian, in the middle of the sixth century. He is the
most learned and acute of the Greek commentators of Aristotle, and of
his writings there is much still unpublished: to him we certainly owe
our thanks.

I need give no more references, for they may be found without trouble
in any compendium. In the progress of Greek philosophy men were
formerly accustomed to follow the order that showed, according to
ordinary ideas, an external connection, and which is found in one
philosopher having had another as his teacher—this connection is one
which might show him to be partly derived from Thales and partly from
Pythagoras. But such a connection is in part defective in itself, and
in part it is merely external. The one set of philosophic sects, or
of philosophers classed together, which is considered as belonging to
a system—that which proceeds from Thales—pursues its course in time
and mind far separate from the other. But, in truth, no such series
ever does exist in this isolation, nor would it do so even though the
individuals were consecutive and had been externally connected as
teacher and taught, which never is the case; mind follows quite another
order. These successive series are interwoven in spirit just as much as
in their particular content.

We come across Thales first amongst the Ionic people, to whom the
Athenians belonged, or from whom the Ionians of Asia Minor, as a whole,
derived their origin. The Ionic race appears earlier in Peloponnesus,
but seems to have been removed from thence. It is, however, not known
what nations belonged to it, for, according to Herodotus (I. 143), the
other Ionians, and even the Athenians, laid aside the name. According
to Thucydides (I. 2 and 12), the Ionic colonies in Asia Minor and the
islands proceeded principally from Athens, because the Athenians,
on account of the over-population of Attica, migrated there. We find
the greatest activity in Greek life on the coasts of Asia Minor, in
the Greek islands, and then towards the west of Magna Græcia; we see
amongst these people, through their internal political activity and
their intercourse with foreigners, the existence of a diversity and
variety in their relations, whereby narrowness of vision is done away
with, and the universal rises in its place. These two places, Ionia and
Greater Greece, are thus the two localities where this first period
in the history of Philosophy plays its part until the time when, that
period being ended, Philosophy plants itself in Greece proper, and
there makes its home. Those spots were also the seat of early commerce
and of an early culture, while Greece itself, so far as these are
concerned, followed later.

We must thus remark that the character of the two sides into which
these philosophies divide, the philosophy of Asia Minor in the east
and that of Grecian Italy in the west, partakes of the character of
the geographical distinction. On the Asia Minor side, and also in
the islands, we find Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus,
Leucippus, Democritus, Anaxagoras, and Diogenes from Crete. On the
other side are the inhabitants of Italy: Pythagoras from Samos, who
lived in Italy, however; Xenophanes, Parmenides, Zeno, Empedocles;
and several of the Sophists also lived in Italy. Anaxagoras was the
first to come to Athens, and thus his science takes a middle place
between both extremes, and Athens was made its centre. The geographical
distinction makes its appearance in the manifestation of Thought,
in the fact that, with the Orientals a sensuous, material side is
dominant, and in the west, Thought, on the contrary, prevails, because
it is constituted into the principle in the form of thought. Those
philosophers who turned to the east knew the absolute in a real
determination of nature, while towards Italy there is the ideal
determination of the absolute. These explanations will be sufficient
for us here; but Empedocles, whom we find in Sicily, is somewhat of
a natural philosopher, while Gorgias, the Sicilian sophist, remains
faithful to the ideal side.

We now have to consider further:—1, The Ionians, viz. Thales,
Anaximander, Anaximenes; 2, Pythagoras and his followers; 3, the
Eleatics, viz. Xenophanes, Parmenides, &c.; 4, Heraclitus; 5,
Empedocles, Leucippus and Democritus; 6, Anaxagoras. We have to trace
and point out the progression of this philosophy also. The first and
altogether abstract determinations are found with Thales and the
other Ionians; they grasped the universal in the form of a natural
determination, as water and air. Progression must thus take place by
leaving behind the merely natural determination; and we find that this
is so with the Pythagoreans. They say that number is the substance or
the essence of things; number is not sensuous, nor is it pure thought,
but it is a non-sensuous object of sense. It was with the Eleatics
that pure thought appeared, and that its forcible liberation from the
sensuous form and the form of number came to pass; and thus from them
proceeds the dialectic movement of thought, which negates the definite
particular in order to show that it is not the many but only the one
that is true. Heraclitus declares the Absolute to be this very process,
which, according to the Eleatics, was still subjective; he arrived at
objective consciousness, since in it the Absolute is that which moves
or changes. Empedocles, Leucippus, and Democritus, on the contrary,
rather go to the opposite extreme, to the simple, material, stationary
principle, to the substratum which underlies the process; and thus this
last, as being movement, is distinguished from it. With Anaxagoras it
is the moving, self-determining thought itself that is then known as
existence, and this is a great step forward.


Here we have the earlier Ionic philosophy, which we desire to treat as
shortly as possible; and this is so much the easier, that the thought
contained in it is very abstract and barren. Other philosophers than
Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, only come under our consideration
as names. We have no more than half a dozen passages in the whole
of the early Ionic philosophy, and that makes it an easy study. Yet
learning prides itself most upon the ancients, for we may be most
learned about that of which we know the least.

1. _Thales._

With Thales we, properly speaking, first begin the history of
Philosophy. The life of Thales occurred at the time when the Ionic
towns were under the dominion of Crœsus. Through his overthrow (Ol.
58, 1; 548 B.C.), an appearance of freedom was produced, yet the most
of these towns were conquered by the Persians, and Thales survived the
catastrophe only a few years. He was born at Miletus; his family is,
by Diogenes (I. 22, 37), stated to be the Phœnician one of Thelides,
and the date of his birth, according to the best calculation, is placed
in the first year of the 35th Olympiad (640 B.C.), but according to
Meiners it was a couple of Olympiads later (38th Olympiad, 629 B.C.).
Thales lived as a statesman partly with Crœsus and partly in Miletus.
Herodotus quotes him several times, and tells (I. 75) that, according
to the narratives of the Greeks, when Crœsus went to battle against
Cyrus and had difficulty in passing over the river Halys, Thales, who
accompanied the army, diverted the river by a trench, which he made
in the form of a crescent behind the camp, so that it could then be
forded. Diogenes (I. 25) says further of him as regards his relations
to his country, that he restrained the men of Miletus from allying
themselves with Crœsus when he went against Cyrus, and that hence,
after the conquest of Crœsus, when the other Ionic States were subdued
by the Persians, the inhabitants of Miletus alone remained undisturbed.
Diogenes records, moreover (I. 23), that he soon withdrew his attention
from the affairs of the State and devoted himself entirely to science.

Voyages to Phœnicia are recorded of him, which, however, rest on vague
tradition; but that he was in Egypt in his old age seems undoubted.[19]
There he was said to have learned geometry, but this would appear
not to have been much, judging from the anecdote, which Diogenes (I.
24, 27) retails from a certain Hieronymus. It was to the effect that
Thales taught the Egyptians to measure the height of their pyramids
by shadow—by taking the relation borne by the height of a man to his
shadow. The terms of the proportion are: as the shadow of a man is to
the height of a man, so is the shadow of a pyramid to its height. If
this were something new to the Egyptians, they must have been very far
back in the theory of geometry. Herodotus tells (I. 74), moreover,
that Thales foretold an eclipse of the sun that happened exactly on
the day of the battle between the Medians and Lydians, and that he
ascribed the rising of the Nile to the contrary Etesian winds, which
drove back the waters.[20] We have some further isolated instances
of, and anecdotes about his astronomical knowledge and works.[21] “In
gazing at and making observations on the stars, he fell into a ditch,
and the people mocked him as one who had knowledge of heavenly objects
and yet could not see what lay at his own feet.” The people laugh at
such things, and boast that philosophers cannot tell them about such
matters; but they do not understand that philosophers laugh at them,
for they do not fall into a ditch just because they lie in one for
all time, and because they cannot see what exists above them. He also
showed, according to Diogenes (I. 26), that a wise man, if he wishes,
can easily acquire riches. It is more important that he fixed that the
year, as solar year, should have 365 days. The anecdote of the golden
tripod to be given to the wisest man, is recorded by Diogenes (I.
27-33); and it carries with it considerable weight, because he combines
all the different versions of the story. The tripod was given to Thales
or to Bias; Thales gave it to some one else, and thus it went through
a circle until it again came to Thales; the latter, or else Solon,
decided that Apollo was wisest, and sent it to Didyma or to Delphi.
Thales died, according to Diogenes (I. 38), aged seventy-eight or
ninety, in the 58th Olympiad; according to Tennemann (vol. i. p. 414),
it was in Olympiad 59, 2 (543 B.C.), when Pythagoras came to Crotona.
Diogenes relates that he died at one of the games, overcome by heat and

We have no writings by Thales, and we do not know whether he was in
the habit of writing. Diogenes Laertius (I. 23, 34, 35) speaks of two
hundred verses on astronomy, and some maxims, such as “It is not the
many words that have most meaning.”

As to his philosophy, he is universally recognized as the first natural
philosopher, but all one knows of him is little, and yet we seem to
know the most of what there is. For since we find that the further
philosophic progress of which his speculative idea was capable, and the
understanding of his propositions, which they alone could have, make
their first appearance and form particular epochs with the philosophers
succeeding him, who may be recognized thereby, this development
ascribed to Thales never took place with him at all. Thus if it is the
case that a number of his other reflections have been lost, they cannot
have had any particular speculative value; and his philosophy does not
show itself to be an imperfect system from want of information about
it, but because the first philosophy cannot be a system.

We must listen to Aristotle as regards these ancient philosophers,
for he speaks most sympathetically of them. In the passage of most
importance (Metaph. I. 3), he says: “Since it is clear that we must
acquire the science of first causes (_ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτίν_), seeing that
we say that a person knows a thing when he becomes acquainted with
its cause, there are, we must recollect, four causes—Being and Form
first (for the ‘why’ is finally led back to the Notion, but yet the
first ‘why’ is a cause and principle); matter and substratum, second;
the cause whence comes the beginning of movement, third; and fourth
the cause which is opposed to this, the aim in view and the good (for
that is the end of every origination). Hence we would make mention of
those who have undertaken the investigation of Being before us, and
have speculated regarding the Truth, for they openly advance certain
principles and first causes. If we take them under our consideration,
it will be of this advantage, so far as our present investigation
goes, that we shall either find other kinds of causes or be enabled
to have so much the more confidence in those just named. Most of the
earliest philosophers have placed the principles of everything in
something in the form of matter (_ἐν ὕλης εἴδει_), for, that from which
everything existent comes, and out of which it takes its origin as its
first source, and into which it finally sinks, as substance (_οὐσία_),
ever remains the same and only changes in its particular qualities
(_πάθεσι_); and this is called the element (_στοιχεῖον_) and this the
principle of all that exists” (the absolute prius). “On this account
they maintain that nothing arises or passes away, because the same
nature always remains. For instance, we say that, absolutely speaking,
Socrates neither originates if he becomes beautiful or musical, nor
does he pass away if he loses these qualities, because the subject (_τὸ
ὑποκείμενον_), Socrates, remains the same. And so it is with all else.
For there must be one nature, or more than one, from which all else
arises, because it maintains its existence” (_σωζομένης ἐκείνης_),
that means that in its change there is no reality or truth. “All do not
coincide as to the number of this principle or as to its description
(_εἶδος_); Thales, the founder of this philosophy,” (which recognizes
something material as the principle and substance of all that is),
“says that it is water. Hence he likewise asserts the earth to be
founded on water.” Water is thus the _ὑποκείμενον_, the first ground,
and, according to Seneca’s statement (Quæst. Nat. vi. 6), it seems to
him to be not so much the inside of the earth, as what encloses it
which is the universal existence; for “Thales considered that the whole
earth has water as its support (_subjecto humore_), and that it swims

We might first of all expect some explanation of the application of
these principles, as, for example, how it is to be proved that water is
the universal substance, and in what way particular forms are deduced
from it. But as to this we must say that of Thales in particular,
we know nothing more than his principle, which is that water is the
god over all. No more do we know anything further of Anaximander,
Anaximenes and Diogenes than their principles. Aristotle brings forward
a conjecture as to how Thales derived everything directly out of water,
“Perhaps (_ἴσως_) the conclusions of Thales have been brought about
from the reflection that it was evident that all nourishment is moist,
and warmth itself comes out of moisture and thereby life continues.
But that from which anything generates is the principle of all things.
This was one reason for holding this theory, and another reason is
contained in the fact that all germs are moist in character, and water
is the principle of what is moist.” It is necessary to remark that
the circumstances introduced by Aristotle with a “perhaps” which are
supposed to have brought about the conclusions of Thales, making water
the absolute essence of everything, are not adduced as the grounds
acknowledged by Thales. And furthermore, they can hardly be called
grounds, for what Aristotle does is rather to establish, as we would
say from actuality, that the latter corresponds to the universal
idea of water. His successors, as for instance Pseudo-Plutarch (De
plac. phil. I. 3), have taken Thales’ assertion as positive and not
hypothetical; Tiedmann (_Geist der spec. Phil._ vol. I. p. 36) remarks
with great reason that Plutarch omits the “perhaps.” For Plutarch
says, “Thales suggests (_στοχάζεται_) that everything takes its origin
from water and resolves itself into the same, because as the germs of
all that live have moisture as the principle of life, all else might
likewise (_εἰκός_) take its principle from moisture; for all plants
draw their nourishment, and thus bear fruit, from water, and if they
are without it, fade away; and even the fires of sun, and stars and
world are fed through the evaporation of water.” Aristotle is contented
with simply showing in regard to moisture that, at least, it is
everywhere to be found. Since Plutarch gives more definite grounds for
holding that water is the simple essence of things, we must see whether
things, in so far as they are simple essence, are water, (_α_) The germ
of the animal, of moist nature, is undoubtedly the animal as the simple
actual, or as the essence of its actuality, or undeveloped actuality.
(_β_) If, with plants, water may be regarded as for their nourishment,
nourishment is still only the being of a thing as formless substance
that first becomes individualized by individuality, and thus succeeds
in obtaining form. (_γ_) To make sun, moon and the whole world arise
through evaporation, like the food of plants, certainly approximates to
the idea of the ancients, who did not allow the sun and moon to have
obtained independence as we do.

“There are also some,” continues Aristotle, “who hold that all the
ancients who, at the first and long before the present generation,
made theology their study, understood Nature thus. They made Oceanus
and Tethys the producers of all origination (_τῆς γενέσεως_), and
water, which by the poets is called Styx, the oath of the gods. For
what is most ancient is most revered, and the oath is that most held in
reverence.” This old tradition has within it speculative significance.
If anything cannot be proved or is devoid of objective form, such as
we have in respect of payment in a discharge, or in witnesses who have
seen the transaction, the oath, the confirmation of myself as object,
expresses the fact that my assurance is absolute truth. Now since, by
way of confirmation, men swear by what is best, by what is absolutely
certain, and the gods swore by the subterranean water, it follows that
the essence of pure thought, the inmost being, the reality in which
consciousness finds its truth, is water; I, so to speak, express this
clear certainty of myself as object, as God.

1. The closer consideration of this principle in its bearings would
have no interest. For since the whole philosophy of Thales lies in
the fact that water is this principle, the only point of interest can
be to ask how far that principle is important and speculative. Thales
comprehends essence as devoid of form. While the sensuous certitude
of each thing in its individuality is not questioned, this objective
actuality is now to be raised into the Notion that reflects itself
into itself and is itself to be set forth as Notion; in commencement
this is seen in the world’s being manifested as water, or as a simple
universal. Fluid is, in its Notion, life, and hence it is water itself,
spiritually expressed; in the so-called grounds or reasons, on the
contrary, water has the form of existent universal. We certainly
grant this universal activity of water, and for that reason call it
an element, a physical universal power; but while we find it thus to
be the universal of activity, we also find it to be this actual, not
everywhere, but in proximity to other elements—earth, air and fire.
Water thus has not got a sensuous universality, but a speculative one
merely; to be speculative universality, however, would necessitate its
being Notion and having what is sensuous removed. Here we have the
strife between sensuous universality and universality of the Notion.
The real essence of nature has to be defined, that is, nature has to
be expressed as the simple essence of thought. Now simple essence, the
Notion of the universal, is that which is devoid of form, but this
water as it is, comes into the determination of form, and is thus, in
relation to others, a particular existence just like everything that
is natural. Yet as regards the other elements, water is determined as
formless and simple, while the earth is that which has points, air is
the element of all change, and fire evidently changes into itself.
Now if the need of unity impels us to recognize for separate things a
universal, water, although it has the drawback of being a particular
thing, can easily be utilized as the One, both on account of its
neutrality, and because it is more material than air.

The proposition of Thales, that water is the Absolute, or as the
ancients say, the principle, is the beginning of Philosophy, because
with it the consciousness is arrived at that essence, truth, that which
is alone in and for itself, are one. A departure from what is in our
sensuous perception here takes place; man recedes from this immediate
existence. We must be able to forget that we are accustomed to a rich
concrete world of thought; with us the very child learns, “There is
one God in Heaven, invisible.” Such determinations are not yet present
here; the world of Thought must first be formed and there is as yet no
pure unity. Man has nature before him as water, air, stars, the arch
of the heavens; and the horizon of his ideas is limited to this. The
imagination has, indeed, its gods, but its content still is natural;
the Greeks had considered sun, mountains, earth, sea, rivers, &c.,
as independent powers, revered them as gods, and elevated them by
the imagination to activity, movement, consciousness and will. What
there is besides, like the conceptions of Homer, for instance, is
something in which thought could not find satisfaction; it produces
mere images of the imagination, endlessly endowed with animation and
form, but destitute of simple unity. It must undoubtedly be said that
in this unconsciousness of an intellectual world, one must acknowledge
that there is a great robustness of mind evinced in not granting this
plenitude of existence to the natural world, but in reducing it to
a simple substance, which, as the ever enduring principle, neither
originates nor disappears, while the gods have a Theogony and are
manifold and changing. This wild, endlessly varied imagination of
Homer is set at rest by the proposition that existence is water; this
conflict of an endless quantity of principles, all these ideas that
a particular object is an independent truth, a self-sufficient power
over others existing in its own right, are taken away, and it is shown
likewise that there is only one universal, the universal self-existent,
the simple unimaginative perception, the thought that is one and one

This universal stands in direct relationship to the particular
and to the existence of the world as manifested. The first thing
implied in what has been said, is that the particular existence
has no independence, is not true in and for itself, but is only an
accidental modification. But the affirmative point of view is that all
other things proceed from the one, that the one remains thereby the
substance from which all other things proceed, and it is only through
a determination which is accidental and external that the particular
existence has its being. It is similarly the case that all particular
existence is transient, that is, it loses the form of particular and
again becomes the universal, water. The simple proposition of Thales
therefore, is Philosophy, because in it water, though sensuous, is not
looked at in its particularity as opposed to other natural things, but
as Thought in which everything is resolved and comprehended. Thus we
approach the divorce of the absolute from the finite; but it is not
to be thought that the unity stands above, and that down here we have
the finite world. This idea is often found in the common conception
of God—where permanence is attributed to the world and where men
often represent two kinds of actuality to themselves, a sensuous and a
supersensuous world of equal standing. The philosophic point of view is
that the one is alone the truly actual, and here we must take actual in
its higher significance, because we call everything actual in common
life. The second circumstance to be remembered is that with the ancient
philosophers, the principle has a definite and, at first, a physical
form. To us this does not appear to be philosophic but only physical;
in this case, however, matter has philosophic significance. Thales’
theory is thus a natural philosophy, because this universal essence
is determined as real; consequently the Absolute is determined as the
unity of thought and Being.

2. Now if we have this undifferentiated principle predominating, the
question arises as to the determination of this first principle. The
transition from universal to particular at once becomes essential, and
it begins with the determination of activity; the necessity for such
arises here. That which is to be a veritable principle must not have
a one-sided, particular form, but in it the difference must itself
be absolute, while other principles are only special kinds of forms.
The fact that the Absolute is what determines itself is already more
concrete; we have the activity and the higher self-consciousness of the
spiritual principle, by which the form has worked itself into being
absolute form, the totality of form. Since it is most profound, this
comes latest; what has first to be done is merely to look at things as

Form is lacking to water as conceived by Thales. How is this accorded
to it? The method is stated (and stated by Aristotle, but not directly
of Thales), in which particular forms have arisen out of water; it
is said to be through a process of condensation and rarefaction
(_πυκνότητι καὶ μανότητι_), or, as it may be better put, through
greater or less intensity. Tennemann (vol. I. p. 59) in reference to
this, cites from Aristotle, _De gen. et corrupt._ I. 1, where there
is no mention of condensation and rarefaction as regards Thales, and
further, _De cælo_, III. 5, where it is only said that those who uphold
water or air, or something finer than water or coarser than air, define
difference as density and rarity, but nothing is said of its being
Thales who gave expression to this distinction. Tiedmann (vol. I. p.
38) quotes yet other authorities; it was, however, later on, that this
distinction was first ascribed to Thales.[22] Thus much is made out,
that for the first time in this natural philosophy as in the modern,
that which is essential in form is really the quantitative difference
in its existence. This merely quantitative difference, however, which,
as the increasing and decreasing density of water, constitutes its
only form-determination, is an external expression of the absolute
difference; it is an unessential distinction set up through another and
is not the inner difference of the Notion in itself; it is therefore
not worth while to spend more time over it.

Difference as regards the Notion has no physical significance,
but differences or the simple duality of form in the sides of its
opposition, must be comprehended as universally in the Notion. On this
account a sensuous interpretation must not be given to the material,
that is to particular determinations, as when it is definitely said
that rare water is air, rare air, fiery ether, thick water, mud, which
then becomes earth; according to this, air would be the rarefaction of
the first water, ether the rarefaction of air, and earth and mud the
sediment of water. As sensuous difference or change, the division here
appears as something manifested for consciousness; the moderns have
experimented in making thicker and thinner what to the senses is the

Change has consequently a double sense; one with reference to existence
and another with reference to the Notion. When change is considered
by the ancients, it is usually supposed to have to do with a change
in what exists, and thus, for instance, inquiry would be made as to
whether water can be changed through chemical action, such as heat,
distillation, &c., into earth; finite chemistry is confined to this.
But what is meant in all ancient philosophies is change as regards
the Notion. That is to say, water does not become converted into air
or space and time in retorts, &c. But in every philosophic idea, this
transition of one quality into another takes place, _i.e._ this inward
connection is shown in the Notion, according to which no one thing can
subsist independently and without the other, for the life of nature
has its subsistence in the fact that one thing is necessarily related
to the other. We certainly are accustomed to believe that if water
were taken away, it would indeed fare badly with plants and animals,
but that stones would still remain; or that of colours, blue could
be abstracted without harming in the least yellow or red. As regards
merely empirical existence, it may easily be shown that each quality
exists on its own account, but in the Notion they only are, through one
another, and by virtue of an inward necessity. We certainly see this
also in living matter, where things happen in another way, for here
the Notion comes into existence; thus if, for example, we abstract the
heart, the lungs and all else collapse. And in the same way all nature
exists only in the unity of all its parts, just as the brain can exist
only in unity with the other organs.

3. If the form is, however, only expressed in both its sides as
condensation and rarefaction, it is not in and for itself, for to be
this it must be grasped as the _absolute Notion_, and as an endlessly
forming unity. What is said on this point by Aristotle (De Anima, I.
2, also 5) is this: “Thales seems, according to what is said of him,
to consider the soul as something having movement, for he says of
the loadstone that it has a soul, since it moves the iron.” Diogenes
Laertius (I. 24) adds amber to this, from which we see that even Thales
knew about electricity, although another explanation of it is that
_ἤλεκτρον_ was besides a metal. Aldobrandini says of this passage in
Diogenes, that it is a stone which is so hostile to poison that when
touched by such it immediately hisses. The above remark by Aristotle
is perverted by Diogenes to such an extent that he says: “Thales has
likewise ascribed a soul to what is lifeless.” However, this is not the
question, for the point is how he thought of absolute form, and whether
he expressed the Idea generally as soul so that absolute essence should
be the unity of simple essence and form.

Diogenes certainly says further of Thales (I. 27), “The world is
animated and full of demons,” and Plutarch (De plac. phil. I. 7)
says, “He called God the Intelligence (_νοῦς_) of the world.” But all
the ancients, and particularly Aristotle, ascribe this expression
unanimously to Anaxagoras as the one who first said that the _νοῦς_
is the principle of things. Thus it does not conduce to the further
determination of form according to Thales, to find in Cicero (De Nat.
Deor. I. 10) this passage: “Thales says that water is the beginning
of everything, but God is the Mind which forms all that is, out of
water.” Thales may certainly have spoken of God, but Cicero has
added the statement that he comprehended him as the _νοῦς_ which
formed everything out of water. Tiedmann (vol. I. p. 42) declares the
passage to be possibly corrupt, since Cicero later on (c. 11) says
of Anaxagoras that “he first maintained the order of things to have
been brought about through the infinite power of Mind.” However, the
Epicurean, in whose mouth these words are put, speaks “with confidence
only fearing that he should appear to have any doubts” (c. 8) both
previously and subsequently of other philosophers rather foolishly, so
that this description is given merely as a jest. Aristotle understands
historic accuracy better, and therefore we must follow him. But to
those who make it their business to find everywhere the conception of
the creation of the world by God, that passage in Cicero is a great
source of delight, and it is a much disputed point whether Thales is
to be counted amongst those who accepted the existence of a God. The
Theism of Thales is maintained by Plouquet, whilst others would have
him to be an atheist or polytheist, because he says that everything is
full of demons. However, this question as to whether Thales believed
in God does not concern us here, for acceptation, faith, popular
religion are not in question; we only have to do with the philosophic
determination of absolute existence. And if Thales did speak of God as
constituting everything out of this same water, that would not give us
any further information about this existence; we should have spoken
unphilosophically of Thales because we should have used an empty word
without inquiring about its speculative significance. Similarly the
word world-soul is useless, because its being is not thereby expressed.

Thus all these further, as also later, assertions do not justify us in
maintaining that Thales comprehended form in the absolute in a definite
manner; on the contrary, the rest of the history of philosophical
development refutes this view. We see that form certainly seems to
be shown forth in existence, but as yet this unity is no further
developed. The idea that the magnet has a soul is indeed always better
than saying that it has the power of attraction; for power is a quality
which is considered as a predicate separable from matter, while soul
is movement in unison with matter in its essence. An idea such as
this of Thales stands isolated, however, and has no further relation
to his absolute thought. Thus, in fact, the philosophy of Thales is
comprised in the following simple elements: (_a_) It has constituted
an abstraction in order to comprehend nature in a simple sensuous
essence. (_b_) It has brought forth the Notion of ground or principle;
that is, it has defined water to be the infinite Notion, the simple
essence of thought, without determining it further as the difference of
quantity. That is the limited significance of this principle of Thales.

2. _Anaximander._

Anaximander was also of Miletus, and he was a friend of Thales. “The
latter,” says Cicero (Acad. Quaest. IV. 37), “could not convince him
that everything consisted of water.” Anaximander’s father was called
Praxiades; the date of his birth is not quite certain; according to
Tennemann (vol. I. p. 413), it is put in Olympiad 42, 3 (610 B.C.),
while Diogenes Laertius (II. I, 2) says, taking his information
from Apollodorus, an Athenian, that in Ol. 58, 2 (547 B.C.), he was
sixty-four years old, and that he died soon after, that is to say about
the date of Thales’ death. And taking for granted that he died in his
ninetieth year, Thales must have been nearly twenty-eight years older
than Anaximander. It is related of Anaximander that he lived in Samos
with the tyrant Polycrates, where were Pythagoras and Anacreon also.
Themistius, according to Brucker (Pt. I. p. 478), says of him that
he first put his philosophic thoughts into writing, but this is also
recorded of others, as for example, of Pherecydes, who was older than
he. Anaximander is said to have written about nature, the fixed stars,
the sphere, besides other matters; he further produced something like a
map, showing the boundary (_πρίμετρον_) of land and sea; he also made
other mathematical inventions, such as a sun-dial that he put up in
Lacedæmon, and instruments by which the course of the sun was shown,
and the equinox determined; a chart of the heavens was likewise made by

His philosophical reflections are not comprehensive, and do not extend
as far as to determination. Diogenes says in the passage quoted
before: “He adduced the Infinite” (_τὸ ἄπειρον_, the undetermined),
“as principle and element; he neither determined it as air or water or
any such thing.” There are, however, few attributes of this Infinite
given. (_α_.) “It is the principle of all becoming and passing away;
at long intervals infinite worlds or gods rise out of it, and again
they pass away into the same.” This has quite an oriental tone. “He
gives as a reason that the principle is to be determined as the
Infinite, the fact that it does not need material for continuous
origination. It contains everything in itself and rules over all: it
is divine, immortal, and never passes away.”[23] (_β_.) Out of the
one, Anaximander separates the opposites which are contained in it,
as do Empedocles and Anaxagoras; thus everything in this medley is
certainly there, but undetermined.[24] That is, everything is really
contained therein in possibility (_δυνάμει_), “so that,” says Aristotle
(Metaphys. XI. 2), “it is not only that everything arises accidentally
out of what is not, but everything also arises from what is, although
it is from incipient being which is not yet in actuality.” Diogenes
Laertius adds (II. 1): “The parts of the Infinite change, but it itself
is unchangeable.” (_γ_.) Lastly, it is said that the infinitude is in
size and not in number, and Anaximander differs thus from Anaxagoras,
Empedocles and the other atomists, who maintain the absolute discretion
of the infinite, while Anaximander upholds its absolute continuity.[25]
Aristotle (Metaphys. I. 8) speaks also of a principle which is neither
water nor air, but is “thicker than air and thinner than water.” Many
have connected this idea with Anaximander, and it is possible that it
belongs to him.

The advance made by the determination of the principle as infinite in
comprehensiveness rests in the fact that absolute essence no longer is
a simple universal, but one which negates the finite. At the same time,
viewed from the material side, Anaximander removes the individuality
of the element of water; his objective principle does not appear to
be material, and it may be understood as Thought. But it is clear
that he did not mean anything else than matter generally, universal
matter.[26] Plutarch reproaches Anaximander “for not saying what (_τι_)
his infinite is, whether air, water or earth.” But a definite quality
such as one of these is transient; matter determined as infinitude
means the motion of positing definite forms, and again abolishing the
separation. True and infinite Being is to be shown in this and not in
negative absence of limit. This universality and negation of the finite
is, however, our operation only: in describing matter as infinite,
Anaximander does not seem to have said that this is its infinitude.

He has said further (and in this, according to Theophrastus, he agrees
with Anaxagoras), “In the infinite the like separates itself from the
unlike and allies itself to the like; thus what in the whole was gold
becomes gold, what was earth, earth, &c., so that properly nothing
originates, seeing that it was already there.”[27] These, however, are
poor determinations, which only show the necessity of the transition
from the undetermined to the determined; for this still takes place
here in an unsatisfying way. As to the further question of how the
infinite determines the opposite in its separation, it seems that the
theory of the quantitative distinction of condensation and rarefaction
was held by Anaximander as well as by Thales. Those who come later
designate the process of separation from the Infinite as development.
Anaximander supposes man to develop from a fish, which abandoned water
for the land.[28] Development comes also into prominence in recent
times, but as a mere succession in time—a formula in the use of which
men often imagine that they are saying something brilliant; but there
is no real necessity, no thought, and above all, no Notion contained in

But in later records the idea of warmth, as being the disintegration of
form, and that of cold, is ascribed to Anaximander by Stobæus (Eclog.
Phys. c. 24, p. 500); this Aristotle (Metaphys. I. 5) first ascribed
to Parmenides. Eusebius (De præp. Evang. I. 8), out of a lost work of
Plutarch, gives us something from Anaximander’s Cosmogony which is
dark, and which, indeed, Eusebius himself did not rightly understand.
Its sense is approximately this: “Out of the Infinite, infinite
heavenly spheres and infinite worlds have been set apart; but they
carry within them their own destruction, because they only are through
constant dividing off.” That is, since the Infinite is the principle,
separation is the positing of a difference, i.e. of a determination or
something finite. “The earth has the form of a cylinder, the height
of which is the third part of the breadth. Both of the eternally
productive principles of warmth and cold separate themselves in the
creation of this earth, and a fiery sphere is formed round the air
encircling the earth, like the bark around a tree. As this broke up,
and the pieces were compressed into circles, sun, moon, and stars
were formed.” Hence Anaximander, according to Stobæus (Ecl. Phys. 25,
p. 510), likewise called the stars “wheel-shaped with fire-filled
wrappings of air.” This Cosmogony is as good as the geological
hypothesis of the earth-crust which burst open, or as Buffon’s
explosion of the sun, which beginning, on the other hand, with the sun,
makes the planets to be stones projected from it. While the ancients
confined the stars to our atmosphere, and made the sun first proceed
from the earth, we make the sun to be the substance and birthplace of
the earth, and separate the stars entirely from any further connection
with us, because for us, like the gods worshipped by the Epicureans,
they are at rest. In the process of origination, the sun, indeed,
descends as the universal, but in nature it is that which comes later;
thus in truth the earth is the totality, and the sun but an abstract

3. _Anaximenes._

Anaximenes still remains as having made his appearance between the
55th and 58th Olympiads (560-548 B.C.). He was likewise of Miletus, a
contemporary and friend of Anaximander; he has little to distinguish
him, and very little is known about him. Diogenes Laertius says neither
with consideration nor consistency (II. 3): “He was born, according
to Apollodorus in the 63rd Olympiad, and died in the year Sardis was
conquered” (by Cyrus, Olympiad 58th).

In place of the undetermined matter of Anaximander, he brings forward
a definite natural element; hence the absolute is in a real form,
but instead of the water of Thales, that form is air. He found that
for matter a sensuous being was indeed essential, and air has the
additional advantage of being more devoid of form; it is less corporeal
than water, for we do not see it, but feel it first in movement.
Plutarch (De plac. phil. I. 3) says: “Out of it everything comes forth,
and into it everything is again resolved.” According to Cicero (De Nat.
Deor. I. 10), “he defined it as immeasurable, infinite, and in constant
motion.” Diogenes Laertius expresses this in the passage already
quoted: “The principle is air and the infinite” (_οὖτος ἀρχὴν ἀέρα εἶπε
καὶ τὸ ἄπειρον_) as if there were two principles; however, _ἀρχὴν καὶ
ἄπειρον_ may be taken together as subject, and _ἀέρα_ regarded as the
predicate in the statement. For Simplicius, in dealing with the Physics
of Aristotle, expressly says (p. 6, a) “that the first principle was to
him one and infinite in nature as it was to Anaximander, but it was not
indefinite as with the latter, but determined, that is, it was air,”
which, however, he seems to have understood as endowed with soul.

Plutarch characterizes Anaximenes’ mode of representation which makes
everything proceed from air—later on it was called ether—and resolve
itself therein, better thus: “As our soul, which is air, holds us
together (_συγρατεῖ_), one spirit (_πνεῦμα_) and air together likewise
hold (_περιέχει_) the whole world together; spirit and air are
synonymous.” Anaximenes shows very clearly the nature of his essence
in the soul, and he thus points out what may be called the transition
of natural philosophy into the philosophy of consciousness, or the
surrender of the objective form of principle. The nature of this
principle has hitherto been determined in a manner which is foreign
and negative to consciousness; both its reality, water or air, and the
infinite are a “beyond” to consciousness. But soul is the universal
medium; it is a collection of conceptions which pass away and come
forth, while the unity and continuity never cease. It is active as
well as passive, from its unity severing asunder the conceptions and
sublating them, and it is present to itself in its infinitude, so that
negative signification and positive come into unison. Speaking more
precisely, this idea of the nature of the origin of things is that of
Anaxagoras, the pupil of Anaximenes.

Pherecydes has also to be mentioned as the teacher of Pythagoras; he
is of Syros, one of the Cyclades islands. He is said to have drawn
water from a spring, and to have learned therefrom that an earthquake
would take place in three days; he is also said to have predicted of
a ship in full sail that it would go down, and it sank in a moment.
Theopompus in Diogenes Laertius (I. 116), relates of this Pherecydes
that “he first wrote to the Greeks about Nature and the gods” (which
was before said of Anaximander). His writings are said to have been in
prose, and from what is related of them it is clear that it must have
been a theogony of which he wrote. The first words, still preserved
to us, are: “Jupiter and Time and what is terrestrial (_χθών_) were
from eternity (_εἰς ἀεί_); the name of earthly (_χθονίῃ_) was given
to the terrestrial sphere when Zeus granted to it gifts.”[29] How it
goes on is not known, but this cannot be deemed a great loss. Hermias
tells us only this besides:[30] “He maintained Zeus or Fire (_αἰθέρα_),
Earth and Chronos or Time as principles—fire as active, earth as
passive, and time as that in which everything originates.” Diogenes of
Apollonia, Hippasus, and Archelaus are also called Ionic philosophers,
but we know nothing more of them than their names, and that they gave
their adherence to one principle or the other.

We shall leave these now and go on to Pythagoras, who was a
contemporary of Anaximander; but the continuity of the development of
the principle of physical philosophy necessitated our taking Anaximenes
with him. We see that, as Aristotle said, they placed the first
principle in a form of matter—in air and water first, and then, if
we may so define Anaximander’s matter, in an essence finer than water
and coarser than air. Heraclitus, of whom we have soon to speak, first
called it fire. “But no one,” as Aristotle (Metaph. I. 8) remarks,
“called earth the principle, because it appears to be the most complex
element” (_διὰ τὴν μεγαλομέρειαν_); for it seems to be an aggregate of
many units. Water, on the contrary, is the one, and it is transparent;
it manifests in sensuous guise the form of unity with itself, and this
is also so with air, fire, matter, &c. The principle has to be one,
and hence must have inherent unity with itself; if it shows a manifold
nature as does the earth, it is not one with itself, but manifold. This
is what we have to say about the early Ionic Philosophy. The importance
of these poor abstract thoughts lies (_a_) in the comprehension of a
universal substance in everything, and (_b_) in the fact that it is
formless, and not encumbered by sensuous ideas.

No one recognized better the deficiencies in this philosophy than
did Aristotle in the work already quoted. Two points appear in his
criticism of these three modes of determining the absolute: “Those who
maintain the original principle to be matter fall short in many ways.
In the first place, they merely give the corporeal element and not the
incorporeal, for there also is such.” In treating of nature in order
to show its essence, it is necessary to deal with it in its entirety,
and everything found in it must be considered. That is certainly but an
empirical instance. Aristotle maintains the incorporeal to be a form of
things opposed to the material, and indicates that the absolute must
not be determined in a one-sided manner; because the principle of these
philosophers is material only, they do not manifest the incorporeal
side, nor is the object shown to be Notion. Matter is indeed itself
immaterial as this reflection into consciousness; but such philosophers
do not know that what they express is an existence of consciousness.
Thus the first great defect here rests in the fact that the universal
is expressed in a particular form.

Secondly, Aristotle says (Metaph. I. 3): “From this it may be seen
that first cause has only been by all these expressed in the form of
matter. But because they proceeded thus, the thing itself opened out
their way for them, and forced them into further investigation. For
whether origin and decay are derived from one or more, the question
alike arises, ‘How does it happen and what is the cause of it?’ For
the fundamental substance (_τὸ ὑποκείμενον_) does not make itself to
change, just as neither wood nor metal are themselves the cause of
change; wood neither forms a bed nor does brass a statue, but something
else is the cause of the change. To investigate this, however, is
to investigate the other principle, which, as we would say, is the
Principle of Motion.” This criticism holds good even now, where the
Absolute is represented as the one fixed substance. Aristotle says
that change is not conceivable out of matter as such, or out of water
not itself having motion; he reproaches the older philosophers for
the fact that they have not investigated the principle of motion for
which men care most. Further, object is altogether absent; there is no
determination of activity. Hence Aristotle says in the former passage:
“In that they undertake to give the cause of origin and decay, they in
fact remove the cause of movement. Because they make the principle to
be a simple body (earth being excepted), they do not comprehend the
mutual origination and decay whereby the one arises out of the other:
I am here referring to water, air, fire, and earth. This origination
is to be shown as separation or as union, and hence the contradiction
comes about that one in time comes earlier than the other. That is,
because this kind of origination is the method which they have adopted,
the way taken is from the simple universal, through the particular, to
the individual as what comes latest. Water, air, and fire are, however,
universal. Fire seems to be most suitable for this element, seeing that
it is the most subtle. Thus those who made it to be the principle, most
adequately gave expression to this method (_λόγῳ_) of origination; and
others thought very similarly. For else why should no one have made the
earth an element, in conformity with the popular idea? Hesiod says that
it was the original body—so ancient and so common was this idea. But
what in Becoming comes later, is the first in nature.” However, these
philosophers did not understand this so, because they were ruled by the
process of Becoming only, without again sublating it, or knowing that
first formal universal as such, and manifesting the third, the totality
or unity of matter and form, as essence. Here, we see, the Absolute is
not yet the self-determining, the Notion turned back into itself, but
only a dead abstraction; the moderns were the first, says Aristotle,
(Metaph. I. 6; III. 3) to understand the fundamental principle more in
the form of genus.

We are able to follow the three moments in the Ionic philosophy:
(_α_) The original essence is water; (_β_) Anaximander’s infinite is
descriptive of movement, simple going out of and coming back into the
simple, universal aspects of form—condensation and rarefaction; (_γ_)
the air is compared to the soul. It is now requisite that what is
viewed as reality should be brought into the Notion; in so doing we see
that the moments of division, condensation, and rarefaction are not in
any way antagonistic to the Notion. This transition to Pythagoras, or
the manifestation of the real side as the ideal, is Thought breaking
free from what is sensuous, and, therefore, it is a separation between
the intelligible and the real.


The later Neo-Pythagoreans have written many extensive biographies
of Pythagoras, and are especially diffuse as regards the Pythagorean
brotherhood. But it must be taken into consideration that these often
distorted statements must not be regarded as historical. The life of
Pythagoras thus first comes to us in history through the medium of the
ideas belonging to the first centuries after Christ, and more or less
in the style in which the life of Christ is written, on the ground of
ordinary actuality, and not in a poetic atmosphere; it appears to be
the intermingling of many marvellous and extravagant tales, and to
take its origin in part from eastern ideas and in part from western.
In acknowledging the remarkable nature of his life and genius and of
the life which he inculcated on his followers, it was added that his
dealings were not with right things, and that he was a magician and
one who had intercourse with higher beings. All the ideas of magic,
that medley of unnatural and natural, the mysteries which pervade
a clouded, miserable imagination, and the wild ideas of distorted
brains, have attached themselves to him.

However corrupt the history of his life, his philosophy is as much so.
Everything engendered by Christian melancholy and love of allegory
has been identified with it. The treatment of Plato in Christian
times has quite a different character. Numbers have been much used
as the expression of ideas, and this on the one hand has a semblance
of profundity. For the fact that another significance than that
immediately presented is implied in them, is evident at once; but how
much there is within them is neither known by him who speaks nor by
him, who seeks to understand; it is like the witches’ rhyme (one time
one) in Goethe’s “Faust.” The less clear the thoughts, the deeper they
appear; what is most essential, but most difficult, the expression
of oneself in definite conceptions, is omitted. Thus Pythagoras’
philosophy, since much has been added to it by those who wrote of it,
may similarly appear as the mysterious product of minds as shallow
and empty as they are dark. Fortunately, however, we have a special
knowledge of the theoretic, speculative side of it, and that, indeed,
from Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus, who have taken considerable
trouble with it. Although later Pythagoreans disparage Aristotle on
account of his exposition, he has a place above any such disparagement,
and therefore to them no attention must be given.

In later times a quantity of writings were disseminated and foisted
upon Pythagoras. Diogenes Laertius (VIII. 6, 7) mentions many which
were by him, and others which were set down to him in order to obtain
authority for them. But in the first place we have no writings by
Pythagoras, and secondly it is doubtful whether any ever did exist.
We have quotations from these in unsatisfactory fragments, not from
Pythagoras, but from Pythagoreans. It cannot be decisively determined
which developments and interpretations belonged to the ancients and
which to the moderns; yet with Pythagoras and the ancient Pythagoreans
the determinations were not worked out in so concrete a way as later.

As to the life of Pythagoras, we hear from Diogenes Laertius (VIII.
1-3, 45) that he flourished about the 60th Olympiad (540 B.C.). His
birth is usually placed in the 49th or 50th Olympiad (584 B.C.); by
Larcher in Tennemann (Vol. I., pp. 413, 414), much earlier—in the
43rd Olympiad (43, 1, i.e. 608 B.C.). He was thus contemporaneous with
Thales and Anaximander. If Thales’ birth were in the 38th Olympiad
and that of Pythagoras in the 43rd, Pythagoras was only twenty-one
years younger than he; he either only differed by a couple of years
from Anaximander (Ol. 42, 3) in age, or the latter was twenty-six
years older. Anaximenes was from twenty to twenty-five years younger
than Pythagoras. His birthplace was the Island of Samos, and hence he
belonged to the Greeks of Asia Minor, which place we have hitherto
found to be the seat of philosophy. Pythagoras is said by Herodotus
(IV., 93 to 96) to have been the son of Mnesarchus, with whom Zalmoxis
served as slave in Samos; Zalmoxis obtained freedom and riches, became
ruler of the Getæ, and asserted that he and his people would not die.
He built a subterranean habitation and there withdrew himself from
his subjects; after four years he re-appeared;[31] hence the Getans
believed in immortality. Herodotus thinks, however, that Zalmoxis was
undoubtedly much older than Pythagoras.

His youth was spent at the court of Polycrates, under whose rule Samos
was brought, not only to wealth, but also to the possession of culture
and art. In this prosperous period, according to Herodotus (III., 39),
it possessed a fleet of a hundred ships. His father was an artist or
engraver, but reports vary as to this, as also as to his country, some
saying that his family was of Tyrrhenian origin and did not go to Samos
till after Pythagoras’ birth. That may be as it will, for his youth
was spent in Samos and he must hence have been naturalized there, and
to it he belongs. He soon journeyed to the main land of Asia Minor
and is said there to have become acquainted with Thales. From thence
he travelled to Phœnicia and Egypt, as Iamblichus (III., 13, 14) says
in his biography of Pythagoras. With both countries Asia Minor had
many links, commercial and political, and it is related that he was
recommended by Polycrates to King Amasis, who, according to Herodotus
(II. 154), attracted many Greeks to the country, and had Greek troops
and colonies. The narratives of further journeys into the interior
of Asia, to the Persian magicians and Indians, seem to be altogether
fabulous, although travelling, then as now, was considered to be a
means of culture. As Pythagoras travelled with a scientific purpose, it
is said that he had himself initiated into nearly all the mysteries of
Greeks and of Barbarians, and thus he obtained admission into the order
or caste of the Egyptian priesthood.

These mysteries that we meet with amongst the Greeks, and which are
held to be the sources of much wisdom, appear in their religion to have
stood in the relationship of doctrine to worship. This last existed in
offerings and solemn festivals only, but to ordinary conceptions, to
a consciousness of these conceptions, there is no transition visible
unless they were preserved in poems as traditions. The doctrines
themselves, or the act of bringing the actual home to the conception,
seems to have been confined to the mysteries; we find it to be the
case, however, that it is not only the ideas as in our teaching, but
also the body that is laid claim to—that there was brought home to man
by sending him to wander amongst his fellow-men, both the abandonment
of his sensuous consciousness and the purification and sanctification
of the body. Of philosophic matter, however, there is as little openly
declared as possible, and just as we know the system of freemasonry,
there is no secret in those mysteries.

His alliance with the Egyptian priesthood had a most important
influence upon Pythagoras, not through the derivation of profound
speculative wisdom therefrom, but by the idea obtained through it of
the realization of the moral consciousness of man; the individual, he
learned, must attend to himself, if inwardly and to the outer world
he is to be meritorious and to bring himself, morally formed and
fashioned, into actuality. This is a conception which he subsequently
carried out, and it is as interesting a matter as his speculative
philosophy. Just as the priests constituted a particular rank and
were educated for it, they also had a special rule, which was binding
throughout the whole moral life. From Egypt Pythagoras thus without
doubt brought the idea of his Order, which was a regular community
brought together for purposes of scientific and moral culture, which
endured during the whole of life. Egypt at that time was regarded as
a highly cultured country, and it was so when compared with Greece;
this is shown even in the differences of caste which assumes a division
amongst the great branches of life and work, such as the industrial,
scientific and religious. But beyond this, we need not seek great
scientific knowledge amongst the Egyptians, nor think that Pythagoras
got his science there. Aristotle (Metaph. I.) only says that “in Egypt
mathematical sciences first commenced, for there the nation of priests
had leisure.”[32]

Pythagoras stayed a long time in Egypt, and returned from thence
to Samos; but he found the internal affairs of his own country in
confusion, and left it soon after. According to Herodotus’ account
(III. 45-47), Polycrates had—not as tyrant—banished many citizens
from Samos, who sought and found support amongst the Lacedæmonians, and
a civil war had broken out. The Spartans had, at an earlier period,
given assistance to the others, for, as Thucydides says (I. 18), to
them thanks were generally ascribed for having abolished the rule of
the few, and caused a reversion to the system of giving public power to
the people; later on they did the opposite, abolishing democracy and
introducing aristocracy. Pythagoras’ family was necessarily involved in
these unpleasant relations, and a condition of internal strife was not
congenial to Pythagoras, seeing that he no longer took an interest in
political life, and that he saw in it an unsuitable soil for carrying
out his plans. He traversed Greece, and betook himself from thence to
Italy, in the lower parts of which Greek colonies from various states
and for various motives had settled, and there flourished as important
trading towns, rich in people and possessions.

In Crotona he settled down, and lived in independence, neither as
a statesman, warrior, nor political law-giver to the people, so
far as external life was concerned, but as a public teacher, with
the provision that his teaching should not be taken up with mere
conviction, but should also regulate the whole moral life of the
individual. Diogenes Laertius says that he first gave himself the name
_φιλόσοφος_, instead of _σοφός_; and men called this modesty, as if he
thereby expressed, not the possession of wisdom, but only the struggle
towards it, as towards an end which cannot be attained.[33] But _σοφός_
at the same time means a wise man, who is also practical, and that
not in his own interest only, for that requires no wisdom, seeing
that every sincere and moral man does what is best from his own point
of view. Thus _φιλόσοφος_ signifies more particularly the opposite
to participation in practical matters, that is in public affairs.
Philosophy is thus not the love of wisdom, as of something which one
sets oneself to acquire; it is no unfulfilled desire. _Φιλόσοφος_
means a man whose relation to wisdom is that of making it his object;
this relationship is contemplation, and not mere Being; but it must
be consciously that men apply themselves to this. The man who likes
wine (_φίλοινος_) is certainly to be distinguished from the man who is
full of wine, or a drunkard. Then does _φίλοινος_ signify only a futile
aspiration for wine?

What Pythagoras contrived and effected in Italy is told us by later
eulogists, rather than by historians. In the history of Pythagoras by
Malchus (this was the Syrian name of Porphyry) many strange things
are related, and with the Neo-Platonists the contrast between their
deep insight and their belief in the miraculous is surprising. For
instance, seeing that the later biographers of Pythagoras had already
related a quantity of marvels, they now proceeded to add yet more to
these with reference to his appearance in Italy. It appears that they
were exerting themselves to place him, as they afterwards did with
Apollonius of Tyana, in opposition to Christ. For the wonders which
they tell of him seem partly to be an amplification of those in the
New Testament, and in part they are altogether absurd. For instance,
they make Pythagoras begin his career in Italy with a miracle. When he
landed in the Bay of Tarentum, at Crotona, he encountered fishermen on
the way to the town who had caught nothing. He called upon them to draw
their nets once more, and foretold the number of fishes that would be
found in them. The fishermen, marvelling at this prophecy, promised
him that if it came true they would do whatever he desired. It came to
pass as he said, and Pythagoras then desired them to throw the fishes
alive back into the sea, for the Pythagoreans ate no flesh. And it is
further related as a miracle which then took place, that none of the
fishes whilst they were out of the water died during the counting. This
is the kind of miracle that is recorded, and the stories with which
his biographers fill his life are of the same silly nature. They then
make him effect such a general impression upon the mind of Italy, that
all the towns reformed upon their luxurious and depraved customs, and
the tyrants partly gave up their powers voluntarily, and partly they
were driven out. They thereby, however, commit such historical errors
as to make Charondas and Zaleucus, who lived long before Pythagoras,
his disciples; and similarly to ascribe the expulsion and death of the
tyrant Phalaris to him, and to his action.[34]

Apart from these fables, there remains as an historic fact, the great
work which he accomplished, and this he did chiefly by establishing
a school, and by the great influence of his order upon the principal
part of the Greco-Italian states, or rather by means of the rule
which was exercised in these states through this order, which lasted
for a very long period of time. It is related of him that he was a
very handsome man, and of a majestic appearance, which captivated as
much as it commanded respect. With this natural dignity, nobility of
manners, and the calm propriety of his demeanour, he united external
peculiarities, through which he seemed a remarkable and mysterious
being. He wore a white linen garment, and refrained from partaking of
certain foods.[35] Particular personality, as also the externalities of
dress and the like, are no longer of importance; men let themselves be
guided by general custom and fashion, since it is a matter outside of
and indifferent to them not to have their own will here; for we hand
over the contingent to the contingent, and only follow the external
rationality that consists in identity and universality. To this outward
personality there was added great eloquence and profound perception;
not only did he undertake to impart this to his individual friends, but
he proceeded to bring a general influence to bear on public culture,
both in regard to understanding and to the whole manner of life and
morals. He not merely instructed his friends, but associated them in a
particular life in order to constitute them into persons and make them
skilful in business and eminent in morals. The Institute of Pythagoras
grew into a league, which included all men and all life in its embrace;
for it was an elaborately fashioned piece of work, and excellently
plastic in design.

Of the regulations of Pythagoras’ league, we have descriptions from
his successors, more especially from the Neo-Platonists, who are
particularly diffuse as regards its laws. The league had, on the
whole, the character of a voluntary priesthood, or a monastic order
of modern times. Whoever wished to be received was proved in respect
of his education and obedience, and information was collected about
his conduct, inclinations, and occupations. The members were subject
to a special training, in which a difference was made amongst those
received, in that some were exoteric and some esoteric. These last were
initiated into the highest branches of science, and since political
operations were not excluded from the order, they were also engaged
in active politics; the former had to go through a novitiate of five
years. Each member must have surrendered his means to the order, but he
received them again on retiring, and in the probationary period silence
was enjoined (_ἐχεμυθία_).[36]

This obligation to cease from idle talk may be called an essential
condition for all culture and learning; with it men must begin if
they wish to comprehend the thoughts of others and relinquish their
own ideas. We are in the habit of saying that the understanding is
cultivated through questioning, objecting and replying, &c., but, in
fact, it is not thus formed, but made from without. What is inward
in man is by culture got at and developed; hence though he remains
silent, he is none the poorer in thought or denser of mind. He rather
acquires thereby the power of apprehension, and comes to know that his
ideas and objections are valueless; and as he learns that such ideas
are valueless, he ceases to have them. Now the fact that in Pythagoras
there is a separation between those in the course of preparation and
those initiated, as also that silence is particularly enjoined, seems
most certainly to indicate that in his brotherhood both were formal
elements and not merely as present in the nature of things, as might
occur spontaneously in the individual without any special law or the
application of any particular consideration. But here it is important
to remark that Pythagoras may be regarded as the first instructor
in Greece who introduced the teachings of science; neither Thales,
who was earlier than he, nor his contemporary Anaximander taught
scientifically, but only imparted their ideas to their friends. There
were, generally speaking, no sciences at that time; there was neither a
science of philosophy, mathematics, jurisprudence or anything else, but
merely isolated propositions and facts respecting these subjects. What
was taught was the use of arms, theorems, music, the singing of Homer’s
or Hesiod’s songs, tripod chants, &c., or other arts. This teaching
is accomplished in quite another way. Now if we said that Pythagoras
had introduced the teaching of science amongst a people who, though
like the Greeks, untaught therein, were not stupid but most lively,
cultured and loquacious, the external conditions of such teaching might
in so far be given as follows:—(_α_) He would distinguish amongst
those who as yet had no idea of the process of learning a science, so
that those who first began should be excluded from that which was to
be imparted to those further on; and (_β_) he would make them leave
the unscientific mode of speaking of such matters, or their idle
prattle, alone, and for the first time study science. But the fact
that this action both appeared to be formal and likewise required to
be made such, was, on account of its unwonted character, a necessary
one, just because the followers of Pythagoras were not only numerous,
necessitating a definite form and order, but also, generally speaking,
they lived continually together. Thus a particular form was natural to
Pythagoras, because it was the very first time that a teacher in Greece
arrived at a totality, or a new principle, through the cultivation of
the intelligence, mind and will. This common life had not only the
educational side and that founded on the exercise of physical ingenuity
or skill, but included also that of the moral culture of practical men.
But even now everything relating to morality appears and is or becomes
altogether formal, or rather this is so in as far as it is consciously
thought of as in this relation, for to be formal is to be universal,
that which is opposed to the individual. It appears so particularly
to him who compares the universal and the individual and consciously
reflects over both, but this difference disappears for those living
therein, to whom it is ordinary habit.

Finally, we have sufficient and full accounts of the outward forms
observed by the Pythagoreans in their common life and also of their
discipline. For much of this, however, we are indebted to the
impressions of later writers. In the league, a life regulated in
all respects was advocated. First of all, it is told us, that the
members made themselves known by a similar dress—the white linen of
Pythagoras. They had a very strict order for each day, of which each
hour had its work. The morning, directly after rising, was set aside
for recalling to memory the history of the previous day, because what
is to be done in the day depends chiefly on the previous day; similarly
the most constant self-examination was made the duty of the evening
in order to find whether the deeds done in the day were right or
wrong. True culture is not the vanity of directing so much attention to
oneself and occupying oneself with oneself as an individual, but the
self-oblivion that absorbs oneself in the matter in hand and in the
universal; it is this consideration of the thing in hand that is alone
essential, while that dangerous, useless, anxious state does away with
freedom. They had also to learn by heart from Homer and from Hesiod;
and all through the day they occupied themselves much with music—one
of the principal parts of Greek education and culture.[37] Gymnastic
exercises in wrestling, racing, throwing, and so on, were with them
also enforced by rule. They dined together, and here, too, they had
peculiar customs, but of these the accounts are different. Honey and
bread were made their principal food, and water the principal, and
indeed only, drink; they must thus have entirely refrained from eating
meat as being associated with metempsychosis. A distinction was also
made regarding vegetables—beans, for example, being forbidden. On
account of this respect for beans, they were much derided, yet in the
subsequent destruction of the political league, several Pythagoreans,
being pursued, preferred to die than to damage a field of beans.[38]

The order, the moral discipline which characterized them, the common
intercourse of men, did not, however, endure long; for even in
Pythagoras’ life-time the affairs of his league must have become
involved, since he found enemies who forcibly overthrew him. He drew
down upon him, it is said, the envy of others, and was accused of
thinking differently from what he seemed to indicate, and thus of
having an _arrière pensée_. The real fact of the case was that the
individual belonged, not entirely to his town, but also to another.
In this catastrophe, Pythagoras himself, according to Tennemann (Vol.
I. p. 414), met his death in the 69th Olympiad (504, B.C.) in a
rising of the people against these aristocrats; but it is uncertain
whether it happened in Crotona or in Metapontum, or in a war between
the Syracusans and the Agrigentines. There is also much difference of
opinion about the age of Pythagoras, for it is given sometimes as 80,
and sometimes as 104.[39] For the rest, the unity of the Pythagorean
school, the friendship of the members, and the connecting bond of
culture have even in later times remained, but not in the formal
character of a league, because what is external must pass away. The
history of Magna Græcia is in general little known, but even in
Plato’s[40] time we find Pythagoreans appearing at the head of states
or as a political power.

The Pythagorean brotherhood had no relation with Greek public and
religious life, and therefore could not endure for long: in Egypt and
in Asia exclusiveness and priestly influence have their home, but
Greece, in its freedom, could not let the Eastern separation of caste
exist. Freedom here is the principle of civic life, but still it is
not yet determined as principle in the relations of public and private
law. With us the individual is free since all are alike before the law;
diversity in customs, in political relations and opinions may thus
exist, and must indeed so do in organic states. In democratic Greece,
on the contrary, manners, the external mode of life, necessarily
preserved a certain similarity, and the stamp of similarity remained
impressed on these wider spheres; for the exceptional condition of the
Pythagoreans, who could not take their part as free citizens, but were
dependent on the plans and ends of a combination and led an exclusive
religious life, there was no place in Greece. The preservation of the
mysteries certainly belonged to the Eumolpidæ, and other special forms
of worship to other particular families, but they were not regarded
in a political sense as of fixed and definite castes, but as priests
usually are, politicians, citizens, men like their fellows; nor, as
with the Christians, was the separation of religious persons driven to
the extreme of monastic rule. In ordinary civic life in Greece, no one
could prosper or maintain his position who held peculiar principles,
or even secrets, and differed in outward modes of life and clothing;
for what evidently united and distinguished them was their community
of principles and life—whether anything was good for the commonwealth
or not, was by them publicly and openly discussed. The Greeks are
above having particular clothing, maintaining special customs of
washing, rising, practising music, and distinguishing between pure and
impure foods. This, they say, is partly the affair of the particular
individual and of his personal freedom, and has no common end in view,
and partly it is a general custom and usage for everybody alike.

What is most important to us is the Pythagorean philosophy—not
the philosophy of Pythagoras so much as that of the Pythagoreans,
as Aristotle and Sextus express it. The two must certainly be
distinguished, and from comparing what is given out as Pythagorean
doctrine, many anomalies and discrepancies become evident, as we shall
see. Plato bears the blame of having destroyed Pythagorean philosophy
through absorbing what is Pythagorean in it into his own. But the
Pythagorean philosophy itself developed to a point which left it
quite other than what at first it was. We hear of many followers of
Pythagoras in history who have arrived at this or that conclusion,
such as Alcmæon and Philolaus; and we see in many cases the simple
undeveloped form contrasted with the further stages of development in
which thought comes forth in definiteness and power. We need, however,
go no further into the historical side of the distinction, for we
can only consider the Pythagorean philosophy generally; similarly
we must separate what is known to belong to the Neo-Platonists and
Neo-Pythagoreans, and for this end we have sources to draw from which
are earlier than this period, namely the express statements found in
Aristotle and Sextus.

The Pythagorean philosophy forms the transition from realistic to
intellectual philosophy. The Ionic school said that essence or
principle is a definite material. The next conclusion is (_α_)
that the absolute is not grasped in natural form, but as a thought
determination. (_β_) Then it follows that determinations must
be posited while the beginning was altogether undetermined. The
Pythagorean philosophy has done both.

1. _The System of Numbers_. Thus the original and simple proposition
of the Pythagorean philosophy is, according to Aristotle (Metaph. I.
5), “that number is the reality of things, and the constitution of the
whole universe in its determinations is an harmonious system of numbers
and of their relations.” In what sense is this statement to be taken?
The fundamental determination of number is its being a measure; if we
say that everything is quantitatively or qualitatively determined,
the size and measure is only one aspect or characteristic which is
present in everything, but the meaning here is that number itself is
the essence and the substance of things, and not alone their form.
What first strikes us as surprising is the boldness of such language,
which at once sets aside everything which to the ordinary idea is real
and true, doing away with sensuous existence and making it to be the
creation of thought. Existence is expressed as something which is not
sensuous, and thus what to the senses and to old ideas is altogether
foreign, is raised into and expressed as substance and as true Being.
But at the same time the necessity is shown for making number to be
likewise Notion, to manifest it as the activity of its unity with
Being, for to us number does not seem to be in immediate unity with the

Now although this principle appears to us to be fanciful and wild, we
find in it that number is not merely something sensuous, therefore it
brings determination with it, universal distinctions and antitheses.
The ancients had a very good knowledge of these. Aristotle (Metaph.
I. 6) says of Plato: “He maintained that the mathematical elements in
things are found outside of what is merely sensuous, and of ideas,
being between both; it differs from what is sensuous in that it
is eternal and unchangeable, and from ideas, in that it possesses
multiplicity, and hence each can resemble and be similar to another,
while each idea is for itself one alone.” That is, number can be
repeated; thus it is not sensuous, and still not yet thought. In
the life of Pythagoras, this is further said by Malchus (46, 47):
“Pythagoras propounded philosophy in this wise in order to loose
thought from its fetters. Without thought nothing true can be discerned
or known; thought hears and sees everything in itself, the rest is lame
and blind. To obtain his end, Pythagoras makes use of mathematics,
since this stands midway between what is sensuous and thought, as a
kind of preliminary to what is in and for itself.” Malchus quotes
further (48, 53) a passage from an early writer, Moderatus: “Because
the Pythagoreans could not clearly express the absolute and the first
principles through thought, they made use of numbers, of mathematics,
because in this form determinations could be easily expressed.” For
instance, similarity could be expressed as one, dissimilarity as two.
“This mode of teaching through the use of numbers, whilst it was the
first philosophy, is superseded on account of its mysterious nature.
Plato, Speusippus, Aristotle, &c., have stolen the fruits of their work
from the Pythagoreans by making a simple use of their principle.” In
this passage a perfect knowledge of numbers is evident.

The enigmatic character of the determination through number is what
most engages our attention. The numbers of arithmetic answers to
thought-determinations, for number has the “one” as element and
principle; the one, however, is a category of being-for-self, and
thus of identity with self, in that it excludes all else and is
indifferent to what is “other.” The further determinations of number
are only further combinations and repetitions of the one, which all
through remains fixed and external; number, thus, is the most utterly
dead, notionless continuity possible; it is an entirely external and
mechanical process, which is without necessity. Hence number is not
immediate Notion, but only a beginning of thought, and a beginning in
the worst possible way; it is the Notion in its extremest externality,
in quantitative form, and in that of indifferent distinction. In so
far, the one has within itself both the principle of thought and
that of materiality, or the determination of the sensuous. In order
that anything should have the form of Notion, it must immediately in
itself, as determined, relate itself to its opposite, just as positive
is related to negative; and in this simple movement of the Notion we
find the ideality of differences and negation of independence to be
the chief determination. On the other hand, in the number three, for
instance, there are always three units, of which each is independent;
and this is what constitutes both their defect and their enigmatic
character. For since the essence of the Notion is innate, numbers are
the most worthless instruments for expressing Notion-determinations.

Now the Pythagoreans did not accept numbers in this indifferent way,
but as Notion. “At least they say that phenomena must be composed of
simple elements, and it would be contrary to the nature of things if
the principle of the universe pertained to sensuous phenomena. The
elements and principles are thus not only intangible and invisible, but
altogether incorporeal.”[41] But how they have come to make numbers
the original principle or the absolute Notion, is better shown from
what Aristotle says in his Metaphysics (I. 5), although he is shorter
than he would have been, because he alleges that elsewhere (infra., p.
214) he has spoken of it. “In numbers they thought that they perceived
much greater similitude to what is and what takes place than in fire,
water, or earth; since a certain property of numbers (_τοιονδὶ πάθος_)
is justice, so is it with (_τοιονδὶ_) the soul and understanding;
another property is opportunity, and so on. Since they further saw the
conditions and relations of what is harmonious present in numbers, and
since numbers are at the basis of all natural things, they considered
numbers to be the elements of everything, and the whole heavens to
be a harmony and number.” In the Pythagoreans we see the necessity
for one enduring universal idea as a thought-determination. Aristotle
(Met. XII. 4), speaking of ideas, says: “According to Heraclitus,
everything sensuous flows on, and thus there cannot be a science of the
sensuous; from this conviction the doctrine of ideas sprang. Socrates
is the first to define the universal through inductive methods; the
Pythagoreans formerly concerned themselves merely with a few matters
of which they derived the notions from numbers—as, for example, with
what opportuneness, or right, or marriage are.” It is impossible to
discern what interest this in itself can have; the only thing which
is necessary for us as regards the Pythagoreans, is to recognize any
indications of the Idea, in which there may be a progressive principle.

This is the whole of the Pythagorean philosophy taken generally. We now
have to come to closer quarters, and to consider the determinations,
or universal significance. In the Pythagorean system numbers seem
partly to be themselves allied to categories—that is, to be at
once the thought-determinations of unity, of opposition and of the
unity of these two moments. In part, the Pythagoreans from the
very first gave forth universal ideal determinations of numbers as
principles, and recognized, as Aristotle remarks (Metaph. I. 5), as
the absolute principles of things, not so much immediate numbers in
their arithmetic differences, as the principles of number, _i.e._ their
rational differences. The first determination is unity generally, the
next duality or opposition. It is most important to trace back the
infinitely manifold nature of the forms and determinations of finality
to their universal thoughts as the most simple principles of all
determination. These are not differences of one thing from another,
but universal and essential differences within themselves. Empirical
objects distinguish themselves by outward form; this piece of paper
can be distinguished from another, shades are different in colour,
men are separated by differences of temperament and individuality.
But these determinations are not essential differences; they are
certainly essential for the definite particularity of the things,
but the whole particularity defined is not an existence which is in
and for itself essential, for it is the universal alone which is the
self-contained and the substantial. Pythagoras began to seek these
first determinations of unity, multiplicity, opposition, &c. With him
they are for the most part numbers; but the Pythagoreans did not remain
content with this, for they gave them the more concrete determinations,
which really belong to their successors. Necessary progression and
proof are not to be sought for here; comprehension, the development
of duality out of unity are wanting. Universal determinations are
only found and established in a quite dogmatic form, and hence the
determinations are dry, destitute of process or dialectic, and

a. The Pythagoreans say that the first simple Notion is unity
(_μονάς_); not the discrete, multifarious, arithmetic one, but identity
as continuity and positivity, the entirely universal essence. They
further say, according to Sextus (adv. Math. X. 260, 261): “All
numbers come under the Notion of the one; for duality is one duality
and triplicity is equally a ‘one,’ but the number ten is the one chief
number. This moved Pythagoras to assert unity to be the principle of
things, because, through partaking of it, each is called one.” That
is to say, the pure contemplation of the implicit being of a thing
is the one, the being like self; to all else it is not implicit,
but a relationship to what is other. Things, however, are much more
determined than being merely this dry “one.” The Pythagoreans have
expressed this remarkable relationship of the entirely abstract one
to the concrete existence of things through “simulation” (_μίμησις_).
The same difficulty which they here encounter is also found in Plato’s
Ideas; since they stand over against the concrete as species, the
relation of concrete to universal is naturally an important point.
Aristotle (Metaph. I. 6) ascribes the expression “participation”
(_μέθεξις_) to Plato, who took it in place of the Pythagorean
expression “simulation.” Simulation is a figurative, childish way of
putting the relationship; participation is undoubtedly more definite.
But Aristotle says, with justice, that both are insufficient; that
Plato has not here arrived at any further development, but has only
substituted another name. “To say that ideas are prototypes and that
other things participate in them is empty talk and a poetic metaphor;
for what is the active principle that looks upon the ideas?” (Metaph.
I. 9). Simulation and participation are nothing more than other names
for relation; to give names is easy, but it is another thing to

b. What comes next is the opposition, the duality (_δυάς_), the
distinction, the particular; such determinations have value even now in
Philosophy; Pythagoras merely brought them first to consciousness. Now,
as this unity relates to multiplicity, or this being-like-self to being
another, different applications are possible, and the Pythagoreans
have expressed themselves variously as to the forms which this first
opposition takes.

(_α_) They said, according to Aristotle (Metaph. I. 5): “The elements
of number are the even and the odd; the latter is the finite” (or
principle of limitation) “and the former is the infinite; thus the
unity proceeds from both and out of this again comes number.” The
elements of immediate number are not yet themselves numbers: the
opposition of these elements first appears in arithmetical form rather
than as thought. But the one is as yet no number, because as yet it is
not quantity; unity and quantity belong to number. Theon of Smyrna[42]
says: “Aristotle gives, in his writings on the Pythagoreans, the reason
why, in their view, the one partakes of the nature of even and odd;
that is, one, posited as even, makes odd; as odd, it makes even. This
is what it could not do unless it partook of both natures, for which
reason they also called the one, even-odd” (_ἀρτιοπέριττον_).

(_β_) If we follow the absolute Idea in this first mode, the opposition
will also be called the undetermined duality (_ἀόριστος δυάς_). Sextus
speaks more definitely (adv. Math. X. 261, 262) as follows: “Unity,
thought of in its identity with itself (_κατ̓ αὐτότητα ἑαυτῆς_), is
unity; if this adds itself to itself as something different (_καθ̓
ἑτερότητα_), undetermined duality results, because no one of the
determined or otherwise limited numbers is this duality, but all are
known through their participation in it, as has been said of unity.
There are, according to this, two principles in things; the first
unity, through participation in which all number-units are units,
and also undetermined duality through participation in which all
determined dualities are dualities.” Duality is just as essential a
moment in the Notion as is unity. Comparing them with one another, we
may either consider the unity to be form and duality matter, or the
other way; and both appear in different modes. (_αα_) Unity, as the
being-like-self, is the formless; but in duality, as the unlike, there
comes division or form. (_ββ_) If, on the other hand, we take form
as the simple activity of absolute form, the one is what determines;
and duality as the potentiality of multiplicity, or as multiplicity
not posited, is matter. Aristotle (Met. I. 6) says that it is
characteristic of Plato that “he makes out of matter many, but with him
the form originates only once; whereas out of one matter only one table
proceeds, whoever brings form to matter, in spite of its unity, makes
many tables.” He also ascribes this to Plato, that “instead of showing
the undetermined to be simple (_ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀπείρου ὡς ἑνός_), he made of
it a duality—the great and small.”

(_γ_) Further consideration of this opposition, in which Pythagoreans
differ from one another, shows us the imperfect beginning of a table
of categories which were then brought forward by them, as later on by
Aristotle. Hence the latter was reproached for having borrowed these
thought-determinations from them; and it certainly was the case that
the Pythagoreans first made the opposite to be an essential moment in
the absolute. They further determined the abstract and simple Notions,
although it was in an inadequate way, since their table presents a
mixture of antitheses in the ordinary idea and the Notion, without
following these up more fully. Aristotle (Met. I. 5) ascribes these
determinations either to Pythagoras himself, or else to Alcmæon “who
flourished in the time of Pythagoras’ old age,” so that “either Alcmæon
took them from the Pythagoreans or the latter took them from him.” Of
these antitheses or co-ordinates to which all things are traced, ten
are given, for, according to the Pythagoreans, ten is a number of great

  1. The finite and the infinite.
  2. The odd and the even.
  3. The one and the many.
  4. The right and the left.
  5. The male and the female.
  6. The quiescent and the moving.
  7. The straight and the crooked.
  8. Light and darkness.
  9. Good and evil.
  10. The square and the parallelogram.

This is certainly an attempt towards a development of the Idea of
speculative philosophy in itself, _i.e._ in Notions; but the attempt
does not seem to have gone further than this simple enumeration.
It is very important that at first only a collection of general
thought-determinations should be made, as was done by Aristotle; but
what we here see with the Pythagoreans is only a rude beginning of the
further determination of antitheses, without order and sense, and very
similar to the Indian enumeration of principles and substances.

(_δ_) We find the further progress of these determinations in Sextus
(adv. Math. X. 262-277), when he speaks about an exposition of the
later Pythagoreans. It is a very good and well considered account of
the Pythagorean theories, which has some thought in it. The exposition
follows these lines: “The fact that these two principles are the
principles of the whole, is shown by the Pythagoreans in manifold ways.”

א. “There are three methods of thinking things; firstly, in accordance
with diversity, secondly, with opposition, and thirdly, according
to relation. (_αα_) What is considered in its mere diversity, is
considered for itself; this is the case with those subjects in which
each relates only to itself, such as horse, plant, earth, air, water
and fire. Such matters are thought of as detached and not in relation
to others.” This is the determination of identity with self or of
independence. (_ββ_) “In reference to opposition, the one is determined
as evidently contrasting with the other; we have examples of this in
good and evil, right and wrong, sacred and profane, rest and movement,
&c. (_γγ_) According to relation (_πρός τι_), we have the object
which is determined in accordance with its relationship to others,
such as right and left, over and under, double and half. One is only
comprehensible from the other; for I cannot tell which is my left
excepting by my right.” Each of these relations in its opposition,
is likewise set up for itself in a position of independence. “The
difference between relationship and opposition is that in opposition
the coming into existence of the ‘one’ is at the expense of the
‘other,’ and conversely. If motion is taken away, rest commences; if
motion begins, rest ceases; if health is taken away, sickness begins,
and conversely. In a condition of relationship, on the contrary, both
take their rise, and both similarly cease together; if the right
is removed, so also is the left; the double goes and the half is
destroyed.” What is here taken away is taken not only as regards its
opposition, but also in its existence. “A second difference is that
what is in opposition has no middle; for example, between sickness and
health, life and death, rest and motion, there is no third. Relativity,
on the contrary, has a middle, for between larger and smaller there
is the like; and between too large and too small the right size is
the medium.” Pure opposition passes through nullity to opposition;
immediate extremes, on the other hand, subsist in a third or middle
state, but in such a case no longer as opposed. This exposition shows
a certain regard for universal, logical determinations, which now and
always have the greatest possible importance, and are moments in all
conceptions and in everything that is. The nature of these opposites
is, indeed, not considered here, but it is of importance that they
should be brought to consciousness.

ב. “Now since these three represent three different genera, the
subjects and the two-fold opposite, there must be a higher genus over
each of them which takes the first place, since the genus comes before
its subordinate kinds. If the universal is taken away, so is the kind;
on the other hand, if the kind, not the genus, for the former depends
on the latter, but not the contrary way.” (_αα_) “The Pythagoreans have
declared the one to be the highest genus of what is considered as in
and for itself” (of subjects in their diversity); this is, properly
speaking, nothing more than translating the determinations of the
Notion into numbers. (_ββ_) “What is in opposition has, they say, as
its genus the like and the unlike; rest is the like, for it is capable
of nothing more and nothing less; but movement is the unlike. Thus
what is according to nature is like itself; it is a point which is not
capable of being intensified (_ἀνεπίτατος_); what is opposed to it is
unlike. Health is like, sickness is unlike. (_γγ_) The genus of that
which is in an indifferent relationship is excess and want, the more
and the less;” in this we have the quantitative relation just as we
formerly had the qualitative.

ג. We now come for the first time to the two opposites: “These three
genera of what is for itself, in opposition and in relationship,
must now come under”—yet simpler, higher—“genera,” _i.e._
thought-determinations. “Similarity reduces itself to the determination
of unity.” The genus of the subjects is the very being on its own
account. “Dissimilarity, however, consists of excess and want, but both
of these come under undetermined duality;” they are the undetermined
opposition, opposition generally. “Thus from all these relationships
the first unity and the undetermined duality proceed;” the Pythagoreans
said that such are found to be the universal modes of things. “From
these, there first comes the ‘one’ of numbers and the ‘two’ of numbers;
from the first unity, the one; from the unity and the undetermined
duality the two; for twice the one is two. The other numbers take their
origin in a similar way, for the unity over moves forward, and the
undetermined duality generates the two.” This transition of qualitative
into quantitative opposition is not clear. “Hence underlying these
principles, unity is the active principle” or form, “but the two is
the passive matter; and just as they make numbers arise from them, so
do they make the system of the world and that which is contained in
it.” The nature of these determinations is to be found in transition
and in movement. The deeper significance of this reflection rests in
the connection of universal thought-determinations with arithmetic
numbers—in subordinating these and making the universal genus first.

Before I say anything of the further sequence of these numbers, it
must be remarked that they, as we see them represented here, are pure
Notions. (_α_) The absolute, simple essence divides itself into unity
and multiplicity, of which the one sublates the other, and at the same
time it has its existence in the opposition. (_β_) The opposition has
at the same time subsistence, and in this is found the manifold nature
of equivalent things. (_γ_) The return of absolute essence into itself
is the negative unity of the individual subject and of the universal
or positive. This is, in fact, the pure speculative Idea of absolute
existence; it is this movement: with Plato the Idea is nothing else.
The speculative makes its appearance here as speculative; whoever does
not know the speculative, does not believe that in indicating simple
Notions such as these, absolute essence is expressed. One, many, like,
unlike, more or less, are trivial, empty, dry moments; that there
should be contained in them absolute essence, the riches and the
organization of the natural, as of the spiritual world, does not seem
possible to him who, accustomed to ordinary ideas, has not gone back
from sensuous existence into thought. It does not seem to such a one
that God is, in a speculative sense, expressed thereby—that what is
most sublime can be put in those common words, what is deepest, in
what is so well known, self-evident and open, and what is richest, in
the poverty of these abstractions.

It is at first in opposition to common reality that this idea of
reality as the manifold of simple essence, has in itself its opposition
and the subsistence of the same; this essential, simple Notion of
reality is elevation into thought, but it is not flight from what is
real, but the expression of the real itself in its essence. We here
find the Reason which expresses its essence; and absolute reality is
unity immediately in itself. Thus it is pre-eminently in relation
to this reality that the difficulties of those who do not think
speculatively have become so intense. What is its relation to common
reality? What has taken place is just what happens with the Platonic
Ideas, which approximate very closely to these numbers, or rather
to pure Notions. That is to say, the first question is, “Numbers,
where are they? Dispersed through space, dwelling in independence in
the heaven of ideas? They are not things immediately in themselves,
for a thing, a substance, is something quite other than a number:
a body bears no similarity to it.” To this we may answer that the
Pythagoreans did not signify anything like that which we understand
by prototypes—as if ideas, as the laws and relations of things,
were present in a creative consciousness as thoughts in the divine
understanding, separated from things as are the thoughts of an artist
from his work. Still less did they mean only subjective thoughts in our
consciousness, for we use the absolute antithesis as the explanation of
the existence of qualities in things, but what determines is the real
substance of what exists, so that each thing is essentially just its
having in it unity, duality, as also their antithesis and connection.
Aristotle (Met. I. 5, 6) puts it clearly thus: “It is characteristic of
the Pythagoreans that they did not maintain the finite and the infinite
and the One, to be, like fire, earth, &c., different natures or to have
another reality than things; for the Infinite and the abstract One
are to them, the substance of the things of which they are predicated.
Hence too, they said, Number is the essence of all things. Thus they
do not separate numbers from things, but consider them to be things
themselves. Number to them is the principle and matter of things, as
also their qualities and forces;” hence it is thought as substance, or
the thing as it is in the reality of thought.

These abstract determinations then became more concretely determined,
especially by the later philosophers, in their speculations regarding
God. We may instance Iamblichus, for example, in the work _θεολογούμενα
ἀριθμητικῆς_, ascribed to him by Porphyry and Nicomachus. Those
philosophers sought to raise the character of popular religion, for
they inserted such thought-determinations as these into religious
conceptions. By Monas they understood nothing other than God; they also
call it Mind, the Hermaphrodite (which contains both determinations,
odd as well as even), and likewise substance, reason, chaos (because it
is undetermined), Tartarus, Jupiter, and Form. They called the duad by
similar names, such as matter, and then the principle of the unlike,
strife, that which begets, Isis, &c.

c. The triad (_τριάς_) has now become a most important number,
seeing that in it the monad has reached reality and perfection. The
monad proceeds through the duad, and again brought into unity with
this undetermined manifold, it is the triad. Unity and multiplicity
are present in the triad in the worst possible way—as an external
combination; but however abstractly this is understood, the triad
is still a profound form. The triad then is held to be the first
perfect form in the universal. Aristotle (De Cœlo I. 1) puts this
very clearly: “The corporeal has no dimension outside of the Three;
hence the Pythagoreans also say that the all and everything is
determined through triplicity,” that is, it has absolute form. “For
the number of the whole has end, middle, and beginning; and this
is the triad.” Nevertheless there is something superficial in the
wish to bring everything under it, as is done in the systematization
of the more modern natural philosophy. “Therefore we, too, taking
this determination from nature, make use of it in the worship of the
gods, so that we believe them to have been properly apostrophized
only when we have called upon them three times in prayer. Two we call
both, but not all; we speak first of three as all. What is determined
through three is the first totality (_πᾶν_); what is in triple form
is perfectly divided. Some is merely in one, other is only in two,
but this is All.” What is perfect, or has reality, is its identity,
opposition and unity, like number generally; but in triplicity this
is actual, because it has beginning, middle, and end. Each thing is
simple as beginning; it is other or manifold as middle, and its end
is the return of its other nature into unity or mind; if we take this
triplicity from a thing, we negate it and make of it an abstract
construction of thought.

It is now comprehensible that Christians sought and found the Trinity
in this threefold nature. It has often been made a superficial reason
for objecting to them; sometimes the idea of the Trinity as it was
present to the ancients, was considered as above reason, as a secret,
and hence, too high; sometimes it was deemed too absurd. But from the
one cause or from the other, they did not wish to bring it into closer
relation to reason. If there is a meaning in this Trinity, we must try
to understand it. It would be an anomalous thing if there were nothing
in what has for two thousand years been the holiest Christian idea; if
it were too holy to be brought down to the level of reason, or were
something now quite obsolete, so that it would be contrary to good
taste and sense to try to find a meaning in it. It is the Notion of the
Trinity alone of which we can speak, and not of the idea of Father and
Son, for we am not dealing with these natural relationships.

d. The Four (_τετράς_) is the triad but more developed, and hence with
the Pythagoreans it held a high position. That the tetrad should be
considered to be thus complete, reminds one of the four elements, the
physical and the chemical, the four continents, &c. In nature four
is found to be present everywhere, and hence this number is even now
equally esteemed in natural philosophy. As the square of two, the
fourfold is the perfection of the two-fold in as far as it—only having
itself as determination, i.e. being multiplied with itself—returns
into identity with itself. But in the triad the tetrad is in so far
contained, as that the former is the unity, the other-being, and
the union of both these moments, and thus, since the difference, as
posited, is a double, if we count it, four moments result. To make this
clearer, the tetrad is comprehended as the _τετρακτύς_, the efficient,
active four (from _τέτταρα_ and _ἄγω_); and afterwards this is by the
Pythagoreans made the most notable number. In the fragments of a poem
of Empedocles, who originally was a Pythagorean, it is shown in what
high regard this tetraktus, as represented by Pythagoras, was held:

                            “If thou dost this,
  It will lead thee in the path of holy piety. I swear it
  By the one who to our spirit has given the Tetraktus,
  Which has in it eternal nature’s source and root.”[43]

e. From this the Pythagoreans proceed to the ten, another form of this
tetrad. As the four is the perfect form of three, this fourfold, thus
perfected and developed so that all its moments shall be accepted as
real differences, is the number ten (_δεκάς_), the real tetrad. Sextus
(adv. Math. IV. 3; VII. 94, 95) says: “Tetraktus means the number
which, comprising within itself the four first numbers, forms the most
perfect number, that is the number ten; for one and two and three and
four make ten. When we come to ten, we again consider it as a unity
and begin once more from the beginning. The tetraktus, it is said,
has the source and root of eternal nature within itself, because it
is the Logos of the universe, of the spiritual and of the corporeal.”
It is an important work of thought to show the moments not merely to
be four units, but complete numbers; but the reality in which the
determinations are laid hold of, is here, however, only the external
and superficial one of number; there is no Notion present although
the tetraktus does not mean number so much as idea. One of the later
philosophers, Proclus, (in Timæum, p. 269) says, in a Pythagorean

                    “The divine number goes on,”...
  “Till from the still unprofaned sanctuary of the Monad
  It reaches to the holy Tetrad, which creates the mother of all that
  Which received all within itself, or formed the ancient bounds of all,
  Incapable of turning or of wearying; men call it the holy Dekad.”

What we find about the progression of the other numbers is more
indefinite and unsatisfying, and the Notion loses itself in them. Up to
five there may certainly be a kind of thought in numbers, but from six
onwards they are merely arbitrary determinations.

2. _Application of the System to the Universe_. This simple idea and
the simple reality contained therein, must now, however, be further
developed in order to come to reality as it is when put together and
expanded. The question now meets us as to how, in this relation, the
Pythagoreans passed from abstract logical determinations to forms which
indicate the concrete use of numbers. In what pertains to space or
music, determinations of objects formed by the Pythagoreans through
numbers, still bear a somewhat closer relation to the thing, but when
they enter the region of the concrete in nature and in mind, numbers
become purely formal and empty.

a. To show how the Pythagoreans constructed out of numbers the
system of the world, Sextus instances (adv. Math. X. 277-283), space
relations, and undoubtedly we have in them to do with such ideal
principles, for numbers are, in fact, perfect determinations of
abstract space. That is to say, if we begin with the point, the first
negation of vacuity, “the point corresponds to unity; it is indivisible
and the principle of lines, as the unity is that of numbers. While
the point exists as the monad or One, the line expresses the duad or
Two, for both become comprehensible through transition; the line is
the pure relationship of two points and is without breadth. Surface
results from the threefold; but the solid figure or body belongs to
the fourfold, and in it there are three dimensions present. Others say
that body consists of one point” (_i.e._ its essence is one point),
“for the flowing point makes the line, the flowing line, however, makes
surface, and this surface makes body. They distinguish themselves from
the first mentioned, in that the former make numbers primarily proceed
from the monad and the undetermined duad, and then points and lines,
plane surfaces and solid figures, from numbers, while they construct
all from one point.” To the first, distinction is opposition or form
set forth as duality; the others have form as activity. “Thus what is
corporeal is formed under the directing influence of numbers, but from
them also proceed the definite bodies, water, air, fire, and the whole
universe generally, which they declare to be harmonious. This harmony
is one which again consists of numeral relations only, which constitute
the various concords of the absolute harmony.”

We must here remark that the progression from the point to actual space
also has the signification of occupation of space, for “according to
their fundamental tenets and teaching,” says Aristotle (Metaph. I. 8),
“they speak of sensuously perceptible bodies in nowise differently
from those which are mathematical.” Since lines and surfaces are only
abstract moments in space, external construction likewise proceeds from
here very well. On the other hand, the transition from the occupation
of space generally to what is determined, to water, earth, &c., is
quite another thing and is more difficult; or rather the Pythagoreans
have not taken this step, for the universe itself has, with them,
the speculative, simple form, which is found in the fact of being
represented as a system of number-relations. But with all this, the
physical is not yet determined.

b. Another application or exhibition of the essential nature of the
determination of numbers is to be found in the relations of music,
and it is more especially in their case that number constitutes
the determining factor. The differences here show themselves as
various relations of numbers, and this mode of determining what is
musical is the only one. The relation borne by tones to one another
is founded on quantitative differences whereby harmonies may be
formed, in distinction to others by which discords are constituted.
The Pythagoreans, according to Porphyry (De vita Pyth. 30), treated
music as something soul-instructing and scholastic [Psychagogisches
und Pädagogisches]. Pythagoras was the first to discern that musical
relations, these audible differences, are mathematically determinable,
that what we hear as consonance and dissonance is a mathematical
arrangement. The subjective, and, in the case of hearing, simple
feeling which, however, exists inherently in relation, Pythagoras has
justified to the understanding, and he attained his object by means
of fixed determinations. For to him the discovery of the fundamental
tones of harmony are ascribed, and these rest on the most simple
number-relations. Iamblichus (De vita Pyth. XXVI. 115) says that
Pythagoras, in passing by the workshop of a smith, observed the strokes
that gave forth a particular chord; he then took into consideration
the weight of the hammer giving forth a certain harmony, and from that
determined mathematically the tone as related thereto.[44] And finally
he applied the same, and experimented in strings, by which means there
were three different relations presented to him—Diapason, Diapente,
and Diatessaron. It is known that the tone of a string, or, in the wind
instrument, of its equivalent, the column of air in a reed, depends on
three conditions; on its length, on its thickness, and on the amount
of tension. Now if we have two strings of equal thickness and length,
a difference in tension brings about a difference in sound. If we want
to know what tone any string has, we have only to consider its tension,
and this may be measured by the weight depending from the string,
by means of which it is extended. Pythagoras here found that if one
string were weighted with twelve pounds, and another with six (_λόγος
διπλάσιος_, 1 : 2) it would produce the musical chord of the octave
(_διὰ πασῶν_); the proportion of 8 : 12, or of 2 : 3 (_λόγος ἡμιόλιος_)
would give the chord of the fifth (_διὰ πέντε_); the proportion of 9
: 12, or 3 : 4 (_λόγος ἐπίτριτος_), the fourth (_διὰ τεσσάρων_).[45]
A different number of vibrations in like times determines the height
and depth of the tone, and this number is likewise proportionate to
the weight, if thickness and length are equal. In the first case, the
more distended string makes as many vibrations again as the other;
in the second case, it makes three vibrations for the other’s two,
and so it goes on. Here number is the real factor which determines
the difference, for tone, as the vibration of a body, is only a
quantitatively determined quiver or movement, that is, a determination
made through space and time. For there can be no determination for the
difference excepting that of number or the amount of vibrations in one
time; and hence a determination made through numbers is nowhere more
in place than here. There certainly are also qualitative differences,
such as those existing between the tones of metals and catgut strings,
and between the human voice and wind instruments; but the peculiar
musical relation borne by the tone of one instrument to another, in
which harmony is to be found, is a relationship of numbers.

From this point the Pythagoreans enter into further applications of
the theory of music, in which we cannot follow them. The _à priori_
law of progression, and the necessity of movement in number-relations,
is a matter which is entirely dark; minds confused may wander about at
will, for everywhere ideas are hinted at, and superficial harmonies
present themselves and disappear again. But in all that treats of the
further construction of the universe as a numerical system, we have
the whole extent of the confusion and turbidity of thought belonging
to the later Pythagoreans. We cannot say how much pains they took
to express philosophic thought in a system of numbers, and also to
understand the expressions given utterance to by others, and to put in
them all the meaning possible. When they determined the physical and
the moral universe by means of numbers, everything came into indefinite
and insipid relationships in which the Notion disappeared. In this
matter, however, so far as the older Pythagoreans are concerned, we
are acquainted with the main principles only. Plato exemplifies to us
the conception of the universe as a system of numbers, but Cicero and
the ancients always call these numbers the Platonic, and it does not
appear that they were ascribed to the Pythagoreans. It was thus later
on that this came to be said; even in Cicero’s time they had become
proverbially dark, and there is but little after all that is really old.

c. The Pythagoreans further constructed the heavenly bodies of the
visible universe by means of numbers, and here we see at once the
barrenness and abstraction present in the determination of numbers.
Aristotle says (Met. I. 5), “Because they defined numbers to be
the principles of all nature, they brought under numbers and their
relationships all determinations and all sections, both of the heavens
and of all nature; and where anything did not altogether conform, they
sought to supply the deficiency in order to bring about a harmony.
For instance, as the Ten or dekad appeared to them to be the perfect
number, or that which embraces the whole essence of numbers, they
said that the spheres moving in the heavens must be ten; but as only
nine of these are visible, they made out a tenth, the Antichthone
(_ἀντίχθονα_).” These nine are, first the milky way, or the fixed
stars, and after that the seven stars which were then all held to be
planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Sun, Moon, and in
the last and ninth place, the Earth. The tenth is thus the Antichthone,
and in regard to this it must remain uncertain whether the Pythagoreans
considered it to be the side of the Earth which is turned away, or as
quite another body.

Aristotle says, in reference to the specially physical character of
these spheres (De cœlo II. 13 and 9), “Fire was by the Pythagoreans
placed in the middle, but the Earth was made a star that moved around
this central body in a circle.” This circle is, then, a sphere, which,
as the most perfect of figures, corresponds to the dekad. We here
find a certain similarity to our ideas of the solar system, but the
Pythagoreans did not believe the fire to be the sun. “They thus,” says
Aristotle, “rely, not on sensuous appearance, but on reasons,” just as
we form conclusions in accordance with reasons as opposed to sensuous
appearances; and indeed this comes to us still as the first example of
things being in themselves different from what they appear. “This fire,
that which is in the centre, they called Jupiter’s place of watch.
Now these ten spheres make, like all that is in motion, a tone; but
each makes a different one, according to the difference in its size
and velocity. This is determined by means of the different distances,
which bear an harmonious relationship to one another, in accordance
with musical intervals; by this means an harmonious sound arises in the
moving spheres”—a universal chorus.

We must acknowledge the grandeur of this idea of determining everything
in the system of the heavenly spheres through number-relations which
have a necessary connection amongst themselves, and have to be
conceived of as thus necessarily related; it is a system of relations
which must also form the basis and essence of what can be heard, or
music. We have, comprehended here in thought, a system of the universe;
the solar system is alone rational to us, for the other stars are
devoid of interest. To say that there is music in the spheres, and
that these movements are tones, may seem just as comprehensible to us
as to say that the sun is still and the earth moves, although both are
opposed to the dictates of sense. For, seeing that we do not see the
movement, it may be that we do not hear the notes. And there is little
difficulty in imagining a universal silence in these vast spheres,
since we do not hear the chorus, but it is more difficult to give a
reason for not hearing this music. The Pythagoreans say, according to
the last quoted passage of Aristotle, that we do not hear it because
we live in it, like the smith who gets accustomed to the blows of
his hammer. Since it belongs to our substance and is identical with
ourselves, nothing else, such as silence, by which we might know
the other, comes into relationship with us, for we are conceived of
as entirely within the movement. But the movement does not become a
tone, in the first place, because pure space and time, the elements in
movement, can only raise themselves into a proper voice, unstimulated
from without, in an animate body, and movement first reaches this
definite, characteristic individuality in the animal proper; and, in
the next place, because the heavenly bodies are not related to one
another as bodies whose sound requires for its production, contact,
friction, or shock, in response to which, and as the negation of its
particularity its own momentary individuality resounds in elasticity;
for heavenly bodies are independent of one another, and have only a
general, non-individual, free motion.

We may thus set aside sound; the music of the spheres is indeed a
wonderful conception, but it is devoid of any real interest for us.
If we retain the conception that motion, as measure, is a necessarily
connected system of numbers, as the only rational part of the theory,
we must maintain that nothing further has transpired to the present
day. In a certain way, indeed, we have made an advance upon Pythagoras.
We have learned from Kepler about laws, about eccentricity, and the
relation of distances to the times of revolution, but no amount of
mathematics has as yet been able to give us the laws of progression
in the harmony through which the distances are determined. We know
empirical numbers well enough, but everything has the semblance of
accident and not of necessity. We are acquainted with an approximate
rule of distances, and thus have correctly foretold the existence
of planets where Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, &c., were afterwards
discovered—that is, between Mars and Jupiter. But astronomy has not as
yet found in it a consistent sequence in which there is rationality;
on the other hand, it even looks with disdain on the appearance of
regularity presented by this sequence, which is, however, on its own
account, a most important matter, and one which should not be forgotten.

d. The Pythagoreans also applied their principle to the Soul, and
thus determined what is spiritual as number. Aristotle (De anim. I.
2) goes on to tell that they thought that solar corpuscles are soul,
others, that it is what moves them; they adopted this idea because
the corpuscles are ever moving, even in perfect stillness, and hence
they must have motion of their own. This does not signify much, but
it is evident from it that the determination of self-movement was
sought for in the soul. The Pythagoreans made a further application
of number-conceptions to the soul after another form, which Aristotle
describes in the same place as follows:—“Thought is the one, knowledge
or science is the two, for it comes alone out of the one. The number
of the plane is popular idea, opinion; the number of the corporeal
is sensuous feeling. Everything is judged of either by thought, or
science, or opinion, or feeling.” In these ideas, which we must,
however, ascribe to later Pythagoreans, we may undoubtedly find some
adequacy, for while thought is pure universality, knowledge deals with
something “other,” since it gives itself a determination and a content;
but feeling is the most developed in its determinateness. “Now because
the soul moves itself, it is the self-moving number,” yet we never find
it said that it is connected with the monad.

This is a simple relationship to number-determinations. Aristotle
instances (De anim. I. 3) one more intricate from Timæus: “The soul
moves itself, and hence also the body because it is bound up with body;
it consists of elements and is divided according to harmonic numbers,
and hence it has feeling and an immediately indwelling (_σύμφυτον_)
harmony. In order that the whole may have an harmonious movement,
Timæus has bent the straight line of harmony (_εὐθυωρίαν_) into a
circle, and again divided off from the whole circle two circles,
which are doubly connected; and the one of these circles is again
divided into seven circles, so that the movements of the soul may
resemble those of the heavens.” The more definite significance of these
ideas Aristotle unfortunately has not given; they contain a profound
knowledge of the harmony of the whole, but yet they are forms which
themselves remain dark, because they are clumsy and unsuitable. There
is always a forcible turning and twisting, a struggle with the material
part of the representation, as there is in mythical and distorted
forms: nothing has the pliability of thought but thought itself. It
is remarkable that the Pythagoreans have grasped the soul as a system
which is a counterpart of the system of the heavens. In Plato’s Timæus
this same idea is more definitely brought forward. Plato also gives
further number-relations, but not their significance as well; even to
the present day no one has been able to make any particular sense out
of them. An arrangement of numbers such as this is easy, but to give to
it a real significance is difficult, and, when done, it always must be

There is still something worthy of attention in what is said by the
Pythagoreans in reference to the soul, and this is their doctrine
of the transmigration of souls. Cicero (Tusc. Quæst. I. 16) says:
“Pherecydes, the teacher of Pythagoras, first said that the souls
of men were immortal.” The doctrine of the transmigration of souls
extends even to India, and, without doubt, Pythagoras took it from
the Egyptians; indeed Herodotus (II. 123) expressly says so. After he
speaks of the mythical ideas of the Egyptians as to the lower world,
he continues: “The Egyptians were the first to say that the soul of
man is immortal, and that, when the body disappears, it goes into
another living being; and when it has gone through all the animals of
land and sea, and likewise birds, it again takes the body of a man,
the period being completed in 3000 years.” Diogenes Laertius says in
this connection (VIII. 14) that the soul, according to Pythagoras, goes
through a circle. “These ideas,” proceeds Herodotus, “are also found
amongst the Greeks; there are some who, earlier or later, have made
use of this particular doctrine, and have spoken of it as if it were
their own; I know their names very well, but I will not mention them.”
He undoubtedly meant Pythagoras and his followers. In the sequel,
much that is given utterance to is fictitious: “Pythagoras himself
is said to have stated that his former personality was known to him.
Hermes granted him a knowledge of his circumstances before his birth.
He lived as the son of Hermes, Æthalides, and then in the Trojan
war as Euphorbus, the son of Panthous, who killed Patroclus, and was
killed by Menelaus; in the third place he was Hermotimus; fourthly,
Pyrrhus, a fisherman of Delos; in all he lived 207 years. Euphorbus’
shield was offered up to Apollo by Menelaus, and Pythagoras went to the
temple and, from the mouldering shield, showed the existence of signs,
hitherto not known of, by which it was recognized.”[46] We shall not
treat further of these very various and foolish stories.

As in the case of the brotherhood copied from the Egyptian priesthood,
so must we here set aside this oriental and un-Greek idea of the
transmigration of souls. Both were too far removed from the Greek
spirit to have had a place and a development there. With the Greeks,
the consciousness of a higher, freer individuality has become too
strong to allow any permanence to the idea of metempsychosis, according
to which, man, this independent and self-sufficing Being, takes the
form of a beast. They have, indeed, the conception of men as becoming
springs of water, trees, animals, &c., but the idea of degradation
which comes as a consequence of sin, lies at its root. Aristotle (De
anim. I. 3) shortly and in his own manner deals with and annihilates
this idea of the Pythagoreans. “They do not say for what reason soul
dwells in body, nor how the latter is related to it. For owing to
their unity of nature when one acts the other suffers: one moves and
the other is moved, but none of this happens in what is mutually
contingent. According to the Pythagorean myths any soul takes to any
body, which is much like making architects take to flutes. For crafts
must necessarily have tools and soul body; but each tool must have
its proper form and kind.” It is implied in the transmigration of
souls that the organization of the body is something accidental to
the human soul; this refutation by Aristotle is complete. The eternal
idea of metempsychosis had philosophic interest only as the inner
Notion permeating all these forms, the oriental unity which appears in
everything; we have not got this signification here, or at best we have
but a glimmering of it. If we say that the particular soul is, as a
definite thing, to wander about throughout all, we find firstly, that
the soul is not a thing such as Leibnitz’ Monad, which, like a bubble
in the cup of coffee, is possibly a sentient, thinking soul; in the
second place an empty identity of the soul-thing such as this has no
interest in relation to immortality.

3. _Practical Philosophy_. As regards the practical philosophy of
Pythagoras, which is closely connected with what has gone before, there
is but little that is philosophic known to us. Aristotle (Magn. Moral.
I. 1) says of him that “he first sought to speak of virtue, but not in
the right way, for, because he deduced the virtues from numbers, he
could not form of them any proper theory.” The Pythagoreans adopted ten
virtues as well as ten heavenly spheres. Justice, amongst others, is
described as the number which is like itself in like manner (_ἴσακις
ἴσος_); it is an even number, which remains even when multiplied with
itself. Justice is pre-eminently what remains like itself; but this
is an altogether abstract determination, which applies to much that
is, and which does not exhaust the concrete, thus remaining quite

Under the name of the “Golden words,” we have a collection of
hexameters which are a succession of moral reflections, but which are
rightly ascribed to later Pythagoreans. They are old, well-known, moral
maxims, which are expressed in a simple and dignified way, but which
do not contain anything remarkable. They begin with the direction “to
honour the immortal gods as they are by law established,” and further,
“Honour the oath and then the illustrious heroes;” elsewhere they go
on to direct “honour to be paid to parents and to relatives,” &c.[47]
Such matter does not deserve to be regarded as philosophy, although it
is of importance in the process of development.

The transition from the form of outward morals to morality as existent,
is more important. As in Thales’ time, law-givers and administrators
of states were preeminent in possessing a physical philosophy, so we
see that with Pythagoras practical philosophy is advocated as the means
of constituting a moral life. There we have the speculative Idea,
the absolute essence, in its reality, and in a definite, sensuous
existence; and similarly the moral life is submerged in actuality
as the universal spirit of a people, and as their laws and rule. In
Pythagoras, on the contrary, we have the reality of absolute essence
raised, in speculation, out of sensuous reality, and expressed, though
still imperfectly, as the essence of thought. Morality is likewise
partly raised out of actuality as ordinarily known; it is certainly a
moral disposition of all actuality, but as a brotherhood, and not as
the life of a people. The Pythagorean League is an arbitrary existence
and not a part of the constitution recognized by public sanction; and
in his person Pythagoras isolated himself as teacher, as he also did
his followers. The universal consciousness, the spirit of a people, is
the substance of which the accident is the individual consciousness;
the speculative is thus the fact that pure, universal law is absolute,
individual consciousness, so that this last, because it draws therefrom
its growth and nourishment, becomes universal self-consciousness. These
two sides do not, however, come to us in the form of the opposition;
it is first of all in morality that there is properly this Notion of
the absolute individuality of consciousness which does everything on
its own account. But we see that it was really present to the mind
of Pythagoras that the substance of morality is the universal, from
an example in Diogenes Laertius (VIII. 16). “A Pythagorean answered
to the question of a father who inquired as to the best education he
could give his son, that it should be that which would make him the
citizen of a well-regulated State.” This answer is great and true; to
the great principle of living in the spirit of one’s people, all other
circumstances are subordinate. Nowadays men try to keep education free
from the spirit of the times, but they cannot withdraw themselves
from this supreme power, the State, for even if they try to separate
themselves, they unconsciously remain beneath this universal. The
speculative meaning of the practical philosophy of Pythagoras thus is,
that in this signification, the individual consciousness shall obtain
a moral reality in the brotherhood. But as number is a middle thing
between the sensuous and Notion, the Pythagorean brotherhood is a
middle between universal, actual morality and maintaining that in true
morality the individual, as an individual, is responsible for his own
behaviour; this morality ceases to be universal spirit. If we wish to
see practical philosophy reappear, we shall find it; but, on the whole,
we shall not see it become really speculative until very recent times.

We may satisfy ourselves with this as giving us an idea of the
Pythagorean system. I will, however, shortly give the principal
points of the criticism which Aristotle (Met. I. 8) makes upon the
Pythagorean number-form. He says justly, in the first place: “If only
the limited and the unlimited, the even and odd are made fundamental
ideas, the Pythagoreans do not explain how movement arises, and how,
without movement and change there can be coming into being and passing
away, or the conditions and activities of heavenly objects.” This
defect is significant; arithmetical numbers are dry forms and barren
principles in which life and movement are deficient. Aristotle says
secondly, “From number no other corporeal determinations, such as
weight and lightness, are conceivable;” or number thus cannot pass
into what is concrete. “They say that there is no number outside of
those in the heavenly spheres.” For instance, a heavenly sphere and
a virtue, or a natural manifestation in the earth, are determined as
one and the same number. Each of the first numbers may be exhibited
in each thing or quality; but in so far as number is made to express
a further determination, this quite abstract, quantitative difference
becomes altogether formal; it is as if the plant were five because it
has five stamens. This is just as superficial as are determination
through elements or through particular portions of the globe; it is a
method as formal as that by which men now try to apply the categories
of electricity, magnetism, galvanism, compression and expansion, of
manly and of womanly, to everything. It is a purely empty system of
determination where reality should be dealt with.

To Pythagoras and his disciples there are, moreover, many scientific
conclusions and discoveries ascribed, which, however, do not concern us
at all. Thus, according to Diogenes Laertius (VIII. 14, 27), he is said
to have known that the morning and evening star is the same, and that
the moon derives her light from the sun. We have already mentioned what
he says of music. But what is best known is the Pythagorean Theorem;
it really is the main proposition in geometry, and cannot be regarded
like any other theorem. According to Diogenes, (VIII. 12), Pythagoras,
on discovering the theorem, sacrificed a hecatomb, so important did he
think it; and it may indeed seem remarkable that his joy should have
gone so far as to ordain a great feast to which rich men and all the
people were invited. It was worth the trouble; it was a rejoicing, a
feast of spiritual cognition—at the cost of the oxen.

Other ideas which are brought forward by the Pythagoreans casually and
without any connection, have no philosophic interest, and need only
be mentioned. Aristotle, for instance, says (Phys. IV. 6) that “the
Pythagoreans believed in an empty space which the heavens inspire, and
an empty space which separates natural things and brings about the
distinction between continuous and discrete; it first exists in numbers
and makes them to be different.” Diogenes Laertius (VIII. 26-28) says
much more, all of which is dull; this is like the later writers,
who, generally speaking, take up what is external and devoid of any
intellectual meaning. “The air which encircles the earth is immovable”
(_ἄσειστον_, at least through itself) “and diseased, and all that is
in it is mortal; but what is highest is in continual movement, pure
and healthy, and in it everything is immortal—divine. Sun, moon and
the other stars are gods, for in them warmth has predominance and is
the cause of life. Man is related to the gods because he participates
in warmth, and hence God cares for us. A ray penetrates from the sun
through the thick and cold ether and gives life to everything; they
call air, cold ether, the sea and moisture, thick ether. The soul is a
detached portion of ether.”


The Pythagorean philosophy has not yet got the speculative form of
expression for the Notion. Numbers are not pure Notion, but Notion in
the form of ordinary idea or sensuous perception, and hence a mixture
of both. This expression of absolute essence in what is a pure Notion
or something thought, and the movement of the Notion or of Thought,
is that which we find must come next, and this we discover in the
Eleatic school. In it we see thought becoming free for itself; and in
that which the Eleatics express as absolute essence, we see Thought
grasp itself in purity, and the movement of Thought in Notions. In
the physical philosophy we saw movement represented as an objective
movement, as an origination and passing away. The Pythagoreans
similarly did not reflect upon these Notions, and also treated their
essence, Number, as fleeting. But since alteration is now grasped in
its highest abstraction as Nothing, this objective movement changes
into a subjective one, comes over to the side of consciousness, and
existence becomes the unmoved. We here find the beginning of dialectic,
_i.e._ simply the pure movement of thought in Notions; likewise we
see the opposition of thought to outward appearance or sensuous
Being, or of that which is implicit to the being-for-another of this
implicitness, and in the objective existence we see the contradiction
which it has in itself, or dialectic proper. When we reflect in
anticipation on how the course of pure thought must be formed, we
find (_α_) that pure thought (pure Being, the One) manifests itself
immediately in its rigid isolation and self-identity, and everything
else as null; (_β_) that the hitherto timid thought—which after it
is strengthened, ascribes value to the “other” and constitutes itself
therefrom—shows that it then grasps the other in its simplicity and
even in so doing shows its nullity; (_γ_) finally, Thought manifests
the other in the manifold nature of its determinations. We shall see
this in the development and culture of the Eleatics in history. These
Eleatic propositions still have interest for Philosophy, and are
moments which must necessarily there appear.

Xenophanes, Parmenides, Melissus and Zeno are to be reckoned as
belonging to this school. Xenophanes may be regarded as the founder
of it; Parmenides is supposed to have been his pupil, and Melissus,
and especially Zeno, are called the pupils of Parmenides. In fact,
they are to be taken together as forming the Eleatic school; later on
it lost the name, being then called Sophistic, and its locality was
transferred to Greece proper. What Xenophanes began, Parmenides and
Melissus developed further, and similarly Zeno perfected what these
two taught. Aristotle (Metaph. I. 5) characterizes the first three
thus: “Parmenides seems to comprehend the one as Notion (_κατὰ τὸν
λόγον_), Melissus as matter (_κατὰ τὴν ὕλην_); hence the former says
that it is limited (_πεπερασμένον_) and the latter that it is unlimited
(_ἄπειρον_). But Xenophanes, who was the first of them to express the
theory of the One, made the matter no plainer (_διεσαφήνισεν_), nor did
he deal with either of these aspects (_φύσεως_), but looking into the
heavens”—as we say, into the blue—“said, God is the One. Xenophanes
and Melissus are on the whole less civilized (_μικρὸν ἀγροικότεροι_);
Parmenides, however, is more acute (_μᾶλλον βλέπων_).” There is less to
say of Xenophanes and Melissus, and what has come to us from the latter
in particular—in fragments and derived from the sayings of others—is
still in a state of ferment, and in his case there is least knowledge
obtainable. On the whole, philosophic utterances and Notions are still
poor, and it was in Zeno that Philosophy first attained to a purer
expression of itself.


The period at which he lived is clear enough, and as this suffices,
it is a matter of indifference that the year of his birth and of his
death is unknown. According to Diogenes Laertius (IX. 18), he was
contemporary with Anaximander and Pythagoras. Of his circumstances
further than this, it is only known that he, for reasons which are
unknown, escaped from his native town, Colophon, in Asia Minor, to
Magna Græcia, and resided for the most part at Zancle, (now Messina)
and Catana (still called Catania) in Sicily. I find it nowhere said
by the ancients that he lived at Elea, although all recent writers on
the history of Philosophy repeat it, one after the other. Tennemann,
in particular, says (Vol. I. pp. 151 and 414), that about the 61st
Olympiad (536 B.C.), he repaired from Colophon to Elea. Diogenes
Laertius (IX. 20), however, only says that he flourished about the 60th
Olympiad and that he made two thousand verses on the colonization of
Elea, from which it might be easily concluded that he was also born
at Elea. Strabo says this in the beginning of his sixth book—when
describing Elea—of Parmenides and Zeno only, and these he called
Pythagoreans; hence, according to Cicero (Acad. Quæst. IV. 42) the
Eleatic school took its name from these two. Xenophanes was nearly a
hundred years old, and lived to see the Median wars: it is said that he
became so poor that he had not the means of having his children buried,
and was obliged to do so with his own hands. Some say that he had no
teacher; others name Archelaus, which is a chronological error.

He wrote a book “On Nature,” the general subject and title of
Philosophy at that time; some verses have been preserved to us which so
far show no powers of reasoning. Professor Brandis of Bonn collected
them together, with the fragments of Parmenides and Melissus, under
the title “Commentationum Eleaticarum, P. 1,” Altonæ, 1813. The older
philosophers wrote in verse, for prose comes much later on; on account
of the awkward and confused mode of expression in Xenophanes’ poems,
Cicero calls them (Acad. Quæst. IV. 23): _minus boni versus_.

As to his philosophy, Xenophanes in the first place maintained absolute
existence to be the one, and likewise called this God. “The all is
One and God is implanted in all things; He is unchangeable, without
beginning, middle or end.”[48] In some verses by Xenophanes found in
Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. V. 14, p. 714, ed. Potter), it is said:

  “One God is greatest amongst gods and men.
  Neither like unto mortals in spirit or in form;”

and in Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. IX. 144):

  “He sees everywhere, thinks everywhere, and hears everywhere,”

to which words Diogenes Laertius (IX, 19) adds: “Thought and reason
are everything and eternal.” By this Xenophanes denied the truth of the
conceptions of origination and of passing away, of change, movement,
&c., seeing that they merely belong to sensuous perception. “He found,”
says Tennemann (Vol. I. p. 156) “all origination to be inconceivable:”
the One as the immediate product of pure thought, is, in its immediacy,

For us the determination of Being is already known and trivial, but
if we know about Being, the One, we place this, as a particular
determination, in a line with all the rest. Here, on the contrary, it
signifies that all else has no reality and is only a semblance. We
must forget our own ideas; we know of God as Spirit. But, because the
Greeks only had before them the sensuous world, these gods of their
imagination, and found in them no satisfaction, they rejected all
as being untrue, and thus came to pure thought. This is a wonderful
advance, and thought thus becomes for the first time free for itself in
the Eleatic school. Being, the One of the Eleatic school, is just this
immersion in the abyss of the abstract identity of the understanding.
Just as this comes first, so it also comes last, as that to which the
understanding comes back, and this is proved in recent times when God
is grasped only as the highest Being. If we say of God that this the
highest Being is outside of and over us, we can know nothing more of
it but that it is, and thus it is the undetermined; for if we knew of
determinations, this would be to possess knowledge. The truth then
simply is that God is the One, not in the sense that there is one God
(this is another determination), but only that He is identical with
Himself; in this there is no other determination, any more than in the
utterance of the Eleatic school. Modern thought has, indeed, passed
through a longer path, not only through what is sensuous, but also
through philosophic ideas and predicates of God, to this all negating
abstraction; but the content, the result arrived at is the same.

With this the dialectic reasoning of the Eleatics is closely connected
in respect that they have also proved that nothing can originate or
pass away. This deduction is to be found in Aristotle’s work, De
Xenophane, Zenone et Gorgia, c. 3. “It is impossible, he says,[49] that
if anything is, it arises (and he even applies this to the Godhead);
for it must arise either from the like or from the unlike. But both are
equally impossible: for it is no more probable that the like should be
engendered from the like, than that it should engender it, for the like
must have determinations identical with one another.” In acknowledging
similarity, the distinction between begetting and begotten falls away.
“Just as little can unlike arise from unlike, for if from the weaker
the stronger takes its rise; or from the smaller, the greater; or from
the worse, the better: or if, conversely, the worse proceeds from the
better, non-being would result from Being: this is impossible, and thus
God is eternal.” The same thing has been expressed as Pantheism or
Spinozaism, which rests on the proposition _ex nihilo fit nihil_. The
unity of God is further proved by Xenophanes: “If God is the mightiest,
He must be One; for were He two or more, He would not have dominion
over the others, but, not having dominion over the others, He could not
be God. Thus were there several, they would be relatively more powerful
or weaker, and thus they would not be gods, for God’s nature is to have
nothing mightier than He. Were they equal, God would no longer possess
the quality of being the mightiest, for the like is neither worse nor
better than the like”—or it does not differ therefrom. “Hence if
God is, and is such as this, He is only one; He could not, were there
several, do what He willed. Since He is one, He is everywhere alike.
He hears, sees and has also the other senses everywhere, for were this
not the case, the parts of God would be one more powerful than the
other, which is impossible. Since God is everywhere alike, He has a
spherical form, for He is not here thus and elsewhere different, but is
everywhere the same. Since He is eternal and one and spherical in form,
He is neither unlimited nor limited. To be unlimited is non-being;
for that has neither middle, beginning, end, nor part; and what is
unlimited corresponds to this description. But whatever non-being is,
Being is not. Mutual limitation would take place if there were several,
but since there is only One, it is not limited. The one does not move
itself, nor is it unmoved; to be unmoved is non-being, for to it none
other comes, nor does it go into another; but to be moved must mean to
be several, for one must move into another. Thus the One neither rests
nor is it moved, for it is neither non-being nor is it many. In all
this God is thus indicated; He is eternal and One, like Himself and
spherical, neither unlimited nor limited, neither at rest nor moved.”
From this result, that nothing can arise from the like or from the
unlike, Aristotle (De Xenophane, Zenone et Gorgia c. 4) draws this
conclusion: “that either there is nothing excepting God, or all else is

We here see a dialectic which may be called metaphysical reasoning, in
which the principle of identity is fundamental. “The nothing is like
nothing and does not pass into Being or conversely; thus nothing can
originate from like.” This, the oldest mode of argument, holds its
place even to the present day, as, for example, in the so-called proof
of the unity of God. This proceeding consists of making presuppositions
such as the power of God, and from them drawing conclusions and denying
the existence of predicates; that is the usual course in our mode of
reasoning. In respect of determinations, it must be remarked that
they, as being negative, are all kept apart from the positive and
merely real being. We reach this abstraction by a more ordinary way,
and do not require a dialectic such as that of the Eleatic school: we
say God is unchangeable, change concerns finite things alone (which
we represent as an empirical proposition); on the one hand we thus
have finite things and change, and on the other, unchangeableness in
this abstract absolute unity with itself. It is the same separation,
only that we also allow the finite to be Being, which the Eleatics
deny. Or else we too proceed from finite things to kinds and genera,
leaving the negative out bit by bit; and the highest order of all is
God, who, as the highest Being, is affirmative only, but devoid of any
determination. Or we pass from what is finite to the infinite, for we
say that the finite as limited must have its basis in the infinite.
In all these different forms which are quite familiar to us, there is
the same difficult question which exists in reference to the Eleatic
thought. Whence comes determination and how is it to be grasped—how
is it in the one, leaving the finite aside, and also how does the
infinite pass out into the finite? The Eleatics in their reflections
were distinguished from this our ordinary reflecting thought, in that
they went speculatively to work (the speculative element being that
change does not exist at all) and that they thus showed that, as Being
was presupposed, change in itself is contradictory and inconceivable.
For from the one, from Being, the determination of the negative, of
the manifold, is withdrawn. Thus while we, in our conception, allow
the actuality of the finite world, the Eleatics are more consistent,
in that they proceeded to say that only the One exists and that the
negative does not exist at all;—a consequence which, if it necessarily
arouses in us surprise, still none the less remains a great abstraction.

Sceptics saw in this the point of view of the uncertainty of all
things, and Sextus several times[50] quotes verses such as these:—

  “No man at any time knew clearly and truly; nor will he ever know
  What of the gods I say, as also of the universe.
  For what he thinks to speak most perfectly
  He knows that not at all; his own opinions cleave to all.”

Sextus, generalizing, explains this in the first passage thus: “Let us
imagine that in a house in which are many valuables, there were those
who sought for gold by night; in such a case everyone would think that
he had found the gold, but would not know certainly whether he actually
had found it. Thus philosophers come into this world as into a great
house to seek the truth, but were they to reach it, they could not tell
whether they really had attained to it.” The indefinite expressions
of Xenophanes might also merely mean that none knows that which he
(Xenophanes) here makes known. In the second passage Sextus puts it
thus: “Xenophanes does not make all knowledge void, but only the
scientific and infallible; opinionative knowledge is, however, left. He
expresses this in saying that opinion cleaves to all. So that with him
the criterion is made to be opinion, i.e. the apparent, and not that
which is firm and sure; Parmenides, on the contrary, condemns opinion.”
But from his doctrine of the One, there follows the annihilation of
ordinary ideas, which is what he did in the foregoing dialectic; it
is evident, however, that nobody could know the truth which he hereby
utters. If a thought such as this passed through one’s head, one could
not tell that it was true, and in such a case it would only be an

We here find in Xenophanes a double consciousness; a pure consciousness
and consciousness of Being, and a consciousness of opinion. The former
was to him the consciousness of the divine, and it is the pure
dialectic, which is negatively related to all that is determined and
which annuls it. The manner in which he expresses himself towards the
sensuous world and finite thought-determinations is seen most clearly
in his allusions to the Greek mythological conceptions of the gods. He
says, amongst other things, according to Brandis (Comment. Eleat. P. I.
p. 68):—

  “Did beasts and lions only have hands,
  Works of art thereby to bring forth, as do men,
  They would, in creating divine forms, give to them
  What in image and size belongs to themselves.”

He also animadverts on the ideas of the gods held by Homer and Hesiod
in verses which Sextus (adv. Math. IX. 193) has preserved to us:—

  “Hesiod and Homer have attached to the gods
  All that which brings shame and censure to men;
  Stealing, adultery, and mutual deceit.”

As, on the one hand, he defined absolute Being to be simple, making
that which is, however, break through and be immediately present in
it, on the other hand he philosophizes on appearances; in reference to
this certain fragments only are transmitted to us, and such physical
opinions as these can have no great interest. They are meant to have no
speculative significance any more than are those of our own physicists.
When he says in this connection

  “Out of the earth comes all, and returns to it again,
  We all have come from earth and water alike,
  Thus all that grows and takes its rise is only earth and water,”[51]

this does not signify existence, physical principles, as did the water
of Thales. For Aristotle expressly says, that no one regarded the earth
as the absolute principle.


Parmenides is a striking figure in the Eleatic school, and he arrives
at more definite conceptions than does Xenophanes. He was, according
to Diogenes (IX. 21), born at Elea of a rich and honourable race. Of
his life, however, little is known; Aristotle only says (Met. I. 5)
from tradition that he was a scholar of Xenophanes. Sextus Empiricus
(adv. Math. VII. 111) calls him a friend (_γνώριμος_) of Xenophanes.
Diogenes Laertius further states: “He heard Anaximander and Xenophanes
also, but did not follow the latter” (which seems only to refer to
his place of abode), “but he lived with Aminias and Diochartes the
Pythagorean, attached himself to the latter, and by the former, and
not by Xenophanes, was prevailed upon to lead a quiet life.” That the
period in which his life falls comes between Xenophanes and Zeno—so
that he is contemporaneous with them, though younger than the former
and older than the latter—is ascertained. According to Diogenes (IX.
23) he flourished about the 69th Olympiad (504-501 B.C.). What is
most important is his journey to Athens with Zeno, where Plato makes
them talk with Socrates. This may be accepted generally, but what is
strictly historical in it cannot be ascertained. In the Thætetus Plato
makes Socrates reply to the invitation to examine the Eleatic system:
“For Melissus and the others who assert the All to be One at rest,
I have a certain respect; I have even more for Parmenides. For, to
speak in Homeric language, he seems to me both venerable and strong.
I knew him when he was an old man and I was still quite young, and I
heard wonderful things from him.”[52] And in the Platonic Dialogue
Parmenides (p. 127. Steph. p. 4. Bekk.) where, as is well known, the
conversation is carried on by Parmenides and Socrates, the historic
circumstances of this interview are related in detail. “Parmenides was
very old, had hair which was quite grey, was beautiful in countenance,
about sixty-five years old, and Zeno almost forty.” Tennemann (Vol. I.
p. 415) places the journey in the 80th Olympiad (460-457 B.C.). Thus
Socrates, since he was born in Olympiad 77, 4 (469 B.C.), would seem to
have been still too young to have carried on a dialogue such as Plato
describes, and the principal matter of this dialogue, which is written
in the spirit of the Eleatic school, belongs to Plato himself. Besides,
we know from Parmenides’ life, that he stood in high respect with his
fellow-citizens at Elea, whose prosperity must be chiefly ascribed to
the laws which Parmenides gave them.[53] We also find in the _πίναξ_ of
Cebes (towards the beginning) “a Parmenidian life” used synonymously
with a moral life.

It must be remarked that here, where the Eleatic school is definitely
treated of, Plato does not speak of Xenophanes at all, but only of
Melissus and Parmenides. The fact that Plato, in one of his dialogues,
likewise accords the chief part to Parmenides, and puts in his mouth
the most lofty dialectic that ever was given, does not concern us here.
If with Xenophanes, by the proposition that out of nothing nothing
comes, origination and what depends upon or can be traced back to it is
denied, the opposition between Being and non-being makes its appearance
still more clearly with Parmenides, though still unconsciously. Sextus
Empiricus and Simplicius have preserved to us the most important
fragments from the poems of Parmenides; for Parmenides also propounded
his philosophy as a poem. The first long fragment in Sextus (adv. Math.
VII. 111) is an allegorical preface to his poem on Nature. This preface
is majestic; it is written after the manner of the times, and in it all
there is an energetic, impetuous soul which strives with Being to grasp
and to express it. We can show Parmenides’ philosophy best in his own
words. The introduction runs thus:—

  “Horses that bore me, impelled by their courage,
  Brought me to the much-famed streets of the goddess
  Who leads the wise man to every kind of knowledge.
  Maidens point out the way.
  The axle sings hot as the daughters of Helios quickly approach,
  Leaving the dwelling of night, pressing on to the light,
  With mighty hands raising the sheltering veil.”

The maidens are, according to Sextus (adv. Math. VII. 112, 113), the
senses, and Helios’ daughters are more especially the eyes:—

  “These are the gates of the pathways of night and of day.
  Now the heavenly maidens approach the great doors,
  Whose lock double-turned the punishing Dice protects.
  To this one soft words were by the maidens addressed
  Subtly persuading her the barriers of oak from the gates,
  Now to withdraw. Yet these,
  Directly the yawning breadth of the doors was revealed,
  Drove the horses and waggon, on through the gate.
  The goddess received me in friendship, seized with her one hand my
  And turning towards me, she said:
  ‘Oh, thou, who with guides all immortal and horses,
  Camest here in my palace,—be welcome, young man.
  For no evil fate has led thee into this path,
  (Indeed it lies far from the ways of a man)
  But Themis and Dice. Now shalt thou all things explore,
  The heart never-flinching of the truth that persuades,
  The transient opinions which are not to be trusted.
  But from such paths keep the inquiring soul far away.
  On this way let not the much followed custom
  Cause thee to take the rash eye as thy guide,
  Or the confused sounding ear and the tongue. Ponder considerately
  With thy reason alone, the doctrine much and often examined,
  Which I will proclaim. For there lacks but desire on your way.’”

The goddess develops everything from the double knowledge (_α_)
of thought, of the truth, and (_β_) of opinion; these make up the
two parts of the poem. In another fragment taken from Simplicius’
Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics (p. 25; 19 a) and from Proclus
on the Timæus (p. 29 b), we have the principal part of what is here
related preserved to us. “Understand,” says the goddess, “which are the
two roads of knowledge. The one which is only Being, and which is not
non-being, is the path of conviction, the truth is in it. The other
that is not Being, and which is necessarily non-being, is, I must tell
you, a path quite devoid of reason, for thou canst neither know, or
attain to, or express, non-being.” The nothing, in fact, turns into
something, since it is thought or is said: we say something, think
something, if we wish to think and say the nothing. “It is necessary
that saying and thinking should be Being; for Being is, but nothing is
not at all.” There the matter is stated in brief; and in this nothing,
falls negation generally, or in more concrete form, limitation, the
finite, restriction: _determinatio est negatio_ is Spinoza’s great
saying. Parmenides says, whatever form the negation may take, it
does not exist at all. To consider the nothing as the true is “the
way of error in which the ignorant and double-minded mortals wander.
Perplexity of mind sways the erring sense. Those who believe Being
and non-being to be the same, and then again not the same, are like
deaf and blind men surprised, like hordes confusedly driven.” The
error is to confuse them and to ascribe the same value to each, or to
distinguish them as if non-being were the limited generally. “Whichever
way is taken, it leads back to the point from which it started.” It is
a constantly self-contradictory and disintegrating movement. To human
ideas, now this is held to be reality and now its opposite, and then
again a mixture of both.

Simplicius quotes further, in writing on Aristotle’s Physics (p.
17 a; 31, 19): “But the truth is only the ‘is’; this is neither
begotten of anything else, nor transient, entire, alone in its class
(_μουνογενές_), unmoved and without end; it neither was, nor will be,
but is at once the all. For what birth wouldst thou seek for it? How
and whence should it be augmented? That it should be from that which
is not, I shall allow thee neither to say nor to think, for neither
can it be said or thought that the ‘is’ is not. What necessity had
either later or earlier made it begin from the nothing? Thus must it
throughout only be or not be; nor will any force of conviction ever
make something else arise out of that which is not. Thus origination
has disappeared, and decease is incredible. Being is not separable,
for it is entirely like itself; it is nowhere more, else would it not
hold together, nor is it less, for everything is full of Being. The all
is one coherent whole, for Being flows into unison with Being: it is
unchangeable and rests securely in itself; the force of necessity holds
it within the bounds of limitation. It cannot hence be said that it is
imperfect; for it is without defect, while non-existence is wanting in
all.” This Being is not the undetermined (_ἄπειρον_) for it is kept
within the limits of necessity; we similarly find in Aristotle that
limitation is ascribed to Parmenides. The sense in which the expression
“limit” is to be taken is uncertain. According to Parmenides, however,
this absolute limitation is as _Δίκη_, absolute necessity clearly
determined in itself; and it is an important fact that he went beyond
the uncultured conception of the infinite. “Thought, and that on
account of which thought is, are the same. For not without that which
is, in which it expresses itself (_ἐν ᾦ πεφατισμένον ἐστίν_), wilt thou
find Thought, seeing that it is nothing and will be nothing outside of
that which is.” That is the main point. Thought produces itself, and
what is produced is a Thought. Thought is thus identical with Being,
for there is nothing beside Being, this great affirmation. Plotinus,
in quoting (V. Ennead. I. 8) this last fragment says: “Parmenides
adopted this point of view, inasmuch as he did not place Being in
sensuous things; identifying Being with Thought, he maintained it to be
unchangeable.” The Sophists concluded from this: “All is truth; there
is no error, for error is the non-existent, that which is not to be

Since in this an advance into the region of the ideal is observable,
Parmenides began Philosophy proper. A man now constitutes himself free
from all ideas and opinions, denies their truth, and says necessity
alone, Being, is the truth. This beginning is certainly still dim and
indefinite, and we cannot say much of what it involves; but to take
up this position certainly is to develop Philosophy proper, which has
not hitherto existed. The dialectic that the transient has no truth,
is implied in it, for if these determinations are taken as they are
usually understood, contradictions ensue. In Simplicius (in Arist.
Phys. p. 27 b.; 31 b.) we have further metaphorical images from
Parmenides. “Since the utmost limit of Being is perfect, it resembles
on every side the form of a well rounded sphere, which from its centre
extends in all directions equally, for it can be neither larger or
smaller in one part or another. There is no non-being which prevents it
from attaining to the like”—from coming into unity with itself—“and
there is no Being where it was devoid of Being, here more and there
less. Because the all is without defect, it is in all places in the
same way like itself in its determinations.” Plotinus in the passage
quoted says: “He compares Being with the spherical form, because it
comprehends all in itself, and Thought is not outside of this, but is
contained in it.” And Simplicius says: “We must not wonder at him,
for on account of the poetic form, he adopts a mythological fiction
(_πλάσματος_).” It immediately strikes us that the sphere is limited,
and furthermore in space, and hence another must be above it; but
then the Notion of the sphere is the similarity of withholding the
different, notwithstanding that even the undifferentiated must be
expressed; hence this image is inconsistent.

Parmenides adds to this doctrine of the truth, the doctrine of human
opinions, the illusive system of the world. Simplicius, writing on
Aristotle’s Physics (p. 7 b; 39 a), tells us that he says: “Men have
two forms of opinion, one of which should not be, and in it they
are mistaken; they set them in opposition to one another in form
and symbol. The one, the ethereal fire of the flame, is quite fine,
identical with itself throughout, but not identical with the other,
for that is also for itself; on the other hand there is what belongs
to night, or thick and ponderous existence.” By the former, warmth,
softness, lightness is expressed, and by the latter, cold. “But since
everything is called light and night, and their qualities are suited
both to the one kind of things and the other, everything alike is
filled with light and dark night; both are alike since nothing exists
without both.” Aristotle (Met. I. 3 and 5), and the other historians,
likewise unanimously attribute to Parmenides the fact that he sets
forth two principles for the system of manifest things, warmth and
cold, through the union of which everything is. Light, fire, is the
active and animate; night, cold, is called the passive.

Parmenides also speaks like a Pythagorean—he was called _ἀνὲρ
Πυθαγορεῖος_ by Strabo—in the following, and likewise mythological
conception: “There are circlets wound round one another, one of which
is of the rare element and the other of the dense, between which others
are to be found, composed of light and darkness mingled. Those which
are less are of impure fire, but those over them of night, through
which proceed the forces of the flames. That which holds this all
together, however, is something fixed, like a wall, under which there
is a fiery wreath, and the most central of the rare spheres again is
fiery. The most central of those mixed is the goddess that reigns over
all, the Divider (_κληροῦχος_), Dice and Necessity. For she is the
principle of all earthly produce and intermingling, which impels the
male to mix with the female, and conversely; she took Love to help
her, creating him first amongst the gods. The air is an exhalation
(_ἀναπνοή_) of the earth; the sun and the milky way, the breath of
fire; and the moon is air and fire mingled, &c.”[54]

It still remains to us to explain the manner in which Parmenides
regarded sensation and thought, which may undoubtedly at first sight
seem to be materialistic. Theophrastus,[55] for example, remarks in
this regard: “Parmenides said nothing more than that there are two
elements. Knowledge is determined according to the preponderance of
the one or of the other; for, according as warmth or cold predominate,
thought varies; it becomes better and purer through warmth, and yet it
requires also a certain balance.”

  “For as in each man there still is in his dispersive limbs an
  So is the understanding of man; for that
  Which is thought by men, is the nature of the limbs,
  Both in one and all; for thought is indeed the most.”[56]

He thus takes sensation and thought to be the same, and makes
remembrance and oblivion to arise from these through mingling them,
but whether in the intermingling they take an equal place, whether
this is thought or not, and what condition this is, he leaves quite
undetermined. But that he ascribes sensation to the opposites in and
for themselves is clear, because he says: “The dead do not feel
light or warmth or hear voices, because the fire is out of them;
they feel cold, stillness and the opposite, however, and, speaking
generally, each existence has a certain knowledge.” In fact, this view
of Parmenides is really the opposite of materialism, for materialism
consists in putting together the soul from parts, or independent forces
(the wooden horse of the senses).


There is little to tell about the life of Melissus. Diogenes Laertius
(IX. 24) calls him a disciple of Parmenides, but the discipleship is
uncertain; it is also said of him that he associated with Heraclitus.
He was born in Samos, like Pythagoras, and was besides a distinguished
statesman amongst his people. It is said by Plutarch (in Pericle, 26)
that, as admiral of the Samians, he gained in battle a victory over the
Athenians. He flourished about the 84th Olympiad (444 B.C.).

In regard to his philosophy, too, there is little to say. Aristotle,
where he mentions him, places him always with Parmenides, as resembling
him in mode of thought. Simplicius, writing on Aristotle’s Physics
(p. 7 sqq.), has preserved several fragments of his prose writings on
Nature, which show the same kind of thoughts and arguments as we find
in Parmenides, but, in part, somewhat more developed. It was a question
whether the reasoning in which it is shown that change does not exist,
or contradicts itself, which, by Aristotle in his incomplete, and, in
some parts, most corrupt work on Xenophanes, Zeno, and Gorgias (c. 2.),
was ascribed to Xenophanes, did not really belong to Melissus.[57]

Since the beginning, in which we are told whose reasoning it is, is
wanting, conjecture only applies it to Xenophanes. The writing begins
with the words “He says,” without any name being given. It thus depends
on the superscription alone whether Aristotle speaks of the philosophy
of Xenophanes or not, and it must be noticed that different hands have
put different superscriptions. Indeed, there is in this work (c. 2) an
opinion of Xenophanes mentioned in such a way that it appears as though
had what was previously quoted by Aristotle been by him ascribed to
Xenophanes, the expression would have been different. It is possible
that Zeno is meant, as the internal evidence abundantly shows. There
is in it a dialectic more developed in form, more real reflexion, than
from the verses could be expected, not from Xenophanes alone, but even
from Parmenides. For Aristotle expressly says that Xenophanes does not
yet determine with precision; thus the cultured reasoning contained in
Aristotle must certainly be denied to Xenophanes; at least, it is so
far certain that Xenophanes himself did not know how to express his
thoughts in a manner so orderly and precise as that found here. We find
it said:—

“If anything is, it is eternal (_ἀΐδιον_).” Eternity is an awkward
word, for it immediately makes us think of time and mingle past and
future as an infinite length of time; but what is meant is that
_ἀΐδιον_ is the self-identical, supersensuous, unchangeable, pure
present, which is without any time-conception. It is, origination and
change are shut out; if it commences, it does so out of nothing or
out of Being. “It is impossible that anything should arise from the
nothing. If everything could have arisen, or could it merely not have
been everything eternally, it would equally have arisen out of nothing.
For, if everything had arisen, nothing would once have existed. If some
were alone the existent out of which the rest sprang, the one would be
more and greater. But the more and greater would thus have arisen out
of the nothing of itself, for in the less there is not its more, nor in
the smaller its greater.”

Simplicius makes this note to the Physics of Aristotle (p. 22 b): “No
more can anything arise out of the existent, for the existent already
is, and thus does not first arise from the existent.”

“As eternal, the existent also is unlimited, since it has no beginning
from which it came, nor end in which it ceases. The infinite all is
one, for, if there were two or more, they would limit one another,”
and thus have a beginning and end. The one would be the nothing of the
other and come forth from this nothing. “This one is like itself; for
if it were unlike it would no longer be the one that was posited, but
many. This one is likewise immovable, inasmuch as it does not move
itself, since it does not pass out into anything. In passing out, it
would require to do so into what is full or what is empty; it could
not be into the full, for that is an impossibility, and just as little
could it be into what is empty, for that is the nothing. The one,
therefore, is in this way devoid of pain or suffering, not changing in
position or form, or mingling with what is different. For all these
determinations involve the origination of non-being and passing away
of Being, which is impossible.” Thus here again the contradiction
which takes place when origination and passing away are spoken of, is

Now Melissus places opinion in opposition to this truth. The change
and multiplicity extinguished in Being appears on the other side, in
consciousness, as in what is opinionative; it is necessary to say this
if only the negative side, the removal of these moments, the Absolute
as destitute of predicate, is laid hold of. “In sensuous perception the
opposite is present for us; that is to say, a number of things, their
change, their origination and passing away, and their intermingling.
Thus that first knowledge must take its place beside this second,
which has as much certainty for ordinary consciousness as the first.”
Melissus does not seem to have decided for the one or the other, but,
oscillating between both, to have limited the knowledge of the truth to
the statement that, speaking generally, between two opposite modes of
presentation, the more probable opinion is to be preferred, but that
what is so preferred is only to be regarded as the stronger opinion,
and not as truth. This is what Aristotle says of him.

Since Aristotle, in distinguishing his philosophy from the philosophy
of Parmenides, maintains that in the first place Parmenides seems
to understand the One as the principle of thought, and Melissus as
matter, we must remark that this distinction falls away in pure
existence, Being, or the One. Pure matter, as also pure thought (if
I am to speak of such a distinction), are not present to Parmenides
and Melissus, since they are abrogated; and it must only be in the
manner of his expression that one of them—according to Aristotle
(Phys. I. 2), on account of his clumsier mode of treatment (_μᾶλλον
φορτικός_)—could seem to have conceived of the other sense. If the
difference consisted secondly in the fact that Parmenides regarded the
one as limited and Melissus as unlimited, this limitation of the one
would, in effect, immediately contradict the philosophy of Parmenides;
for since limit is the non-being of Being, non-being would thus be
posited. But when Parmenides speaks of limit, we see that his poetic
language is not altogether exact; limit, however, as pure limit, is
just simple Being and absolute negativity, in which all else said and
set forth is sublated. Necessity, as this pure negativity and movement
within itself, although impassive thought, is absolutely bound to
its opposite. In the third place it may be said that Parmenides set
forth a concomitant philosophy of opinion or reality, to which Being
as existence for thought was thus more opposed than was the case with

4. ZENO.

What specially characterizes Zeno is the dialectic which, properly
speaking, begins with him; he is the master of the Eleatic school in
whom its pure thought arrives at the movement of the Notion in itself
and becomes the pure soul of science. That is to say, in the Eleatics
hitherto considered, we only have the proposition: “The nothing has
no reality and is not at all, and thus what is called origin and
decease disappears.” With Zeno, on the contrary, we certainly see just
such an assertion of the one and removal of what contradicts it, but
we also see that this assertion is not made the starting point; for
reason begins by calmly demonstrating in that which is established as
existent, its negation. Parmenides asserts that “The all is immutable,
for, in change, the non-being of that which is would be asserted,
but Being only is; in saying that non-being is, the subject and the
predicate contradict themselves.” Zeno, on the other hand, says:
“Assert your change; in it as change there is the negation to it, or
it is nothing.” To the former change existed as motion, definite and
complete. Zeno protested against motion as such, or pure motion. “Pure
Being is not motion; it is rather the negation of motion.” We find it
specially interesting that there is in Zeno the higher consciousness,
the consciousness that when one determination is denied, this negation
is itself again a determination, and then in the absolute negation
not one determination, but both the opposites must be negated. Zeno
anticipated this, and because he foresaw that Being is the opposite
of nothing, he denied of the One what must be said of the nothing.
But the same thing must occur with all the rest. We find this higher
dialectic in Plato’s Parmenides; here it only breaks forth in respect
to some determinations, and not to the determination of the One and of
Being. The higher consciousness is the consciousness of the nullity of
Being as of what is determined as against the nothing, partly found in
Heraclitus and then in the Sophists; with them it never has any truth,
it has no existence in itself, but is only the for-another, or the
assurance of the individual consciousness, and assurance as refutation,
i.e. the negative side of dialectic.

According to Diogenes Laertius, (IX. 25) Zeno was likewise an Eleat;
he is the youngest, and lived most in company with Parmenides. The
latter became very fond of him and adopted him as a son; his own
father was called Telentagoras. Not in his State alone was his conduct
held in high respect, for his fame was universal, and he was esteemed
particularly as a teacher. Plato mentions that men came to him from
Athens and other places, in order to profit from his learning.[58]
Proud self-sufficiency is ascribed to him by Diogenes (IX. 28) because
he—with the exception of a journey made to Athens—continued to reside
in Elea, and did not stay a longer time in the great, mighty Athens,
and there attain to fame. In very various narratives his death was made
for ever celebrated for the strength of his mind evinced in it; it was
said that he freed a State (whether his own home at Elea or in Sicily,
is not known) from its Tyrant (the name is given differently, but an
exact historical account has not been recorded) in the following way,
and by the sacrifice of his life. He entered into a plot to overthrow
the Tyrant, but this was betrayed. When the Tyrant now, in face of the
people, caused him to be tortured in every possible way to get from him
an avowal of his confederates, and when he questioned him about the
enemies of the State, Zeno first named to the Tyrant all his friends as
participators in the plot, and then spoke of the Tyrant himself as the
pest of the State. The powerful remonstrances or the horrible tortures
and death of Zeno aroused the citizens, inspired them with courage to
fall upon the Tyrant, kill him, and liberate themselves. The manner of
the end, and his violent and furious state of mind, is very variously
depicted. He is said to have pretended to wish to say something into
the Tyrant’s ear, and then to have bitten his ear, and thus held him
fast until he was slain by the others. Others say that he seized him by
the nose between his teeth; others that as on his reply great tortures
were applied, he bit off his tongue and spat it into the Tyrant’s face,
to show him that he could get nothing from him, and that he then was
pounded in a mortar.[59]

It has just been noticed that Zeno had the very important character
of being the originator of the true objective dialectic. Xenophanes,
Parmenides, and Melissus, start with the proposition: “Nothing is
nothing; the nothing does not exist at all, or the like is real
existence,” that is, they make one of the opposed predicates to be
existence. Now when they encounter the opposite in a determination,
they demolish this determination, but it is only demolished through
another, through my assertion, through the distinction that I form, by
which one side is made to be the true, and the other the null. We have
proceeded from a definite proposition; the nullity of the opposite does
not appear in itself; it is not that it abrogates itself, i.e. that it
contains a contradiction in itself. For instance, I assert of something
that it is the null; then I show this by hypothesis in motion, and
it follows that it is the null. But another consciousness does not
assert this; I declare one thing to be directly true; another has the
right of asserting something else as directly true, that is to say,
motion. Similarly what seems to be the case when one philosophic system
contradicts another, is that the first is pre-established, and that men
starting from this point of view, combat the other. The matter is thus
easily settled by saying: “The other has no truth, because it does not
agree with me,” and the other has the right to say the same. It does
not help if I prove my system or my proposition and then conclude that
thus the opposite is false; to this other proposition the first always
seems to be foreign and external. Falsity must not be demonstrated
through another, and as untrue because the opposite is true, but in
itself; we find this rational perception in Zeno.

In Plato’s Parmenides (pp. 127, 128, Steph., pp. 6, 7, Bekk.) this
dialectic is very well described, for Plato makes Socrates say of
it: “Zeno in his writings asserts fundamentally the same as does
Parmenides, that All is One, but he would feign delude us into
believing that he was telling something new. Parmenides thus shows in
his poems that All is One; Zeno, on the contrary, shows that the Many
cannot be.” Zeno replies, that “He wrote thus really against those who
try to make Parmenides’ position ridiculous, for they try to show what
absurdities and self-contradictions can be derived from his statements;
he thus combats those who deduce Being from the many, in order to show
that far more absurdities arise from this than from the statements of
Parmenides.” That is the special aim of objective dialectic, in which
we no longer maintain simple thought for itself, but see the battle
fought with new vigour within the enemy’s camp. Dialectic has in Zeno
this negative side, but it has also to be considered from its positive

According to the ordinary ideas of science, where propositions result
from proof, proof is the movement of intelligence, a connection brought
about by mediation. Dialectic is either (_α_) external dialectic,
in which this movement is different from the comprehension of the
movement, or (_β_) not a movement of our intelligence only, but what
proceeds from the nature of the thing itself, i.e. from the pure Notion
of the content. The former is a manner of regarding objects in such a
way that reasons are revealed and new light thrown, by means of which
all that was supposed to be firmly fixed, is made to totter; there
may be reasons which are altogether external too, and we shall speak
further of this dialectic when dealing with the Sophists. The other
dialectic, however, is the immanent contemplation of the object; it is
taken for itself, without previous hypothesis, idea or obligation, not
under any outward conditions, laws or causes; we have to put ourselves
right into the thing, to consider the object in itself, and to take it
in the determinations which it has. In regarding it thus, it shows from
itself that it contains opposed determinations, and thus breaks up;
this dialectic we more especially find in the ancients. The subjective
dialectic, which reasons from external grounds, is moderate, for it
grants that: “In the right there is what is not right, and in the false
the true.” True dialectic leaves nothing whatever to its object, as if
the latter were deficient on one side only; for it disintegrates itself
in the entirety of its nature. The result of this dialectic is null,
the negative; the affirmative in it does not yet appear. This true
dialectic may be associated with the work of the Eleatics. But in their
case the real meaning and quality of philosophic understanding was not
great, for they got no further than the fact that through contradiction
the object is a nothing.

Zeno’s dialectic of matter has not been refuted to the present
day; even now we have not got beyond it, and the matter is left in
uncertainty. Simplicius, writing on the Physics of Aristotle (p. 30),
says: “Zeno proves that if the many is, it must be great and small; if
great, the many must be infinite in number” (it must have gone beyond
the manifold, as indifferent limit, into the infinite; but what is
infinite is no longer large and no longer many, for it is the negation
of the many). “If small, it must be so small as to have no size,”
like atoms. “Here he shows that what has neither size, thickness nor
mass, cannot be. For if it were added to another, it would not cause
its increase; were it, that is to say, to have no size and be added
thereto, it could not supplement the size of the other and consequently
that which is added is nothing. Similarly were it taken away, the other
would not be made less, and thus it is nothing. If what has being is,
each existence necessarily has size and thickness, is outside of one
another, and one is separate from the other; the same applies to all
else (_περὶ τοῦ προὔχοντος_), for it, too, has size, and in it there is
what mutually differs (_προέξει αὐτοῦ τι_). But it is the same thing
to say something once and to say it over and over again; in it nothing
can be a last, nor will there not be another to the other. Thus if many
are, they are small and great; small, so that they have no size; great,
so that they are infinite.”

Aristotle (Phys. VI. 9) explains this dialectic further; Zeno’s
treatment of motion was above all objectively dialectical. But the
particulars which we find in the Parmenides of Plato are not his.
For Zeno’s consciousness we see simple unmoved thought disappear,
but become thinking movement; in that he combats sensuous movement,
he concedes it. The reason that dialectic first fell on movement is
that the dialectic is itself this movement, or movement itself the
dialectic of all that is. The thing, as self-moving, has its dialectic
in itself, and movement is the becoming another, self-abrogation. If
Aristotle says that Zeno denied movement because it contains an inner
contradiction, it is not to be understood to mean that movement did not
exist at all. The point is not that there is movement and that this
phenomenon exists; the fact that there is movement is as sensuously
certain as that there are elephants; it is not in this sense that Zeno
meant to deny movement. The point in question concerns its truth.
Movement, however, is held to be untrue, because the conception of it
involves a contradiction; by that he meant to say that no true Being
can be predicated of it.

Zeno’s utterances are to be looked at from this point of view, not as
being directed against the reality of motion, as would at first appear,
but as pointing out how movement must necessarily be determined, and
showing the course which must be taken. Zeno now brings forward four
different arguments against motion; the proofs rest on the infinite
divisibility of space and time.

(a) This is his first form of argument:—“Movement has no truth,
because what is in motion must first reach the middle of the space
before arriving at the end.” Aristotle expresses this thus shortly,
because he had earlier treated of and worked out the subject at length.
This is to be taken as indicating generally that the continuity of
space is presupposed. What moves itself must reach a certain end, this
way is a whole. In order to traverse the whole, what is in motion must
first pass over the half, and now the end of this half is considered as
being the end; but this half of space is again a whole, that which also
has a half, and the half of this half must first have been reached, and
so on into infinity. Zeno here arrives at the infinite divisibility of
space; because space and time are absolutely continuous, there is no
point at which the division can stop. Every dimension (and every time
and space always have a dimension) is again divisible into two halves,
which must be measured off; and however small a space we have, the
same conditions reappear. Movement would be the act of passing through
these infinite moments, and would therefore never end; thus what is in
motion cannot reach its end. It is known how Diogenes of Sinope, the
Cynic, quite simply refuted these arguments against movement; without
speaking he rose and walked about, contradicting them by action.[60]
But when reasons are disputed, the only valid refutation is one derived
from reasons; men have not merely to satisfy themselves by sensuous
assurance, but also to understand. To refute objections is to prove
their non-existence, as when they are made to fall away and can hence
be adduced no longer; but it is necessary to think of motion as Zeno
thought of it, and yet to carry this theory of motion further still.

We have here the spurious infinite or pure appearance, whose simple
principle Philosophy demonstrates as universal Notion, for the first
time making its appearance as developed in its contradiction; in the
history of Philosophy a consciousness of this contradiction is also
attained. Movement, this pure phenomenon, appears as something thought
and shown forth in its real being—that is, in its distinction of pure
self-identity and pure negativity, the point as distinguished from
continuity. To us there is no contradiction in the idea that the here
of space and the now of time are considered as a continuity and length;
but their Notion is self-contradictory. Self-identity or continuity is
absolute cohesion, the destruction of all difference, of all negation,
of being for self; the point, on the contrary, is pure being-for-self,
absolute self-distinction and the destruction of all identity and
all connection with what is different. Both of these, however,
are, in space and time, placed in one; space and time are thus the
contradiction; it is necessary, first of all, to show the contradiction
in movement, for in movement that which is opposed is, to ordinary
conceptions, inevitably manifested. Movement is just the reality of
time and space, and because this appears and is made manifest, the
apparent contradiction is demonstrated, and it is this contradiction
that Zeno notices. The limitation of bisection which is involved in
the continuity of space, is not absolute limitation, for that which
is limited is again continuity; however, this continuity is again not
absolute, for the opposite has to be exhibited in it, the limitation
of bisection; but the limitation of continuity is still not thereby
established, the half is still continuous, and so on into infinity.
In that we say “into infinity,” we place before ourselves a beyond,
outside of the ordinary conception, which cannot reach so far. It is
certainly an endless going forth, but in the Notion it is present,
it is a progression from one opposed determination to others, from
continuity to negativity, from negativity to continuity; but both of
these are before us. Of these moments one in the process may be called
the true one; Zeno first asserts continuous progression in such a way
that no limited space can be arrived at as ultimate, or Zeno upholds
progression in this limitation.

The general explanation which Aristotle gives to this contradiction, is
that space and time are not infinitely divided, but are only divisible.
But it now appears that, because they are divisible—that is, in
potentiality—they must actually be infinitely divided, for else they
could not be divided into infinity. That is the general answer of the
ordinary man in endeavouring to refute the explanation of Aristotle.
Bayle (Tom. IV. art. Zénon, not. E.) hence says of Aristotle’s answer
that it is “pitoyable: C’est se moquer du monde que de se servir de
cette doctrine; car si la matière est divisible à l’infini, elle
contient un nombre infini de parties. Ce n’est donc point un infini en
puissance, c’est un infini, qui existe réellement, actuellement. Mais
quand-même on accorderait cet infini en puissance, qui deviendrait
un infini par la division actuelle de ses parties, on ne perdrait
pas ses avantages; car le mouvement est une chose, qui a la même
vertu, que la division. Il touche une partie de l’espace sans toucher
l’autre, et il les touche toutes les unes après les autres. N’est-ce
pas les distinguer actuellement? N’est-ce pas faire ce que ferait un
géomètre sur une table en tirant des lignes, qui désignassent tous les
demi-pouces? Il ne brise pas la table en demi-pouces, mais il y fait
néanmoins une division, qui marque la distinction actuelle des parties;
et je ne crois pas qu’Aristote eut voulu nier, que _si_ l’on tirait une
infinité de lignes sur un pouce de matière, on n’y introduisît une
division, qui réduirait en infini actuel ce qui n’était selon lui qu’un
infini virtual.” This _si_ is good! Divisibility is, as potentiality,
the universal; there is continuity as well as negativity or the point
posited in it—but posited as moment, and not as existent in and for
itself. I can divide matter into infinitude, but I only can do so; I
do not really divide it into infinitude. This is the infinite, that no
one of its moments has reality. It never does happen that, in itself,
one or other—that absolute limitation or absolute continuity—actually
comes into existence in such a way that the other moment disappears.
There are two absolute opposites, but they are moments, i.e. in the
simple Notion or in the universal, in thought, if you will; for in
thought, in ordinary conception, what is set forth both is and is not
at the same time. What is represented either as such, or as an image
of the conception, is not a thing; it has no Being, and yet it is not

Space and time furthermore, as _quantum_, form a limited extension,
and thus can be measured off; just as I do not actually divide space,
neither does the body which is in motion. The partition of space as
divided, is not absolute discontinuity [Punktualität], nor is pure
continuity the undivided and indivisible; likewise time is not pure
negativity or discontinuity, but also continuity. Both are manifested
in motion, in which the Notions have their reality for ordinary
conception—pure negativity as time, continuity as space. Motion itself
is just this actual unity in the opposition, and the sequence of both
moments in this unity. To comprehend motion is to express its essence
in the form of Notion, _i.e._, as unity of negativity and continuity;
but in them neither continuity nor discreteness can be exhibited as
the true existence. If we represent space or time to ourselves as
infinitely divided, we have an infinitude of points, but continuity is
present therein as a space which comprehends them: as Notion, however,
continuity is the fact that all these are alike, and thus in reality
they do not appear one out of the other like points. But both these
moments make their appearance as existent; if they are manifested
indifferently, their Notion is no longer posited, but their existence.
In them as existent, negativity is a limited size, and they exist as
limited space and time; actual motion is progression through a limited
space and a limited time and not through infinite space and infinite

That what is in motion must reach the half is the assertion of
continuity, i.e. the possibility of division as mere possibility; it is
thus always possible in every space, however small. It is said that it
is plain that the half must be reached, but in so saying, everything
is allowed, including the fact that it never will be reached; for to
say so in one case, is the same as saying it an infinite number of
times. We mean, on the contrary, that in a larger space the half can be
allowed, but we conceive that we must somewhere attain to a space so
small that no halving is possible, or an indivisible, non-continuous
space which is no space. This, however, is false, for continuity is a
necessary determination; there is undoubtedly a smallest in space, i.e.
a negation of continuity, but the negation is something quite abstract.
Abstract adherence to the subdivision indicated, that is, to continuous
bisection into infinitude, is likewise false, for in the conception of
a half, the interruption of continuity is involved. We must say that
there is no half of space, for space is continuous; a piece of wood
may be broken into two halves, but not space, and space only exists in
movement. It might equally be said that space consists of an endless
number of points, i.e. of infinitely many limits and thus cannot be
traversed. Men think themselves able to go from one indivisible point
to another, but they do not thereby get any further, for of these there
is an unlimited number. Continuity is split up into its opposite,
a number which is indefinite; that is to say, if continuity is not
admitted, there is no motion. It is false to assert that it is possible
when one is reached, or that which is not continuous; for motion is
connection. Thus when it was said that continuity is the presupposed
possibility of infinite division, continuity is only the hypothesis;
but what is exhibited in this continuity is the being of infinitely
many, abstractly absolute limits.

(b) The second proof, which is also the presupposition of continuity
and the manifestation of division, is called “Achilles, the Swift.”
The ancients loved to clothe difficulties in sensuous representations.
Of two bodies moving in one direction, one of which is in front and
the other following at a fixed distance and moving quicker than the
first, we know that the second will overtake the first. But Zeno says,
“The slower can never be overtaken by the quicker.” And he proves it
thus: “The second one requires a certain space of time to reach the
place from which the one pursued started at the beginning of the given
period.” Thus during the time in which the second reached the point
where the first was, the latter went over a new space which the second
has again to pass through in a part of this period; and in this way it
goes into infinity.

  c                                d                e        f    g

  B                                A

B, for instance, traverses two miles (c d) in an hour, A in the same
time, one mile (d e); if they are two miles (c d) removed from one
another, B has in one hour come to where A was at the beginning of the
hour. While B, in the next half hour, goes over the distance crossed
by A of one mile (d e), A has got half a mile (e f) further, and so
on into infinity. Quicker motion does not help the second body at all
in passing over the interval of space by which he is behind: the time
which he requires, the slower body always has at its avail in order to
accomplish some, although an ever shorter advance; and this, because of
the continual division, never quite disappears.

Aristotle, in speaking of this, puts it shortly thus. “This proof
asserts the same endless divisibility, but it is untrue, for the quick
will overtake the slow body if the limits to be traversed be granted to
it.” This answer is correct and contains all that can be said; that is,
there are in this representation two periods of time and two distances,
which are separated from one another, i.e. they are limited in relation
to one another; when, on the contrary, we admit that time and space
are continuous, so that two periods of time or points of space are
related to one another as continuous, they are, while being two, not
two, but identical. In ordinary language we solve the matter in the
easiest way, for we say: “Because the second is quicker, it covers a
greater distance in the same time as the slow; it can therefore come to
the place from which the first started and get further still.” After
B, at the end of the first hour, arrives at d and A at e, A in one and
the same period, that is, in the second hour, goes over the distance
e g, and B the distance d g. But this period of time which should be
one, is divisible into that in which B accomplishes d e and that in
which B passes through e g. A has a start of the first, by which it
gets over the distance e f, so that A is at f at the same period as
B is at e. The limitation which, according to Aristotle, is to be
overcome, which must be penetrated, is thus that of time; since it is
continuous, it must, for the solution of the difficulty, be said that
what is divisible into two spaces of time is to be conceived of as one,
in which B gets from d to e and from e to g, while A passes over the
distance e g. In motion two periods, as well as two points in space,
are indeed one.

If we wish to make motion clear to ourselves, we say that the body is
in one place and then it goes to another; because it moves, it is no
longer in the first, but yet not in the second; were it in either it
would be at rest. Where then is it? If we say that it is between both,
this is to convey nothing at all, for were it between both, it would
be in a place, and this presents the same difficulty. But movement
means to be in this place and not to be in it, and thus to be in both
alike; this is the continuity of space and time which first makes
motion possible. Zeno, in the deduction made by him, brought both these
points into forcible opposition. The discretion of space and time we
also uphold, but there must also be granted to them the overstepping of
limits, i.e. the exhibition of limits as not being, or as being divided
periods of time, which are also not divided. In our ordinary ideas we
find the same determinations as those on which the dialectic of Zeno
rests; we arrive at saying, though unwillingly, that in one period two
distances of space are traversed, but we do not say that the quicker
comprehends two moments of time in one; for that we fix a definite
space. But in order that the slower may lose its precedence, it must be
said that it loses its advantage of a moment of time, and indirectly
the moment of space.

Zeno makes limit, division, the moment of discretion in space and time,
the only element which is enforced in the whole of his conclusions, and
hence results the contradiction. The difficulty is to overcome thought,
for what makes the difficulty is always thought alone, since it keeps
apart the moments of an object which in their separation are really
united. It brought about the Fall, for man ate of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil; but it also remedies these evils.

(c) The third form, according to Aristotle, is as follows:—Zeno
says: “The flying arrow rests, and for the reason that what is in
motion is always in the self-same Now and the self-same Here, in the
indistinguishable;” it is here and here and here. It can be said of the
arrow that it is always the same, for it is always in the same space
and the same time; it does not get beyond its space, does not take in
another, that is, a greater or smaller space. That, however, is what
we call rest and not motion. In the Here and Now, the becoming “other”
is abrogated, limitation indeed being established, but only as moment;
since in the Here and Now as such, there is no difference, continuity
is here made to prevail against the mere belief in diversity. Each
place is a different place, and thus the same; true, objective
difference does not come forth in these sensuous relations, but in the

This is also apparent in mechanics; of two bodies the question as
to which moves presents itself before us. It requires more than two
places—three at least—to determine which of them moves. But it is
correct to say this, that motion is plainly relative; whether in
absolute space the eye, for instance, rests, or whether it moves,
is all the same. Or, according to a proposition brought forward by
Newton, if two bodies move round one another in a circle, it may be
asked whether the one rests or both move. Newton tries to decide this
by means of an external circumstance, the strain on the string. When I
walk on a ship in a direction opposed to the motion of the ship, this
is in relation to the ship, motion, and in relation to all else, rest.

In both the first proofs, continuity in progression has the
predominance; there is no absolute limit, but an overstepping of all
limits. Here the opposite is established; absolute limitation, the
interruption of continuity, without however passing into something
else; while discretion is presupposed, continuity is maintained.
Aristotle says of this proof: “It arises from the fact that it is taken
for granted that time consists of the Now; for if this is not conceded,
the conclusions will not follow.”

(d) “The fourth proof,” Aristotle continues, “is derived from similar
bodies which move in opposite directions in the space beside a similar
body, and with equal velocity, one from one end of the space, the other
from the middle. It necessarily results from this that half the time
is equal to the double of it. The fallacy rests in this, that Zeno
supposes that what is beside the moving body, and what is beside the
body at rest, move through an equal distance in equal time with equal
velocity, which, however, is untrue.”

            _k_         _i_       _m_
              _g_  _n_  _h_

In a definite space such as a table (A B) let us suppose two bodies
of equal length with it and with one another, one of which (C D) lies
with one end (C) on the middle (g) of the table, and the other (E F),
being in the same direction, has the point (E) only touching the end
of the table (h); and supposing they move in opposite directions, and
the former (C D) reaches in an hour the end (h) of the table; we have
the result ensuing that the one (E F) passes in the half of the time
through the same space (i k) which the other does in the double (g h);
hence the half is equal to the double. That is to say, this second
passes (let us say, in the point l) by the whole of the first C D. In
the first half-hour l goes from m to i, while k only goes from g to n.

                   _k_  _o_  _i_       _m_
              _g_  _n_  _h_

In the second half-hour l goes past o to k, and altogether passes from
m to k, or the double of the distance.

                        _k_  _o_  _i_       _m_
               _g_ _n_  _h_

This fourth form deals with the contradiction presented in opposite
motion; that which is common is given entirely to one body, while it
only does part for itself. Here the distance travelled by one body
is the sum of the distance travelled by both, just as when I go two
feet east, and from the same point another goes two feet west, we are
four feet removed from one another; in the distance moved both are
positive, and hence have to be added together. Or if I have gone two
feet forwards and two feet backwards, although I have walked four feet,
I have not moved from the spot; the motion is then nil, for by going
forwards and backwards an opposition ensues which annuls itself.

This is the dialectic of Zeno; he had a knowledge of the determinations
which our ideas of space and time contain, and showed in them their
contradiction; Kant’s antinomies do no more than Zeno did here. The
general result of the Eleatic dialectic has thus become, “the truth is
the one, all else is untrue,” just as the Kantian philosophy resulted
in “we know appearances only.” On the whole the principle is the same;
“the content of knowledge is only an appearance and not truth,” but
there is also a great difference present. That is to say, Zeno and
the Eleatics in their proposition signified “that the sensuous world,
with its multitudinous forms, is in itself appearance only, and has
no truth.” But Kant does not mean this, for he asserts: “Because we
apply the activity of our thought to the outer world, we constitute
it appearance; what is without, first becomes an untruth by the fact
that we put therein a mass of determinations. Only our knowledge, the
spiritual, is thus appearance; the world is in itself absolute truth;
it is our action alone that ruins it, our work is good for nothing.”
It shows excessive humility of mind to believe that knowledge has no
value; but Christ says, “Are ye not better than the sparrows?” and we
are so inasmuch as we are thinking; as sensuous we are as good or as
bad as sparrows. Zeno’s dialectic has greater objectivity than this
modern dialectic.

Zeno’s dialectic is limited to Metaphysics; later, with the Sophists,
it became general. We here leave the Eleatic school, which perpetuates
itself in Leucippus and, on the other side, in the Sophists, in such
a way that these last extended the Eleatic conceptions to all reality,
and gave to it the relation of consciousness; the former, however, as
one who later on worked out the Notion in its abstraction, makes a
physical application of it, and one which is opposed to consciousness.
There are several other Eleatics mentioned, to Tennemann’s surprise,
who, however, cannot interest us. “It is so unexpected,” he says (Vol.
I., p. 190), “that the Eleatic system should find disciples; and yet
Sextus mentions a certain Xeniades.”


If we put aside the Ionics, who did not understand the Absolute as
Thought, and the Pythagoreans likewise, we have the pure Being of the
Eleatics, and the dialectic which denies all finite relationships.
Thought to the latter is the process of such manifestations; the world
in itself is the apparent, and pure Being alone the true. The dialectic
of Zeno thus lays hold of the determinations which rest in the content
itself, but it may, in so far, also be called subjective dialectic,
inasmuch as it rests in the contemplative subject, and the one, without
this movement of the dialectic, is abstract identity. The next step
from the existence of the dialectic as movement in the subject, is that
it must necessarily itself become objective. If Aristotle blames Thales
for doing away with motion, because change cannot be understood from
Being, and likewise misses the actual in the Pythagorean numbers and
Platonic Ideas, taken as the substances of the things which participate
in them, Heraclitus at least understands the absolute as just this
process of the dialectic. The dialectic is thus thre-fold: (_α_)
the external dialectic, a reasoning which goes over and over again
without ever reaching the soul of the thing; (_β_) immanent dialectic
of the object, but falling within the contemplation of the subject;
(_γ_) the objectivity of Heraclitus which takes the dialectic itself
as principle. The advance requisite and made by Heraclitus is the
progression from Being as the first immediate thought, to the category
of Becoming as the second. This is the first concrete, the Absolute, as
in it the unity of opposites. Thus with Heraclitus the philosophic Idea
is to be met with in its speculative form; the reasoning of Parmenides
and Zeno is abstract understanding. Heraclitus was thus universally
esteemed a deep philosopher and even was decried as such. Here we see
land; there is no proposition of Heraclitus which I have not adopted in
my Logic.

Diogenes Laertius says (IX. 1) that Heraclitus flourished about the
69th Olympiad (500 B.C.), and that he was of Ephesus and in part
contemporaneous with Parmenides: he began the separation and withdrawal
of philosophers from public affairs and the interests of the country,
and devoted himself in his isolation entirely to Philosophy. We
have thus three stages: (_α_) the seven sages as statesmen, regents
and law-givers; (_β_) the Pythagorean aristocratic league; (_γ_)
an interest in science for its own sake. Little more is known of
Heraclitus’ life than his relations to his countrymen the Ephesians,
and according to Diogenes Laertius (IX. 15, 3), these were for the
most part found in the fact that they despised him and were yet more
profoundly despised by him—a relationship such as we have now-a-days,
when each man exists for himself, and despises everyone else. In the
case of this noble character, the disdain and sense of separation
from the crowd emanates from the deep sense of the perversity of
the ordinary ideas and life of his people: in reference to this,
isolated expressions used on various occasions are still preserved.
Cicero (Tusc. Quæst. V. 36) and Diogenes Laertius (IX. 2) relate that
Heraclitus said: “The Ephesians all deserve to have their necks broken
as they grow up, so that the town should be left to minors” (people now
say that only youth knows how to govern), “because they drove away his
friend Hermodorus, the best of them all, and gave as their reason for
so doing that amongst them none should be more excellent than the rest;
and if any one were so, it should be elsewhere and amongst others.” It
was for the same reason that in the Athenian Democracy great men were
banished. Diogenes adds: “His fellow-citizens asked him to take part in
the administration of public affairs, but he declined, because he did
not like their constitution, laws and administration.” Proclus (T. III.
pp. 115, 116, ed. Cousin) says: “The noble Heraclitus blamed the people
for being devoid of understanding or thought. ‘What is,’ he says,
‘their understanding or their prudence? Most of them are bad, and few
are good.’” Diogenes Laertius (IX. 6) furthermore says: “Antisthenes
cites, as a proof of Heraclitus’ greatness, that he left his kingdom
to his brother.” He expresses in the strongest manner his contempt
for what is esteemed to be truth and right, in the letter preserved
to us by Diogenes (IX. 13, 14), in which, to the invitation of Darius
Hystaspes, “to make him acquainted with Greek wisdom—for his work
on Nature contains a very forcible theory of the world, but it is in
many passages obscure—to come to him and explain to him what required
explanation” (this is certainly not very probable if Heraclitus’ turn
of mind was also Oriental), he is said to have replied: “All mortal men
depart from truth and justice and are given over to excess and vain
opinions according to their evil understandings. But I, since I have
attained to an oblivion of all evil, and shun the overpowering envy
that follows me, and the vanity of high position, shall not come to
Persia. I am content with little and live in my own way.”

The only work that he wrote, and the title of which, Diogenes tells
us, was by some stated to be “The Muses” and by others “On Nature,”
he deposited in the temple of Diana at Ephesus. It seems to have been
preserved until modern times; the fragments which have come down to
us are collected together in Stephanus’ _Poësis philosophica_ (p.
129, seq.). Schleiermacher also collected them and arranged them in a
characteristic way. The title is “Heraclitus, the Dark, of Ephesus,
as represented in fragments of his work and by the testimony of the
ancients,” and it is to be found in Wolf and Buttmann’s “Museum of
ancient Learning,” vol. I. (Berlin, 1807) pp. 315-533. Seventy-three
passages are given. Kreuzer made one hope that he would work at
Heraclitus more critically and with a knowledge of the language.
He made a more complete collection, particularly from grammarians;
however, as, for lack of time, he left it to be worked up by a younger
scholar, and as the latter died, it never came before the public.
Compilations of the kind are as a rule too copious: they contain a
mass of learning and are more easily written than read. Heraclitus
has been considered obscure, and is indeed celebrated for this; it
also drew upon him the name of _σκοτεινός_. Cicero (De Nat. Deor. I.
26; III. 14; De Finib. II. 5) takes up a wrong idea, as often happens
to him; he thinks that Heraclitus purposely wrote obscurely. Any
such design would, however, be a very shallow one, and it is really
nothing but the shallowness of Cicero himself ascribed by him to
Heraclitus. Heraclitus’ obscurity is rather a result of neglecting
proper composition and of imperfect language; this is what was thought
by Aristotle (Rhet. III. 5), who, from a grammatical point of view,
ascribed it to a want of punctuation: “We do not know whether a word
belongs to what precedes or what succeeds.” Demetrius is of the same
opinion (De Elocutione, § 192, p. 78, ed. Schneider). Socrates, as
Diogenes Laertius relates (II. 22; IX. 11-12), said of this book: “What
he understood of it was excellent, and what he did not understand he
believed to be as good, but it requires a vigorous (_Δηλίου_) swimmer
to make his way through it.” The obscurity of this philosophy, however,
chiefly consists in there being profound speculative thought contained
in it; the Notion, the Idea, is foreign to the understanding and
cannot be grasped by it, though it may find mathematics quite simple.

Plato studied the philosophy of Heraclitus with special diligence; we
find much of it quoted in his works, and he got his earlier philosophic
education most indubitably from this source, so that Heraclitus may
be called Plato’s teacher. Hippocrates, likewise, is a philosopher of
Heraclitus’ school. What is preserved to us of Heraclitus’ philosophy
at first seems very contradictory, but we find the Notion making its
appearance, and a man of profound reflection revealed. Zeno began
to abrogate the opposed predicates, and he shows the opposition in
movement, an assertion of limitation and an abrogation of the same;
Zeno expressed the infinite, but on its negative side only, in
reference to its contradiction as being the untrue. In Heraclitus we
see the perfection of knowledge so far as it has gone, a perfecting of
the Idea into a totality, which is the beginning of Philosophy, since
it expresses the essence of the Idea, the Notion of the infinite, the
potentially and actively existent, as that which it is, i.e. as the
unity of opposites. From Heraclitus dates the ever-remaining Idea which
is the same in all philosophers to the present day, as it was the Idea
of Plato and of Aristotle.

1. _The Logical Principle._ Concerning the universal principle, this
bold mind, Aristotle tells us (Metaph. IV. 3 and 7), first uttered the
great saying: “Being and non-being are the same; everything is and yet
is not.” The truth only is as the unity of distinct opposites and,
indeed, of the pure opposition of being and non-being; but with the
Eleatics we have the abstract understanding that Being is alone the
truth. We say, in place of using the expression of Heraclitus, that
the Absolute is the unity of being and non-being. When we understand
that proposition as that “Being is and yet is not,” this does not seem
to make much sense, but only to imply complete negation and want of
thought. But we have another sentence that gives the meaning of the
principle better. For Heraclitus says: “Everything is in a state of
flux; nothing subsists nor does it ever remain the same.” And Plato
further says of Heraclitus: “He compares things to the current of a
river: no one can go twice into the same stream,”[61] for it flows on
and other water is disturbed. Aristotle tells us (Met. IV. 5) that his
successors even said “it could not once be entered,” for it changed
directly; what is, is not again. Aristotle (De Cœlo, III. 1) goes on
to say that Heraclitus declares that “there is only one that remains,
and from out of this all else is formed; all except this one is not
enduring (_παγίως_).”

This universal principle is better characterized as Becoming, the truth
of Being; since everything is and is not, Heraclitus hereby expressed
that everything is Becoming. Not merely does origination belong to it,
but passing away as well; both are not independent, but identical.
It is a great advance in thought to pass from Being to Becoming,
even if, as the first unity of opposite determinations, it is still
abstract. Because in this relationship both must be unrestful and
therefore contain within themselves the principle of life, the lack of
motion which Aristotle has demonstrated in the earlier philosophies
is supplied, and this last is even made to be the principle. This
philosophy is thus not one past and gone; its principle is essential,
and is to be found in the beginning of my Logic, immediately after
Being and Nothing. The recognition of the fact that Being and non-being
are abstractions devoid of truth, that the first truth is to be found
in Becoming, forms a great advance. The understanding comprehends
both as having truth and value in isolation; reason, on the other
hand, recognizes the one in the other, and sees that in the one its
“other” is contained. If we do not take the conception of existence
as complete, the pure Being of simple thought in which everything
definite is denied, is the absolute negative; but nothing is the
same, or just this self-identity. We here have an absolute transition
into the opposite which Zeno did not reach, for he remained at the
proposition, “From nothing, comes nothing.” With Heraclitus, however,
the moment of negativity is immanent, and the Notion of Philosophy as
complete is therefore dealt with.

In the first place we have here the abstract idea of Being and
non-being in a form altogether immediate and general; but when we look
closer, we find that Heraclitus also conceived of the opposites and
their unification in a more definite manner. He says: “The opposites
are combined in the self-same one, just as honey is both sweet and
bitter.” Sextus remarks of this (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. 29, §§ 210, 211; II. 6,
§ 63): “Heraclitus, like the Sceptics, proceeds from ordinary ideas; no
one will deny that healthy men call honey sweet, while those who are
sick will say it is bitter.” If it is only sweet, it cannot alter its
nature in another individual; it would in all places and even to the
jaundiced patient be sweet. Aristotle (De mundo, 5) quotes this from
Heraclitus: “Join together the complete whole and the incomplete” (the
whole makes itself the part, and the meaning of the part is to become
the whole), “what coincides and what conflicts, what is harmonious and
what discordant, and from out of them all comes one, and from one,
all.” This one is not an abstraction, but the activity of dividing
itself into opposites; the dead infinite is a poor abstraction as
compared with the depths of Heraclitus. All that is concrete, as that
God created the world, divided Himself, begot a Son, is contained in
this determination. Sextus Empiricus mentions (adv. Math. IX. 337) that
Heraclitus said: “The part is something different from the whole and
is yet the same as the whole; substance is the whole and the part, the
whole in the universe and the part in this living being.” Plato says in
his Symposium (p. 187, Steph.; p. 397, Bekk.) of Heraclitus’ principle:
“The one, separated from itself, makes itself one with itself like the
harmony of the bow and the lyre.” He then makes Eryximachus, who speaks
in the Symposium, criticize this thus: “In harmony there is discord, or
it arises from opposites; for harmony does not arise from height and
depth in that they are different, but from their union through the art
of music.” But this does not contradict Heraclitus, who means the same
thing. That which is simple, the repetition of a tone, is no harmony;
difference is clearly necessary to harmony, or a definite antithesis;
for it is the absolute becoming and not mere change. The real fact is
that each particular tone is different from another—not abstractly so
from any other, but from _its_ other—and thus it also can be one. Each
particular only is, in so far as its opposite is implicitly contained
in its Notion. Subjectivity is thus the “other” of objectivity and not
of a piece of paper, which would be meaningless; since each is the
“other” of the “other” as its “other,” we here have their identity.
This is Heraclitus’ great principle; it may seem obscure, but it
is speculative. And this to the understanding which maintains the
independence of Being and non-being, the subjective and objective, the
real and the ideal, is always difficult and dim.

2. _Natural Philosophy._ In his system Heraclitus did not rest content
with thus expressing himself in Notions, or with what is purely
logical. But in addition to this universal form in which he advanced
his principle, he gave his idea a real and more natural form, and
hence he is still reckoned as belonging to the Ionic school of natural
philosophers. However, as regards this form of reality, historians are
at variance; most of them, and amongst others, Aristotle (Met. I. 3,
8), say that he maintained fire to be the existent principle; others,
according to Sextus (adv. Math. IX. 360; X. 233), say it was air, and
others again assert that he made vapour to be the principle rather
than air;[62] even time is, in Sextus (adv. Math. X. 216), given as
the primary existence. The question arises as to how this diversity is
to be comprehended. It must not be believed that all these accounts
are to be ascribed to the inaccuracy of historians, for the witnesses
are of the best, like Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus, who do not speak
casually of these forms, but definitely, without, however, remarking
upon any such differences and contradictions. We seem to have a better
reason in the obscurity of the writing of Heraclitus, which might, by
the confusion of its expression, give occasion to misunderstanding.
But when regarded closer, this difficulty, which is evident when
merely looked at superficially, disappears; it is in the profoundly
significant conceptions of Heraclitus that the true way out of this
difficulty manifests itself. Heraclitus could no longer, like Thales,
express water, air or anything similar as an absolute principle—he
could no longer do so in the form of a primeval element from which the
rest proceeds—because he thought of Being as identical with non-being,
or the infinite Notion; thus the existent, absolute principle cannot
with him come forth as a definite and actual thing such as water, but
must be water in alteration, or as process only.

_a._ Understanding the abstract process as time, Heraclitus said:
“Time is the first corporeal existence,” as Sextus (adv. Math. X. 231,
232) puts it. Corporeal is an unfortunate expression; the Sceptics
frequently pick out the crudest expressions or make thoughts crude
in the first place so that they may afterwards dispense with them.
Corporeal here means abstract sensuousness; time, as the first sensuous
existence, is the abstract representation of process. It is because
Heraclitus did not rest at the logical expression of Becoming, but gave
to his principle the form of the existent, that it was necessary that
time should first present itself to him as such; for in the sensuously
perceptible it is the first form of Becoming. Time is pure Becoming
as perceived, the pure Notion, that which is simple, and the harmony
issuing from absolute opposites; its essential nature is to be and not
to be in one unity, and besides this, it has no other character. It is
not that time _is_ or _is not_, for time _is_ non-being immediately in
Being and Being immediately in non-being: it is the transition out of
Being into non-being, the abstract Notion, but in an objective form,
i.e. in so far as it is for us. In time there is no past and future,
but only the now, and this is, but is not as regards the past; and this
non-being, as future, turns round into Being. If we were to say how
that which Heraclitus recognized as principle, might, in the pure form
in which he recognized it, exist for consciousness, we could mention
nothing else but time; and it quite accords with the principle of
thought in Heraclitus to define time as the first form of Becoming.

_b._ But this pure, objective Notion must realize itself more fully,
and thus we find in fact, that Heraclitus determined the process in a
more markedly physical manner. In time we have the moments of Being and
non-being manifested as negative only, or as vanishing immediately;
if we wish to express both these moments as one independent totality,
the question is asked, which physical existence corresponds to this
determination. To Heraclitus the truth is to have grasped the essential
being of nature, i.e. to have represented it as implicitly infinite,
as process in itself; and consequently it is evident to us that
Heraclitus could not say that the primary principle is air, water, or
any such thing. They are not themselves process, but fire is process;
and thus he maintains fire to be the elementary principle, and this is
the real form of the Heraclitean principle, the soul and substance of
the nature-process. Fire is physical time, absolute unrest, absolute
disintegration of existence, the passing away of the “other,” but also
of itself; and hence we can understand how Heraclitus, proceeding from
his fundamental determination, could quite logically call fire the
Notion of the process.

_c._ He further made this fire to be a real process; because its
reality is for itself the whole process, the moments have become
concretely determined. Fire, as the metamorphosis of bodily things, is
the transformation and exhalation of the determinate; for this process
Heraclitus used a particular word—evaporation (_ἀναθυμίασις_)—but it
is rather transition. Aristotle (De anim. I. 2) says of Heraclitus in
this regard, that, according to his view, “the soul is the principle
because it is evaporation, the origination of everything; it is what
is most incorporeal and always in a state of flux.” This is quite
applicable to the primary principle of Heraclitus.

Furthermore he determined the real process in its abstract moments
by separating two sides in it—“the way upwards (_ὁδὸς ἄνω_) and the
way downwards (_ὁδὸς κάτω_)”—the one being division, in that it is
the existence of opposites, and the other the unification of these
existent opposites. Corresponding to these, he had, according to
Diogenes (IX. 8), the further determinations “of enmity and strife
(_πόλεμος_, _ἔρις_), and friendship and harmony (_ὁμολογία_, _εἰρήνη_);
of these two, enmity and strife is that which is the principle of
the origination of differences; but what leads to combustion is
harmony and peace.” In enmity amongst men, the one sets himself up
independently of the other, or is for himself and realizes himself; but
unity and peace is sinking out of independence into indivisibility or
non-reality. Everything is thre-fold and thereby real unity; nature is
the never-resting, and the all is the transition out of the one into
the other, from division into unity, and from unity into division.

The more detailed accounts of this real process are, in great measure,
deficient and contradictory. In this connection, it is in some
accounts[63] said of Heraclitus that he defined it thus: “Of the forms
taken by fire there is first of all the sea, and then of it half is
the earth and the other half the lightning flash (_πρηστήρ_),” the fire
which springs up. This is general and very obscure. Diogenes Laertius
(IX. 9) says: “Fire is condensed into moisture, and when concrete it
becomes water; water hardens into earth and this is the way downwards.
The earth then again becomes fluid, and from it moisture supervenes,
and from this the evaporation of the sea, from which all else arises;
this is the way upwards. Water divides into a dark evaporation,
becoming earth, and into what is pure, sparkling, becoming fire and
burning in the solar sphere; what is fiery becomes meteors, planets and
stars.” These are thus not still, dead stars, but are regarded as in
Becoming, as being eternally productive. We thus have, on the whole, a
metamorphosis of fire. These oriental, metaphorical expressions are,
however, in Heraclitus not to be taken in their strictly sensuous
signification, and as if these changes were present to the outward
observation; but they depict the nature of these elements by which the
earth eternally creates its suns and comets.

Nature is thus a circle. With this in view, we find Heraclitus,
according to Clement of Alexandria (Strom. V. 14, p. 711), saying:
“The universe was made neither by God nor man, but it ever was and is,
and will be, a living fire, that which, in accordance with its laws,
(_μέτρῳ_) kindles and goes out.” We now understand what Aristotle says
of the principle being the soul, since the latter is evaporation; that
is to say, fire, as this self-moving process of the world, is the
soul. Another statement follows, which is also found in Clement of
Alexandria (Strom. VI. 2, p. 746): “To souls (to the living) death is
the becoming water; to water death is the becoming earth; on the other
hand from earth, water arises, and from water, the soul.” Thus, on the
whole, this process is one of extinction, of going back from opposition
into unity, of the re-awakening of the former, and of issuing forth
from one. The extinction of the soul, of the fire in water, the
conflagration that finally results, some, and amongst others, Diogenes
Laertius (IX. 8), Eusebius (Præp. Evang. XIV. 3) and Tennemann (Vol.
I. p. 218), falsely assert to be a conflagration of the world. What
Heraclitus is said to have spoken of as a conflagration of this world,
was thought to be an imaginary idea that after a certain time—as,
according to our ideas, at the end of the world—the world would
disappear in flames. But we see at once from passages which are most
clear,[64] that this conflagration is not meant, but that it is the
perpetual burning up as the Becoming of friendship, the universal life
and the universal process of the universe. In respect of the fact that,
according to Heraclitus, fire is the animating, or the soul, we find
in Plutarch (De esu. carn. I. p. 995, ed. Xyl.) an expression which
may seem odd, namely, that “the driest soul is the best.” We certainly
do not esteem the most moist the best, but, on the other hand, the one
which is most alive; however dry here signifies fiery and thus the
driest soul is pure fire, and this is not lifeless but life itself.

These are the principal moments of the real life-process; I will stop
here a moment because we here find expressed the whole Notion of
speculative reflection regarding Nature. In this Notion, one moment
and one element goes over into the other; fire becomes water, water
earth and fire. The contention about the transmutation and immutability
of the elements is an old one; in this conception the ordinary,
sensuous science of nature separates itself from natural philosophy.
In the speculative point of view, which is that of Heraclitus, the
simple substance in fire and the other elements in itself becomes
metamorphosed; in the other, all transition is abolished and only an
external separation of what is already there is maintained. Water is
just water, fire is fire, &c. If the former point of view upholds
transmutation, the latter believes in the possibility of demonstrating
the opposite; it no longer, indeed, maintains water, fire, &c., to
be simple realities, for it resolves them into hydrogen, oxygen,
&c., but it asserts their immutability. It justly asserts that what
is asserted and implied in the speculative point of view, must also
have the truth of actuality; for if to be the speculative means to be
the very nature and principle of its elements, this must likewise be
present. We are wrong in representing the speculative to be something
existent only in thought or inwardly, which is no one knows where. It
is really present, but men of learning shut their eyes to it because
of their limited point of view. If we listen to their account, they
only observe and say what they see; but their observation is not true,
for unconsciously they transform what is seen through their limited
and stereotyped conception; the strife is not due to the opposition
between observation and the absolute Notion, but between the one Notion
and the other. They show that changes—such as that of water into
earth—are non-existent. Even in modern times this transformation was
indeed maintained, for when water was distilled, a residuum of earth
was found. On this subject, however, Lavoisier carried on a number
of very conclusive researches; he weighed all the receptacles, and
it was shown that the residuum proceeded from the vessels. There is
a superficial process that does not carry us beyond the determinate
nature of substance. They say in reference to it, “water does not
change into air but only into moisture, and moisture always condenses
back into water again.” But in this they merely fix on a one-sided,
insufficient process, and give it out to be the absolute process. In
the real process of nature they, however, found by experience that the
crystal dissolved gives water, and in the crystal, water is lost and
solidifies, or becomes the so-called water of crystallization; they
found that the evaporation of the earth is not to be found as moisture,
in outward form in the air, for air remains quite pure, or hydrogen
entirely disappears in pure air; they have sought in vain to find
hydrogen in the atmospheric air. Similarly they discovered that quite
dry air in which they can show neither moisture nor hydrogen, passes
into mist, rain, &c. These are their observations, but they spoilt all
their perceptions of changes by the fixed conception which they brought
with them of whole and part, and of consistence out of parts, and of
the previous presence as such, of what manifests itself in coming into
existence. When the crystal dissolved reveals water, they say, “it is
not that water has arisen, for it was already present there.” When
water in its decomposition reveals hydrogen and oxygen, that means,
according to them, “these last have not arisen for they were already
there as such, as the parts of which the water subsists.” But they can
neither demonstrate water in crystal nor oxygen and hydrogen in water,
and the same is true of “latent heat.” As we find in all expression
of perception and experience, as soon as men speak, there is a Notion
present; it cannot be withheld, for in consciousness there always is a
touch of universality and truth. For the Notion is the real principle,
but it is only to cultured reason that it is absolute Notion, and not
if it remains, as here, confined in a determinate form. Hence these
men necessarily attain to their limits, and they are troubled because
they do not find hydrogen in air; hygrometers, flasks full of air
brought down from heights by an air-balloon, do not show it to exist.
And similarly the water of crystallization is no longer water, but is
changed into earth.

To come back to Heraclitus, there is only one thing wanting to the
process, which is that its simple principle should be recognized as
universal Notion. The permanence and rest which Aristotle gives, may be
missed. Heraclitus, indeed, says that everything flows on, that nothing
is existent and only the one remains; but that is the Notion of the
unity which only exists in opposition and not of that reflected within
itself. This one, in its unity with the movement of the individuals,
is the genus, or in its infinitude the simple Notion as thought; as
such, the Idea has still to be determined, and we shall thus find it
again as the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras. The universal is the immediate
simple unity in opposition which goes back into itself as a process of
differences; but this is also found in Heraclitus; he called this unity
in opposition Fate (_εἱμαρμένη_) or Necessity.[65] And the Notion of
necessity is none other than this, that determinateness constitutes the
principle of the existent as individual, but in that very way, relates
it to its opposite: this is the absolute “connection (_λόγος_) that
permeates the Being of the whole.” He calls this “the ethereal body,
the seed of the Becoming of everything”;[66] that to him is the Idea,
the universal as reality, as process at rest.

3. _Relation of the Principle to Consciousness._ There is still
something else to consider, and that is what position in this principle
Heraclitus gives to consciousness; his philosophy has, on the whole,
a bent towards a philosophy of nature, for the principle, although
logical, is apprehended as the universal nature-process. How does this
_λόγος_ come to consciousness? How is it related to the individual
soul? I shall explain this here in greater detail: it is a beautiful,
natural, childlike manner of speaking truth of the truth. The universal
and the unity of the principle of consciousness and of the object,
and the necessity of objectivity, make their first appearance here.
Several passages from Heraclitus are preserved respecting his views of
knowledge. From his principle that everything that is, at the same time
is not, it immediately follows that he holds that sensuous certainty
has no truth; for it is the certainty for which something exists as
actual, which is not so in fact. Not this immediate Being, but absolute
mediation, Being as thought of, Thought itself, is the true Being.
Heraclitus in this relation says of sensuous perception—according to
Clement of Alexandria—(Strom. III. 3, p. 520): “What we see waking
is dead, but what we see sleeping, a dream,” and in Sextus (adv.
Math. VII. 126, 127), “Men’s eyes and ears are bad witnesses, for
they have barbarous souls. Reason (_λόγος_) is the judge of truth,
not the arbitrary, but the only divine and universal judge”—this is
the measure, the rhythm, that runs through the Being of everything.
Absolute necessity is just the having the truth in consciousness; but
every thought, or what proceeds from the individual, every relation
in which there is only form and which has the content of the ordinary
idea, is not such; what is so is the universal understanding, the
developed consciousness of necessity, the identity of subjective and
objective. Heraclitus says in this connection, according to Diogenes
(IX. 1): “Much learning (_πολυμαθίν_) does not instruct the mind, else
it had instructed Hesiod, Pythagoras, Xenophanes and Hecatæus. The only
wisdom is to know the reason that reigns over all.”

Sextus (adv. Math. VII. 127-133), further describes the attitude of
the subjective consciousness, of particular reason, to the universal,
to this nature-process. That attitude has still a very physical
appearance, resembling the state of mind we suppose in men who are
mad or asleep. The waking man is related to things in a universal
way, which is in conformity with the relation of the things and is
the way in which others also regard them, and yet he still retains
his independence. If, and in so far as I stand in the objectively
intelligent connection of this state of mind, I am, just because of
this externality, in finitude; but waking, I have the knowledge of the
necessity of a connection in the form of objectivity, the knowledge
of the universal existence, and thus the Idea in finite form. Sextus
puts this in definite form: “Everything that surrounds us is logical
and intelligent”—yet not therefore accompanied by consciousness.
“If we draw this universal reality through our breath, we shall be
intelligent, but we are so waking only, sleeping we are in oblivion.”
The waking consciousness of the outer world, what belongs to the sphere
of the understanding, is rather what may be called a condition; but
here it is taken as the whole of rational consciousness. “For in sleep
the channels of feeling are closed and the understanding that is in
us is prevented from uniting (_συμφυΐας_) with the surroundings; the
breath is the only connection (_πρόσφυσις_) maintained, and it may
be compared to a root.” This breath is thus distinguished from the
universal breath, i.e. from the being of another for us. Reason is this
process with the objective: when we are not in connection with the
whole, we only dream. “Separated, the understanding loses the power of
consciousness (_μνημονικὴν δύναμιν_) that it formerly had.” The mind
as individual unity only, loses objectivity, is not in individuality
universal, is not the Thought which has itself as object. “In a waking
condition, however, the understanding—gazing through the channels of
sense as though it were through a window, and forming a relationship
with the surroundings—maintains the logical power.” We here have the
ideal in its native simplicity. “In the same way as coals which come
near fire, themselves take fire, but apart from it, go out, the part
which is cut off from the surroundings in our bodies becomes, through
the separation, almost irrational.” This confutes those who think that
God gives wisdom in sleep or in somnambulism. But in connection with
the many channels it becomes similar to the whole. This whole, the
universal and divine understanding, in unity with which we are logical,
is, according to Heraclitus, the essence of truth. Hence that which
appears as the universal to all, carries with it conviction, for it has
part in the universal and divine Logos, while what is subscribed to by
an individual carries with it no conviction from the opposite cause. He
says in the beginning of his book on Nature: “Since the surroundings
are reason, men are irrational both before they hear and when they
first hear. For since what happens, happens according to this reason,
they are still inexperienced when they search the sayings and the works
which I expound, distinguishing the nature of everything and explaining
its relations. But other men do not know what they do awake, just as
they forget what they do in sleep.” Heraclitus says further: “We do and
think everything in that we participate in the divine understanding
(_λόγος_). Hence we must follow the universal understanding. But
many live as if they had an understanding (_φρόνησιν_) of their own;
the understanding is, however, nothing but interpretation” (being
conscious) “of the manner in which all is ordered. Hence in so far
as we participate in the knowledge (_μνήμης_) of it, we are in the
truth; but in so far as we are singular (_ἰδιάσωμεν_) we are in error.”
Great and important words! We cannot speak of truth in a truer or less
prejudiced way. Consciousness as consciousness of the universal, is
alone consciousness of truth; but consciousness of individuality and
action as individual, an originality which becomes a singularity of
content or of form, is the untrue and bad. Wickedness and error thus
are constituted by isolating thought and thereby bringing about a
separation from the universal. Men usually consider, when they speak of
thinking something, that it must be something particular, but this is
quite a delusion.

However much Heraclitus may maintain that there is no truth in sensuous
knowledge because all that exists is in a state of flux, and that
the existence of sensuous certainty is not while it is, he maintains
the objective method in knowledge to be none the less necessary. The
rational, the true, that which I know, is indeed a withdrawal from the
objective as from what is sensuous, individual, definite and existent;
but what reason knows within itself is necessity or the universal
of being; it is the principle of thought, as it is the principle of
the world. It is this contemplation of truth that Spinoza in his
Ethics (P. II. propos. XLIV., coroll. II. p. 118, ed. Paul), calls “a
contemplation of things in the guise of eternity.” The being-for-self
of reason is not an objectless consciousness, or a dream, but a
knowledge, that which is for itself; but this being-for-self is
awake, or is objective and universal, _i.e._ is the same for all. The
dream is a knowledge of something of which I alone know; fancy may
be instanced as just such a dream. Similarly it is by feeling that
something is for me alone, and that I have something in me as in this
subject; the feeling may profess to be ever so elevated, yet it really
is the case that for me as this subject, it is what I feel, and not an
object independent of me. But in truth, the object is for me something
essentially free, and I am for myself devoid of subjectivity; similarly
this object is no imaginary one made an object by me alone, but is in
itself a universal.

There are, besides, many other fragments of Heraclitus, solitary
expressions, such as his saying, “men are mortal gods, and gods
immortal men; living is death to the former and dying is their
life.”[67] Life is the death of the gods, death is the life of the
gods; the divine is the rising through thought above mere nature which
belongs to death. Hence Heraclitus also says, according to Sextus (adv.
Math. VII., 349): “the power of thinking is outside the body,” which,
in a remarkable way, Tennemann makes into: “outside of men.” In Sextus
(Pyrrh. Hyp. III. 24, § 230) we further read: “Heraclitus says that
both life and death are united in our life as in our death; for if we
live, our souls are dead and buried in us, but if we die, our souls
arise and live.” We may, in fact, say of Heraclitus what Socrates said:
“What remains to us of Heraclitus is excellent, and we must conjecture
of what is lost, that it was as excellent.” Or if we wish to consider
fate so just as always to preserve to posterity what is best, we must
at least say of what we have of Heraclitus, that it is worthy of this


We shall take Leucippus and Democritus with Empedocles; in them
there is manifested the ideality of the sensuous and also universal
determinateness or a transition to the universal. Empedocles was
a Pythagorean Italian, whose tendencies were Ionic; Leucippus and
Democritus, who incline to the Italians, in that they carried on the
Eleatic school, are more interesting. Both these philosophers belong
to the same philosophic system; they must be taken together as regards
their philosophic thought and considered thus.[68] Leucippus is the
older, and Democritus perfected what the former began, but it is
difficult to say what properly speaking belongs to him historically.
It is certainly recorded that he developed Leucippus’ thought, and
there is, too, some of his work preserved, but it is not worthy of
quotation. In Empedocles we see the commencement of the determination
and separation of principles. The becoming conscious of difference is
an essential moment, but the principles here have in part the character
of physical Being, and though partaking also of ideal Being, this form
is not yet thought-form. On the other hand we find in Leucippus and
Democritus the more ideal principles, the atom and the Nothing, and we
also find thought-determination more immersed in the objective—that
is, the beginning of a metaphysics of body; or pure Notions possess the
significance of the material, and thus pass over thought into objective
form. But the teaching is, on the whole, immature, and is incapable of
giving satisfaction.


Nothing is accurately known of the circumstances of Leucippus’ life,
not even where he was born. Some, like Diogenes Laertius (IX. 30), make
him out to be an Eleatic; others to have belonged to Abdera (because he
was with Democritus), or to Melos—Melos is an island not far from the
Peloponnesian coast—or else, as is asserted by Simplicius in writing
on Aristotle’s Physics (p. 7), to Miletus. It is definitely stated
that he was a disciple and a friend of Zeno; yet he seems to have been
almost contemporaneous with him as well as with Heraclitus.

It is less doubtful that Democritus belonged to Abdera in Thrace, on
the Aegean Sea, a town that in later times became so notorious on
account of foolish actions. He was born, it would appear, about the
80th Olympiad (460 B.C.), or Olympiad 77, 3 (470 B.C.); the first date
is given by Apollodorus (Diog. Laert. IX. 41), the other by Thrasyllus;
Tennemann (Vol. I. p. 415) makes his birth to fall about the 71st
Olympiad (494 B.C.). According to Diogenes Laertius (IX. 34), he was
forty years younger than Anaxagoras, lived to the time of Socrates, and
was even younger than he—that is supposing him to have been born, not
in Olympiad 71, but in Olympiad 80. His connection with the Abderites
has been much discussed, and many bad anecdotes are told regarding it
by Diogenes Laertius. That he was very rich, Valerius Maximus (VIII.
7, ext. 4) judges from the fact that his father entertained the whole
of Xerxes’ army on its passage to Greece. Diogenes tells (IX. 35, 36)
that he expended his means, which were considerable, on journeys to
Egypt and in penetrating into the East, but this last is not authentic.
His possessions are stated to have amounted to a hundred talents, and
if an Attic talent was worth about from 1000 to 1200 thalers, he must
undoubtedly have been able to get far enough with that. It is always
said that he was a friend and disciple of Leucippus, as Aristotle
relates (Met. I. 4), but where they met is not told. Diogenes (IX. 39)
goes on: “After he returned from his journeys into his own country,
he lived very quietly, for he had consumed all his substance, but
he was supported by his brother and attained to high honour amongst
his countrymen”—not through his philosophy, but—“by some prophetic
utterances. According to the law, however, he who ran through his
father’s means could not have a place in the paternal burial-place. To
give no place to the calumniator or evil speaker”—as though he had
spent his means through extravagance—“he read his work _Διάκοσμος_ to
the Abderites, and the latter gave him a present of 500 talents, had
his statue publicly erected, and buried him with great pomp when, at
100 years old, he died.” That this was also an Abderite jest, those who
left us this narrative, at least, did not see.

Leucippus is the originator of the famous atomic system which, as
recently revived, is held to be the principle of rational science.
If we take this system on its own account, it is certainly very
barren, and there is not much to be looked for in it; but it must be
allowed that we are greatly indebted to Leucippus, because, as it is
expressed in our ordinary physics, he separated the universal and
the sensuous, or the primary and the secondary, or the essential and
the nonessential qualities of body. The universal quality means, in
speculative language, the fact that the corporeal is really universally
determined through the Notion or the principle of body: Leucippus
understood the determinate nature of Being, not in a superficial
manner, but in a speculative. When it is said that body has those
universal qualities, such as form, impenetrability and weight, we think
that the indeterminate conception of body is the essence, and that its
essence is something other than these qualities. But speculatively,
essential existence is just universal determinations; they are existent
in themselves, or the abstract content and the reality of existence.
To body as such, there is nothing left for the determination of reality
but pure singularity; but it is the unity of opposites, and the unity
of these predicates constitutes its reality.

Let us recollect that in the Eleatic philosophy Being and non-being
were looked at as in opposition; that only Being is, and non-being, in
which category we find motion, change, &c., is not. Being is not as yet
the unity turning back, and turned back into itself, like Heraclitus’
motion and the universal. It may be said of the point of view that
difference, change, motion, &c., fall within sensuous, immediate
perception, that the assertion that only Being is, is as contradictory
to appearances as to thought; for the nothing, that which the Eleatics
abolished, is. Or within the Heraclitean Idea, Being and non-being
are the same; Being is, but non-being, since it is one with Being, is
as well, or Being is both the predicate of Being and of non-being.
But Being and non-being are both expressed as having the qualities of
objectivity, or as they are for sensuous perception, and hence they are
the opposition of full and empty. Leucippus says this; he expresses as
existent what was really present to the Eleatics. Aristotle says (Met.
I. 4): “Leucippus and his friend Democritus maintain that the full and
the empty are the elements, and they call the one the existent, and the
other the non-existent; that is, the full and solid are the existent,
the empty and rare, the non-existent. Hence they also say that Being
is no more than non-being because the empty is as well as the bodily;
and these form the material sources of everything.” The full has the
atom as its principle. The Absolute, what exists in and for itself,
is thus the atom and the empty (_τὰ ἄτομα καὶ τὸ κενόν_): this is an
important, if at the same time, an insufficient explanation. It is not
atoms as we should speak of them, such, for example, as we represent
to ourselves as floating in the air, that are alone the principle, for
the intervening nothing is just as essential. Thus here we have the
first appearance of the atomic system. We must now give the further
signification and determination of this principle.

_a. The Logical Principle_

The principal point of consideration is the One, existent for
itself: this determination is a great principle and one which we
have not hitherto had. Parmenides establishes Being or the abstract
universal; Heraclitus, process; the determination of being-for-self
belongs to Leucippus. Parmenides says that the nothing does not exist
at all; with Heraclitus Becoming existed only as the transition of
Being into nothing where each is negated; but the view that each is
simply at home with itself, the positive as the self-existent one and
the negative as empty, is what came to consciousness in Leucippus, and
became the absolute determination. The atomic principle in this manner
has not passed away, for it must from this point of view always exist;
the being-for-self must in every logical philosophy[69] be an essential
moment and yet it must not be put forward as ultimate. In the logical
progression from Being and Becoming to this thought-determination,
Being as existent here and now[70] certainly first appears, but
this last belongs to the sphere of finality and hence cannot be the
principle of Philosophy. Thus, though the development of Philosophy
in history must correspond to the development of logical philosophy,
there will still be passages in it which are absent in historical
development. For instance, if we wished to make Being as existent here
the principle, it would be what we have in consciousness—there are
things, these things are finite and bear a relation to one another—but
this is the category of our unthinking knowledge, of appearance.
Being-for-self, on the other hand, is, as Being, simple relation to
itself, but through negation of the other-Being. If I say I am for
myself, I not only am, but I negate in me all else, exclude it from
me, in so far as it seems to me to be external. As negation of other
being, which is just negation in relation to me, being-for-self is
the negation of negation and thus affirmation; and this is, as I call
it, absolute negativity in which mediation indeed is present, but a
mediation which is just as really taken away.

The principle of the One is altogether ideal and belongs entirely to
thought, even though we wish to say that atoms exist. The atom may be
taken materially, but it is supersensuous, purely intellectual. In our
times, too, more especially through the instrumentality of Gassendi,
this conception of atoms has been renewed. The atoms of Leucippus are,
however, not molecules, the small particles of Physics. In Leucippus,
according to Aristotle, (De gen. et corr. I. 8) there is to be found
the idea that “atoms are invisible because of the smallness of their
body,” which is much like the way in which molecules are now-a-days
spoken of: but this is merely a way of speaking of them. The One can
neither be seen nor shown with magnifying glasses or measures, because
it is an abstraction of thought; what is shown is always matter that is
put together. It is just as futile when, as in modern times, men try
by the microscope to investigate the inmost part of the organism, the
soul, and think they can discover it by means of sight and feeling.
Thus the principle of the One is altogether ideal, but not in the
sense of being in thought or in the head alone, but in such a way that
thought is made the true essence of things. Leucippus understood it
so, and his philosophy is consequently not at all empirical. Tennemann
(Vol. 1, p. 261), on the other hand, says, quite wrongly, “The system
of Leucippus is opposed to that of the Eleatics; he recognizes the
empirical world as the only objective reality, and body as the only
kind of existence.” But the atom and the vacuum are not things of
experience; Leucippus says that it is not the senses through which
we become conscious of the truth, and thereby he has established an
idealism in the higher sense and not one which is merely subjective.

_b. The Constitution of the World_

However abstract this principle might be to Leucippus, he was
anxious to make it concrete. The meaning of atom is the individual,
the indivisible; in another form the One is thus individuality,
the determination of subjectivity. The universal and, on the other
side, the individual, are great determinations which are involved
in everything, and men first know what they have in these abstract
determinations, when they recognize in the concrete that even there
they are predominant. To Leucippus and Democritus this principle, which
afterwards came to light with Epicurus, remained physical; but it also
appears in what is intellectual. Mind indeed, is also an atom and one;
but as one within itself, it is at the same time infinitely full. In
freedom, right and law, in exercising will, our only concern is with
this opposition of universality and individuality. In the sphere of
the state the point of view that the single will is, as an atom, the
absolute, may be maintained; the more modern theories of the state
which also made themselves of practical effect, are of this kind. The
state must rest on the universal, that is, on the will that exists
in and for itself; if it rests on that of the individual, it becomes
atomic and is comprehended in accordance with the thought-determination
of the one, as is the case in Rousseau’s _Contrat Social_. From what
Aristotle tells us in the passage last quoted, Leucippus’ idea of all
that is concrete and actual is further this: “The full is nothing
simple, for it is an infinitely manifold. These infinitely many, move
in the vacuum, for the vacuum exists; their conglomeration brings
about origination” (that is, of an existing thing, or what is for the
senses), “disintegration and separation result in passing away.” All
other categories are included here. “Activity and passivity subsist in
the fact, that they are contiguous; but their contiguity is not their
becoming one, for from that which is truly” (abstractly) “one there
does not come a number, nor from that which is truly many, one.” Or,
it may be said, they are in fact neither passive nor active, “for they
merely abide through the vacuum” without having as their principle,
process. Atoms thus are, even in their apparent union in that which
we call things, separated from one another through the vacuum which
is purely negative and foreign to them, _i.e._ their relation is not
inherent in themselves, but is with something other than them, in which
they remain what they are. This vacuum, the negative in relation to the
affirmative, is also the principle of the movement of atoms; they are
so to speak solicited by the vacuum to fill up and to negate it.

These are the doctrines of the atomists. We see that we have reached
the extreme limits of these thoughts, for when relation comes into
question, we step beyond them. Being and non-being, as something
thought, which, when represented for consciousness as differing in
regard to one another, are the plenum and the vacuum, have no diversity
in themselves; for the plenum has likewise negativity in itself; as
independent, it excludes what is different; it is one and infinitely
many ones, while the vacuum is not exclusive, but pure continuity. Both
these opposites, the one and continuity, being now settled, nothing is
easier to imagine than that atoms should float in existent continuity,
now being separated and now united; and thus that their union should
be only a superficial relation, or a synthesis that is not determined
through the inherent nature of what is united, but in which these
self-existent beings really remain separated still. But this is an
altogether external relationship; the purely independent is united to
the independent, and thus a mechanical combination alone results. All
that is living, spiritual, &c., is then merely thrown together; and
change, origination, creation, are simple union.

However highly these principles are to be esteemed as a forward step,
they at once reveal to us their total inadequacy, as is also the
case when we enter with them on further concrete determinations.
Nevertheless, we need not add what is in great measure added by the
conception of a later date, that once upon a time, there was a chaos, a
void filled with atoms, which afterwards became united and orderly, and
that the world thereby arose; it is now and ever that what implicitly
exists is the plenum and the vacuum. The satisfying point of view which
natural science found in such thoughts, is just the simple fact that in
these the existent is in its antithesis as what is thought and what is
opposed to thought, and is hereby what exists in and for itself. The
Atomists are therefore, generally speaking, opposed to the idea of the
creation and maintenance of this world by means of a foreign principle.
It is in the theory of atoms that science first feels released from
the sense of having no foundation for the world. For if nature is
represented as created and held together by another, it is conceived
of as not existent in itself, and thus as having its Notion outside
itself, _i.e._ its principle or origin is foreign to it and it has no
principle as such, only being conceivable from the will of another; as
it is, it is contingent, devoid of necessity and Notion in itself. In
the conception of the atomist, however, we have the conception of the
inherency of nature, that is to say, thought finds itself in it, or
its principle is in itself something thought, and the Notion finds its
satisfaction in conceiving and establishing it as Notion. In abstract
existence, nature has its ground in itself and is simply for itself;
the atom and the vacuum are just such simple Notions. But we cannot
here see or find more than the formal fact that quite general and
simple principles, the antithesis between the one and continuity, are

If we proceed from a wider, richer point of view in nature, and demand
that from the atomic theory, it, too, must be made comprehensible, the
satisfaction at once disappears and we see the impossibility of getting
any further. Hence we must get beyond these pure thoughts of continuity
and discontinuity. For these negations, the units, are not in and for
themselves; the atoms are indivisible and like themselves, or their
principle is made pure continuity, so that they may be said to come
directly into one clump. The conception certainly keeps them separate
and gives them a sensuously represented Being; but if they are alike,
they are, as pure continuity, the same as what is empty. But that which
is, is concrete and determined. How then can diversity be conceived
of from these principles? Whence comes the determinate character of
plants, colour, form? The point is, that though these atoms as small
particles may be allowed to subsist as independent, their union becomes
merely a combination which is altogether external and accidental. The
determinate difference is missed; the one, as that which is for itself,
loses all its determinateness. If various matters, electrical, magnetic
and luminous, are assumed, and, at the same time, a mechanical shifting
about of molecules, on the one hand unity is quite disregarded, and, on
the other, no rational word is uttered in regard to the transition of
phenomena, but only what is tautological.

Since Leucippus and Democritus wished to go further, the necessity of
a more definite distinction than this superficial one of union and
separation was introduced, and they sought to bring this about by
ascribing diversity to atoms, and, indeed, by making their diversity
infinite. Aristotle (Met. I. 4) says: “This diversity they sought to
determine in three ways. They say that atoms differ in figure, as A
does from N; in order” (place) “as AN from NA; in position”—as to
whether they stand upright or lie—“as Z from N. From these all other
differences must come.” We see that figure, order and posture are again
external relationships, indifferent determinations, _i.e._ unessential
relations which do not affect the nature of the thing in itself nor its
immanent determinateness, for their unity is only in another. Taken on
its own account, this difference is indeed inconsistent, for as the
entirely simple one, the atoms are perfectly alike, and thus any such
diversity cannot come into question.

We here have an endeavour to lead the sensuous back into few
determinations. Aristotle (De gen. et corr. I. 8) says in this
connection of Leucippus: “He wished to bring the conception of the
phenomenal and sensuous perception nearer, and thereby represented
movement, origination and decease, as existent in themselves.” In
this we see no more than that actuality from him receives its rights,
while others speak only of deception. But when Leucippus in the end
represents the atom as also fashioned in itself, he brings existence
certainly so much nearer to sensuous perception, but not to the Notion;
we must, indeed, go on to fashioning, but so far we are still a long
way off from the determination of continuity and discretion. Aristotle
(De sensu, 4) therefore says: “Democritus, and most of the other
ancient philosophers are, when they speak of what is sensuous, very
awkward, because they wish to make all that is felt into something
tangible; they reduce everything to what is evident to the sense of
touch, black being rough, and white smooth.” All sensuous qualities are
thus only led back to form, to the various ways of uniting molecules
which make any particular thing capable of being tasted or smelt; and
this endeavour is one which is also made by the atomists of modern
times. The French particularly, from Descartes onward, stand in this
category. It is the instinct of reason to understand the phenomenal
and the perceptible, only the way is false; it is a quite unmeaning,
undetermined universality. Since figure, order, posture and form,
constitute the only determination of what is in itself, nothing is said
as to how these moments are experienced as colour, and indeed variety
of colour, &c.; the transition to other than mechanical determinations
is not made, or it shows itself to be shallow and barren.

How it was that Leucippus, from these poor principles of atoms and
of the vacuum, which he never got beyond, because he took them to be
the absolute, hazarded a construction of the whole world (which may
appear to us as strange as it is empty), Diogenes Laertius tells us
(IX. 31-33) in an account which seems meaningless enough. But the
nature of the subject allows of little better, and we can do no more
than observe from it the barrenness of this conception. It runs thus:
“Atoms, divergent in form, propel themselves through their separation
from the infinite, into the great vacuum.” (Democritus adds to this,
“by means of their mutual resistance (_ἀντιτυπία_) and a tremulous,
swinging motion (_παλμός_).”)[71] “Here gathered, they form one vortex
(_δίνην_) where, by dashing together and revolving round in all sorts
of ways, the like are separated off with the like. But since they are
of equal weight, when they cannot, on account of their number, move
in any way, the finer go into outer vacuum, being so to speak forced
out; and the others remain together and, being entangled, run one
against another, and form the first round system. But this stands apart
like a husk that holds within it all sorts of bodies; since these, in
pressing towards the middle, make a vortex movement, this encircling
skin becomes thin, because from the action of the vortex, they are
continually running together. The earth arises in this way, because
these bodies, collected in the middle, remain together. That which
encircles and which is like a husk, again becomes increased by means of
the adherence of external bodies, and since it also moves within the
vortex, it draws everything with which it comes in contact to itself.
The union of some of these bodies again forms a system, first the moist
and slimy, and then the dry, and that which circles in the vortex of
the whole; after that, being ignited, they constitute the substance of
the stars. The outer circle is the sun, the inner the moon,” &c. This
is an empty representation; there is no interest in these dry, confused
ideas of circle-motion, and of what is later on called attraction
and repulsion, beyond the fact that the different kinds of motion are
looked at as the principle of matter.

_c. The Soul_

Finally Aristotle relates (De anim. I. 2) that in regard to the
soul, Leucippus and Democritus said that “it is spherical atoms.” We
find further from Plutarch (De plac. phil. IV. 8) that Democritus
applied himself to the relation borne by consciousness to the
explanation, amongst other things, of the origin of feelings, because
with him, the conceptions that from things fine surfaces, so to speak,
free themselves, and fly into the eyes, ears, &c., first began. We see
that, thus far, Democritus expressed the difference between the moments
of implicit Being and Being-for-another more distinctly. For he said,
as Sextus tells us (adv. Math. VII. 135): “Warmth exists according
to opinion (_νόμῳ_), and so do cold and colour, sweet and bitter:
only the indivisible and void are truthful (_ἐτεῇ_).” That is to say,
only the void and indivisible and their determinations are implicit;
unessential, different Being, such as warmth, &c., is for another. But
by this the way is at once opened up to the false idealism that means
to be done with what is objective by bringing it into relation with
consciousness, merely saying of it that it is _my_ feeling. Thereby
sensuous individuality is, indeed, annulled in the form of Being, but
it still remains the same sensuous manifold; a sensuously notionless
manifold of feeling is established, in which there is no reason, and
with which this idealism has no further concern.


The fragments of Empedocles left, have several times been collected.
Sturz of Leipzig collected above 400 verses.[72] Peyron arranged a
collection of fragments of Empedocles and Parmenides,[73] which was put
into print in Leipzig in 1810. In Wolff’s Analects, a treatise is to be
found on Empedocles by Ritter.

Empedocles’ birthplace was Agrigentum in Sicily, while Heraclitus
belonged to Asia Minor. We thus come back to Italy, for our history
changes about between these two sides; from Greece proper, as the
middle point, we have as yet had no philosophies at all. Empedocles,
according to Tennemann (Vol. I. p. 415), flourished about the 80th
Olympiad (460 B.C.). Sturz (pp. 9, 10) quotes Dodwell’s words: (De
ætate Pythag. p. 220), which indicate that Empedocles was born in
Olympiad 77, 1 (472 B.C.). They are as follows: “In the second year of
the 85th Olympiad Parmenides had reached his 65th year, so that Zeno
was born in the second year of the 75th Olympiad;[74] thus he was six
years older than his fellow-student Empedocles, for the latter was
only one year old when Pythagoras died in the first or second year of
the 77th Olympiad.” Aristotle says (Met. I. 3): “In age Empedocles is
subsequent to Anaxagoras, but his works are earlier.” But not only did
he philosophize earlier as regards time, that is, at a younger age,
but in reference to the stage reached by the Notion, his philosophy is
earlier and less mature than that of Anaxagoras.

From Diogenes’ accounts of his life (VIII. 59, 60-73), he also seems
to have been a kind of magician and sorcerer, like Pythagoras. During
his life he was much respected by his fellow-citizens, and, after
his death, a statue was erected to him in his native town; his fame
extended very far. He did not live apart, like Heraclitus, but in the
exercise of great influence on the affairs of the town of Agrigentum,
like Parmenides in Elea. He acquired the credit, after the death of
Meton, the ruler of Agrigentum, of bringing about a free constitution
and equal rights to all citizens. He likewise frustrated several
attempts which were made by people of Agrigentum to seize upon the
rulership of their city; and when the esteem of his fellow-citizens
rose so high that they offered him the crown, he rejected their offers,
and lived ever after amongst them as a respected private individual.
Both of his life and death much which was fabulous was told. Seeing
that he was famous in life, we are told that he wished not to appear
to die an ordinary death, as a proof that he was not a mortal man, but
had merely passed out of sight. After a feast he is said either to have
suddenly disappeared, or else to have been on Etna with his friends,
and suddenly to have been seen of them no more. But what became of him
was revealed by the fact that one of his shoes was thrown up by Etna,
and found by one of his friends; this made it clear that he threw
himself into Etna, thereby to withdraw himself from the notice of
mankind, and to give rise to the idea that he did not really die, but
that he was taken up amongst the gods.

The origin and occasion for this fable seems to lie in a poem in which
there are several verses that, taken alone, make great professions.
He says, according to Sturz, (p. 530: Reliquiæ _τῶν καθαρμῶν_, v.

  “Friends who dwell within the fort on yellow Acragas
  And who in the best of works are busy, I greet you!
  To you I am an immortal god, no more a mortal man,
  Do ye not see how that where’er I go, all honour me,
  My head being ‘circled round with diadems and crowns of green?
  When so decked out, I show myself in towns of wealth,
  Men and women pray to me. And thousands follow
  My steps, to seek from me the way to bliss,
  Others ask for prophecies; others again,
  Healing words for ailments manifold beseech.
  But what is this to me—as though ‘twere anything
  By art to conquer much corrupted man.”

But, taken in the context, this laudation means that I am highly
honoured, but what is the value of that to me; it expresses weariness
of the honour given him by men.

Empedocles had Pythagoreans as pupils, and went about with them; he
is sometimes considered to have been a Pythagorean like Parmenides
and Zeno, but this is the only ground for such a statement. It is a
question whether he belonged to the League; his philosophy has no
resemblance to the Pythagorean. According to Diogenes Laertius (VIII.
56), he was also called Zeno’s fellow-pupil. There have, indeed, been
many isolated reflections of a physical kind preserved to us, as also
some words of exhortation, and in him thought as penetrating within
reality, and the knowledge of nature seem to have attained to greater
breadth and compass; we find in him, however, less speculative depth
than in Heraclitus, but a Notion more imbued with the point of view
of reality, and a culture derived from natural philosophy or the
contemplation of nature. Empedocles is more poetic than definitely
philosophical; he is not very interesting, and much cannot be made of
his philosophy.

As to the particular Notion which governs it, and which really begins
in it to appear, we may call it Combination or Synthesis. It is as
combination that the unity of opposites first presents itself; this
Notion, first opening up with Heraclitus, is, while in a condition
of rest, conceived of as combination, before thought grasps the
universal in Anaxagoras. Empedocles’ synthesis, as a completion of
the relationship, thus belongs to Heraclitus, whose speculative Idea,
though in reality, is process, but this is so without the individual
moments in reality being mutually related as Notions. Empedocles’
conception of synthesis holds good to the present day. He also is
the originator of the common idea that has even come down to us, of
regarding the four known physical elements of fire, air, water, and
earth, as fundamental; by chemists they are certainly no longer held
to be elements, because they understand by elements a simple chemical
substance. I will now give Empedocles’ ideas shortly, and draw the many
units mentioned into the connection of a whole.

His general ideas Aristotle[75] shortly sums up thus: “To the three
elements, fire, air, and water, each of which was in turn considered
as the principle from which everything proceeded, Empedocles added
the Earth as the fourth corporeal element, saying that it is these
which always remain the same, never becoming, but being united and
separated as the more or the less, combining into one and coming
out of one.” Carbon, metal, &c., are not something existing in and
for itself which remains constant and never becomes; thus nothing
metaphysical is signified by them. But with Empedocles this undoubtedly
is the case: every particular thing arises through some kind of union
of the four. These four elements, to our ordinary idea, are not so
many sensuous things if we consider them as universal elements; for,
looked at sensuously, there are various other sensuous things. All
that is organic, for example, is of another kind; and, further, earth
as one, as simple, pure earth, does not exist, for it is in manifold
determinateness. In the idea of four elements we have the elevation of
sensuous ideas into thought.

Aristotle further says in reference to the abstract Notion of their
relation to one another (Met. I. 4), that Empedocles did not only
require the four elements as principles, but also Friendship and
Strife, which we have already met with in Heraclitus; it is at once
evident that these are of another kind, because they are, properly
speaking, universal. He has the four natural elements as the real, and
friendship and strife as the ideal principles, so that six elements,
of which Sextus[76] often speaks, make their appearance in lines
that Aristotle (Met. II. 4) and Sextus (adv. Math. VII. 92) have

  “With the earth, we see the earth, with water, water,
  With air, heavenly air, with fire, eternal fire,
  With love, love is seen, and strife with sorrowful strife.”

Through our participation in them they become for us. There we have the
idea that spirit, the soul, is itself the unity, the very totality of
elements, in which the principle of earth relates to earth, water to
water, love to love, &c.[77] In seeing fire, the fire is in us for whom
objective fire is, and so on.

Empedocles also speaks of the process of these elements, but he did not
comprehend it further; the point to be remarked is that he represented
their unity as a combination. In this synthetic union, which is a
superficial relation devoid of Notion, being partly related and partly
unrelated, the contradiction necessarily results that at one time the
unity of elements is established and at another, their separation:
the unity is not the universal unity in which they are moments,
being even in their diversity one, and in their unity different, for
these two moments, unity and diversity, fall asunder, and union and
separation are quite indeterminate relationships. Empedocles says in
the first book of his poem on Nature, as given by Sturz (p. 517, v.
106-109): “There is no such thing as a Nature, only a combination and
separation of what is combined; it is merely called Nature by men.”
That is to say, that which constitutes anything, as being its elements
or parts, is not as yet called its nature, but only its determinate
unity. For example, the nature of an animal is its constant and real
determinateness, its kind, its universality, which is simple. But
Empedocles does away with nature in this sense, for every thing,
according to him, is the combination of simple elements, and thus
not in itself the universal, simple and true: this is not what is
signified by us when we speak of nature. Now this nature in which a
thing moves in accordance with its own end, Aristotle (De gen. et
corr. II. 6) misses in Empedocles; in later times this conception was
still further lost. Because the elements were thus existent simply in
themselves, there was, properly speaking, no process established in
them, for in process they are only vanishing moments, and not existent
in themselves. Being thus implicit, they must have been unchangeable,
or they could not constitute themselves into a unity; for in the one
their subsistence, or their implicit existence would be destroyed. But
because Empedocles says that things subsist from these elements, he
immediately establishes their unity.

These are the principal points in Empedocles’ philosophy. I will quote
the remarks that Aristotle (Met. I. 4) makes in this regard.

(_α_) “If we wish to follow this up, and do so in accordance with
the understanding, not merely stumbling over it like Empedocles, we
should say that friendship is the principle of good and strife the
principle of evil, so that in a measure we may assert that Empedocles
maintained—and was the first to do so—that the evil and the good
are the absolute principles, because the good is the principle of all
good, and the bad the principle of all evil.” Aristotle shows the trace
of universality present here; for to him it may be termed essential
in dealing with the Notion of the principle, that which is in and for
itself. But this is only the Notion, or the thought which is present
in and for itself; we have not yet seen such a principle, for we find
it first in Anaxagoras. If Aristotle found the principle of motion
missed in ancient philosophers, in the Becoming of Heraclitus, he again
missed in Heraclitus the still deeper principle of the Good, and hence
wished to discover it in Empedocles. By the good the “why” is to be
understood, that which is an end in and for itself, which is clearly
established in itself, which is on its own account, and through which
all else is; the end has the determination of activity, the bringing
forth of itself, so that it, as end to itself, is the Idea, the Notion
that makes itself objective and, in its objectivity, is identical with
itself. Aristotle thus entirely controverts Heraclitus, because his
principle is change alone, without remaining like self, maintaining
self, and going back within self.

(_β_) Aristotle also says in criticizing further the relationship
and determination of these two universal principles of Friendship
and Strife, as of union and separation, that “Empedocles neither
adequately made use of them nor discovered in them what they involved
(_ἐξευρίσκει τὸ ὁμολογούμενον_); for with him friendship frequently
divides and strife unites. That is, when the All falls asunder through
strife amongst the elements, fire is thereby united into one, and
so is each of the other elements.” The separation of the elements
which are comprised within the All, is just as necessarily the union
amongst themselves of the parts of each element; that which, on the
one hand, is the coming into separation, as independent, is at the
same time something united within itself. “But when everything through
friendship goes back into one, it is necessary that the parts of
each element undergo separation again.” The being in one is itself a
manifold, a diverse relation of the four diversities, and thus the
going together is likewise a separation. This is the case generally
with all determinateness, that it must in itself be the opposite, and
must manifest itself as such. The remark that, speaking generally,
there is no union without separation, no separation without union, is
a profound one; identity and non-identity are thought-determinations
of this kind which cannot be separated. The reproach made by Aristotle
is one that lies in the nature of the thing. And when Aristotle says
that Empedocles, although younger than Heraclitus, “was the first to
maintain such principles, because he did not assert that the principle
of motion is one, but that it is different and opposed,” this certainly
relates to the fact that he thought it was in Empedocles that he first
found design, although his utterances on the subject were dubious.

(_γ_) As to the real moments in which this ideal realizes
itself, Aristotle further says, “He does not speak of them as
four”—equivalents in juxtaposition—“but on the contrary as two;
fire he puts by itself on the one side, and the three others, earth,
air, and water, on the other.” What would be most interesting is the
determination of their relationship.

(_δ_) In what deals with the relationship of the two ideal moments,
friendship and strife, and of the four real elements, there is thus
nothing rational, for Empedocles, according to Aristotle (Met. XII.
10), did not properly separate, but co-ordinated them, so that we often
see them in proximity and counted as having equal value; but it is
self-evident that Empedocles also separated these two sides, the real
and the ideal, and expressed thought as their relation.

(_ε_) Aristotle says with justice (De gen. et corr. I. 1) that
“Empedocles contradicts both himself and appearances. For at one time
he maintains that none of the elements springs out of the other, but
all else comes from them; and, at another time, he makes them into a
whole through friendship, and again destroys this unity through strife.
Thus through particular differences and qualities, one becomes water,
the other fire, &c. Now if the particular differences are taken away
(and they can be taken away since they have arisen), it is evident
that water arises from earth, and the reverse. The All was not yet
fire, earth, water, and air, when these were still one, so that it
is not clear whether he made the one or the many to be, properly
speaking, real existence.” Because the elements become one, their
special character, that through which water is water, is nothing in
itself, that is, they are passing into something different; but this
contradicts the statement that they are the absolute elements, or that
they are implicit. He considers actual things as an intermingling
of elements, but in regard to their first origin, he thinks that
everything springs from one through friendship and strife. This
customary absence of thought is in the nature of synthetic conceptions;
it now upholds unity, then multiplicity, and does not bring both
thoughts together; as sublated, one is also not one.[78]


With Anaxagoras[79] a light, if still a weak one, begins to dawn,
because the understanding is now recognized as the principle. Aristotle
says of Anaxagoras (Met. I. 3): “But he who said that reason (_νοῦς_),
in what lives as also in nature, is the origin of the world and of all
order, is like a sober man as compared with those who came before and
spoke at random (_εἰκῆ_).” As Aristotle says, hitherto philosophers may
“be compared to the fencers who fence in an unscientific way. Just as
the latter often make good thrusts in their struggle, though not by any
skill, these philosophers seem to speak without any knowledge of what
they say.” Now if Anaxagoras, as a sober man amongst drunkards, was
the first to reach this consciousness—for he says that pure thought
is the actually existent universal and true—he yet, to a considerable
extent, still thrusts into space.

The connection of his philosophy with what precedes is as follows:
In Heraclitus’ Idea as motion, all moments are absolutely vanishing.
Empedocles represents the gathering together of this motion into a
unity, but into a synthetic unity; and with Leucippus and Democritus
it is the same. With Empedocles, however, the moments of this
unity are the existent elements of fire, water, &c., and with the
others, pure abstractions, implicit being, thoughts. But in this way
universality is directly asserted, for the opposing elements have no
longer any sensuous support. We have had Being, Becoming, the One, as
principles; they are universal thoughts and not sensuous, nor are they
figures of the imagination; the content and its parts are, however,
taken from what is sensuous, and they are thoughts in some sort of
a determination. Anaxagoras now says that it is not gods, sensuous
principles, elements, or thoughts—which really are determinations of
reflection—but that it is the Universal, Thought itself, in and for
itself, without opposition, all embracing, which is the substance or
the principle. The unity as universal, returns from the opposition into
itself, while in the synthesis of Empedocles, what is opposed is still
apart from it and independent, and Thought is not Being. Here, however,
Thought as pure, free process in itself, is the self-determining
universal, and is not distinguished from conscious thought. In
Anaxagoras quite new ground is thus opened up.

Anaxagoras concludes this period, and after him a fresh one begins.
In accordance with the favourite idea of there being a genealogical
descent of principles from the teacher to the taught, because he was
an Ionian, he is often represented as perpetuating the Ionic school,
and as an Ionic philosopher: Hermotimus of Clazomenæ, too, was his
teacher. To support this theory Diogenes Laertius (II. 6) makes him a
disciple of Anaximenes, whose birth is, however, placed in Ol. 55-58,
or about sixty years earlier than that of Anaxagoras.

Aristotle says (Met. I. 3) that Anaxagoras first began by these
determinations to express absolute reality as understanding. Aristotle
and others after him, such as Sextus (adv. Math. IX. 7), mention
the bare fact that Hermotimus gave rise to this conception, but it
was clearly due to Anaxagoras. Little is gained if such a fact were
true, since we learn no more about the philosophy of Hermotimus; it
cannot have been much. Others have made numerous historical researches
respecting this Hermotimus. The name we have already mentioned amongst
those of whom it is said that Pythagoras existed in them before he
lived as Pythagoras. We also have a story of Hermotimus to the effect
that he possessed the peculiar gift of being able to make his soul quit
his body. But this did him bad service in the end, since his wife,
with whom he had a dispute, and who besides knew very well how matters
stood, showed to their acquaintances this soul-deserted body as dead,
and it was burnt before the soul reinstated itself—which soul must
have been astonished.[80] It is not worth while to investigate what
lies at the ground of these ancient stories, i.e. into how we should
regard the matter: we may think of it as implying a state of ecstasy.

We must consider the life of Anaxagoras before his philosophy.
Anaxagoras, according to Diogenes (II. 7), born in Ol. 70 (500 B.C.),
comes earlier than Democritus, and in age also precedes Empedocles,
yet, on the whole, he was contemporaneous with these, as also with
Parmenides; he was as old as Zeno, and lived somewhat earlier than
Socrates, but still they were acquainted with one another. His native
town was Clazomenæ, in Lydia, not very far from Colophon and Ephesus,
and situated on an isthmus by which a great peninsula is connected
with the mainland. His life is shortly summed up in the statement that
he devoted himself to the study of the sciences, withdrew from public
affairs; according to Valerius Maximus (VIII. 7, extr. 6) he made
numerous journeys, and finally, according to Tennemann (Vol. I. pp.
300, 415), in the forty-fifth year of his age, in the 81st Olympiad
(456 B.C.), and at a propitious time, he came to Athens.

With him we thus find Philosophy in Greece proper, where so far there
had been none, and coming, indeed, as far as Athens; hitherto either
Asia Minor or Italy had been the seat of Philosophy, though, when the
inhabitants of Asia Minor fell under Persian rule, with their loss of
freedom, it expired amongst them. Anaxagoras, himself a native of Asia
Minor, lived in the important period between the war of the Medes and
the age of Pericles, principally in Athens, which had now reached the
zenith of its greatness, for it was both the head of Grecian power, and
the seat and centre of the arts and sciences. Athens, after the Persian
wars, brought the greater part of the Greek islands into subjection,
as also a number of maritime towns in Thrace, and even further into
the Black Sea. As the greatest artists collected in Athens, so also
did the most noted philosophers and sophists live there—a circle
of luminaries in the arts and sciences such as we have in Æschylus,
Sophocles, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Diogenes of Apollonia, Protagoras,
Anaxagoras, and others from Asia Minor. Pericles then ruled the State,
and raised it to that height of splendour which may be called the
golden age in Athenian life; Anaxagoras, although living in the most
flourishing time of Athenian life, touches on its decay, or rather
reaches the first threatening of that decay, which ended in a total
extermination of this beautiful life.

What is of special interest at this time is the opposition between
Athens and Lacedæmon, the two Greek nations which contended with one
another for the foremost place in Greece; here we must therefore allude
to the principles of these celebrated States. While the Lacedæmonians
had no arts or sciences, Athens had to thank the character of its
constitution, and of its whole spirit, for the fact that it was the
seat of the sciences and fine arts. But the constitution of Lacedæmon
is also worthy of high esteem, for it regulated and restrained the
high Doric spirit, and its principal feature was that all personal
peculiarity was subordinated, or rather sacrificed, to the general aim
of the life of the State, and the individual had the consciousness of
his honour and sufficiency only in the consciousness of working for
the State. A people of such genuine unity, in whom the will of the
individual had, properly speaking, quite disappeared, were united by
an indestructible bond, and Lacedæmon was hence placed at the head of
Greece, and obtained the leadership, which, we find, it held among the
Argives in the days of Troy. This is a great principle which must exist
in every true State, but which with the Lacedæmonians retained its
one-sided character; this one-sidedness was avoided by the Athenians,
and by that means they became the greater. In Lacedæmon personality
proper was so much disregarded that the individual could not have
free development or expression; individuality was not recognized, and
hence not brought into harmony with the common end of the State. This
abrogation of the rights of subjectivity, which, expressed in his own
way, is also found in Plato’s Republic, was carried very far with the
Lacedæmonians. But the universal is living spirit only in so far as the
individual consciousness finds itself as such within it; the universal
is not constituted of the immediate life and being of the individual,
the mere substance, but formed of conscious life. As individuality
which separates itself from the universal is powerless and falls to
the ground, the one-sided universal, the morality of individuality
cannot stand firm. The Lacedæmonian spirit, which had not taken into
account the freedom of consciousness, and whose universal had isolated
itself therefrom, had hence to see it break forth in opposition to the
universal; and though the first to come forward as the liberators of
Greece from its tyranny were the Spartans, whom even Athens thanks for
the expulsion of the descendants of Pisistratus, their relationship
to their confederates soon passes into that of common, mean, tyranny.
Within the State it likewise ends in a harsh aristocracy, just as the
fixed equilibrium of property (each family retaining its inheritance,
and through forbidding the possession of money, or trade and commerce,
preventing the possibility of inequality in riches) passes into an
avarice which, as opposed to this universal, is brutal and mean. This
essential moment of particularity, not being taken into the State,
and hence not made legal and moral (moral first of all), comes forth
as vice. In a rational organization all the elements of the Idea are
present; if the liver were isolated as bile it would become not more,
and not less active, but becoming antagonistic, it would isolate itself
from the corporate economy of the body. Solon, on the contrary, gave to
the Athenians not only equality of laws and unity of spirit in their
constitution (which was a purer democracy than in Sparta), but although
each citizen had his substantial consciousness in unity with the laws
of the State, he also gave free play to the individual mind, so that
each might do as he would, and might find expression for himself.
Solon entrusted the executive to the people, not to the Ephors, and
this became self-government after the displacement of the tyrants,
and thus in truth a free people arose; the individual had the whole
within himself, as he had his consciousness and action in the whole.
Thus we see in this principle the formation of free consciousness
and the freedom of individuality in its greatness. The principle of
subjective freedom appears at first, however, still in unison with the
universal principle of Greek morality as established by law, and even
with mythology; and thus in its promulgation, because the genius of its
conceptions could develop freely, it brought about these masterpieces
in the beautiful plastic arts, and the immortal works of poetry and
history. The principle of subjectivity had, thus far, not taken the
form that particularity, as such, should be set free, and that its
content should be a subjectively particular, at least distinguished
from the universal principle, universal morality, universal religion,
universal laws. Thus we do not see the carrying out of isolated ideas,
but the great, moral, solid, divine content made in these works object
for consciousness, and generally brought before consciousness. Later
we shall find the form of subjectivity becoming free for itself, and
appearing in opposition to the substantial, to morality, religion, and

The basis of this principle of subjectivity, though it is still a
merely general one, we now see in Anaxagoras. But amongst this noble,
free, and cultured people of Athens, he who had the happiness to be
first, was Pericles, and this circumstance raised him in the estimation
of the individual to a place so high that few could reach it. Of all
that is great amongst men, the power of ruling over the will of men who
have but one will, is the greatest, for this controlling individuality
must be both the most universal and the most living—a lot for a mortal
being than which hardly any better can be found. His individuality was,
according to Plutarch, (in Pericle 5) as deep as it was perfect; as
serious (he never laughed), as full of energy and restfulness: Athens
had him the whole day long. Thucydides has preserved some of Pericles’
speeches to the people which allow of few works being compared to them.
Under Pericles the highest culture of the moral commonwealth is to be
found, the juncture where individuality is still under and also in the
universal. Presently individuality prevails, because its activity falls
into extremes, since the state as state, is not yet independently
organized within itself. Because the essence of the Athenian State
was the common spirit, and the religious faith of individuals in this
constituted their essence, there disappears with the disappearance of
this faith, the inner Being of the people, since the spirit is not in
the form of the Notion as it is in our states. The speedy transition
to this last is the _νοῦς_, subjectivity, as Being, self-reflection.
When Anaxagoras at this time, the principle of which has just been
given, came to Athens, he was sought out by Pericles, and, as his
friend, lived in very intimate relations with him, before the latter
occupied himself with public affairs. But Plutarch (in Pericle 4, 16)
also relates that Anaxagoras came to want because Pericles neglected
him—did not supply the illuminating lamp with oil.

A more important matter is that Anaxagoras (as happened later with
Socrates and many other philosophers) was accused of despising those
whom the people accepted as gods. The prose of the understanding
came into contact with the poetic, religious point of view. It
is distinctly said by Diogenes Laertius (II. 12) that Anaxagoras
believed the sun and stars to be burning stones; and he is, according
to Plutarch, (in Pericle, 6) blamed for having explained something
that the prophets stated to be a marvellous omen, in a natural way;
it quite tallies with this that he is said to have foretold that on
the day of Ægos-Potamos, where the Athenians lost their last fleet
against Lysander, a stone should fall from heaven.[81] The general
remark might be made of Thales, Anaximander, &c., that the sun,
moon, earth and stars were counted as mere things, i.e. as objects
external to mind, and that they no longer held them to be living
gods, but represented them in different ways—which ideas, for the
rest, deserve no further consideration, since these matters belong
properly to ordinary learning. Things may be derived from thought;
thought really brings about the result that certain objects which may
be called divine, and certain conceptions of these which may be called
poetic, together with the whole range of superstitious beliefs, are
demolished—they are brought down to being what are called natural
things. For in thought, as the identity of itself and of Being, mind
knows itself as the truly actual, so that for mind in thought, the
unspiritual and material is brought down to being mere things, to the
negative of mind. All the ideas of those philosophers have this in
common, that nature is through them undeified; they brought the poetic
view of nature down to the prosaic, and destroyed the poetic point of
view which ascribes to all that is now considered to be lifeless, a
life proper to itself, perhaps also sensation, and, it may be, a being
after the usual order of consciousness. The loss of this point of view
is not to be lamented as if unity with nature, pure faith, innocent
purity and childlike spirit went with it. Innocent and childlike it
may certainly have been, but reason is just the going forth from
such innocence and unity with nature. So soon as mind grasps itself,
is for itself, it must for that very reason confront the ‘other’ of
itself as a negation of consciousness, i.e. look on it as something
devoid of mind, an unconscious and lifeless thing, and it must first
come to itself through this opposition. There is in this a fixing of
self-moving things such as are met with in the myths of the ancients,
who relate such tales as that the Argonauts secured the rocks on the
Straits of the Hellespont which formerly moved like scissors. Similarly
progressive culture consolidated that which formerly was thought to
have its own motion and life in itself, and made it into unmoving
matter. This transition of the mythical point of view into the prosaic,
here comes to be recognized by the Athenians. A prosaic point of
view such as this, assumes that man has requirements quite different
from those he formerly had; in this we find traces of the powerful,
necessary conversion brought about in the ideas of man through the
strengthening of thought, through knowledge of himself, and through

The institution of charges of atheism, which we shall touch upon
more fully in dealing with Socrates, is, in Anaxagoras’ case, quite
comprehensible, from the specific reason that the Athenians, who were
envious of Pericles, who contended with him for the first place, and
who did not venture to proceed against him openly, took his favourites
to law, and sought through charges against his friend, to injure him.
Thus his friend Aspasia was brought under accusation, and the noble
Pericles had, according to Plutarch (in Pericle, 32), in order to save
her from condemnation, to beg the individual citizens of Athens with
tears for her acquittal. The Athenian people in their freedom, demanded
such acts of the potentates to whom they allowed supremacy, for thereby
an acknowledgment was given of their subordination to the people; they
thus made themselves the Nemesis in respect to the high place accorded
to the great, for they placed themselves in a position of equality with
these, while these again made evident their dependence, subjection
and powerlessness before the others. What is told about the result of
this charge against Anaxagoras is quite contradictory and uncertain:
Pericles certainly saved him from condemnation to death. He was either,
as some say, condemned only to banishment after Pericles had led him
before the people, speaking and entreating for him, after, by reason
of his age, attenuation and weakness the sympathy of the people had
been aroused; or else, as others say, with the help of Pericles, he
escaped from Athens and was in absence condemned to death, the judgment
never being executed upon him. Others again say that he was liberated,
but from the vexation that he felt respecting these charges, and from
apprehension as to their repetition, he voluntarily left Athens. And at
about sixty or seventy years of age, he died in Lampsacus in the 88th
Olympiad (428 B.C.).[82]

1. _The Universal Principle._ The logical principle of Anaxagoras was
that he recognized the _νοῦς_ as the simple, absolute essence of the
world. The simplicity of the _νοῦς_ is not a Being but a universality
which is distinguished from itself, though in such a way that the
distinction is immediately sublated and the identity is set forth for
itself. This universal for itself, sundered, exists in purity only
as thought; it exists also in nature as objective existence, but in
that case no longer purely for itself, but as having particularity as
an immediate in it. Space and time are, for example, the most ideal,
universal facts in nature as such, but there is no pure space, no pure
time and motion any more than any pure matter—for this universal is
immediately defined space, air, earth, &c. In thought, when I say, I
am I, or I = I, I certainly distinguish something from me, but the
pure unity remains; there is no movement but a distinction which is
not distinguished, or the being-for-me. And in all that I think, if
the thought has a definite content, it is my thought: I am thus known
to myself in this object. This universal which thus exists for itself
and the individual, or thought and being, thus, however, come into
definite opposition. Here the speculative unity of this universal with
the individual should be considered as it is posited as absolute unity,
but the comprehension of the Notion itself is certainly not found
with the ancients. We need not expect a pure Notion such as one of an
understanding realizing itself into a system, organized as a universe.

How Anaxagoras enunciated the Notion of the _νοῦς_, Aristotle (De
anim. I. 2) goes on to tell: “Anaxagoras maintains that the soul is
the principle of movement. Yet he does not always express himself
fully about the soul and _νοῦς_: he seems to separate _νοῦς_ and soul
from one another, and still he makes use of them as though they were
the same existence, only that by preference he makes the _νοῦς_ the
principle of everything. He certainly speaks frequently of the _νοῦς_
as of the cause of the beautiful and right, but another time he calls
it the soul. For it is in all animals, in large as well as small, the
higher kind and the lower; it alone of all existence is the simple,
unadulterated and pure; it is devoid of pain and is not in community
with any other.”[83] What we therefore have to do is to show from the
principle of motion, that it is the self-moving; and this thought is,
as existent for itself. As soul, the self-moving is only immediately
individual; the _νοῦς_, however, as simple, is the universal. Thought
moves on account of something: the end is the first simple which
makes itself result; this principle with the ancients is grasped as
good and evil, i.e. end as positive and negative. This determination
is a very important one, but with Anaxagoras it was not fully worked
out. While in the first place the principles are material, from these
Aristotle then distinguishes determination and form, and thirdly he
finds in the process of Heraclitus, the principle of motion. Then in
the fourth place there comes the reason why, the determination of end,
with the _νοῦς_; this is the concrete in itself. Aristotle adds in
the above-mentioned passage (p. 192), “according to these men” (the
Ionians and others) “and in reference to such causes” (water, fire,
&c.), “since they are not sufficient to beget the nature of things,
the philosophers are, as already said, compelled by the truth to go on
to the principle following (_ἐχομένην_). For neither the earth nor any
other principle is capable of explaining the fact that while on the
one hand all is good and beautiful, on the other, something else is
produced, and those men do not seem to have thought that this was so;
nor is it seemly to abandon such matters to hazard (_αὐτομάτῳ_) and to
chance.” Goodness and beauty express the simple restful Notion, and
change the Notion in its movement.

With this principle comes the determination of an understanding as of
self-determining activity; this has hitherto been wanting, for the
Becoming of Heraclitus, which is only process, is not yet as fate,
the independently self-determining. By this we must not represent
to ourselves subjective thought; in thinking we think immediately
of our thought as it is in consciousness. Here, on the contrary,
quite objective thought is meant, active understanding—as we say,
there is reason in the world, or we speak of genera in nature which
are the universal. The genus animal is the substantial of the dog;
the dog itself is this; the laws of nature are themselves nature’s
immanent essence. The nature is not formed from without as men
make a table; this is also made with understanding, but through an
understanding outside of this wood. This external form, which is
called the understanding, immediately occurs to us in speaking of
the understanding; but here the universal is meant, that which is
the immanent nature of the object itself. The _νοῦς_ is thus not a
thinking existence from without which regulates the world; by such
the meaning present to Anaxagoras would be quite destroyed and all
its philosophic interest taken away. For to speak of an individual,
a unit from without, is to fall into the ordinary conception and its
dualism; a so-called thinking principle is no longer a thought, but is
a subject. But still the true universal is for all that not abstract,
but the universal is just the determining in and out of itself of the
particular in and for itself. In this activity, which is independently
self-determining, the fact is at once implied that the activity,
because it constitutes process, retains itself as the universal
self-identical. Fire, which, according to Heraclitus, was process,
dies away and merely passes over, without independent existence, into
the opposite; it is certainly also a circle and a return to fire, but
the principle does not retain itself in its determinateness as the
universal, seeing that a simple passing into the opposite takes place.
This relation to itself in determination which we see appearing in
Anaxagoras, now, however, contains the determination of the universal
though it is not formally expressed, and therein we have the end or the

I have just recently (p. 316) spoken of the Notion of the end, yet
by that we must not merely think of the form of the end as it is in
us, in conscious beings. At first, end, in as far as I have it, is my
conception, which is for itself, and the realization of which depends
on my wish; if I carry it out, and if I am not unskilful, the object
produced must be conformable to the end, containing nothing but it.
There is a transition from subjectivity to objectivity through which
this opposition is always again sublated. Because I am discontented
with my end in that it is only subjective, my activity consists in
removing this defect and making it objective. In objectivity the
end has retained itself; for instance, if I have the end in view of
building a house and am active for that end, the house results in
which my end is realized. But we must not, as we usually do, abide at
the conception of this subjective end; in this case both I and the
end exist independently and externally in relation to each other. In
the conception that God, as wisdom, rules the world in accordance
with an end, for instance, the end is posited for itself in a wise,
figuratively conceiving Being. But the universal of end is the fact
that since it is a determination independently fixed, that rules
present existence, the end is the truth, the soul of a thing. The Good
in the end gives content to itself, so that while it is active with
this content, and after it has entered into externality, no other
content comes forth than what was already present. The best example of
this is presented in life; it has desires, and these desires are its
ends; as merely living, however, it knows nothing of these ends, but
yet they are first, immediate determinations which are established.
The animal works at satisfying these desires, i.e. at reaching the
end; it relates itself to external things, partly mechanically,
partly chemically. But the character of its activity does not remain
mechanical or chemical; the product is rather the animal itself,
which, as its own end, brings forth in its activity only itself, since
it negates and overturns those mechanical or chemical relationships.
In mechanical and chemical process, on the other hand, the result is
something different, in which the subject does not retain itself; but
in the end, beginning and end are alike, for we posit the subjective
objectively in order to receive it again. Self-preservation is a
continual production by which nothing new, but always the old, arises;
it is a taking back of activity for the production of itself.

Thus this self-determining activity, which is then active on something
else, enters into opposition, but it again negates the opposition,
governs it, in it reflects upon itself; it is the end, the thought,
that which conserves itself in its self-determination. The development
of these moments is the business of Philosophy from henceforth. But
if we look more closely as to how far Anaxagoras has got in the
development of this thought, we find nothing further than the activity
determining from out of itself, which sets up a limit or measure;
further than the determination of measure, development does not go.
Anaxagoras gives us no more concrete definition of the _νοῦς_, and
this we are still left to consider; we thus have nothing more than the
abstract determination of the concrete in itself. The above-mentioned
predicates which Anaxagoras gives the _νοῦς_, may thus indeed be
affirmed, but they are, on their own account, one-sided only.

2. _The Homœomeriæ._ This is the one side in the principle of
Anaxagoras; we now have to consider the going forth of the _νοῦς_
into further determinations. This remaining part of the philosophy of
Anaxagoras at first, however, makes us think that the hopes in which
such a principle justified us must be very much diminished. On the
other side, this universal is confronted by Being, matter, the manifold
generally, potentiality as distinguished from the former as actuality.
For if the Good or the end is also determined as potentiality, the
universal, as the self-moving, may rather be called the actual in
itself, the being-for-self, as opposed to implicit being, potentiality,
passivity. Aristotle says in an important passage (Met. I. 8): “If
any one should say of Anaxagoras that he adopted two principles,
he would rest his statement on a point respecting which the latter
never really clearly defined himself, but which he had necessarily
to acknowledge to those who adduced it.... That is, Anaxagoras says
that originally everything is mingled.... But where nothing is yet
separated, no distinguishing feature is present; such substance is
neither a white, black, gray, nor any other colour, but colourless; it
has no quality nor quantity nor determination (_τί_). All is mingled
except the _νοῦς_; this is unmingled and pure. With this in view, it
thus occurs to him to denominate as principles the one, for it alone is
single and unmingled, and the other-being (_θάτερον_), what we call the
indeterminate, before it has become determined or partakes of any kind
of form.”

This other principle is celebrated under the name of homœomeries
(_ὁμοιομερῆ_), of like parts or homogeneous, in Aristotle’s rendering
(Met. I. 3, 7); Riemer translates _ἡ ὁμοιομερεια_ “the similarity of
individual parts to the whole,” and _αἱ ὁμοιομέρειαι_ “the elementary
matter,” yet this latter word seems to be of a later origin.[84]
Aristotle says, “Anaxagoras sets forth” (in respect of the material)
“infinitely many principles, for he maintained that, like water
and fire in Empedocles’ system, nearly all that is formed of like
parts only arises from union and passes away through separation;
other arising and passing away there is none, for equal parts remain
eternal.” That is, the existent, the individual matter, such as bones,
metal, flesh, &c., in itself consists of parts like itself—flesh
of small particles of flesh, gold of small gold particles, &c. Thus
he said at the beginning of his work, “All has been alike” (i.e.
unseparated as in a chaos), “and has rested for an infinitude of time;
then came the _νοῦς_, and it brought in movement, separated and brought
order into the separated creation (_διεκόσμησεν_), in that it united
the like.”[85]

The homœomeriæ become clearer if we compare them with the conceptions
of Leucippus and Democritus and others. In Leucippus and Democritus, as
well as Empedocles, we saw this matter, or the absolute as objective
existence, determined so that simple atoms—with the latter the four
elements and with the former infinitely many—were set forth as
separate only in form; their syntheses and combinations were existing
things. Aristotle (De cœlo, III. 3) says further on this point,
“Anaxagoras asserts of the elements the opposite to Empedocles. For
the latter takes as original principles, fire, air, earth, and water,
through whose union all things arise. On the other hand, Anaxagoras
maintains what are of like parts such as flesh, bones, or the like to
be simple materials; such things as water and fire, on the contrary,
are a mixture of the original elements. For any one of these four
consists of the infinite admixture of all invisible, existing things
of like parts, which hence come forth from these.” The principle
held good for him as for the Eleatics, that “the like only comes out
of the like; there is no transition into the opposite, no union of
opposites possible.” All change is hence to him only a separation
and union of the like; change as true change, would be a Becoming
out of the negative of itself. “That is, because Anaxagoras,” says
Aristotle (Phys. I, 4), “partook of the view of all physicists that
it is impossible that anything can come out of nothing, there was
nothing left but to admit that what becomes was already present as an
existent, but that, on account of its small size, it was imperceptible
to us.” This point of view is also quite different from the conception
of Thales and Heraclitus, in which, not only the possibility, but
the actuality of the transformation of these like qualitative
differences is essentially maintained. But to Anaxagoras with whom
the elements are a mingled chaos formed therefrom, having only an
apparent uniformity, concrete things arise through the severance of
these infinitely many principles from such a chaos, since like finds
like. Respecting the difference between Empedocles and Anaxagoras,
there is further what Aristotle adds in the same place: “The former
allows a change (_περίοδον_) in these conditions, the latter only
their one appearance.” The conception of Democritus is similar to that
of Anaxagoras in so far as that an infinite manifold is the original
source. But with Anaxagoras the determination of the fundamental
principles appears to contain that which we consider as organized, and
to be by no means an independently existent simple; thus perfectly
individualized atoms such as particles of flesh and of gold, form,
through their coming together, that which appears to be organized. That
comes near our ordinary ideas. Means of nourishment, it is thought,
contain such parts as are homogeneous to blood, flesh, &c. Anaxagoras
hence says, according to Aristotle (De gen. anim. I. 18), “Flesh
comes to flesh through food.” Digestion is thus nothing more than the
taking up of the homogeneous and separation of the heterogeneous;
all nourishment and growth is thus not true assimilation but only
increase, because each internal organ of the animal only draws its
parts to itself out of the various plants, bodies, &c. Death is, on
the other hand, the separation of the like and the mingling with the
heterogeneous. The activity of the _νοῦς_, as the sundering of the like
out of the chaos and the putting together of the like, as also the
setting at liberty again of this like, is certainly simple and relative
to itself, but purely formal and thus for itself contentless.

This is the general standpoint of the philosophy of Anaxagoras,
and quite the same standpoint which in more recent times reigns in
chemistry for instance; flesh is certainly no longer regarded as
simple, but as being hydrogen, &c. The chemical elements are oxygen,
hydrogen, carbon and metals, &c. Chemistry says, if you want to know
what flesh, wood, stone, &c., really are, you must set forth their
simple elements, and these are ultimate. It also says that much is only
relatively simple, _e.g._ platinum consists of three or four metals.
Water and air were similarly long held to be simple, but chemistry at
length analyzed them. From this chemical point of view, the simple
principles of natural things are determined as infinitely qualitative
and thus accepted as unchangeable and invariable, so that all else
consists only of the combination of these simples. Man, according to
this, is a collection of carbon and hydrogen, some earth, oxides,
phosphorus, &c. It is a favourite idea of the physicists to place
in the water or in the air, oxygen and carbon, which exist and only
require to be separated. This idea of Anaxagoras certainly also differs
from modern chemistry; that which we consider as concrete, is for him
qualitatively determined or elementary. Yet he allows, with regard to
flesh, that the parts are not all alike. “For this reason, they say,”
remarks Aristotle (Phys. I. 4; Met. IV. 5),—but not particularly
of Anaxagoras—“everything is contained in everything, for they saw
everything arise out of everything: it only appears to be different and
is called different in accordance with the predominating number of the
particular kind of parts which have mingled themselves with others. In
truth the whole is not white, or black, or sweet, or flesh, or bones;
but the homœomeriæ which have most accumulated in any place, bring
about the result that the whole appears to us as this determinate.”
As thus each thing contains all other things, water, air, bones,
fruits, &c., on the other hand, the water contains flesh as flesh,
bones, &c. Into this infinitely manifold nature of the principles,
Anaxagoras thus goes back; the sensuous has first arisen through the
accumulation of all those parts, and in it the one kind of parts then
has a predominance.

While he defines absolute existence as universal, we see here that in
objective existence, or in matter, universality and thought abandon
Anaxagoras. The implicit is to him, indeed, no absolutely sensuous
Being; the homœomeriæ are the non-sensuous, _i.e._ the invisible and
inaudible, &c. This is the highest point reached by common physicists
in passing from sensuous Being to the non-sensuous, as to the mere
negation of the being-for-us; but the positive side is that existent
Being is itself universal. The objective is to Anaxagoras certainly
the _νοῦς_, but for him the other-Being is a mixture of simple
elements, which are neither flesh nor fish, red nor blue; again
this simple is not simple in itself, but in its essence consists of
homœomeriæ, which are, however, so small that they are imperceptible.
The smallness thus does not take away their existence, for they are
still there; but existence is just the being perceptible to sight,
smell, &c. These infinitely small homœomeriæ undoubtedly disappear in
a more complete conception; flesh, for instance, is such itself, but
it is also a mixture of everything, _i.e._ it is not simple. Further
analysis equally shows how such a conception must, to a greater or
lesser degree, become confused; on the one side each form is thus
in its main elements, original, and these parts together constitute
a corporeal whole; this whole has, however, on the other side, to
contain everything in itself. The _νοῦς_, then, is only what binds and
separates, what divides and arranges [_das diakosmirende_]. This may
suffice us; however easily we may get confused with the homœomeriæ of
Anaxagoras, we must hold fast to the main determination. The homœomeriæ
still form a striking conception, and it may be asked how it conforms
with the rest of Anaxagoras’ principle.

3. _The Relation of the Two._ Now as to the relation of the _νοῦς_
to that matter, both are not speculatively posited as one, for
the relation itself is not set forth as one, nor has the Notion
penetrated it. Here the ideas become in some measure superficial, and
in some measure the conceptions are more consistent as regards the
particular, than they at first appear. Because the understanding is the
self-determining, the content is end, it retains itself in relation to
what is different; it does not arise and pass away although it is in
activity. The conception of Anaxagoras that concrete principles subsist
and retain themselves, is thus consistent; he abolishes arising and
passing away and accepts only an external change, a uniting together,
and a severance of what is so united. The principles are concrete and
have content, _i.e._ so many ends; in the change that takes place the
principles really retain themselves. Like only goes with like even if
the chaotic mixture is a combination of the unlike; but this is only a
combination and not an individual, living form which maintains itself,
binding like to like. Thus, however rude these ideas are, they are
still really in harmony with the _νοῦς_.

But if the _νοῦς_ is with Anaxagoras the moving soul in all, it yet
remains to the real, as the soul of the world and the organic system of
the whole, a mere word. For the living as living, since the soul was
conceived of as principle, the ancients demanded no further principle
(for it is the self-moving), but for determinateness, which the
animal is as element in the system of the whole, they again required
only the universal of these determinations. Anaxagoras calls the
understanding such a principle, and in fact the absolute Notion, as
simple existence, the self-identical in its differences, the dividing,
the reality-establishing, must be known as such. But that Anaxagoras
showed forth the understanding in the universe, or had grasped it as
a rational system—of this not only do we not find a trace, but the
ancients expressly say that he simply let the matter pass, just as
when we say that the world or nature is a great system, the world is
wisely ordered or is generally speaking rational. By this we are shown
no more of the realization of this reason or the comprehensibility of
the world. The _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras is thus still formal, although
the identity of the principle with the realization was recognized.
Aristotle (Met. I. 4) recognizes the insufficiency of the Anaxagorean
principle: “Anaxagoras, indeed, requires the _νοῦς_ for his formation
of the world-system; that is, when he has a difficulty in showing the
reason for which it is in accordance with necessity, he brings it in;
otherwise he employs anything for the sake of explanation, rather than

It is nowhere more clearly set forth that the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras is
still formal, than in the well-known passage out of Plato’s Phædo (p.
97-99, Steph.; p. 85-89, Bekk.), which is noteworthy for its exposition
of the philosophy of Anaxagoras. Socrates, according to Plato, states
most definitely both what the absolute to them was, and why Anaxagoras
did not satisfy them. I quote this because it will best of all lead
us on to the main conception which we recognize in the philosophic
consciousness of the ancients; at the same time it is an example of the
loquacity of Socrates. Socrates’ understanding of the _νοῦς_ as end
is better because its determinations are congenial to him, so that we
also see in it the principal forms that appear in Socrates. Plato makes
Socrates, in prison, an hour before his death, relate at considerable
length his experiences with regard to Anaxagoras: “When I heard it read
from a book of Anaxagoras, that he said that the understanding is the
disposer of the world and the first cause, I rejoiced in such a cause,
and I held that if Mind apportioned out all reality, it would apportion
it for the best” (the end would be shown forth). “Now if anyone wished
to find the cause of the individual thing, how it becomes, and how it
passes away, or how it is, he must discover this from what is best for
that thing, whether it is being or in some way suffering or doing.”
That the understanding is cause, or that everything is made for the
best, means the same thing; this will become clearer from the opposite.
It is further said, “For this reason a man has only to consider for
himself, as for all others, what is best and most perfect, and then he
would of necessity know the worse, for the same science comprises both.
Thus reflecting, I rejoiced that I could believe that I had found in
Anaxagoras a teacher of the cause of existence” (of the good) “such
as I approved of; he would, I believed, tell me whether the earth was
flat or round, and if he told me this, he would show me the cause and
necessity of the fact, because he would show me the one or the other
as being the better; and if he said that the earth is in the centre,
he would show me that it was better that it should be in the centre”
(i.e. its implicitly and explicitly determined end, and not utility as
an externally determined end). “And when he had shown me this, I should
be satisfied though he brought forward no other kind of causes, for
the same would hold good for the sun, the moon, and the other stars,
their respective velocities, returnings, and other conditions. Because
he assigned its cause to each and to all in common, I thought that he
would explain what was best for each and what was best for all” (the
free, implicitly and explicitly existent Idea, the absolute end). “I
would not have given up this hope for a great deal, but seized these
writings zealously and read them as soon as possible in order to learn
as soon as possible the good and the evil. These bright hopes faded
when I saw that he did not require thought at all nor any reason for
the formation of things, but had recourse to air, fire, water and many
other eccentricities.” We here see how to what is best, according to
the understanding (the relation of final end), that which we call
natural causes is opposed, just as in Leibnitz the operating and the
final causes are different.

Socrates explains this in the following way: “It appears to me to be
as if some one were to say that Socrates performs all his actions with
understanding, and then in going on to give the reasons for each of
my actions, were to say that I sit here because my body consists of
bones and muscles; the bones are fixed and have joints that divide
them (_διαφυὰς_), but the muscles have the power of extending and
bending, and they cover the bones with flesh and skin; it is as though
he were further to bring forward as the cause of my talking with
you, other similar causes, sounds, and air, hearing, and a thousand
other things, but omitted to give the true cause” (free independent
determination), “which is that the Athenians judged it fit to condemn
me, and therefore I judged it better and more just to sit here and to
suffer the punishment which they accorded” (we must recollect that one
of his friends had arranged everything for the flight of Socrates, but
that he refused to go) “for else, by the dog of Egypt, how long ago
would these bones and muscles have gone to Megara or to Boeotia, had
they been moved only by their opinion of what was best, and had I not
considered it juster and better to bear the punishment which the State
laid upon me, instead of escaping and fleeing from it.” Plato here
correctly places the two kinds of reason and cause in opposition to one
another—the cause proceeding from ends, and the inferior, subject, and
merely external causes of chemistry, mechanism, &c.—in order to show
the discrepancy between them, as here exemplified in the case of a man
with consciousness. Anaxagoras seems to define an end and to wish to
proceed from it; but he immediately lets this go again and proceeds to
quite external causes. “But to call these” (these bones and muscles)
“causes is quite improper. If, however, anyone were to say that without
having bones and muscles and whatever else I have, I could not do
that which I consider best, he would be quite right. But to say that
from such causes, I do that which I do, and do with understanding;
to say that I do not do it from the choice of what is best—to make
such an assertion shows a great want of consideration; it signifies an
incapacity to distinguish that the one is the true cause and the other
is only that without which the cause could not operate,” _i.e._ the

This is a good example for showing that we miss the end in such modes
of explanation. On the other hand, it is not a good example, because it
is taken from the kingdom of the self-conscious will, where deliberate
and not unconscious end reigns. In this criticism of the Anaxagorean
_νοῦς_ we can certainly see it generally expressed that Anaxagoras
made no application of his _νοῦς_ to reality. But the positive
element in the conclusion of Socrates seems, on the other hand, to
be unsatisfying, because it goes to the other extreme, namely, to
desire causes for nature which do not appear to be in it, but which
fall outside of it in consciousness. For what is good and beautiful is
partly due to the thought of consciousness as such; end or purposive
action is mainly an act of consciousness and not of nature. But in so
far as ends become posited in nature, the end, as end, on the other
hand, falls outside of it in our judgment only; as such it is not in
nature itself, for in it there are only what we call natural causes,
and for its comprehension we have only to seek and show causes that
are immanent. According to this, we distinguish, for instance, in
Socrates the end and ground of his action as consciousness, and the
causes of his actual action: and the latter we would undoubtedly seek
in his bones, muscles, nerves, &c. Since we banish the consideration
of nature in relation to ends—as present in our thought and not
existent in nature—we also banish from our consideration teleological
explanations in nature formerly admired, _e.g._ that grass grows that
animals may eat it, and that these last exist and eat grass, so that we
may eat them. The end of trees is said to be that their fruit may be
consumed and that they should give us wood for heat; many animals have
skins for warm clothing; the sea in northern climates floats timber to
the shores because on these shores themselves no wood grows, and the
inhabitants can hence obtain it, and so on. Thus presented, the end,
the Good, lies outside of the thing itself: the nature of a thing then
becomes considered, not in and for itself, but only in relation to
another which is nothing to it. Thus, because things are only useful
for an end, this determination is not their own but one foreign to
them. The tree, the grass, is as natural existence, independent, and
this adaptation of it to an end, such as making grass that which is
to be eaten, does not concern the grass as grass, just as it does
not concern the animal that man should clothe himself in his skin;
Socrates may hence seem to miss in Anaxagoras this mode of looking at
nature. But this to us familiar way of regarding the good and expedient
is on the one hand not the only one, and does not represent Plato’s
meaning, while, on the other, it is likewise necessary. We have not to
represent the good or the end in so one-sided a manner that we think
of it existing as such in the perceiving mind, and in opposition to
what is; but set free from this form, we must take it in its essence
as the Idea of all existence. The nature of things must be recognized
in accordance with the Notion, which is the independent, unfettered
consideration of things; and because it is that which things are in and
for themselves, it controls the relationship of natural causes. This
Notion is the end, the true cause, but that which recedes into itself;
it is the implicitly existent first from which movement proceeds and
which becomes result; it is not only an end present in the imagination
before its actuality exists, but is also present in reality. Becoming
is the movement through which a reality or totality becomes; in the
animal or plant its essence as universal genus, is that which begins
its movement and brings it forth. But this whole is not the product of
something foreign, but its own product, what is already present as
germ or seed; thus it is called end, the self-producing, that which
in its Becoming is already implicitly existent. The Idea is not a
particular thing, which might have another content than reality or
appear quite different. The opposition is the merely formal opposition
of possibility and actuality; the active impelling substance and
the product are the same. This realization goes right through the
opposition; the negative in the universal is just this process. The
genus sets itself in a state of opposition as individual and universal,
and thus, in what lives, the genus realizes itself in the opposition of
races which are opposed, but whose principle is the universal genus.
They, as individuals, aim at their own self-preservation as individuals
in eating, drinking, &c., but what they thereby bring to pass is genus.
Individuals sublate themselves, but genus is that which is ever brought
forth; plants bring forth only the same plants whose ground is the

In accordance with this, the distinction between what have been badly
named natural causes and the final causes has to be determined. Now
if I isolate individuality and merely regard it as movement and the
moments of the same, I show what are natural causes. For example,
where has this life taken its origin? Through the generation of this
its father and mother. What is the cause of these fruits? The tree
whose juices so distil themselves that the fruit forthwith arises.
Answers of this kind give the causes, _i.e._ the individuality
opposed to an individuality; but their principle is the genus. Now
nature cannot represent essence as such. The end of generation is the
sublation of the individuality of Being; but nature which in existence
certainly brings about this sublation of individuality, does not set
the universal in its place, but another individual. Bones, muscles,
&c., bring forth a movement; they are causes, but they themselves are
so through other causes, and so on into infinitude. The universal,
however, takes them up into itself as moments which undoubtedly appear
in movement as causes, though the fundamental ground of these parts
actually is the whole. It is not they which come first, but the result
into which the juices of the plants, &c., pass, is the first, just
as in origination it appears only as product, as seed, that which
constitutes the beginning and the end, even though they be in different
individuals. Their real nature is the same.

But such a genus is itself a particular genus and is essentially
related to another, _e.g._ the Idea of the plant to that of the animal;
the universal moves on. This looks like external teleology—that plants
are eaten by animals, &c., in which their limitation as genus lies.
The genus of the plant has the absolute totality of its realization in
the animal, the animal in the conscious existence, just as the earth
has it in the plant. This is the system of the whole in which each
moment is transitory. The double method of considering the matter thus
is that each Idea is a circle within itself, the plant or the animal
the Good of its kind; and, on the other hand, each is a moment in the
universal Good. If I consider the animal merely as externally adapted
to an end, as created for something else, I consider it in a one-sided
way; it is real existence, in and for itself universal. But it is just
as one-sided to say that the plant, for instance, is only in and for
itself, only end to itself, only shut up within itself and going back
into itself. For each idea is a circle which is complete in itself,
but whose completion is likewise a passing into another circle; it
is a vortex whose middle point, that into which it returns, is found
directly in the periphery of a higher circle which swallows it up.
Thus, for the first time, we reach the determination of an end in the
world which is immanent within it.

These explanations are necessary here, since hereafter we see the
speculative Idea coming more into the universal; it was formerly
expressed as Being and the moments and movements were called existent.
What has to be avoided in this transition is that we should thereby
think that Being is given up and that we pass into consciousness
as opposed to Being (in so doing the universal would lose all its
speculative significance); the universal is immanent in nature. This
is the meaning which is present when we represent to ourselves that
thought constitutes, orders, &c., the world. It is not, so to speak,
the activity of the individual consciousness, in which I stand here
on one side and, opposite to me, an actuality, matter, which I form,
dispose and order as I will; for the universal, Thought, must abide in
Philosophy without this opposition. Being, pure Being, is universal
when we thereby keep in mind that Being is absolute abstraction,
pure thought; but Being as it is thus set forth as Being, has the
significance of the opposite to this Being-reflected-into-itself,
to thought and recollection; the universal, on the contrary, has
reflection immediately in itself. So far, the ancients really got:
it does not seem far. “Universal” is a dry determination; everyone
knows about the universal, but not of it as real existence. Thought,
indeed, reaches to the invisibility of the sensuous; not to the
positive determinateness of thinking it as universal, but only to the
predicateless absolute as to the merely negative; and that is as far
as the common ideas of the present day have come. With this discovery
of thought we conclude the first Section and enter upon the second
period. The profit to be derived from the first period is not very
great. Some, indeed, think that there is still some special wisdom in
it, but thought is still young, the determinations are thus still poor,
abstract and arid. Thought here has but few determinations—water,
Being, number, &c.—and these cannot endure; the universal must go
forth on its own account as the self-determining activity, and this we
find it doing in Anaxagoras alone.

We have still to consider the relationship of the universal as opposed
to Being, or consciousness as such in its relation to what is. By
Anaxagoras’ determination of real existence, this relationship of
consciousness is also determined. In this regard nothing satisfactory
can be found; for he recognized, on the one hand, thought as real
existence, without, however, bringing this thought to bear on ordinary
reality. Thus, on the other hand, this is destitute of thought and
independent, an infinite number of homœomeriæ, _i.e._ an infinite
amount of a sensuous implicit existence, which now, however, is
sensuous Being; for existent Being is an accumulation of homœomeriæ.
The relationship borne by consciousness to real existence may likewise
be various. Anaxagoras could thus either say that the truth is only in
thought and in rational knowledge, or that it is sensuous perception;
for in this we have the homœomeriæ which are themselves implicit. Thus,
in the first place, we find from him—as Sextus tells us, (adv. Math.
VII., 89-91) “that the understanding (_λόγος_) is the criterion of
the truth; the senses cannot judge of the truth on account of their
weakness”—weakness for the homœomeriæ are the infinitely small;
the senses could not grasp them, do not know that they have to be
something ideal and thought. A celebrated example of this is given by
him according to Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. 13, §. 33), in the assertion
that “the snow is black, for it is water, and water is black.” He
here asserts the truth in a reason. In the second place, according to
Aristotle (Met. III. 7), Anaxagoras is said to have asserted that,
“there is a medium between contradiction (_ἀντιφάσεως_); so that
everything is untrue. For because the two sides of the opposition are
mingled, what is mingled is neither good nor not good, and thus not
true.” Aristotle also quotes another time from him (Met. III. 5): “That
one of his apothegms to his disciples was that to them things were as
they supposed them.” This may relate to the fact that because existent
Being is an accumulation of homœomeriæ which are what really exists,
sensuous perception takes things as they are in truth.

There is little more to be made of this. But here we have the beginning
of a more distinct development of the relationship of consciousness to
Being, the development of the nature of knowledge as a knowledge of the
true. The mind has gone forth to express real existence as Thought;
and thus real existence as existent, is in consciousness as such; it
is implicit but likewise in consciousness. This Being is such only in
so far as consciousness recognizes it, and real existence is only the
knowledge of it. The mind has no longer to seek existence in something
foreign, since it is in itself; for what formerly appeared foreign
is Thought, _i.e._ consciousness has this real existence in itself.
But this consciousness in opposition is an individual consciousness;
thereby in fact, implicit Being is sublated, for the implicit is
what is not opposed, not singled out, but universal. It is, indeed,
known, but what is, only is in knowledge, or it is no other Being than
that of the knowledge of consciousness. We see this development of
the universal in which real existence goes right over to the side of
consciousness, in the so much decried worldly wisdom of the Sophists;
we may view this as indicating that the negative nature of the
universal is now developing.



IN this second division we have first to consider more particularly
the Sophists, secondly Socrates, and thirdly the Socratics, while we
distinguish from these Plato, and take him along with Aristotle in the
third division. The _νοῦς_, which is at first only grasped in a very
subjective manner as end, that is to say as that which is end to men,
_i.e._ the Good, in Plato and Aristotle became understood in what is on
the whole an objective way, as genus or Idea. Because thought has now
become set forth as principle, and this at first presents a subjective
appearance as being the subjective activity of thought, there now sets
in (since the absolute is posited as subject) an age of subjective
reflection; _i.e._ there begins in this period—which coincides with
the disintegration of Greece in the Peloponnesian war—the principle of
modern times.

Since in the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras, as the still formal self-determining
activity, determination is as yet quite undetermined, general and
abstract, and along with that contentless throughout, the universal
standpoint is the immediate necessity of going on to a content which
begins actual determination. But what is this absolute, universal
content which abstract thought as self-determining activity gives
itself? That is the real question here. Consciousness now confronts
the untrammeled thought of those ancient philosophers, whose general
ideas we have considered. While hitherto the subject, when it reflected
on the absolute, only produced thoughts, and had this content before
it, it is now seen that what is here present is not the whole, but
that the thinking subject likewise really belongs to the totality of
the objective. Furthermore, this subjectivity of thought has again
the double character of at once being the infinite, self-relating
form, which as this pure activity of the universal, receives
content-determinations; and, on the other hand, as consciousness
reflects that it is the thinking subject which is thus positing, of
also being a return of spirit from objectivity into itself. Thus if
thought, because it immersed itself in the object, had as such, and
like the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras, at first no content, because this
stood on the other side, so now, with the return of thought as to
the consciousness that the subject is what thinks, we have the other
side—that what has to be dealt with is the attainment of a truly
absolute content. This content, taken abstractly, may itself be again
a double one. Either the “I” is in respect of determination the real
when it makes itself and its interests the content, or the content
becomes determined as the altogether universal. According to this,
we have two questions to deal with, which are—how the determination
of what is in and for itself is to be comprehended, and how this is
likewise in immediate relation to the “I” as thinking. It comes to pass
in Philosophy that although the “I” is the positing, yet the posited
content of that which is thought is the object existent in and for
itself. If one were to remain at saying that the “I” is that which
posits, this would be the false idealism of modern times: in earlier
times men did not remain at saying that what is thought is bad because
I posit it.

To the Sophists the content is _mine_, and subjective: Socrates grasped
the content which is in and for itself, and the followers of Socrates
have, in direct connection with him, merely further defined this


The Notion, which reason has found in Anaxagoras to be real existence,
is the simple negative into which all determination, all that is
existent and individual sinks. Before the Notion nothing can exist,
for it is simply the predicateless absolute to which everything is
clearly a moment only; for it there is thus nothing so to speak
permanently fixed and sealed. The Notion is just the constant change
of Heraclitus, the movement, the causticity, which nothing can resist.
Thus the Notion which finds itself, finds itself as the absolute
power before which everything vanishes; and thereby all things, all
existence, everything held to be secure, is now made fleeting. This
security—whether it be a security of natural Being or the security of
definite conceptions, principles, customs and laws—becomes vacillation
and loses its stability. As universal, such principles, &c., certainly
themselves pertain to the Notion, yet their universality is only
their form, for the content which they have, as determinate, falls
into movement. We see this movement arising in the so-called Sophists
whom we here encounter for the first time. They gave themselves the
name _σοφισταί_, as teachers of wisdom, _i.e._ as those who could
make wise (_σοφίζειν_). The learning of the Sophists is thus directly
the opposite to ours, which only aspires to acquire information and
investigate what is and has been—it is a mass of empirical matter, in
which the discovery of a new form, a new worm, or other vermin is held
to be a point of great importance. Our learned professors are in so
far much less responsible than the Sophists; however, Philosophy has
nothing to do with this lack of responsibility.

But as regards the relation of the Sophists to what is ordinarily
believed, they are, by the healthy human understanding, as much
decried as by morality. By the former this is on account of their
theoretic teaching, since it is senseless to say that nothing is;
and in respect of practice because they subvert all principles and
laws. For the first mentioned, things certainly cannot be left in
this confusion of movement and in their negative aspect merely; yet
the rest into which they pass is not the restoration of what is
moved into its former condition of security, as if in the end the
result were the same and the action were a superfluous one. Now the
sophistry of common opinion, which is without the culture of thought
and without scientific knowledge, is found in the fact that to it its
determinations are, as such, held to be existent in and for themselves,
and a number of rules of life, maxims, principles, &c., are considered
as absolutely fixed truths. Mind itself is, however, the unity of these
in many ways limited truths, which in it are all recognized as being
present as sublated only, as merely relative truths, _i.e._ with their
restrictions, in their limitation, and not as existent in themselves.
Hence these truths to the ordinary understanding, are, in fact, no
more, for on another occasion it allows and even asserts the opposite
to have a value also for consciousness; or it does not know that it
says directly the opposite to what it means, its expression being thus
only an expression of contradiction. In its actions generally, and not
in its bad actions, ordinary understanding breaks these its maxims and
its principles itself, and if it leads a rational life, it is properly
speaking only a standing inconsistency, the making good of one narrow
maxim of conduct through breaking off from others. For example, a
statesman of experience and culture is one who knows how to steer a
middle course, and has practical understanding, _i.e._ deals with the
whole extent of the case before him and not with one side of it, which
expresses itself in one maxim only. On the other hand, he, whoever he
is, who acts on one maxim, is a pedant and spoils things for himself
and others. Most commonly it is thus. For example, we hear it said, “it
is certain that the things that I see are; I believe in their reality.”
Anyone can say this quite easily. But in fact it is not true that
he believes in their reality; really he assumes the contrary. For he
eats and drinks them, _i.e._ he is convinced that these things are not
in themselves, and their being has no security, no subsistence. Thus
common understanding is in its actions better than it thinks, for in
action it is Mind as a whole. But it is not here known to itself as
Mind, for what comes within its consciousness are definite laws, rules,
general propositions, such as by its understanding are esteemed to be
the absolute truth, whose limitation it, however, sets aside in action.
Now, when the Notion turns to the riches which consciousness thinks to
possess, and when the latter is sensible of the danger to its truth
without which it would not be, when its fixed realities are destroyed,
it is enraged; and the Notion which in this its realization applies
itself to the common verities, draws hatred and disdain upon itself.
This is the ground of the universal denunciation of the Sophists; a
denunciation of healthy human understanding which does not know how
else to help itself.

Sophistry is certainly a word of ill-repute, and indeed it is
particularly through the opposition to Socrates and Plato that the
Sophists have come into such disrepute that the word usually now
signifies that, by false reasoning, some truth is either refuted and
made dubious, or something false is proved and made plausible. We
have to put this evil significance on one side and to forget it. On
the other hand, we now wish to consider further from the positive
and properly speaking scientific side, what was the position of the
Sophists in Greece.

It was the Sophists who now applied the simple Notion as thought
(which with Zeno in the Eleatic school had commenced to turn towards
its pure counterpart, motion) to worldly objects generally, and with
it penetrated all human relations. For it is conscious of itself as
the absolute and single reality, and, jealous of all else, exercises
its power and rule in this reality as regards all else, since this
desires to be considered as the determinate which is not Thought. The
thought identical with itself, thus directs its negative powers towards
the manifold determination of the theoretical and the practical, the
truths of natural consciousness and the immediately recognized laws
and principles; and what to the ordinary conception is established,
dissolves itself in it, and in so doing leaves it to particular
subjectivity to make itself first and fixed, to relate everything to

Now that this Notion has appeared, it has become a more universal
Philosophy, and not so much simple Philosophy as the universal culture
of which every man who did not belong to those devoid of thought,
partook, and necessarily partook. For we call culture just the Notion
as applied in actuality, in so far as it makes its appearance not
purely in its abstraction, but in unity with the manifold content of
all ordinary conceptions. But in culture, the Notion is the predominant
as also the actuating, because in both the determinate is recognized
in its limits, in its transition into something else. This culture
became the general aim of education, and there were hence a number
of teachers of Sophistry. Indeed, the Sophists are the teachers of
Greece through whom culture first came into existence in Greece, and
thus they took the place of poets and of rhapsodists, who before this
were the ordinary instructors. For religion was no instructress, since
no teaching was in it imparted; and though priests certainly offered
sacrifices, prophesied and interpreted the sayings of the oracle,
instruction is something quite different from this. But the Sophists
educated men in wisdom, in the sciences, music, mathematics, &c., and
this was their foremost aim. Before Pericles appeared in Greece, the
desire for culture through thought and through reflection was awakened;
men wished to be cultured in their ideas, and in their various
relations to guide themselves by thought, and no longer merely through
oracles, or through custom, passion, the feelings of the moment. For
the end of the State is the universal, under which the particular is
comprehended. Because the Sophists kept in view and enlarged upon this
culture, they prosecuted teaching as a special calling, business, or
profession, as an office taking the place of schools; they travelled
round the towns of Greece, the youth of which was by them instructed.

Now culture is certainly an indefinite expression. It has, however,
this meaning, that what free thought is to attain must come out of
itself and be personal conviction; it is then no longer believed
but investigated—in short, it is the so-called enlightenment of
modern times. Thought seeks general principles by which it criticizes
everything which is by us esteemed, and nothing has value to us which
is not in conformity with these principles. Thus, thought undertakes
to compare the positive content with itself, to dissolve the former
concrete of belief; on one side to split the content up, and, on the
other, to isolate these individualities, these particular points of
view and aspects, and to secure them on their own account. These
aspects, which are properly not independent, but only moments of a
whole, when detached from it, relate themselves to themselves, and
in this way assume the form of universality. Any one of them can
thus be elevated to a reason, _i.e._ to a universal determination,
which is again applied to particular aspects. Thus, in culture, it is
requisite that men should be acquainted with the universal points of
view which belong to a transaction, event, &c., that this point of
view and thereby the thing, should be grasped in a universal way, in
order to afford a present knowledge of what is in question. A judge
knows the various laws, _i.e._ the various legal points of view under
which a thing is to be considered; these are already for him universal
aspects through which he has a universal consciousness, and considers
the matter in a universal way. A man of culture thus knows how to say
something of everything, to find points of view in all. Greece has
to thank the Sophists for this culture, because they taught men to
exercise thought as to what should have authority for them, and thus
their culture was culture in philosophy as much as in eloquence.

In order to reach this double end, the Sophists were one in their
desire to be wise. To know what constitutes power amongst men and in
the State, and what I have to recognize as such, is counted as wisdom;
and because I know the power, I also know how to direct others in
conformity with my end. Hence the admiration that Pericles and other
statesmen excited, just because they knew their own standpoint, and
had the power of putting others in their proper place. That man is
powerful who can deduce the actions of men from the absolute ends which
move them. The object of the Sophists has thus been to teach what is
the mainspring of the world, and since Philosophy alone knows that
this is the universal thought which resolves all that is particular,
the Sophists were also speculative philosophers. Learned in the proper
sense they hence were not, because there were as yet no positive
sciences without Philosophy, such as in their aridity did not concern
all mankind and man’s essential aspects.

They further had the most ordinary practical end, to give a
consciousness of that which is involved in the moral world and which
satisfies man. Religion taught that the gods are the powers which rule
over men. Immediate morality recognized the rule of laws; man was to
find satisfaction in conforming to laws, and was to assume that others
also find satisfaction because they follow these laws. But from the
reflection which here breaks in, it no longer satisfies man to obey
law as an authority and external necessity, for he desires to satisfy
himself in himself, to convince himself, through his reflection, of
what is binding upon him, what is his end and what he has to do for
this end. Thus the impulses and desires that man has, become his
power; and only inasmuch as he affords them satisfaction does he
become satisfied. Now the Sophists taught how these powers could be
moved in empirical man, for the good as ordinarily recognized, no
longer determined them. Rhetoric, however, teaches how circumstances
may be made subject to such forces; it even makes use of the wrath
and passions of the hearer in order to bring about a conclusion. Thus
the Sophists were more especially the teachers of oratory, and that
is the aspect in which the individual could make himself esteemed
amongst the people as well as carry out what was best for the people;
this certainly characterizes a democratic constitution, in which the
citizens have the ultimate decision. Because, in this way, oratory was
one of the first requirements for the rule of a people, or for making
something clear to them through their ordinary ideas, the Sophists
trained men for common Greek life, for citizenship and for statesmen,
without appearing to prepare State officials for an examination in
specific subjects. For the particular characteristic of eloquence is
to show the manifold points of view existing in a thing, and to give
force to those which harmonize with what appears to me to be most
useful; it thus is the art of putting forward various points of view in
the concrete case, and placing others rather in the shade. Aristotle’s
_Topica_ comes to mind in the connection, inasmuch as it gives the
categories or thought-determinations (_τόπους_), according to which we
have to regard things in order to learn to speak; but the Sophists were
the first to apply themselves to a knowledge of these.

This is the position taken up by the Sophists. But we find a perfectly
definite picture of their further progress and procedure in Plato’s
Protagoras. Plato here makes Protagoras express himself more precisely
respecting the art of the Sophists. That is to say, Plato in this
dialogue represents that Socrates accompanies a young man named
Hippocrates, who desires to place himself under Protagoras, then newly
arrived in Athens, for instruction in the science of the Sophists.
On the way, Socrates now asks Hippocrates what is this wisdom of
the Sophists which he wishes to learn. Hippocrates at first replies
Rhetoric, for the Sophist is one who knows how to make men clever
(_δεινόν_) in speech. In fact, what is most striking in a man or people
of culture is the art of speaking well, or of turning subjects round
and considering them in many aspects. The uncultivated man finds it
unpleasant to associate with people who know how to grasp and express
every point of view with ease. The French are good speakers in this
sense, and the Germans call their talking prattle; but it is not mere
talk that brings about this result, for culture is also wanted. We may
have mastered a speech quite completely, but if we have not culture,
it is not good speaking. Men thus learn French, not only to be able
to speak French well, but to acquire French culture. What is to be
obtained from the Sophists is thus the power of keeping the manifold
points of view present to the mind, so that the wealth of categories by
which an object may be considered, immediately occurs to it. Socrates,
indeed, remarks that the principle of the Sophists is not hereby
determined in a sufficiently comprehensive way, and thus it is not
sufficiently known what a Sophist is, “yet,” he says, “we have a desire
to go on.”[86] For likewise, if anyone wishes to study Philosophy, he
does not as yet know what Philosophy is, else he would not need to
study it.

Having reached Protagoras with Hippocrates, Socrates finds him in
an assemblage of the foremost Sophists and surrounded by listeners,
“walking about and like an Orpheus entrancing all men by his words,
Hippias sitting meanwhile on a chair with not so many round him, and
Prodicus lying amongst a great number of admirers.” After Socrates
brought before Protagoras the request to have Hippocrates placed under
his instruction, in order that he might by him be taught how to become
eminent in the State, he also asks whether they might speak with him
in public or alone. Protagoras praises his discretion, and replies
that they act wisely to make use of this precaution. For because the
Sophists wandered about the towns, and thus youths, deserting fathers
and friends, followed them in view of improving themselves through
their intercourse with them, they drew upon themselves much envy and
ill-will—for everything new is hated. On this point Protagoras speaks
at length: “I assert that the art of the Sophists is old; but that
those of the ancients who practised it in fear of giving offence” (for
the uncultured world is antagonistic to the cultured) “veiled and
concealed it. One section, like Homer and Hesiod, taught it in their
poetry; others, like Orpheus and Musæus, through mysteries and oracles.
Some, I believe, like Iccus of Tarentum, and the Sophist now living
and unsurpassed—Herodicus, of Selymbria—in gymnastics, but many more
through music.” We see that Protagoras usually describes the end of
mental culture as being to bring about morality, presence of mind,
sense of order and general capacity. He adds: “all those who feared
envy arising against the sciences, required such veils and screens.
But I think that they do not attain their end, for men of penetration
in the State see the end appearing through, while the people notice
nothing, and only quote the others. If people behave so, they make
themselves more hated, and appear to be impostors. I have therefore
taken the opposite way, and openly acknowledge (_ὁμολογῶ_), and do not
deny that I am a Sophist” (Protagoras first used the name of Sophist),
“and that my business is to give men culture (_παιδεύειν_).”[87]

Further on, where the arts which Hippocrates was to acquire under
Protagoras’ instruction were discussed, Protagoras answered Socrates:
“What you ask is sensible, and I like to answer a sensible question.
Hippocrates will not have the same experience that he would have
with other teachers (_σοφιστῶν_). These latter are at variance with
(_λωβῶνται_) their pupils, for they take them against their wills
straight back to the arts and sciences which they just wished to
escape, inasmuch as they teach them arithmetic, geometry and music.
But he who comes to me will be instructed in nothing else than that in
which he comes to be instructed.” Thus the youths came freely, with
the wish to be made men of culture through his instruction, and in the
hope that he, as teacher, knew the way to succeed in so doing. As to
his general aim, Protagoras says, “The instruction consists in bringing
about a right perception and understanding (_εὐβουλία_) of the best
way of regulating one’s own family affairs, and similarly as regards
citizenship, in qualifying men both to speak on the affairs of the
State, and to do the best for the State.” Thus two interests are here
apparent, that of the individual and that of the State. Now Socrates
expresses dissent and surprise at Protagoras’ assertion as to imparting
instruction in political aptitude. “I thought that the political
virtues could not be learned,” for it is Socrates’ main tenet that
virtue cannot be taught. And Socrates now brings forward the following
argument, after the manner of the Sophists appealing to experience.
“Those who are masters of the art of politics cannot impart that art to
others. Pericles, the father of these youths, gave them instruction in
all that instructors could teach; but not in the science for which he
is celebrated; here he left them free to wander in the chance of their
lighting upon wisdom. Similarly other great statesmen did not teach it
to others, whether friends or strangers.”[88]

Protagoras now replied that it could be taught, and shows the reason
why great statesmen did not give this instruction, while he asks
whether he is to speak as an elder to younger men in a myth, or whether
he should give his reasons. The company left the matter to him and
he began with the following myth of everlasting interest: “The gods
commanded Prometheus and Epimetheus to adorn the world and confer on
it its qualities and powers. Epimetheus imparted strength, power of
flight, arms, clothing, herbs and fruits, but in some incomprehensible
way he gave all to the beasts, so that nothing remained to men.
Prometheus saw them unclothed, unarmed, helpless, when the moment came
in which the form of man had to go forth into the light. Then he stole
fire from heaven, the arts of Vulcan and Minerva, to equip man for
his needs. But political wisdom was wanting, and, living without any
common bond, they were in a constant state of strife and misery. Then
Zeus gave the command to Hermes to grant reverence” (natural obedience,
honour, docility, respect of children for parents, and of men for
higher and better natures), “and justice. Hermes asks, ‘How shall I
impart them? To individuals, as particular arts are distributed, just
as some have a knowledge of medicine sufficient for assisting others?’
But Zeus answers that it must be to all, for no body of men (_πόλις_)
can exist if only a few partake of those qualities. And it shall be
the law that whoever cannot acknowledge authority and justice must be
exterminated as a plague to the State. Hence the Athenians when they
wish to build, call builders into counsel, and when they contemplate
any other business, those who have experience in it, but when they
wish to come to a decision or make a regulation in State affairs, they
admit all. For all must partake of this virtue or no State could exist.
Thus if anyone is inexperienced in the art of flute-playing and yet
professes to be a master in it, he is justly thought to be mad. But in
justice it is otherwise; if anyone is not just and confesses it, he is
thought to be mad. He must profess to be so, for everybody must either
share in it or be shut out from social life.”[89]

For the fact that this political science is also so constituted “that
everyone by education and diligence (_ἐξ ἐπιμελείας_) may acquire it,”
Protagoras gives additional reasons in the following argument: “No
one blames or punishes on account of a defect or evil that has come
to anyone by nature or by chance. But defects and faults which can
be removed through diligence, exercise and teaching are considered
to be blameworthy and punishable. Impiety and injustice are of this
description and, generally speaking, all that opposes public virtue.
Men guilty of these sins are thus reproached; they are punished in the
idea that they had the power to remove the wrong and still more to
acquire political virtue through diligence and teaching. Thus men do
not punish on account of what is past—excepting as we strike a vicious
beast on the head—but on account of what is to come, so that neither
the one who committed the crime nor any other misled by his example,
should do the same again. Thus it is in this implied that virtue can be
acquired through education and exercise.”[90] This is a good argument
for the teachability of virtue.

As to the statement of Socrates that men such as Pericles, who were
famed for their political virtues, did not impart these to their
children and friends, Protagoras in the first place says that it
may on the other hand be replied, that in these virtues all men are
instructed by all men. Political virtue is so constituted that it
is the common province of all; this one essential for all men is
justice, temperance, and holiness—in one word, whatever comprises
manly virtue. In it no particular education from men of eminence is
thus required. The children are from their earliest infancy exhorted
and admonished to do what is good, and are accustomed to that which
is right. Instruction in music and gymnastics contributes to temper
the indulgence of self-will and pleasure, and to accustom men to
conform to a law or rule; and the reading of the poets who enforce
this does the same. When man steps outside this circle of education,
he enters into that of the constitution of a State which likewise
contributes to keep everyone within the bounds of law and order, so
that political virtue is a result of the education of youth. But the
objection that distinguished men did not impart their distinction to
their children and friends, Protagoras answered secondly and very
well as follows: “Let us say that in a State all the citizens had to
become flute-players, all would be instructed in the art; some would
be distinguished, many good, some mediocre, a few perhaps bad, and
yet all would have a certain amount of skill. But it might very well
be the case that the son of an artist should be a bad player, for
the distinction depends on particular talents, and a particularly
good natural capacity. From very skilful players very unskilful might
descend, and conversely, but all would have a certain knowledge of the
flute, and all would certainly be infinitely better than those who were
quite ignorant of the art. Similarly all, even the worst citizens of
a rational State are better and juster than citizens of a State where
there is no culture nor justice nor law, in a word, where there is no
necessity to bring them up to be just. For this superiority they have
to thank the education given in their State.”[91] All these are quite
good examples and striking arguments which are not at all worse than
Cicero’s reasoning—_a natura insitum_. The arguments of Socrates and
the development of these arguments are, on the contrary, examples based
upon experience, and are often not better than what is here placed in
the mouth of a Sophist.

What now confronts us is the question of how far this may be
inadequate, and particularly how far Socrates and Plato came into
collision with the Sophists and constituted the antagonism to them.
For the claim made by the Sophists in Greece was that they had given
a higher culture to their people; for this, indeed, great credit was
ascribed to them in Greece, but they were met by the reproach that
was encountered by all culture. That is to say, because the Sophists
were masters of argument and reasoning, and were within the stage of
reflective thought, they wished, passing from the particular to the
universal, to awaken attention through examples and illustrations to
what in his experience and to his mind appears to man to be right.
This, the necessary course of free, thinking reflection, which with
us has also been adopted by culture, must, however, necessarily lead
beyond implicit trust and unrestricted faith in the current morality
and religion. The statement that the Sophists thereby fell into
one-sided principles rests upon the fact that in Greek culture the
time had not yet come when, out of thinking consciousness itself, the
ultimate principles had become manifested, and thus there was something
firm to rest upon, as is the case with us in modern times. Because,
on the one hand, the need of subjective freedom existed merely to
give effect to that which man himself perceives and finds present in
his reason (thus laws, religious ideas, only in so far as I recognize
them through my thought), on the other hand, no fixed principle had
so far been found in thought; thought was rather reasoning, and
what remained indeterminate could thus only be fulfilled through
self-will. It is otherwise in our European world where culture is, so
to speak, introduced under the protection and in presupposition of
a spiritual religion, _i.e._ not of a religion of the imagination,
but by presupposing a knowledge of the eternal nature of Spirit and
of the absolute end, of the end of man, to be in a spiritual way
actual and to posit himself in unity with the absolute spirit. Thus
here there is a groundwork of a fixed spiritual principle which
thus satisfies the needs of the subjective mind; and from this
absolute principle all further relationships, duties, laws, &c.,
are established. Consequently culture cannot receive the variety of
direction—and hence the aimlessness—of the Greeks and of those who
extended culture over Greece, the Sophists. As regards the religion
of the imagination, as regards the undeveloped principle of the Greek
State, culture was able to divide itself into many points of view, or
it was easy to it to represent particular subordinate points of view as
highest principles. Where, on the contrary, as is the case with us, a
universal aim so high, indeed the highest possible, floats before the
imagination, a particular principle cannot so easily reach this rank,
even if the reflection of reason attains to the position of determining
and recognizing from itself what is highest; for the subordination
of special principles is already determined, although in form our
enlightenment may have the same standpoint as that of the Sophists.

As regards content, the standpoint of the Sophists differed from
that of Socrates and Plato, in that the mission of Socrates was to
express the beautiful, good, true, and right, as the end and aim of
the individual, while with the Sophists the content was not present
as an ultimate end, so that all this was left to the individual will.
Hence came the evil reputation obtained by the Sophists through the
antagonism of Plato, and this is certainly their defect. As to their
outward lives, we know that the Sophists accumulated great riches;[92]
they became very proud, and some of them lived very luxuriously. But in
respect of the inward life, reasoning thought has, in distinction to
Plato, this prevailing characteristic, that it makes duty, that which
has to be done, not come from the Notion of the thing as determined in
and for itself; for it brings forward external reasons through which
right and wrong, utility and harmfulness, are distinguished. To Plato
and Socrates, on the other hand, the main point is that the nature of
the conditions should be considered, and that the Notion of the thing
in and for itself should become evolved. Socrates and Plato wished to
bring forward this Notion as opposed to the consideration of things
from points of view and reasonings which are always merely particular
and individual, and thus opposed to the Notion itself. The distinction
in the two points of view is thus that cultured reasoning only belongs,
in a general way, to the Sophists, while Socrates and Plato determined
thought through a universal determination (the Platonic Idea), or
something fixed, which mind finds eternally in itself.

If sophistry is bad in the sense that it signifies a quality of which
only bad men are guilty, it is at the same time much more common
than this would imply; for all argumentative reasoning, adducing of
arguments and counterarguments, bringing into prominence particular
points of view, is sophistry. And just as utterances of the Sophists
are adduced against which nothing can be said (as they are by Plato),
men of our day are urged to all that is good for the very reasons that
are reasons to the Sophists. Thus it is said, “do not cheat, else you
lose your credit, hence your wealth,” or, “be temperate, or you will
spoil your appetite and have to suffer.” Or for punishment men give the
external reasons of improvement, &c.; or else an action is defended on
external grounds taken from the result. If, on the other hand, firmly
rooted principles lie at the foundation—as in the Christian Religion,
although men now remember this no longer—it is said, “the grace of God
in respect of holiness, &c., thus directs the life of men;” and these
external grounds fall away. Sophistry thus does not lie so far from
us as we think. When educated men discuss matters now-a-days, it may
seem all very good, but it is in no way different from what Socrates
and Plato called sophistry—although they themselves have adopted
this standpoint as truly as did the Sophists. Educated men fall into
it when they judge of concrete cases in which a particular point of
view determines the result, and we must in ordinary life do the same
if we wish to make up our minds in action. If duties and virtues are
advocated as in sermons (this is so in most sermons), we must hear such
reasons given. Other speakers, such as those in parliament, likewise
make use of arguments and counterarguments similar to these, through
which they try to persuade and convince. On the one hand something
definite is in question, such as the constitution, or a war, and from
the fixed direction thus given, certain provisions have to be deduced
consistently; but this consistency, on the other, soon disappears, just
because the matter can be arranged either this way or that, and thus
particular points of view always are decisive. Men likewise make use of
good arguments, after the manner of the Sophists, against Philosophy.
There are, they say, various philosophies, various opinions, and this
is contrary to the one Truth; the weakness of human reason allows of
no knowledge. What is Philosophy to the feelings, mind, and heart?
Abstract thinking about such matters produces abstruse results which
are of no use in the practical life of man. We no longer apply the word
sophistry thus, but it is the way of the Sophists not to take things
as they are, but to bring about their proofs by arguments derived from
feelings as ultimate ends. We shall see this characteristic of the
Sophists more clearly still in Socrates and Plato.

With such reasoning men can easily get so far as to know (where they
do not, it is owing to the want of education—but the Sophists were
very well educated) that if arguments are relied upon, everything can
be proved by argument, and arguments for and against can be found
for everything; as particular, however, they throw no light upon the
universal, the Notion. Thus what has been considered the sin of the
Sophists is that they taught men to deduce any conclusion required by
others or by themselves; but that is not due to any special quality
in the Sophists, but to reflective reasoning. In the worst action
there exists a point of view which is essentially real; if this is
brought to the front, men excuse and vindicate the action. In the
crime of desertion in time of war, there is, for example, the duty of
self-preservation. Similarly in more modern times the greatest crimes,
assassination, treachery, &c., have been justified, because in the
purpose there lay a determination which was actually essential, such as
that men must resist the evil and promote the good. The educated man
knows how to regard everything from the point of view of the good, to
maintain in everything a real point of view. A man does not require to
make great progress in his education to have good reasons ready for the
worst action; all that has happened in the world since the time of Adam
has been justified by some good reason.

It appears that the Sophists were conscious of this reasoning, and
knew, as educated men, that everything could be proved. Hence in
Plato’s Gorgias it is said that the art of the Sophists is a greater
gift than any other; they could convince the people, the senate, the
judges, of what they liked.[93] The advocate has similarly to inquire
what arguments there are in favour of the party which claims his help,
even if it be the opposite one to that which he wished to support.
That knowledge is no defect, but is part of the higher culture of
the Sophists; and if uneducated men naturally form conclusions from
external grounds which are those alone coming to their knowledge, they
may perhaps be mainly determined by something besides what they know
(by their integrity, for instance). The Sophists thus knew that on
this basis nothing was secure, because the power of thought treated
everything dialectically. That is the formal culture which they had
and imparted, for their acquaintanceship with so many points of view
shook what was morality in Greece (the religion, duties, and laws,
unconsciously exercised), since through its limited content, that
came into collision with what was different. Once it was highest
and ultimate, then it was deposed. Ordinary knowledge thus becomes
confused, as we shall see very clearly in Socrates, for something
is held to be certain to consciousness, and then other points of
view which are also present and recognized, have similarly to be
allowed; hence the first has no further value, or at least loses its
supremacy. We saw in the same way, how bravery, which lies in the
hazarding of one’s life, is made dubious by the duty of preserving
life, if put forward unconditionally. Plato quotes several examples
of this unsettling tendency, as when he makes Dionysodorus maintain:
“Whoever gives culture to one who does not possess knowledge, desires
that he should no longer remain what he is. He desires to direct
him to reason, and this is to make him not the same as he is.” And
Euthydemus, when the others say that he lies, answers, “Who lies, says
what is not; men cannot say what is not, and thus no one can lie.”[94]
And again Dionysodorus says, “You have a dog, this dog has young,
and is a father; thus a dog is your father, and you are brother to
its young.”[95] Sequences put together thus are constantly found in
critical treatises.

With this comes the question which the nature of thought brings along
with it. If the field of argument, that which consciousness holds to
be firmly established, is shaken by reflection, what is man now to
take as his ultimate basis? For something fixed there must be. This is
either the good, the universal, or the individuality, the arbitrary
will of the subject; and both may be united, as is shown later on in
Socrates. To the Sophists the satisfaction of the individual himself
was now made ultimate, and since they made everything uncertain, the
fixed point was in the assertion, “it is my desire, my pride, glory,
and honour, particular subjectivity, which I make my end.” Thus the
Sophists are reproached for countenancing personal affections, private
interests, &c. This proceeds directly from the nature of their culture,
which, because it places ready various points of view, makes it depend
on the pleasure of the subject alone which shall prevail, that is, if
fixed principles do not determine. Here the danger lies. This takes
place also in the present day where the right and the true in our
actions is made to depend on good intention and on my own conviction.
The real end of the State, the best administration and constitution, is
likewise to demagogues very vague.

On account of their formal culture, the Sophists have a place in
Philosophy; on account of their reflection they have not. They are
associated with Philosophy in that they do not remain at concrete
reasoning, but go on, at least in part, to ultimate determinations.
A chief part of their culture was the generalization of the Eleatic
mode of thought and its extension to the whole content of knowledge
and of action; the positive thus comes in as, and has become, utility.
To go into particulars respecting the Sophists would lead us too
far; individual Sophists have their place in the general history of
culture. The celebrated Sophists are very numerous; the most celebrated
amongst them are Protagoras, Gorgias, and also Prodicus, the teacher
of Socrates, to whom Socrates ascribes the well-known myth of “The
choice of Hercules”[96]—an allegory, beautiful in its own way, which
has been repeated hundreds and thousands of times. I will deal only
with Protagoras and Gorgias, not from the point of view of culture,
but in respect of proving further how the general knowledge which
they extended to everything, has, with one of them, the universal
form which makes it pure science. Plato is the chief source of our
acquaintanceship with the Sophists, for he occupied himself largely
with them; then we have Aristotle’s own little treatise on Gorgias;
and Sextus Empiricus, who preserved for us much of the philosophy of


Protagoras, born at Abdera,[97] was somewhat older than Socrates;
little more is known of him, nor, indeed, could there be much known.
For he led a uniform life, since he spent it in the study of the
sciences; he appeared in Greece proper as the first public teacher. He
read his writings[98] like the rhapsodists and poets, the former of
whom sang the verses of others, and the latter their own. There were
then no places of learning, no books from which men could be taught,
for to the ancients, as Plato says,[99] “the chief part of culture”
(_ραιδείας_) “consisted in being skilled” (_δεινόν_) “in poetry,”
just as with us fifty years ago the principal instruction of the
people consisted of Bible History and Biblical precepts. The Sophists
now gave, in place of a knowledge of the poets, an acquaintanceship
with thought. Protagoras also came to Athens and there lived for
long, principally with the great Pericles, who also entered into this
culture. Indeed, the two once argued for a whole day as to whether the
dart or the thrower or he who arranged the contest was guilty of the
death of a man who thus met his death.[100] The dispute is over the
great and important question of the possibility of imputation; guilt
is a general expression, the analysis of which may undoubtedly become
a difficult and extensive undertaking. In his intercourse with such
men, Pericles developed his genius for eloquence; for whatever kind of
mental occupation may be in question, a cultivated mind can alone excel
in it; and true culture is only possible through pure science. Pericles
was a powerful orator, and we see from Thucydides how deep a knowledge
he had of the State and of his people. Protagoras had the same fate
as Anaxagoras, in being afterwards banished from Athens. The cause of
this sentence was a work written by him beginning, “As to the gods,
I am not able to say whether they are or are not; for there is much
which prevents this knowledge, both in the obscurity of the matter,
and in the life of man which is so short.” This book was also publicly
burned in Athens by command of the State, and, so far as we know, it
was the first to be treated so. At the age of seventy or ninety years
Protagoras was drowned while on a voyage to Sicily.[101]

Protagoras was not, like other Sophists, merely a teacher of culture,
but likewise a deep and solid thinker, a philosopher who reflected
on fundamental determinations of an altogether universal kind. The
main point in his system of knowledge he expressed thus: “Man is the
measure of all things; of that which is, that it is; of that which
is not, that it is not.”[102] On the one hand, therefore, what had
to be done was to grasp thought as determined and as having content;
but, on the other, to find the determining and content-giving; this
universal determination then becomes the standard by which everything
is judged. Now Protagoras’ assertion is in its real meaning a great
truth, but at the same time it has a certain ambiguity, in that as man
is the undetermined and many-sided, either he may in his individual
particularity, as this contingent man, be the measure, or else
self-conscious reason in man, man in his rational nature and his
universal substantiality, is the absolute measure. If the statement is
taken in the former sense, all is self-seeking, all self-interest, the
subject with his interests forms the central point; and if man has a
rational side, reason is still something subjective, it is “he.” But
this is just the wrong and perverted way of looking at things which
necessarily forms the main reproach made against the Sophists—that
they put forward man in his contingent aims as determining; thus with
them the interest of the subject in its particularity, and the interest
of the same in its substantial reason are not distinguished.

The same statement is brought forward in Socrates and Plato, but
with the further modification that here man, in that he is thinking
and gives himself a universal content, is the measure. Thus here the
great proposition is enunciated on which, from this time forward,
everything turns, since the further progress of Philosophy only
explains it further: it signifies that reason is the end of all
things. This proposition further expresses a very remarkable change
of position in asserting that all content, everything objective,
is only in relation to consciousness; thought is thus in all truth
expressed as the essential moment, and thereby the Absolute takes the
form of the thinking subjectivity which comes before us principally
in Socrates. Since man, as subject, is the measure of everything,
the existent is not alone, but is for my knowledge. Consciousness is
really the producer of the content in what is objective, and subjective
thinking is thus really active. And this view extends even to the most
modern philosophy, as when, for instance, Kant says that we only know
phenomena, _i.e._ that what seems to us to be objective reality, is
only to be considered in its relation to consciousness, and does not
exist without this relation. The fact that the subject as active and
determining brings forth the content, is the important matter, but now
the question comes as to how the content is further determined—whether
it is limited to the particularity of consciousness or is determined
as the universal, the existent in and for itself. God, the Platonic
Good, is certainly at first a product of thought, but in the second
place He is just as really in and for Himself. Since I, as existent,
fixed and eternal, only recognize what is in its content universal,
this, posited as it is by me, is likewise the implicitly objective, not
posited by me.

Protagoras himself shows us much more of what is implied in his theory,
for he says, “Truth is a manifestation for consciousness. Nothing is
in and for itself one, but everything has a relative truth only,”
_i.e._ it is what it is but for another, which is man. This relativity
is by Protagoras expressed in a way which seems to us in some measure
trivial, and belongs to the first beginnings of reflective thought. The
insignificant examples which he adduces (like Plato and Socrates when
they follow out in them the point of view of reflection), by way of
explanation, show that in Protagoras’ understanding what is determined
is not grasped as the universal and identical with self. Hence the
exemplifications are taken mostly from sensuous manifestation. “In a
wind it may be that one person is cold and another is not; hence of
this wind we cannot tell whether in itself it is cold or hot.”[103]
Frost and heat are thus not anything which exist, but only are in their
relation to a subject; were the wind cold in itself, it would always be
so to the subject. Or again, “if we have here six dice, and place by
them four others, we should say of the former that there are more of
them. But, again, if we put twelve by them we say that these first six
are the fewer.”[104] Because we say of the same number that it is more
and fewer, the more and the less is merely a relative determination;
thus what is the object, is so in the idea present to consciousness
only. Plato, on the contrary, considered one and many, not like the
Sophists in their distinction, but as being one and the same.

Plato says further on this point, that the white, warm, &c., or
everything that we say of things, does not exist for itself, but that
the eye, sensation, is necessary to make it for us. This reciprocal
movement is what first creates the white, and in it the white is not a
thing in itself, but what we have present is a seeing eye, or, to speak
generally, sight, and particularly the seeing of white, the feeling
of warmth, &c. Undoubtedly warmth, colour, &c., really are only in
relation to another, but the conceiving mind divides itself into itself
and into a world in which each also has its relation. This objective
relativity is expressed better in the following way. If the white were
in itself, it would be that which brought forth the sensation of it; it
would be the action or the cause, and we, on the contrary, the passive
and receptive. But the object which thus requires to be active, is not
active until it enters into (_ξυνέλθῃ_) relation with the passive;
similarly the passive is only in relation to the active. Thus what
is said in defining anything never concerns the thing as in itself,
but clearly only as being related to something else. Nothing is thus
constituted in and for itself as it appears, but the truth is just
this phenomenon to which our activity contributes. As things appear
to the healthy man they are thus not in themselves, but for him; as
they appear to the sick or deranged man, they are to him, without our
being able to say that as they appear to him, they are not true.[105]
We feel the awkwardness of calling any such thing true, for after all
the existent, if related to consciousness, is yet not related to it as
fixed, but to sensuous knowledge; and then this consciousness itself
is a condition, _i.e._ something which passes away. Protagoras rightly
recognized this double relativity when he says, “Matter is a pure flux,
it is not anything fixed and determined in itself, for it can be
everything, and it is different to different ages and to the various
conditions of waking and sleep, &c.”[106] Kant separates himself from
this standpoint only in that he places the relativity in the “I,”
and not in objective existence. The phenomenon is, according to him,
nothing but the fact of there being outside an impulse, an unknown
_x_, which first receives these determinations through our feeling.
Even if there were an objective ground for our calling one thing cold
and another warm, we could indeed say that they must have diversity
in themselves, but warmth and cold first become what they are in our
feeling. Similarly it can only be in our conception that things are
outside of us, etc. But if the experience is quite correctly called
a “phenomenon,” _i.e._ something relative, because it does not come
to pass without the determinations of the activity of our senses, nor
without categories of thought, yet that one, all-pervading, universal,
which permeates all experience, which to Heraclitus was necessity, has
to be brought into consciousness.

We see that Protagoras possesses great powers of reflective thought,
and indeed reflection on consciousness came to consciousness with
Protagoras. But this is the form of manifestation which was again
taken by the later sceptics. The phenomenal is not sensuous Being,
for because I posit this as phenomenal, I assert its nullity. But the
statements “What is, is only for consciousness,” or “The truth of
all things is the manifestation of them in and for consciousness,”
seem quite to contradict themselves. For it appears as though a
contradiction were asserted—first that nothing is in itself as
it appears, and then that it is true as it appears. But objective
significance must not be given to the positive, to what is true, as
if, for example, this were white in itself because it appears so;
for it is only this manifestation of the white that is true, the
manifestation being just this movement of the self-abrogating sensuous
Being, which, taken in the universal, stands above consciousness as
truly as above Being. The world is consequently not only phenomenal
in that it is for consciousness, and thus that its Being is only one
relative to consciousness, for it is likewise in itself phenomenal. The
element of consciousness which Protagoras has demonstrated, and owing
to which the developed universal has in it the moment of the negative
Being-for-another, has thus indeed to be asserted as a necessary
moment; but taken for itself, alone and isolated, it is one-sided,
since the moment of implicit Being is likewise essential.


This scepticism reached a much deeper point in Gorgias of Leontium in
Sicily, a man of great culture, and also distinguished as a statesman.
During the Peloponnesian war he was, in Ol. 88, 2 (427 B.C.), a few
years after Pericles’ death in Ol. 87, 4, sent from his native town
to Athens.[107] And when he attained his object, he went through many
other Greek towns, such as Larissa in Thessaly, and taught in them.
Thus he obtained great wealth, along with much admiration, and this
lasted till his death at over a hundred years of age.

He is said to have been a disciple of Empedocles, but he also knew the
Eleatics, and his dialectic partakes of the manner and method of the
latter; indeed Aristotle, who preserves this dialectic, in the work
_De Xenophane, Zenone et Gorgia_, which has indeed only come to us in
fragments, deals with them together. Sextus Empiricus also gives us in
full the dialectic of Gorgias. He was strong in the dialectic requisite
for eloquence, but his preeminence lies in his pure dialectic
respecting the quite universal categories of Being and non-being, which
indeed is not like that of the Sophists. Tiedemann (Geist. der Spec.
Phil. vol. I. p. 362) says very falsely: “Gorgias went much further
than any man of healthy mind could go.” Tiedemann could say of every
philosopher that he went further than healthy human understanding, for
what men call healthy understanding is not Philosophy, and is often
far from healthy. Healthy human understanding possesses the modes of
thought, maxims, and judgments of its time, the thought-determinations
of which dominate it without its being conscious thereof. In this
way Gorgias undoubtedly went further than healthy understanding.
Before Copernicus it would have been contrary to all healthy human
understanding if anyone had said that the earth went round the sun,
or before the discovery of America, if it were said that there was a
continent there. In India or in China a republic would even now be
contrary to all healthy understanding. The dialectic of Gorgias moves
more purely in Notion than that found in Protagoras. Since Protagoras
asserted the relativity, or the non-implicit nature of all that is,
this only exists in relation to another which really is essential to
it; and this last, indeed, is consciousness. Gorgias’ demonstration of
the non-implicitness of Being is purer, because he takes in itself what
passes for real existence without presupposing that other, and thus
shows its own essential nullity and separates therefrom the subjective
side and Being as it is for the latter.

Gorgias’ treatise “On Nature,” in which he composes his dialectic,
falls, according to Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. VII. 65), into three
parts. “In the first he proves that” (objectively) “nothing exists, in
the second” (subjectively), “that assuming that Being is, it cannot be
known; and in the third place” (both subjectively and objectively),
“that were it to exist and be knowable, no communication of what is
known would be possible.” Gorgias was a congenial subject to Sextus,
but the former still proved, and this is what the Sceptics ceased
to do. Here very abstract thought-determinations regarding the most
speculative moments of Being and non-being, of knowledge, and of
bringing into existence, of communicating knowledge, are involved; and
this is no idle talk, as was formerly supposed, for Gorgias’ dialectic
is of a quite objective kind, and is most interesting in content.

_a._ “If anything is,” (this “anything” is, however, a makeshift
that we are in the habit of using in our conversation, and which
is, properly speaking, inappropriate, for it implies an opposition
of subject and predicate, while at present the “is” alone is in
question)—then “if it _is_” (and now it becomes for the first time
defined as subject) “it is either the existent or the non-existent, or
else existence and non-existence. It is now evident of these three that
they are not.”[108]

_α_. “That which is not, is not; for if Being belonged to it, there
would at the same time be existence and non-existence. That is, in so
far as it is thought of as non-existent, it is not; but in so far as
it _is_ the non-existent, it must exist. But it cannot at the same
time be and not be. Again, if the non-existent is, the existent is
not, for the two are opposed. Thus, if Being pertained to non-being,
non-being would belong to Being. But if Being does not exist, no more
does non-being.”[109] This is with Gorgias a characteristic mode of

_β_. “But in proving,” Aristotle adds to the passages just quoted,
“that the existent is not, he follows Melissus and Zeno.” This is
the dialectic already brought forward by them. “If Being is, it is
contradictory to predicate a quality to it, and if we do this, we
express something merely negative about it.”

_αα_. For Gorgias says: “What is, either is in itself (_ἀΐδιον_)
being without beginning, or it has originated,” and he now shows
that it could neither be the one nor the other, for each leads to
contradiction. “It cannot be the former, for what is in itself has
no beginning, and is the infinite,” and hence likewise undetermined
and indeterminable. “The infinite is nowhere, for if it is anywhere,
that in which it is, is different from it.” Where it is, it is in
another, “but that is not infinite which is different from another,
and contained in another. Just as little is it contained in itself,
for then that in which it is, and that which is therein, would be the
same. What it is in, is the place; that which is in this, is the body;
but that both should be the same is absurd. The infinite does not thus
exist.”[111] This dialectic of Gorgias regarding the infinite is on
the one hand limited, because immediate existence has certainly no
beginning and no limit, but asserts a progression into infinitude; the
self-existent Thought, the universal Notion, as absolute negativity,
has, however, limits in itself. On the other hand, Gorgias is quite
right, for the bad, sensuous infinite is nowhere present, and thus
does not exist, but is a Beyond of Being; only we may take what
Gorgias takes as a diversity of place, as being diversity generally.
Thus, instead of placing the infinite, like Gorgias, sometimes in
another, sometimes within itself, _i.e._ sometimes maintaining it to be
different, sometimes abrogating the diversity, we may say better and
more universally, that this sensuous infinite is a diversity which is
always posited as different from the existent, for it is just the being
different from itself.

“In the same way Being has not originated, because it must then have
come either from the existent or from the non-existent. From the
existent it did not arise, for then it would be already; just as little
from the non-existent, because this cannot beget anything.”[112] The
sceptics followed this up further. The object to be contemplated
hence ever becomes posited under determinations with ‘either’ ‘or,’
which then contradict one another. But that is not the true dialectic,
because the object resolves itself into those determinations only; when
nothing follows respecting the nature of the object itself, then, as is
already proved, the object must be necessarily in one determination,
and not in and for itself.

_ββ_. In a similar way Gorgias shows “of what exists, that it must
either be one or many; but neither is possible. For as one, it would
have a certain magnitude, or continuity, or number, or body, but all
this is not one, but different, divisible. Every sensuous one is, in
fact, necessarily another, a manifold. If it is not one, it cannot be
many, for the many is many ones.”[113]

_γ_. “Similarly both, Being and non-being, cannot exist at the same
time. If one exists as much as the other, they are the same, and
therefore neither of them is, for the non-being does not exist, and
hence neither does the Being, since it is identical with it. Nor can
they, on the other hand, both exist, for if they are identical, I
cannot express them both,”[114] and thus both do not exist, for if I
express both, I differentiate. This dialectic, which Aristotle (De
Xenoph. &c., c. 5) likewise designates as peculiar to Gorgias, has its
truth. In speaking of Being and non-being, we always say the opposite
to what we wish. Being and non-being are the same, just as they are
not the same; if they are the same, I speak of the two as different:
if different, I express the same predicate of them, diversity. This
dialectic is not to be despised by us, as if it dealt with empty
abstractions, for these categories are, on the one hand, in their
purity the most universal, and if, on the other hand, they are not the
ultimate, yet it is always Being or non-being that are in question;
they are not, however, definitely fixed and divided off, but are
self-abrogating. Gorgias is conscious that they are vanishing moments,
while the ordinary unconscious conception also has present to it this
truth, but knows nothing about it.

_b._ The relation of the conceiver to conception, the difference
between conception and Being, is a subject which is in our mouths
to-day. “But if there is an ‘is,’ it is unknowable and unthinkable, for
what is presented is not the existent” but only a presentation. “If
what is presented is white, it is the case that white is presented;
if what is presented is not the really existent, it is the case that
what is, is not presented. For if what is presented is the real
existent, everything that is presented also exists, but no one says
that if a flying man, or waggon riding on the sea were presented to
us, it would exist. Further, if what is presented is the existent, the
non-existent is not presented, for opposites are in opposition. But
this non-existent is everywhere presented as it is in Scylla and the
Chimæra.[115] Gorgias on the one hand pronounces a just polemic against
absolute realism, which, because it represents, thinks to possess the
very thing itself, when it only has a relative, but he falls, on the
other hand, into the false idealism of modern times, according to which
thought is always subjective only, and thus not the existent, since
through thought an existent is transformed into what is thought.”

_c._ We finally have the basis of the dialectic of Gorgias in respect
of the third point, that knowledge cannot be imparted, in this: “If the
existent were presented, it could still not be expressed and imparted.
Things are visible, audible, &c., or are experienced. The visible
is grasped through sight, the audible through hearing, and not the
contrary way; thus, the one cannot be indicated by the other. Speech,
by which the existent has to be expressed, is not the existent; what is
imparted is thus not the existent, but only words.[116] In this manner
Gorgias’ dialectic is the laying hold of this difference exactly as
again occurred in Kant; if I maintain this difference, certainly that
which is, cannot be known.”

This dialectic is undoubtedly impregnable to those who maintain
sensuous Being to be real. But its truth is only this movement to
posit itself negatively as existent, and the unity is the reflection
that the existent, comprehended also as non-existent, becomes, in this
comprehension of it, universal. That this existent cannot be imparted,
must likewise be held most strongly, for _this_ individual cannot be
expressed. Philosophic truth is thus not only expressed as if there
were another truth in sensuous consciousness; but Being is present
in that philosophic truth expresses it. The Sophists thus also made
dialectic, universal Philosophy, their object, and they were profound


Consciousness had reached this point in Greece, when in Athens the
great form of Socrates, in whom the subjectivity of thought was brought
to consciousness in a more definite and more thorough manner, now
appeared. But Socrates did not grow like a mushroom out of the earth,
for he stands in continuity with his time, and thus is not only a
most important figure in the history of Philosophy—perhaps the most
interesting in the philosophy of antiquity—but is also a world-famed
personage. For a mental turning-point exhibited itself in him in the
form of philosophic thought. If we shortly recall the periods already
passed over, we find that the ancient Ionic philosophers certainly
thought, but without reflecting on the thought or defining its product
as thought. The Atomists made objective existence into thoughts, but
these were to them only abstractions, pure entities. Anaxagoras, on the
other hand, raised thought as such, into a principle which thereby
presented itself as the all-powerful Notion, as the negative power
over all that is definite and existent. Protagoras finally expresses
thought as real existence, but it is in this its movement, which is
the all-resolving consciousness, the unrest of the Notion. This unrest
is in itself at the same time something restful or secure. But the
fixed point of motion as such, is the ‘I,’ for it has the moments of
movement outside of it; as the self-retaining, which only abrogates
what is different, the ‘I’ is negative unity, but just in that very
way individual, and not yet the universal reflected within itself. Now
we here find the ambiguity of dialectic and sophistry, which rests
in the fact that if the objective disappears, the signification of
the fixed subjective is either that of the individual opposed to the
objective, and thereby the contingent and lawless will, or that of the
objective and universal in itself. Socrates expresses real existence
as the universal ‘I,’ as the consciousness which rests in itself; but
that is the good as such, which is free from existent reality, free
from individual sensuous consciousness of feeling and desire, free
finally from the theoretically speculative thought about nature, which,
if indeed thought, has still the form of Being and in which I am not
certain of my existence.

Socrates herein adopted firstly the doctrine of Anaxagoras that
thought, the understanding, is the ruling and self-determining
universal, though this principle did not, as with the Sophists, attain
the form of formal culture or of abstract philosophizing. Thus, if with
Socrates, as with Protagoras, the self-conscious thought that abrogates
all that is determined, was real existence, with Socrates this was
the case in such a way that he at the same time grasped in thought
rest and security. This substance existing in and for itself, the
self-retaining, has become determined as end, and further as the true
and the good.

To this determination of the universal, we have, in the second place,
to add that this good, which has by me to be esteemed as substantial
end, must be known by me; with this the infinite subjectivity, the
freedom of self-consciousness in Socrates breaks out. This freedom
which is contained therein, the fact that consciousness is clearly
present in all that it thinks, and must necessarily be at home
with itself, is in our time constantly and plainly demanded; the
substantial, although eternal and in and for itself, must as truly
be produced through me; but this my part in it is only the formal
activity. Thus Socrates’ principle is that man has to find from himself
both the end of his actions and the end of the world, and must attain
to truth through himself. True thought thinks in such a way that its
import is as truly objective as subjective. But objectivity has been
the significance of substantial universality, and not of external
objectivity; thus truth is now posited as a product mediated through
thought, while untrained morality, as Sophocles makes Antigone say
(vers. 454-457), is “the eternal law of the Gods”:

  “And no one knew from whence it came.”

But though in modern times we hear much said of immediate knowledge and
belief, it is a misconception to maintain that their content, God, the
Good, Just, &c., although the content of feeling and conception, is
not, as spiritual content, also posited through thought. The animal has
no religion, because it only feels; but what is spiritual rests on the
mediation of thought, and pertains to man.

Since Socrates thus introduces the infinitely important element
of leading back the truth of the objective to the thought of the
subject, just as Protagoras says that the objective first is through
relation to us, the battle of Socrates and Plato with the Sophists
cannot rest on the ground that these, as belonging to the old faith,
maintained against the others the religion and customs of Greece, for
the violation of which Anaxagoras was condemned. Quite the contrary.
Reflection, and the reference of any judgment to consciousness, is
held by Socrates in common with the Sophists. But the opposition into
which Socrates and Plato were in their philosophy necessarily brought
in regard to the Sophists, as the universal philosophic culture of
the times, was as follows:—The objective produced through thought,
is at the same time in and for itself, thus being raised above all
particularity of interests and desires, and being the power over
them. Hence because, on the one hand, to Socrates and Plato the
moment of subjective freedom is the directing of consciousness into
itself, on the other, this return is also determined as a coming out
from particular subjectivity. It is hereby implied that contingency
of events is abolished, and man has this outside within him, as the
spiritual universal. This is the true, the unity of subjective and
objective in modern terminology, while the Kantian ideal is only
phenomenal and not objective in itself.

In the third place Socrates accepted the Good at first only in the
particular significance of the practical, which nevertheless is only
one mode of the substantial Idea; the universal is not only for me,
but also, as end existent in and for itself, the principle of the
philosophy of nature, and in this higher sense it was taken by Plato
and Aristotle. Of Socrates it is hence said, in the older histories
of Philosophy, that his main distinction was having added ethics as
a new conception to Philosophy, which formerly only took nature into
consideration. Diogenes Laertius, in like manner says (III., 56), that
the Ionics founded natural philosophy, Socrates ethics, and Plato
added to them dialectic. Now ethics is partly objective, and partly
subjective and reflected morality [Sittlichkeit und Moralität],[117]
and the teaching of Socrates is properly subjectively moral, because
in it the subjective side, my perception and meaning, is the prevailing
moment, although this determination of self-positing is likewise
sublated, and the good and eternal is what is in and for itself.
Objective morality is, on the contrary, natural, since it signifies the
knowledge and doing of what is in and for itself good. The Athenians
before Socrates were objectively, and not subjectively, moral, for
they acted rationally in their relations without knowing that they
were particularly excellent. Reflective morality adds to natural
morality the reflection that this is the good and not that; the Kantian
philosophy, which is reflectively moral, again showed the difference.

Because Socrates in this way gave rise to moral philosophy, all
succeeding babblers about morality and popular philosophy constituted
him their patron and object of adoration, and made him into a cloak
which should cover all false philosophy. As he treated it, it was
undoubtedly popular; and what contributed to make it such was that
his death gave him the never-failing interest derived from innocent
suffering. Cicero (Tusc. Quæst. V. 4), whose manner of thought was,
on the one hand, of the present, and who, on the other hand, had the
belief that Philosophy should yield itself up, and hence succeeded in
attaining to no content in it, boasted of Socrates (what has often
enough been said since) that his most eminent characteristic was
to have brought Philosophy from heaven to earth, to the homes and
every-day life of men, or, as Diogenes Laertius expresses it (II. 21),
“into the market place.” There we have what has just been said. This
would seem as if the best and truest Philosophy were only a domestic
or fireside philosophy, which conforms to all the ordinary ideas of
men, and in which we see friends and faithful ones talk together
of righteousness, and of what can be known on the earth, without
having penetrated the depths of the heavens, or rather the depths of
consciousness. But this last is exactly what Socrates, as these men
themselves indicate, first ventured to do. And it was not incumbent on
him to reflect upon all the speculations of past Philosophy, in order
to be able to come down in practical philosophy to inward thought. This
gives a general idea of his principle.

We must examine more closely this noteworthy phenomenon, and begin with
the history of Socrates’ life. This is, however, closely intertwined
with his interest in Philosophy, and the events of his life are bound
up with his principles. We have first of all to consider the beginning
of his life only. Socrates, whose birth occurs in the fourth year of
the 77th Olympiad (469 B.C.), was the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor,
and of Phænarete, a midwife. His father brought him up to sculpture,
and it is said that Socrates acquired skill in the art, and long after,
statues of draped Graces, found in the Acropolis, were ascribed to
him. But his art did not satisfy him; a great desire for Philosophy,
and love of scientific research, got possession of him. He pursued his
art merely to get money for a necessary subsistence, and to be able to
apply himself to the study of the sciences; and it is told of Crito, an
Athenian, that he defrayed the cost of Socrates’ instruction by masters
in all the arts. During the exercise of his art, and specially after he
gave it up altogether, he read the works of ancient philosophers in so
far as he could get possession of them. At the same time he attended
Anaxagoras’ instructions, and, after his expulsion from Athens, at
which time Socrates was thirty-seven years old, those of Archelaus,
who was regarded as Anaxagoras’ successor, besides those of Sophists
celebrated in other sciences. Amongst these he heard Prodicus, a
celebrated teacher of oratory, whom, according to Xenophon (Memorab.
II. c. 1, §§ 21, 34), he mentions with affection, and other teachers of
music, poetry, etc. He was esteemed as on all sides a man of culture,
who was instructed in everything then requisite thereto.[118]

Another feature in his life was that he fulfilled the duty of
protecting his country, which rested on him as an Athenian citizen.
Hence he made three campaigns in the Peloponnesian war, which occurred
during his life. The Peloponnesian war led to the dissolution of
Greek life, inasmuch as it was preparatory to it; and what took place
politically was by Socrates carried out in thinking consciousness. In
these campaigns he not only acquired the fame of a brave warrior, but,
what was best of all, the merit of having saved the lives of other
citizens. In the first, he was present at the tedious siege of Potidæa
in Thrace. Here Alcibiades had already attached himself to him, and,
according to Plato, he recited in the Banquet (p. 219-222, Steph.; p.
461-466, Bekk.), a eulogy on Socrates for being able to endure all
toil, hunger and thirst, heat and cold, with mind at rest and health
of body. In an engagement in this campaign he saw Alcibiades wounded
in the midst of the enemy, lifted him up, forced his way through, and
saved both him and his arms. The generals rewarded him with a wreath,
which was the prize of the bravest; Socrates did not, however, take
it, maintaining that it was given to Alcibiades. In this campaign
it is said that once, sunk in deep meditation, he stood immovable
on one spot the whole day and night, until the morning sun awoke
him from his trance—a condition in which he is said often to have
been. This was a cataleptic state, which may bear some relation to
magnetic somnambulism, in which Socrates became quite dead to sensuous
consciousness. From this physical setting free of the inward abstract
self from the concrete bodily existence of the individual, we have, in
the outward manifestation, a proof of how the depths of his mind worked
within him. In him we see pre-eminently the inwardness of consciousness
that in an anthropological way existed in the first instance in him,
and became later on a usual thing. He made his other campaign in Bœotia
at Delium, a small fortification which the Athenians possessed not
far from the sea, and where they had an unfortunate, though not an
important engagement. Here Socrates saved another of his favourites,
Xenophon; he saw him in the flight, for Xenophon, having lost his
horse, lay wounded on the ground. Socrates took him over his shoulders,
carried him off, defending himself at the same time with the greatest
tranquillity and presence of mind from the pursuing enemy. Finally
he made his last campaign at Amphipolis in Edonis, on the Strymonian

Besides this, he occupied various civil offices. At the time when the
democratic constitution of Athens hitherto existing, was taken away
by the Lacedemonians, who now introduced everywhere an aristocratic
and indeed tyrannical rule, whereby they in great measure put
themselves at the head of affairs, he was chosen for the council,
which, as a representative body, took the place of the people. Here he
distinguished himself by his immovable firmness in what he held to be
right as against the wills of the thirty tyrants, as formerly against
the will of the people. For he sat in the tribunal which condemned
the ten generals to death, because, as admirals at the battle of
Arginusæ, though they certainly had conquered, yet, being kept back
through storm, they had not dragged out the bodies nor buried them
on the shore, and because they neglected to erect trophies; _i.e._
really because they did not stand their ground, and thus appeared to
have been beaten. Socrates alone did not agree with this decision,
declaring himself more emphatically against the people than against
the rulers.[120] To-day he fares badly who says anything against
the people. “The people have excellent intelligence, understand
everything, and have only the most excellent intentions.” As to rulers,
governments, ministers, it is self-evident that “they understand
nothing, and only desire and bring forth what is bad.”

Along with these to him more accidental relationships to the State, in
which he acted only from the ordinary sense of citizenship, without
spontaneously making the affairs of the State his real business, or
pressing on to the head of public affairs, the real business of his
life was to discuss moral philosophy with any who came in his way. His
philosophy, which asserts that real existence is in consciousness as a
universal, is still not a properly speculative philosophy, but remained
individual; yet the aim of his philosophy was that it should have a
universal significance. Hence we have to speak of his own individual
being, of his thoroughly noble character, which usually is depicted
as a complete catalogue of the virtues adorning the life of a private
citizen; and these virtues of Socrates are certainly to be looked at
as his own, and as made habitual to him by his own will. It has to be
noted that with the ancients these qualities have generally more of the
character of virtue, because with the ancients, in ordinary morality,
individuality, as the form of the universal, was given free scope, so
that virtues were regarded more as the actions of the individual will,
and thus as personal qualities; while with us they seem to be less what
is meritorious to the individual, or what comes from himself as this
unit. We are accustomed to think of them much more as what exists, as
duty, because we have a fuller consciousness of the universal, and
consider the pure individual, the personal inward consciousness, as
real existence and duty. With us virtues are hence actually either
elements in our dispositions and nature, or they have the form of the
universal and of what is necessary; but with Socrates they have the
form, not of ordinary morality or of a natural or necessary thing, but
of an independent determination. It is well known that his appearance
indicated naturally low and hateful qualities, which, as indeed he
says, he himself subdued.

He lived amongst his fellow-citizens, and stands before us as one
of those great plastic natures consistent through and through, such
as we often see in those times—resembling a perfect classical work
of art which has brought itself to this height of perfection. Such
individuals are not made, but have formed themselves into what they
are; they have become that which they wished to be, and are true to
this. In a real work of art the distinguishing point is that some idea
is brought forth, a character is presented in which every trait is
determined by the idea, and, because this is so, the work of art is,
on the one hand, living, and, on the other, beautiful, for the highest
beauty is just the most perfect carrying out of all sides of the
individuality in accordance with the one inward principle. Such works
of art are also seen in the great men of every time. The most plastic
individual as a statesman is Pericles, and round him, like stars,
Sophocles, Thucydides, Socrates, &c., worked out their individuality
into an existence of its own—into a character which regulated their
whole being, and which was one principle running throughout the whole
of their existence. Pericles alone lived with the sole end of being a
statesman. Plutarch (in Pericle, c. 5, 7) says of him that, from the
time that he devoted himself to the business of the State, he laughed
no more, and never again went to a feast. Thus, too, Socrates formed
himself, through his art and through the power of self-conscious
will, into this particular character, and acquired this capacity for
the business of his life. Through his principle he attained that
far-reaching influence which has lasted to the present day in relation
to religion, science, and justice, for since his time the genius of
inward conviction has been the basis which must be fundamental. And
since this principle proceeded from the plasticity of his character,
it is very inappropriate when Tennemann regrets (Vol. II. p. 26) “that
though we know what he was, we do not know how he became such.”

Socrates was a peaceful, pious example of the moral virtues—of wisdom,
discretion, temperance, moderation, justice, courage, inflexibility,
firm sense of rectitude in relation to tyrants and people; he was
equally removed from cupidity and despotism. His indifference to money
was due to his own determination, for, according to the custom of the
times, he could acquire it through the education of youth, like other
teachers. On the other side, this acquisition was purely matter of
choice, and not, as with us, something which is accepted, so that to
take nothing would be to break through a custom, thus to present the
appearance of wishing to become conspicuous, and to be more blamed than
praised. For this was not yet a State affair; it was under the Roman
emperors that there first were schools with payment. This moderation
of his life was likewise a power proceeding from conscious knowledge,
but this is not a principle found to hand, but the regulation of self
in accordance with circumstances; in company he was, however, a good
fellow. His sobriety in respect to wine is best depicted in Plato’s
“Symposium,” in a very characteristic scene in which we see what
Socrates called virtue. Alcibiades there appears, no longer sober, at a
feast given by Agathon, on the occasion of a success which his tragedy
had obtained on the previous day at the games. Since the company had
drunk much on the first day of the feast, the assembled guests, amongst
whom was Socrates, this evening took a resolution, in opposition to the
Greek custom at meals, to drink little. Alcibiades, finding that he
was coming in amongst abstemious men, and that there was no one else
in his own frame of mind, made himself king of the feast, and offered
the goblet to the others, in order to bring them into the condition
reached by himself; but with Socrates he said that he could do nothing,
because he remained as he was, however much he drank. Plato then makes
the individual who tells what happened at the Banquet, also tell that
he, with the others, at last fell asleep on the couch, and as he awoke
in the morning, Socrates, cup in hand, still talked with Aristophanes
and Agathon about comedy and tragedy, and whether one man could write
both comedies and tragedies, and then went at the usual time into the
public places, to the Lyceum, as if nothing had happened, and walked
about the whole day as usual.[121] This is not a moderation which
exists in the least possible enjoyment, no aimless abstemiousness and
self-mortification, but a power belonging to consciousness, which keeps
its self-possession in bodily excess. We see from this that we have
not to think of Socrates throughout after the fashion of the litany of
moral virtues.

His behaviour to others was not only just, true, open, without
rudeness, and honourable, but we also see in him an example of the most
perfect Attic urbanity; i.e. he moves in the freest possible relations,
has a readiness for conversation which is always judicious, and,
because it has an inward universality, at the same time always has the
right living relationship to the individual, and bears upon the case
on which it operates. The intercourse is that of a most highly cultured
man who, in his relation to others, never places anything personal in
all his wit, and sets aside all that is unpleasant. Thus Xenophon’s,
but particularly Plato’s Socratic Dialogues belong to the highest type
of this fine social culture.

Because the philosophy of Socrates is no withdrawal from existence now
and here into the free, pure regions of thought, but is in a piece
with his life, it does not proceed to a system; and the manner of his
philosophizing, which appears to imply a withdrawal from actual affairs
as it did to Plato, yet in that very way gives itself this inward
connection with ordinary life. For his more special business was his
philosophic teaching, or rather his philosophic social intercourse (for
it was not, properly speaking, teaching) with all; and this outwardly
resembled ordinary Athenian life in which the greater part of the
day was passed without any particular business, in loitering about
the market-place, or frequenting the public Lyceum, and there partly
partaking of bodily exercises, and partly and principally, talking
with one another. This kind of intercourse was only possible in the
Athenian mode of life, where most of the work which is now done by a
free citizen—by a free republican and free imperial citizen alike—was
performed by slaves, seeing that it was deemed unworthy of free men.
A free citizen could in Athens certainly be a handicraftsman, but he
had slaves who did the work, just as a master now has workmen. At
the present day such a life of movement would not be suitable to our
customs. Now Socrates also lounged about after this manner, and lived
in this constant discussion of ethical questions.[122] Thus what he
did was what came naturally to him, and what can in general be called
moralizing; but its nature and method was not that of preaching,
exhortation or teaching; it was not a dry morality. For amongst the
Athenians and in Attic urbanity, this had no place, since it is not a
reciprocal, free, and rational relationship. But with all men, however
different their characters, he entered on one kind of dialogue, with
all that Attic urbanity which, without presumption on his part, without
instructing others, or wishing to command them, while maintaining their
perfect right to freedom, and honouring it, yet causes all that is rude
to be suppressed.

1. _The Socratic Method._ In this conversation Socrates’ philosophy is
found, as also what is known as the Socratic method, which must in its
nature be dialectic, and of which we must speak before dealing with
the content. Socrates’ manner is not artificial; the dialogues of the
moderns, on the contrary, just because no internal reason justifies
their form, are necessarily tedious and heavy. But the principle of
his philosophy falls in with the method itself, which thus far cannot
be called method, since it is a mode which quite coincides with the
moralizing peculiar to Socrates. For the chief content is to know the
good as the absolute, and that particularly in relation to actions.
Socrates gives this point of view so high a place, that he both puts
aside the sciences which involve the contemplation of the universal in
nature, mind, &c., himself, and calls upon others to do the same.[123]
Thus it can be said that in content his philosophy had an altogether
practical aspect, and similarly the Socratic method, which is essential
to it, was distinguished by the system of first bringing a person to
reflection upon his duty by any occasion that might either happen
to be offered spontaneously, or that was brought about by Socrates.
By going to the work-places of tailors and shoemakers, and entering
into discourse with them, as also with youths and old men, Sophists,
statesmen, and citizens of all kinds, he in the first place took
their interests as his topic—whether these were household interests,
the education of children, or the interests of knowledge or of truth.
Then he led them on from a definite case to think of the universal,
and of truths and beauties which had absolute value, since in every
case, from the individual’s own thoughts, he derived the conviction
and consciousness of that which is the definite right. This method has
two prominent aspects, the one the development of the universal from
the concrete case, and the exhibition of the notion which implicitly
exists in every consciousness,[124] and the other is the resolution of
the firmly established, and, when taken immediately in consciousness,
universal determinations of the sensuous conception or of thought, and
the causing of confusion between these and what is concrete.

_a._ If we proceed from the general account of Socrates’ method
to a nearer view, in the first place its effect is to inspire men
with distrust towards their presuppositions, after faith had become
wavering and they were driven to seek that which is, in themselves.
Now whether it was that he wished to bring the manner of the Sophists
into disrepute, or that he was desirous to awaken the desire for
knowledge and independent thought in the youths whom he attracted to
himself, he certainly began by adopting the ordinary conceptions which
they considered to be true. But in order to bring others to express
these, he represents himself as in ignorance of them, and, with a
seeming ingenuousness, puts questions to his audience as if they
were to instruct him, while he really wished to draw them out. This
is the celebrated Socratic irony, which in his case is a particular
mode of carrying on intercourse between one person and another, and
is thus only a subjective form of dialectic, for real dialectic deals
with the reasons for things. What he wished to effect was, that when
other people brought forward their principles, he, from each definite
proposition, should deduce as its consequence the direct opposite of
what the proposition stated, or else allow the opposite to be deduced
from their own inner consciousness without maintaining it directly
against their statements. Sometimes he also derived the opposite from
a concrete case. But as this opposite was a principle held by men as
firmly as the other, he then went on to show that they contradicted
themselves. Thus Socrates taught those with whom he associated to know
that they knew nothing; indeed, what is more, he himself said that
he knew nothing, and therefore taught nothing. It may actually be
said that Socrates knew nothing, for he did not reach the systematic
construction of a philosophy. He was conscious of this, and it was also
not at all his aim to establish a science.

On the one view, this irony seems to be something untrue. But when we
deal with objects which have a universal interest, and speak about
them to one and to another, it is always the case that one does not
understand another’s conception of the object. For every individual has
certain ultimate words as to which he presupposes a common knowledge.
But if we really are to come to an understanding, we find it is these
presuppositions which have to be investigated. For instance, if in
more recent times belief and reason are discussed as the subjects of
present intellectual interest, everyone pretends that he knows quite
well what reason, &c., is, and it is considered ill-bred to ask for an
explanation of this, seeing that all are supposed to know about it. A
very celebrated divine, ten years ago,[125] published ninety theses
on reason, which contained very interesting questions, but resulted
in nothing, although they were much discussed, because one person’s
assertions issued from the point of view of faith, and the other’s
from that of reason, and each remained in this state of opposition,
without the one’s knowing what the other meant. Thus what would make
an understanding possible is just the explanation of what we think is
understood, without really being so. If faith and knowledge certainly
differ from one another at the first, yet through this declaration of
their notional determinations the common element will at once appear;
in that way questions like these and the trouble taken with them may,
for the first time, become fruitful; otherwise men may chatter this way
and that for years, without making any advance. For if I say I know
what reason, what belief is, these are only quite abstract ideas; it is
necessary, in order to become concrete, that they should be explained,
and that it should be understood that what they really are, is unknown.
The irony of Socrates has this great quality of showing how to make
abstract ideas concrete and effect their development, for on that alone
depends the bringing of the Notion into consciousness.

In recent times much has been said about the Socratic irony which,
like all dialectic, gives force to what is taken immediately, but only
in order to allow the dissolution inherent in it to come to pass;
and we may call this the universal irony of the world. Yet men have
tried to make this irony of Socrates into something quite different,
for they extended it into a universal principle; it is said to be
the highest attitude of the mind, and has been represented as the
most divine. It was Friedrich von Schlegel who first brought forward
this idea, and Ast repeated it, saying, “The most ardent love of all
beauty in the Idea, as in life, inspires Socrates’ words with inward,
unfathomable life.” This life is now said to be irony! But this irony
issues from the Fichtian philosophy, and is an essential point in the
comprehension of the conceptions of most recent times. It is when
subjective consciousness maintains its independence of everything,
that it says, “It is I who through my educated thoughts can annul all
determinations of right, morality, good, &c., because I am clearly
master of them, and I know that if anything seems good to me I can
easily subvert it, because things are only true to me in so far as they
please me now.” This irony is thus only a trifling with everything, and
it can transform all things into show: to this subjectivity nothing
is any longer serious, for any seriousness which it has, immediately
becomes dissipated again in jokes, and all noble or divine truth
vanishes away or becomes mere triviality. But the Greek gaiety, as it
breathes in Homer’s poems, is ironical, for Eros mocks the power of
Zeus and of Mars; Vulcan, limping along, serves the gods with wine, and
brings upon himself the uncontrollable laughter of the immortal gods.
Juno boxes Diana’s ears. Thus, too, there is irony in the sacrifices
of the ancients, who themselves consumed the best; in the pain that
laughs, in the keenest joy which is moved to tears, in the scornful
laughter of Mephistopheles, and in every transition from one extreme
to another—from what is best to what is worst. Sunday morning may be
passed in deep humility, profoundest contrition and self-abasement,
in striking the breast in penitence, and the evening in eating and
drinking to the full, going the round of pleasures, thus allowing self
to re-assert its independence of any such subjection. Hypocrisy, which
is of the same nature, is the truest irony. Socrates and Plato were
falsely stated to be the originators of this irony, of which it is
said that it is the “inmost and deepest life,” although they possessed
the element of subjectivity; in our time it was not permitted to us
to give effect to this irony. Ast’s “inmost, deepest life” is just
the subjective and arbitrary will, the inward divinity which knows
itself to be exalted above all. The divine is said to be the purely
negative attitude, the perception of the vanity of everything, in which
my vanity alone remains. Making the consciousness of the nullity of
everything ultimate, might indeed indicate depth of life, but it only
is the depth of emptiness, as may be seen from the ancient comedies
of Aristophanes. From this irony of our times, the irony of Socrates
is far removed; as is also the case with Plato, it has a significance
which is limited. Socrates’ premeditated irony may be called a manner
of speech, a pleasant rallying; there is in it no satirical laughter or
pretence, as though the idea were nothing but a joke. But his tragic
irony is his opposition of subjective reflection to morality as it
exists, not a consciousness of the fact that he stands above it, but
the natural aim of leading men, through thought, to the true good and
to the universal Idea.

_b._ Now the second element is what Socrates has called the art of
midwifery—an art which came to him from his mother.[126] It is the
assisting into the world of the thought which is already contained in
the consciousness of the individual—the showing from the concrete,
unreflected consciousness, the universality of the concrete, or
from the universally posited, the opposite which already is within
it. Socrates hence adopts a questioning attitude, and this kind of
questioning and answering has thus been called the Socratic method;
but in this method there is more than can be given in questions and
replies. For the answer seems occasionally to be quite different from
what was intended by the question, while in printed dialogue, answers
are altogether under the author’s control; but to say that in actual
life people are found to answer as they are here made to do, is quite
another thing. To Socrates those who reply may be called pliable
youths, because they reply directly to the questions, which are so
formed that they make the answer very easy, and exclude any originality
in reply. To this plastic manner, which we see in the method of
Socrates, as represented by Plato and Xenophon, it is objected that we
do not answer in the same relation in which the questioner asks; while,
with Socrates, the relation which the questioner adopts is respected
in the reply. The other way, which is to bring forward another point
of view, is undoubtedly the spirit of an animated conversation, but
such emulation is excluded from this Socratic method, in which the
principal matter is to keep to the point. The spirit of dogmatism,
self-assertion, stopping short when we seem to get into difficulties,
and escaping from them by a jest, or by setting them aside—all these
attitudes and methods are here excluded; they do not constitute good
manners, nor do they have a place in Socrates’ dialogues. In these
dialogues, it is hence not to be wondered at that those questioned
answered so precisely to the point, while in the best modern dialogues
there is always an arbitrary element.

This difference concerns only what is external and formal. But the
principal point, and the reason why Socrates set to work with questions
in bringing the good and right into consciousness in universal form,
was that he did not proceed from what is present in our consciousness
in a simple form through setting forth the conception allied to it
in pure necessity, which would be a deduction, a proof or, speaking
generally, a consequence following from the conception. But this
concrete, as it is in natural consciousness without thinking of it,
or universality immersed in matter, he analyzed, so that through
the separation of the concrete, he brought the universal contained
therein to consciousness as universal. We see this method also carried
on to a large extent in Plato’s dialogues, where there is, in this
regard, particular skill displayed. It is the same method which
forms in every man his knowledge of the universal; an education in
self-consciousness, which is the development of reason. The child, the
uncultured man, lives in concrete individual ideas, but to the man who
grows and educates himself, because he thereby goes back into himself
as thinking, reflection becomes reflection on the universal and the
permanent establishment of the same; and a freedom—formerly that of
moving in concrete ideas—is now that of so doing in abstractions and
in thoughts. We see such a development of universal from particular,
where a number of examples are given, treated in a very tedious way.
For us who are trained in presenting to ourselves what is abstract,
who are taught from youth up in universal principles, the Socratic
method of so-called deference, with its eloquence, has often something
tiresome and tedious about it. The universal of the concrete case is
already present to us as universal, because our reflection is already
accustomed to the universal, and we do not require, first of all, to
take the trouble of making a separation; and thus, if Socrates were now
to bring what is abstract before consciousness, we should not require,
in order to establish it as universal, that all these examples should
be adduced, so that through repetition the subjective certainty of
abstraction might arise.

_c._ The next result of this method of procedure may be that
consciousness is surprised that what it never looked for should be
found in consciousness. If we reflect, for example, on the universally
known idea of Becoming, we find that what becomes is not and yet it is;
it is the identity of Being and non-being, and it may surprise us that
in this simple conception so great a distinction should exist.

The result attained was partly the altogether formal and negative one
of bringing home to those who conversed with Socrates, the conviction
that, however well acquainted with the subject they had thought
themselves, they now came to the conclusion, “that what we knew has
refuted itself.” Socrates thus put questions in the intent that the
speaker should be drawn on to make admissions, implying a point of
view opposed to that from which he started. That these contradictions
arise because they bring their ideas together, is the drift of the
greater part of Socrates’ dialogues; their main tendency consequently
was to show the bewilderment and confusion which exist in knowledge.
By this means, he tries to awaken shame, and the perception that what
we consider as true is not the truth, from which the necessity for
earnest effort after knowledge must result. Plato, amongst others,
gives these examples in his Meno (p. 71-80, Steph.; p. 327-346, Bekk.).
Socrates is made to say, “By the gods, tell me what is virtue.” Meno
proceeds to make various distinctions: “Man’s virtue is to be skilful
in managing state affairs, and thereby to help friends and harm foes;
woman’s to rule her household; other virtues are those of boys, of
young men, of old men,” &c. Socrates interrupts him by saying, that
it is not that about which he inquires, but virtue in general, which
comprehends every thing in itself. Meno says “It is to govern and rule
over others.” Socrates brings forward the fact that the virtue of boys
and slaves does not consist in governing. Meno says that he cannot tell
what is common in all virtue. Socrates replies that it is the same as
figure, which is what is common in roundness, squareness, &c. There a
digression occurs. Meno says, “Virtue is the power of securing the good
desired.” Socrates interposes that it is superfluous to say the good,
for from the time that men know that something is an evil, they do not
desire it; and also the good must be acquired in a right way. Socrates
thus confounds Meno, and he sees that these ideas are false. The latter
says, “I used to hear of you, before I knew you, that you were yourself
in doubt (_ἀπορεῖς_), and also brought others into doubt, and now you
cast a spell on me too, so that I am at my wits’ end (_ἀπορίας_). You
seem, if I may venture to jest, to be like the torpedo fish, for it
is said of it that it makes torpid (_ναρκᾷν_) those who come near it
and touch it. You have done this to me, for I am become torpid in body
and soul, and I do not know how to answer you, although I have talked
thousands of times about virtue with many persons, and, as it seemed
to me, talked very well. But now I do not know at all what to say.
Hence you do well not to travel amongst strangers, for you might be
put to death as a magician.” Socrates again wishes to “inquire.” Now
Meno says, “How can you inquire about what you say you do not know?
Can you have a desire for what you do not know? And if you find it out
by chance, how can you know that it is what you looked for, since you
acknowledge that, you do not know it?” A number of dialogues end in the
same manner, both in Xenophon and Plato, leaving us quite unsatisfied
as to the result. It is so in the Lysis, where Plato asks the question
of what love and friendship secures to men; and similarly the Republic
commences by inquiring what justice is. Philosophy must, generally
speaking, begin with a puzzle in order to bring about reflection;
everything must be doubted, all presuppositions given up, to reach the
truth as created through the Notion.

2. _The Principle of the Good._ This, in short, is Socrates’ method.
The affirmative, what Socrates develops in the consciousness,
is nothing but the good in as far as it is brought forth from
consciousness through knowledge—it is the eternal, in and for itself
universal, what is called the Idea, the true, which just in so far
as it is end, is the Good. In this regard Socrates is opposed to the
Sophists, for the proposition that man is the measure of all things, to
them still comprehends particular ends, while to Socrates the universal
brought forth through free thought is thereby expressed in objective
fashion. Nevertheless, we must not blame the Sophists because, in the
aimlessness of their time, they did not discover the principle of the
Good; for every discovery has its time, and that of the Good, which as
end in itself is now always made the starting point, had not yet been
made by Socrates. It now seems as if we had not yet shown forth much
of the Socratic philosophy, for we have merely kept to the principle;
but the main point with Socrates is that his knowledge for the first
time reached this abstraction. The Good is nevertheless no longer
as abstract as the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras, but is the universal which
determines itself in itself, realizes itself, and has to be realized
as the end of the world and of the individual. It is a principle,
concrete within itself, which, however, is not yet manifested in its
development, and in this abstract attitude we find what is wanting in
the Socratic standpoint, of which nothing that is affirmative can,
beyond this, be adduced.

_a._ As regards the Socratic principle, the first determination is
the great determination which is, however, still merely formal,
that consciousness creates and has to create out of itself what is
the true. This principle of subjective freedom was present to the
consciousness of Socrates himself so vividly that he despised the
other sciences as being empty learning and useless to mankind; he has
to concern himself with his moral nature only in order to do what is
best—a one-sidedness which is very characteristic of Socrates. This
religion of the Good is to Socrates, not only the essential point to
which men have to direct their thoughts, but it is that exclusively.
We see him showing how from every individual this universal, this
absolute in consciousness may be found as his reality. Here we see
law, the true and good, what was formerly present as an existent,
return into consciousness. But it is not a single chance manifestation
in this individual Socrates, for we have to comprehend Socrates and
his manifestation. In the universal consciousness, in the spirit of
the people to which he belongs, we see natural turn into reflective
morality, and he stands above as the consciousness of this change.
The spirit of the world here begins to change, a change which was
later on carried to its completion. From this higher standpoint,
Socrates, as well as the Athenian people and Socrates in them, have
to be considered. The reflection of consciousness into itself begins
here, the knowledge of the consciousness of self as such, that it is
real existence—or that God is a Spirit, or again, in a cruder and
more sensuous form, that God takes human form. This epoch begins
where essence is given up as Being—even though it be, as hitherto,
abstract Being, Being as thought. But this epoch in a naturally moral
people in the highest state of development, makes its appearance as
the destruction threatening them or breaking in upon them unprevented.
For its morality, as was usually so with the ancients, consisted in
the fact that the Good was present as a universal, without its having
had the form of the conviction of the individual in his individual
consciousness, but simply that of the immediate absolute. It is the
authoritative, present law, without testing investigation, but yet
an ultimate ground on which this moral consciousness rests. It is
the law of the State; it has authority as the law of the gods, and
thus it is universal destiny which has the form of an existent, and
is recognized as such by all. But moral consciousness asks if this
is actually law in itself? This consciousness turned back within
itself from everything that has the form of the existent, requires to
understand, to know, that the above law is posited in truth, _i.e._
it demands that it should find itself therein as consciousness. In
thus returning into themselves the Athenian people are revealed to us:
uncertainty as to existent laws as existent has arisen, and a doubt
about what was held to be right, the greatest freedom respecting all
that is and was respected. This return into itself represents the
highest point reached by the mind of Greece, in so far as it becomes
no longer the mere existence of these moralities, but the living
consciousness of the same, which has a content which is similar, but
which, as spirit, moves freely in it. This is a culture which we never
find the Lacedæmonians reach. This deepest life of morality is so to
speak a free personal consciousness of morality or of God, and a happy
enjoyment of them. Consciousness and Being have here exactly the same
value and rank; what is, is consciousness; neither is powerful above
another. The authority of law is no oppressive bond to consciousness,
and all reality is likewise no obstacle to it, for it is secure in
itself. But this return is just on the point of abandoning the content,
and indeed of positing itself as abstract consciousness, without
the content, and, as existent, opposed to it. From this equilibrium
of consciousness and Being, consciousness takes up its position as
independent. This aspect of separation is an independent conception,
because consciousness, in the perception of its independence, no
longer immediately acknowledges what is put before it, but requires
that this should first justify itself to it, _i.e._ it must comprehend
itself therein. Thus this return is the isolation of the individual
from the universal, care for self at the cost of the State; to us,
for instance, it is the question as to whether I shall be in eternal
bliss or condemnation, whereas philosophic eternity is present now
in time, and is nothing other than the substantial man himself. The
State has lost its power, which consisted in the unbroken continuity
of the universal spirit, as formed of single individuals, so that the
individual consciousness knew no other content and reality than law.
Morals have become shaken, because we have the idea present that man
creates his maxims for himself. The fact that the individual comes to
care for his own morality, means that he becomes reflectively moral;
when public morality disappears, reflective morality is seen to have
arisen. We now see Socrates bringing forward the opinion, that in
these times every one has to look after his own morality, and thus
he looked after his through consciousness and reflection regarding
himself; for he sought the universal spirit which had disappeared from
reality, in his own consciousness. He also helped others to care for
their morality, for he awakened in them this consciousness of having
in their thoughts the good and true, _i.e._ having the potentiality
of action and of knowledge. This is no longer there immediately, but
must be provided, just as a ship must make provision of water when it
goes to places where none is to be found. The immediate has no further
authority but must justify itself to thought. Thus we comprehend the
special qualities of Socrates, and his method in Philosophy, from the
whole; and we also understand his fate from the same.

This direction of consciousness back into itself takes the form—very
markedly in Plato—of asserting that man can learn nothing, virtue
included, and that not because the latter has no relation to science.
For the good does not come from without, Socrates shows; it cannot
be taught, but is implied in the nature of mind. That is to say, man
cannot passively receive anything that is given from without like the
wax that is moulded to a form, for everything is latent in the mind
of man, and he only seems to learn it. Certainly everything begins
from without, but this is only the beginning; the truth is that this
is only an impulse towards the development of spirit. All that has
value to men, the eternal, the self-existent, is contained in man
himself, and has to develop from himself. To learn here only means
to receive knowledge of what is externally determined. This external
comes indeed through experience, but the universal therein belongs to
thought, not to the subjective and bad, but to the objective and true.
The universal in the opposition of subjective and objective, is that
which is as subjective as it is objective; the subjective is only a
particular, the objective is similarly only a particular as regards
the subjective, but the universal is the unity of both. According to
the Socratic principle, nothing has any value to men to which the
spirit does not testify. Man in it is free, is at home with himself,
and that is the subjectivity of spirit. As it is said in the Bible,
“Flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone,” that which is held by me as
truth and right is spirit of my spirit. But what spirit derives from
itself must come from it as from the spirit which acts in a universal
manner, and not from its passions, likings, and arbitrary desires.
These, too, certainly come from something inward which is “implanted
in us by nature,” but which is only in a natural way our own, for it
belongs to the particular; high above it is true thought, the Notion,
the rational. Socrates opposed to the contingent and particular inward,
that universal, true inward of thought. And Socrates awakened this real
conscience, for he not only said that man is the measure of all things,
but man as thinking is the measure of all things. With Plato we shall,
later on, find it formulated that what man seems to receive he only

As to the question of what is the Good, Socrates recognized its
determination as being not only a determination in particularity to
the exclusion of the natural side, as determination is understood in
empirical science, but even in relation to the actions of men, he holds
the Good to be still undetermined, and the ultimate determinateness, or
the determining, is what we may call subjectivity generally. That the
Good should be determined, primarily signifies that while, at first, in
opposition to the Being of reality, it was a general maxim only, that
to which the activity of individuality was still wanting, in the second
place it was not permitted to be inert, to be mere thought, but had to
be present as the determining and actual, and thus as the effectual. It
is such only through subjectivity, through the activity of man. That
the Good is a determinate thus further means that individuals know what
the Good is, and we call this standpoint reflective morality, while
natural morality does right unconsciously. Thus to Socrates virtue is
perception. For to the proposition of the Platonic Protagoras that
all other virtues have a relationship to one another, but that it is
not so with valour, since many brave men are to be found who are the
most irreligious, unjust, intemperate and uncultured of people (such
as a band of robbers), Plato makes Socrates answer that valour, like
all virtues, also is a science, that is, it is the knowledge and the
right estimation of what is to be feared.[127] By this the distinctive
qualities of valour are certainly not unfolded. The naturally moral and
upright man is such without his having considered the matter at all; it
is his character, and what is good is securely rooted within him. When,
on the other hand, consciousness is concerned, the question arises as
to whether I directly desire the good or not. Hence this consciousness
of morality easily becomes dangerous, and causes the individual to
be puffed up by a good opinion of himself, which proceeds from the
consciousness of his own power to decide for the good. The ‘I’ is then
the master, he who chooses the Good, and in that there is the conceit
of my knowing that I am an excellent man. With Socrates this opposition
of the good and the subject as choosing is not reached, for what is
dealt with is only the determination of the Good and the connection
therewith of subjectivity; this last, as an individual person who can
choose, decides upon the inward universal. We have here on the one side
the knowledge of the Good, but, on the other, it is implied that the
subject is good, since this is his ordinary character; and the fact
that the subject is such, was by the ancients called virtue.

We understand from this the following criticism which Aristotle makes
(Magna Mor. I. 1) on the quality of virtue as expounded by Socrates.
He says: “Socrates spoke better of virtue than did Pythagoras, but
not quite justly, for he made virtues into a science (_ἐπιστήμας_).
But this is impossible, since, though all knowledge has some basis
(_λόγος_) this basis only exists in thought. Consequently, he
places all the virtues in the thinking (_λογιστικῷ_) side of the
soul. Hence it comes to pass that he does away with the feeling
(_ἄλογον_) part of the soul, that is, the inclination (_πᾶθος_) and
the habits (_ἠθος_),” which, however, also pertain to virtue. “But
Plato rightly distinguished the thinking and the feeling sides of
the soul.” This is a good criticism. We see that what Aristotle
misses in the determination of virtue in Socrates, is the side of
subjective actuality, which we now call the heart. Certainly virtue is
determination in accordance with universal, and not with particular
ends, but perception is not the only element in virtue. For in order
that the good perceived should be virtue, it must come to pass that the
whole man, the heart and mind, should be identical with it, and this
aspect of Being or of realization generally, is what Aristotle calls
_τὸ ἄλογον_. If we understand the reality of the good as universal
morality, substantiality is wanting to the perception; but matter,
when we regard the inclination of the individual subjective will as
this reality. This double want may also be considered as a want of
content and of activity, in so far as to the universal development is
wanting; and in the latter case, determining activity comes before us
as negative only in reference to the universal. Socrates thus omits,
in characterizing virtue, just what we saw had also disappeared in
actuality, that is, first the real spirit of a people, and then reality
as the sympathies of the individual. For it is just when consciousness
is not yet turned back into itself, that the universal good appears
to the individual as the object of his sympathy. To us, on the other
hand, because we are accustomed to put on one side the good or virtue
as practical reason, the other side, which is opposed to a reflective
morality, is an equally abstract sensuousness, inclination, passion,
and hence the bad. But in order that the universal should be reality,
it must be worked out through consciousness as individual, and the
carrying into effect pertains to this individuality. A passion,
as for example, love, ambition, is the universal itself, as it is
self-realizing, not in perception, but in activity; and if we did not
fear being misunderstood, we should say that for the individual the
universal is his own interests. Yet this is not the place in which to
unravel all the false ideas and contradictions present in our culture.

Aristotle (Eth. Nicom. VI. 13), supplementing the one-sidedness of
Socrates, further says of him: “Socrates in one respect worked on right
lines, but not in the other. For to call virtue scientific knowledge is
untrue, but to say that it is not without scientific basis is right.
Socrates made virtues into perceptions (_λόγους_), but we say that
virtue exists with perception.” This is a very true distinction; the
one side in virtue is that the universal of end belongs to thought. But
in virtue, as character, the other side, active individuality, real
soul, must necessarily come forth; and indeed with Socrates the latter
appears in a characteristic form of which we shall speak below (p. 421
et seq.).

_b._ If we consider the universal first, it has within it a positive
and a negative side, which we find both united in Xenophon’s
“Memorabilia,” a work which aims at justifying Socrates. And if we
inquire whether he or Plato depicts Socrates to us most faithfully
in his personality and doctrine, there is no question that in regard
to the personality and method, the externals of his teaching, we
may certainly receive from Plato a satisfactory, and perhaps a more
complete representation of what Socrates was. But in regard to the
content of his teaching and the point reached by him in the development
of thought, we have in the main to look to Xenophon.

The fact that the reality of morality had become shaken in the mind
of the people, came to consciousness in Socrates; he stands so high
because he gave expression to what was present in the times. In this
consciousness he elevated morality into perception, but this action is
just the bringing to consciousness of the fact that it is the power of
the Notion which sublates the determinate existence and the immediate
value of moral laws and the sacredness of their implicitude. When
perception likewise positively acknowledges as law that which was
held to be law (for the positive subsists through having recourse to
laws), this acknowledgment of them always passes through the negative
mode, and no longer has the form of absolute being-in-itself: it is,
however, just as far from being a Platonic Republic. To the Notion
too, because to it the determinateness of laws in the form in which
they have value to unperceiving consciousness has dissolved, only the
purely implicit universal Good is the true. But since this is empty
and without reality, we demand, if we are not satisfied with a dull
monotonous round, that again a movement should be made towards the
extension of the determination of the universal. Now because Socrates
remains at the indeterminateness of the good, its determination
means for him simply the expression of the particular good. Then it
comes to pass that the universal results only from the negation of
the particular good; and since this last is just the existing laws
of Greek morality, we have here the doubtlessly right, but dangerous
element in perception, the showing in all that is particular only its
deficiencies. The inconsistency of making what is limited into an
absolute, certainly becomes unconsciously corrected in the moral man;
this improvement rests partly on the morality of the subject and partly
on the whole of the social life; and unfortunate extremes resulting in
conflict are unusual and unfrequent. But since the dialectic sublates
the particular, the abstract universal also becomes shaken.

_α_. Now as regards the positive side, Xenophon tells us in the fourth
book of the Memorabilia (c. 2, § 40), how Socrates, once having
made the need for perception sensible to the youths, then actually
instructed them, and no longer wandered through mere subtleties in
his talk, but taught them the good in the clearest and most open way.
That is, he showed them the good and true in what is determined, going
back into it because he did not wish to remain in mere abstraction.
Xenophon gives an example of this (Memorab. IV. c. 4, §§ 12-16, 25)
in a dialogue with the Sophist Hippias. Socrates there asserts that
the just man is he who obeys the law, and that these laws are divine.
Xenophon makes Hippias reply by asking how Socrates could declare it to
be an absolute duty to obey the laws, for the people and the governors
themselves often condemn them by changing them, which is allowing that
they are not absolute. But Socrates answers by demanding if those who
conduct war do not again make peace, which is not, any more than in the
other case, to condemn war, for each was just in its turn. Socrates
thus says, in a word, that the best and happiest State is that in which
the citizens are of one mind and obedient to law. Now this is the one
side in which Socrates looks away from the contradiction and makes
laws and justice, as they are accepted by each individually, to be
the affirmative content. But if we here ask what these laws are, they
are, we find, just those which have a value at some one time, as they
happen to be present in the State and in the idea; at another time they
abrogate themselves as determined, and are not held to be absolute.

_β_. We hence see this other negative side in the same connection
when Socrates brings Euthydemus into the conversation, for he asks
him whether he did not strive after the virtue without which neither
the private man nor the citizen could be useful to himself or to his
people or the State. Euthydemus declares that this undoubtedly is
so. But without justice, replies Socrates, this is not possible, and
he further asks whether Euthydemus had thus attained to justice in
himself. Euthydemus answers affirmatively, for he says that he thinks
he is no less just than any other man. Socrates now replies, “Just
as workmen can show their work, the just will be able to say what
their works are.” This he also agrees to, and replies that he could
easily do so. Socrates now proposes if this is so to write, “on the
one hand under _Δ_ the actions of the just, and on the other, under
_Α_, those of the unjust?” With the approbation of Euthydemus, lies,
deceit, robbery, making a slave of a free man, thus fall on the side of
the unjust. Now Socrates asks, “But if a general subdues the enemy’s
State, would this not be justice?” Euthydemus says “Yes.” Socrates
replies, “Likewise if he deceives and robs the enemy and makes slaves?”
Euthydemus has to admit the justice of this. It is thus shown “that
the same qualities come under the determination both of justice and of
injustice.” Here it strikes Euthydemus to add the qualification that
he intended that Socrates should understand the action to be only in
reference to friends; as regards them it is wrong. Socrates accepts
this, but proceeds, “If a general at the decisive moment of the battle
saw his own army in fear, and he deceived them by falsely saying that
help was coming in order to lead them on to victory, could it be
deemed right?” Euthydemus acknowledges that it could. Socrates says,
“If a father gives a sick child a medicine which it does not wish to
take, in its food, and makes it well through deceit, is this right?”
Euthydemus—“Yes.” Socrates—“Or is anyone wrong who takes arms from
his friend secretly or by force, when he sees him in despair, and in
the act of taking his own life?” Euthydemus has to admit that this is
not wrong.[128] Thus it is again shown here, that as regards friends
also, the same determinations have to hold good on both sides, as
justice as well as injustice. Here we see that abstention from lying,
deceit, and robbery, that which we naturally hold to be established,
contradicts itself by being put into connection with something
different, and something which holds equally good. This example further
explains how through thought, which would lay hold of the universal in
the form of the universal only, the particular becomes uncertain.

_γ_. The positive, which Socrates sets in the place of what was
fixed and has now become vacillating, in order to give a content to
the universal, is, on the one hand, and in opposition to this last,
obedience to law (p. 416), that is, the mode of thought and idea which
is inconsistent; and, on the other hand, since such determinations
do not hold good for the Notion, it is perception, in which the
immediately posited has now, in the mediating negation, to justify
itself as a determination proceeding out of the constitution of the
whole. But it is both true that we do not find this perception present
in Socrates, for it remains in its content undetermined, and that
in reality it is a contingent, which is seen in the fact, that the
universal commands, such as “Thou shalt not kill,” are connected with
a particular content which is conditioned. Now whether the universal
maxim in this particular case has value or not, depends first on the
circumstances; and it is the perception which discovers the conditions
and circumstances whereby exceptions to this law of unconditioned
validity arise. However, because through this contingency in the
instances, the fixed nature of the universal principle disappears,
since it, too, appears as a particular only, the consciousness of
Socrates arrives at pure freedom in each particular content. This
freedom, which does not leave the content as it is in its dissipated
determination to the natural consciousness, but makes it to be
penetrated by the universal, is the real mind which, as unity of the
universal content and of freedom, is the veritable truth. Thus if we
here consider further what is the true in this consciousness, we pass
on to the mode in which the realization of the universal appeared to
Socrates himself.

Even the uneducated mind does not follow the content of its
consciousness as this content appears in it; but, as mind, it corrects
that which is wrong in its consciousness, and is thus implicitly,
if not explicitly as consciousness, free. That is, though this
consciousness expresses the universal law, “Thou shalt not kill,” as a
duty, that consciousness—if no cowardly spirit dwells within it—will
still bravely attack and slay the enemy in war. Here, if it is asked
whether there is a command to kill one’s enemies, the reply would be
affirmative, as likewise when a hangman puts to death a criminal. But
when in private life we become involved with adversaries, this command
to kill one’s enemies will not occur to us. We may thus call this the
mind which thinks at the right time, first of the one, and then of
the other; it is spirit, but an unspiritual consciousness. The first
step towards reaching a spiritual consciousness is the negative one
of acquiring freedom for one’s consciousness. For since perception
attempts to prove individual laws, it proceeds from a determination to
which, as a universal basis, particular duty is submitted; but this
basis is itself not absolute, and falls under the same dialectic.
For example, were moderation commanded as a duty on the ground that
intemperance undermined the health, health is the ultimate which is
here considered as absolute; but it is at the same time not absolute,
for there are other duties which ordain that health, and even life
itself, should be risked and sacrificed. The so-called conflict of
duties is nothing but duty, which is expressed as absolute, showing
itself as not absolute; in the constant contradiction morals become
unsettled. For a consciousness which has become consistent, law,
because it has then been brought into contact with its opposite, has
been sublated. For the positive truth has not yet become known in
its determination. But to know the universal in its determination,
_i.e._ the limitation of the universal which comes to us as fixed
and not contingent, is only possible in connection with the whole
system of actuality. Thus if with Socrates the content has become
spiritualized, yet manifold independent grounds have merely taken the
place of manifold laws. For the perception is not yet expressed as the
real perception of these grounds over which it rules; but the truth
of consciousness simply is this very movement of pure perception.
The true ground is, however, spirit, and the spirit of the people—a
perception of the constitution of a people, and the connection of the
individual with this real universal spirit. Laws, morals, the actual
social life, thus have in themselves their own corrective against the
inconsistent, which consists of the expression of a definite content
as absolute. In ordinary life we merely forget this limitation of
universal principles, and these still hold their place with us; but
the other point of view is thus when the limitation comes before our

When we have the perfect consciousness that in actual life fixed duties
and actions do not exist, for each concrete case is really a conflict
of many duties which separate themselves in the moral understanding,
but which mind treats as not absolute, comprehending them in the
unity of its judgment, we call this pure, deciding individuality, the
knowledge of what is right, or conscience, just as we call the pure
universal of consciousness not a particular but an all-comprehensive
one, duty. Now both sides here present, the universal law and the
deciding spirit which is in its abstraction the active individual,
are also necessary to the consciousness of Socrates as the content
and the power over this content. That is, because with Socrates the
particular law has become vacillating, there now comes in the place
of the universal single mind, which, with the Greeks, was unconscious
determination through unreflective morality, individual mind as
individuality deciding for itself. Thus with Socrates the deciding
spirit is transformed into the subjective consciousness of man, since
the power of deciding originates with himself; and the first question
now is, how this subjectivity appears in Socrates himself. Because
the person, the individual, now gives the decision, we come back to
Socrates as person, as subject, and what follows is a development
of his personal relations. But since the moral element is generally
placed in the personality of Socrates, we see the contingent nature
of the instruction and of the culture which was obtained through
Socrates’ character; for it was the actual basis on which men fortified
themselves in associating with Socrates, by actual communication with
him and by their manner of life. Thus it was true that “the intercourse
with his friends was, on the whole, beneficial and instructive to them,
but in many cases they became unfaithful to Socrates,”[129] because
not everyone attains to perception, and he who possesses it may remain
at the negative. The education of the citizens, life in the people,
is quite a fresh force in the individual, and does not mean that he
educates himself through arguments; hence, however truly educative the
intercourse with Socrates was, this contingency still entered into it.
We thus see as an unhappy symptom of disorder, how Socrates’ greatest
favourites, and those endowed with the most genial natures (such as
Alcibiades, that genius of levity, who played with the Athenian people,
and Critias, the most active of the Thirty) afterwards experienced the
fate of being judged in their own country, one as an enemy and traitor
to his fellows, and the other as an oppressor and tyrant of the State.
They lived according to the principle of subjective perception, and
thus cast a bad light on Socrates, for it is shown in this how the
Socratic principle in another form brought about the ruin of Greek

_c._ The characteristic form in which this subjectivity—this implicit
and deciding certainty—appears in Socrates, has still to be mentioned.
That is, since everyone here has this personal mind which appears to
him to be his mind, we see how in connection with this, we have what
is known under the name of the Genius (_δαιμόνιον_) of Socrates; for
it implies that now man decides in accordance with his perception
and by himself. But in this Genius of Socrates—notorious as a much
discussed _bizarrerie_ of his imagination—we are neither to imagine
the existence of protective spirit, angel, and such-like, nor even of
conscience. For conscience is the idea of universal individuality, of
the mind certain of itself, which is at the same time universal truth.
But the Genius of Socrates is rather all the other and necessary sides
of his universality, that is, the individuality of mind which came to
consciousness in him equally with the former. His pure consciousness
stands over both sides. The deficiency in the universal, which
lies in its indeterminateness, is unsatisfactorily supplied in an
individual way, because Socrates’ judgment, as coming from himself,
was characterized by the form of an unconscious impulse. The Genius
of Socrates is not Socrates himself, not his opinions and conviction,
but an oracle which, however, is not external, but is subjective,
his oracle. It bore the form of a knowledge which was directly
associated with a condition of unconsciousness; it was a knowledge
which may also appear under other conditions as a magnetic state. It
may happen that at death, in illness and catalepsy, men know about
circumstances future or present, which, in the understood relations
of things, are altogether unknown. These are facts which are usually
rudely denied. That in Socrates we should discover what comes to pass
through reflection in the form of the unconscious, makes it appear to
be an exceptional matter, revealed to the individual only, and not as
being what it is in truth. Thereby it certainly receives the stamp
of imagination, but there is nothing more of what is visionary or
superstitious to be seen in it, for it is a necessary manifestation,
though Socrates did not recognize the necessity, this element being
only generally before his imagination.

In connection with what follows, we must yet further consider the
relationship of the Genius to the earlier existent form of decision,
and that into which it led Socrates; regarding both Xenophon expresses
himself in his history most distinctly. Because the standpoint of the
Greek mind was natural morality, in which man did not yet determine
himself, and still less was what we call conscience present, since
laws were, in their fundamental principles, regarded as traditional,
these last now presented an appearance of being sanctioned by the gods.
We know that the Greeks undoubtedly had laws on which to form their
judgments, but on the other hand, both in private and public life,
immediate decisions had to be made. But in them the Greeks, with all
their freedom, did not decide from the subjective will. The general
or the people did not take upon themselves to decide as to what was
best in the State, nor did the individual do so in the family. For in
making these decisions, the Greeks took refuge in oracles, sacrificial
animals, soothsayers, or, like the Romans, asked counsel of birds
in flight. The general who had to fight a battle was guided in his
decision by the entrails of animals, as we often find in Xenophon’s
Anabasis. Pausanias tormented himself thus a whole day long before
he gave the command to fight.[131] This element, the fact that the
people had not the power of decision but were determined from without,
was a real factor in Greek consciousness; and oracles were everywhere
essential where man did not yet know himself inwardly as being
sufficiently free and independent to take upon himself to decide as we
do. This subjective freedom, which was not yet present with the Greeks,
is what we mean in the present day when we speak of freedom; in the
Platonic Republic we shall see more of it. Our responsibility for what
we do is a characteristic of modern times; we wish to decide according
to grounds of common sense, and consider this as ultimate. The Greeks
did not possess the knowledge of this infinitude.

In the first book of Xenophon’s Memorabilia (chap. I, §§ 7-9), on the
occasion of the defence by Socrates of his _δαιμόνιον_, Socrates says
at the very beginning: “The gods have reserved to themselves what is
most important in knowledge. Architecture, agriculture, forging, are
human arts, as also government, the science of law, management of the
household and generalship. In all this man can attain to skill, but
for the other, divination is necessary. He who cultivates a field does
not know who will enjoy the fruit, nor does he who builds a house know
who will inhabit it; the general does not know whether the army should
be brought into the field; he who rules a State whether it is good for
him” (the individual) “or bad. Nor does he who marries a wife know
whether he will experience happiness or whether grief and sorrow will
not come through this to him; neither can he who has powerful relations
in the State, know whether, on account of these, he may not be banished
from the State. Because of this uncertainty, men have to take refuge in
divination.” Regarding it Xenophon expresses himself (ibid. §§ 3, 4) to
the effect that it manifests itself in different ways through oracles,
sacrifices, flight of birds, &c., but to Socrates this oracle is his
Genius. To hold the future, or what is foreseen by the somnambulist or
at death to be a higher kind of insight, is a perversion which easily
arises even in our ideas; but looked at more closely, we find in this
the particular interests of individuals merely, and the knowledge of
what is right and moral is something much higher. If anyone wishes
to marry or to build a house, &c., the result is important to the
individual only. The truly divine and universal is the institution of
agriculture, the state, marriage, &c.; compared to this it is a trivial
matter to know whether, when I go to sea, I shall perish or not. The
Genius of Socrates moreover reveals itself in him through nothing
other than the counsel given respecting these particular issues, such
as when and whether his friends ought to travel. To anything true,
existing in and for itself in art and science, he made no reference,
for this pertains to the universal mind, and these dæmonic revelations
are thus much more unimportant than those of his thinking mind. There
is certainly something universal in them, since a wise man can often
foresee whether anything is advisable or not. But what is truly divine
pertains to all, and though talents and genius are also personal
characteristics, they find their first truth in their works which are

Now because with Socrates judgment from within first begins to break
free from the external oracle, it was requisite that this return into
itself should, in its first commencement, still appear in physiological
guise (_supra_, pp. 390, 391). The Genius of Socrates stands midway
between the externality of the oracle and the pure inwardness of the
mind; it is inward, but it is also presented as a personal genius,
separate from human will, and not yet as the wisdom and free will of
Socrates himself. The further investigation of this Genius consequently
presents to us a form which passes into somnambulism, into this double
of consciousness; and in Socrates there clearly appears to be something
of the kind, or something which is magnetic, for, as we already
mentioned (p. 390), he is said often to have fallen into trances and
catalepsy. In modern times we have seen this in the form of a rigid
eye, an inward knowledge, perception of this thing and that, of what
is gone, of what is best to do, &c.; but magnetism carries science
no further than this. The Genius of Socrates is thus to be taken as
an actual state, and is remarkable because it is not morbid but was
necessarily called up through a special condition of his consciousness.
For the turning point in the whole world-famed change of views
constituting the principle of Socrates, is that in place of the oracle,
the testimony of the mind of the individual has been brought forward
and that the subject has taken upon itself to decide.

3. _The Fate of Socrates._ With this Genius of Socrates as one of the
chief points of his indictment, we now enter upon the subject of his
fate, which ends with his condemnation. We may find this fate out of
harmony with his professed business of instructing his fellow-citizens
in what is good, but taken in connection with what Socrates and his
people were, we shall recognize the necessity of it. The contemporaries
of Socrates, who came forward as his accusers before the Athenian
people, laid hold on him as the man who made known that what was held
as absolute was not absolute. Socrates, with this new principle, and as
one who was an Athenian citizen whose express business was this form
of instruction, came, through this his personality, into relationship
with the whole Athenian people; and this relationship was not merely
with a certain number or with a commanding number, but it was a living
relationship with the spirit of the Athenian people. The spirit of this
people in itself, its constitution, its whole life, rested, however,
on a moral ground, on religion, and could not exist without this
absolutely secure basis. Thus because Socrates makes the truth rest on
the judgment of inward consciousness, he enters upon a struggle with
the Athenian people as to what is right and true. His accusation was
therefore just, and we have to consider this accusation as also the end
of his career. The attacks which Socrates experienced are well known,
and were from two sources; Aristophanes attacked him in the “Clouds,”
and then he was formally accused before the people.

Aristophanes regarded the Socratic philosophy from the negative side,
maintaining that through the cultivation of reflecting consciousness,
the idea of law had been shaken, and we cannot question the justice
of this conception. Aristophanes’ consciousness of the one-sidedness
of Socrates may be regarded as a prelude to his death; the Athenian
people likewise certainly recognized his negative methods in condemning
him. It is known that Aristophanes brought upon the stage along with
Socrates, not only such men as Aeschylus, and more specially Euripides,
but also the Athenians generally and their generals—the personified
Athenian people and the gods themselves—a freedom which we would not
dream of were it not historically authenticated. We have not here to
consider the real nature of the Comedy of Aristophanes, nor the wanton
way in which he was said to have treated Socrates. As to the first, it
should not startle us, nor do we require to justify Aristophanes or to
excuse him. The Comedy of Aristophanes is in itself as real a part of
the Athenian people, and Aristophanes is as essential a figure, as were
the sublime Pericles, the happy Alcibiades, the divine Sophocles, and
the moral Socrates, for he belongs as much as any other to this circle
of luminaries (Vol. I., p. 322). Thus much can alone be said, that it
certainly goes against our German seriousness to see how Aristophanes
brings on the boards men living in the State, by name, in order to make
a jest of them; and we feel this specially in regard to so upright a
man as Socrates.

By chronological considerations, some have tried hard to refute the
fact that Aristophanes’ representations had no influence on the
condemnation of Socrates. It is seen that, on the one hand, Socrates
was treated quite unjustly; but then we must recognize the merit of
Aristophanes, who in his “Clouds” was perfectly right. This poet, who
exposed Socrates to scorn in the most laughable and bitter way, was
thus no ordinary joker and shallow wag who mocked what is highest and
best, and sacrificed all to wit with a view to making the Athenians
laugh. For everything has to him a much deeper basis, and in all his
jokes there lies a depth of seriousness. He did not wish merely to
mock; and moreover to mock what was worthy of honour would be perfectly
bald and flat. It is a pitiful wit which has no substance, and does not
rest on contradictions lying in the matter itself. But Aristophanes
was no bad jester. It is, generally speaking, not possible to joke
in an external way about what does not contain matter for joking or
irony in itself. For what really is comic is to show a man or a thing
as they disclose themselves in their extent; and if the thing is
not itself its contradiction, the comic element is superficial and
groundless. Hence, when Aristophanes makes merry over the Democracy,
there is a deep political earnestness at heart, and from all his works
it appears what a noble, excellent, true Athenian citizen he was.
We thus have a real patriot before us, who, though it involved the
punishment of death, did not fear in one of his works to counsel peace.
In him, as one who had a patriotism of the most enlightened kind, we
find the blissful self-satisfied enjoyment of a people giving free
rein to itself. There is, in what is humorous, a self-security which,
though with all seriousness it strives after some particular thing,
while the opposite of what it aims at always comes to pass, never has
for that reason any doubts nor any reflection about itself, since it
remains perfectly certain of itself and of what concerns it. We enjoy
in Aristophanes this side of the free Athenian spirit, this perfect
enjoyment of itself in loss, this untroubled certainty of itself in
all miscarriage of the result in real life, and this is the height of

In the “Clouds” we do not indeed see this natural humour, but a
contradiction with definite intention. Aristophanes indeed depicts
Socrates humorously too, for he brings forth in his moral works the
opposite of that from which he starts, and his scholars derive delight
from the far-extending discoveries reached through him, which they
think are made by their own good luck, but which afterwards turn
hateful to them, and become the very opposite of what they intended.
The wonderful perception which the followers of Socrates are here
represented as having attained, is just a perception of the nullity of
the laws of the determinate good as it is to the natural consciousness.
Aristophanes made fun of the fact that Socrates occupied himself with
elementary researches as to how far fleas spring, and of his putting
wax on their feet in order to discover this. This is not historic,
but it is well known that Socrates had in his philosophy the side
which Aristophanes showed up with such acrimony. Shortly, the fable of
the “Clouds” is this: Strepsiades, an honourable Athenian citizen of
the old school, had great trouble with his new-fashioned extravagant
son, who, spoiled by mother and uncle, kept horses and led a life
out of keeping with his position. The father thus got into trouble
with his creditors, and went in distress to Socrates, and became
his disciple. There the old man learned that not this or that, but
another is the right, or rather he learned the stronger (_κρείττων_)
and weaker reasons (_ἕττων λόγος_). He learned the dialectic of laws,
and how, by reasoning, the payment of debts can be disregarded, and
he then required that his son should go to the School of Socrates;
and the latter likewise profited from his wisdom. But we find the
result ensuing from the universal which has now through the Socratic
dialectic become empty, in the private interest or the wrong spirit
of Strepsiades and his son, which spirit is merely the negative
consciousness of the content of laws. Equipped with this new wisdom of
reasons, and the discovery of reasons, Strepsiades is armed against the
chief evil that presses on him, as regards his threatening creditors.
These now come one after another to obtain payment. But Strepsiades
knows how to put them off with excellent reasons, and to argue them
away, for he pacifies them by all sorts of _titulos_, and shows them
that he does not need to pay them; indeed he even mocks them, and is
very glad that he learned all this from Socrates. But soon the scene
changes, and the whole affair alters. The son comes, behaves in a very
unseemly way to his father, and finally beats him. The father cries
to the supreme power, as if this were the last indignity, but the son
shows him, with equally good reasons, obtained by the method derived
by him from Socrates, that he had a perfect right to strike him.
Strepsiades ends the comedy with execrations on the Socratic dialectic,
with a return to his old ways, and with the burning of Socrates’
house. The exaggeration which may be ascribed to Aristophanes, is that
he drove this dialectic to its bitter end, but it cannot be said that
injustice is done to Socrates by this representation. Indeed we must
admire the depth of Aristophanes in having recognized the dialectic
side in Socrates as being a negative, and—though after his own way—in
having presented it so forcibly. For the power of judging in Socrates’
method is always placed in the subject, in conscience, but where this
is bad, the story of Strepsiades must repeat itself.

With regard to the formal public accusation of Socrates, we must not,
like Tennemann (Vol. II., p. 39 seq.), say of Socrates’ treatment,
that “it is revolting to humanity that this excellent man had to
drink the cup of poison as a sacrifice to cabals—so numerous in
democracies. A man like Socrates, who had made right” (right is not
being discussed, but we may ask what right? The right of moral freedom)
“the sole standard of his action, and did not stray from the straight
path, must necessarily make many enemies” (Why? This is foolish; it
is a moral hypocrisy to pretend to be better than others who are
then called enemies) “who are accustomed to act from quite different
motives. When we think of the corruption, and of the rule of the thirty
tyrants, we must simply wonder that he could have worked on to his
sixtieth year unmolested. But since the Thirty did not venture to lay
hands on him themselves, it is the more to be wondered at that in the
reconstituted and just rule and freedom which followed the overthrow
of despotism”—in that very way the danger in which their principle
was, came to be known—“a man like Socrates could be made a sacrifice
to cabals. This phenomenon is probably explained by the fact that the
enemies of Socrates had first of all to gain time in order to obtain
a following, and that under the rule of the Thirty, they played too
insignificant a part,” and so on.

Now, as regards the trial of Socrates, we have to distinguish two
points, the one the matter of the accusation, the judgment of the
court, and the other the relation of Socrates to the sovereign people.
In the course of justice there are thus these two parts—the relation
of the accused to the matter on account of which he is accused, and
his relation to the competency of the people, or the recognition of
their majesty. Socrates was found guilty by the judges in respect of
the content of his accusation, but was condemned to death because
he refused to recognize the competency and majesty of the people as
regards the accused.

a. The accusation consisted of two points: “That Socrates did not
consider as gods those who were held to be such by the Athenian
people, but introduced new ones; and that he also led young men
astray.”[132] The leading away of youth was his casting doubt on what
was held to be immediate truth. The first accusation has in part the
same foundation, for he made it evident that what was usually so
considered, was not acceptable to the gods; and in part it is to be
taken in connection with his Dæmon, not that he called this his god.
But with the Greeks this was the direction which the individuality of
judgment took; they took it to be a contingency of the individual,
and hence, as contingency of circumstances is an external, they also
made the contingency of judgment into something external, _i.e._ they
consulted their oracles—conscious that the individual will is itself
a contingent. But Socrates, who placed the contingency of judgment
in himself, since he had his Dæmon in his own consciousness, thereby
abolished the external universal Dæmon from which the Greeks obtained
their judgments. This accusation, as also Socrates’ defence, we wish
now to examine further; Xenophon represents both to us, and Plato has
also supplied us with an Apology. Meanwhile we may not rest content
with saying that Socrates was an excellent man who suffered innocently,
&c. (p. 430), for in this accusation it was the popular mind of Athens
that rose against the principle which became fatal to him.

_α_. As regards the first point of the accusation, that Socrates did
not honour the national gods, but introduced new ones, Xenophon[133]
makes him answer that he always brought the same sacrifices as others
to the public altars, as all his fellow-citizens could see—his
accusers likewise. But as to the charge that he introduced new Dæmons,
in that he heard the voice of God showing him what he should do, he
appealed to them whether by soothsayers the cry and flight of birds,
the utterances of men (like the voice of Pythia), the position of
the entrails of sacrificial animals, and even thunder and lightning
were not accepted as divine revelations. That God knows the future
beforehand, and, if He wishes, reveals it in these ways, all believe
with him; but God can also reveal the future otherwise. He could show
that he did not lie in maintaining that he heard the voice of God,
from the testimony of his friends, to whom he often announced what was
said; and in its results this was always found to be true. Xenophon
(Memorab. I. c. 1, § 11) adds, “No one ever saw or heard Socrates do
or say anything godless or impious, for he never tried to find out the
nature of the Universe, like most of the others, when they sought to
understand how what the Sophists called the world began.” That is, from
them came the earlier atheists, who, like Anaxagoras, held that the sun
was a stone.[134]

The effect which the defence against this part of the accusation made
on the judges is expressed thus by Xenophon:[135] “One section of
them was displeased because they did not believe what Socrates said,
and the other part because they were envious that he was more highly
honoured of the gods than they.” This effect is very natural. In our
times this also happens in two ways. Either the individual is not
believed when he boasts of special manifestations, and particularly
of manifestations which have to do with individual action and life;
it is neither believed that such manifestations took place at all, or
that they happened to this subject. Or if anyone does have dealings
with such divinations, rightly enough his proceedings are put an end
to, and he is shut up. By this it is not denied in a general way
that God foreknows everything, or that He can make revelations to
individuals; this may be admitted _in abstracto_, but not in actuality,
and it is believed in no individual cases. Men do not believe that to
him, to this individual, there has been a revelation. For why to him
more than to others? And why just this trifle, some quite personal
circumstances—as to whether someone should have a successful journey,
or whether he should converse with another person, or whether or not he
should in a speech properly defend himself? And why not others amongst
the infinitely many things which may occur to the individual? Why not
much more important things, things concerning the welfare of whole
States? Hence it is not believed of an individual, in spite of the fact
that if it is possible, it must be to the individual that it happens.
This unbelief, which thus does not deny the general fact and general
possibility, but believes it in no particular case, really does not
believe in the actuality and truth of the thing. It does not believe
it because the absolute consciousness—and it must be such—certainly
knows nothing of a positive kind of trivialities such as form the
subject of these divinations and also those of Socrates; in spirit such
things immediately vanish away. The absolute consciousness does not
know about the future as such, any more than about the past; it knows
only about the present. But because in its present, in its thought,
the opposition of future and past to present becomes apparent, it
likewise knows about future and past, but of the past as something
which has taken shape. For the past is the preservation of the present
as reality, but the future is the opposite of this, the Becoming of
the present as possibility, and thus the formless. From out of this
formlessness the universal first comes into form in the present; and
hence in the future no form can be perceived. Men have the dim feeling
that when God acts it is not in a particular way, nor for particular
objects. Such things are held to be too paltry to be revealed by
God in a particular case. It is acknowledged that God determines
the individual, but by this the totality of individuality, or all
individualities, is understood; hence it is said that God’s way of
working is found in universal nature.

Now while with the Greeks judgment had the form of a contingency
externally posited through the flight and cries of birds, in our
culture we decide by an inward contingency, because I myself desire to
be this contingency, and the knowledge of individuality is likewise
a consciousness of this contingency. But if the Greeks, for whom
the category of the contingency of consciousness was an existent, a
knowledge of it as an oracle, had this individuality as a universal
knowledge of which everyone could ask counsel, in Socrates—in whom
what was here externally established had become inward consciousness,
as with us, though not yet fully, being still represented as an actual
voice, and conceived of as something which he separated from his
individuality—the decision of the single individual had the form of
personality as a particular, and it was not a universal individuality.
This his judges could not in justice tolerate, whether they believed it
or not. With the Greeks such revelations had to have a certain nature
and method; there were, so to speak, official oracles (not subjective),
such as Pythia, a tree, etc. Hence when this appeared in any particular
person like a common citizen, it was considered incredible and wrong;
the Dæmon of Socrates was a medium of a different kind to any formerly
respected in the Greek Religion. It is so much the more noteworthy,
that nevertheless the oracle of the Delphian Apollo, Pythia, declared
Socrates to be the wisest Greek.[136] Socrates it was who carried
out the command of the God of knowledge, “Know Thyself,” and made
it the motto of the Greeks, calling it the law of the mind, and not
interpreting it as meaning a mere acquaintanceship with the particular
nature of man. Thus Socrates is the hero who established in the place
of the Delphic oracle, the principle that man must look within himself
to know what is Truth. Now seeing that Pythia herself pronounced that
utterance, we find in it a complete revolution in the Greek mind, and
the fact that in place of the oracle, the personal self-consciousness
of every thinking man has come into play. This inward certainty,
however, is undoubtedly another new god, and not the god of the
Athenians existing hitherto, and thus the accusation of Socrates was
quite just.

_β_. If we now consider the second point of the accusation, that
Socrates led youth astray, we find that he first sets against it the
fact that the oracle of Delphi declared that none could be nobler,
juster or wiser than he.[137] And then he sets against this accusation
his whole manner of life, and asks whether by the example that he
gave, particularly to those with whom he went about, he ever led any
into evil.[138] The general accusation had to be further defined
and witnesses came forward. “Melitus said that he knew some whom he
advised to obey him rather than their parents,”[139] This point of the
accusation principally related to Anytus, and since he made it good by
sufficient testimony, the point was undoubtedly proved, in accordance
with law. Socrates explained himself further on this point when he
left the court. For Xenophon tells us (Apol. Socr. §§ 27, 29—31) that
Anytus was inimical to Socrates, because he said to Anytus, a respected
citizen, that he should not bring up his son to the trade of a tanner,
but in manner befitting a free man. Anytus was himself a tanner, and
although his business was mostly conducted by slaves, it was in itself
not ignominious, and Socrates’ expression was hence wrong, although,
as we have seen (p. 366), quite in the spirit of Greek thought.
Socrates added that he had made acquaintance with this son of Anytus
and discovered no evil in him, but he prophesied that he would not
remain at this servile work to which his father kept him. Nevertheless,
because he had no rational person near to look after him, he would come
to have evil desires and be brought into dissolute ways. Xenophon added
that Socrates’ prophecy had come to pass literally, and that the young
man gave himself up to drink, and drank day and night, becoming totally
depraved. This can be easily understood, for a man who feels himself to
be fit for something better (whether truly so or not) and through this
discord in his mind is discontented with the circumstances in which he
lives, yet capable of attaining to no other, is led out of this disgust
into listlessness, and is thus on the way to the evil courses which
so often ruin men. The prediction of Socrates is thus quite natural.
(_Supra_, p. 424.)

To this definite accusation that he led sons into disobedience to
their parents, Socrates replied by asking the question whether in
selecting men for public offices, such as that of general, parents,
or those experienced in war, were selected. Similarly in all cases
those most skilful in an art or science are picked out. He demanded
whether it was not matter of astonishment that he should be brought
before a judge because he was preferred to parents by the sons in
their aspirations after the highest human good which is to be made
a noble man.[140] This reply of Socrates is, on the one hand, quite
just, but we see at the same time that we cannot call it exhaustive,
for the real point of the accusation is not touched. What his judges
found unjust was the intrusion morally of a third into the absolute
relation between parents and children. On the whole not much can be
said on this point, for all depends on the mode of intervention, and
if it is necessary in certain cases, it need not take place generally,
and least of all when some private individual takes that liberty.
Children must have the feeling of unity with their parents; this is
the first immediately moral relationship; every teacher must respect
it, keep it pure, and cultivate the sense of being thus connected.
Hence when a third person is called into this relation between parents
and children, what happens through the new element introduced, is
that the children are for their own good prevented from confiding in
their parents, and made to think that their parents are bad people
who harm them by their intercourse and training; and hence we find
this revolting. The worst thing which can happen to children in regard
to their morality and their mind, is that the bond which must ever
be held in reverence should become loosened or even severed, thereby
causing hatred, disdain, and ill-will. Whoever does this, does injury
to morality in its truest form. This unity, this confidence, is the
mother’s milk of morality on which man is nurtured; the early loss of
parents is therefore a great misfortune. The son, like the daughter,
must indeed come out of his natural unity with the family and become
independent, but the separation must be one which is natural or
unforced, and not defiant and disdainful. When a pain like this has
found a place in the heart, great strength of mind is required to
overcome it and to heal the wound. If we now speak of the example given
us by Socrates, he seems, through his intervention, to have made the
young man dissatisfied with his position. Anytus’ son might, indeed,
have found his work generally speaking uncongenial, but it is another
thing when such dislike is brought into consciousness and established
by the authority of a man such as Socrates. We may very well conjecture
that if Socrates had to do with him, he strengthened and developed in
him the germ of the feeling of incongruity. Socrates remarked on the
subject of his capacities, saying that he was fit for something better,
and thus established a feeling of dissatisfaction in the young man, and
strengthened his dislike to his father, which thus became the reason of
his ruin. Hence this accusation of having destroyed the relationship of
parents and children may be regarded as not unfounded, but as perfectly
well established. It was also thought very bad in Socrates’ case
particularly, and made a matter of reproach that he had such followers
as Critias and Alcibiades, who brought Athens almost to the brink of
ruin (_supra_, p. 421). For when he mixed himself in the education
which others gave their children, men were justified in the demand that
the result should not belie what he professed to do for the education
of youth.

The only question now is, how the people came to take notice of
this, and in how far such matters can be objects of legislation and
be brought into court. In our law, as regards the first part of the
accusation, divination such as Cagliostro’s is illegal, and it would
be forbidden as it formerly was by the Inquisition. Respecting the
second point, such a moral interference is no doubt more recognized
with us, where there is a particular office having this duty laid
upon it; but this interference must keep itself general, and dare
not go so far as to call forth disobedience to parents, which is the
first immoral principle. But should such questions come before the
court? This first of all brings up the question of what is the right
of the State, and here great laxity is now allowed. Nevertheless,
when some professor or preacher attacks a particular religion, the
legislature would certainly take notice of it, and it would have a
complete right to do so, although there would be an outcry when it
did it. There is undoubtedly a limit which in liberty of thought and
speech is difficult to define and rests on tacit agreement; but there
is a point beyond which we find what is not allowed, such as direct
incitement to insurrection. It is indeed said, that “bad principles
destroy themselves by themselves and find no entrance.” But that is
only true in part, for with the populace the eloquence of sophistry
stirs up their passions. It is also said, “This is only theoretic,
no action follows.” But the State really rests on thought, and its
existence depends on the sentiments of men, for it is a spiritual and
not a physical kingdom. Hence it has in so far maxims and principles
which constitute its support, and if these are attacked, the Government
must intervene. Added to this, it was the case that in Athens quite
a different state of things was present than with us; in order to be
able to judge rightly of Socrates’ case we must first consider the
Athenian State and its customs. According to Athenian laws, _i.e._
according to the spirit of the absolute State, both these things done
by Socrates were destructive of this spirit, while in our constitution
the universal of the states is a stronger universal, which last
undoubtedly permits of individuals having freer play, since they cannot
be so dangerous to this universal. Hence it would undoubtedly in the
first place mean the subversion of the Athenian State, if this public
religion on which everything was built and without which the State
could not subsist, went to pieces; with us the State may be called an
absolute and independent power. The Dæmon is now, in fact, a deity
differing from any known, and because it stood in contradiction to the
public religion, it gave to it a subjective arbitrariness. But since
established religion was identified with public life so closely that it
constituted a part of public law, the introduction of a new god who
formed self-consciousness into a principle and occasioned disobedience,
was necessarily a crime. We may dispute with the Athenians about this,
but we must allow that they are consistent. In the second place, the
moral connection between parents and children is stronger, and much
more the moral foundation of life with the Athenians than with us,
where subjective freedom reigns; for family piety is the substantial
key-note of the Athenian State. Socrates thus attacked and destroyed
Athenian life in two fundamental points; the Athenians felt and became
conscious of it. Is it then to be wondered at that Socrates was found
guilty? We might say that it had to be so. Tennemann (Vol. II., p.
41) says: “Though these charges contained the most palpable untruths,
Socrates was condemned to death because his mind was too lofty for
him to descend to the common unworthy means, by which the judgment of
the court was usually perverted.” But all this is false; he was found
guilty of these deeds, but not for that reason condemned to death.

_b._ We here come to the second occurrence in his history. In
accordance with Athenian laws, the accused had, after the Heliasts
(resembling the English jury) pronounced him guilty, the liberty of
suggesting (_ἀντιτιμᾶσθαι_) a penalty different from the punishment
which the accuser proposed; this implied a mitigation of the punishment
without a formal appeal—an excellent provision in Athenian law,
testifying to its humanity. In this penalty the punishment in itself is
not brought into question, but only the kind of punishment; the judges
had decided that Socrates deserved punishment. But when it was left
to the accused to determine what his punishment should be, it might
not be arbitrary, but must be in conformity with the crime, a money
or bodily punishment (_ὄ, τι χρὴ παθεῖν ἢ ἀποτῖθαι_).[141] But it was
implied in the guilty persons constituting himself his own judge, that
he submitted himself to the decision of the court and acknowledged
himself to be guilty. Now Socrates declined to assign a punishment for
himself consisting either of fine or banishment, and he had the choice
between these and death, which his accusers proposed. He declined
to choose the former punishment because he, according to Xenophon’s
account (Apol. Socr. § 23), in the formality of the exchange-penalty
(_τὸ ὐποτιμᾶσθαι_), as he said, would acknowledge guilt; but there was
no longer any question as to the guilt, but only as to the kind of

This silence may indeed be considered as moral greatness, but, on the
other hand, it contradicts in some measure what Socrates says later on
in prison, that he did not wish to flee, but remained there, because
it seemed better to the Athenians and better to him to submit to the
laws (Vol. I., p. 342). But the first submission would have meant that
as the Athenians had found him guilty, he respected this decision, and
acknowledged himself as guilty. Consistently he would thus have held
it better to impose his punishment, since thereby he would not only
have submitted himself to the laws, but also to the judgment. We see in
Sophocles (Antig. verses 925, 926), the heavenly Antigone, that noblest
of figures that ever appeared on earth, going to her death, her last
words merely stating—

  “If this seems good unto the gods,
  Suffering, we may be made to know our error.”

Pericles also submitted himself to the judgment of the people as
sovereign; we saw him (Vol. I., p. 328) going round the citizens
entreating for Aspasia and Anaxagoras. In the Roman Republic we
likewise find the noblest men begging of the citizens. There is nothing
dishonouring to the individual in this, for he must bend before the
general power, and the real and noblest power is the people. This
acknowledgment the people must have direct from those who raise
themselves amongst them. Here, on the contrary, Socrates disclaims the
submission to, and humiliation before the power of the people, for he
did not wish to ask for the remission of his punishment. We admire in
him a moral independence which, conscious of its own right, insists
upon it and does not bend either to act otherwise, or to recognize as
wrong what it itself regards as right. Socrates hence exposed himself
to death, which could not be regarded as the punishment for the fault
of which he was found guilty; for the fact that he would not himself
determine the punishment, and thus disdained the juridical power of
the people, was foremost in leading to his condemnation. In a general
way he certainly recognized the sovereignty of the people, but not in
this individual case; it has, however, to be recognized, not only in
general, but in each separate case. With us the competency of the court
is presupposed, and the criminal judged without further ado; to-day
the whole matter is also open to the light of day and accepted as an
acknowledged fact. But with the Athenians we find the characteristic
request that the prisoner should, through the act of imposing on
himself a penalty, sanction the judge’s sentence of guilt. In England
this is certainly not the case, but there still remains a like form of
asking the accused by what law he wishes to be judged. He then answers,
by the law of the land and by the judges of his country. Here we have
the recognition of legal operations.

Socrates thus set his conscience in opposition to the judges’ sentence,
and acquitted himself before its tribunal. But no people, and least
of all a free people like the Athenians, has by this freedom to
recognize a tribunal of conscience which knows no consciousness of
having fulfilled its duty excepting its own consciousness. To this
government and law, the universal spirit of the people, may reply: “If
you have the consciousness of having done your duty, we must also have
the consciousness that you have so done.” For the first principle of
a State is that there is no reason or conscience or righteousness or
anything else, higher than what the State recognizes as such. Quakers,
Anabaptists, &c., who resist any demands made on them by the State,
such as to defend the Fatherland, cannot be tolerated in a true State.
This miserable freedom of thinking and believing what men will, is not
permitted, nor any such retreat behind personal consciousness of duty.
If this consciousness is no mere hypocrisy, in order that what the
individual does should be recognized as duty, it must be recognized as
such by all. If the people can make mistakes the individual may do so
much more easily, and he must be conscious that he can do this much
more easily than the people. Now law also has a conscience and has to
speak through it; the law-court is the privileged conscience. Now if
the miscarriage of justice in a trial is shown by every conscience
clamouring for something different, the conscience of the court alone
possesses any value as being the universal legalized conscience, which
does not require to recognize the particular conscience of the accused.
Men are too easily convinced of having fulfilled their duty, but the
judge finds out whether duty is in fact fulfilled, even if men have the
consciousness of its being so.

We should expect nothing else of Socrates than that he should go to
meet his death in the most calm and manly fashion. Plato’s account
of the wonderful scene his last hours presented, although containing
nothing very special, forms an elevating picture, and will be to us a
permanent representation of a noble deed. The last dialogue of Plato
is popular philosophy, for the immortality of the soul is here first
brought forward; yet it brings no consolation, for, as Homer makes
Achilles say in the nether world, he would prefer to be a ploughboy on
the earth.

But though the people of Athens asserted through the execution of this
judgment the rights of their law as against the attacks of Socrates,
and had punished the injury caused to their moral life by Socrates,
Socrates was still the hero who possessed for himself the absolute
right of the mind, certain of itself and of the inwardly deciding
consciousness, and thus expressed the higher principle of mind with
consciousness. Now because, as has been said, this new principle by
effecting an entrance into the Greek world, has come into collision
with the substantial spirit and the existing sentiments of the Athenian
people, a reaction had to take place, for the principle of the Greek
world could not yet bear the principle of subjective reflection. The
Athenian people were thus, not only justified, but also bound to react
against it according to their law, for they regarded this principle as
a crime. In general history we find that this is the position of the
heroes through whom a new world commences, and whose principle stands
in contradiction to what has gone before and disintegrates it: they
appear to be violently destroying the laws. Hence individually they
are vanquished, but it is only the individual, and not the principle,
which is negated in punishment, and the spirit of the Athenian people
did not in the removal of the individual, recover its old position.
The false form of individuality is taken away, and that, indeed, in a
violent way, by punishment; but the principle itself will penetrate
later, if in another form, and elevate itself into a form of the
world-spirit. This universal mode in which the principle comes forth
and permeates the present is the true one; what was wrong was the fact
that the principle came forth only as the peculiar possession of one
individual. His own world could not comprehend Socrates, but posterity
can, in as far as it stands above both. It may be conceived that the
life of Socrates had no need to have such an end, for Socrates might
have lived and died a private philosopher, and his teaching might have
been quietly accepted by his disciples, and have spread further still
without receiving any notice from State or people; the accusation thus
would seem to have been contingent. But it must be said that it was
through the manner of that event that this principle became so highly
honoured. The principle is not merely something new and peculiar to
itself, but it is an absolutely essential moment in the self-developing
consciousness of self which is designed to bring to pass as a totality,
a new and higher actuality. The Athenians perceived correctly that this
principle not only meant opinion and doctrine, for its true attitude
was that of a direct and even hostile and destructive relation to
the actuality of the Greek mind; and they proceeded in accordance
with this perception. Hence, what follows in Socrates’ life is not
contingent, but necessarily follows upon his principle. Or the honour
of having recognized that relation, and indeed of having felt that they
themselves were tinged with this principle, is due to the Athenians.

_c._ The Athenians likewise repented of their condemnation of Socrates,
and punished some of his accusers with death itself, and others
with banishment; for according to Athenian laws, the man who made
an accusation, and whose accusation was found to be false, usually
underwent the same punishment that otherwise the criminal would
have borne. This is the last act in this drama. On the one hand the
Athenians recognized through their repentance the individual greatness
of the man; but on the other (and this we find by looking closer)
they also recognized that this principle in Socrates, signifying
the introduction of new gods and disrespect to parents, has—while
destructive and hostile to it—been introduced even into their own
spirit, and that they themselves are in the dilemma of having in
Socrates only condemned their own principle. In that they regretted
the just judgment of Socrates, it seems to be implied that they wished
that it had not occurred. But from the regret it does not follow
that in itself it should not have occurred, but only that it should
not have happened for their consciousness. Both together constitute
the innocence which is guilty and atones for its guilt; it would
only be senseless and despicable if there were no guilt. An innocent
person who comes off badly is a simpleton; hence it is a very flat and
uninteresting matter when tyrants and innocent persons are represented
in tragedies, just because this is an empty contingency. A great man
would be guilty and overcome the great crisis that ensues; Christ thus
gave up his individuality, but what was brought forth by him remained.

The fate of Socrates is hence really tragic, not in the superficial
sense of the word and as every misfortune is called tragic. The death
of an estimable individual must, in such a sense, be specially tragic,
and thus it is said of Socrates, that because he was innocent and
condemned to death, his fate was tragic. But such innocent suffering
would only be sad and not tragic, for it would not be a rational
misfortune. Misfortune is only rational when it is brought about by the
will of the subject, who must be absolutely justified and moral in what
he does, like the power against which he wars—which must therefore not
be a merely natural power, or the power of a tyrannic will. For it is
only in such a case that man himself has any part in his misfortune,
while natural death is only an absolute right which nature exercises
over men. Hence, in what is truly tragic there must be valid moral
powers on both the sides which come into collision; this was so with
Socrates. His is likewise not merely a personal, individually romantic
lot; for we have in it the universally moral and tragic fate, the
tragedy of Athens, the tragedy of Greece. Two opposed rights come into
collision, and the one destroys the other. Thus both suffer loss and
yet both are mutually justified; it is not as though the one alone
were right and the other wrong. The one power is the divine right,
the natural morality whose laws are identical with the will which
dwells therein as in its own essence, freely and nobly; we may call it
abstractly objective freedom. The other principle, on the contrary,
is the right, as really divine, of consciousness or of subjective
freedom; this is the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil, _i.e._ of self-creative reason; and it is the universal principle
of Philosophy for all successive times. It is these two principles
which we see coming into opposition in the life and the philosophy of

The Athenian people had come into a period of culture, in which this
individual consciousness made itself independent of the universal
spirit and became for itself. This was perceived by them in Socrates,
but at the same time it was felt that it meant ruin, and thus they
punished an element which was their own. The principle of Socrates is
hence not the transgression of one individual, for all were implicated;
the crime was one that the spirit of the people committed against
itself. Through this perception the condemnation of Socrates was
retracted; Socrates appeared to have committed no crime, for the spirit
of the people has now generally reached the consciousness which turns
back from the universal into itself. This meant the disintegration
of this people, whose mind and spirit consequently soon disappeared
from the world, but yet out of its ashes a higher took its rise,
for the world-spirit had raised itself into a higher consciousness.
The Athenian State, indeed, endured for long, but the bloom of its
character soon faded. It is characteristic of Socrates that he
grasped the principle of the inwardness of knowledge, not practically
merely, as did Critias and Alcibiades (_supra_, pp. 421, 438), but in
thought, making it valid to thought, and this is the higher method.
Knowledge brought about the Fall, but it also contains the principle
of Redemption. Thus what to others was only ruin, to Socrates, because
it was the principle of knowledge, was also a principle of healing.
The development of this principle, which constitutes the content
of all successive history, is explicitly the reason that the later
philosophers withdrew from the affairs of the State, restricted
themselves to cultivating an inner world, separated from themselves
the universal aim of the moral culture of the people, and took up a
position contrary to the spirit of Athens and the Athenians. From this
it came to pass that particularity of ends and interests now became
powerful in Athens. This has, in common with the Socratic principle,
the fact that what seems right and duty, good and useful to the
subject in relation to himself as well as to the State, depends on his
inward determination and choice, and not on the constitution and the
universal. This principle of self-determination for the individual has,
however, become the ruin of the Athenian people, because it was not yet
identified with the constitution of the people; and thus the higher
principle must in every case appear to bring ruin with it where it is
not yet identified with the substantial of the people. The Athenian
life became weak, and the State outwardly powerless, because its
spirit was divided within itself. Hence it was dependent on Lacedæmon,
and we finally see the external subordination of these States to the

We are done with Socrates. I have been more detailed here because all
the features of the case have been so completely in harmony, and he
constitutes a great historic turning point. Socrates died at sixty-nine
years of age, in Olympiad 95, 1 (399-400 B.C.), an Olympiad after the
end of the Peloponnesian war, twenty-nine years after the death of
Pericles, and forty-four years before the birth of Alexander. He saw
Athens in its greatness and the beginning of its fall; he experienced
the height of its bloom and the beginning of its misfortunes.


The result of the death of Socrates was, that the little company of
his friends went off from Athens to Megara, where Plato also came.
Euclides had settled there and received them gladly.[142] When
Socrates’ condemnation was retracted and his accusers punished,
certain of the Socratics returned, and all was again brought into
equilibrium. The work of Socrates was far-reaching and effectual in the
kingdom of Thought, and the stimulation of a great amount of interest
is always the principal service of a teacher. Subjectively, Socrates
had the formal effect of bringing about a discord in the individual;
the content was subsequently left to the free-will and liking of each
person, because the principle was subjective consciousness and not
objective thought. Socrates himself only came so far as to express
for consciousness generally the simple existence of one’s own thought
as the Good, but as to whether the particular conceptions of the Good
really properly defined that of which they were intended to express the
essence, he did not inquire. But because Socrates made the Good the
end of the living man, he made the whole world of idea, or objective
existence in general, rest by itself, without seeking to find a
passage from the Good, the real essence of what is known as such, to
the thing, and recognizing real essence as the essence of things. For
when all present speculative philosophy expresses the universal as
essence, this, as it first appears, has the semblance of being a single
determination, beside which there are a number of others. It is the
complete movement of knowledge that first removes this semblance, and
the system of the universe then shows forth its essence as Notion, as a
connected whole.

The most varied schools and principles proceeded from this doctrine of
Socrates, and this was made a reproach against him, but it was really
due to the indefiniteness and abstraction of his principle. And in
this way it is only particular forms of this principle which can at
first be recognized in philosophic systems which we call Socratic.
Under the name of Socratic, I understand, however, those schools
and methods which remained closer to Socrates and in which we find
nothing but the one-sided understanding of Socratic culture. One part
of these kept quite faithfully to the direct methods of Socrates,
without going any further. A number of his friends are mentioned as
being of this description, and these, inasmuch as they were authors,
contented themselves with correctly transcribing dialogues after his
manner, which were partly those he actually had held with them, and
partly those they had heard from others; or else with working out
similar dialogues in his method. But for the rest they abstained from
speculative research, and by directing their attention to what was
practical, adhered firmly and faithfully to the fulfilment of the
duties of their position and circumstances, thereby maintaining calm
and satisfaction. Xenophon is the most celebrated of those mentioned,
but besides him a number of other Socratics wrote dialogues. Æschines,
some of whose dialogues have come down to us, Phædo, Antisthenes and
others are mentioned, and amongst them a shoemaker, Simon, “with whom
Socrates often spoke at his workshop, and who afterwards carefully
wrote out what Socrates said to him.” The title of his dialogues, as
also those of the others which are left to us, are to be found in
Diogenes Laërtius (II. 122, 123; 60, 61; 105; VI. 15-18); they have,
however, only a literary interest, and hence I will pass them by.

But another section of the Socratics went further than Socrates,
inasmuch as they, starting from him, laid hold of and matured one of
the particular aspects of his philosophy and of the standpoint to
which philosophic knowledge was brought through him. This standpoint
maintained the absolute character of self-consciousness within itself,
and the relation of its self-existent universality to the individual.
In Socrates, and from him onward, we thus see knowledge commencing, the
world raising itself into the region of conscious thought, and this
becoming the object. We no longer hear question and answer as to what
Nature is, but as to what Truth is; or real essence has determined
itself not to be the implicit, but to be what it is in knowledge. We
hence have the question of the relationship of self-conscious thought
to real essence coming to the front as what concerns us most. The true
and essence are not the same; the true is essence as thought, but
essence is the simply implicit. This simple is, indeed, thought, and is
in thought, but when it is said that essence is pure Being or Becoming,
as the being-for-self of the atomists, and then that the Notion is
thought generally (the _νοῦς_ of Anaxagoras), or finally measure, this
is asserted directly, and in an objective manner. Or it is the simple
unity of the objective and of thought; it is not purely objective—for
Being cannot be seen, heard, &c.; nor is it pure thought in opposition
to the existent—for this is the explicitly existent self-consciousness
which separates itself from essence. It is finally not the unity
going back into itself from the difference in the two sides, which is
understanding and knowledge. In these self-consciousness on the one
hand presents itself as being-for-self, and on the other, as Being;
it is conscious of this difference, and from this difference turns
back into the unity of both. This unity, the result, is the known, the
true. One element in the true is the certainty of itself; this moment
has attained to reality—in consciousness and for consciousness. It is
through this movement and the investigation of the subject, that the
succeeding period of Philosophy is distinguished, because it does not
contemplate essence as left to itself, and as purely objective, but as
in unity with the certainty of itself. It is not to be understood by
this that such knowledge had itself been made into essence, so that it
is held to be the content and definition of absolute essence, or that
essence had been determined for the consciousness of these philosophers
as the unity of Being and Thought, _i.e._ as if they had thought of it
thus; but they could merely no longer speak of essence and actuality
without this element of self-certainty. And this period is hence, so to
speak, the middle period, which is really the movement of knowledge,
and considers knowledge as the science of essence, which first brings
about that unity.

From what has been said, it can now be seen what philosophic systems
can come before us. That is to say, because in this period the relation
of Thought to Being, or of the universal to the individual, is made
explicit, we see, on the one hand, as the object of Philosophy, the
contradiction of consciousness coming to consciousness—a contradiction
as to which the ordinary modes of thought have no knowledge, for they
are in a state of confusion, seeing that they go on unthinkingly. On
the other hand we have Philosophy as perceiving knowledge itself,
which, however, does not get beyond its Notion, and which, because it
is the unfolding of a more extensive knowledge of a content, cannot
give itself this content, but can only think it, _i.e._ determine it
in a simple manner. Of those Socratics who hold a place of their own,
there are, according to this, three schools worthy of consideration;
first the Megaric School, at whose head stands Euclid of Megara, and
then the Cyrenaic and Cynic Schools; and from the fact that they
all three differ very much from one another, it is clearly shown
that Socrates himself was devoid of any positive system. With these
Socratics the determination of the subject for which the absolute
principle of the true and good likewise appears as end, came into
prominence; this end demands reflection and general mental cultivation,
and also requires that men should be able to tell what the good and
true really are. But though these Socratic schools as a whole rest at
saying that the subject itself is end, and reaches its subjective end
through the cultivation of its knowledge, the form of determination in
them is still the universal, and it is also so that it does not remain
abstract, for the development of the determinations of the universal
gives real knowledge. The Megarics were most abstract, because they
held to the determination of the good which, as simple, was to them
the principle; the unmoved and self-related simplicity of thought
becomes the principle of consciousness as individual, as it is of
conscious knowledge. The Megaric school associated with the assertion
of the simplicity of the good, the dialectic, that all that was defined
and limited is not true. But because with the Megarics the principal
point was to know the universal, and this universal was to them the
Absolute which had to be retained in this form of the universal, this
thought, as Notion which holds a negative position in relation to all
determinateness and thus to that of Notion also, was equally turned
against knowledge and perception.

The Cyrenaics take knowledge in its subjective signification, and
as signifying individuality as certainty of self, or feeling; to
this as to that which is essential, they restrict the exercise
of consciousness, and, generally speaking, make existence for
consciousness consist therein. Now because they thereby sought to
define the Good more closely, they called it simply pleasure or
enjoyment, by which, however, anything can be understood. This
principle of the Cyrenaic school would seem to have been far removed
from that of Socrates, since we at once think of the transient
existence of feeling as directly in opposition to the Good; this,
however, is not the case. The Cyrenaics likewise upheld the universal,
for, if it is asked what the Good is, we find they certainly made
pleasurable feeling, which presents the appearance of a determinate,
to be its content, but seeing that a cultured mind is also requisite,
enjoyment, as it is obtained through thought, is here indicated.

The Cynics also further defined the principle of the Good, but in
another way from the Cyrenaics; its content, they said, lay in man’s
keeping to what is in conformity with nature and to the simple needs of
nature. They similarly call all that is particular and limited in the
aims of men that which is not to be desired. To the Cynics, too, mental
culture through the knowledge of the universal is the principle;
but through this knowledge of the universal the individual end must
be attained, and this is, that the individual should keep himself in
abstract universality, in freedom and independence, and be indifferent
to all he formerly esteemed. Thus we see pure thought recognized in its
movement with the individual, and the manifold transformations of the
universal coming to consciousness. These three schools are not to be
treated at length. The principle of the Cyrenaics became later on more
scientifically worked out in Epicureanism, as that of the Cynics did in


Because Euclides (who is regarded as the founder of the Megaric way
of thinking) and his school held to the forms of universality, and,
above all, sought, and with success, to show forth the contradictions
contained in all particular conceptions, they were reproached with
having a rage for disputation, and hence the name of Eristics was
given them. The instrument for bringing all that is particular into
confusion and annulling this particular, was supplied by dialectic,
which, indeed, was brought by them to very great perfection, but, as
was privately stated, they did it in a kind of anger, so that others
said that they should not be called a School (_σχολή_) but a gall
(χολή).[143] With a dialectic thus constituted, we find them taking
the place of the Eleatic School and of the Sophists; and it seems as
though the Eleatic School had merely been reproduced,[144] since they
were essentially identical with it. But this was only partly true—in
that the Eleatic dialecticians maintained Being as the one existence
in relation to which nothing particular is a truth, and the Megarics
considered Being as the Good. The Sophists, on the other hand, did not
seek their impulse in simple universality as fixed and as enduring; and
similarly we shall find in the Sceptics, dialecticians who maintain
that the subjective mind rests within itself. Besides Euclides,
Diodorus and Menedemus are mentioned as distinguished Eristics, but
particularly Eubulides, and later on Stilpo, whose dialectic likewise
related to contradictions which appeared in external conception and in
speech, so that it in great measure passed into a mere play upon words.


Euclides, who is not to be confused with the mathematician, is he
of whom it is said that during the enmity between Athens and his
birthplace, Megara, and in the period of most violent animosity, he
often secretly went to Athens, dressed as a woman, not fearing even
the punishment of death in order to be able to hear Socrates and
be in his company.[145] Euclides is said, in spite of his stubborn
manner of disputing, to have been, even in his disputation, a most
peaceful man. It is told that once in a quarrel his opponent was so
irritated, that he exclaimed, “I will die if I do not revenge myself
upon you!” Euclides replied, “And I will die if I do not soften your
wrath so much by the mildness of my speech that you will love me as
before.”[146] It was Euclides who said that “the Good is one,” and it
alone is, “though passing under many names; sometimes it is called
Understanding, sometimes God; at another time Thought (_νοῦς_), and so
on. But what is opposed to the good does not exist.”[147] This doctrine
Cicero (_ibid._) calls noble, and says that it differs but little
from the Platonic. Since the Megarics make the Good, as the simple
identity of the true, into a principle, it is clearly seen that they
expressed the Good as the absolute existence in a universal sense,
as did Socrates; but they no longer, like him, recognized all the
approximate conceptions, or merely opposed them as being indifferent
to the interests of man, for they asserted definitely that they were
nothing at all. Thus they come into the category of the Eleatics,
since they, like them, showed that only Being is, and that all else,
as negative, does not exist. While the dialectic of Socrates was thus
incidental, in that he merely shook some current moral ideas, or the
very first conceptions of knowledge, the Megarics, on the contrary,
raised their philosophic dialectic into something more universal and
real, for they applied themselves more to what is formal in idea and
speech, though not yet, like the later Sceptics, to the determinations
of pure Notions; for knowledge, thought, was not yet present in
abstract conceptions. Of their own dialectic not much is told, but
more is said of the embarrassment into which they brought ordinary
consciousness, for they were in all kinds of ways alert in involving
others in contradictions. Thus they applied dialectic after the manner
of an ordinary conversation, just as Socrates applied his mind to every
side of ordinary subjects, and as we also, in our conversation, try to
make an assertion interesting and important. A number of anecdotes are
told of their disputations, from which we see that what we call joking
was their express business. Others of their puzzles certainly deal with
a positive category of thought; they take these and show how, if they
are held to be true, they bring about a contradiction.


Of the innumerable multitude of ways in which they tried to confuse our
knowledge in the categories, many are preserved with their names, and
the principal of these are the Sophisms, whose discovery is ascribed
to Eubulides of Miletus, a pupil of Euclides.[148] The first thing
which strikes us when we hear them is that they are common sophisms
which are not worth contradiction, and scarcely of being heard, least
of all have they a real scientific value. Hence we call them stupid,
and look at them as dreary jokes, but it is in fact easier to set them
aside than to refute them. We let ordinary speech pass, and are content
with it, so long as everyone knows what the other means (when this is
not so—we trust that God understands us), but these sophisms seem in
a way to mislead common speech, for they show the contradictory and
unsatisfactory nature of it when taken strictly as it is spoken. To
confuse ordinary language so that we do not know how to reply, seems
foolish, as leading to formal contradictions, and if it is done we are
blamed for taking mere empty words and playing upon them. Our German
seriousness, therefore, dismisses this play on words as shallow wit,
but the Greeks honoured the word in itself, and the mere treatment
of a proposition as well as the matter. And if word and thing are in
opposition, the word is the higher, for the unexpressed thing is really
irrational, since the rational exists as speech alone.

It is in Aristotle, and in his Sophistical Elenchi that we first find
numerous examples of these contradictions (coming from the old Sophists
equally with the Eristics), and also their solutions. Eubulides,
therefore, likewise wrote against Aristotle,[149] but none of this
has come down to us. In Plato we also find, as we saw before (p.
370), similar jokes and ambiguities mentioned to make the Sophists
ridiculous, and to show with what insignificant matters they took up
their time. The Eristics went yet further, for they, like Diodorus,
became jesters to courts, such as to that of the Ptolemies.[150]
From historic facts we see that this dialectic operation of confusing
others and showing how to extricate them again was a general amusement
of the Greek philosophers, both in public places and at the tables
of kings. Just as the Queen of the East came to Solomon to put
riddles to him, we find at the tables of kings witty conversation and
assemblages of philosophers joking and making merry over one another.
The Greeks were quite enamoured of discovering contradictions met
with in speech and in ordinary ideas. The contradiction does not
make its appearance as a pure contradiction in the conception, but
only as interwoven with concrete ideas; such propositions neither
apply to the concrete content nor to the pure Notion. Subject and
predicate, of which every proposition consists, are different, but in
the ordinary idea we signify their unity; this simple unity, which
does not contradict itself, is to ordinary ideas the truth. But in
fact, the simple self-identical proposition is an unmeaning tautology;
for in any affirmation, differences are present, and because their
diversity comes to consciousness, there is contradiction. But the
ordinary consciousness is then at an end, for only where there is
a contradiction is there the solution, self-abrogation. Ordinary
consciousness has not the conception that only the unity of opposites
is the truth—that in every statement there is truth and falsehood, if
truth is to be taken in the sense of the simple, and falsehood in the
sense of the opposed and contradictory; in it the positive, the first
unity, and the negative, this last opposition, fall asunder.

In Eubulides’ propositions the main point was that because the truth
is simple, a simple answer is required; that thus the answer should
not, as happened in Aristotle (De Sophist. Elench. c. 24), have regard
to certain special considerations; and, after all, this is really
the demand of the understanding. Thus the mistake is to desire an
answer of yes or no, for since no one ventures on either, perplexity
ensues, because it is a fool’s part not to know what to reply. The
simplicity of the truth is thus grasped as the principle. With us
this appears in the form of making such statements as that one of
opposites is true, the other false; that a statement is either true
or not true; that an object cannot have two opposite predicates. That
is the first principle of the understanding, the _principium exclusi
tertii_, which is of great importance in all the sciences. This stands
in close connection with the principle of Socrates and Plato (_supra_,
pp. 455, 456), “The true is the universal;” which is abstractly the
identity of understanding, according to which what is said to be true
cannot contradict itself. This comes more clearly to light in Stilpo
(p. 464). The Megarics thus kept to this principle of our logic of
the understanding, in demanding the form of identity for the Truth.
Now in the cases that they put, they did not keep to the universal,
but sought examples in ordinary conception, by means of which they
perplexed people; and this they formed into a kind of system. We shall
bring forward some examples that are preserved to us; some are more
important, but others are insignificant.

_α_. One Elench was called the Liar (_ψευδόμενος_); in it the question
is put: “If a man acknowledges that he lies, does he lie or speak
the truth?”[151] A simple answer is demanded, for the simple whereby
the other is excluded, is held to be the true. If it is said that he
tells the truth, this contradicts the content of his utterance, for he
confesses that he lies. But if it is asserted that he lies, it may be
objected that his confession is the truth. He thus both lies and does
not lie; but a simple answer cannot be given to the question raised.
For here we have a union of two opposites, lying and truth, and their
immediate contradiction; in different forms this has at all times come
to pass, and has ever occupied the attention of men. Chrysippus, a
celebrated Stoic, wrote six books on the subject,[152] and another,
Philetas of Cos, died in the decline which he contracted through
over-study of these paradoxes.[153] We have the same thing over again
when, in modern times, we see men worn out by absorbing themselves in
the squaring of the circle—a proposition which has well nigh become
immortal. They seek a simple relation from something incommensurable,
_i.e._ they fall into the error of demanding a simple reply where
the content is contradictory. That little history has perpetuated
and reproduced itself later on; in Don Quixote the very same thing
appears. Sancho, governor of the island of Barataria, was tested by
many insidious cases as he sat in judgment, and, amongst others, with
the following: In his domain there was a bridge which a rich man had
erected for the good of passengers—but with a gallows close by. The
crossing of the bridge was restricted by the condition that everyone
must say truly where he was going, and if he lied, he would be hung
upon the gallows. Now one man came to the bridge, and to the question
whither he went, answered that he had come here to be hung on the
gallows. The bridge-keepers were much puzzled by this. For if they
hanged him, he would have spoken the truth and ought to have passed,
but if he crossed he would have spoken an untruth. In this difficulty
they applied to the wisdom of the governor, who uttered the wise saying
that in such dubious cases the mildest measures should be adopted,
and thus the man should be allowed to pass. Sancho did not break his
head over the matter. The result which the statement was to have, is
made its content, with the condition that the opposite of the content
should be the consequence. Hanging, understanding it to be truly
expressed, should not have hanging as result; non-hanging as an event,
should, on the other hand, have hanging as result. Thus death is made
the consequence of suicide, but by suicide death itself is made into
the content of the crime, and cannot thus be the punishment.

I will give another similar example along with the answer. Menedemus
was asked whether he had ceased to beat his father. This was an attempt
to place him in a difficulty, since to answer either yes or no, would
be equally risky. For if he said ‘yes,’ then he once beat him, and if
‘no,’ then he still beats him. Menedemus hence replied that he neither
ceased to beat him, nor had beaten him; and with this his opponents
were not satisfied.[154] Through this answer, which is two-sided, the
one alternative, as well as the other, being set aside, the question
is in fact answered; and this is also so in the former question as to
whether the man spoke truly who said he lied, when the reply is made,
“He speaks the truth and lies at the same time, and the truth is this
contradiction.” But a contradiction is not the true, and cannot enter
into our ordinary conceptions; hence Sancho Panza likewise set it aside
in his judgment. If the consciousness of opposition is present, our
ordinary ideas keep the contradictory sides apart; but in fact the
contradiction appears in sensuous things, such as space, time, &c.,
and has in them only to be demonstrated. These sophisms thus not only
appear to be contradictory, but are so in truth: this choice between
two opposites, which is set before us in the example, is itself a

_β_. The Concealed one (_διαλανθάνων_) and the Electra[155] proceed
from the contradiction of knowing and not knowing someone at the same
time. I ask someone ‘Do you know your father?’ He replies ‘Yes.’ I
then ask ‘Now if I show you someone hidden behind a screen, will you
know him?’ ‘No.’ ‘But it is your father, and thus you do not know your
father.’ It is the same in the Electra. ‘Can it be said that she knows
her brother Orestes who stands before her or not?’ These twists and
turns seem superficial, but it is interesting to consider them further.
(_αα_) To know means, on the one hand, to have someone as ‘this one,’
and not vaguely and in general. The son thus knows his father when he
sees him, _i.e._ when he is a ‘this’ for him; but hidden, he is not a
‘this’ for him, but a ‘this’ abrogated. The hidden one as a ‘this’ in
ordinary conception, becomes a general, and loses his sensuous being,
thereby is in fact not a true ‘this.’ The contradiction that the son
both knows and does not know his father, thus becomes dissolved through
the further qualification that the son knows the father as a sensuous
‘this,’ and not as a ‘this’ of idea. (_ββ_) On the other hand Electra
knows Orestes, not as a sensuous ‘this,’ but in her own idea; the
‘this’ of idea and the ‘this’ here, are not the same to her. In this
way there enters into these histories the higher opposition of the
universal and of the ‘this,’ in as far as to have in the ordinary idea,
means in the element of the universal; the abrogated ‘this’ is not only
an idea, but has its truth in the universal. The universal is thus
found in the unity of opposites, and thus it is in this development
of Philosophy the true existence, in which the sensuous being of the
‘this’ is negated. It is the consciousness of this in particular which,
as we shall soon see (p. 465), is indicated by Stilpo.

_γ_. Other quibbles of the same kind have more meaning, like the
arguments which are called the Sorites (_σωρείτης_) and the Bald
(_φαλακρός_).[156] Both are related to the false infinite, and the
quantitative progression which can reach no qualitative opposite, and
yet at the end finds itself at a qualitative absolute opposite. The
Bald head is the reverse of the problem of the Sorites. It is asked,
“Does one grain of corn make a heap, or does one hair less make a bald
head?” The reply is “No.” “Nor one again?” “No, it does not.” This
question is now always repeated while a grain is always added, or a
hair taken away. When at last it is said that there is a heap or a bald
head, it is found that the last added grain or last abstracted hair has
made the heap or the baldness, and this was at first denied. But how
can a grain form a heap which already consists of so many grains? The
assertion is that one grain does not make a heap; the contradiction,
that one thus added or taken away brings about the change into the
opposite—the many. For to repeat one is just to obtain many, the
repetition causes certain ‘many’ grains to come together. The one thus
becomes its opposite,—a heap, and the taking of one away brings about
baldness. One and a heap are opposed to one another, but yet one; or
the quantitative progression seems not to change but merely to increase
or diminish, yet at last it has passed into its opposite. We always
separate quality and quantity from one another, and only accept in
the many a quantitative difference; but this indifferent distinction
of number or size here turns finally into qualitative distinction,
just as an infinitely small or infinitely great greatness is no longer
greatness at all. This characteristic of veering round is of the
greatest importance, although it does not come directly before our
consciousness. To give one penny or one shilling is said to be nothing,
but with all its insignificance the purse becomes emptied, which is
a very qualitative difference. Or, if water is always more and more
heated, it suddenly, at 80° Reamur, turns into steam. The dialectic
of this passing into one another of quantity and quality is what our
understanding does not recognize; it is certain that qualitative is
not quantitative, and quantitative not qualitative. In those examples
which seem like jokes, there is in this way genuine reflection on the
thought-determinations which are in question.

The examples which Aristotle brings forward in his Elenchi, all show a
very formal contradiction, appearing in speech, since even in it the
individual is taken into the universal. “Who is that? It is Coriscus.
Is Coriscus not masculine? Yes. _That_ is neuter sex, and thus Coriscus
is said to be neuter.”[157] Or else Aristotle (De Sophist. Elench. c.
24) quotes the argument: “To thee a dog is father (_σὸς ὁ κύων πατήρ_).
Thou art thus a dog;” that is what Plato, as we already mentioned (p.
370), made a Sophist say: it is the wit of a journeyman such as we
find in Eulenspiegel. Aristotle is really at great pains to remove the
confusion, for he says the ‘thy’ and the ‘father’ are only accidentally
(_παρὰ τὸ συμβεβηκός_), and not in substance (_κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν_) joined
to one another. In the invention of such witticisms, the Greeks of that
and of later times were quite indefatigable. With the Sceptics we shall
later on see the dialectic side further developed and brought to a
higher standpoint.

_c._ STILPO.

Stilpo, a native of Megara, is one of the most celebrated of the
Eristics. Diogenes tells us that “he was a very powerful debater, and
excelled all so greatly in readiness of speech that all Greece, in
looking to him, was in danger (μικροῦ δεῆσαι) of becoming Megareans.”
He lived in the time of Alexander the Great, and after his death (Ol.
114, 1; 324 B.C.) in Megara, when Alexander’s generals fought together.
Ptolemy Soter, Demetrius Poliorcetes, Antigonus’ son, when they
conquered Megara, bestowed many honours on him. “In Athens all came out
of their work-places to see him, and when anyone said that they admired
him like a strange animal, he replied, No, but like a true man.”[158]
With Stilpo it was pre-eminently true that the universal was taken
in the sense of the formal abstract identity of the understanding.
The main point in his examples is, however, always the fact of his
having given prominence to the form of universality as opposed to the

_α_. Diogenes (II. 119) first quotes from him in relation to the
opposition of the ‘this’ and the universal, “Whoever speaks of any
man (_ἄνθρωπον εἶναι_), speaks of no one, for he neither speaks of
this one nor that. For why should it rather be of this one than that?
Hence it is not of this one.” That man is the universal, and that no
one is specially indicated, everyone readily acknowledges, but some
one still remains present to us in our conception. But Stilpo says
that the ‘this’ does not exist at all, and cannot be expressed—that
the universal only exists. Diogenes Laërtius certainly understands
this as though “Stilpo abolished distinction of genera (_ἀνῄρει καὶ
τὰ εἴδη_),” and Tennemann (Vol II., p. 158) supports him. But from
what is quoted from him the opposite may clearly be deduced—that he
upheld the universal and did away with the individual. And the fact
that the form of universality is maintained, is further expressed in a
number of anecdotes which are taken by Stilpo from common life. Thus
he says: “The cabbage is not what is here shown (_τὸ λάχανον οὐκ ἔστι
τὸ δεικνύμενον_). For the cabbage has existed for many thousand years,
and hence this (what is seen) is not cabbage,” _i.e._ the universal
only is, and this cabbage is not. If I say _this_ cabbage, I say
quite another thing from what I mean, for I say all other cabbages.
An anecdote is told in the same reference. “He was conversing with
Crates, a Cynic, and broke off to buy some fish;” Crates said, “What,
you would avoid the question?” (for even in ordinary life anyone is
laughed at or thought stupid who is unable to reply, and here where
the subject was so important and where it would seem better to reply
anything than nothing at all, no answer was forthcoming). Stilpo
replied, “By no means, for I have the conversation, but I leave you,
since the conversation remains but the fish will be sold.” What is
indicated in these simple examples seems trivial, because the matter is
trivial, but in other forms it seems important enough to be the subject
of further inquiry.

That the universal should in Philosophy be given a place of such
importance that only the universal can be expressed, and the ‘this’
which is meant, cannot, indicates a state of consciousness and thought
which the philosophic culture of our time has not yet reached. As
regards the ordinary human understanding, or the scepticism of our
times, or in general the Philosophy which asserts that sensuous
certainty (that which we see, hear, &c.), is the truth, or else that
it is true that there are sensuous things outside of us—as to these,
nothing, so far as the reasons for disbelieving them are concerned,
need be said. For because the direct assertion that the immediate is
the true is made, such statements only require to be taken with respect
to what they say, and they will always be found to say something
different from what they mean. What strikes us most is that they cannot
say what they mean; for if they say the sensuous, this is a universal;
it is all that is sensuous, a negative of the ‘this,’ or ‘this’ is all
‘these.’ Thought contains only the universal, the ‘this’ is only in
thought; if I say ‘this’ it is the most universal of all. For example,
here is that which I show; now I speak; but here and now is all here
and now. Similarly when I say ‘I,’ I mean myself, this individual
separated from all others. But I am even thus that which is thought of
and cannot express the self which I mean at all. ‘I’ is an absolute
expression which excludes every other ‘I,’ but everyone says ‘I’ of
himself, for everyone is an ‘I.’ If we ask who is there, the answer ‘I’
indicates every ‘I.’ The individual also is thus the universal only,
for in the word as an existence born of the mind, the individual, if
it is meant, cannot find a place, since actually only the universal is
expressed. If I would distinguish myself and establish my individuality
by my age, my place of birth, through what I have done and where I have
been or am at a particular time, it is the same thing. I am now so many
years old, but this very now which I say is all now. If I count from a
particular period such as the birth of Christ, this epoch is again only
fixed by the ‘now’ which is ever displaced. I am now thirty-five years
old, and now is 1805 A.D.; each period is fixed only through the other,
but the whole is undetermined. That ‘now’ 1805 years have passed since
Christ’s birth, is a truth which soon will become empty sound, and the
determinateness of the ‘now’ has a before and after of determinations
without beginning or end. Similarly everyone is at a ‘here’—this
here, for everyone is in a ‘here.’ This is the nature of universality,
which makes itself evident in speech. We hence help ourselves through
names with which we define perfectly anything individual, but we allow
that we have not expressed the thing in itself. The name as name, is
no expression which contains what I am; it is a symbol, and indeed a
contingent symbol, of the lively recollection.

_β_. Inasmuch as Stilpo expressed the universal as the independent,
he disintegrated everything. Simplicius says (in Phys. Arist. p. 26),
“Since the so-called Megarics took it as ascertained that what has
different determinations is different (_ὧν οἱλόγοι ἕτεροι, ταῦτα ἕτερα
ἐστιν_), and that the diverse are separated one from the other (_τὰ
ἕτερα κεχώρισται ἀλλήλων_), they seemed to prove that each thing is
separated from itself (_αὐτὸ αὑτοῦ κεχωρισμένον ἔκασον_). Hence since
the musical Socrates is another determination (_λόγος_) from the
wise Socrates, Socrates was separated from himself.” That means that
because the qualities of things are determinations for themselves, each
of these is fixed independently, but yet the thing is an aggregate of
many independent universalities. Stilpo asserted this. Now because,
according to him, universal determinations are in their separation
only the true reality, and the individual is the unseparated unity of
different ideas, to him nothing individual has any truth.

_γ_. It is very remarkable that this form of identity came to be
known in Stilpo, and he in this way only wished to know propositions
identically expressed. Plutarch quotes from him: “A different
predicate may in no case be attributed to any object (_ἕτερον ἑτέρου
μὴ κατηγορεῖσθαι_). Thus we could not say that the man is good or the
man is a general, but simply that man is only man, good is only good,
the general is only the general. Nor could we say ten thousand knights,
but knights are only knights, ten thousand are only ten thousand,
&c. When we speak of a horse running, he says that the predicate is
not identical with the object to which it is attributed. For the
concept-determination man is different (_τοῦ τί ἦν εἶναι τὸν λόγον_)
from the concept-determination good. Similarly horse and running are
distinct: when we are asked for a definition of either, we do not give
the same for both. Hence those who say something different of what is
different are wrong. For if man and good were the same, and likewise
horse and running, how could good be used of bread and physic, and
running of lions and dogs”?[159] Plutarch remarks here that Colotes
attacks Stilpo in a bombastic manner (_τραγῷδίαν ἐπάγει_) as though
he ignored common life (_τὸν βίον ἀναιρεῖσθαι_). “But what man,”
Plutarch reflects, “lived any the worse for this? Is there any man who
hears this said, and who does not know that it is an elaborate joke
(_παῖζοντός ἐστιν εὐμούσως_)?”


The Cyrenaics took their name from Aristippus of Cyrene in Africa, the
originator and head of the school. Just as Socrates wished to develop
himself as an individual, his disciples, or those of the Cyrenaic
and Cynic Schools, made individual life and practical philosophy
their main object. Now if the Cyrenaics did not rest content with the
determination of good in general, seeing that they inclined to place
it in the enjoyment of the individual, the Cynics appear to be opposed
to the whole doctrine, for they expressed the particular content of
satisfaction as natural desires in a determination of negativity
with regard to what is done by others. But as the Cyrenaics thereby
satisfied their particular subjectivity, so also did the Cynics, and
both schools have hence on the whole the same end—the freedom and
independence of the individual. Because we are accustomed to consider
happiness, which the Cyrenaics made the highest end of man, to be
contentless, because we obtain it in a thousand ways, and it may be
the result of most various causes, this principle appears at first
to us as trivial, and indeed, generally speaking, it is so; we are
likewise accustomed to believe that there is something higher than
pleasure. The philosophic development of this principle which, for the
rest, has not much in it, is mainly ascribed to Aristippus’ follower,
Aristippus the younger. But Theodorus, Hegesias, and Anniceris, of
the later Cyrenaics, are specially mentioned as having scientifically
worked out the Aristippian principle, until it degenerated and merged
into Epicureanism. But the consideration of the further progress of the
Cyrenaic principle is specially interesting because this progression,
in the essential nature of things, is carried quite beyond the
principle, and has really abrogated it. Feeling is the indeterminate
individual. But if thought, reflection, mental culture, are given a
place in this principle, through the principle of the universality
of thought that principle of contingency, individuality, mere
subjectivity, disappears; and the only really remarkable thing in this
school is that this greater consistency in the universal is therefore
an inconsistency as regards the principle.


Aristippus went about with Socrates for a long time, and educated
himself under him, although at the same time he was a strong and
highly cultivated man before he sought out Socrates at all. He heard
of him either in Cyrene or at the Olympian Games, which, as Greeks,
the Cyrenians likewise visited. His father was a merchant, and he
himself came to Athens on a journey which had commerce as its object.
He was first amongst the Socratics to ask money of those whom he
instructed; he also sent money to Socrates, who, however, returned
it.[160] He did not content himself with the general expressions, good
and beautiful, to which Socrates adhered, but took existence reflected
in consciousness in its extreme determinateness as individuality; and
because universal existence, as thought, was to him, from the side of
reality, individual consciousness, he fixed on enjoyment as the only
thing respecting which man had rationally to concern himself. The
character and personality of Aristippus is what is most important,
and what is preserved to us in his regard is his manner and life
rather than his philosophic doctrines. He sought after enjoyment as a
man of culture, who in that very way had raised himself into perfect
indifference to all that is particular, all passions and bonds of every
kind. When pleasure is made the principle, we immediately have the idea
before us that in its enjoyment we are dependent, and that enjoyment
is thus opposed to the principle of freedom. But neither of the
Cyrenaic teaching, nor the Epicurean, whose principle is on the whole
the same, can this be stated. For by itself the end of enjoyment may
well be said to be a principle in opposition to Philosophy; but when it
is considered in such a way that the cultivation of thought is made the
only condition under which enjoyment can be attained, perfect freedom
of spirit is retained, since it is inseparable from culture. Aristippus
certainly esteemed culture at its highest, and proceeded from this
position—that pleasure is only a principle for men of philosophic
culture; his main principle thus was that what is found to be pleasant
is not known immediately but only by reflection.

Aristippus lived in accordance with these principles, and what in him
interests us most is the number of anecdotes told about him, because
they contain traces of a mentally rich and free disposition. Since in
his life he went about to seek enjoyment, not without understanding
(and thereby he was in his way a philosopher), he sought it partly with
the discretion which does not yield itself to a momentary happiness,
because a greater evil springs therefrom; and partly (as if philosophy
were merely preservation from anxiety) without that anxiety which on
every side fears possible evil and bad results; but above all without
any dependence on things, and without resting on anything which is
itself of a changeable nature. He enjoyed, says Diogenes, the pleasures
of the moment, without troubling himself with those which were not
present; he suited himself to every condition, being at home in all;
he remained the same whether he were in regal courts or in the most
miserable conditions. Plato is said to have told him that it was given
to him alone to wear the purple and the rags. He was specially attached
to Dionysius, being very popular with him; he certainly clung to him,
but always retained complete independence. Diogenes, the Cynic, for
this reason called him the royal dog. When he demanded fifty drachms
from someone who wished to hand over to him his son, and the man found
the sum too high, saying that he could buy a slave for it, Aristippus
answered, “Do so, and you will have two.” When Socrates asked him, “How
do you have so much money?” he replied, “How do you have so little?”
When a courtesan said to him that she had a child by him, he replied,
“You know as little whether it is mine as, were you walking through
briars, would you know which thorn pricked you.” A proof of his perfect
indifference is given in the following: When Dionysius once spat at
him, he bore it patiently, and when blamed, said, “The fishermen let
themselves be wet by the sea to catch the little fish, and I, should I
not bear this to catch such a good one?” When Dionysius asked him to
choose one of three courtesans, he took them all with him, observing
that it had been a dangerous thing even to Paris to choose out one;
but after leading them to the vestibule of the house, he let all three
go. He made nothing of the possession of money as contrasted with the
results which appear to follow from pursuing pleasure, and hence he
wasted it on dainties. He once bought a partridge at fifty drachms
(about twenty florins). When someone rebuked him, he asked, “Would
you not buy it for a farthing?” And when this was acknowleged, he
answered, “Now fifty drachms are no more than that to me.” Similarly
in journeying in Africa, the slave thought it hard to be troubled with
a sum of money. When Aristippus knew this he said, “Throw away what is
too much and carry what you can.”

As regards the value of culture, he replied to the question as to how
an educated man differs from an uneducated, that a stone would not
fit in with the other, _i.e._ the difference is as great as that of a
man from the stone. This is not quite wrong, for man is what he ought
to be as man, through culture; it is his second nature through which
he first enters into possession of that which he has by nature, and
thus for the first time he is Mind. We may not, however, think in this
way of our uncultured men, for with us such men through the whole of
their conditions, through customs and religion, partake of a source
of culture which places them far above those who do not live in such
conditions. Those who carry on other sciences and neglect Philosophy,
Aristippus compares to the wooers of Penelope in the Odyssey, who might
easily have Melantho and the other maidens, but who could not obtain
the queen.[161]

The teaching of Aristippus and his followers is very simple, for he
took the relation of consciousness to existence in its most superficial
and its earliest form, and expressed existence as Being as it is
immediately for consciousness, _i.e._ as feeling simply. A distinction
is now made between the true, the valid, what exists in and for itself,
and the practical and good, and what ought to be our end; but in
regard to both the theoretic and practical truth, the Cyrenaics make
sensation what determines. Hence their principle is more accurately
not the objective itself, but the relation of consciousness to the
objective; the truth is not what is in sensation the content, but is
itself sensation, it is not objective, but the objective subsists only
in it. “Thus the Cyrenaics say, sensations form the real criterion;
they alone can be known, and are infallible, but what produces feeling
is neither knowable nor infallible. Thus when we perceive a white and
sweet, we may assert this condition as ours with truth and certainty.
But that the causes of these feelings are themselves a white and sweet
object we cannot with certainty affirm. What these men say about ends
is also in harmony with this, for sensations also extend to ends. The
sensations are either pleasant or unpleasant or neither of the two.
Now they call the unpleasant feelings the bad, the end of which is
pain; the pleasant is the good, whose invariable end is happiness. Thus
feelings are the criteria of knowledge and the ends for action. We
live because we follow them from testimony (_ἐναργείᾳ_) received and
satisfaction (_εὑδοκήσει_) experienced, the former in accordance with
theoretic intuitions (_κατὰ τὰ ἄλλα πάθη_), and the latter with what
gives us pleasure.”[162] That is to say, as end, feeling is no longer
a promiscuous variety of sensuous affections (_τὰ ἄλλα πάθη_), but the
setting up of the Notion as the positive or negative relation to the
object of action, which is just the pleasant or the unpleasant.

Here we enter on a new sphere where two kinds of determinations
constitute the chief points of interest; these are everywhere treated
of in the many Socratic schools which were being formed, and though not
by Plato and Aristotle, they were specially so by the Stoics, the new
Academy, &c. That is to say, the one point is determination itself in
general, the criterion; and the second is what determination for the
subject is. And thus the idea of the wise man results—what the wise
do, who the wise are, &c. The reason that these two expressions are
now so prominent is one which rests on what has gone before. On the
one hand the main interest is to find a content for the good, for else
men may talk about it for years. This further definition of the good
is just the criterion. On the other hand the interest of the subject
appears, and that is the result of the revolution in the Greek mind
made by Socrates. When the religion, constitution, laws of a people,
are held in esteem, and when the individual members of a people are
one with them, the question of what the individual has to do on his
own account, will not be put. In a moralized, religious condition of
things we are likely to find the end of man in what is present, and
these morals, religion and laws are also present in him. When, on
the contrary, the individual exists no longer in the morality of his
people, no longer has his substantial being in the religion, laws,
&c., of his land, he no longer finds what he desires, and no longer
satisfies himself in his present. But if this discord has arisen, the
individual must immerse himself in himself, and there seek his end. Now
this is really the cause that the question of what is the essential
for the individual arises. After what end must he form himself and
after what strive? Thus an ideal for the individual is set up, and
this is the wise man: what was called the ideal of the wise man is
the individuality of self-consciousness which is conceived of as
universal essence. The point of view is the same when we now ask, What
can I know? What should I believe? What ought I to hope? What is the
highest interest of the subject? It is not what is truth, right, the
universal end of the world, for instead of asking about the science
of the implicitly and explicitly objective, the question is what is
true and right in as far as it is the insight and conviction of the
individual, his end and a mode of his existence? This talk about wise
men is universal amongst the Stoics, Epicureans, &c., but is devoid
of meaning. For the wise man is not in question, but the wisdom of
the universe, real reason. A third definition is that the universal
is the good; the real side of things is enjoyment and happiness as a
simple existence and immediate actuality. How then do the two agree?
The philosophic schools which now arise and their successors have set
forth the harmony of both determinations, which are the higher Being
and thought.


Of the later Cyrenaics, Theodorus must be mentioned first; he is
famous for having denied the existence of the gods, and being, for
this reason, banished from Athens. Such a fact can, however, have
no further interest or speculative significance, for the positive
gods which Theodorus denied, are themselves not any object of
speculative reason. He made himself remarkable besides for introducing
the universal more into the idea of that which was existence for
consciousness, for “he made joy and sorrow the end, but in such a
way that the former pertained to the understanding and the latter
to want of understanding. He defined the good as understanding and
justice, and the bad as the opposite; enjoyment and pain, however,
were indifferent.”[163] When we reach the consciousness that the
individual sensuous feeling, as it is immediately, is not to be
considered as real existence, it is then said that it must be accepted
with understanding; _i.e._ feeling, just as it is, is not reality.
For the sensuous generally, as sensation, theoretic or practical, is
something quite indeterminate, this or that unit; a criticism of this
unit is hence required, _i.e._ it must be considered in the form of
universality, and hence this last necessarily reappears. But this
advance on individuality is culture, which, through the limitation of
individual feelings and enjoyments, tries to make these harmonious,
even though it first of all only calculates as to that by which the
greater pleasure is to be found. Now, to the question as to which of
the many enjoyments which I, as a many-sided man, can enjoy, is the
one which is in completest harmony with me, and in which I thus find
the greatest satisfaction, it must be replied that the completest
harmony with me is only found in the accordance of my particular
existence and consciousness with my actual substantial Being. Theodorus
comprehended this as understanding and justice, in which we know where
to seek enjoyment. But when it is said that felicity must be sought
by reflection, we know that these are empty words and thoughtless
utterances. For the feeling in which felicity is contained, is in its
conception the individual, self-changing, without universality and
subsistence. Thus the universal, understanding, as an empty form,
adheres to a content quite incongruous with it; and thus Theodorus
distinguished the Good in its form, from the end as the Good in its
nature and content.


It is remarkable that another Cyrenaic, Hegesias, recognized this
incongruity between sensation and universality, which last is opposed
to the individual, having what is agreeable as well as disagreeable
within itself. Because, on the whole, he took a firmer grasp of the
universal and gave it a larger place, there passed from him all
determination of individuality, and with it really the Cyrenaic
principle. It came to his knowledge that individual sensation is in
itself nothing; and, as he nevertheless made enjoyment his end, it
became to him the universal. But if enjoyment is the end, we must ask
about the content; if this content is investigated, we find every
content a particular which is not in conformity with the universal, and
thus falls into dialectic. Hegesias followed the Cyrenaic principle
as far as to this consequence of thought. That universal is contained
in an expression of his which we often enough hear echoed, “There is
no perfect happiness. The body is troubled with manifold pains, and
the soul suffers along with it; it is hence a matter of indifference
whether we choose life or death. In itself nothing is pleasant or
unpleasant.” That is to say, the criterion of being pleasant or
unpleasant, because its universality is removed, is thus itself made
quite indeterminate; and because it has no objective determinateness
in itself, it has become unmeaning; before the universal, which is
thus held secure, the sum of all determinations, the individuality of
consciousness as such, disappears, but with it even life itself as
being unreal. “The rarity, novelty, or excess of enjoyment begets in
some cases enjoyment and in others discontent. Poverty and riches have
no meaning for what is pleasant, since we see that the rich do not
enjoy pleasures more than the poor. Similarly, slavery and liberty,
noble and ignoble birth, fame and lack of fame, are equivalent as
regards pleasure. Only to a fool can living be a matter of moment; to
the wise man it is indifferent,” and he is consequently independent.
“The wise man acts only after his own will, and he considers none
other equally worthy. For even if he attain from others the greatest
benefits, this does not equal what he gives himself. Hegesias and
his friends also take away sensation, because it gives no sufficient
knowledge,” which really amounts to scepticism. “They say further that
we ought to do what we have reason to believe is best. The sinner
should be forgiven, for no one willingly sins, but is conquered by a
passion. The wise man does not hate, but instructs; his endeavours go
not so much to the attainment of good, as to the avoidance of evil, for
his aim is to live without trouble and sorrow.”[164] This universality,
which proceeds from the principle of the freedom of the individual
self-consciousness, Hegesias expressed as the condition of the perfect
indifference of the wise men—an indifference to everything into which
we shall see all philosophic systems of the kind going forth, and which
is a surrendering of all reality, the complete withdrawal of life into
itself. It is told that Hegesias, who lived in Alexandria, was not
allowed to teach the Ptolemies of the time, because he inspired many
of his hearers with such indifference to life that they took their


We also hear of Anniceris and his followers, who, properly speaking,
departed from the distinctive character of the principle of the
Cyrenaic school, and thereby gave philosophic culture quite another
direction. It is said of them that “they acknowledged friendship in
common life, along with gratitude, honour to parents, and service for
one’s country. And although the wise man has, by so doing, to undergo
hardship and work, he can still be happy, even if he therein obtains
few pleasures. Friendships are not to be formed on utilitarian grounds
alone, but because of the good will that develops; and out of love to
friends, even burdens and difficulties are to be undertaken.”[166]
The universal, the theoretically speculative element in the school,
is thus lost; it sinks more into what is popular. This is then the
second direction which the Cyrenaic school has taken; the first was
the overstepping of the principle itself. A method of philosophizing
in morals arises, which later on prevailed with Cicero and the
Peripatetics of his time, but the interest has disappeared, so far as
any consistent system of thought is concerned.


There is nothing particular to say of the Cynics, for they possess
but little Philosophy, and they did not bring what they had into a
scientific system; it was only later that their tenets were raised by
the Stoics into a philosophic discipline. With the Cynics, as with the
Cyrenaics, the point was to determine what should be the principle
for consciousness, both as regards its knowledge and its actions.
The Cynics also set up the Good as a universal end, and asked in
what, for individual men, it is to be sought. But if the Cyrenaic,
in accordance with his determinate principle, made the consciousness
of himself as an individual, or feeling, into real existence for
consciousness, the Cynic took this individuality, in as far as it has
the form of universality directly for me, _i.e._ in as far as I am a
free consciousness, indifferent to all individuality. Thus they are
opposed to the Cyrenaics for while to these feeling, which, because
it has to be determined through thought, is undoubtedly extended into
universality and perfect freedom, is made the principle, the former
begin with perfect freedom and independence as the property of man.
But since this is the same indifference of self-consciousness which
Hegesias expressed as real existence, the extremes in the Cynic and
Cyrenaic modes of thought destroy themselves by their own consequences,
and pass into one another. With the Cyrenaics there is the impulse to
turn things back into consciousness, according to which nothing is
real existence for me; the Cynics had also only to do with themselves,
and the individual self-consciousness was likewise principle. But
the Cynic, at least in the beginning, set up for the guidance of men
the principle of freedom and indifference, both in regard to thought
and actual life, as against all external individuality, particular
ends, needs, and enjoyments; so that culture not only sought after
indifference to these and independence within itself, as with the
Cyrenaics, but for express privation, and for the limitation of
needs to what is necessary and what nature demands. The Cynics thus
maintained as the content of the good, the greatest independence of
nature, _i.e._ the slightest possible necessities; this meant a rebound
from enjoyment, and from the pleasures of feeling. The negative is
here the determining; later on this opposition of Cynics and Cyrenaics
likewise appeared between Stoics and Epicureans. But the same negation
which the Cynics made their principle, had already shown itself in the
further development which the Cyrenaic philosophy had taken. The School
of the Cynics had no scientific weight; it only constitutes an element
which must necessarily appear in the knowledge of the universal, and
which is that consciousness must know itself in its individuality, as
free from all dependence on things and on enjoyment. To him who relies
upon riches or enjoyment such dependence is in fact real consciousness,
or his individuality is real existence. But the Cynics so enforced that
negative moment that they placed freedom in actual renunciation of
so-called superfluities; they only recognized this abstract unmoving
independence, which did not concern itself with enjoyment or the
interests of an ordinary life. But true freedom does not consist in
flying from enjoyment and the occupations which have as their concern
other men and other ends in life; but in the fact that consciousness,
though involved in all reality, stands above it and is free from it.


Antisthenes, an Athenian and friend of Socrates, was the first who
professed to be a Cynic. He lived at Athens, and taught in a gymnasium,
called Cynosarges, and he was called the “simple dog” (_ἁπλοκύων_).
His mother was Thracian, which was often made a reproach to him—a
reproach which to us would be unmeaning. He replied that the mother of
the gods was a Phrygian, and that the Athenians, who make so much of
their being native born, are in no way nobler than the native fish and
grasshoppers. He educated himself under Gorgias and Socrates, and went
daily from the Piræus to the city to hear Socrates. He wrote several
works, the titles of which Diogenes mentions, and, according to all
accounts, was esteemed a highly cultivated and upright man.[167]

Antisthenes’ principles are simple, because the content of his teaching
remains general; it is hence superfluous to say anything further
about it. He gives general rules, which consist of such excellent
maxims as that “virtue is self-sufficing, and requires nothing more
than a Socratic strength of character. The good is excellent, the bad
discreditable. Virtue consists of works, and does not require many
reasons or theories. The end of man is a virtuous life. The wise man
is contented with himself, for he possesses everything that others
seem to possess. His own virtue satisfies him; he is at home all over
the world. If he lacks fame, this is not to be regarded as an evil,
but as a good,” &c.[168] We here, once more, have the tedious talk
about the wise man, which by the Stoics, as also by the Epicureans,
was even more spun out and made more tedious. In this ideal, where the
determination of the subject is in question, its satisfaction is placed
in simplifying its needs. But when Antisthenes says that virtue does
not require reasons and theories, he forgets that he himself acquired,
through the cultivation of mind, its independence and the power of
renouncing all that men desire. We see directly that virtue has now
obtained another signification; it no longer is unconscious virtue,
like the simple virtue of a citizen of a free people, who fulfils
his duties to fatherland, place, and family, as these relationships
immediately require. The consciousness which has gone beyond itself
must, in order to become Mind, now lay hold of and comprehend all
reality, i.e. be conscious of it as its own. But conditions such as
are called by names like innocence or beauty of soul, are childish
conditions, which are certainly to be praised in their own place, but
from which man, because he is rational, must come forth, in order
to re-create himself from the sublated immediacy. The freedom and
independence of the Cynics, however, which consists only in lessening
to the utmost the burden imposed by wants, is abstract, because it, as
negative in character, has really to be a mere renunciation. Concrete
freedom consists in maintaining an indifferent attitude towards
necessities, not avoiding them, but in their satisfaction remaining
free, and abiding in morality and in participation in the moral life
of man. Abstract freedom, on the contrary, surrenders its morality,
because the individual withdraws into his subjectivity, and is
consequently an element of immorality.

Yet Antisthenes bears a high place in this Cynical philosophy. But
the attitude he adopted comes very near to that of rudeness, vulgarity
of conduct and shamelessness; and later on Cynicism passed into such.
Hence comes the continual mockery of, and the constant jokes against
the Cynics; and it is only their individual manners and individual
strength of character which makes them interesting. It is even told
of Antisthenes that he began to attribute value to external poverty
of life. Cynicism adopted a simple wardrobe—a thick stick of wild
olive, a ragged double mantle without any under garment, which served
as bed by night, a beggar’s sack for the food that was required,
and a cup with which to draw water.[169] This was the costume with
which these Cynics used to distinguish themselves. That on which
they placed highest value was the simplification of their needs; it
seems very plausible to say that this produces freedom. For needs
are certainly dependence upon nature, and this is antagonistic to
freedom of spirit; the reduction of that dependence to a minimum is
thus an idea which commends itself. But at the same time this minimum
is itself undetermined, and if such stress is laid on thus merely
following nature, it follows that too great a value is set on the needs
of nature and on the renunciation of others. This is what is also
evident in the monastic principle. The negative likewise contains an
affirmative bias towards what is renounced; and the renunciation and
the importance of what is renounced is thus made too marked. Socrates
hence declares the clothing of the Cynics to be vanity. For “when
Antisthenes turned outside a hole in his cloak, Socrates said to him,
I see thy vanity through the hole in thy cloak.”[170] Clothing is not
a thing of rational import, but is regulated through needs that arise
of themselves. In the North the clothing must be different from that in
Central Africa; and in winter we do not wear cotton garments. Anything
further is meaningless, and is left to chance and to opinion; in modern
times, for instance, old-fashioned clothing had a meaning in relation
to patriotism. The cut of my coat is decided by fashion, and the tailor
sees to this; it is not my business to invent it, for mercifully others
have done so for me. This dependence on custom and opinion is certainly
better than were it to be on nature. But it is not essential that men
should direct their understanding to this; indifference is the point of
view which must reign, since the thing itself is undoubtedly perfectly
indifferent. Men are proud that they can distinguish themselves in
this, and try to make a fuss about it, but it is folly to set oneself
against the fashion. In this matter I must hence not decide myself, nor
may I draw it within the radius of my interests, but simply do what is
expected of me.


Diogenes of Sinope, the best known Cynic, distinguished himself even
more than Antisthenes by the life he led, as also by his biting and
often clever hits, and bitter and sarcastic retorts; but he likewise
received replies which were often aimed as well. He is called the Dog,
just as Aristippus was called by him the royal Dog, for Diogenes bore
the same relation to idle boys as Aristippus did to kings. Diogenes
is only famed for his manner of life; with him, as with the moderns,
Cynicism came to signify more a mode of living than a philosophy. He
confined himself to the barest necessities, and tried to make fun of
others who did not think as he, and who laughed at his ways. That he
threw away his cup when he saw a boy drinking out of his hands is well
known. To have no wants, said Diogenes, is divine; to have as few as
possible is to come nearest to the divine. He lived in all sorts of
places, in the streets of Athens, in the market in tubs; and he usually
resided and slept in Jupiter’s Stoa in Athens; he hence remarked that
the Athenians had built him a splendid place of residence.[171] Thus
the Cynics thought not only of dress, but also of other wants. But a
mode of life such as that followed by the Cynics, which professed to
be a result of culture, is really conditioned by the culture of the
mind. The Cynics were not anchorites; their consciousness was still
essentially related to other consciousness. Antisthenes and Diogenes
lived in Athens, and could only exist there. But in culture the mind
is also directed to the most manifold needs, and to the methods of
satisfying these. In more recent times the needs have much increased,
and hence a division of the general wants into many particular wants
and modes of satisfaction has arisen; this is the function of the
activity of the understanding, and in its application luxury has a
place. We may declaim against the morality of this, but in a State all
talents, natural inclinations and customs must have free scope and be
brought into exercise, and every individual may take what part he will,
only he must in the main make for the universal. Thus the chief point
is to place no greater value on such matters than what is demanded, or
generally, to place no importance either on possessing or dispensing
with them.

Of Diogenes we have only anecdotes to relate. In a voyage to Ægina he
fell into the hands of sea-robbers, and was to be sold as a slave in
Crete. Being asked what he understood, he replied, “To command men,”
and told the herald to call out, “Who will buy a ruler?” A certain
Xeniades of Corinth bought him, and he instructed his sons.

There are very many stories told of his residence in Athens. There he
presented a contrast in his rudeness and disdainfulness to Aristippus’
fawning philosophy. Aristippus set no value on his enjoyments any more
than on his wants, but Diogenes did so on his poverty. Diogenes was
once washing his greens when Aristippus passed by, and he called out,
“If you knew how to wash your greens yourself, you would not run after
kings.” Aristippus replied very aptly, “If you knew how to associate
with men, you would not wash greens.” In Plato’s house he once walked
on the beautiful carpets with muddy feet, saying, “I tread on the pride
of Plato.” “Yes, but with another pride,” replied Plato, as pointedly.
When Diogenes stood wet through with rain, and the bystanders pitied
him, Plato said, “If you wish to compassionate him, just go away. His
vanity is in showing himself off and exciting surprise; it is what
made him act in this way, and the reason would not exist if he were
left alone.” Once when he got a thrashing, as anecdotes often tell, he
laid a large plaster on his wounds, and wrote on it the names of those
who had struck him in order that they might be blamed of all. When
youths standing by him said, “We are afraid that you will bite us,” he
replied, “Don’t mind, a dog never eats turnips.” At a feast a guest
threw bones to him like a dog, and he went up to him and behaved to him
like a dog. He gave a good answer to a tyrant who asked him from what
metal statues should be cast: “From the metal from which the statues of
Harmodius and Aristogiton were cast.” He tried to eat raw meat, which
did not, however, agree with him; he could not digest it, and died at a
very great age, as he lived—in the streets.[172]


Antisthenes and Diogenes, as already mentioned, were men of great
culture. The succeeding Cynics are not any the less conspicuous by
their exceeding shamelessness, but they were, generally speaking,
nothing more than swinish beggars, who found their satisfaction in the
insolence which they showed to others. They are worthy of no further
consideration in Philosophy, and they deserve in its full the name of
dogs, which was early given to them; for the dog is a shameless animal.
Crates, of Thebes, and Hipparchia, a Cynic, celebrated their nuptials
in the public market.[173] This independence of which the Cynics
boasted, is really subjection, for while every other sphere of active
life contains the affirmative element of free intelligence, this means
the denying oneself the sphere in which the element of freedom can be


[1] Zur Philosophie und Geschichte. Pt. V. pp. 184—186. (Edition of
1828, in 12 vols.)

[2] S. Marheineke: “Lehrbuch des Christlichen Glaubens und Lebens.”
Berlin, 1823. § 133, 134.

[3] “_Meinung ist mein._”

[4] Cf. Hegels Werke, vol. VI. § 13, pp. 21, 22.

[5] Flatt: De Theismo Thaleti Milesio abjudicando. Tub. 1785. 4.

[6] Grundzüge des gegenwärtigen Zeitalters, pp. 211, 212; cf. Anweisung
zum Seligen Leben, pp. 178, 348.

[7] Sanchuniathonis Fragm. ed. Rich. Cumberland, Lond. 1720, 8; German
by J. P. Kassel, Magdeburg, 1755, 8, pp. 1-4.

[8] That is to say in the Lectures preceding these, delivered in the
Winter Session 1825—1826.

[9] Confucius, Sinarum philosophus, s. scientia Sinensis, latine
exposita studio et opera Prosperi Juonetta, Herdtrich, Rougemont,
Couplet, PP. S. J., Paris, 1687, fol.

[10] Mémoires concernant les Chinois (Paris, 1776, sqq.), Vol. II., pp.
1-361. Antiquité des Chinois, par le Père Amiot, pp. 20, 54, &c.

[11] Die Philosophie im Fortgang der Weltgeschichte, Vol. I., p. 157.

[12] Cf. Windischmann, ibid., p. 125.

[13] Mémoire sur la vie et les opinions de Lao-Tseu, par Abel Rémusat
(Paris, 1823), p. 18 sqq.; Extrait d’une lettre de Mr. Amiot, 16
Octobre, 1787, de Peking (Mémoires concernant les Chinois, T. xv.), p.
208, sqq.

[14] Dr. Legge states in “The Religions of China” that Tâo was not
the name of a person, but of a concept or idea. Of the English
terms most suitable for it, he suggests the Way in the sense of
Method.—[Translator’s note.]

[15] Abel Rémusat, l.c. p. 31, seq.; Lettre sur les caractères des
Chinois (Mémoires concernant les Chinois, Tome 1) p. 299, seq.

[16] Rémusat thought that he discovered in these three syllables the
word Jehovah.—[Translator’s note.]

[17] Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and
Ireland, Vol. I., Part I. London, 1824, pp. 19-43. (II., on the
Philosophy of the Hindus, Part I., by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, read
June 21, 1823).

[18] Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. i., Part I., pp.
92—118. (VII. Essay on the Philosophy of the Hindus, Part II., by Henry
Thomas Colebrooke.)

[19] Brucker, Hist. Phil. T. I. p. 460; Plutarch, De plac. phil. I. 3.

[20] Herod. II. 20; Senec. Quæst. natur. IV. 2; Diog. Laert. I. 37.

[21] Diog. Laert. 1. § 34, et Menag. ad. h. 1.

[22] Cf. Ritter: Geschichte der Ionischen Philosophie, p. 15.

[23] Plutarch, De plac. phil. I. 3; Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I. 10.
Aristot. Phys. III. 4.

[24] Cf. Aristot. Phys. I. 4.

[25] Simplicius ad Arist. Phys. (I. 2), p. 5, 6.

[26] Stobæi Eclog. Physic. c. 11., p. 294, ed. Heeren.

[27] Simplicius ad Phys. Arist. p. 6, b.

[28] Cf. Plutarch Quæst. convival. VIII. 8.

[29] Diog. Laert. I. 119; Menagius ad h. 1.

[30] In irrisione gentilium, c. 12 (citante Fabricio ad Sext. Emp. Hyp.
Pyrrh. III. 4, § 30).

[31] Cf. Porphyr. De vita Pythag., §§ 14, 15; et Ritterhus, ad. h. I.

[32] Cf. Porphyr. De vita Pyth. 6, Iamblich. De vita Pyth. XXIX. 158.

[33] Diog. Laert. I. 12; VIII. 8; Iamblich. VIII. 44; XII. 58.

[34] Porphyr. De vita Pyth. 25, 21, 22; Iamblich. De vita Pyth. 36;
VII. 33, 34; XXXII. 220-222.

[35] Diog. Laert. VIII. 11, Porphyr., 18-20; Iamblich. II. 9, 10, XXIV.
108, 109; Menag. et Casaub. ad Diog. Laert. VIII. 19.

[36] Porphyr. 37; Iamblich. XVII. 71-74; XVIII. 80-82; XXVIII. 150; XX.
94, 95; Diog. Laert. VIII. 10.

[37] Iamblich. XXI. 100; XXIX. 165; Diog. Laert. VIII. 22; Porphyr. 40.

[38] Porphyr. 32-34; Iamblich. XXIX. 163, 164; XX. 96; XXI. 97; XXIV.
107; Diog. Laert. VIII. 19, 21, 39.

[39] Diog. Laert., VIII. 39, 40; Iamblich. XXXV. 248-264; Porphyrius,
54-59; Anonym. De vita Pyth. (apud Photium), 2.

[40] Cf. Platon. Timæum, p. 20, Steph. (p. 8, ed. Bekk.).

[41] Sext. Pyrrh. Hyp. III. 18, § 152; adv. Math. X. § 250, 251.

[42] Mathem. c. 5, p. 30, ed. Bullialdi: cf. Aristoxen. ap. Stob. Ecl.
Phys. 2, p. 16.

[43] Gnomicorum poetarum opera: Vol. I. Pythagoreorum aureum carmen,
ed. Glandorf Fragm. I. v. 45-48; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. IV. § 2, et
Fabric. ad h. 1.

[44] Burney points out the fallacy of this statement in his History of
Music. [Translator’s note.]

[45] Sext. Empiricus Pyrrh. Hyp. III. 18, § 155; adv. Math. IV. §§ 6,
7; VII. §§ 95-97; X. § 283.

[46] Diog. Laert. VIII. §§ 4, 5, 14; Porphyrius, §§ 26, 27; Iamblichus,
c. XIV. § 63. (Homer’s Iliad XVI. v. 806-808; XVII. v. 45, seq.).

[47] Gnomicorum poëtarum opera, Vol. I. Pyth. aureum carmen, ed.
Glandorf. Fragm. I. v. 1-4.

[48] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. 33, § 225; Simpl. ad Phys. Arist. pp.
5, 6; Plut. de plac. philos. II. 4.

[49] That Xenophanes is here meant is shown from the titles of the
collected Becker manuscripts, as also from comparing this passage with
the verses remaining to us, which are by Xenophanes, though they were
earlier ascribed to Zeno; this was done by Hegel when he did not, as
in many lectures, take the Eleatic passages together. The editor found
a justification in this for placing the passage in its proper place.
[Note by editor.]

[50] Adv. Math. VII. 47-52; 110, 111; VIII. 326; Pyrrh. Hyp. II. 4, §

[51] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. X. 313, 314; Simplic. in Phys. Arist., p.

[52] Platon. Theaet. p. 183. Steph. (p. 263, ed. Bekk.); Sophist, p.
217 (p. 127).

[53] Diog. Laert. IX. 23; et Casaubonus ad. h. 1.

[54] Plutarch, De plac. phil. II. 7; Euseb. XV. 38; Stob. Ecl. Phys. c.
23, p. 482-484; Simplicius in Arist. Phys. p. 9 a, 7 b; Arist. Met. I.
4; Brandis Comment. Eleat. p. 162.

[55] De Sensu, p. 1, ed. Steph. 1557 (citante Fülleborn, p. 92).

[56] This obscure clause has been differently interpreted. Dr.
Hutchison Stirling, in his annotations on Schwegler’s “History
of Philosophy,” says: “Zeller accepts (and Hegel, by quoting and
translating the whole passage, already countenanced him in advance) the
equivalent of Theophrastus for _τὸ πλέον, τὸ ὑπέρβαλλον_ namely, and
interprets the clause itself thus:—‘The preponderating element of the
two is thought occasions and determines the ideas;’ that is as is the
preponderating element (the warm or the cold) so is the state of mind.
In short, _the more is the thought_ is the linguistic equivalent of the
time for _according to the more is the thought_.” [Translator’s note.]

[57] As a matter of fact, since a comparison of this reasoning with
the fragments of Melissus which Simplicius (in Arist. Physica and De
Cœlo) has retained, places this conjecture beyond doubt, the editor is
constrained to place it here, although Hegel, when he dealt with the
Eleatics separately, put it under the heading of Xenophanes. [Note by

[58] Cf. Plat. Parmenid. pp. 126, 127, Steph. (pp. 3—5 Bekk.).

[59] Diog. Laert. IX. 26, 27, et Menag. ad h. 1. Valer. Max. III. 3
ext. 2, 3.

[60] Diog. Laert. VI. 39, Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. III. 8, § 66.

[61] Plat. Cratyl. p. 402, Steph. (p. 42, Bekk.); Aristot. Met. I. 6,
XIII. 4.

[62] Johannes Philoponus ad Aristot. de Anima (I. 2) fol. 4 a.

[63] Clemens Alex.: Stromata V. 14, p. 712, ed. Pott. (cit. Steph.
Poës. phil. p. 131).

[64] Cf. Stobaei Ecl. Phys. 22, p. 454.

[65] Diog. Laërt. IX. 7; Simplic. ad Arist. Phys. p. 6; Stob. Eclog.
Phys. c. 3, p. 58-60.

[66] Plutarch. de plac. phil. I. 28.

[67] Heraclides; Allegoriæ Homericæ, pp. 442, 443, ed. Gale.

[68] In writing of them Hegel very seldom separates these two
philosophers, though he does so in the Jena edition.

[69] See Hegel’s “Werke,” Vol. III. p 181, et seq.

[70] Ib. p. 112.

[71] Plutarch, de plac. phil. I., 26; Stobæi Ecl. Phys. 20, p. 394.
(Tennemann, Vol. I. p. 278.)

[72] Empedocles Agrigentinus. De vita et philosophia ejus exposuit,
carminum reliquias ex antiquis scriptoribus collegit, recensuit,
illustravit, præfationem et indices adjecit Magister Frid. Guil. Sturz,
Lipsiæ, 1805.

[73] Empedoclis et Parmenidis fragmenta, &c., restituta et illustrata
ab Amadeo Peyron.

[74] Cf. Plat. Parmenid. p. 127 (p. 4).

[75] Metaph. I. 3 and 8; De gener. et corrupt. I. 1.

[76] Adv. Math. VII. 120; IX. 10; X. 317.

[77] Arist. De anim. I. 2; Fabricius ad Sext. adv. Math. VII. 92, p.
389, not. T; Sextus adv. Math. I. 303; VII. 121.

[78] Hegel certainly used in his lectures, to follow the usual
order, and treat Empedocles before the Atomists. But since, in the
course of his treatment of them, he always connected the Atomists
with the Eleatics and Heraclitus, and took Empedocles, in so far as
he anticipated design, as the forerunner of Anaxagoras, the present
transposition is sufficiently justified. If we further consider that
Empedocles swayed to and fro between the One of Heraclitus and the
Many of Leucippus, without, like them, adhering to either of these
one-sided determinations, it is clear that both moments are assumptions
through whose variations he opened a way for the Anaxagorean conception
of end, which, by comprehending them, is the essential unity from
which proceeds the manifold of phenomena, as from their immanent
source.—[Note by Editor.]

[79] Anaxagoræ Clazomenii fragmenta, quæ supersunt omnia, edita ab E.
Schaubach, Lipsiæ, 1827.

[80] Plin. Hist. Nat. VII. 53; Brucker, T. I. pp. 493, 494, not.

[81] Diog. Laert. II. 16; Plutarch in Lysandro, 12.

[82] Diog. Laert. II., 12-14; Plutarch, in Pericle, c. 32.

[83] Cf. Aristot. Phys. VIII. 5; Met. XII. 10.

[84] Cf. Sext. Empiric. Hypotyp Pyrrh. III. 4, § 33.

[85] Diog. Laert. II. 6; Sext. Emp. adv. Math. IX. 6; Arist. Phys.
VIII. 1.

[86] Platonis Protagoras, pp. 310-314, Steph. (pp. 151-159, Bekk.).

[87] Plat. Protag., pp. 314-317 (pp. 159-164).

[88] Plat. Protag. pp. 318-320 (pp. 166-170).

[89] Plat. Protag. pp. 320-323 (pp. 170-176).

[90] Ibid. pp. 323, 324 (pp. 176-178).

[91] Plat. Protag. pp. 324-328 (pp. 178-184.)

[92] Plat. Meno., p. 91 (p. 371).

[93] Plat. Gorg. pp. 452 et 457 (pp. 15 et 24).

[94] Plat. Euthydem. pp. 283, 284 (pp. 416-418).

[95] Ibid. p. 298 (p. 446).

[96] Xenoph. Memorab. II. c. 1, § 21 _seq._

[97] Diog. Laert. IX. 50.

[98] Ibid. 54.

[99] Plat. Protag. p. 338 fin. (p. 204).

[100] Plutarch in Pericle, c. 36.

[101] Diog. Laërt. IX. 51, 52; 55, 56 (Sext. Empir. adv. Math. IX. 56).

[102] Plat. Theætet. p. 152 (p. 195); Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I, c. 32,
§ 216.

[103] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 388, 60; Plat. Theætet. p. 152. (p.

[104] Plat. Theætet. p. 154 (p. 201).

[105] Plat. Theæt. pp. 153, 154 (pp. 199, 200); pp. 156, 157 (pp.
204-206); pp. 158-160 (pp. 208-213).

[106] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 32, §§ 217-219.

[107] Diodorus Siculus: XII. p. 106 (ed. Wesseling).

[108] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 66.

[109] Ibid. 67.

[110] Aristotel. de Xenophane, Zenone et Gorgia, c. 5.

[111] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 68-70.

[112] Ibid. 71.

[113] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 73, 74.

[114] Ibid. 75, 76.

[115] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 77-80.

[116] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 83, 84.

[117] The distinction between these two words is a very important
one. Schwegler, in explaining Hegel’s position in his “History of
Philosophy,” states that Hegel asserts that Socrates set _Moralität_,
the subjective morality of individual conscience, in the place of
_Sittlichkeit_, “the spontaneous, natural, half-unconscious (almost
instinctive) virtue that rests in obedience to established custom
(use and wont, natural objective law, that is at bottom, according to
Hegel, rational, though not yet subjectively cleared, perhaps, into
its rational principles).” As Dr. Stirling says in his Annotations
to the same work (p. 394), “There is a period in the history of the
State when people live in tradition; that is a period of unreflected
_Sittlichkeit_, or natural observance. Then there comes a time when the
observances are questioned, and when the right or truth they involve
is reflected into the subject. This is a period of Aufklärung, and for
_Sittlichkeit_ there is substituted _Moralität_, subjective morality:
the subject will approve nought but what he finds inwardly true to
himself, to his conscience.”—[TRANSLATOR’S NOTE.]

[118] Diog. Laert. II, 44 (cf. Menag. ad h. 1); 18-20, 22.

[119] Diog. Laert. II. 22, 23; Plat. Apol. Socr. p. 28 (p. 113).

[120] Diog. Laert. II. 24; Xenoph. Memorab. I. c. 1, § 18; Plat. Apol.
Socrat. p. 32 (pp. 120-122); Epist. VII. pp. 324, 325 (p. 429).

[121] Plat. Convivium, pp. 212, 176, 213, 214, 223 (pp. 447, 376-378,
449, 450, 468, 469).

[122] Xenoph. Memorab. I. c. 1, § 10.

[123] Xenoph. Memorab. I. c. 1, § 11-16; Aristot. Metaph. I. 6.

[124] Aristot. Metaph. XIII. 4

[125] From the Lectures of the winter 1825-1826.—(NOTE BY EDITOR.)

[126] Platonis Theætetus, p. 210 (p. 322).

[127] Plat. Protag. p. 349 (pp. 224, 225); pp. 360, 361 (pp. 245-247).

[128] Xenoph. Memorab. IV. c. 2, §§ 11-17.

[129] Xenoph. Memorab. IV. c. 1, § 1; c. 2, § 40.

[130] Cf. Xenoph. Memorab. I. c. 2, §§ 12-16, sqq.

[131] Herodot. IX. 33, seq.

[132] Xenoph. Apologia Socrat. § 10; Memorab. I. c. 1, § 1 Plat.
Apologia Socrat. p. 24 (p. 104).

[133] Apologia Socrat. §§ 11—13; Memorab. I. c. 1, §§ 2—6; 19.

[134] Plat. Apol. Socrat. p. 26 (108, 109).

[135] Apologia Socrat. § 14 (cf. Memorab. I. c. 1, § 17).

[136] Plato. Apol. Socrat. p. 21 (p. 97).

[137] Xenoph. Apol. Socrat. § 14.

[138] Xenoph. Apol. Socrat. §§ 16—19; Memorab. I. c. 2, §§ 1—8.

[139] Xenoph. Apol. Socrat. § 20; cf. Memorab. I. c. 2, § 49 seq.

[140] Xenoph. Apol. Socrat. §§ 20, 21; Memorab. I. c. 2, §§ 51—55;
Plat. Apol. Socrat. pp. 24—26 (pp. 103—107).

[141] Meier und Schömann: Der Attische Process, pp. 173-177.

[142] Diog. Laërt. II. 106.

[143] Diog. Laërt. VI. 24.

[144] Cicer. Acad. Quæst. II. 42.

[145] Menag. ad Diog. Laërt. II. 106; Aul. Gellius: Noct. Atticæ, VI.

[146] Plutarch. de fraterno amore, p. 489, D. (ed. Xyl.); Stobæi
Sermones: LXXXIV. 15 (T. III. p. 160, ed. Gaisford); Brucker. Hist.
Crit. Philos. T. I. p. 611.

[147] Diog. Laërt. II. 106.

[148] Diog. Laërt. II. 108.

[149] Diog. Laërt. II. 109.

[150] Diog. Laërt. II. 111, 112.

[151] Diog. Laërt. II. 108; Cicero, Acad. Quæst. IV. 29; De divinat.
II. 4.

[152] Diog. Laërt. VII. 196.

[153] Athenæus IX. p. 401 (ed. Casaubon, 1597); Suidas, s. v. Φιλητᾶς,
T. III. p. 600; Menag. ad Diog. Laërt. II. 108.

[154] Diog. Laërt. II. 135.

[155] Diog. Laërt. II. 108; Bruckeri Hist. Crit. Phil. T. I. p. 613.

[156] Diog. Laërt. II. 108; Cicer. Acad. Quæst. IV. 29; Bruck. Hist.
Crit. Philos. T. I. p. 614, not. s.

[157] Aristoteles: De Soph. Elench. c. 14; Buhle ad h. 1. argumentum,
p. 512.

[158] Diog. Laërt. II. 113, 115, 119.

[159] Plutarch, advers. Coloten. c. 22, 23, pp. 1119, 1120, ed. Xyl.
pp. 174-176, Vol. XIV. ed. Hutten.

[160] Diog. Laërt. II. 65; Tennemann, Vol. II. p. 103: Bruck. Hist.
Crit. Philos. T. I. p. 584, seq.

[161] Diog. Laërt. II. 66, 67, 72, 77 (Horat. Serm. II. 3, v. 101),

[162] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 191, 199, 200.

[163] Diog. Laërt. II. 97, 98 (101, 102).

[164] Diog. Laërt. II. 93-95.

[165] Cic. Tusc. Quest. I. 34; Val. Max. VIII. 9.

[166] Diog. Laërt. II. 96, 97.

[167] Diog. Laërt. VI. 13, 1, 2, 15-18.

[168] Diog. Laërt. VI. 11, 12 (104).

[169] Diog. Laërt. VI. 13, 6, 22, 37; Tennemann, Vol. II. p. 89.

[170] Diog. Laërt. VI. 8; II. 36.

[171] Diog. Laërt. VI. 74, 61, 37, 105, 22.

[172] Diog. Laërt. VI. 29, 30 (74); II. 68; VI. 26, 41, 33, 45, 46, 50,
76, 77 (34).

[173] Diog. Laërt. VI. 85, 96, 97.

                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

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