By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume Two (of 3)
Author: Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume Two (of 3)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                        HEGEL’S LECTURES ON THE
                         HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

                              VOLUME TWO

                          Hegel’s Lectures on

                            THE HISTORY OF

                    _Translated from the German by_

                             E. S. HALDANE


                        FRANCES H. SIMSON, M.A.

                          _In three volumes_

                              VOLUME TWO


                      ROUTLEDGE & KEGAN PAUL LTD
                   Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane
                             London, E.C.4

                   _First published in England 1894
               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_






  A. The Philosophy of Plato                     1

      1. Dialectic                              49

      2. Philosophy of Nature                   71

      3. Philosophy of Mind                     90

  B. The Philosophy of Aristotle               117

      1. Metaphysics                           137

      2. Philosophy of Nature                  153

      3. Philosophy of Mind                    180

          _a._ Psychology                      180

          _b._ Practical Philosophy            202

              α. Ethic                         202

              β. Politics                      207

      4. Logic                                 210



  A. The Philosophy of the Stoics              236

      1. Physics                               243

      2. Logic                                 249

      3. Ethics                                257

  B. The Philosophy of the Epicureans          276

      1. Canonic                               281

      2. Metaphysics                           286

      3. Physics                               292

      4. Ethics                                300

  C. The Philosophy of the New Academy         311

      1. Arcesilaus                            313

      2. Carneades                             319

  D. Scepticism                                328

      1. Earlier Tropes                        347

      2. Later Tropes                          357



  A. Philo                                     387

  B. The Cabala and Gnosticism                 394

      1. Cabalistic Philosophy                 394

      2. The Gnostics                          396

  C. The Alexandrian Philosophy                399

      1. Ammonias Saccas                       403

      2. Plotinus                              404

      3. Porphyry and Iamblichus               431

      4. Proclus                               432

      5. Successors of Proclus                 450



THE development of philosophic science as science, and, further, the
progress from the Socratic point of view to the scientific, begins with
Plato and is completed by Aristotle. They of all others deserve to be
called teachers of the human race.


Plato, who must be numbered among the Socratics, was the most renowned
of the friends and disciples of Socrates, and he it was who grasped
in all its truth Socrates’ great principle that ultimate reality
lies in consciousness, since, according to him, the absolute is in
thought, and all reality is Thought. He does not understand by this
a one-sided thought, nor what is understood by the false idealism
which makes thought once more step aside and contemplate itself as
conscious thought, and as in opposition to reality; it is the thought
which embraces in an absolute unity reality as well as thinking, the
Notion and its reality in the movement of science, as the Idea of a
scientific whole. While Socrates had comprehended the thought which
is existent in and for itself, only as an object for self-conscious
will, Plato forsook this narrow point of view, and brought the merely
abstract right of self-conscious thought, which Socrates had raised
to a principle, into the sphere of science. By so doing he rendered it
possible to interpret and apply the principle, though his manner of
representation may not be altogether scientific.

Plato is one of those world-famed individuals, his philosophy one
of those world-renowned creations, whose influence, as regards the
culture and development of the mind, has from its commencement down
to the present time been all-important. For what is peculiar in
the philosophy of Plato is its application to the intellectual and
supersensuous world, and its elevation of consciousness into the realm
of spirit. Thus the spiritual element which belongs to thought obtains
in this form an importance for consciousness, and is brought into
consciousness; just as, on the other hand, consciousness obtains a
foothold on the soil of the other. The Christian religion has certainly
adopted the lofty principle that man’s inner and spiritual nature
is his true nature, and takes it as its universal principle, though
interpreting it in its own way as man’s inclination for holiness;
but Plato and his philosophy had the greatest share in obtaining for
Christianity its rational organization, and in bringing it into the
kingdom of the supernatural, for it was Plato who made the first
advance in this direction.

We must begin by mentioning the facts of Plato’s life. Plato was an
Athenian, born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad, or, according to
Dodwell, Ol. 87, 4 (B.C. 429), at the beginning of the Peloponnesian
war, in the year in which Pericles died. He was, according to this,
thirty-nine or forty years younger than Socrates. His father, Ariston,
traced his lineage from Cadrus; his mother, Perictione, was descended
from Solon. The paternal uncle of his mother was the celebrated
Critias, who was for a time among the associates of Socrates, and
who was the most talented and brilliant, but also the most dangerous
and obnoxious, of the Thirty Tyrants of Athens (_supra_, Vol. I. p.
421). Critias is usually represented by the ancients as an atheist,
with the Cyrenaic Theodoras and Diagoras of Melos; Sextus Empiricus
(adv. Math. IX. 51-54) has preserved to us a fine fragment from one
of his poems. Sprung from this noble race, and with no lack of means
for his culture, Plato received from the most highly esteemed of the
Sophists an education in all the arts which were then thought to befit
an Athenian. In his family he was called Aristocles; it was only later
that he received from his teacher the name of Plato. Some say that he
was so styled because of the breadth of his forehead; others, because
of the richness and breadth of his discourse; others again, because of
his well-built form.[1]

In his youth he cultivated poetry, and wrote tragedies—very much like
young poets in our day—also dithyrambs and songs. Various specimens of
the last are still preserved to us in the Greek anthology, and have as
subject his various loves; we have amongst others a well-known epigram
on a certain Aster, one of his best friends, which contains a pretty
fancy, found also in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

  “To the stars thou look’st, mine Aster,
    O would that I were Heaven,
  With eyes so many thus to gaze on thee.”[2]

In his youth he had every intention of devoting himself to politics.
He was brought by his father to Socrates when in his twentieth year,
and enjoyed intimate friendship with him for eight years. It is related
that Socrates dreamt on the preceding night that he had a young swan
perched on his knees, whose wings quickly developed, and which then
flew up to heaven, singing the sweetest songs. Many such incidents are
mentioned by the ancients, and they bear witness to the deep reverence
and love with which both contemporaries and those of later times
regarded the calm dignity of Plato, and that loftiness of demeanour
which he combined with extreme simplicity and lovableness, traits of
character which won for him the name of “the divine.” Plato did not
content himself with the society and wisdom of Socrates, but studied
in addition the older philosophers, particularly Heraclitus. Aristotle
(Met. I. 6) states that Plato, before he ever came to Socrates,
associated with Cratylus, and had been initiated into the doctrines of
Heraclitus. He also studied the Eleatics, and very particularly the
Pythagoreans, and he frequented the society of the most noted Sophists.
Thus deeply immersed in Philosophy, he lost his interest in poetry and
politics, and gave them up altogether, that he might devote himself
entirely to scientific pursuits. He fulfilled, like Socrates, his term
of military service as an Athenian citizen, and is said to have taken
part in three campaigns.[3]

We have already mentioned (Vol. I. p. 448) that, after Socrates
was put to death, Plato, like many other philosophers, fled from
Athens, and betook himself to Euclides at Megara. Leaving Megara
before long, he travelled first to Cyrene in Africa, where he turned
his attention specially to mathematics, under the guidance of the
celebrated mathematician Theodoras, whom he introduces as taking part
in several of his dialogues. Plato himself soon attained to high
proficiency in mathematics. To him is attributed the solution of the
Delian or Delphic problem, which was proposed by the oracle, and,
like the Pythagorean dogma, has reference to the cube. The problem
is, to draw a line the cube of which will be equal to the sum of two
given cubes. This requires a construction through two curves. The
nature of the tasks then set by the oracles is very curious; on this
particular occasion application had been made to the oracle in a time
of pestilence, and it responded by proposing an entirely scientific
problem; the change indicated in the spirit of the oracle is highly
significant. From Cyrene Plato went to Italy and Egypt. In Magna Græcia
he made the acquaintance of the Pythagoreans of that day, Archytas of
Tarentum, the celebrated mathematician, Philolaus and others; and he
also bought the writings of the older Pythagoreans at a high price.
In Sicily he made friends with Dion. Returning to Athens, he opened
a school of Philosophy in the Academy, a grove or promenade in which
stood a gymnasium, and there he discoursed to his disciples.[4] This
pleasure-ground had been laid out in honour of the hero Academus,
but Plato was the true hero of the Academy who did away with the old
significance of the name, and overshadowed the fame of the original
hero, whose place he so completely took that the latter comes down to
after ages only as connected with Plato.

Plato’s busy life in Athens was twice interrupted by a journey to
Sicily, to the Court of Dionysius the younger, ruler of Syracuse and
Sicily. This connection with Dionysius was the most important, if not
the only external relation into which Plato entered; it had, however,
no lasting result. Dion, the nearest relative of Dionysius, and other
respected Syracusans, his friends, deluded themselves with vain hopes
regarding Dionysius. He had been allowed by his father to grow up
almost without education, but his friends had instilled into him some
notion of and respect for Philosophy, and had roused in him a desire to
make acquaintance with Plato. They hoped that Dionysius would profit
greatly by his intimacy with Plato, and that his character, which was
still unformed, and to all appearance far from unpromising, would be so
influenced by Plato’s idea of the constitution of a true state, that
this might, through him, come to be realized in Sicily. It was partly
his friendship with Dion, and partly and more especially the high
hopes he himself cherished of seeing a true form of government actually
established by Dionysius, that induced Plato to take the mistaken step
of journeying to Sicily. On the surface it seems an excellent idea
that a young prince should have a wise man at his elbow to instruct
and inspire him; and on this idea a hundred political romances have
been based; the picture has, however, no reality behind it. Dionysius
was much pleased with Plato, it is true, and conceived such a respect
for him that he desired to be respected by him in turn; but this did
not last long. Dionysius was one of those mediocre natures who may
indeed in a half-hearted way aspire to glory and honour, but are
capable of no depth and earnestness, however much they may affect it,
and who lack all strength of character. His intentions were good, but
the power failed him to carry them out; it was like our own satirical
representations in the theatre, of a person who aspires to be quite
a paragon, and turns out an utter fool. The position of affairs
represented thereby can be nothing but this, seeing that lack of
energy alone allows itself to be guided; but it is also the same lack
of energy which renders impossible of execution even a plan made by
itself. The rupture between Plato and Dionysius took place on personal
grounds. Dionysius fell out with his relative Dion, and Plato became
involved in the quarrel, because he would not give up his friendship
with Dion. Dionysius was incapable of a friendship based on esteem and
sympathy in pursuits; it was partly his personal inclination to Plato,
and partly mere vanity, which had made him seek the philosopher’s
friendship. Dionysius could not, however, induce Plato to come under
any obligation to him; he desired that Plato should give himself up to
him entirely, but this was a demand that Plato refused to entertain.[5]

Plato accordingly took his departure. After the separation, however,
both felt the desire to be again together. Dionysius recalled Plato,
in order to effect a reconciliation with him; he could not endure
that he should have failed in the attempt to attach Plato permanently
to himself, and he found it specially intolerable that Plato would
not give up Dion. Plato yielded to the urgent representations,
not only of his family and Dion, but also of Archytas and other
Pythagoreans of Tarentum, to whom Dionysius had applied, and who were
taking an interest in the reconciliation of Dionysius with Dion and
Plato; indeed, they went so far as to guarantee safety and liberty
of departure to Plato. But Dionysius found that he could endure
Plato’s presence no better than his absence; he felt himself thereby
constrained. And though, by the influence of Plato and his other
companions, a respect for science had been awakened in Dionysius,
and he had thus become more cultured, he never penetrated beyond the
surface. His interest in Philosophy was just as superficial as his
repeated attempts in poetry; and while he wished to be everything—poet,
philosopher, and statesman—he would not submit to be under the
guidance of others. Thus no closer tie between Plato and Dionysius
was formed; they drew together again, and again parted, so that the
third visit to Sicily ended also in coldness, and the connection was
not again established. This time the ill-feeling with regard to the
continued relations with Dion ran so high, that when Plato wished to
leave Sicily, on account of the treatment his friend had met with from
Dionysius, the latter deprived him of the means of conveyance, and
at last would have forcibly prevented his departure from Sicily. The
Pythagoreans of Tarentum came at length to the rescue,[6] demanded
Plato back from Dionysius, got him conveyed away safely, and brought
him to Greece. They were aided by the circumstance that Dionysius was
afraid of an ill report being spread that he was not on good terms with
Plato.[7] Thus Plato’s hopes were shattered, and his dream of shaping
the constitution in accordance with the demands of his own philosophic
ideas, through the agency of Dionysius, proved vain.

At a later date, therefore, he actually refused to be the lawgiver of
other States, though they had made application to him for that very
purpose; amongst these applicants were the inhabitants of Cyrene and
the Arcadians. It was a time when many of the Greek States found their
constitutions unsatisfactory, and yet could not devise anything new.[8]
Now in the last thirty years[9] many constitutions have been drawn up,
and it would be no hard task for anyone having had much experience in
this work to frame another. But theorizing is not sufficient for a
constitution; it is not individuals who make it; it is something divine
and spiritual, which develops in history. So strong is this power
of the world-spirit that the thought of an individual is as nothing
against it; and when such thoughts do count for something, _i.e._
when they can be realized, they are then none other than the product
of this power of the universal spirit. The idea that Plato should
become lawgiver was not adapted for the times; Solon and Lycurgus
were lawgivers, but in Plato’s day such a thing was impracticable.
He declined any further compliance with the wishes of these States,
because they would not agree to the first condition which he imposed,
namely, the abolition of all private property,[10] a principle which
we shall deal with later, in considering Plato’s practical philosophy.
Honoured thus throughout the whole land, and especially in Athens,
Plato lived until the first year of the 108th Olympiad (B.C. 348); and
died on his birthday, at a wedding feast, in the eighty-first year of
his age.[11]

We have to speak, in the first place, of the direct mode in which
Plato’s philosophy has come down to us; it is to be found in those
of his writings which we possess; indubitably they are one of the
fairest gifts which fate has preserved from the ages that are gone.
His philosophy is not, however, properly speaking, presented there in
systematic form, and to construct it from such writings is difficult,
not so much from anything in itself, as because this philosophy has
been differently understood in different periods of time; and, more
than all, because it has been much and roughly handled in modern times
by those who have either read into it their own crude notions, being
enable to conceive the spiritual spiritually, or have regarded as the
essential and most significant element in Plato’s philosophy that which
in reality does not belong to Philosophy at all, but only to the mode
of presentation; in truth, however, it is only ignorance of Philosophy
that renders it difficult to grasp the philosophy of Plato. The form
and matter of these works are alike of interest and importance. In
studying them we must nevertheless make sure, in the first place, what
of Philosophy we mean to seek and may find within them, and, on the
other hand, what Plato’s point of view never can afford us, because
in his time it was not there to give. Thus it may be that the longing
with which we approached Philosophy is left quite unsatisfied; it is,
however, better that we should not be altogether satisfied than that
such conclusions should be regarded as final. Plato’s point of view is
clearly defined and necessary, but it is impossible for us to remain
there, or to go back to it; for Reason now makes higher demands. As for
regarding it as the highest standpoint, and that which we must take for
our own—it belongs to the weaknesses of our time not to be able to bear
the greatness, the immensity of the claims made by the human spirit,
to feel crushed before them, and to flee from them faint-hearted. We
must stand above Plato, _i.e._ we must acquaint ourselves with the
needs of thoughtful minds in our own time, or rather we must ourselves
experience these needs. Just as the pedagogue’s aim is to train up men
so as to shield them from the world, or to keep them in a particular
sphere—the counting-house, for instance, or bean-planting, if you wish
to be idyllic—where they will neither know the world nor be known
by it; so in Philosophy a return has been made to religious faith,
and therefore to the Platonic philosophy.[12] Both are moments which
have their due place and their own importance, but they are not the
philosophy of our time. It would be perfectly justifiable to return
to Plato in order to learn anew from him the Idea of speculative
Philosophy, but it is idle to speak of him with extravagant enthusiasm,
as if he represented beauty and excellence in general. Moreover, it is
quite superfluous for Philosophy, and belongs to the hypercriticism
of our times, to treat Plato from a literary point of view, as
Schleiermacher does, critically examining whether one or another of the
minor dialogues is genuine or not. Regarding the more important of the
dialogues, we may mention that the testimony of the ancients leaves not
the slightest doubt.

Then of course the very character of Plato’s works, offering us in
their manysidedness various modes of treating Philosophy, constitutes
the first difficulty standing in the way of a comprehension of his
philosophy. If we still had the oral discourses (ἄγραφα δόγματα) of
Plato, under the title “Concerning the Good” (περὶ τἀγαθοῦ), which his
scholars noted down, we should have had his philosophy before us in
simpler, because in more systematic form.[13] Aristotle seems to have
had these discourses before him, when dealing with the philosophy of
Plato, and he quotes them in his work “On Philosophy,” or, “On the
Ideas,” or, “On the Good” (Brandis has written on this topic). But,
as it happens, we have only Plato’s Dialogues, and their form renders
it all the more difficult for us to gather a definite idea of his
philosophy. For the dialogue form contains very heterogeneous elements;
Philosophy proper in the treatment of absolute Being, and, intermingled
with that, its particular mode of representation. It is just this which
constitutes the manysidedness of Plato’s works.

A second difficulty is said to lie in the distinction drawn between
exoteric and esoteric philosophy. Tennemann (Vol. II. p. 220) says:
“Plato exercised the right, which is conceded to every thinker, of
communicating only so much of his discoveries as he thought good, and
of so doing only to those whom he credited with capacity to receive it.
Aristotle, too, had an esoteric and an exoteric philosophy, but with
this difference, that in his case the distinction was merely formal,
while with Plato it was also material.” How nonsensical! This would
appear as if the philosopher kept possession of his thoughts in the
same way as of his external goods: the philosophic Idea is, however,
something utterly different, and instead of being possessed by, it
possesses a man. When philosophers discourse on philosophic subjects,
they follow of necessity the course of their ideas; they cannot keep
them in their pockets; and when one man speaks to another, if his
words have any meaning at all, they must contain the idea present
to him. It is easy enough to hand over an external possession, but
the communication of ideas requires a certain skill; there is always
something esoteric in this, something more than the merely exoteric.
This difficulty is therefore trifling.

Thirdly, as one of the circumstances that render it difficult to
comprehend Plato’s own speculative thought, we can scarcely reckon the
external consideration that in his Dialogues he does not speak in his
own person, but introduces Socrates and many others as the speakers,
without always making it plain which of them expresses the writer’s
own opinion. By reason of this historic circumstance, which seems
to bear out the manysidedness of Plato, it has of course been often
said, by ancients as well as moderns, that he merely expounded, from
a historical point of view, the system and doctrine of Socrates, that
he adapted much in the Dialogues from various Sophists, and avowedly
advanced many theorems belonging to an earlier date, especially those
of the Pythagoreans, Heraclitics, and Eleatics, even adopting, in
the last case, the Eleatic mode of treatment. Hence it was said that
to these philosophies the whole matter of the treatise belonged,
the outward form alone being Plato’s. It is therefore necessary to
distinguish what is peculiarly his and what is not, or whether the
component parts are in harmony. In the Socratic Dialogues that we have
from Cicero, the personages can be much more readily made out; but in
Cicero there is nothing of real interest offered to us. With Plato
there can be no talk of this ambiguity, and the difficulty is only in
appearance. In the Dialogues of Plato his philosophy is quite clearly
expressed; they are not constructed as are the conversations of some
people, which consist of many monologues, in which one person expresses
a certain opinion and another person differs from him, and both hold
to their own way of thinking. Here, on the contrary, the divergency
of opinions which comes out is examined, and a conclusion arrived at
as to the truth; or, if the result is negative, the whole process of
knowledge is what is seen in Plato. There is, therefore, no need to
inquire further as to what belongs to Socrates in the Dialogues, and
what belongs to Plato. This further observation we must, however, make,
that since Philosophy in its ultimate essence is one and the same,
every succeeding philosopher will and must take up into his own, all
philosophies that went before, and what falls specially to him is their
further development. Philosophy is not a thing apart, like a work of
art; though even in a work of art it is the skill which the artist
learns from others that he puts into practice. What is original in the
artist is his conception as a whole, and the intelligent use of the
means already at his command; there may occur to him in working an
endless variety of ideas and discoveries of his own. But Philosophy
has one thought, one reality, as its foundation; and nothing can be
put in the place of the true knowledge of this already attained; it
must of necessity make itself evident in later developments. Therefore,
as I have already observed (Vol. I. p. 166), Plato’s Dialogues are
not to be considered as if their aim were to put forward a variety of
philosophies, nor as if Plato’s were an eclectic philosophy derived
from them; it forms rather the knot in which these abstract and
one-sided principles have become truly united in a concrete fashion.
In giving a general idea of the history of Philosophy, we have already
seen (Vol. I. p. 54) that such points of union, in which the true is
concrete, must occur in the onward course of philosophical development.
The concrete is the unity of diverse determinations and principles;
these, in order to be perfected, in order to come definitely before
the consciousness, must first of all be presented separately. Thereby
they of course acquire an aspect of one-sidedness in comparison with
the higher principle which follows: this, nevertheless, does not
annihilate them, nor even leave them where they were, but takes them
up into itself as moments. Thus in Plato’s philosophy we see all
manner of philosophic teaching from earlier times absorbed into a
deeper principle, and therein united. It is in this way that Plato’s
philosophy shows itself to be a totality of ideas: therefore, as the
result, the principles of others are comprehended in itself. Frequently
Plato does nothing more than explain the doctrines of earlier
philosophers; and the only particular feature in his representation
of them is that their scope is extended. His Timæus is, by unanimous
testimony, the amplification of a still extant work of Pythagoras;[14]
and, in like manner, his amplification of the doctrine of Parmenides
is of such a nature that its principle is freed from its one-sided

These last two difficulties having been disposed of, if we would
likewise solve the first mentioned, we must proceed to describe the
form in which Plato has propounded his ideas, keeping it, on the other
hand, distinct from Philosophy proper, as we find it with him. The
form of the Platonic philosophy is, as is well known, the dialogue.
The beauty of this form is highly attractive; yet we must not think,
as many do, that it is the most perfect form in which to present
Philosophy; it is peculiar to Plato, and as a work of art is of course
to be much esteemed.

In the first place, scenery and dramatic form belong to what is
external. Plato gives to his Dialogues a setting of reality, both as
regards place and persons, and chooses out some particular occasion
which has brought his characters together; this in itself is very
natural and charming. Socrates takes the leading part, and among the
other actors there are many stars well known to us, such as Agathon,
Zeno, and Aristophanes. We find ourselves in some particular spot; in
the Phædrus (p. 229 Steph.; p. 6 Bekk.) it is at the plane tree beside
the clear waters of the Ilyssus, through which Socrates and Phædrus
pass; in other dialogues we are conducted to the halls of the gymnasia,
to the Academy, or to a banquet. By never allowing himself to appear
in person, but putting his thoughts always in the mouth of others, any
semblance of preaching or of dogmatizing is avoided by Plato, and the
narrator appears just as little as he does in the History of Thucydides
or in Homer. Xenophon sometimes brings himself forward, sometimes he
entirely loses sight of the aim he had in view, of vindicating by what
he tells of them the life of Socrates and his method of instruction.
With Plato, on the contrary, all is quite objective and plastic; and he
employs great art in removing from himself all responsibility for his
assertions, often assigning them even to a third or fourth person.

As regards the tone of the intercourse between the characters in these
Dialogues, we find that the noblest urbanity of well-bred men reigns
supreme; the Dialogues are a lesson in refinement; we see in them the
_savoir faire_ of a man acquainted with the world. The term courtesy
does not quite express urbanity; it is too wide, and includes the
additional notion of testifying respect, of expressing deference and
personal obligation; urbanity is true courtesy, and forms its real
basis. But urbanity makes a point of granting complete liberty to all
with whom we converse, both as regards the character and matter of
their opinions, and also the right of giving expression to the same.
Thus in our counter-statements and contradictions we make it evident
that what we have ourselves to say against the statement made by our
opponent is the mere expression of our subjective opinion; for this
is a conversation carried on by persons as persons, and not objective
reason talking with itself. However energetically we may then express
ourselves, we must always acknowledge that our opponent is also a
thinking person; just as one must not take to speaking with the air
of being an oracle, nor prevent anyone else from opening his mouth
in reply. This urbanity is, however, not forbearance, but rather
the highest degree of frankness and candour, and it is this very
characteristic which gives such gracefulness to Plato’s Dialogues.

Finally, this dialogue is not a conversation, in which what is said
has, and is meant to have, a merely casual connection, without any
exhaustive treatment of the subject. When one talks only for amusement,
the casual and arbitrary sequence of ideas is quite to be expected. In
the introduction, to be sure, the Dialogues of Plato have sometimes
this very character of being mere conversations, and consequently
appear to take an accidental form; for Socrates is made to take his
start from the particular conceptions of certain individuals, and from
the circle of their ideas (Vol. I. p. 397). Later, however, these
dialogues become a systematic development of the matter in hand,
wherein the subjective character of the conversation disappears,
and the whole course of the argument shows a beautifully consistent
dialectic process. Socrates talks, turns the conversation, lays down
his own views, draws a conclusion, and does all this through the
apparent instrumentality of the question; most questions are so framed
as to be answered by merely Yes or No. The dialogue seems to be the
form best adapted for representing an argument, because it sways hither
and thither; the different sides are allotted to different persons, and
thus the argument is made more animated. The dialogue has, however,
this disadvantage, that it seems to be carried on arbitrarily, so that
at the end the feeling always remains that the matter might have turned
out differently. But in the Platonic Dialogues this arbitrary character
is apparent only; it has been got rid of by limiting the development
to the development of the subject in hand, and by leaving very little
to be said by the second speaker. Such personages are, as we already
saw in connection with Socrates (Vol. I. p. 402), plastic personages
as regards the conversation; no one is put there to state his own
views, or, as the French express it, _pour placer son mot_. Just as
in the Catechism the answers are prescribed to the questions asked,
so is it in these dialogues, for they who answer have to say what the
author pleases. The question is so framed that a quite simple answer
is alone possible, and, thanks to the artistic beauty and power of the
dialogues, such an answer appears at the same time perfectly natural.

In the next place, there is connected with this outward aspect of
personality the circumstance that the Platonic philosophy does not
proclaim itself to be one particular field, where some one begins a
science of his own in a sphere of his own; for it sometimes enters
into the ordinary conceptions of culture, like those of Socrates,
sometimes into those of the Sophists, at other times into those of
earlier philosophers, and in so doing brings before us exemplifications
from ordinary knowledge, and also uses the methods of the same. A
systematic exposition of Philosophy we cannot in this way find; and of
course it is all the less easy for us to take a comprehensive view of
the subject, since there are at hand no means of judging whether the
treatment has been exhaustive or not. Nevertheless, there is present
there one spirit, one definite point of view as regards Philosophy,
even though Mind does not make its appearance in the precise form which
we demand. The philosophic culture of Plato, like the general culture
of his time, was not yet ripe for really scientific work; the Idea was
still too fresh and new; it was only in Aristotle that it attained to a
systematic scientific form of representation.

Connected with this deficiency in Plato’s mode of representation, there
is also a deficiency in respect of the concrete determination of the
Idea itself, since the various elements of the Platonic philosophy
which are represented in these dialogues, namely the merely popular
conceptions of Being and the apprehending knowledge of the same,
are really mixed up in a loose, popular way, so that the former
more especially come to be represented in a myth or parable; such
intermingling is inevitable in this beginning of science proper in its
true form. Plato’s lofty mind, which had a perception or conception
of Mind, penetrated through his subject with the speculative Notion,
but he only began to penetrate it thus, and he did not yet embrace
the whole of its reality in the Notion; or the knowledge which
appeared in Plato did not yet fully realize itself in him. Here it
therefore happens sometimes that the ordinary conception of reality
again separates itself from its Notion, and that the latter comes
into opposition with it, without any statement having been made that
the Notion alone constitutes reality. Thus we find Plato speaking of
God, and again, in the Notion, of the absolute reality of things, but
speaking of them as separated, or in a connection in which they both
appear separated; and God, as an uncomprehended existence, is made to
belong to the ordinary conception. Sometimes, in order to give greater
completeness and reality, in place of following out the Notion, mere
pictorial conceptions are introduced, myths, spontaneous imaginations
of his own, or tales derived from the sensuous conception, which no
doubt are determined by thought, but which this has never permeated in
truth, but only in such a way that the intellectual is determined by
the forms of ordinary conception. For instance, appearances of the body
or of nature, which are perceptible by the senses, are brought forward
along with thoughts regarding them, which do not nearly so completely
exhaust the subject as if it had been thoroughly thought out, and the
Notion allowed to pursue an independent course.

Looking at this as it bears on the question of how Plato’s philosophy
is to be apprehended, we find, owing to these two circumstances, that
either too much or too little is found in it. Too much is found by the
ancients, the so-called -, who sometimes dealt with Plato’s philosophy
as they dealt with the Greek mythology. This they allegorized and
represented as the expression of ideas—which the myths certainly
are—and in the same way they first raised the ideas in Plato’s myths
to the rank of theorems: for the merit of Philosophy consists alone in
the fact that truth is expressed in the form of the Notion. Sometimes,
again, they took what with Plato is in the form of the Notion for the
expression of Absolute Being—the theory of Being in the Parmenides, for
instance, for the knowledge of God—just as if Plato had not himself
drawn a distinction between them. But in the pure Notions of Plato the
ordinary conception as such is not abrogated; either it is not said
that these Notions constitute its reality, or they are to Plato no more
than a conception, and not reality. Again, we certainly see that too
little is found in Plato by the moderns in particular; for they attach
themselves pre-eminently to the side of the ordinary conception, and
see in it reality. What in Plato relates to the Notion, or what is
purely speculative, is nothing more in their eyes than roaming about
in abstract logical notions, or than empty subtleties: on the other
hand, they take that for theorem which was enunciated as a popular
conception. Thus we find in Tennemann (Vol. II. p. 376) and others an
obstinate determination to lead back the Platonic Philosophy to the
forms of our former metaphysic, _e.g._ to the proof of the existence of

However much, therefore, Plato’s mythical presentation of Philosophy is
praised, and however attractive it is in his Dialogues, it yet proves a
source of misapprehensions; and it is one of these misapprehensions, if
Plato’s myths are held to be what is most excellent in his philosophy.
Many propositions, it is true, are made more easily intelligible by
being presented in mythical form; nevertheless, what is not the true
way of presenting them; propositions are thoughts which, in order to
be pure, must be brought forward as such. The myth is always a mode
of representation which, as belonging to an earlier stage, introduces
sensuous images, which are directed to imagination, not to thought;
in this, however, the activity of thought is suspended, it cannot yet
establish itself by its own power, and so is not yet free. The myth
belongs to the pedagogic stage of the human race, since it entices and
allures men to occupy themselves with the content; but as it takes away
from the purity of thought through sensuous forms, it cannot express
the meaning of Thought. When the Notion attains its full development,
it has no more need of the myth. Plato often says that it is difficult
to express one’s thoughts on such and such a subject, and he therefore
will employ a myth; no doubt this is easier. Plato also says of simple
Notions that they are dependent, transitory moments, which have their
ultimate truth in God; and in this first mention of God by Plato, He is
made a mere conception. Thus the manner of conception and the genuinely
speculative element are confounded.

In order to gather Plato’s philosophy from his dialogues, what we have
to do is to distinguish what belongs to ordinary conception—especially
where Plato has recourse to myths for the presentation of a philosophic
idea—from the philosophic idea itself; only then do we know that what
belongs only to the ordinary conception, as such, does not belong to
thought, is not the essential. But if we do not recognize what is
Notion, or what is speculative, there is inevitably the danger of these
myths leading us to draw quite a host of maxims and theorems from the
dialogues, and to give them out as Plato’s philosophic propositions,
while they are really nothing of the kind, but belong entirely to
the manner of presentation. Thus, for instance, in the Timæus (p. 41
Steph.; p. 43 Bekk.) Plato makes use of the form, God created the
world, and the dæmons had a certain share in the work; this is spoken
quite after the manner of the popular conception. If, however, it is
taken as a philosophic dogma on Plato’s part that God made the world,
that higher beings of a spiritual kind exist, and, in the creation of
the world, lent God a helping hand, we may see that this stands word
for word in Plato, and yet it does not belong to his philosophy. When
in pictorial fashion he says of the soul of man that it has a rational
and an irrational part, this is to be taken only in a general sense;
Plato does not thereby make the philosophic assertion that the soul
is compounded of two kinds of substance, two kinds of thing. When he
represents knowledge or learning as a process of recollection, this
may be taken to mean that the soul existed before man’s birth. In
like manner, when he speaks of the central point of his philosophy,
of Ideas, of the Universal, as the permanently self-existent, as the
patterns of things sensible, we may easily be led to think of these
Ideas, after the manner of the modern categories of the understanding,
as substances which exist outside reality, in the Understanding of
God; or on their own account and as independent—like the angels, for
example. In short, all that is expressed in the manner of pictorial
conception is taken by the moderns in sober earnest for philosophy.
Such a representation of Plato’s philosophy can be supported by Plato’s
own words; but one who knows what Philosophy is, cares little for such
expressions, and recognizes what was Plato’s true meaning.

In the account of the Platonic philosophy to which I must now proceed,
the two cannot certainly be separated, but they must be noted and
judged of in a very different manner from that which has prevailed
amongst the moderns. We have, on the one hand, to make clear Plato’s
general conception of what Philosophy and Knowledge really are, and on
the other to develop the particular branches of Philosophy of which he

In considering his general conception of Philosophy, the first point
that strikes us is the high estimation in which Plato held Philosophy.
The lofty nature of the knowledge of Philosophy deeply impressed him,
and he shows a real enthusiasm for the thought which deals with the
absolute. Just as the Cyrenaics treat of the relation of the existent
to the individual consciousness, and the Cynics assert immediate
freedom to be reality, Plato upholds the self-mediating unity of
consciousness and reality, or knowledge. He everywhere expresses the
most exalted ideas regarding the value of Philosophy, as also the
deepest and strongest sense of the inferiority of all else; he speaks
of it with the greatest energy and enthusiasm, with all the pride of
science, and in a manner such as nowadays we should not venture to
adopt. There is in him none of the so-called modest attitude of this
science towards other spheres of knowledge, nor of man towards God.
Plato has a full consciousness of how near human reason is to God, and
indeed of its unity with Him. Men do not mind reading this in Plato, an
ancient, because it is no longer a present thing, but were it coming
from a modern philosopher, it would be taken much amiss. Philosophy
to Plato is man’s highest possible possession and true reality; it
alone has to be sought of man. Out of many passages on this subject I
shall quote in the first instance the following from the Timæus (p. 47
Steph.; p. 54 Bekk.): “Our knowledge of what is most excellent begins
with the eyes. The distinction between the visible day and the night,
the months and courses of the planets, have begotten a knowledge of
time, and awakened a desire to know the nature of the whole. From this
we then obtained Philosophy, and no greater gift than this, given by
God to man, has ever come or will come.”

The manner in which Plato expresses his opinions on this subject in
the Republic is very well known, as it is greatly decried, because
it so completely contradicts the common ideas of men, and it is all
the more surprising in that it concerns the relation of Philosophy
to the state, and therefore to actuality. For before this, though
a certain value might indeed be attributed to Philosophy, it still
remained confined to the thoughts of the individual; here, however,
it goes forth into questions of constitution, government, actuality.
After Plato made Socrates, in the Republic, expound the nature of a
true state, he caused Glaucon to interrupt by expressing his desire
that Plato should show how it could be possible for such a state to
exist. Socrates parries the question, will not come to the point,
seeks evasive pleas, and tries to extricate himself by asserting that
in describing what is just, he does not bind himself to show how it
might be realized in actuality, though some indication must certainly
be given of how an approximate, if not a complete realization of it
might be possible. Finally, when pressed, he says: “Then it shall
be expressed, even though a flood of laughter and utter disbelief
overwhelm me. When philosophers rule the states, or the so-called kings
and princes of the present time are truly and completely philosophers,
when thus political greatness and Philosophy meet in one, and the many
natures who now follow either side to the exclusion of the other, come
together, then, and not till then, can there be an end, dear Glaucon,
either to the evils of the state or, as I believe, to those of the
human race. Then only will this state of which I spoke be possible or
see the light of day.” “This,” adds Socrates, “is what I have so long
hesitated to say, because I know that it is so much opposed to ordinary
ideas.” Plato makes Glaucon answer, “Socrates, you have expressed what,
you must recollect, would cause many men, and not bad men either, to
pull off their coats and seize the first weapon that comes to hand, and
set upon you one and all with might and main; and if you don’t know how
to appease them with your reasons, you will have to answer for it.”[15]

Plato here plainly asserts the necessity for thus uniting Philosophy
with government. As to this demand, it may seem a piece of great
presumption to say that philosophers should have the government of
states accorded to them, for the territory or ground of history is
different from that of Philosophy. In history, the Idea, as the
absolute power, has certainly to realize itself; in other words,
God rules in the world. But history is the Idea working itself out
in a natural way, and not with the consciousness of the Idea. The
action is certainly in accordance with general reflections on what is
right, moral, and pleasing to God; but we must recognize that action
represents at the same time the endeavours of the subject as such for
particular ends. The realization of the Idea thus takes place through
an intermingling of thoughts and Notions with immediate and particular
ends. Hence it is only on the one side produced through thoughts, and
on the other through circumstances, through human actions in their
capacity of means. These means often seem opposed to the Idea, but that
does not really matter; all those particular ends are really only means
of bringing forth the Idea, because it is the absolute power. Hence the
Idea comes to pass in the world, and no difficulty is caused, but it is
not requisite that those who rule should have the Idea.

In order, however, to judge of the statement that the regents of
the people should be philosophers, we must certainty consider what
was understood by Philosophy in the Platonic sense and in the sense
of the times. The word Philosophy has had in different periods very
different significations. There was a time when a man who did not
believe in spectres or in the devil was called a philosopher. When
such ideas as these pass away, it does not occur to people to call
anyone a philosopher for a reason such as this. The English consider
what we call experimental physics to be Philosophy; a philosopher to
them is anyone who makes investigations in, and possesses a theoretic
knowledge of chemistry, mechanics, &c. (Vol. I. p. 57). In Plato
Philosophy becomes mingled with the knowledge of the supersensuous,
or what to us is religious knowledge. The Platonic philosophy is thus
the knowledge of the absolutely true and right, the knowledge of
universal ends in the state, and the recognition of their validity. In
all the history of the migration of the nations, when the Christian
religion became the universal religion, the only point of interest was
to conceive the supersensuous kingdom—which was at first independent,
absolutely universal and true—as actualized, and to determine actuality
in conformity thereto. This has been from that time forth the business
of culture. A state, a government and constitution of modern times
has hence quite a different basis from a state of ancient times, and
particularly from one of Plato’s day. The Greeks were then altogether
dissatisfied with their democratic constitution, and the conditions
resulting from it (_supra_, p. 8), and similarly all philosophers
condemned the democracies of the Greek states in which such things
as the punishment of generals (_supra_, Vol. I. p. 391) took place.
In such a constitution it might certainly be thought that what was
best for the state would be the first subject of consideration; but
arbitrariness prevailed, and this was only temporarily restrained by
preponderating individualities, or by masters in statesmanship like
Aristides, Themistocles, and others. This condition of matters preceded
the disintegration of the constitution. In our states, on the other
hand, the end of the state, what is best for all, is immanent and
efficacious in quite another way than was the case in olden times. The
condition of the laws and courts of justice, of the constitution and
spirit of the people, is so firmly established in itself that matters
of the passing moment alone remain to be decided; and it may even be
asked what, if anything, is dependent on the individual.

To us government means that in the actual state procedure will be in
accordance with the nature of the thing, and since a knowledge of the
Notion of the thing is requisite to this, actuality is brought into
harmony with the Notion, and thereby the Idea is realized in existence.
The result of this thus is that when Plato says that philosophers
should rule, he signifies the determination of the whole matter through
universal principles. This is realized much more in modern states,
because universal principles really form the bases—certainly not of
all, but of most of them. Some have already reached this stage, others
are striving to reach it, but all recognize that such principles must
constitute the real substance of administration and rule.

What Plato demands is thus, in point of fact, already present. But what
we call Philosophy, movement in pure thoughts, has to do with form, and
this is something peculiar to itself; nevertheless, the form is not
responsible if the universal, freedom, law, is not made a principle in
a state. Marcus Aurelius is an example of what a philosopher upon a
throne could effect; we have, however, only private actions to record
of him, and the Roman Empire was made no better by him. Frederick
II. was, on the other hand, justly called the philosopher king. He
occupied himself with the Wolffian metaphysics and French philosophy
and verses, and was thus, according to his times, a philosopher.
Philosophy appears to have been an affair of his own particular
inclination, and quite distinct from the fact that he was king. But he
was also a philosophic king in the sense that he made for himself an
entirely universal end, the well-being and good of the state, a guiding
principle in his actions and in all his regulations in respect to
treaties with other states, and to the rights of individuals at home;
these last he entirely subordinated to absolutely universal ends. If,
however, later on, procedure of this kind became ordinary custom, the
succeeding princes are no longer called philosophers, even if the same
principle is present to them, and the government, and especially the
institutions, are founded on it.

In the Republic, Plato further speaks in a figure of the difference
between a condition of philosophic culture and a lack of Philosophy:
it is a long comparison which is both striking and brilliant. The idea
which he makes use of is as follows:—“Let us think of an underground
den like a cave with a long entrance opening to the light. Its
inhabitants are chained so that they cannot move their necks, and can
see only the back of the cave. Far behind their backs a torch burns
above them. In the intervening space there is a raised way and also
a low wall; and behind this wall” (towards the light) “there are men
who carry and raise above it all manner of statues of men and animals
like puppets in a marionette show, sometimes talking to one another
meanwhile, and sometimes silent. Those who are chained would see only
the shadows which fall on the opposite wall, and they would take them
for reality; they would hear, moreover, by means of the echo, what
was said by those who moved the figures, and they would think that
it was the voice of the shadows. Now if one of the prisoners were
released, and compelled to turn his neck so as to see things as they
are, he would think that what he saw was an illusive dream, and that
the shadows were the reality. And if anyone were to take him out of
the prison into the light itself, he would be dazzled by the light and
could see nothing; and he would hate the person who brought him to the
light, as having taken away what was to him the truth, and prepared
only pain and evil in its place.”[16] This kind of myth is in harmony
with the character of the Platonic philosophy, in that it separates the
conception of the sensuous world present in men from the knowledge of
the supersensuous.

Since we now speak more fully of this matter, we must in the second
place consider the nature of knowledge according to Plato, and in so
doing commence our account of the Platonic philosophy itself.

a. Plato gave a more precise definition of philosophers as those
“who are eager to behold the truth.”—Glaucon: “That is quite right.
But how do you explain it?” Socrates: “I tell this not to everyone,
but you will agree with me in it.” “In what?” “In this, that as the
Beautiful is opposed to the Ugly, they are two things.” “Why not?”
“With the Just and the Unjust, the Good and the Evil, and every other
Idea (εἶδος) the case is the same, that each of them is by itself a
One; on the other hand, on account of its combination with actions and
bodies and other Ideas springing up on every side, each appears as a
Many.” “You are right.” “I distinguish now, according to this, between
the sight-loving, art-loving, busy class on the one side, and those
on the other side, of whom we were just speaking as alone entitled to
be called philosophers.” “What do you mean by that?” “I mean by that,
such as delight in seeing and hearing, who love beautiful voices, and
colours, and forms, and all that is composed thereof, while their
mind is still incapable of seeing and loving the Beautiful in its own
nature.” “Such is the case.” “Those, however, who have the power of
passing on to the Beautiful itself, and seeing what it is in itself
(καθ̓ αὐτό), are they not rare?” “They are indeed.” “He then who sees
that beautiful things are beautiful, but does not apprehend Beauty
itself, and cannot follow if another should seek to lead him to the
knowledge of the same,—think you that he lives his life awake, or in
a dream?” (That is to say, those who are not philosophers are like
men who dream.) “For look, is it not dreaming when one in sleep, or
even when awake, takes what merely resembles a certain thing to be not
something that resembles it, but the very thing that it is like?” “I
should certainly say of such an one that he was dreaming.” “The waking
man, on the other hand, is he who holds the Beautiful itself to be the
Existent, and can recognize its very self as well as that which only
partakes of it (μετέχονυα), and does not confuse between the two.”[17]

In this account of Philosophy, we at once see what the so much talked
of Ideas of Plato are. The Idea is nothing else than that which is
known to us more familiarly by the name of the Universal, regarded,
however, not as the formal Universal, which is only a property of
things, but as implicitly and explicitly existent, as reality, as
that which alone is true. We translate εἶδος first of all as species
or kind; and the Idea is no doubt the species, but rather as it is
apprehended by and exists for Thought. Of course when we understand by
species nothing but the gathering together by our reflection, and for
convenience sake, of the like characteristics of several individuals
as indicating their distinguishing features, we have the universal in
quite an external form. But the specific character of the animal is its
being alive; this being alive is that which makes it what it is, and
deprived of this, it ceases to exist. To Plato, accordingly, Philosophy
is really the science of this implicitly universal, to which, as
contrasted with the particular, he always continues to return. “When
Plato spoke of tableness and cupness, Diogenes the Cynic said: ‘I see a
table and a cup, to be sure, but not tableness and cupness.’ ‘Right,’
answered Plato; ‘for you have eyes wherewith to see the table and the
cup, but mind, by which one sees tableness and cupness, you have not
(νοῦν οὐκ ἔχεις).’”[18] What Socrates began was carried out by Plato,
who acknowledged only the Universal, the Idea, the Good, as that which
has existence. Through the presentation of his Ideas, Plato opened
up the intellectual world, which, however, is not beyond reality, in
heaven, in another place, but is the real world. With Leucippus, too,
the Ideal is brought closer to reality, and not—metaphysically—thrust
away behind Nature. The essence of the doctrine of Ideas is thus
the view that the True is not that which exists for the senses, but
that only what has its determination in itself, the implicitly and
explicitly Universal, truly exists in the world; the intellectual world
is therefore the True, that which is worthy to be known—indeed, the
Eternal, the implicitly and explicitly divine. The differences are not
essential, but only transitory; yet the Absolute of Plato, as being the
one in itself and identical with itself, is at the same time concrete
in itself, in that it is a movement returning into itself, and is
eternally at home with itself. But love for Ideas is that which Plato
calls enthusiasm.

The misapprehension of Plato’s Ideas takes two directions; one of these
has to do with the thinking, which is formal, and holds as true reality
the sensuous alone, or what is conceived of through the senses—this
is what Plato asserts to be mere shadows. For when Plato speaks of
the Universal as the real, his conception of it is met either by the
statement that the Universal is present to us only as a property, and
is therefore a mere thought in our understanding, or else that Plato
takes this same Universal as substance, as an existence in itself,
which, however, falls outside of us. When Plato further uses the
expression that sensuous things are, like images (εἰκόνες), similar to
that which has absolute existence, or that the Idea is their pattern
and model (παραδεῖγμα), if these Ideas are not exactly made into
things, they are made into a kind of transcendent existences which
lie somewhere far from us in an understanding outside this world, and
are pictures set up which we merely do not see; they are like the
artist’s model, following which he works upon a given material, and
thereon impresses the likeness of the original. And owing to their
not only being removed from this sensuous present reality, which
passes for truth, but also being liberated from the actuality of the
individual consciousness, their subject, of which they are originally
the representations, passes out of consciousness, and even comes to be
represented only as something which is apart from consciousness.

The second misapprehension that prevails with regard to these Ideas
takes place when they are not transferred beyond our consciousness,
but pass for ideals of our reason, which are no doubt necessary, but
which produce nothing that either has reality now or can ever attain to
it. As in the former view the Beyond is a conception that lies outside
the world, and in which species are hypostatized, so in this view
our reason is just such a realm beyond reality. But when species are
looked on as if they were the forms of reality in us, there is again a
misapprehension, just as if they were looked at as æsthetic in nature.
By so doing, they are defined as intellectual perceptions which must
present themselves immediately, and belong either to a happy genius
or else to a condition of ecstasy or enthusiasm. In such a case they
would be mere creations of the imagination, but this is not Plato’s nor
the true sense. They are not immediately in consciousness, but they
are in the apprehending knowledge; and they are immediate perceptions
only in so far as they are apprehending knowledge comprehended in its
simplicity and in relation to the result; in other words, the immediate
perception is only the moment of their simplicity. Therefore we do not
possess them, they are developed in the mind through the apprehending
knowledge; enthusiasm is the first rude shape they take, but knowledge
first brings them to light in rational developed form; they are in this
form none the less real, for they alone are Being.

On this account Plato first of all distinguishes Science, the Knowledge
of the True, from opinion. “Such thinking (διάνοιαν) as of one who
knows, we may justly call knowledge (γνώμην); but the other, opinion
(δόξαν). Knowledge proceeds from that which is; opinion is opposed to
it; but it is not the case that its content is Nothing—that would be
ignorance—for when an opinion is held, it is held about Something.
Opinion is thus intermediate between ignorance and science, its content
is a mixture of Being and Nothing. The object of the senses, the object
of opinion, the particular, only participates in the Beautiful, the
Good, the Just, the Universal; but it is at the same time also ugly,
evil, unjust, and so on. The double is at the same time the half. The
particular is not only large or small, light or heavy, and any one of
these opposites, but every particular is as much the one as the other.
Such a mixture of Being and non-Being is the particular, the object
of opinion;”[19]—a mixture in which the opposites have not resolved
themselves into the Universal. The latter would be the speculative
Idea of knowledge, while to opinion belongs the manner of our ordinary

b. Before we commence the examination of the objective implicitly
existent content of knowledge, we must consider more in detail, on the
one hand, the subjective existence of knowledge in consciousness as we
find it in Plato, and, on the other, how the content is or appears in
ordinary conception as soul; and the two together form the relation of
knowledge, as the universal, to the individual consciousness.

α. The source through which we become conscious of the divine is the
same as that already seen in Socrates (Vol. I. pp. 410, 411). The
spirit of man contains reality in itself, and in order to learn what is
divine he must develop it out of himself and bring it to consciousness.
With the Socratics this discussion respecting the immanent nature of
knowledge in the mind of man takes the form of a question as to whether
virtue can be taught or not, and with the sophist Protagoras of asking
whether feeling is the truth, which is allied with the question of the
content of scientific knowledge, and with the distinction between that
and opinion. But Plato goes on to say that the process by which we
come to know is not, properly speaking, learning, for that which we
appear to learn we really only recollect. Plato often comes back to
this subject, but in particular he treats of the point in the Meno,
in which he asserts (p. 81, 84 Steph.; p. 349, 355, 356 Bekk.) that
nothing can, properly speaking, be learned, for learning is just a
recollection of what we already possess, to which the perplexity in
which our minds are placed, merely acts as stimulus. Plato here gives
the question a speculative significance, in which the reality of
knowledge, and not the empirical view of the acquisition of knowledge,
is dealt with. For learning, according to the immediate ordinary
conception of it, expresses the taking up of what is foreign into
thinking consciousness, a mechanical mode of union and the filling of
an empty space with things which are foreign and indifferent to this
space itself. An external method of effecting increase such as this,
in which the soul appears to be a _tabula rasa_, and which resembles
the idea we form of growth going on in the living body through the
addition of particles, is dead, and is incompatible with the nature
of mind, which is subjectivity, unity, being and remaining at home
with itself. But Plato presents the true nature of consciousness in
asserting that it is mind in which, as mind, that is already present
which becomes object to consciousness, or which it explicitly becomes.
This is the Notion of the true universal in its movement; of the
species which is in itself its own Becoming, in that it is already
implicitly what it explicitly becomes—a process in which it does not
come outside of itself. Mind is this absolute species, whose process
is only the continual return into itself; thus nothing is for it which
it is not in itself. According to this, the process of learning is
not that something foreign enters in, but that the mind’s own essence
becomes actualized, or it comes to the knowledge of this last. What has
not yet learned is the soul, the consciousness represented as natural
being. What causes the mind to turn to science is the semblance, and
the confusion caused through it, of the essential nature of mind being
something different, or the negative of itself—a mode of manifestation
which contradicts its real nature, for it has or is the inward
certainty of being all reality. In that it abrogates this semblance
of other-being, it comprehends the objective, _i.e._ gives itself
immediately in it the consciousness of itself, and thus attains to
science. Ideas of individual, temporal, transitory things undoubtedly
come from without, but not the universal thoughts which, as the true,
have their root in the mind and belong to its nature; by this means all
authority is destroyed.

In one sense recollection [Erinnerung] is certainly an unfortunate
expression, in the sense, namely, that an idea is reproduced which
has already existed at another time. But recollection has another
sense, which is given by its etymology, namely that of making oneself
inward, going inward, and this is the profound meaning of the word in
thought. In this sense it may undoubtedly be said that knowledge of
the universal is nothing but a recollection, a going within self, and
that we make that which at first shows itself in external form and
determined as a manifold, into an inward, a universal, because we go
into ourselves and thus bring what is inward in us into consciousness.
With Plato, however, as we cannot deny, the word recollection has
constantly the first and empirical sense. This comes from the fact
that Plato propounds the true Notion that consciousness in itself
is the content of knowledge, partly in the form of popular idea and
in that of myths. Hence here even, the already mentioned (p. 18)
intermingling of idea and Notion commences. In the Meno (p. 82-86
Steph.; p. 350-360 Bekk.) Socrates tries to show, by experiment on a
slave who had received no instruction, that learning is a recollection.
Socrates merely questions him, leaving him to answer in his own way,
without either teaching him or asserting the truth of any fact, and
at length brings him to the enunciation of a geometrical proposition
on the relation which the diagonal of a square bears to its side. The
slave obtains the knowledge out of himself alone, so that it appears as
though he only recollected what he already knew but had forgotten. Now
if Plato here calls this coming forth of knowledge from consciousness a
recollection, it follows that this knowledge has been already in this
consciousness, _i.e._ that the individual consciousness has not only
the content of knowledge implicitly, in accordance with its essential
nature, but has also possessed it as this individual consciousness and
not as universal. But this moment of individuality belongs only to the
ordinary conception, and recollection is not thought; for recollection
relates to man as a sensuous “this,” and not as a universal. The
essential nature of the coming forth of knowledge is hence here mingled
with the individual, with ordinary conception, and knowledge here
appears in the form of soul, as of the implicitly existent reality,
the one, for the soul is still only a moment of spirit. As Plato here
passes into a conception the content of which has no longer the pure
significance of the universal, but of the individual, he further
depicts it in the form of a myth. He represents the implicit existence
of mind in the form of a pre-existence in time, as if the truth had
already been for us in another time. But at the same time we must
remark that he does not propound this as a philosophic doctrine, but
in the form of a saying received from priests and priestesses who
comprehend what is divine. Pindar and other holy men say the same.
According to these sayings, the human soul is immortal; it both ceases
to be, or, as men say, it dies, and it comes again into existence, but
in no way perishes. “Now if the soul is immortal and often reappears”
(metempsychosis), “and if it has seen that which is here as well as
in Hades,” (in unconsciousness) “and everything else, learning has no
more meaning, for it only recollects what it has already known.”[20]
Historians seize upon this allusion to what is really an Egyptian
idea, and a sensuous conception merely, and say that Plato has laid
down that such and such was the case. But Plato made no such statement
whatever; what he here says has nothing to do with Philosophy, and more
particularly nothing to do with his philosophy, any more than what
afterwards is said regarding God.

β. In other Dialogues this myth is further and more strikingly
developed; it certainly employs remembrance in its ordinary sense,
which is that the mind of man has in past time seen that which comes
to his consciousness as the true and absolutely existent. Plato’s
principal effort is, however, to show through this assertion of
recollection, that the mind, the soul, thought, is on its own account
free, and this has to the ancients, and particularly to the Platonic
idea, a close connection with what we call immortality of the soul.

αα. In the Phædrus (p. 245 Steph.; p. 38 Bekk.) Plato speaks of this
in order to show that the Eros is a divine madness (μανία), and is
given to us as the greatest happiness. It is a state of enthusiasm,
which here has a powerful, predominating aspiration towards the Idea
(_supra_, p. 30): but it is not an enthusiasm proceeding from the heart
and feeling, it is not an ordinary perception, but a consciousness
and knowledge of the ideal. Plato says that he must expound the
nature of the divine and human soul in order to demonstrate the
Eros. “The first point is that the soul is immortal. For what moves
itself is immortal and eternal, but what obtains its movement from
another is transient. What moves itself is the first principle, for
it certainly has its origin and first beginning in itself and derived
from no other. And just as little can it cease to move, for that alone
can cease which derives its motion from another.” Plato thus first
develops the simple Notion of the soul as of the self-moving, and,
thus far, an element in mind; but the proper life of the mind in and
for itself is the consciousness of the absolute nature and freedom
of the “I.” When we speak of the immortality of the soul, the idea
is most frequently present to us that the soul is like a physical
thing which has qualities of all kinds, and while these can certainly
be changed, it yet seems that, as being independent of them, it is
not subject to change. Now thought is one of these qualities, which
are thus independent of the thing; and thought is also here defined
as a thing, and as if it could pass away or cease to be. As regards
this point, the main feature of the idea is that the soul should be
able to subsist as an imperishable thing without having imagination,
thought, &c. With Plato the immortality of the soul is, on the other
hand, immediately connected with the fact that the soul is itself that
which thinks; and hence that thought is not a quality of soul, but its
substance. It is as with body, where the weight is not a quality, but
its substance; for as the body would no longer exist if the weight
were abstracted, the soul would not exist if thought were taken away.
Thought is the activity of the universal, not an abstraction, but the
reflection into self and the positing of self that takes place in all
conceptions. Now because thought is an eternal which remains at home
with itself in every change, soul preserves its identity in what is
different, just as, for instance, in sensuous perception it deals with
what is different, with outside matter, and is yet at home with itself.
Immortality has not then the interest to Plato which it has to us from
a religious point of view; in that to him it is associated in greater
measure with the nature of thought, and with the inward freedom of
the same, it is connected with the determination that constitutes the
principle of what is specially characteristic of Platonic philosophy,
it is connected with the supersensuous groundwork which Plato has
established. To Plato the immortality of the soul is hence likewise of
great importance.

He proceeds: “To seek to make clear the Idea of the soul would involve
investigation laborious for any but a god; but the tongue of man may
speak of this more easily through a figure.” Here follows an allegory
in which there is, however, something extravagant and inconsistent.
He says: “The soul resembles the united power of a chariot and
charioteer.” This image expresses nothing to us. “Now the horses” (the
desires) “of the gods and the charioteers are good, and of a good
breed. With us men, the charioteer at first takes the reins, but one
of the horses only is noble and good and of noble origin; the other
is ignoble and of ignoble origin. As might be expected, the driving
is very difficult. How mortal differ from immortal creatures, we
must endeavour to discover. The soul has the care of the inanimate
everywhere, and traverses the whole heavens, passing from one idea
to another. When perfect and fully winged, she soars upwards” (has
elevated thoughts), “and is the ruler of the universe. But the soul
whose wings droop roams about till she has found solid ground; then
she takes an earthly form which is really moved by her power, and the
whole, the soul and body, put together, is called a living creature,
a mortal.”[21] The one is thus the soul as thought, existence in and
for itself; the other is the union with matter. This transition from
thought to body is very difficult, too difficult for the ancients to
understand; we shall find more about it in Aristotle. From what has
been said, we may find the ground for representing Plato as maintaining
the dogma that the soul existed independently prior to this life, and
then lapsed into matter, united itself to it, contaminating itself by
so doing, and that it is incumbent on it to leave matter again. The
fact that the spiritual realizes itself from itself is a point not
sufficiently examined by the ancients; they take two abstractions,
soul and matter, and the connection is expressed only in the form of a
deterioration on the part of soul.

“But as to the immortal,” continues Plato, “if we do not express it
in accordance with an apprehending thought, but form an ordinary
conception of it, owing to our lack of insight and power to comprehend
the nature of God, we conclude that the immortal life of God is that
which has a body and soul which, however, are united in one nature
(συμπεφυκότα),[22] i.e. not only externally but intrinsically made one.
Soul and body are both abstractions, but life is the unity of both;
and because God’s nature is to popular conception the holding of body
and soul unseparated in one, He is the Reason whose form and content
are an undivided unity in themselves.” This is an important definition
of God—a great idea which is indeed none other than the definition
of modern times. It signifies the identity of subjectivity and
objectivity, the inseparability of the ideal and real, that is, of soul
and body. The mortal and finite is, on the contrary, correctly defined
by Plato as that of which the existence is not absolutely adequate to
the Idea, or, more definitely, to subjectivity.

Plato now further explains what happens in the life of the divine
Being, which drama the soul thus has before it, and how the wasting
of its wings occurs. “The chariots of the gods enter in bands, led
by Zeus, the mighty leader, from his winged chariot. An array of
other gods and goddesses follow him, marshalled in eleven bands. They
present—each one fulfilling his work—the noblest and most blessed of
scenes. The colourless and formless and intangible essence requires
thought, the lord of the soul, as its only spectator, and thus
true knowledge takes its rise. For there it sees what is (τὸ ὄν),
and lives in the contemplation of reality, because it follows in
an ever-recurring revolution” (of ideas). “In this revolution” (of
gods), “it beholds justice, temperance, and knowledge, not in the
form of what men call things, for it sees what in truth is absolute
(τὸ ὄντως ὄν).” This is thus expressed as though it were something
which had happened. “When the soul returns from thus beholding, the
charioteer puts up his horses at the stall, gives them ambrosia to eat
and nectar to drink. This is the life of the gods. But other souls,
through fault of charioteer or horses, fall into confusion, with
broken wings depart from these heavenly places, cease to behold the
truth, nourish themselves on opinion as their food, and fall to the
ground; according as a soul has beheld more or less of truth, it takes
a higher or lower place. In this condition it retains a recollection
of what it has seen, and if it perceives anything beautiful or right,
it is rapt in amazement. The wings once more obtain strength, and
the soul, particularly that of a philosopher, recollects its former
condition in which, however, it had not seen what was beautiful, just,
etc., but beauty and justice themselves.”[23] Thus because the life
of the gods is for the soul, when in individual beauty it is reminded
of the universal, it is implied that in the soul, as thus absolutely
existing, there is the Idea of the beautiful, good and just, as
absolute and as potentially and actually universal. This constitutes
the general principle of the Platonic conception. But when Plato speaks
of knowledge as of a recollection, he knows all the time that this is
only putting the matter in similes and metaphors; he did not ask, as
theologians used gravely to do, whether the soul had existed before its
birth, and, if so, in what particular place. It cannot be said of Plato
that he had any such belief, and he never speaks of the matter in the
sense that theologians did; in the same way he never spoke about a Fall
from a perfect state, for example, as if man had to look on the present
life as an imprisonment. But what Plato expressed as the truth is that
consciousness in the individual is in reason the divine reality and
life; that man perceives and recognizes it in pure thought, and that
this knowledge is itself the heavenly abode and movement.

ββ. Knowledge in the form of soul, is more clearly dealt with in
the Phædo, where Plato has further developed the ideas about the
immortality of the soul. What in the Phædrus is kept definitely apart
as myth and truth respectively, and which is made to appear as such,
appears less evidently so in the Phædo—that celebrated dialogue in
which Plato makes Socrates speak of the immortality of the soul. That
Plato should have connected this discussion with the account of the
death of Socrates has in all time been matter of admiration. Nothing
could seem more suitable than to place the conviction of immortality
in the mouth of him who is in the act of leaving life, and to make
this conviction living to us through the scene, just as, on the other
hand, a death-scene like this is made living to us through that
conviction. We must at the same time remark that in what is fitting the
following conditions are implied. It must first be really appropriate
for the dying person to occupy himself with himself instead of with
the universal, with this certainty of himself as a “this” instead of
with the Truth. We hence here meet with the ordinary point of view
but slightly separated from that of the Notion, but, although this is
so, this ordinary point of view is far removed from sinking into that
coarse conception of the soul which considers it to be a thing, and
asks about its continuance or subsistence as if it were a thing. Thus
we find Socrates expressing himself to the effect that the body and
what relates to the body is a hindrance in striving after wisdom, the
sole business of Philosophy, because the sensuous perception shows
nothing purely, or as it is in itself, and what is true becomes known
through the removal of the spiritual from the corporeal. For justice,
beauty and such things are what alone exists in verity; they are that
to which all change and decay is foreign; and these are not perceived
through the body, but only in the soul.[24]

We see in this separation the essence of the soul not considered in
a material category of Being, but as the universal; we see it still
more in what follows, by which Plato proves immortality. A principal
point in this argument is that already considered, that the soul has
existed before this life, because learning is only a recollection,[25]
and this implies that the soul is already implicitly what it becomes.
We must not think that the bald conception of innate ideas is hereby
indicated—such an expression implies the existence of ideas by nature,
as though our thoughts were in part already implanted, and had in part
a natural existence which did not first produce itself through the
movement of the mind. But Plato mainly founds the idea of immortality
on the fact that what is put together is liable to dissolution and
decay, while the simple can in no manner be dissolved or destroyed;
what is always like itself and the same, is, however, simple. The
beautiful, the good, the like, being simple, are incapable of all
change; that, on the contrary, in which these universals are, men,
things, &c., are the changeable. They are perceptible by the senses,
while the former is the supersensuous. Hence the soul which is in
thought, and which applies itself to this, as to what is related
to it, must therefore be held to have itself a simple nature.[26]
Here, then, we again see that Plato does not take simplicity as the
simplicity of a thing—not as if it were of anything like a chemical
ingredient, for example, which can no longer be represented as
inherently distinguished; this would only be empty, abstract identity
or universality, the simple as an existent.

But finally the universal really does appear to take the form of an
existent, as Plato makes Simmias assert: a harmony which we hear is
none else than a universal, a simple which is a unity of the diverse;
but this harmony is associated with a sensuous thing and disappears
with it, just as music does with the lyre. On the other hand Plato
makes Socrates show that the soul is not a harmony in this sense,
for the sensuous harmony first exists after its elements, and is
a consequence that follows from them. The harmony of the soul is,
however, in and for itself, before every sensuous thing. Sensuous
harmony may further have diversities within it, while the harmony of
the soul has no quantitative distinction.[27] From this it is clear
that Plato receives the reality of the soul entirely in the universal,
and does not place its true being in sensuous individuality, and hence
the immortality of the soul cannot in his case be understood in the
ordinary acceptation, as that of an individual thing. Although later
on we come across the myth of the sojourn of the soul after death in
another and more brilliant earth,[28] we have seen above (pp. 40, 41)
what kind of heaven this would be.

γ. The development and culture of the soul must be taken in connection
with what precedes. However the idealism of Plato must not be thought
of as being subjective idealism, and as that false idealism which
has made its appearance in modern times, and which maintains that we
do not learn anything, are not influenced from without, but that all
conceptions are derived from out of the subject. It is often said
that idealism means that the individual produces from himself all
his ideas, even the most immediate. But this is an unhistoric, and
quite false conception; if we take this rude definition of idealism,
there have been no idealists amongst the philosophers, and Platonic
idealism is certainly far removed from anything of the kind. In the
seventh book of his Republic (p. 518 Steph., pp. 333, 334 Bekk.) Plato
says in connection with what I have already stated (pp. 27-29), and in
particular reference to the manner in which this learning is created,
by which the universal which before was secreted in the mind, developes
out of it alone: “We must believe of science and learning (παιδείας),
that its nature is not as some assert” (by this he means the Sophists),
“who speak of culture as though knowledge were not contained within
the soul, but could be implanted therein as sight into blind eyes.”
The idea that knowledge comes entirely from without is in modern times
found in empirical philosophies of a quite abstract and rude kind,
which maintain that everything that man knows of the divine nature
comes as a matter of education and habituation, and that mind is thus a
quite indeterminate potentiality merely. Carried to an extreme, this is
the doctrine of revelation in which everything is given from without.
In the Protestant religion we do not find this rude idea in its
abstract form, for the witness of the spirit is an essential part of
faith, _i.e._ faith demands that the individual subjective spirit shall
on its own account accept and set forth the determination which comes
to it in the form of something given from without. Plato speaks against
any such idea, for, in relation to the merely popularly expressed myth
given above, he says: “Reason teaches that every man possesses the
inherent capacities of the soul and the organ with which he learns.
That is, just as we might imagine the eye not capable of turning from
darkness to light otherwise than with the whole body, so must we be
turned with the whole soul from the world of Becoming” (contingent
feelings and ideas) “to that of Being, and the soul must gradually
learn to endure this sight, and to behold the pure light of Being. But
we say that this Being is the good. The art of so doing is found in
culture, as being the art of the conversion of the soul—that is, the
manner in which a person can most easily and effectually be converted;
it does not seek to implant (ἐμποιῆσαι) sight, but—inasmuch as he
already possesses it only it has not been properly turned upon himself
and hence he does not see the objects that he ought to see—it brings it
into operation. The other virtues of the soul are more in conformity
with the body; they are not originally in the soul, but come gradually
through exercise and habit. Thought (τὸ φρονῆσαι) on the contrary,
as divine, never loses its power, and only becomes good or evil
through the manner of this conversion.” This is what Plato establishes
in regard to the inward and the outward. Such ideas as that mind
determines the good from out of itself are to us much more familiar
than to Plato; but it was by Plato that they were first maintained.

_c._ In that Plato places truth in that alone which is produced through
thought, and yet the source of knowledge is manifold—in feelings,
sensations, &c.—we must state the different kinds of knowledge, as
given by Plato. Plato is entirely opposed to the idea that the truth
is given through sensuous consciousness, which is what is known and
that from which we start; for this is the doctrine of the Sophists
with which we met in dealing with Protagoras, for instance. As regards
feeling, we easily make the mistake of placing everything in feeling,
as indeed that Platonic rage for beauty contained the truth in the
guise of feeling; but this is not the true form of the truth, because
feeling is the entirely subjective consciousness. Feeling as such is
merely a form with which men make the arbitrary will the principle of
the truth, for what is the true content is not given through feeling;
in it every content has a place. The highest content must likewise
be found in feeling; to have a thing in thought and understanding is
quite different from having it in heart and feeling, _i.e._ in our
most inward subjectivity, in this “I”; and we say of the content that
it is for the first time in its proper place when it is in the heart,
because it then is entirely identical with our individuality. The
mistake, however, is to say that a content is true because it is in
our feeling. Hence the importance of Plato’s doctrine that the content
becomes filled by thought alone; for it is the universal which can
be grasped by the activity of thought alone. Plato has defined this
universal content as Idea.

At the close of the sixth book of the Republic (pp. 509-511 Steph.; pp.
321-325 Bekk.) Plato distinguishes the sensuous and the intellectual in
our knowledge more exactly, so that in each sphere he again presents
two modes of consciousness. “In the sensuous (ὁρατόν) the one division
is the external manifestation, for in it are shadows, reflections in
water, and also in solid, smooth, and polished bodies, and the like.
The second section, of which this is only the resemblance, includes
animals, plants” (this concrete life), “and everything in art. The
intelligible (νοητόν) is also divided into two parts. In the one
sub-division the soul uses the sensuous figures given before, and is
obliged to work on hypotheses (ἐξ ὑποθέσεων) because it does not go to
the principle but to the result.” Reflection, which is not on its own
account sensuous, but undoubtedly belongs to thought, mingles thought
with the first sensuous consciousness, although its object is not as
yet a pure existence of the understanding. “The other division” (what
is thought in the soul itself) “is that in which the soul, proceeding
from an hypothesis, makes its way (μέθοδον) to a principle which is
above hypotheses, not by means of images, as in the former cases, but
through the ideas themselves. Those who study geometry, arithmetic, and
kindred sciences, assume the odd and the even, the figures, three kinds
of angles, and the like. And since they start from these hypotheses,
they do not think it necessary to give any account of them, for
everybody is supposed to know them. You further know that they make
use of figures which are risible, and speak of them, although they
are not thinking of them, but of the ideals which they represent; for
they think of the” (absolute) “square itself and of its diagonals, and
not of the” (sensuous) “images that they draw. And so it is with other
things.” Thus, according to Plato, this is certainly the place where
real knowledge begins, because we have nothing further to do with the
sensuous as such; at the same time this is not the true knowledge which
considers the spiritual universal on its own account, but the arguing
and reasoning knowledge that forms universal laws and particular kinds
or species out of what is sensuous. “These figures which they draw or
make, and which also have shadows and images in water, they use only as
images, and seek to behold their originals, which can only be seen with
the understanding” (διανοίᾳ).—“That is true.”—“This I have named above
that species of the intelligible, in inquiring into which the soul
is compelled to use hypotheses, not proceeding to a first principle,
because it is not able to get above those hypotheses, but employing
those secondary images as images which are made absolutely similar to
the originals in every respect”—“I understand that you are speaking of
geometry and the kindred arts”—“Now learn about the other division of
the intelligible in which reason (λόγος) itself is concerned, since
by the power of the dialectic it makes use of hypotheses, not as
principles but only as hypotheses—that is to say, as steps and points
of departure in order to reach a region above hypotheses, the first
principle of all” (which is in and for itself), “and clinging to this
and to that which depends on this, it descends again to the result,
for it requires no sensuous aid at all, but only ideas, and thus it
reaches the ideas finally through the ideas themselves.” To know this
is the interest and business of Philosophy; this is investigated by
pure thought in and for itself, which only moves in such pure thoughts.
“I understand you, but not perfectly. You seem to me to wish to assert
that what is contemplated in Being and Knowledge through the science
of dialectic is clearer than what is contemplated by the so-called
sciences which have hypotheses as their principle, and where those who
contemplate them have to do so with the understanding and not with the
senses. Yet because in their contemplation they do not ascend to the
absolute principle, but speculate from hypotheses, they appear not to
exercise thought (νοῦν) upon these objects, although these objects are
cognizable by thought if a principle is added to them (νοητῶν ὄντων
μετὰ ἀρχῆς). The methods (ἕξιν) of geometry and its kindred sciences
you appear to me to call understanding; and that because it stands
midway between reason (νοῦς) and ‘sensuous’ opinion (δόξα).”—“You have
quite grasped my meaning. Corresponding to these four sections, I
will suppose four faculties (παθήματα) in the soul—conceiving reason
(νόησις) has the highest place (ἐπὶ τῷ ἀνωτάτῳ), understanding the
second; the third is called faith (πίστις)”—the true conception for
animals and plants in that they are living, homogeneous and identical
with ourselves; “and the last the knowledge of images (εἰκασία),”
opinion. “Arrange them according to the fact that each stage has as
much clearness (σαφηνείας) as that to which it is related has truth.”
This is the distinction which forms the basis of Plato’s philosophy,
and which came to be known from his writings.

Now if we go from knowledge to its content, in which the Idea
becomes sundered, and thereby organizes itself more completely into
a scientific system, this content, according to Plato, begins to
fall into three parts which we distinguish as the logical, natural,
and mental philosophy. The logical Philosophy the ancients called
dialectic, and its addition to philosophy is by the ancient writers on
the subject ascribed to Plato (Vol. I. p. 387). This is not a dialectic
such as we met with in the Sophists, which merely brings one’s ideas
altogether into confusion, for this first branch of Platonic philosophy
is the dialectic which moves in pure Notions—the movement of the
speculatively logical, with which several dialogues, and particularly
that of Parmenides, occupy themselves. The second, according to Plato,
is a kind of natural philosophy, the principles of which are more
especially propounded in the Timæus. The third is the philosophy of
the mind—an ethical philosophy—and its representation is essentially
that of a perfect state in the Republic. The Critias should be taken
in connection with the Timæus and the Republic, but we need not make
further reference to it, for it is only a fragment. Plato makes these
three dialogues one connected conversation. In the Critias and the
Timæus the subject is so divided that while the Timæus dealt with the
speculative origin of man and of nature, the Critias was intended to
represent the ideal history of human culture, and to be a philosophical
history of the human race, forming the ancient history of the Athenians
as preserved by the Egyptians. Of this, however, only the beginning
has come down to us.[29] Hence if the Parmenides be taken along with
the Republic and the Timæus, the three together constitute the whole
Platonic system of philosophy divided into its three parts or sections.
We now wish to consider the philosophy of Plato more in detail in
accordance with these three different points of view.


We have already remarked by way of preparation that the Notion of true
dialectic is to show forth the necessary movement of pure Notions,
without thereby resolving these into nothing; for the result, simply
expressed, is that they are this movement, and the universal is just
the unity of these opposite Notions. We certainly do not find in Plato
a full consciousness that this is the nature of dialectic, but we find
dialectic itself present; that is, we find absolute existence thus
recognized in pure Notions, and the representation of the movement of
these Notions. What makes the study of the Platonic dialectic difficult
is the development and the manifestation of the universal out of
ordinary conceptions. This beginning, which appears to make knowledge
easier, really makes the difficulty greater, since it introduces us
into a field in which there is quite a different standard from what
we have in reason, and makes this field present to us; when, on the
contrary, progression and motion take place in pure Notions alone, the
other is not remembered at all. But in that very way the Notions attain
greater truth. For otherwise pure logical movement might easily appear
to us to exist on its own account, like a private territory, which has
another region alongside of it, also having its own particular place.
But since both are there brought together, the speculative element
begins to appear as it is in truth; that is, as being the only truth,
and that, indeed, through the transformation of sensuous opinion into
thought. For in our consciousness we first of all find the immediate
individual, the sensuous real; or there are also categories of the
understanding which are held by us to be ultimate and true. But
contrasted with merely external reality, it is rather the ideal that
is the most real, and it was Plato who perceived that it was the only
real, for he characterized the universal or thought as the true, in
opposition to what is sensuous.

Thus the aim of many of Plato’s Dialogues, which conclude without any
positive affirmation (Vol. I. p. 406; II. p. 13), is to show that the
immediately existent, the many things that appear to us, although we
may have quite true conceptions of them, are still not in themselves,
in an objective sense, the true, because they alter and are determined
through their relation to something else and not through themselves;
thus we must even in the sensuous individuals consider the universal,
or what Plato has called the Idea (p. 29). The sensuous, limited,
and finite is, in fact, both itself and the other, which is also
considered as existent; and thus there is an unsolved contradiction,
for the other has dominion in the first. We have been before reminded
(Vol. I. p. 404; II. p. 33) that the aim of the Platonic dialectic is
to confuse and to resolve the finite ideas of men, in order to bring
about in their consciousness what science demands, the consideration
of that which is. By being thus directed against the form of the
finite, dialectic has in the first place the effect of confounding the
particular, and this is brought about by the negation therein present
being shown forth, so that, in fact, it is proved that it is not what
it is, but that it passes into its opposite, into the limitations
which are essential to it. But if this dialectic is laid hold of,
the particular passes away and becomes another than that which it is
taken to be. Formal philosophy cannot look at dialectic in any other
way than as being the art of confusing ordinary conceptions or even
Notions, and demonstrating their nullity, thus making their result to
be merely negative. For this reason, Plato in his Republic (VII. pp.
538, 539, Steph.; pp. 370, 371, Bekk.) advised the citizens not to
allow dialectic to be studied before the thirtieth year, because by its
means anyone might transform the beautiful, as he had received it from
his masters, into that which is hateful. We find this dialectic a great
deal in Plato, both in the more Socratic and moralizing dialogues, and
in the many dialogues which relate to the conceptions of the Sophists
in regard to science.

In connection with this, the second part of dialectic makes its first
aim the bringing of the universal in men to consciousness, which, as
we formerly remarked when speaking of Socrates (Vol. I. p. 398), was
the main interest of Socratic culture. From this time on, we may look
at such an aim as having been discarded, and simply remark that a
number of Plato’s Dialogues merely aim at bringing to consciousness a
general conception, such as we have without taking any trouble at all
(Vol. I. pp. 403, 404); hence this prolixity on Plato’s part often
wearies us. This dialectic is, indeed, also a movement of thought,
but it is really only necessary in an external way and for reflecting
consciousness, in order to allow the universal, what is in and for
itself, unalterable and immortal, to come forth. Hence these first two
sides of the dialectic, directed as they are towards the dissolution of
the particular and thus to the production of the universal, are not yet
dialectic in its true form: it is a dialectic which Plato has in common
with the Sophists, who understood very well how to disintegrate the
particular. A subject which Plato very often treats of with this end in
view, is virtue, which he proves to be only one (Vol. I. pp. 405, 411),
and thereby he makes the universal good emerge from the particular

Now because the universal which has emerged from the confusion of the
particular, _i.e._ the true, beautiful and good, that which taken by
itself is species, was at first undetermined and abstract, it is, in
the third place, a principal part of Plato’s endeavours further to
determine this universal in itself. This determination is the relation
which the dialectic movement in thought bears to the universal, for
through this movement the Idea comes to these thoughts which contain
the opposites of the finite within themselves. For the Idea, as the
self-determining, is the unity of these differences, and thus the
determinate Idea. The universal is hence determined as that which
resolves and has resolved the contradictions in itself, and hence it
is the concrete in itself; thus this sublation of contradiction is the
affirmative. Dialectic in this higher sense is the really Platonic;
as speculative it does not conclude with a negative result, for it
demonstrates the union of opposites which have annulled themselves.
Here begins what is difficult for the understanding to grasp. The
form of Plato’s methods being not yet, however, developed purely on
its own account, this is the reason that his dialectic is still often
merely reasoning, and that it proceeds from individual points of view
and frequently remains without result. On the other hand, Plato’s own
teaching is directed against this merely reasoning dialectic; yet we
see that it gives him trouble properly to show forth the difference.
The speculative dialectic which commences with him, is thus the most
interesting but also the most difficult part of his work; hence
acquaintance is not usually made with it when the Platonic writings are
studied. Tennemann, for example, did not at all comprehend what was
most important in the Platonic philosophy, and only gathered some of
it together in the form of dry ontological determinations—for that was
what he could comprehend. But it shows the greatest lack of intellect
in a historian of Philosophy only to see in a great philosophic form
whether there is anything yielding profit to himself or not.

What we have thus to deal with in the dialectic of Plato is the
pure thought of reason, from which he very clearly distinguishes
the understanding (διάνοια), (_supra_, p. 47). We may have thoughts
about many things—if indeed, we do have thought at all—but this is
not what Plato means. Plato’s true speculative greatness, and that
through which he forms an epoch in the history of Philosophy, and
hence in the history of the world, lies in the fuller determination
of the Idea; this extension of knowledge is one which some centuries
later constituted the main element in the ferment which took place
in universal history, and in the transformation which the human mind
passed through. This fuller determination may, from what has gone
before, be understood thus: Plato first comprehended the Absolute as
the Being of Parmenides, but as the Universal which, as species, is
also end, _i.e._ which rules, penetrates, and produces the particular
and manifold. Plato, however, had not yet developed this self-producing
activity, and hence often stumbled into an external teleology. As the
union of the preceding principles, Plato further led this Being into
determinateness and into difference, as the latter is contained in
the triad of Pythagorean number-determinations, and expressed the
same in thought. That is, he grasped the Absolute as the unity of
Being and non-being—in Becoming, as Heraclitus says—or of the one and
the many,[30] &c. He further now took into the objective dialectic
of Heraclitus the Eleatic dialectic, which is the external endeavour
of the subject to show forth contradiction, so that in place of an
external changing of things, their inward transition in themselves,
_i.e._ in their Ideas, or, as they are here, in their categories, has
come to pass out of and through themselves. Plato finally set forth the
belief of Socrates, which the latter put forward in regard to the moral
self-reflection of the subject only, as objective, as the Idea, which
is both universal thought and the existent. The previous philosophies
thus do not disappear because refuted by Plato, being absorbed in him.

In addition to Being and non-being, one and many, the unlimited and
limiting are, for instance, likewise pure thoughts such as these, in
whose absolute contemplation, from an all-embracing point of view, the
Platonic investigation occupies itself. The purely logical and quite
abstruse consideration of such objects certainly contrasts strongly
with our conception of the beautiful, pleasing, and attractive content
of Plato. Such consideration to him signifies all that is best in
Philosophy, and it is that which he everywhere calls the true method
of Philosophy, and the knowledge of the truth; in it he places the
distinction between philosophers and Sophists. The Sophists on their
part look at appearances, and these they obtain in opinion; this,
indeed, implies thought, but not pure thought, or what is in and for
itself. This is one reason why many turn from the study of Plato’s
works unsatisfied. When we commence a Dialogue, we find, in the free
Platonic method of composition, beautiful scenes in nature, a superb
introduction (p. 14) that promises to lead us through flowery fields
into Philosophy—and that the highest Philosophy, the Platonic. We meet
with elevated thoughts, which are responded to more specially by youth,
but these soon disappear. If at first we have allowed ourselves to be
carried away by these bright scenes, they must now be all renounced,
and as we have come to the real dialectic, and truly speculative, we
must keep to the wearisome path, and allow ourselves to be pricked
by the thorns and thistles of metaphysics. For behold, we then come
to what is best and highest, to investigations respecting the one
and many, Being and nothing; this was not what was anticipated, and
men go quietly away, only wondering that Plato should seek knowledge
here. From the most profound dialectic investigation, Plato then again
proceeds to representations and images, to the description of dialogues
amongst intelligent men. Thus in the Phædo, for example, which
Mendelssohn has modernized and transformed into Wolffian metaphysics,
the beginning and end are elevating and beautiful, and the middle deals
with dialectic. Hence in making one’s way through Plato’s Dialogues
very many mental qualities are called into play, and in their study
we consequently ought to keep our minds open and free as regards the
very various points of interest. If we read with interest what is
speculative, we are apt to overlook what is most beautiful; if our
interest lies in the elevation and culture of the mind, we forget the
speculative element and find that it does not appeal to us. With some
it is like the young man in the Bible, who had fulfilled his various
duties, and who asked Christ what good thing he still had to do to
become His follower. But when the Lord commanded him to sell what he
had and give to the poor, the young man went away sorrowful; this was
not what he had anticipated. Just in the same way many mean well as
regards Philosophy; they study Fries, and heaven knows whom else. Their
hearts are full of the true, good and beautiful; they would know and
see what they ought to do, but their breasts swell with goodwill alone.

While Socrates remained at the good and universal, at implicitly
concrete thoughts, without having developed them or having revealed
them through development, Plato certainly goes on to the Idea as
determined. His defect, however, is that this determinateness and that
universality are still outside one another. We should certainly obtain
the determinate Idea by reducing the dialectic movement to its result,
and that forms an important element in knowledge. Yet when Plato speaks
of justice, beauty, goodness, truth, their origin is not revealed;
they are not shown as being results, but merely as hypotheses accepted
in their immediacy. Consciousness certainly has an innate conviction
that they form the highest end, but this their determination is not
discovered. Since Plato’s dogmatic expositions of Ideas are lost
(_supra_, p. 11), the dialectic of pure thought is only placed before
us by the Dialogues dealing with the subject, and these, just because
they deal with pure thought, are amongst the most difficult, viz.:
the Sophist, the Philebus, and, more especially, the Parmenides. We
here pass over the Dialogues which contain only negative dialectic and
Socratic dialogue, because they treat only of concrete ideas and not
of dialectic in its higher signification; they leave us unsatisfied,
because their ultimate end is only to confuse one’s opinions, or awaken
a sense of the necessity for knowledge. But those three express the
abstract speculative Idea in its pure Notion. The embracing of the
opposites in one, and the expression of this unity, is chiefly lacking
in the Parmenides, which has hence, like some other Dialogues, only
a negative result. But both in the Sophist and the Philebus Plato
expresses the unity also.

_a._ The fully worked-out and genuine dialectic is, however, contained
in the Parmenides—that most famous masterpiece of Platonic dialectic.
Parmenides and Zeno are there represented as meeting Socrates in
Athens; but the most important part of it is the dialectic which is
put in the mouths of Parmenides and Zeno. At the very beginning the
nature of this dialectic is given in detail as follows: Plato makes
Parmenides praise Socrates thus: “I notice that in conversing with
Aristoteles,” (one of those present; it might quite well have been
the philosopher, but that he was born sixteen years after Socrates’
death) “you were trying to define in what the nature of the beautiful,
just and good, and all such ideas lay. This your endeavour is noble
and divine. But train and exercise yourself even more in what the
multitude call idle chatter, and look on as useless, as long as you
are young, for otherwise the truth will escape you.—In what, Socrates
asks, does this exercise consist?—I was much pleased because you said
before that we must not be content with contemplating the sensuous
and its illusions, but must consider that which thought alone can
grasp, and that which alone exists.” I have before[31] remarked that
men at all times have believed that the truth could be found through
reflection only, for in reflection thought is found, and that which
we have before us in the guise of ordinary conception and of belief
is transformed into thought. Socrates now replies to Parmenides: “I
believed that I should in that way best discern the like and unlike,
and the other general determinations in things.” Parmenides replies,
“Certainly. But if you begin from a point of view such as that, you
must not only consider what follows from such an hypothesis, but also
what follows from the opposite of that hypothesis. For example, in the
case of the hypothesis ‘the many is,’ you have to consider what will
be the consequences of the relation of the many to itself and to the
one, and likewise what the consequences of the relation of the one to
itself and to the many.” The marvellous fact that meets us in thought
when we take determinations such as these by themselves, is that each
one is turned round into the opposite of itself. “But again we must
consider, if the many is not, as to what will be the result as regards
the one and the many, both to themselves and to one another. The same
consideration must be employed in respect of identity and non-identity,
rest and motion, origination and passing away, and likewise in regard
to Being and non-being. We must ask what is each of these in relation
to itself, and what is their relation in event of the one or the other
being accepted? In exercising yourself fully in this, you will learn to
know real truth.”[32] Plato thus lays great stress on the dialectical
point of view, which is not the point of view of the merely external,
but is a living point of view whose content is formed of pure thoughts
only, whose movement consists in their making themselves the other of
themselves, and thus showing that only their unity is what is truly

Plato makes Socrates say, as regards the meaning of the unity of the
one and many, “If anyone proved to me that I am one and many, it would
not surprise me. For since he shows me that I am a many, and points
out in me the right and left side, an upper and lower half, a front
and back, I partake of the manifold; and again I partake of unity
because I am one of us seven. The case is the same with stone, wood,
&c. But if anyone, after determining the simple ideas of similarity
and dissimilarity, multiplicity, and unity, rest and movement, and so
on, were to show that these in their abstract form admit of admixture
and separation, I should be very much surprised.”[33] The dialectic
of Plato is, however, not to be regarded as complete in every regard.
Though his main endeavour is to show that in every determination the
opposite is contained, it can still not be said that this is strictly
carried out in all his dialectic movements, for there are often
external considerations which exercise an influence in his dialectic.
For example, Parmenides says: “Are either of the two parts of the one
which is—I mean the One and Being—ever wanting to one another? Is the
One ever set free from _being_ a part (τοῦ εἶναι μόριον) and Being set
free from the _one_ part (τοῦ ἑνὸς μόριου)? Once more, each part thus
possesses both the one and Being, and the smallest part still always
consists of these two parts.”[34] In other words: “The one is; from
this it follows that the one is not synonymous with ‘is,’ and thus the
one and ‘is’ are distinguished. There hence is in the proposition ‘the
one is’ a distinction; the many is therefore contained in it, and thus
even with the one I express the many.” This dialectic is certainly
correct, but it is not quite pure, because it begins from this union of
two determinations.

The result of the whole investigation in the Parmenides is summarized
at the close by saying “that whether the one is or is not, it, as
also the many (τἆλλα), in relation to themselves and in relation
to one another—all of them both are and are not, appear and do not
appear.”[35] This result may seem strange. We are far from accepting,
in our ordinary conception of things, quite abstract determinations
such as the one, Being, non-being, appearance, rest, movement, &c.,
as Ideas; but these universals are taken by Plato as Ideas, and this
Dialogue thus really contains the pure Platonic doctrine of Ideas. He
shows of the one that when it is as well as when it is not, whether
like itself or not like itself, both in movement and rest, origination
and decay, it both is and is not; or the unity as well as all these
pure Ideas, both are and are not, the one is one as much as it is many.
In the proposition “the one is,” it is also implied that “the one is
not one but many;” and, conversely, “the many is” also indicates that
“the many is not many, but one.” They show themselves dialectically
and are really the identity with their ‘other’; and this is the truth.
An example is given in Becoming: in Becoming Being and non-being
are in inseparable unity, and yet they are also present there as
distinguished; for Becoming only exists because the one passes into the

In this respect, perhaps, the result arrived at in the Parmenides
may not satisfy us, since it seems to be negative in character, and
not, as the negation of the negation, expressive of true affirmation.
Nevertheless, the Neo-platonists, and more especially Proclus,
regard the result arrived at in the Parmenides as the true theology,
as the true revelation of all the mysteries of the divine essence.
And it cannot be regarded as anything else, however little this may
at first appear, and though Tiedemann (Platon. Argumenta, p. 340)
speaks of these assertions as merely the wild extravagances of the
Neo-platonists. In fact, however, we understand by God the absolute
essence of things, which even in its simple Notion is the unity and
movement of these pure realities, the Ideas of the one and many,
&c. The divine essence is the Idea in general, as it is either for
sensuous consciousness or for thought. In as far as the divine Idea
is the absolute self-reflection, dialectic is nothing more than this
activity of self-reflection in itself; the Neo-Platonists regarded
this connection as metaphysical only, and have recognized in it their
theology, the unfolding of the secrets of the divine essence. But here
there appears the double interpretation already remarked upon (p.
19), which has now to be more clearly expounded. It is that God and
the essential reality of things may be understood in two different
ways. For, on the one hand, when it is said that the essential reality
of things is the unity of opposites, it would seem as though only
the immediate essence of these immediately objective things were
indicated, and as if this doctrine of real essence or ontology were
distinguished from the knowledge of God, or theology. These simple
realities and their relation and movement seem only to express moments
of the objective and not mind, because there is lacking in them one
element—that is to say, reflection into themselves—which we demand
for the existence of the divine essence. For mind, the truly absolute
essence, is not only the simple and immediate, but that which reflects
itself into itself, for which in its opposition the unity of itself
and of that which is opposed is; but these moments and their movement
do not present it as such, for they make their appearance as simple
abstractions. On the other hand, they may also be taken to be pure
Notions, which pertain purely to reflection into itself. In this case
Being is wanting to them, or what we likewise demand for reflection
into itself as essential to the divine essence; and then their movement
is esteemed an empty round of empty abstractions, which belong only to
reflection and have no reality. For the solution of this contradiction
we must know the nature of apprehension and knowledge, in order to
obtain in the Notion everything there present. Thus shall we have the
consciousness that the Notion is in truth neither the immediate only,
although it is the simple, nor merely that which reflects itself into
itself, the thing of consciousness; for it is of spiritual simplicity,
thus really existent—as it is thought turned back on itself, so it is
also Being in itself, _i.e._ objective Being, and consequently all
reality. Plato did not state this knowledge of the nature of the Notion
so expressly, nor did he say that this essential Being of things is the
same as the divine essence. But really it is simply not put into words,
for the fact is undoubtedly present, and the only distinction is one of
speech as between the mode of the ordinary conception and that of the
Notion. On the one hand, this reflection into itself, the spiritual,
the Notion, is present in the speculation of Plato; for the unity of
the one and many, &c., is just this individuality in difference, this
being-turned-back-within-itself in its opposite, this opposite which is
implicit; the essential reality of the world is really this movement
returning into itself of that which is turned back within itself. But,
on the other hand, for this very reason, this being reflected into
self—like the God of ordinary conception—still remains with Plato
something separated; and in his representation of the Becoming of
Nature in the Timæus, God, and the essential reality of things, appear
as distinguished.

_b._ In the Sophist Plato investigated the pure Notions or Ideas of
movement and rest, self-identity and other-being, Being and non-being.
He here proves, as against Parmenides, that non-being is, and likewise
that the simple self-identical partakes of other-being, and unity
of multiplicity. He says of the Sophists that they never get beyond
non-being, and he also refutes their whole ground-principle, which is
non-being, feeling, and the many. Plato has thus so determined the
true universal, that he makes it the unity of, for example, the one
and many, Being and non-being; but at the same time he has avoided, or
it was his endeavour to avoid, the double meaning which lies in our
talk of the unity of Being and nothing, &c. For in this expression
we emphasize the unity, and then the difference disappears, just as
if we merely abstracted from it. Plato tried, however, to preserve
the difference likewise. The Sophist is a further development of
Being and non-being, both of which are applicable to all things; for
because things are different, the one being the other of the other,
the determination of the negative is present. First of all, however,
Plato expresses in the Sophist a clearer consciousness of Ideas as
abstract universalities, and his conviction that this point of view
could not endure, because it was opposed to the unity of the Idea
with itself. Plato thus first refutes what is sensuous, and then even
the Ideas themselves. The first of these points of view is what is
later on called materialism, which makes the corporeal alone to be
the substantial, admitting nothing to have reality excepting what can
be laid hold of by the hand, such as rocks and oaks. “Let us,” says
Plato, in the second place, “proceed to the other, to the friends
of Ideas.” Their belief is that the substantial is incorporeal,
intellectual, and they separate from it the region of Becoming, of
change, into which the sensuous falls, while the universal is for
itself. These represent Ideas as immovable, and neither active nor
passive. Plato asserts, as against this, that movement, life, soul,
and thought, cannot be denied to true Being (παντελῶς ὄντι), and that
the holy reason (ἄγιον νοῦν) can be nowhere, and in nothing that is
unmoved.[36] Plato thus has a clear consciousness of having got further
than Parmenides when he says:—

  “Keep your mind from this way of inquiry,
  For never will you show that non-being is.”

Plato says that Being in anyone partakes both of Being and non-being;
but what thus participates is different both from Being and non-being
as such.[37]

This dialectic combats two things in particular; and in the first place
it is antagonistic to the common dialectic in the ordinary sense,
of which we have already spoken. Examples of this false dialectic
to which Plato often comes back, are specially frequent amongst the
Sophists; yet he did not show sufficiently clearly how they are
distinguished from the purely dialectical knowledge which is in the
Notion. For example, Plato expressed his dissent when Protagoras and
others said that no determination is absolutely certain—that bitter is
not objective, for what to one person is bitter, to another is sweet.
Similarly, large and small, more and less, &c., are relative, because
the large will be, in other circumstances, small, and the small will
be great. That is to say, the unity of opposites is present to us
in everything we know, but the common way of looking at things, in
which the rational does not come to consciousness, always holds the
opposites asunder, as though they were simply opposed in a determinate
way. As in each thing we demonstrate unity, so do we also show its
multiplicity, for it has many parts and qualities. In the Parmenides,
Plato, as we saw above (p. 58), objected to this unity of opposites,
because it must thereby be said that something is one in quite another
respect from that in which it is many. We thus do not here bring
these thoughts together, for the conception and the words merely go
backwards and forwards from the one to the other; if this passing to
and fro is performed with consciousness, it is the empty dialectic
which does not really unite the opposites. Of this Plato says, “If
anyone thinks he has made a wonderful discovery in ascertaining that
he can drag thoughts this way and that, from one determination to
another, he may be told that he has done nothing worthy of praise; for
in so doing there is nothing excellent or difficult.” The dialectic
that annuls a determination because it reveals in it some defect,
and then goes on to establish another, is thus wrong. “The point of
difficulty, and what we ought to aim at, is to show that what is the
other is the same, and what is the same, is another, and likewise in
the same regard and from the same point of view to show that the one
has in them come into existence if the other determination is revealed
within them. But to show that somehow the same is another, and the
other also the same, that the great is also small” (_e.g._ Protagoras’s
die), “and the like also unlike, and to delight in thus always proving
opposites, is no true inquiry (ἔλενχος), but simply proves that he who
uses such arguments is a neophyte,” in thought, “who has just begun
to investigate truth. To separate all existences from one another is
the crude attempt of an uncultured and unphilosophical mind. To cause
everything to fall asunder means the perfect annihilation of all
thought, for thought is the union of ideas.”[38] Thus Plato expressly
speaks against the dialectic of showing how anything may be refuted
from some point of view or another. We see that Plato, in respect of
content, expresses nothing excepting what is called indifference in
difference, the difference of absolute opposites and their unity. To
this speculative knowledge he opposes the ordinary way of thinking,
which is positive as well as negative; the former, not bringing the
thoughts together, allows first one and then the other to have value in
their separation; the latter is, indeed, conscious of a unity, though
it is of a superficial, differentiating unity in which the two moments
are separate, as standing in different aspects.

The second point against which Plato argues is the dialectic of the
Eleatics, and their assertion, which in its nature resembles that of
the Sophists, that only Being is, and non-being is not. To the Sophists
this means, as Plato puts it: Since the negative is not, but only Being
is, there is nothing false; everything existent, everything which is
for us, is thus necessarily true, and what is not, we do not know
or feel. Plato reproaches the Sophists for thus doing away with the
difference between true and false.[39] Having arrived at this stage
in the knowledge of the dialectic (and the whole matter is merely a
difference of stages) the Sophists could allow what they promise—that
everything that the individual, according to his belief, makes his end
and interest, is affirmative and right. Hence it cannot be said that
such and such an act is wrong, wicked, a crime; for this would be to
say that the maxim of the action is wrong. No more can it be said that
such and such opinion is deceptive, for in the opinion of the Sophists
the proposition implies that what I feel or represent to myself, in as
far as it is mine, is an affirmative content, and thus true and right.
The proposition in itself seems quite abstract and innocent, but we
first notice what is involved in such abstractions when we see them
in concrete form. According to this innocent proposition there would
be no wickedness and no crime. The Platonic dialectic is essentially
different from this kind of dialectic.

What is further present to the mind of Plato is that the Idea, the
absolute universal, good, true, and beautiful, is to be taken for
itself. The myth, which I have already quoted (p. 27 _et seq._), indeed
goes to prove that we must not consider a good action, a noble man—not
the subject of which these determinations are predicated. For that
which appears in such conceptions or perceptions as predicate, must be
taken for itself, and this is the absolute truth. This tallies with
the nature of the dialectic which has been described. An action, taken
in accordance with the empirical conception, may be called right; in
another aspect, quite opposite determinations may be shown to be in it.
But the good and true must be taken on their own account without such
individualities, without this empirical and concrete character; and
the good and true thus taken alone, constitute that which is. The soul
which, according to the divine drama, is found in matter, rejoices in
a beautiful and just object; but the only actual truth is in absolute
virtue, justice, and beauty. It is thus the universal for itself which
is further determined in the Platonic dialectic; of this several forms
appear, but these forms are themselves still very general and abstract.
Plato’s highest form is the identity of Being and non-being. The true
is that which is, but this Being is not without negation. Plato’s
object is thus to show that non-being is an essential determination in
Being, and that the simple, self-identical, partakes of other-being.
This unity of Being and non-being is also found in the Sophists; but
this alone is not the end of the matter. For in further investigation
Plato comes to the conclusion that non-being, further determined, is
the essence of the ‘other’: “Ideas mingle, and Being and the other
(θάτερον) go through everything and through one another; the other,
because it participates (μετασχόν) in Being, certainly _is_ through
this indwelling Being, but it is not identical with that of which it
partakes, being something different, and being other than Being, it is
clearly non-being. But since Being likewise partakes of other-being,
it also is different from other Ideas, and is not any one of them; so
that there are thousands of ways in which it is not, and as regards
all else, whether looked at individually or collectively, it in many
respects is, and in many respects is not.”[40] Plato thus maintains
that the other, as the negative, non-identical, is likewise in one and
the same respect the self-identical; there are not different sides
which are in mutual opposition.

These are the principal points in Plato’s peculiar dialectic. The
fact that the Idea of the divine, eternal, beautiful, is absolute
existence, is the beginning of the elevation of consciousness into the
spiritual, and into the consciousness that the universal is true. It
may be enough for the ordinary idea to be animated and satisfied by the
conception of the beautiful and good, but thinking knowledge demands
the determination of this eternal and divine. And this determination
is really only free determination which certainly does not prevent
universality—a limitation (for every determination is limitation) which
likewise leaves the universal in its infinitude free and independent.
Freedom exists only in a return into itself; the undistinguished is the
lifeless; the active, living, concrete universal is hence what inwardly
distinguishes itself, but yet remains free in so doing. Now this
determinateness consists in the one being identical with itself in the
other, in the many, in what is distinguished. This constitutes the only
truth, and the only interest for knowledge in what is called Platonic
philosophy, and if this is not known, the main point of it is not
known. While in the example already often quoted (pp. 58, 64),[41] in
which Socrates is both one and many, the two thoughts are made to fall
asunder, it is left to speculative thought alone to bring the thoughts
together, and this union of what is different, of Being and non-being,
of one and many, &c., which takes place without a mere transition from
one to another, constitutes the inmost reality and true greatness of
Platonic philosophy. This determination is the esoteric element in
Platonic philosophy, and the other is the exoteric; the distinction is
doubtless an unwarranted one, indicating, as it seems to do, that Plato
could have two such philosophies—one for the world, for the people, and
the other, the inward, reserved for the initiated. But the esoteric
is the speculative, which, even though written and printed, is yet,
without being any secret, hidden from those who have not sufficient
interest in it to exert themselves. To this esoteric portion pertain
the two dialogues hitherto considered, along with which the Philebus
may in the third place be taken.

_c._ In the Philebus Plato investigates the nature of pleasure;
and the opposition of the infinite and finite, or of the unlimited
(ἄπειρον) and limiting (πέρας), is there more especially dealt with. In
keeping this before us, it would scarcely occur to us that through the
metaphysical knowledge of the nature of the infinite and undetermined,
what concerns enjoyment is likewise determined; but these pure thoughts
are the substantial through which everything, however concrete or
seemingly remote, is decided. When Plato treats of pleasure and wisdom
as contrasted, it is the opposition of finite and infinite. By pleasure
we certainly represent to ourselves the immediately individual, the
sensuous; but pleasure is the indeterminate in respect that it is the
merely elementary, like fire and water, and not the self-determining.
Only the Idea is the self-determinate, or self-identity. To our
reflection the infinite appears to be what is best and highest,
limitation being inferior to it; and ancient philosophers so
determined it. By Plato, however, it is, on the other hand, shown
that the limited is the true, as the self-determining, while the
unlimited is still abstract; it certainly can be determined in many
different ways, but when thus determined it is only the individual. The
infinite is the formless; free form as activity is the finite, which
finds in the infinite the material for self-realization. Plato thus
characterizes enjoyment dependent on the senses as the unlimited which
does not determine itself; reason alone is the active determination.
But the infinite is what in itself passes over to the finite; thus
the perfect good, according to Plato, is neither to be sought for in
happiness or reason, but in a life of both combined. But wisdom, as
limit, is the true cause from which what is excellent arises.[42] As
that which posits measure and end, it is what absolutely determines the
end—the immanent determination with which and in which freedom likewise
brings itself into existence.

Plato further considers the fact that the true is the identity of
opposites, thus. The infinite, as the indeterminate, is capable of
a more or less, it may be more intensive or not; thus colder and
warmer, drier and moister, quicker and slower, &c., are all such.
What is limited is the equal, the double, and every other measure; by
this means the opposite ceases to be unlike and becomes uniform and
harmonious. Through the unity of these opposites, such as cold and
warm, dry and moist, health arises; similarly the harmony of music
takes its origin from the limitation of high tones and deep, of quicker
and slower movement, and, generally speaking, everything beautiful
and perfect arises through the union of opposites. Health, happiness,
beauty, &c., would thus appear to be begotten, in as far as the
opposites are allied thereto, but they are likewise an intermingling
of the same. The ancients make copious use of intermingling,
participation, &c., instead of individuality; but for us these are
indefinite and inadequate expressions. But Plato says that the third,
which is thus begotten, pre-supposes the cause or that from which it is
formed; this is more excellent than those through whose instrumentality
that third arose. Hence Plato has four determinations; first the
unlimited, the undetermined; secondly the limited, measure, proportion,
to which pertains wisdom; the third is what is mingled from both, what
has only arisen; the fourth is cause. This is in itself nothing else
than the unity of differences, subjectivity, power and supremacy over
opposites, that which is able to sustain the opposites in itself;
but it is only the spiritual which has this power and which sustains
opposition, the highest contradiction in itself. Weak corporeality
passes away as soon as ‘another’ comes into it. The cause he speaks
of is divine reason, which governs the world; the beauty of the world
which is present in air, fire, water, and in all that lives, is
produced thereby.[43] Thus the absolute is what in one unity is finite
and infinite.

When Plato speaks thus of the beautiful and good, these are concrete
ideas, or rather there is only one idea. But we are still far
from these concrete ideas when we begin with such abstractions as
Being, non-being, unity, and multiplicity. If Plato, however, has
not succeeded in bringing these abstract thoughts through further
development and concretion, to beauty, truth, and morality, there at
least lies in the knowledge of those abstract determinations, the
criterion by which the concrete is determined, as also its sources.
This transition to the concrete is made in the Philebus, since the
principle of feeling and of pleasure is there considered. The ancient
philosophers knew very well what they had of concrete in those
abstract thoughts. In the atomic principle of multiplicity we thus
find the source of a construction of the state, for the ultimate
thought-determination of such state-principles is the logical. The
ancients in their pure Philosophy had not the same end in view as
we—they had not the end of a metaphysical sequence placed before them
like a problem. We, on the other hand, have something concrete before
us, and desire to reduce it to settled order. With Plato Philosophy
offers the path which the individual must follow in order to attain
to any knowledge, but, generally speaking, Plato places absolute and
explicit happiness, the blessed life itself, in the contemplation
during life of the divine objects named above.[44] This contemplative
life seems aimless, for the reason that all its interests have
disappeared. But to live in freedom in the kingdom of thought had
become the absolute end to the ancients, and they knew that freedom
existed only in thought.


With Plato Philosophy likewise commenced to devote more attention
to the understanding of what is further determined, and in this way
the matter of knowledge began to fall into divisions. In the Timæus
the Idea thus makes its appearance as expressed in its concrete
determinateness, and the Platonic Philosophy of Nature hence teaches
us to have a better knowledge of the reality of the world; we cannot,
however, enter into details, and if we did, they have little interest.
It is more especially where Plato treats of physiology that his
statements in no way correspond with what we now know, although we
cannot fail to wonder at the brilliant glimpses of the truth there
found, which have been only too much misconceived by the moderns.
Plato derived a great deal from the Pythagoreans; how much is theirs,
however, cannot be satisfactorily determined. We remarked before (p.
14) that the Timæus is really the fuller version of a Pythagorean
treatise; other would-be wise persons have indeed said that the
treatise is only an abstract made by a Pythagorean of the larger
work of Plato, but the first theory is the more probable. The Timæus
has in all times been esteemed the most difficult and obscure of the
Platonic dialogues. This difficulty is due in part to the apparent
mingling of conceiving knowledge and ordinary perception already
mentioned (p. 20), just as we shall presently find an intermingling
of Pythagorean numbers; and it is due still more to the philosophic
nature of the matter in hand, of which Plato was as yet unconscious.
The second difficulty lies in the arrangement of the whole, for what
at once strikes one is that Plato repeatedly breaks off the thread of
his argument, often appearing to turn back and begin again from the
beginning.[45] This moved critics such as August Wolff and others, who
could not understand it philosophically, to take the Timæus to be an
accumulation of fragments put together, or else to be several works
which had only been loosely strung together into one, or into the
Platonic portion of which much that is foreign had been introduced.
Wolff accordingly thought it was evident from this that the dialogue,
like Homer’s poems, had been, in its first form, spoken and not
written. But although the connection seems unmethodical, and Plato
himself makes what maybe called copious excuses for the confusion, we
shall find how the whole matter really falls into natural divisions,
and we shall also find the deep inward reason which makes necessary the
frequent return to what apparently is the beginning.

An exposition of the reality of nature or of the becoming of the world
is introduced by Plato in the following way: “God is the Good,” this
stands also at the head of the Platonic Ideas in the verbally delivered
discourses (_supra_, p. 11); “goodness, however, has no jealousy of
anything, and being free from jealousy, God desired to make all things
like Himself.”[46] God here is still without determination, and a
name which has no meaning for thought; nevertheless, where Plato in
the Timæus again begins from the beginning, he is found to have a
more definite idea of God. That God is devoid of envy undoubtedly is
a great, beautiful, true, and childlike thought. With the ancients,
on the contrary, we find in Nemesis, Dike, Fate, Jealousy, the one
determination of the gods: moved by this they cast down the great and
bring it low, and suffer not what is excellent and elevated to exist.
The later high-minded philosophers controverted this doctrine. For in
the mere idea of the Nemesis no moral determination is as yet implied,
because punishment there is only the humiliation of what oversteps
limits, but these limits are not yet presented as moral, and punishment
is thus not yet a recognition of the moral as distinguished from the
immoral. Plato’s thought is thus much higher than that of most of our
moderns, who, in saying that God is a hidden God who has not revealed
Himself to us and of whom we can know nothing, ascribe jealousy to
God. For why should He not reveal Himself to us if we earnestly seek
the knowledge of Him? A light loses nothing by another’s being kindled
therefrom, and hence there was in Athens a punishment imposed on those
who did not permit this to be done. If the knowledge of God were kept
from us in order that we should know only the finite and not attain
to the infinite, God would be a jealous God, or God would then become
an empty name. Such talk means no more than that we wish to neglect
what is higher and divine, and seek after our own petty interests and
opinions. This humility is sin—the sin against the Holy Ghost.

Plato continues: “God found the visible” (παραλαβών)—a mythical
expression proceeding from the necessity of beginning with an
immediate, which, however, as it presents itself, cannot in any way
be allowed—“not at rest, but moving in an irregular and disorderly
manner; and out of disorder he brought order, considering that this
was far better than the other.” From this it appears as if Plato had
considered that God was only the δημιοῦργος, _i.e._ the disposer of
matter, and that this, being eternal and independent, was found by
Him as chaos; but in view of what has been said, this is false. These
are not the philosophic doctrines which Plato seriously held, for he
speaks here only after the manner of the ordinary conception, and
such expressions have hence no philosophic content. It is only the
introduction of the subject, bringing us, as it does, to determinations
such as matter. Plato then comes in course of his progress to further
determinations, and in these we first have the Notion; we must hold to
what is speculative in Plato, and not to the first-mentioned ordinary
conception. Likewise, when he says that God esteemed order to be the
best, the mode of expression is naïve. Nowadays we should ask that
God should first be proved; and just as little should we allow the
visible to be established without much further ado. What is proved
by Plato from this more naïve method of expression is, in the first
place, the true determination of the Idea, which only appears later
on. It is further said: “God reflecting that of what is visible, the
unintelligent (ἀνόητον) could not be fairer than the intelligent
(νοῦς), and that intelligence could not exist in anything devoid of
soul, for these reasons put intelligence in the soul, and the soul
in the body, and so united them that the world became a living and
intelligent system, an animal.” We have reality and intelligence,
and the soul as the bond connecting the two extremes, without which
intelligence could not have part in the visible body; we saw the true
reality comprehended by Plato in a similar way in the Phædrus (_supra_,
p. 39). “There is, however, only one such animal, for were there two or
more, these would be only parts of the one, and only one.”[47]

Plato now first proceeds to the determination of the Idea of corporeal
existence: “Because the world was to become corporeal, visible and
tangible, and since without fire nothing can be seen, and without
solidity, without earth, nothing can be touched, God in the beginning
made fire and earth.” In this childlike way Plato introduces these
extremes, solidity and life. “But two things cannot be united without
a third, there must be a bond between them, uniting both”—one of
Plato’s simple methods of expression. “The fairest bond, however, is
that which most completely fuses itself and that which is bound by
it.” That is a profound saying, in which the Notion is contained; the
bond is the subjective and individual, the power which dominates the
other, which makes itself identical with it. “Proportion” (ἀναλογία)
is best adapted to effect such a fusion; that is, whenever of three
numbers or magnitudes or powers, that which is the mean is to the
last term what the first term is to the mean, and again when the mean
is to the first term as the last term is to the mean (a : b = b : c)
“then the mean having become the first and last, and the first and
last both having become means, all things will necessarily come to be
the same; but having come to be the same, everything will be one.”[48]
This is excellent, we have still preserved this in our Philosophy;
it is the distinction which is no distinction. This diremption from
which Plato proceeds, is the conclusion which we know from logic; it
appears in the form of the ordinary syllogism, in which, however, the
whole rationality of the Idea is, at least externally, contained. The
distinctions are the extremes, and the mean is the identity which in a
supreme degree makes them one; the conclusion is thus speculative, and
in the extremes unites itself with itself, because all the terms pass
through all the different positions. It is hence a mistake to disparage
the conclusion and not to recognize it as the highest and absolute
form; in respect of the conclusions arrived at by the understanding,
on the contrary, we should be right in rejecting it. This last has no
such mean; each of the differences is there recognized as different in
its own independent form, as having a character different from that
of the other. This, in the Platonic philosophy, is abrogated, and
the speculative element in it constitutes the proper and true form
of conclusion, in which the extremes neither remain in independence
as regards themselves, nor as regards the mean. In the conclusion of
the understanding, on the contrary, the unity which is constituted is
only the unity of essentially different contents which remain such;
for here a subject, a determination, is, through the mean, simply
bound up with another, or “some conception is joined to some other
conception.” In a rational conclusion, however, the main point of its
speculative content is the identity of the extremes which are joined
to one another; in this it is involved that the subject presented in
the mean is a content which does not join itself with another, but only
through the other and in the other with itself. In other words, this
constitutes the essential nature of God, who, when made subject, is
the fact that He begot His Son, the world; but in this reality which
appears as another, He still remains identical with Himself, does away
with the separation implied in the Fall, and, in the other, merely
unites Himself to Himself and thus becomes Spirit. When the immediate
is elevated over the mediate and it is then said that God’s actions are
immediate, there is, indeed, good ground for the assertion; but the
concrete fact is that God is a conclusion which, by differentiating
itself, unites itself to itself, and, through the abrogation of the
mediation, reinstates its own immediacy. In the Platonic philosophy we
thus have what is best and highest; the thoughts are, indeed, merely
pure thoughts, but they contain everything in themselves; for all
concrete forms depend on thought-determinations alone. The Fathers thus
found in Plato the Trinity which they wished to comprehend and prove
in thought: with Plato the truth really has the same determination
as the Trinity. But these forms have been neglected for two thousand
years since Plato’s time, for they have not passed into the Christian
religion as thoughts; indeed they were considered to be ideas which had
entered in through error, until quite recent times, when men began to
understand that the Notion is contained in these determinations, and
that nature and spirit can thus be comprehended through their means.

Plato continues: “Since what is solid requires two means, because it
not only has breadth but also depth, God has placed air and water
between fire and earth; and indeed He gave to them the same proportion,
so that fire is related to air as air to water, and as air is to
water, so is water to earth.”[49] Thus we have, properly speaking,
four methods of representing space, inasmuch as the point is, through
line and surface, closely bound up with the solid body. The sundered
mean here discovered, again indicates an important thought of logical
profundity; and the number four which here appears, is in nature
a fundamental number. For as being the different which is turned
towards the two extremes, the mean must be separated in itself. In
the conclusion in which God is the One, the second (the mediating),
the Son; the third, the Spirit; the mean indeed is simple. But the
cause why that which in the rational conclusion is merely three-fold,
passes in nature to the four-fold, rests in what is natural, because
what in thought is immediately the one, becomes separate in Nature.
But in order that in Nature the opposition should exist as opposition,
it must itself be a twofold, and thus, when we count, we have four.
This also takes place in the conception of God, for when we apply
it to the world, we have nature as mean and the existent spirit as
the way of return for nature: when the return is made, this is the
absolute Spirit. This living process, this separation and unifying of
differences, is the living God.

Plato says further: “Through this unity the visible and tangible world
has been made. And it comes to pass by God’s having given to it these
elements entire and unseparated, that it is perfect, and unaffected by
age and disease. For old age and disease only arise from a body’s being
worked upon by a superabundance of such elements from without. But
here this is not so, for the world contains those elements entirely in
itself, and nothing can come to it from without. The world is spherical
in form,” (as it was to Parmenides and the Pythagoreans) “as being
most perfect, and as containing all others in itself; it is perfectly
smooth, since for it there is nothing outside, and it requires no
limbs.” Finitude consists in this, that a distinction as regards
something else is an externality to some other object. In the Idea we
certainly have determination, limitation, difference, other-being, but
it is at the same time dissolved, contained, gathered together, in the
one. Thus it is a difference through which no finitude arises, seeing
that it likewise is sublated. Finitude is thus in the infinite itself,
and this is, indeed, a great thought. “God gave the world the most
appropriate motion of all the seven, being that which harmonizes best
with mind and consciousness, motion in a circle; the other six He took
away from it and liberated it from their variations”[50] (movements
backwards and forwards). This is only a popular way of putting it.

We read further: “Since God wished to make the world a God, He gave it
soul, and this was placed in the centre and diffused through the whole,
which was also surrounded by it externally; and in this way He brought
to pass the self-sufficing existence which required no other, and which
needed no other friendship or acquaintance than itself. Through these
means God created the world as a blessed God.” We may say that here,
where the world is a totality through the world-soul, we first have the
knowledge of the Idea; for the first time this newly-begotten God,
as the mean and identity, is the true absolute. That first God which
was only goodness, is, on the contrary, a mere hypothesis, and hence
neither determined nor self-determining. “Now though we have spoken of
the soul last,” Plato goes on, “it does not for that reason come last;
for this is merely our manner of speech. The soul is the ruler, the
king, and the body is its subject.” It is only Plato’s naïvety which
ascribes the reversal of the order of the two to a manner of speech.
What here appears as contingent is really necessary—that is, to begin
with the immediate and then come to the concrete. We must likewise
adopt this method, but with the consciousness that when we begin with
determinations such as Being, or God, Space, Time, &c., we speak of
them in an immediate manner, and this content, in accordance with its
nature, is at first immediate, and consequently undetermined in itself.
God, for example, with whom we begin as an immediate, is proved only at
the last, and then, indeed, as the true first. Thus we can, as already
remarked, (p. 72) show Plato’s confusion of mind in such presentations;
but it depends entirely on what Plato’s standard of truth is.

Plato further shows us the nature of the Idea in one of the most
famous and profound of passages, where in the essence of the soul he
recognizes again the very same idea that he also expressed as the
essence of the corporeal. For he says: “The soul is created in the
following way: Of the indivisible and unchangeable and also of the
divisible which is corporeal, God made a third kind of intermediate
essence, which partook of the nature of the same and of the nature of
the other or diverse.” (The divisible is to Plato likewise the other
as such, or in itself, and not of anything else.) “And God in like
manner made the soul a sort of intermediate between the indivisible
and the divisible.” Here the abstract determinations of the one which
is identity, of the many or non-identical, which is opposition and
difference, once more appear. If we say: “God, the Absolute, is the
identity of the identical and non-identical,” a cry is raised of
barbarism and scholasticism. Those who speak of it so still hold Plato
in high esteem, and yet it was thus that he determined the truth. “And
taking these three elements as separate, God mingled them all into one
Idea, because he forcibly compressed the incongruous nature of the
other into the same.”[51] This is undoubtedly the power of the Notion,
which posits the many, the separate, as the ideal, and that is also the
force applied to the understanding when anything is placed before it.

Plato now describes how the self-identical, as itself a moment, and
the other or matter, and the third, the apparently dissoluble union
which has not returned into the first unity—which three were originally
separated—have now, in simple reflection into self and resumption of
that beginning, been degraded into moments. “Mingling the identical
and the other with the essence (οὐσία),” the third moment, “and making
them all one, God again divided this whole into as many parts was
as fitting.”[52] Since this substance of the soul is identical with
that of the visible world, the one whole is for the first time the
now systematized substance, the true matter, the absolute element
which is internally divided, an enduring and unseparable unity of the
one and many; and no other essence must be demanded. The manner and
mode of the division of this subjectivity contain the famous Platonic
numbers, which doubtless originally pertain to the Pythagoreans, and
respecting which both ancients and moderns, and even Kepler himself
in his _Harmonia mundi_, have taken much pains, but which no one has
properly understood. To understand would mean two things, and in
the first place, the recognition of their speculative significance,
their Notion. But, as already remarked of the Pythagoreans (Vol.
I. p. 224), these distinctions of number give only an indefinite
conception of difference, and that only in the earlier numbers; where
the relationships become more complicated, they are quite incapable of
designating them more closely. In the second place, because of their
being numbers, they express, as differences of magnitude, differences
in what is sensuous only. The system of apparent magnitude—and it is
in the heavenly system that magnitude appears most purely and freely,
liberated from what is qualitative—must correspond to them. But
these living number-spheres are themselves systems composed of many
elements—both of the magnitude of distance and of velocity and mass. No
one of these elements, taken as a succession of simple numbers, can be
likened to the system of heavenly spheres, for the series corresponding
to this system can, as to its members, contain nothing else than the
system of all these moments. Now if the Platonic numbers were also
the elements of each system such as this, it would not be only this
element which would have to be taken into account, for the relationship
of moments which become distinguished in movement has to be conceived
of as a whole, and is the true object of interest and reason. What we
have to do is to give briefly the main points as matter of history;
we have the most thorough treatment of it given us by Böckh “On the
Constitution of the World-Soul in the Timæus of Plato,” in the third
volume of the Studies of Daub and Creuzer (p. 26 _et seq._).

The fundamental series is very simple: “God first took one part out
of the whole; then the second, the double of the first; the third is
one and a half times as many as the second, or three times the first;
the next is double the second; the fifth is three times the third;
the sixth is eight times the first; the seventh is twenty-seven times
greater than the first.” Hence the series is: 1; 2; 3; 4 = 2²; 9 = 3²;
8 = 2³; 27 = 3³. “Then God filled up the double and triple intervals”
(the relations 1 : 2 and 1 : 3) “by again abstracting portions from
the whole. These parts he placed in the intervals in such a way that
in each interval there were two means, the one exceeding and exceeded
by the extremes in the same ratio, the other being that kind of mean
which by an equal number exceeds and is exceeded by the extremes.” That
is, the first is a constant geometric relationship, and the other is
an arithmetical. The first mean, brought about through the quadration,
is thus in the relation 1 : 2, for example, the proportion 1 : √̅2
: 2; the other is in the same relation, the number 1½. Hereby new
relations arise which are again in a specially given and more difficult
method inserted into that first, but this is done in such a way that
everywhere something has been left out, and the last relation of number
to number is 256 : 243, or 2^8 : 3^5.

Much progress is not, however, made with these number-relations, for
they do not present much to the speculative Notion. The relationships
and laws of nature cannot be expressed by these barren numbers; they
form an empirical relation which does not constitute the basis of
the proportions of nature. Plato now says: “God divided this entire
series lengthways into two parts which he set together crosswise like
an X, and he bent their ends into a circular form and comprehended
them in a uniform motion—forming an inner circle and an outer—and he
called the motion of the outer circle the motion of the same, and
that of the inner the motion of the diverse, giving supremacy to the
former, and leaving it intact. But the inner motion he again split
into seven orbits after the same relations; three of these he made to
move with equal velocity, and four with unequal velocity to the three
and to one another. This is the system of the soul within which all
that is corporeal is formed; the soul is the centre, it penetrates
the whole and envelopes it from without and moves in itself. Thus
it has the divine beginning of a never-ceasing and rational life in
itself.”[53] This is not quite devoid of confusion, and from it we
can only grasp the general fact that as to Plato with the idea of the
corporeal universe that of the soul enters in as the all-embracing
and simple, to him the essence of the corporeal and of the soul is
unity in difference. This double essence, posited in and for itself
in difference, becomes systematized within the one in many moments,
which are, however, movements; thus this reality and that essence both
pertain to this whole in the antithesis of soul and body, and this
again is one. Mind is what penetrates all, and to it the corporeal is
opposed as truly as that it itself is mind.

This is a general description of the soul which is posited in the
world and reigns over it; and in as far as the substantial, which is
in matter, is similar to it, their inherent identity is asserted. The
fact that in it the same moments which constitute its reality are
contained, merely signifies that God, as absolute Substance, does not
see anything other than Himself. Plato hence describes the relation
of soul to objective reality thus: it, if it touches any of the
moments, whether dispersed in parts or indivisible, is stirred in all
its powers to declare the sameness and the difference of that or some
other thing, and how, where, and when, the individual is related to
the other and to the universal. “Now when the orbit of the sensuous,
moving in its due course, imparts knowledge of itself to its whole
soul” (where the different orbits of the world’s course show themselves
to correspond with the inwardness of mind) “true opinions and beliefs
arise. But when the soul applies itself to the rational and the orbit
of the self-identical makes itself known, thought is perfected into
knowledge.”[54] This is the essential reality of the world as of the
inherently blessed God; here the Idea of the whole is for the first
time perfected, and, in accordance with this Idea, the world first
makes its appearance. What had hitherto appeared was the reality of the
sensuous only and not the world as sensuous, for though Plato certainly
spoke before of fire, &c. (p. 75), he there gave only the reality of
the sensuous; he would hence have done better to have omitted these
expressions. In them we have the reason for its appearing as if Plato
had here begun to consider from the beginning that of which he has
already treated (_supra_, p. 72). For since we must begin from the
abstract in order to reach the true and the concrete, which first
appears later on (_supra_, p. 79), this last, when it has been found,
has the appearance and form of a new commencement, particularly in
Plato’s loose style.

Plato now goes on further, for he calls this divine world the pattern
which is in thought (νοητόν) alone, and always in self-identity; but
he again places this whole in opposition to itself, so that there is
a second, the copy of the first, the world, which has origination
and is visible. This second is the system of the heavenly movement,
the first is the eternally living. The second, which has origination
and becoming within it, cannot be made perfectly like the first, the
eternal Idea. But it is made a self-moving image of the eternal that
remains in the unity; and this eternal image that moves rhythmically,
after the manner of numbers, is what we call time. Plato says of it
that we are in the habit of calling the ‘was’ and ‘will be’ parts of
time, and we transfer these indications of change which operate in
time, into absolute essence. But the true time is eternal, or the
present. For the substance can neither become older nor younger, and
time, as the immediate image of the eternal, has neither the future nor
the present in its parts. Time is ideal, like space, not sensuous, but
the immediate mode in which mind comes forth in objective form, the
sensuous non-sensuous. The real moments of the principle of absolute
movement in what is temporal, are those in which changes appear. “From
the mind and will of God in the creation of time, there arose the sun,
moon, and five other stars which are called the planets, and which
serve to distinguish and preserve the relations of time.”[55] For in
them the numbers of time are realized. Thus the heavenly movement, as
the true time, is the image of the eternal which yet remains in unity,
_i.e._ it is that in which the eternal retains the determination of the
‘same.’ For everything is in time, that is, in negative unity which
does not allow anything to root itself freely in itself, and thus to
move and to be moved according to chance.

But this eternal is also in the determinateness of the other reality,
in the Idea of the self-changing and variable principle whose universal
is matter. The eternal world has a likeness in the world which belongs
to time, but opposed to this there is a second world where change
really dwells. The ‘same’ and the ‘other’ are the most abstract opposes
that we hitherto have had. The eternal world as posited in time has
thus two forms—the form of similarity and the form of differentiality,
of variability. The three moments as they appear in the last sphere,
are, in the first place, simple essence which is begotten, which has
arisen, or determinate matter; secondly the place in which it is
begotten, and thirdly that in which what is begotten has its pattern.
Plato gives them thus: “Essence (ὄν), place, and generation.” We thus
have the conclusion in which space is the mean between individual
generation and the universal. If we now oppose this principle to time
in its negativity, the mean is this principle of the ‘other’ as the
universal principle—“a receiving medium like a mother”—an essence which
contains everything, gives to everything an independent subsistence and
the power to do as is desired. This principle is destitute of form, yet
capable of receiving all forms, the universal principle of all that
appears different; it is the false passive matter that we understand
when we speak of it—the relative substantial, existence generally, but
external existence here, and only abstract Being-for-self. Form is in
our reflection distinguished from it, and this, Plato tells us, first
comes into existence through the mother. In this principle we have
what we call the phenomenal, for matter is just this subsistence of
individual generation, in which division is posited. But what appears
herein is not to be posited as the individual of earthly existence, but
is to be apprehended as the universal in such determinateness. Since
matter, as the universal, is the principle of all that is individual,
Plato in the first place reminds us that we cannot speak of these
sensuous things—fire, water, earth, air, &c. (which thus once more come
before us here); for hereby they are expressed as a fixed determination
which remains as such—but what remains is only their universality, or
they, as universal, are only the fiery, earthly, &c.[56]

Plato further expounds the determinate reality of these sensuous
things, or their simple determinateness. In this world of change form
is figure in space; for as in the world, which is the immediate image
of the eternal, time is the absolute principle, here the absolute
ideal principle is pure matter as such, _i.e._ the existence of space.
Space is the ideal essence of this phenomenal world, the mean which
unites positivity and negativity, but its determinations are figures.
And, indeed, of the different dimensions of space, it is surface which
must be taken as true reality, for it is the absolute mean between
the line and point in space, and in its first real limitation it
is three; similarly the triangle is first among the figures, while
the circle has no limit as such within it. Here Plato comes to the
deduction of configuration, in which the triangle forms the principle;
thus triangles form the essence of sensuous things. Hence he says, in
Pythagorean fashion, that the compounding and uniting together of
these triangles, as their Idea pertaining to the mean, constitutes
once more, according to the original number-relations, the sensuous
elements. This is the principle, but how Plato determines the figures
of the elements, and the union of the triangles, I refrain from

From this point Plato passes to a system of Physics and Physiology into
which we have no intention of following him. It is to be regarded as a
first, childlike endeavour to understand sensuous phenomena in their
manifold character, but as yet it is superficial and confused. Sensuous
manifestations, such as the parts and limbs of the body, are here
taken into consideration, and an account of this is given intermingled
with thoughts which resemble our formal explanations, and in which the
Notion really vanishes. We have to remember the elevated nature of
the Idea, as being the main point of excellence in his explanations,
for, as far as the realization of the same is concerned, Plato merely
felt and expressed it to be a necessity. Speculative thought is often
recognizable, but, for the most part, consideration is directed to
quite external modes of explanation, such as that of end. The method
of treating Physics is a different one from ours, for while with Plato
empirical knowledge is still deficient, in modern Physics, on the other
hand, the deficiency is found in the Idea. Plato, although he does
not seem to conform to our theory of Physics, ignoring as it does the
theory of life, and though he proceeds to talk in a childlike way in
external analogies, yet in certain cases gives utterance to very deep
perceptions, which would be well worthy of our consideration if the
contemplation of nature as living had any place with our physicists.
His manner of relating the physiological to the physical would be as
interesting. Certain portions of his system contain a general element,
such as his representation of colours, and from this he goes on to
more general considerations. For when Plato begins to talk on this
subject, he says of the difficulty of distinguishing and recognizing
the individual, that in the contemplation of nature there are “two
causes to be distinguished, the one necessary and the other divine. The
divine must be sought for in all things with the view of attaining to
a blessed life” (this endeavour is an end in and for itself, and in it
we find happiness) “in as far as our nature admits, but the necessary
causes need be sought only for the sake of divine things, considering
that without these necessary causes” (as conditions of knowledge) “we
cannot know them.” Contemplation in accordance with necessity is the
external contemplation of objects, their connection, relation, &c.
“Of the divine, God Himself was the creator,” the divine belongs to
that first eternal world—not as to one beyond, but to one now present.
“But the creation and disposition of the mortal He committed to His
offspring (γεννήμασι).” This is a simple way of passing from the
divine to the finite and earthly. “Now they, imitating the divine,
because they had received the immortal principle of a soul, fashioned
a mortal body, and placed in this a soul of another nature, which was
mortal. This mortal nature was subject to violent and irresistible
affections—the first of these was pleasure, the greatest incitement to
evil, and then pain which is the deterrent (φυγάς) from doing good;
also rashness (θάῤῥος) and fear, two foolish counsellors; anger, hope,
&c. These sensations all belong to the mortal soul. And that the
divine might not be polluted more than necessary, the subordinate gods
separated this mortal nature from the seat of the divine, and gave it
a different habitation in another part of the body, placing the neck
so as to be the isthmus and boundary between head and breast.” The
sensations, affections, &c., dwell in the breast or in the heart (we
place that which is immortal in the heart); the spiritual is in the
head. But in order to make the former as perfect as might be, “they
placed,” for instance, “as a supporter to the heart which was burnt
with passion, the lung, soft and bloodless, and which had within it
hollows like the pores of a sponge, in order that, receiving the breath
and drink, it might cool the heart and allow of refreshment and an
alleviation of the heat.”[58]

What Plato says of the liver is specially worthy of notice. “Since the
irrational part of the soul which desires eating and drinking does not
listen to reason, God made the liver so that the soul might be inspired
with terror by the power of thought which originates from reason, and
which descends upon the liver as on a mirror, receiving upon it figures
and giving back images. But if this part of the soul is once more
assuaged, in sleep it participates in visions. For the authors of our
being, remembering the command of their father to make the human race
as good as they could, thus ordered our inferior parts in order that
they also might obtain a measure of truth, and placed the oracle in
them.” Plato thus ascribes divination to the irrational, corporeal part
of man, and although it is often thought that revelation, &c., is by
Plato ascribed to reason, this is a false idea; he says that there is a
reason, but in irrationality. “Herein we have a conclusive proof that
God has given the art of divination to the irrationality of man, for
no man when in his wits, attains prophetic truth and inspiration, but
when he receives the inspiration either his intelligence is enthralled
by sleep or he is demented by some distemper or possession.” Thus Plato
makes divination of a lower grade than conscious knowledge. “And when
he has recovered his senses he has to remember and explain what he has
received, for while he is demented, he cannot judge of it. The ancient
saying is therefore very true, that only a man who has his wits can act
or judge about himself or his own affairs.”[59] Plato is called the
patron saint of mere possession, but, according to this, the assertion
is entirely false. These are the principal points in Plato’s Philosophy
of Nature.


We have already dealt generally from the theoretical side with the
speculative nature of mind as yet unrealized, as well as with the
highly important differences with respect to the kinds of knowledge
(pp. 28-48). It must also be considered that we find in Plato as yet
no developed consciousness of the organization of the theoretic mind,
though certainly sensation, memory, &c., are distinguished by him from
reason; these moments of the mind are, however, neither accurately
discriminated, nor exhibited in their connection, so as to show the
necessary relations between them. The only point of interest for us
then in Plato’s philosophy of mind is his view of man’s moral nature;
and this real, practical side of consciousness is Plato’s greatest
glory, and hence must now be specially dealt with by us. Its form
certainly does not suggest that Plato gave himself much trouble to
discover a supreme moral principle, as it is now called, which, for
the very reason that it is supposed to be all-embracing, has in it a
certain lack of content. Neither did he trouble himself about a natural
right, which is but a trivial abstraction foisted on to the real
practical existence, the right; but it is of man’s moral nature that he
treats in the Republic. Man’s moral nature seems to us to have little
to do with the State; to Plato, however, the reality of mind—that is,
of mind as opposed to nature—appeared in its highest truth as the
organization of a state which, as such, is essentially moral; and he
recognized that the moral nature (free will in its rationality) comes
to its right, to its reality, only in an actual nation.

We must further remark that in the Republic Plato introduces the
investigation of his subject with the object of showing what justice
(δικαιοσύνη) is. After much discussion has taken place, and several
definitions of justice have been taken into consideration only to
be rejected, Plato at last says in his simple way: “The present
investigation is very like the case of a man who is required to read
small handwriting at a distance; if it were observed that the same
letters were to be seen at a shorter distance and of a larger size,
he would certainly prefer to read first the letters where they were
written larger, and then would be able to read more easily the small
letters also. The same plan should be followed now with justice.
Justice is not only in the individual, but also in the state, and the
state is greater than the individual; justice is therefore imprinted on
states in larger characters, and is more easily recognizable.” (This is
different from what the Stoics say of the wise man.) “It is therefore
preferable to consider justice as it is to be found in the state.”[60]
By making this comparison Plato transforms the question anent justice
into an investigation of the state; it is a very simple and graceful
transition, though it seems arbitrary. It was great force of insight
that really led the ancients to the truth; and what Plato brings
forward as merely simplifying the difficulty, may, in fact, be said
to exist in the nature of the thing. For it is not convenience which
leads him to this position, but the fact that justice can be carried
out only in so far as man is a member of a state, for in the state
alone is justice present in reality and truth. Justice, not as the
understanding, but as mind in its striving to realize itself, is the
existence of freedom here and now, the actuality of the self-conscious,
intelligent existence in and at home with itself and possessing
activity—just as in property, for instance, I place my freedom in
this particular thing. But the principle of the state again is the
objective reality of justice, the reality in which the whole mind is
present and not only the knowledge of myself as this individual. For
as the free and reasonable will determines itself, there are laws of
freedom; but these laws are nothing else than state-laws, for the
Notion of the state implies the existence of a reasoning will. Thus
laws have force in the state, and are there matter of practice and of
custom; but because self-will is also there in its immediacy, they are
not only matter of custom, but must also be a force operating against
arbitrary self-will, and showing itself in the courts of justice and in
governments. Thus Plato, in order to discern the features of justice,
with the instinct of reason fixes his attention on their manner of
representation in the state.

Justice in itself is ordinarily represented by us in the form of a
natural right, right in a condition of nature; such a condition of
nature is, however, a direct moral impossibility. That which is in
itself is, by those who do not attain to the universal, held to be
something natural, as the necessary moments of the mind are held to
be innate ideas. The natural is rather what should be sublated by the
mind, and the justice of the condition of nature can only emerge as
the absolute injustice of the mind. In contrast with the state, which
is the real spirit, the spirit in its simple and as yet unrealized
Notion is the abstract implicitude; this Notion must of course precede
the construction of its reality; it is this which is conceived of
as a condition of nature. We are accustomed to take our start from
the fiction of a condition of nature, which is truly no condition of
mind, of reasonable will, but of animals among themselves: wherefore
Hobbes has justly remarked that the true state of nature is a war of
every man against his neighbour. This implicitude of the mind is at
the same time the individual man, for in the ordinary conception the
universal separates itself from the particular, as if the particular
were absolutely and in and for itself what it certainly is, and the
Universal did not make it that which it is in truth—as if this were not
its essence, but as if the individual element were the most important.
The fiction of a state of nature starts from the individuality of the
person, his free will, and his relation to other persons according
to this free will. Natural justice has thus been a term applied to
that which is justice in the individual and for the individual; and
the condition of society and of the state has been recognized only
as a medium for the individual person, who is the chief end and
object. Plato, in direct contrast with this, lays as his foundation
the substantial, the universal, and he does this in such a way that
the individual as such has this very universal as his end, and the
subject has his will, activity, life and enjoyment in the state, so
that it may be called his second nature, his habits and his customs.
This moral substance which constitutes the spirit, life and Being of
individuality, and which is its foundation, systematizes itself into a
living, organic whole, and at the same time it differentiates itself
into its members, whose activity signifies the production of the whole.

This relation of the Notion to its reality certainly did not come into
consciousness with Plato, and thus we do not find in him a philosophic
method of construction, which shows first the absolute Idea, then
the necessity, inherently existent, for its realization, and this
realization itself. The judgment that has been delivered respecting
Plato’s Republic therefore is that Plato has therein given a so-called
ideal for the constitution of a state; this has become proverbial as a
_sobriquet_, in the sense that this conception is a chimera, which may
be mentally conceived of—and in itself, as Plato describes it, it is
doubtless excellent and true—that it is also capable of being carried
out, but only on the condition that men should be of an excellence
such as may possibly be present among the dwellers in the moon, but
that it is not realizable for men like those on the earth. But since
men most be taken as they are, this ideal cannot be realized by reason
of men’s wickedness; and to frame such an ideal is therefore altogether

As to this, the first remark to be made is that in the Christian
world in general there passes current an ideal of a perfect man which
certainly cannot be carried out in the great body of a nation. We may,
perhaps, see it realized in monks or Quakers, or other similar pious
folk, but a set of melancholy specimens such as these could never
form a nation, any more than lice or parasitic plants could exist for
themselves, or otherwise than on an organic body. If such men were to
constitute a nation, there would have to be an end of this lamb-like
gentleness, this vanity which occupies itself exclusively with its
own individual self, which pets and pampers itself, and ever has the
image and consciousness of its own excellence before its eyes. For
life in the universal and for the universal demands, not that lame and
cowardly gentleness, but gentleness combined with a like measure of
energy, and which is not occupied with itself and its own sins, but
with the universal and what is to be done for it. They before whose
eyes that false ideal floats of course find men to be always compassed
with weakness and depravity, and never find that ideal realized. For
they raise into importance the veriest trifles, which no reasonable
man would give heed to; and they think such weaknesses and defects
are present even when they overlook them. But we need not esteem this
forbearance to be generosity; for it rather implies a perception on
their part that from what they call weakness and defect proceeds their
own destruction, which comes to pass from their making such defects
of importance. The man who has them is immediately through himself
absolved from them, in so far as he makes nothing of them. The crime
is a crime only when they are real to him, and his destruction is in
holding them to be something real. Such an ideal must therefore not
stand in our way, whatever be the fairness of its form, and this even
when it does not appear exactly as it does to monks and Quakers, but,
for instance, when it is the principle of renouncing sensuous things,
and abandoning energy of action, which principle must bring to nought
much that would otherwise be held of value. It is contradictory to try
to keep intact all our relationships, for in those that otherwise hold
good there always is a side where opposition is encountered. Moreover,
what I have already said regarding the relation between philosophy
and the state (p. 23 _et seq._) shows that the Platonic ideal is not
to be taken in this sense. When an ideal has truth in itself through
the Notion, it is no chimera, just because it is true, for the truth
is no chimera. Such an idea is therefore nothing idle and powerless,
but the real. It is certainly permissible to form wishes, but when
pious wishes are all that a man has in regard to the great and true,
he may be said to be godless. It is just as if we could do nothing,
because everything was so holy and inviolable, or as if we refused to
be anything definite, because all that is definite has its defects. The
true ideal is not what ought to be real, but what is real, and the only
real; if an ideal is held to be too good to exist, there must be some
fault in the ideal itself, for which reality is too good. The Platonic
Republic would thus be a chimera, not because excellence such as it
depicts is lacking to mankind, but because it, this excellence, falls
short of man’s requirements. For what is real, is rational. The point
to know, however, is what exactly is real; in common life all is real,
but there is a difference between the phenomenal world and reality. The
real has also an external existence, which displays arbitrariness and
contingency, like a tree, a house, a plant, which in nature come into
existence. What is on the surface in the moral sphere, men’s action,
involves much that is evil, and might in many ways be better; men will
ever be wicked and depraved, but this is not the Idea. If the reality
of the substance is recognized, the surface where the passions battle
must be penetrated. The temporal and transitory certainly exists,
and may cause us trouble enough, but in spite of that it is no true
reality, any more than the particularity of the subject, his wishes and
inclinations, are so.

In connection with this observation, the distinction is to be called
to mind which was drawn when we were speaking above (pp. 84, 88)
of Plato’s Philosophy of Nature: the eternal world, as God holy in
Himself, is reality, not a world above us or beyond, but the present
world looked at in its truth, and not as it meets the senses of those
who hear, see, &c. When we thus study the content of the Platonic
Idea, it will become clear that Plato has, in fact, represented Greek
morality according to its substantial mode, for it is the Greek
state-life which constitutes the true content of the Platonic Republic.
Plato is not the man to dabble in abstract theories and principles; his
truth-loving mind has recognized and represented the truth, and this
could not be anything else than the truth of the world he lived in, the
truth of the one spirit which lived in him as well as in Greece. No man
can overleap his time, the spirit of his time is his spirit also; but
the point at issue is, to recognize that spirit by its content.

On the other hand, a constitution that would be perfect in respect
to one nation, is to be regarded as not, perhaps, suitable for every
nation. Thus, when it is said that a true constitution does not do
for men as they now are, we must no doubt keep in mind that the more
excellent a nation’s constitution is, it renders the nation also so
much the more excellent; but, on the other hand, since the morals
commonly practised form the living constitution, the constitution in
its abstraction is nothing at all in its independence; it must relate
itself to the common morality, and be filled with the living spirit
of the people. It can, therefore, certainly not be said that a true
constitution suits any and every nation; and it is quite the case that
for men as they are—for instance, as they are Iroquois, Russians,
French—not every constitution is adapted. For the nation has its place
in history. But as the individual man is trained in the state, that
is, as individuality is raised into universality, and the child grows
into a man, so is every nation trained; or barbarism, the condition in
which the nation is a child, passes over into a rational condition.
Men do not remain at a standstill, they alter, as likewise do their
constitutions. And the question here is, What is the true constitution
which the nation must advance towards; just as it is a question which
is the true science of mathematics or of anything else, but not
whether children or boys should possess this science, as they must
rather be first so educated that they may be capable of understanding
it. Thus the true constitution stands before the nation of history,
so that it may advance towards it. Every nation in course of time
makes such alterations in its existing constitution as will bring it
nearer to the true constitution. The nation’s mind itself shakes off
its leading-strings, and the constitution expresses the consciousness
of what it is in itself,—the form of truth, of self-knowledge. If a
nation can no longer accept as implicitly true what its constitution
expresses to it as the truth, if its consciousness or Notion and its
actuality are not at one, then the nation’s mind is torn asunder.
Two things may then occur. First, the nation may either by a supreme
internal effort dash into fragments this law which still claims
authority, or it may more quietly and slowly effect changes on the yet
operative law, which is, however, no longer true morality, but which
the mind has already passed beyond. In the second place, a nation’s
intelligence and strength may not suffice for this, and it may hold
to the lower law; or it may happen that another nation has reached
its higher constitution, thereby rising in the scale, and the first
gives up its nationality and becomes subject to the other. Therefore
it is of essential importance to know what the true constitution is;
for what is in opposition to it has no stability, no truth, and passes
away. It has a temporary existence, but cannot hold its ground; it
has been accepted, but cannot secure permanent acceptance; that it
must be cast aside, lies in the very nature of the constitution. This
insight can be reached through Philosophy alone. Revolutions take place
in a state without the slightest violence when the insight becomes
universal; institutions, somehow or other, crumble and disappear, each
man agrees to give up his right. A government must, however, recognize
that the time for this has come; should it, on the contrary, knowing
not the truth, cling to temporary institutions, taking what—though
recognized—is unessential, to be a bulwark guarding it from the
essential (and the essential is what is contained in the Idea), that
government will fall, along with its institutions, before the force of
mind. The breaking up of its government breaks up the nation itself;
a new government arises,—or it may be that the government and the
unessential retain the upper hand.

Thus the main thought which forms the groundwork of Plato’s Republic is
the same which is to be regarded as the principle of the common Greek
morality, namely, that established morality has in general the relation
of the substantial, and therefore is maintained as divine. This is
without question the fundamental determination. The determination which
stands in contrast to this substantial relation of the individual
to established morality, is the subjective will of the individual,
reflective morality. This exists when individuals, instead of being
moved to action by respect and reverence for the institutions of the
state and of the fatherland, from their own convictions, and after
moral deliberation, come of themselves to a decision, and determine
their actions accordingly. This principle of subjective freedom is
a later growth, it is the principle of our modern days of culture:
it, however, entered also into the Greek world, but as the principle
of the destruction of Greek state-life. It was looked on as a crime,
because the spirit, political constitution, and laws of the Greeks
were not, and could not be calculated to admit of the rise of this
principle within them. Because these two elements were not homogeneous,
traditional and conventional morality in Greece was overthrown. Plato
recognized and caught up the true spirit of his times, and brought it
forward in a more definite way, in that he desired to make this new
principle an impossibility in his Republic. It is thus a substantial
position on which Plato takes his stand, seeing that the substantial
of his time forms his basis, but this standpoint is at the same time
relative only, in so far as it is but a Greek standpoint, and the later
principle is consciously banished. This is the universal of Plato’s
ideal of the state, and it is from this point of view that we must
regard it. Investigations as to whether such a state is possible, and
the best possible, which start from quite modern points of view, can
only lead us astray. In modern states we have freedom of conscience,
according to which every individual may demand the right of following
out his own interests; but this is excluded from the Platonic idea.

a. I will now indicate more fully the main features, in so far as
they possess philosophic interest. Though Plato represents what the
state is in its truth, yet this state has a limit, which we shall learn
to know, namely, that the individual—in formal justice—is not opposed
to this universality, as in the dead constitution of the ideal states
founded on the theory of legal right. The content is but the whole;
the nature of the individual, no doubt, but as reflecting itself into
the universal, not unbending, or as having absolute validity; so that
practically the state and the individual are the same in essence.
Because Plato thus takes his start from that justice which implies
that the just man exists only as a moral member of the state, in
dealing with his subject in greater detail, in order to show how this
reality of the substantial mind is produced, he in the first place
opens up before us the organism of the moral commonwealth, _i.e._ the
differences which lie in the Notion of moral substance. Through the
development of these moments it becomes living and existing, but these
moments are not independent, for they are held in unity. Plato regards
these moments of the moral organism under three aspects, first, as
they exist in the state as classes; secondly, as virtues, or moments
in morality; thirdly, as moments of the individual subject, in the
empirical actions of the will. Plato does not preach the morality of
reflection, he shows how traditional morality has a living movement in
itself; he demonstrates its functions, its inward organism. For it is
inner systematization, as in organic life, and not solid, dead unity,
like that of metals, which comes to pass by means of the different
functions of the organs which go to make up this living, self-moving

α. Without classes, without this division into great masses, the state
has no organism; these great distinctions are the distinction of the
substantial. The opposition which first comes before us in the state
is that of the universal, in the form of state life and business, and
the individual, as life and work for the individual; these two fields
of activity are so distinct that one class is assigned to the one, and
another to the other. Plato further cites three systems of reality
in the moral, the functions (αα) of legislation, counsel, in short,
of diligence and foresight in the general behalf, in the interest
of the whole as such; (ββ) of defence of the commonwealth against
foes from without; (γγ) of care for the individual, the supplying of
wants, agriculture, cattle-rearing, the manufacture of clothing and
utensils, the building of houses, &c. Speaking generally, this is quite
as it should be, and yet it appears to be rather the satisfaction
of external necessities, because such wants are found without being
developed out of the Idea of mind itself. Further, these distinct
functions are allotted to different systems, being assigned to a
certain number of individuals specially set apart for the purpose,
and this brings about the separate classes of the state, as Plato is
altogether opposed to the superficial conception that one and the
same must be everything at one time. He accordingly represents three
classes, (αα) that of the governors, men of learning and wisdom, (ββ)
that of the warriors, (γγ) that of the producers of necessaries,
the husbandmen and handicraftsmen. The first he also speaks of as
guardians (φύλακας), who are really philosophically educated statesmen,
possessing true knowledge; they have the warriors to work on their
behalf (ἐπικούρους τε καὶ βοηθούς), but in such a way that there is no
line of separation between the civil and military classes, both being
united,[61] and the most advanced in years are the guardians.[62]
Although Plato does not deduce this division of the classes, they
follow from the constitution of the Platonic state, and every state is
necessarily a system within itself of these systems. Plato then passes
on to particular determinations, which are in some measure trifling,
and might with advantage have been dispensed with; for instance,
among other things, he goes so far as to settle for the highest rank
their special titles, and he states what should be the duties of the

β. Then Plato points out that the moments which are here realized in
the classes, are moral qualities which are present in individuals,
and form their true essence, the simple ethical Notion divided into
its universal determinations. For he states as the result of this
distinction of the classes that through such an organism all virtues
are present in the commonwealth; he distinguishes four of these,[64]
and they have been named cardinal virtues.

αα. Wisdom (σοφία) or knowledge appears as the first virtue; such a
state will be wise and good in counsel, not because of the various
kinds of knowledge therein present which have to do with the many
particular ordinary occupations falling to the multitude, such as the
trade of blacksmith, and the tillage of the soil (in short, what we
should call skill in the industrial arts, and in finance). The state is
called wise, by reason of the true knowledge which is realized in the
presiding and governing class, who advise regarding the whole state,
and decide upon the policy that is best, both at home and in relation
to foreign states. This faculty of perception is properly the peculiar
possession of the smallest class.[65]

ββ. The second virtue is courage (ἀνδρία) which Plato defines as a firm
opinion about what may justly and lawfully be considered an object
of fear, courage which, in its strength of purpose, remains unshaken
either by desires or pleasures. To this virtue corresponds the class of
the warriors.[66]

γγ. The third virtue is temperance (σωφροσύνη), the mastery over the
desires and passions, which like a harmony pervades the whole; so that,
whether understanding, or strength, or numbers, or wealth, or anything
else be regarded, the weaker and the stronger work together for one and
the same object, and are in agreement one with another. This virtue
therefore is not, like wisdom and courage, confined to one part of
the state, but like a harmony it is shared by governors and governed
alike, and is the virtue of all classes.[67] Notwithstanding that this
temperance is the harmony in which all work towards one end, it is yet
peculiarly the virtue of the third class, to whom it is allotted to
procure the necessaries of life by work, although at the first glance
the one does not appear to have much correspondence with the other.
But this virtue is present precisely when no moment, no determination
or particularity isolates itself; or, more closely viewed in a moral
aspect, it is when no want asserts its reality and thus becomes a
crime. Now work is just this moment of activity concentrating itself on
the particular, which nevertheless goes back into the universal, and
is for it. Therefore, if this virtue is universal, it yet has special
application to the third class, which at first is the only one to be
brought into harmony, as it has not the absolute harmony which the
other classes possess in themselves.

δδ. Finally, the fourth virtue is justice, which was what Plato began
by considering. This, as right-doing, is to be found in the state
when each individual does only one kind of work for the state, that
work for which by the original constitution of his nature he is best
fitted; so that in this way each man is not a jack-of-all-trades, but
all have their special work, young and old, women and children, bond
and free, handicraftsmen, rulers and subjects. The first remark we make
on this is, that Plato here places justice on a level with the other
moments, and it thus appears as one of the four determinations. But
he now retracts this statement and makes it justice which first gives
to wisdom, courage and temperance the power to exist at all, and when
they have once come into existence, the power to continue. This is the
reason of his also saying that justice will be met with independently,
if only the other virtues spoken of are forthcoming.[68] To express it
more definitely, the Notion of justice is the foundation, the Idea of
the whole, which falls into organic divisions, so that every part is
only, as it were, a moment in the whole, and the whole exists through
it. Thus the classes or qualities spoken of are nothing else than the
moments of this whole. Justice is only the general and all-pervading
quality; but at the same time it implies the independence of every
part, to which the state gives liberty of action.

In the second place, it is clear from what he says, that Plato did not
understand by justice the rights of property, the meaning which the
term commonly bears in jurisprudence, but rather this, that the mind
in its totality makes for itself a law as evidence of the existence of
its freedom. In a highly abstract sense my personality, my altogether
abstract freedom, is present in property. To explain what comes under
this science of law, Plato considers on the whole superfluous (De
Republica, IV. p. 425 Steph.; p. 176 Bekk.). To be sure we find him
giving laws concerning property, police regulations, &c., “But,” he
says, “to impose laws about such matters on men of noble character does
not repay the trouble.” In truth, how can we expect to find divine laws
in what contains contingencies alone? Even in the Laws he considers
ethics chiefly, though he gives a certain amount of attention to the
rights of property. But as justice, according to Plato, is really
the entire being, which presents itself to the individual in such a
way that each man learns to do the work he is born to do as well as
it can be done, and does it, it is only as determined individuality
that man reaches what is law for him; only thus does he belong to the
universal spirit of the state, coming in it to the universal of himself
as a “this.” While law is a universal with a definite content, and
thus a formal universal only, the content in this case is the whole
determined individuality, not this or that thing which is mine by the
accident of possession; what I properly hold as my own is the perfected
possession and use of my nature. To each particular determination
justice gives its rights, and thus leads it back into the whole; in
this way it is by the particularity of an individual being of necessity
developed and brought into actuality, that each man is in his place
and fulfils his vocation. Justice, therefore, according to its true
conception, is in our eyes freedom in the subjective sense, because
it is the attainment of actuality by the reason, and seeing that this
right on the part of liberty to attain to actuality is universal,
Plato sets up justice as the determination of the whole, indicating
that rational freedom comes into existence through the organism of the
state,—an existence which is then, as necessary, a mode of nature.

γ. The particular subject, as subject, has in the same way these
qualities in himself; and these moments of the subject correspond with
the three real moments of the state. That there is thus one rhythm, one
type, in the Idea of the state, forms for Plato’s state a great and
grand basis. This third form, in which the above moments are exhibited,
Plato characterizes in the following manner. There manifest themselves
in the subject, first of all sundry wants and desires (ἐπιθυμίαι),
like hunger and thirst, each of which has something definite as its
one and only object. Work for the satisfaction of desires corresponds
to the calling of the third class. But, secondly there is also at
the same time to be found in the individual consciousness something
else which suspends and hinders the gratification of these desires,
and has the mastery over the temptation thus to gratify them; this is
reasonableness (λόγος). To this corresponds the class of rulers, the
wisdom of the state. Besides these two ideas of the soul there is a
third, anger (θυμός), which on one side is allied to the desires, but
of which it is just as true that it resists the desires and takes the
side of reason. “It may happen that a man has done wrong to another,
and suffers hunger and cold at the hands of him whom he considers
entitled to inflict them upon him; in this case, the nobler he is,
the less will his anger be excited. But it may also happen that he
suffers a wrong; if this is the case, he boils and chafes, and takes
the side of what he believes to be justice, and endures hunger and
cold and other hardships, and overcomes them, and will not desist from
the right until he conquers or dies, or is calmed down by reason, as
a shepherd quiets his dog.” Anger corresponds with the class of the
brave defenders in the state; as these grasp their weapons in behalf
of reason within the state, so does anger take the part of reason, if
it has not been perverted by an evil up-bringing. Therefore wisdom in
the state is the same as in the individual, and this is true of courage
also. For the rest, temperance is the harmony of the several moments
of what pertains to nature; and justice, as in external matters it
consists in each doing his own duty, so, in the inner life, it consists
in each moment of the mind obtaining its right, and not interfering in
the affairs of the others, but leaving them to do as they will.[69]
We have thus the deduction of three moments, where the middle place
between universality and particularity is filled by anger in its
independence and as directed against the objective: it is the freedom
which turns back within itself and acts negatively. Even here, where
Plato has no consciousness of his abstract ideas, as he has in the
Timæus, this of a truth is inwardly present to him, and everything is
moulded thereby. This is given as the plan according to which Plato
draws up the great whole. To fill up the outlines is a mere detail,
which in itself has no further interest.

b. In the second place Plato indicates the means of maintaining the
state. As, speaking generally, the whole commonwealth rests on common
morality as the minds of individuals grown into nature, this question
is asked: How does Plato arrange that everyone takes as his own that
form of activity for which he is specially marked out, and that it
presents itself as the moral acting and willing of the individual,—that
everyone, in harmony with temperance, submits to filling this his
post? The main point is to train the individuals thereto. Plato would
produce this ethical quality directly in the individuals, and first
and foremost in the guardians, whose education is therefore the most
important part of the whole, and constitutes the very foundation. For
as it is to the guardians themselves that the care is committed of
producing this ethical quality through maintenance of the laws, in
these laws special attention must be given to the guardians’ education;
after that also to the education of the warriors. The condition of
affairs in the industrial class causes the state but little anxiety,
“for though cobblers should prove poor and worthless, and should be
only in appearance what they ought to be, that is no great misfortune
for the state.”[70] The education of the presidents should, however,
be carried on chiefly by means of philosophic science, which is the
knowledge of the universal and absolute. Plato in this passes over the
particular means of education, religion, art, science. Further on he
speaks again and more in detail on the question of how far music and
gymnastic are to be permitted as means. But the poets Homer and Hesiod
he banishes from his state, because he thinks their representations
of God unworthy.[71] For then began in real earnest an inquiry into
the belief in Jupiter and the stories told by Homer, inasmuch as such
particular representations had been taken as universal maxims and
divine laws. At a certain stage of education childish tales do no harm;
but were they to be made the foundation of the truth of morality,
as present law, the case would be different. The extermination of
the nations which we read of in the writings of the Israelites, the
Old Testament, might for instance be taken as a standard of national
rights, or we might try to make a precedent of the numerous base
acts committed by David, the man of God, or of the horrors which
the priesthood, in the person of Samuel, practised and authorized
against Saul. Then it would be high time to place these records on a
lower level, as something past, something merely historical. Plato
would further have preambles to the laws, wherein citizens would be
admonished as to their duties, and convinced that these exist, &c.[72]
They also should be shown how to choose that which is most excellent,
in short, to choose morality.

But here we have a circle: the public life of the state subsists by
means of morality, and, conversely, morality subsists by means of
institutions. Morals cannot be independent of institutions, that is,
institutions cannot be brought to bear on morals through educational
establishments or religion only. For institutions must be looked on as
the very first condition of morality, for this is the manner in which
institutions are subjective. Plato himself gives us to understand
how much contradiction he expects to find. And even now his defect
is commonly considered to lie in his being too idealistic, while his
real deficiency consists in his not being ideal enough. For if reason
is the universal force, it is essentially spiritual; thus to the
realm of the spiritual belongs subjective freedom, which had already
been held up as a principle in the philosophy of Socrates. Therefore
reason ought to be the basis of law, and so it is, on the whole. But,
on the other hand, conscience, personal conviction,—in short, all the
forms of subjective freedom—are essentially therein contained. This
subjectivity at first, it is true, stands in opposition to the laws and
reason of the state-organism as to the absolute power which desires
to appropriate to itself—through the external necessity of wants, in
which, however, there is absolute reason—the individual of the family.
Individual conscience proceeds from the subjectivity of free-will,
connects itself with the whole, chooses a position for itself, and
thus makes itself a moral fact. But this moment, this movement of
the individual, this principle of subjective freedom, is sometimes
ignored by Plato, and sometimes even intentionally disparaged, because
it proved itself to be what had wrought the ruin of Greece; and he
considers only how the state may best be organized, and not subjective
individuality. In passing beyond the principle of Greek morality, which
in its substantial liberty cannot brook the rise of subjective liberty,
the Platonic philosophy at once grasps the above principle, and in so
doing proceeds still farther.

c. In the third place, in regard to the exclusion of the principle
of subjective freedom, this forms a chief feature in the Republic
of Plato, the spirit of which really consists in the fact, that all
aspects in which particularity as such has established its position,
are dissolved in the universal,—all men simply rank as man in general.

α. It specially harmonizes with this particular quality of excluding
the principle of subjectivity, that Plato in the first place does
not allow individuals to choose their own class; this we demand as
necessary to freedom. It is not, however, birth which marks off the
different ranks, and determines individuals for these; but everyone is
tested by the governors of the state, who are the elders of the first
class, and have the education of individuals in their hands. According
as anyone has natural ability and talents, these elders make choice
and selection, and assign each man to a definite occupation.[73] This
seems in direct contradiction to our principle, for although it is
considered right that to a certain class there should belong a special
capacity and skill, it always remains a matter of inclination which
class one is to belong to; and with this inclination, as an apparently
free choice, the class makes itself for itself. But it is not permitted
that another individual should prescribe as to this, or say, for
example: “Because you are not serviceable for anything better, you are
to be a labourer.” Everyone may make the experiment for himself; he
must be allowed to decide regarding his own affairs as subject in a
subjective manner, by his own free will, as well as in consideration of
external circumstances; and nothing must therefore be put in his way if
he says, for instance: “I should like to apply myself to study.”

β. From this determination it further follows that Plato (De Republica,
III. pp. 416, 417 Steph.; pp. 162-164 Bekk.) in like manner altogether
abolished in his state the principle of private property. For in it
individuality, the individual consciousness, becomes absolute; or the
person is looked on as implicit, destitute of all content. In law,
as such, I rank as “this” implicitly and explicitly. All rank thus,
and I rank only because all rank, or I rank only as universal; but
the content of this universality is fixed particularity. When in a
question of law we have to do with law, as such, to the judges of the
case it matters not a whit whether this or that man actually possesses
the house, and likewise the contending parties think nothing of the
possession of the thing for which they strive, but of right for right’s
sake, (as in morality duty is done for duty’s sake): thus a firm hold
is kept of the abstraction, and from the content of reality abstraction
is made. But Being to Philosophy is no abstraction, but the unity of
the universal and reality, or its content. The content has therefore
weight only in as far as it is negatively posited in the universal;
thus only as returning into it, and not absolutely. In so far as I
use things,—not in so far as I have them merely in my possession,
or as they have worth for me as existent, as definitely fixed on
me,—they stand in living relation to me. With Plato, then, those of the
other class (cf. _supra_, p. 101, note) carry on handicrafts, trade,
husbandry, and procure what will satisfy the general requirements,
without acquiring personal property by means of their work, for they
are all one family, wherein each has his appointed occupation; but the
product of the work is common, and he receives as much as he requires
both of his own and of the general product. Personal property is a
possession which belongs to me as a certain person, and in which my
person as such comes into existence, into reality; on this ground Plato
excludes it. It remains, however, unexplained how in the development of
industries, if there is no hope of acquiring private property, there
can be any incentive to activity; for on my being a person of energy
very much depends my capacity for holding property. That an end would
be put to all strifes and dissensions and hatred and avarice by the
abolition of private property, as Plato thinks, (De Republica, V. p.
464 Steph.; pp. 243, 244 Bekk.) may very well be imagined in a general
way; but that is only a subordinate result in comparison with the
higher and reasonable principle of the right of property: and liberty
has actual existence only so far as property falls to the share of the
person. In this way we see subjective freedom consciously removed by
Plato himself from his state.

γ. For the same reason Plato also abolishes marriage, because it is a
connection in which persons of opposite sex, as such, remain mutually
bound to one another, even beyond the mere natural connection. Plato
does not admit into his state family life—the particular arrangement
whereby a family forms a whole by itself,—because the family is nothing
but an extended personality, a relationship to others of an exclusive
character within natural morality,—which certainly is morality,
but morality of such a character as belongs to the individual as
particularity. According to the conception of subjective freedom,
however, the family is just as necessary, yea, sacred to the individual
as is property. Plato, on the contrary, causes children to be taken
away from their mothers immediately after birth, and has them gathered
together in a special establishment, and reared by nurses taken from
among the mothers who gave them birth; he has them brought up in
common, so that no mother can possibly recognize her child. There are
certainly to be marriage celebrations, and each man is to have his
particular wife, but in such a way that the intercourse of man and wife
does not pre-suppose a personal inclination, and that it should not be
their own pleasure which marks out individuals for one another. The
women should bear children from the twentieth to the fortieth year, the
men should have wives from the thirtieth to the fifty-fifth year. To
prevent incest, all the children born at the time of a man’s marriage
shall be known as his children.[74] The women, whose natural vocation
is family life, are by this arrangement deprived of their sphere. In
the Platonic Republic it therefore follows that as the family is broken
up, and the women no longer manage the house, they are also no longer
private persons, and adopt the manners of the man as the universal
individual in the state. And Plato accordingly allows the women to take
their part like the men in all manly labours, and even to share in
the toils of war. Thus he places them on very nearly the same footing
as the men, though all the same he has no great confidence in their
bravery, but stations them in the rear only, and not even as reserve,
but only as _arrière-garde_, in order that they may at least inspire
the foe with terror by their numbers, and, in case of necessity, hasten
to give aid.[75]

These are the main features of the Platonic Republic, which has as
its essential the suppression of the principle of individuality; and
it would appear as though the Idea demanded this, and as if this were
the very point on which Philosophy is opposed to the ordinary way
of looking at things, which gives importance to the individual, and
thus in the state, as also in actualized mind, looks on the rights of
property, and the protection of persons and their possessions, as the
basis of everything that is. Therein, however, lies the very limit
of the Platonic Idea—to emerge only as abstract idea. But, in fact,
the true Idea is nothing else than this, that every moment should
perfectly realize and embody itself, and make itself independent,
while at the same time, in its independence, it is for mind a thing
sublated. In conformity with this Idea, individuality must fully
realize itself, must have its sphere and domain in the state, and yet
be resolved in it. The element of the state is the family, that is,
the family is the natural unreasoning state; this element must, as
such, be present. Then the Idea of the state constituted by reason
has to realize all the moments of its Notion in such a way that they
become classes, and the moral substance divides itself into portions,
as the bodily substance is separated into intestines and organs, each
of which lives on in a particular way of its own, yet all of which
together form only one life. The state in general, the whole, must
finally pervade all. But in exactly the same way the formal principle
of justice, as abstract universality of personality with individual
Being as its existent content, must pervade the whole; one class,
nevertheless, specially belongs to it. There must, then, also be a
class in which property is held immediately and permanently, the
possession of the body and the possession of a piece of land alike;
and in the next place, a class where acquisition is continually going
on, and possession is not immediate, as in the other, but property is
ever fluctuating and changing. These two classes the nation gives up
as a part of itself to the principle of individuality, and allows
rights to reign here, permitting the constant, the universal, the
implicit to be sought in this principle, which really is a principle of
variability. This principle must have its full and complete reality,
it must indeed appear in the shape of property. We have here for the
first time the true, actual mind, with each moment receiving its
complete independence, and the mind itself attaining to being-another
in perfect indifference of Being. Nature cannot effect this production
of independent life in her parts, except in the great system.[76] This
is, as we shall elsewhere see, the great advance of the modern world
beyond the ancient, that in it the objective attains to greater, yea,
to absolute independence, but for the very same reason returns with all
the greater difficulty into the unity of the Idea.

The want of subjectivity is really the want of the Greek moral idea.
The principle which became prominent with Socrates had been present up
to this time only in a more subordinate capacity; now it of necessity
became an even absolute principle, a necessary moment in the Idea
itself. By the exclusion of private property and of family life, by
the suspension of freedom in the choice of the class, _i.e._ by the
exclusion of all the determinations which relate to the principle of
subjective freedom, Plato believes he has barred the doors to all the
passions; he knew very well that the ruin of Greek life proceeded
from this, that individuals, as such, began to assert their aims,
inclinations, and interests, and made them dominate over the common
mind. But since this principle is necessary through the Christian
religion—in which the soul of the individual is an absolute end, and
thus has entered into the world as necessary in the Notion of the
mind—it is seen that the Platonic state-constitution cannot fulfil
what the higher demands of a moral organism require. Plato has not
recognized the knowledge, wishes, and resolutions of the individual,
nor his self-reliance, and has not succeeded in combining them with
his Idea; but justice demands its rights for this just as much as
it requires the higher resolution of the same, and its harmony with
the universal. The opposite to Plato’s principle is the principle of
the conscious free will of individuals, which in later times was by
Rousseau more especially raised to prominence: the theory that the
arbitrary choice of the individual, the outward expression of the
individual, is necessary. In this the principle is carried to the
very opposite extreme, and has emerged in its utter one-sidedness.
In opposition to this arbitrariness and culture there must be the
implicitly and explicitly universal, that which is in thought, not as
wise governor or morality, but as law, and at the same time as my Being
and my thought, _i.e._ as subjectivity and individuality. Men must have
brought forth from themselves the rational along with their interests
and their passions, just as it must enter into reality through the
necessities, opportunities, and motives that impel them.

There is still another celebrated side of the Platonic philosophy which
may be considered, namely æsthetics, the knowledge of the beautiful. In
respect to this, Plato has in like manner seized the one true thought,
that the essence of the beautiful is intellectual, the Idea of reason.
When he speaks of a spiritual beauty, he is to be understood in the
sense that beauty, as beauty, is sensuous beauty, which is not in some
other place—no one knows where; but what is beautiful to the senses
is really the spiritual. The case is the same here as it is with his
Idea. As the essence and truth of phenomena in general is the Idea,
the truth of phenomenal beauty must also be this Idea. The relation
to the corporeal, as a relation of the desires, or of pleasure and
utility, is no relation to it as the beautiful; it is a relation to
it as the sensuous alone, or a relation of particular to particular.
But the essence of the beautiful is just the simple Idea of reason
present to the sensuous apprehension as a thing; the content of the
thing is nothing else than this.[77] The beautiful is essentially of
spiritual nature; it is thus not merely a sensuous thing, but reality
subject to the form of universality, to the truth. This universal
does not, however, retain the form of universality, but the universal
is the content whose form is the sensuous mode; and therein lies the
determination of the beautiful. In science, the universal has again the
form of the universal or of the Notion; but the beautiful appears as an
actual thing—or, when put into words, as a popular conception, in which
mode the material exists in mind. The nature, essence, and content of
the beautiful is recognized and judged by reason alone, as its content
is the same as that of Philosophy. But because reason appears in the
beautiful in material guise, the beautiful ranks below knowledge, and
Plato has for this very reason placed the true manifestation of reason
in knowledge, where it is spiritually manifested.

This may be regarded as the kernel of Plato’s philosophy. His
standpoint is: first, the contingent form of speech, in which men
of noble and unfettered nature converse without other interest than
that of the theory which is being worked out; secondly, led on by the
content, they reach the deepest Notions and the finest thoughts, like
jewels on which one stumbles, if not exactly in a sandy desert, yet at
least upon the arid path; in the third place, no systematic connection
is to be found, though one interest is the source of all; in the fourth
place, the subjectivity of the Notion is lacking throughout; but in the
fifth place, the substantial Idea forms the principle.

Plato’s philosophy had two stages through which it of necessity
developed and worked its way up to a higher principle. The universal
which is in reason had first to fall into two divisions opposed to
each other in the most direct and unmitigated contradiction, in the
independence of the personal consciousness which exists for itself:
thus in the New Academy self-consciousness goes back into itself,
and becomes a species of scepticism—the negative reason, which
turns against all that is universal, and fails to find the unity
of self-consciousness and the universal, coming accordingly to a
standstill at that point. But, in the second place, the Neo-Platonists
constitute the return, this unity of self-consciousness and the
absolute essence; to them God is directly present in reason, reasoned
knowledge itself is the Divine Spirit, and the content of this
knowledge is the Being of God. Both of these we shall consider later.


Here we leave Plato, and we do so with regret. But seeing that we
pass to his disciple, Aristotle, we fear that it behoves us to enter
even more into detail, since he was one of the richest and deepest
of all the scientific geniuses that have as yet appeared—a man whose
like no later age has ever yet produced. Because we still possess so
large a number of his works, the extent of the material at hand is
proportionately greater; unfortunately, however, I cannot give to
Aristotle the amount of attention that he deserves. For we shall have
to confine ourselves to a general view of his philosophy, and simply
remark on one particular phase of it, viz. in how far Aristotle in his
philosophy carried out what in the Platonic principle had been begun,
both in reference to the profundity of the ideas there contained, and
to their expansion; no one is more comprehensive and speculative than
he, although his methods are not systematic.

As regards the general character of Aristotle’s writings, he may be
said to have extended his attention to the whole circle of human
conceptions, to have penetrated all regions of the actual universal,
and to have brought under the subjection of the Notion both their
riches and their diversitude. For most of the philosophic sciences
have to render thanks to him both for their characterization and first
commencement. But although in this way Science throughout falls into
a succession of intellectual determinations of determinate Notions,
the Aristotelian philosophy still contains the profoundest speculative
Notions. Aristotle proceeds in reference to the whole in the same
way as in the individual case. But a general view of his philosophy
does not give us the impression of its being in construction a
self-systematized whole, of which the order and connection pertain
likewise to the Notion; for the parts are empirically selected
and placed together in such a way that each part is independently
recognized as a determinate conception, without being taken into the
connecting movement of the science. We need not try to demonstrate
necessity from the standpoint of the philosophy of that time. But
although Aristotle’s system does not appear to be developed in its
parts from the Notion, and its parts are merely ranged side by side,
they still form a totality of truly speculative philosophy.

One reason for treating of Aristotle in detail rests in the fact that
no philosopher has had so much wrong done him by the thoughtless
traditions which have been received respecting his philosophy, and
which are still the order of the day, although for centuries he was
the instructor of all philosophers. For to him views are ascribed
diametrically opposite to his philosophy. And while Plato is much read,
the treasures contained in Aristotle have for centuries, and until
quite modern times, been as good as unknown, and the falsest prejudices
reign respecting him. Almost no one knows his speculative and logical
works; in modern times more justice has been done to his writings
regarding nature, but not to his philosophic views. For instance, there
is a quite generally held opinion that the Aristotelian and Platonic
philosophies are directly opposed, the one being idealistic and the
other realistic, and that, indeed, in the most trivial sense. For Plato
is said to have made the ideal his principle, so that the inward
idea creates from itself; according to Aristotle, on the contrary,
we are told that the soul is made a _tabula rasa_, receiving all its
determinations quite passively from the outer world; and his philosophy
is thus mere empiricism—Locke’s philosophy at its worst. But we shall
see how little this really is the case. In fact Aristotle excels Plato
in speculative depth, for he was acquainted with the deepest kind of
speculation—idealism—and in this upholds the most extreme empirical
development. Quite false views respecting Aristotle even now exist in
France. An example of how tradition blindly echoes opinions respecting
him, without having observed from his works whether they are justified
or not, is the fact that in the old Æsthetics the three unities of the
drama—action, time and place—were held to be _règles d’Aristote, la
saine doctrine_. But Aristotle speaks (Poet. c. 8 et 5)[78] only of the
unity of treatment, or very occasionally of the unity of time; of the
third unity, that of place, he says nothing.

As regards Aristotle’s life, he was born at Stagira, a Thracian town
on the Strymonian Gulf, but a Greek colony. Thus, though a Thracian,
he was by birth a Greek. This Greek colony fell, however, like The
rest of the country, under the rule of Philip of Macedon. The year of
Aristotle’s birth is the first of the 99th Olympiad (384 B.C.), and
if Plato was born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad (430 B.C.),
Aristotle must have been forty-six years younger than he. His father
Nicomachus was physician to the Macedonian king, Amyntas, the father
of Philip. After the death of his parents, whom he lost early, he
was brought up by a certain Proxenus, to whom he was ever grateful;
and during all his life he held the memory of this friend in such
high esteem, that he honoured it by erecting statues to him. He also
requited Proxenus for the education given him, by later on bringing
up his son Nicanor, adopting him as his own son and making him his
heir. In the seventeenth year of his age Aristotle came to Athens,
and remained there twenty years in company with Plato.[79] He thus
had the best possible opportunity of becoming thoroughly acquainted
with Plato’s philosophy, and therefore, if we are told that he did not
understand it (Vol. I p. 167), this is shown, by the evident facts
of the case, to be an arbitrary and quite unfounded assumption. As
regards the relation of Plato to Aristotle, and particularly as regards
the fact that Plato did not select Aristotle as his successor in the
Academy, but chose Speusippus, a near relative, instead, a number of
idle and contradictory anecdotes have come to us from Diogenes (V. 2).
If the continuation of the Platonic school was designed to express
the hope that the philosophy of Plato, as comprehended by himself,
was to be there satisfactorily maintained, Plato could certainly not
designate Aristotle as his successor, and Speusippus was the right
man to be selected. However, Plato had nevertheless Aristotle as his
successor, for Aristotle understood Philosophy in Plato’s sense, though
his philosophy was deeper and more worked out, and thus he carried it
further. Displeasure at being thus passed over is said to have been the
cause of Aristotle’s leaving Athens after Plato’s death, and living
for three years with Hermias, the Tyrant of Atarneus in Mysia, who had
been a disciple of Plato along with Aristotle, and who had then struck
up a close friendship with the latter. Hermias, an independent prince,
was, together with other absolute Greek princes and some Republics,
brought under the subjection of a Persian satrap in Asia Minor. Hermias
was even sent as prisoner to Artaxerxes in Persia, and he at once
caused him to be crucified. In order to avoid a similar fate, Aristotle
fled with his wife Pythias, the daughter of Hermias, to Mitylene, and
lived there for some time. He, however, erected a statue to Hermias in
Delphi, with an inscription which has been preserved. From it we know
that it was by cunning and treachery that he came under the power of
the Persians. Aristotle also honoured his name in a beautiful hymn on
Virtue, which has likewise come down to us.[80]

From Mitylene he was (Ol. 109, 2; 343 B.C.) summoned by Philip of
Macedon to undertake the education of Alexander, who was then fifteen
years old. Philip had already invited him to do this in the well-known
letter that he addressed to him just after Alexander’s birth: “Know
that a son is born to me, but I thank the gods less that they have
given him to me, than that they have caused him to be born in your
time. For I hope that your care and your wisdom will make him worthy
of me and of his future kingdom.”[81] It certainly would appear to be
a brilliant historic destiny to be the instructor of an Alexander, and
Aristotle at this court enjoyed the favour and esteem of Philip and
of Olympias in the highest degree. What became of Aristotle’s pupil
is known to all, and the greatness of Alexander’s mind and deeds, as
also his enduring friendship, are the best witnesses of the success,
as also of the spirit of this up-bringing, if Aristotle required such
testimony. Alexander’s education utterly refuted the common talk about
the practical uselessness of speculative philosophy. Aristotle had in
Alexander another and worthier pupil than Plato found in Dionysius.
Plato’s great interest was his Republic, the ideal of a state; he
enters into relation with a person through whom it might be carried
out; the individual was thus to him a medium only, and in so far
indifferent to him. With Aristotle, on the other hand, this purpose was
not present, he merely had the simple individual before him; and his
end was to bring up and to develop the individuality as such. Aristotle
is known to be a profound, thorough, and abstract metaphysician, and it
is evident that he meant seriously with Alexander. That Aristotle did
not follow with Alexander the ordinary superficial method of educating
princes, might be confidently expected from the earnestness of one who
well knew what was truth and true culture. It is also evident from
the circumstance that Alexander, while in the midst of his conquests
in the heart of Asia, when he heard that Aristotle had made known his
acroamatic doctrines in speculative (metaphysical) writings, wrote him
a reproachful letter, in which he said that he should not have made
known to the common people what the two had worked out together. To
this Aristotle replied that, though published, they were really just as
much unpublished as before.[82]

This is not the place to estimate Alexander as an historic personage.
What can be ascribed in Alexander’s education to Aristotle’s
philosophic instruction is the fact that what was natural to him, the
inherent greatness of his mental disposition, acquired inward freedom
also, and became elevated into the perfect, self-conscious independence
which we see in his aims and deeds. Alexander attained to that perfect
certainty of himself which the infinite boldness of thought alone
gives, and to an independence of particular and limited projects, as
also to their elevation into the entirely universal end of bringing
about in the world a social life and intercourse of a mutual kind,
through the foundation of states which were free from contingent
individuality. Alexander thus carried out the plan which his father
had already conceived, which was, at the head of the Greeks, to avenge
Europe upon Asia, and to subject Asia to Greece; so that as it was in
the beginning of Greek history that the Greeks were united, and that
only for the Trojan war, this union likewise brought the Greek world
proper to an end. Alexander thereby also avenged the faithlessness and
cruelty perpetrated by the Persians on Aristotle’s friend Hermias. But
Alexander further disseminated Greek culture over Asia, in order to
elevate into a Greek world this wild medley of utter barbarism, bent
solely on destruction, and torn by internal dissensions, these lands
entirely sunk in indolence, negation, and spiritual degeneracy. And if
it be said that he was merely a conqueror who was unable to establish
an enduring kingdom, because his kingdom at his death once more fell to
pieces, we must acknowledge that, from a superficial view of the case,
this is true, as his family did not retain their rule; Greek rule was,
however, maintained. Thus Alexander did not found an extensive kingdom
for his family, but he founded a kingdom of the Greek nation over Asia;
for Greek culture and science have since his time taken root there.
The Greek kingdoms of Asia Minor, and particularly of Egypt, were for
centuries the home of science; and their influence may have extended
as far as to India and to China. We certainly do not know definitely
whether the Indians may not have obtained what is best in their
sciences in this way, but it is probable that at least the more exact
portion of Indian astronomy came to them from Greece. For it was from
the Syrian kingdom, stretching into Asia Minor as far as to a Greek
kingdom in Bactria, that there was doubtless conveyed to the interior
of India and China, by means of Greek colonies migrating thither, the
meagre scientific knowledge which has lingered there like a tradition,
though it has never flourished. For the Chinese, for example, are
not skilful enough to make a calendar of their own, or to think for
themselves. Yet they exhibited ancient instruments unsuited to any work
done by them, and the immediate conjecture was that these had come from
Bactria. The high idea that men had of the sciences of the Indians and
of the Chinese hence is false.

According to Ritter (Erdkunde, Vol. II. p. 839, of the first edition),
Alexander did not set out merely with a view of conquering, but with
the idea that he was the Lord. I do not think that Aristotle placed
this notion, which was connected with another Oriental conception, in
the mind of Alexander. The other idea is that in the East the name of
Alexander still flourishes as Ispander, and as Dul-k-ar-nein, _i.e._
the man with two horns, just as Jupiter Ammon is an ancient Eastern
hero. The question would now be whether the Macedonian kings did not,
through their descent from the ancient race of Indian heroes, claim
to rule this land; by this the progress of Dionysius from Thrace to
India could likewise be explained; whether the “knowledge of this was
not the real and fundamental religious idea inspiring the young hero’s
soul when, before his journey to Asia, he found on the lower Ister
(Danube) Indian priestly states where the immortality of the soul was
taught, and when, certainly not without the counsel of Aristotle, who,
through Plato and Pythagoras, was initiated into Indian wisdom, he
began the march into the East, and first of all visited the Oracle of
Ammonium (now Siwah), and then destroyed the Persian kingdom and burnt
Persepolis, the old enemy of Indian religion, in order to take revenge
upon it for all the violence exercised through Darius on the Buddhists
and their co-religionists.” This is an ingenious theory, formed from a
thorough investigation of the connection which exists between Oriental
and European ideas from the higher point of view in history. But, in
the first place, this conjecture is contrary to the historical basis
on which I take my stand. Alexander’s expedition has quite another
historic, military, and political character than this, and had not much
to do with his going to India; it was, on the face of it, an ordinary
conquest. In the second place, Aristotle’s metaphysic and philosophy
is far from recognizing any such foolish and extravagant imaginations.
The elevation of Alexander in the Oriental mind into an acknowledged
hero and god, which followed later, is, in the third place, not matter
for surprise; the Dalai-Lama is still thus honoured, and God and man
are never so very far asunder. Greece likewise worked its way to the
idea of a God becoming man, and that not as a remote and foreign image,
but as a present God in a godless world: Demetrius Phalereus and
others were thus soon after honoured and worshipped in Athens as God.
Was the infinite not also now transplanted into self-consciousness?
Fourthly, the Buddhists did not interest Alexander, and in his Indian
expedition they do not appear; the destruction of Persepolis is,
however, sufficiently justified as a measure of Greek vengeance for the
destruction by Xerxes of the temples in Greece, especially in Athens.

While Alexander accomplished this great work—for he was the greatest
individual at the head of Greece, he ever kept science and art in
mind. Just as in modern times we have once more met with warriors
who thought of science and of art in their campaigns, we also find
that Alexander made an arrangement whereby whatever was discovered in
the way of animals and plants in Asia should be sent to Aristotle,
or else drawings and descriptions of the same. This consideration on
Alexander’s part afforded to Aristotle a most favourable opportunity
of collecting treasures for his study of nature. Pliny (Histor. natur.
VIII., 17 ed. Bip.) relates that Alexander directed about a thousand
men, who lived by hunting, fishing and fowling, the overseers of the
zoological gardens, aviaries, and tanks of the Persian kingdom, to
supply Aristotle with what was remarkable from every place. In this
way Alexander’s campaign in Asia had the further effect of enabling
Aristotle to found the science of natural history, and to be the
author, according to Pliny, of a natural history in fifty parts.

After Alexander commenced his journey to Asia, Aristotle returned to
Athens, and made his appearance as a public teacher in the Lyceum,
a pleasure-ground which Pericles had made for the exercising of
recruits; it consisted of a temple dedicated to Apollo (Λύκειος), and
shady walks (περίπατοι), which were enlivened by trees, fountains
and colonnades. It was from these walks that his school received the
name of Peripatetics, and not from any walking about on the part of
Aristotle—because, it is said, he delivered his discourses usually
while walking. He lived and taught in Athens for thirteen years. But
after the death of Alexander there broke out a tempest which had, as
it appeared, been long held back through fear of Alexander; Aristotle
was accused of impiety. The facts are differently stated: amongst other
things it is said that his hymn to Hermias and the inscription on the
statue dedicated to him were laid to his charge. When he saw the storm
gathering, he escaped to Chalcis in Eub\na, the present Negropont,
in order, as he himself said, that the Athenians should not have an
opportunity of once more sinning against Philosophy. There he died,
in the next year, in the sixty-third year of his age, Ol. 114, 3 (322

We derive Aristotle’s philosophy from his writings; but when we
consider their history and nature, so far as externals are concerned,
the difficulty of deriving a knowledge of his philosophy from them
seems much increased. I cannot certainly enter into details regarding
these last. Diogenes Laërtius (V. 21-27) mentions a very large
number of them, but by their titles we do not always quite know
which of those now in our possession are indicated, since the titles
are entirely different. Diogenes gives the number of lines as four
hundred and forty-five thousand, two hundred and seventy, and, if we
count about ten thousand lines in a printer’s alphabet, this gives
us forty-four alphabets. What we now have might perhaps amount to
about ten alphabets, so that we have only about the fourth part left
to us. The history of the Aristotelian manuscripts has been stated
to be such that it would really seem impossible, or almost hopeless,
that any one of his writings should have been preserved to us in its
original condition, and not corrupted. Doubts regarding their genuine
character could not in such circumstances fail to exist; and we can
only wonder at seeing them come down to us even in the condition in
which they are. For, as we have said, Aristotle made them known but
little during his lifetime, and he left his writings to Theophrastus,
his successor, with the rest of his immense library. This, indeed,
is the first considerable library, collected as it was by means of
personal wealth along with Alexander’s assistance, and hence it also
reveals to us Aristotle’s learning. Later on, it came partially, or in
some cases in duplicate, to Alexandria, and formed the basis of the
Ptolemaic library, which, on the taking of Alexandria by Julius Cæsar,
became a prey to fire. But of the manuscripts of Aristotle himself
it is said that Theophrastus left them by will to a certain Neleus,
from whom they came into the hands of ignorant men, who either kept
them without care or estimation of their value, or else the heirs of
Neleus, in order to save them from the Kings of Pergamus, who were
very anxious to collect a library, hid them in a cellar, where they
lay forgotten for a hundred and thirty years, and thus got into bad
condition. Finally, the descendants of Theophrastus found them again
after long search, and sold them to Apellicon of Teos, who restored
what had been destroyed by worms and mould, but who did not possess
the learning or the capacity so to do. Hence others went over them,
filled up the blanks as they thought best, replaced what was damaged,
and thus they were sufficiently altered. But still it was not enough.
Just after Apellicon’s death, the Roman Sulla conquered Athens, and
amongst the spoil carried off to Rome were the works of Aristotle. The
Romans, who had just begun to become acquainted with Greek science and
art, but who did not yet appreciate Greek philosophy, did not know how
to profit from this spoil. A Greek, named Tyrannion, later on obtained
permission to make use of and publish the manuscripts of Aristotle, and
he prepared an edition of them, which, however, also bears the reproach
of being inaccurate, for here they had the fate of being given by the
dealers into the hands of ignorant copyists, who introduced a number of
additional corruptions.[84]

This is the way in which the Aristotelian philosophy has come to us.
Aristotle certainly made known much to his contemporaries, that is to
say, the writings in the Alexandrian library, but even those works do
not seem to have been widely known. In fact, many of them are most
corrupt, imperfect, and, as, for example, the Poetics, incomplete.
Several of them, such as the Metaphysical treatises, seem to be patched
up from different writings, so that the higher criticism can give rein
to all its ingenuity, and, according to one clever critic, the matter
may with much show of probability be decided in one particular way,
while another ingenious person has a different explanation to oppose
to this.[85] So much remains certain, that the writings of Aristotle
are corrupt, and often both in their details and in the main, not
consistent; and we often find whole paragraphs almost verbally
repeated. Since the evil is so old, no real cure can certainly be
looked for; however, the matter is not so bad as would appear from this
description. There are many and important works which may be considered
to be entire and uninjured, and though there are others corrupt here
and there, or not well arranged, yet, as far as the essentials are
concerned, no such great harm has been done as might appear. What we
possess therefore places us in a sufficiently good position to form a
definite idea of the Aristotelian philosophy, both as a whole, and in
many of its details.

But there is still an historic distinction to be noted. For there is
an old tradition that Aristotle’s teaching was of a twofold nature
and that his writings were of two different kinds, viz. esoteric or
acroamatic and exoteric—a distinction which was also made by the
Pythagoreans (Vol. I. p 202). The esoteric teaching was given within
the Lyceum in the morning, the exoteric in the evening; the latter
related to practice in the art of rhetoric and in disputation, as
also to civic business, but the other to the inward and more profound
philosophy, to the contemplation of nature and to dialectic proper.[86]
This circumstance is of no importance; we see by ourselves which of
his works are really speculative and philosophic, and which are rather
empirical in character; but they are not to be regarded as antagonistic
in their content, and as if Aristotle intended some for the people and
others for his more intimate disciples.

_a._ We have first to remark that the name Aristotelian philosophy is
most ambiguous, because what is called Aristotelian philosophy has at
different times taken very different forms. It first of all signifies
Aristotelian philosophy proper. As regards the other forms of the
Aristotelian philosophy, however, it had, in the second place, at the
time of Cicero, and specially under the name of Peripatetic philosophy,
more of the form of a popular philosophy, in which attention was
principally directed to natural history and to morals (Vol. I. p. 479).
This period does not appear to have taken any interest in working
out and bringing to consciousness the deep and properly speaking
speculative side of Aristotelian philosophy, and indeed with Cicero
there is no notion of it present. A third form of this philosophy
is the highly speculative form of the Alexandrine philosophy, which
is also called the Neo-Pythagorean or Neo-Platonic philosophy, but
which may just as well be called Neo-Aristotelian—the form as it is
regarded and worked up by the Alexandrines, as being identical with
the Platonic. An important signification of the expression, in the
fourth place, is that which it had in the middle ages where, through
insufficient knowledge, the scholastic philosophy was designated
Aristotelian. The Scholastics occupied themselves much with it, but the
form that the philosophy of Aristotle took with them cannot be held by
us to be the true form. All their achievements, and the whole extent of
the metaphysics of the understanding and formal logic which we discover
in them, do not belong to Aristotle at all. Scholasticism is derived
only from traditions of the Aristotelian doctrines. And it was not
until the writings of Aristotle became better known in the West, that
a fifth Aristotelian philosophy was formed, which was in part opposed
to the Scholastic—it arose on the decline of scholasticism and with the
revival of the sciences. For it was only after the Reformation that
men went back to the fountainhead, to Aristotle himself. The sixth
signification which Aristotelian philosophy bears, is found in false
modern ideas and conceptions, such as those that we find in Tennemann,
who is gifted with too little philosophic understanding to be able
to grasp the Aristotelian philosophy (Vol. I. p. 113). Indeed, the
general opinion of Aristotelian philosophy now held is that it made
what is called experience the principle of knowledge.

_b._ However false this point of view on the one hand is, the occasion
for it may be found in the Aristotelian manner. Some particular
passages to which in this reference great importance has been given,
and which have been almost the only passages understood, are made use
of to prove this idea. Hence we have now to speak of the character of
the Aristotelian manner. Since in Aristotle, as we already said (p.
118), we need not seek a system of philosophy the particular parts of
which have been deduced, but since he seems to take an external point
of departure and to advance empirically, his manner is often that
of ordinary ratiocination. But because in so doing Aristotle has a
quality, altogether his own, of being throughout intensely speculative
in his manner, it is further signified that in the first place he
has comprehended the phenomenal as a thinking observer. He has the
world of appearance before himself complete and in entirety, and sets
nothing aside, however common it may appear. All sides of knowledge
have entered into his mind, all have interest for him, and he has
thoroughly dealt with all. In the empirical details of a phenomenon
abstraction may easily be lost sight of, and its application may be
difficult: our progress may be one-sided, and we may not be able to
reach the root of the matter at all. But Aristotle, because he looks at
all sides of the universe, takes up all those units as a speculative
philosopher, and so works upon them that the profoundest speculative
Notion proceeds therefrom. We saw, moreover, thought first proceeding
from the sensuous, and, in Sophistry, still exercising itself
immediately in the phenomenal. In perception, in ordinary conception,
the categories appear: the absolute essence, the speculative view of
these elements, is always expressed in expressing perceptions. This
pure essence in perception Aristotle takes up. When, in the second
place, he begins conversely with the universal or the simple, and
passes to its determination, this looks as if he were enumerating the
number of significations in which it appears; and, after dealing with
them all, he again passes all their forms in review, even the quite
ordinary and sensuous. He thus speaks of the many significations that
we find, for example, is the words οὐσία, ἀρχή, αἰτία, ὁμοῦ, &c. It
is in some measure wearisome to follow him in this mere enumeration,
which proceeds without any necessity being present, and in which the
significations, of which a list is given, manifest themselves as
comprehended only in their essence, or in that which is common to all,
and not in their determinations; and thus the comprehension is only
external. But, on the one hand, this mode presents a complete series of
the moments, and on the other, it arouses personal investigation for
the discovery of necessity. In the third place, Aristotle takes up the
different thoughts which earlier philosophers have had, contradicts
them—often empirically—justifies them, reasoning in all sorts of ways,
and then attains to the truly speculative point of view. And finally,
in the fourth place, Aristotle passes on thoughtfully to consider
the object itself of which he treats, _e.g._ the soul, feeling,
recollection, thought, motion, time, place, warmth, cold, &c. Because
he takes all the moments that are contained within the conception to
be, so to speak, united, he does not omit determinations; he does not
hold now to one determination and then to another, but takes them as
all in one; while reflection of the understanding, which has identity
as the rule by which it goes, can only preserve harmony with this by
always, while in one determination, forgetting and withholding the
other. But Aristotle has the patience to go through all conceptions and
questions, and from the investigation of the individual determinations,
we have the fixed, and once more restored determination of every
object. Aristotle thus forms the Notion, and is in the highest
degree really philosophic, while he appears to be only empiric. For
Aristotle’s empiricism is a totality because he always leads it back
again immediately to speculation; he may thus be said to be a perfect
empiricist, yet at the same time a thinking one. If, for example, we
take away from space all its empirical determinations, the result will
be in the highest degree speculative, for the empirical, comprehended
in its synthesis, is the speculative Notion.

In this gathering up of determinations into one Notion, Aristotle
is great and masterly, as he also is in regard to the simplicity of
his method of progression, and in the giving of his decisions in few
words. This is a method of treating of Philosophy which has great
efficacy, and which in our time has likewise been applied, _e.g._ by
the French. It deserves to come into larger use, for it is a good
thing to lead the determinations of the ordinary conception from an
object to thought, and then to unite them in a unity, in the Notion.
But undoubtedly this method in one respect appears to be empirical,
and that, indeed, in the acceptation of objects as we know them in our
consciousness; for if no necessity is present, this still more appears
merely to pertain to manner externally regarded. And yet it cannot
be denied that with Aristotle the object was not to bring everything
to a unity, or to reduce determinations to a unity of opposites,
but, on the contrary, to retain each in its determination and thus
to follow it up. That may, on the one hand, be a superficial method,
_e.g._ when everything is brought to an empty determinateness, such
as those of irritability and sensibility, sthenic and asthenic, but,
on the other, it is likewise necessary to grasp reality in simple
determinateness, though without making the latter in this superficial
way the starting point. Aristotle, on the other hand, simply forsakes
determination in another sphere where it no longer has this form; but
he shows what it is like here, or what change has taken place within
it, and thus it comes to pass that he often treats one determination
after the other without showing their connection. However, in his
genuine speculation Aristotle is as profound as Plato, and at the
same time more developed and explicit, for with him the opposites
receive a higher determination. Certainly we miss in him the beauty of
Plato’s form, the melodious speech, or, as we might almost call it,
chatting—the conversational tone adopted, which is as lively as it is
cultured and human. But where in Plato we find, as we do in his Timæus,
the speculative Idea definitely expressed in the thesis form, we see in
it a lack both of comprehension and purity; the pure element escapes
it, while Aristotle’s form of expression is marked both by purity and
intelligibility. We learn to know the object in its determination
and its determinate Notion; but Aristotle presses further into the
speculative nature of the object, though in such a way that the latter
remains in its concrete determination, and Aristotle seldom leads
it back to abstract thought-determinations. The study of Aristotle
is hence inexhaustible, but to give an account of him is difficult,
because his teaching must be reduced to universal principles. Thus in
order to set forth Aristotelian philosophy, the particular content
of each thing would have to be specified. But if we would be serious
with Philosophy, nothing would be more desirable than to lecture upon
Aristotle, for he is of all the ancients the most deserving of study.

_c._ What ought to come next is the determination of the Aristotelian
Idea, and here we have to say, in quite a general way, that Aristotle
commences with Philosophy generally, and says, in the first place,
regarding the value of Philosophy (in the second chapter of the first
book of the Metaphysics), that the object of Philosophy is what is most
knowable, viz. the first and original causes, that is, the rational.
For through these and from these all else is known, but principles
do not become known through the facts which form their groundwork
(ὑποκείμενα). In this we already have the opposite to the ordinary
point of view. Aristotle has further declared the chief subject of
investigation, or the most essential knowledge (ἐπιστήμη ἀρχικωτάτη)
to be the knowledge of end; but this is the good in each thing and,
generally speaking, the best in the whole of nature. This also holds
good with Plato and Socrates; yet the end is the true, the concrete,
as against the abstract Platonic Idea. Aristotle then says of the
value of Philosophy, “Men have begun to philosophize through wonder,”
for in it the knowledge of something higher is at least anticipated.
“Thus since man, to escape from ignorance, began to philosophize, it
is clear that for the sake of knowledge he followed after knowledge,
and not for any utility which it might possess for him. This is also
made evident by the whole course of its external history. For it was
after men had done with all their absolute requirements, and with what
concerns their comfort, that they first began to seek this philosophic
knowledge. We hence seek it not for the sake of any outside utility
that it may have. And thus as we say that a free man is he who exists
on his own account and not for another, Philosophy is the only science
that is free, because it alone exists for itself—it is knowledge on
account of knowledge. Therefore in justice it will not be held to be
a human possession,” in the sense that, as we said above, (p. 11) it
is not in the possession of a man. “For in many ways the nature of man
is dependent, so that, according to Simonides, God alone possesses
the prerogative (γέρας), and yet it is unworthy on man’s part not to
seek after the science that is in conformity with his own condition
(τὴν καθ̓ αὑτὸν ἐπιστήνην). But if the poets were right, and envy
characterized divinity, all who would aim higher must be unfortunate;”
Nemesis punishes whatever raises itself above the commonplace, and
makes everything again equal. “But the divine cannot be jealous,”
_i.e._ cannot refuse to impart that which it is, as if this knowledge
should not come to man (_supra_, pp. 72, 73) “and—according to the
proverb—the poets utter many falsehoods. Nor ought we to consider that
any science is more entitled to honour than the one we now investigate,
for that which is most divine, is also most worthy of honour.” That is
to say, what has and imparts what is best is honoured: the gods are
thus to be honoured because they have this knowledge. “God is held
to be the cause and principle of everything, and therefore God has
this science alone, or for the most part.” But for this reason it is
not unworthy of man to endeavour to seek the highest good which is
in conformity with him, this knowledge pertaining to God. “All other
sciences are, however, more requisite than Philosophy, but none more

It is difficult to give a more detailed account of the Aristotelian
philosophy, the universal Idea with the more important elements, for
Aristotle is much more difficult to comprehend than Plato. In the
latter there are myths, and we can pass over the dialectic and yet
say that we have read Plato; but with Aristotle we enter at once upon
what is speculative. Aristotle always seems to have philosophized only
respecting the individual and particular, and not to have risen from it
to the thought of the absolute and universal, to the thought of God; he
always goes from the individual to the individual. His task concerns
what is, and is just as clearly divided off as a professor has his
work divided into a half year’s course; and though in this course he
examines the whole of the world of conception, he yet appears only to
have recognized the truth in the particular, or only a succession of
particular truths. This has nothing dazzling about it, for he does not
appear to have risen to the Idea (as Plato speaks of the nobility of
Idea), nor to have led back to it the individual. But if Aristotle on
the one hand did not logically abstract the universal Idea, (for then
his so-called logic, which is something very different, would have had
as its principle the recognition of one Notion in all) on the other
hand there appears in Aristotle the one Absolute, the idea of God, as
itself a particular, in its place beside the others, although it is all
Truth. It is as if we said, “there are plants, animals, men, and also
God, the most excellent of all.”

From the whole list of conceptions which Aristotle enumerates, we
shall now select some for further examination, and I will first speak
of his metaphysics and its determinations. Then I will deal with the
particular sciences which have been treated by Aristotle, beginning by
giving the fundamental conception of nature as it is constituted with
Aristotle; in the third place I will say something of mind, of the soul
and its conditions, and finally the logical books of Aristotle will


Aristotle’s speculative Idea is chiefly to be gathered from his
Metaphysics, especially from the last chapters of the twelfth book
(Λ) which deal with the divine Thought. But this treatise has the
peculiar drawback noticed above (p. 128) of being a compilation,
several treatises having been combined into one. Aristotle and the
ancients did not know this work by the name of the Metaphysics; it was
by them called πρώτη φιλοσοφία.[87] The main portion of this treatise
has a certain appearance of unity given to it by the connection of
the argument,[88] but it cannot be said that the style is orderly
and lucid. This pure philosophy Aristotle very clearly distinguishes
(Metaph. IV. 1) from the other sciences as “the science of that which
is, in so far as it is, and of what belongs to it implicitly and
explicitly.” The main object which Aristotle has in view (Metaph. VII.
1) is the definition of what this substance (οὐσία) really is. In
this ontology or, as we call it, logic, he investigates and minutely
distinguishes four principles (Metaph. I. 3): first, determination or
quality as such, the wherefore of anything, essence or form; secondly,
the matter; thirdly, the principle of motion; and fourthly, the
principle of final cause, or of the good. In the later part of the
Metaphysics Aristotle returns repeatedly to the determination of the
Ideas, but here also a want of connection of thought appears, even
though all is subsequently united into an entirely speculative Notion.

To proceed, there are two leading forms, which Aristotle characterizes
as that of potentiality (δύναμις) and that of actuality (ἐνέργεια);
the latter is still more closely characterized as entelechy
(ἐντελεχεια) or free activity, which has the end (τὸ τέλος) in itself,
and is the realization of this end. These are determinations which
occur repeatedly in Aristotle, especially in the ninth book of the
Metaphysics, and which we must be familiar with, if we would understand
him. The expression δύναμις is with Aristotle the beginning, the
implicit, the objective; also the abstract universal in general, the
Idea, the matter, which can take on all forms, without being itself
the form-giving principle. But with an empty abstraction such as the
thing-in-itself Aristotle has nothing to do. It is first in energy
or, more concretely, in subjectivity, that he finds the actualizing
form, the self-relating negativity. When, on the other hand, we
speak of Being, activity is not yet posited: Being is only implicit,
only potentiality, without infinite form. To Aristotle the main fact
about Substance is that it is not matter merely (Metaph. VII. 3);
although in ordinary life this is what is generally taken to be the
substantial. All that is contains matter, it is true, all change
demands a substratum (ὑποκείμενον) to be affected by it; but because
matter itself is only potentiality, and not actuality—which belongs to
form—matter cannot truly exist without the activity of form (Metaph.
VIII. 1, 2). With Aristotle δύναμις does not therefore mean force
(for force is really an imperfect aspect of form), but rather capacity
which is not even undetermined possibility; ἐνέργεια is, on the other
hand, pure, spontaneous activity. These definitions were of importance
throughout all the middle ages. Thus, according to Aristotle, the
essentially absolute substance has potentiality and actuality, form and
matter, not separated from one another; for the true objective has most
certainly also activity in itself, just as the true subjective has also

From this definition we now see clearly the sort of opposition in
which the Idea of Aristotle stands to that of Plato, for although
the Idea of Plato is in itself essentially concrete and determined,
Aristotle goes further. In so far, namely, as the Idea is determined
in itself, the relation of the moments in it can be more closely
specified, and this relation of the moments to each other is to be
conceived of as nothing other than activity. It is easy for us to
have a consciousness of what is deficient in the universal, that is,
of that which is implicit only. The universal, in that it is the
universal, has as yet no reality, for because implicitude is inert,
the activity of realization is not yet posited therein. Reason,
laws, etc., are in this way abstract, but the rational, as realizing
itself, we recognize to be necessary, and therefore we take such
universal laws but little into account. Now the standpoint of Plato
is in the universal; what he does is to express Being rather as the
objective, the Good, the end, the universal. To this, however, the
principle of living subjectivity, as the moment of reality, seems
to be lacking, or it appears at least to be put in the background.
This negative principle seems indeed not to be directly expressed
in Plato, but it is essentially contained in his definition of the
Absolute as the unity of opposites; for this unity is essentially a
negative unity of those opposites, which abrogates their being-another,
their opposition, and leads them back into itself. But with Aristotle
this negativity, this active efficacy, is expressly characterized
as energy; in that it breaks up itself—this independence—abrogating
unity, and positing separation; for, as Aristotle says (Metaph. VII.
13), “actuality separates.” The Platonic Idea, on the other hand, is
rather that abrogation of opposites, where one of the opposites is
itself unity. While, therefore, with Plato the main consideration is
the affirmative principle, the Idea as only abstractly identical with
itself, in Aristotle there is added and made conspicuous the moment of
negativity, not as change, nor yet as nullity, but as difference or
determination. The principle of individualization, not in the sense
of a casual and merely particular subjectivity, but in that of pure
subjectivity, is peculiar to Aristotle. Aristotle thus also makes the
Good, as the universal end, the substantial foundation, and maintains
this position against Heraclitus and the Eleatics. The Becoming of
Heraclitus is a true and real determination, but change yet lacks the
determination of identity with itself, the constancy of the universal.
The stream is ever changing, yet it is nevertheless ever the same,
and is really a universal existence. From this it is at once evident
that Aristotle (Metaph. IV. 3-6) is controverting the opinions of
Heraclitus and others when he says that Being and non-being are not
the same (Vol. I. p. 282), and in connection with this lays down the
celebrated maxim of contradiction, that a man is not at the same
time a ship. This shows at once that Aristotle does not understand
by this pure Being and non-being, this abstraction which is really
only the transition of the one into the other; but by that which is,
he understands Substance, the Idea, Reason, viewed likewise as an
impelling end. As he maintains the universal against the principle of
mere change, he puts forward activity in opposition to the numbers of
the Pythagoreans, and to the Platonic Ideas. However frequently and
fully Aristotle controverts both of these, all his objections turn on
the remark already quoted (Vol. I. p. 213) that activity is not to be
found in these principles, and that to say that real things participate
in Ideas is empty talk, and a poetic metaphor. He says also that Ideas,
as abstract universal determinations, are only as far as numbers go
equal to things, but are not on that account to be pointed out as their
causes. Moreover, he maintains that there are contradictions involved
in taking independent species, since in Socrates, for instance, there
are several ideas included: man, biped, animal (Metaph. I. 7 and 9).
Activity with Aristotle is undoubtedly also change, but change that is
within the universal, and that remains self-identical; consequently
a determination which is self-determination, and therefore the
self-realizing universal end: in mere alteration, on the contrary,
there is not yet involved the preservation of identity in change. This
is the chief point which Aristotle deals with.

Aristotle distinguishes various moments in substance, in so far as the
moments of activity and potentiality do not appear as one, but still
in separation. The closer determination of this relation of energy to
potentiality, of form to matter, and the movement of this opposition,
gives the different modes of substance. Here Aristotle enumerates the
substances; and to him they appear as a series of different kinds of
substance, which he merely takes into consideration one by one, without
bringing them together into a system. The three following are the chief
among these:—

_a._ The sensuous perceptible substance is that in which the matter
is still distinguished from the efficient form. Hence this substance
is finite; for the separation and externality of form and matter are
precisely what constitute the nature of the finite. Sensuous substance,
says Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 2), involves change, but in such a way
that it passes over into the opposite; the opposites disappear in one
another, and the third beyond these opposites, that which endures, the
permanent in this change, is matter. Now the leading categories of
change which Aristotle names are the four differences, in regard to
the What (κατὰ τὸ τί), or in regard to quality (ποιόν), or in regard to
quantity (ποσόν), or in regard to place where (ποῦ). The first change
is the origination and decay of simple determinate Being (κατὰ τόδε);
the second change is that of the further qualities (κατὰ τὸ πάθος); the
third, increase and diminution; the fourth, motion. Matter is the dead
substance on which take place the changes which matter passes through.
“The change itself is from potential into actual existence; possible
whiteness transforms itself into actual whiteness. Thus things do not
arise casually out of nothing, but all arises out of what exists,
though it exists only in potentiality, not in actuality.” The possible
is thus really a general implicit existence, which brings about these
determinations, without producing one out of the other. Matter is
thus simple potentiality, which, however, is placed in opposition to
itself, so that a thing in its actuality only becomes that which its
matter was also in potentiality. There are thus three moments posited:
matter, as the general substratum of change, neutral in respect of
what is different (ἐξ οὗ); the opposed determinations of form, which
are negative to each other as that which is to be abrogated and that
which is to be posited (τι and εἴς τι); the first mover (ὑφ̓ οὗ), pure
activity (Metaph. VII. 7; IX. 8; XII. 3).[89] But activity is the
unity of form and matter; how these two are in the other, Aristotle
does not, however, further explain. Thus in sensuous substance there
appears the diversity of the moments, though not as yet their return
into themselves; but activity is the negative which ideally contains in
itself the opposite, therefore that also which is about to be.

_b._ A higher kind of substance, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX.
2; VII. 7; XII. 3), is that into which activity enters, which already
contains that which is about to be. This is understanding, absolutely
determined, whose content is the aim which it realizes through its
activity, not merely changing as does the sensuous form. For the soul
is essentially actuality, a general determination which posits itself;
not only formal activity, whose content comes from somewhere else.
But while the active posits its content in reality, this content yet
remains the same; there is an activity present which is different from
matter, although substance and activity are allied. Thus here we still
have a matter which understanding demands as its hypothesis. The two
extremes are matter as potentiality, and thought as efficiency: the
former is the passive universal, and the latter the active universal;
in sensuous substance the active is, on the contrary, still quite
different from matter. In these two moments themselves change does not
take place, for they are the implicit universal in opposed forms.

_c._ The highest point is, however, that in which potentiality,
activity and actuality are united; the absolute substance which
Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 6, 7; IX. 8), defines in general as being the
absolute (ἀϊδιον), the unmoved, which yet at the same time moves, and
whose essence is pure activity, without having matter. For matter as
such is passive and affected by change, consequently it is not simply
one with the pure activity of this substance. Here as elsewhere we
certainly see an instance of merely denying a predicate, without
saying what its truth is; but matter is nothing else than that moment
of unmoved Being. If in later times it has seemed something new to
define absolute Being as pure activity, we see that this arises
from ignorance as to the Aristotelian conception. But the Schoolmen
rightly looked upon this as the definition of God, since they define
God as _actus purus_; and higher idealism than this there is none.
We may also express this as follows: God is the Substance which
in its potentiality has reality also unseparated from it; therein
potentiality is not distinguished from form, since it produces from
itself the determinations of its content. In this Aristotle breaks
away from Plato, and for this reason controverts number, the Idea, and
the universal, because if this, as inert, is not defined as identical
with activity, there is no movement. Plato’s inert Ideas and numbers
thus bring nothing into reality; but far different is the case with
the Absolute of Aristotle, which in its quiescence is at the same time
absolute activity.

Aristotle further says on this subject (Metaph. XII. 6): “It may be
that what has potentiality is not real; it is of no avail therefore to
make substances eternal, as the idealists do, if they do not contain a
principle which can effect change. And even this is insufficient, if it
is not active, because in that case there is no change. Yea, even if
it were active, but its substance only a potentiality, there would be
in it no eternal movement, for it is possible that what is according
to potentiality may not exist. We must therefore have a principle
whose substance must be apprehended as activity.” Thus in mind energy
is substance itself. “But here a doubt seems to spring up. For all
that is active seems to be possible, but all that is possible does
not seem to energize, so that potentiality seems to be antecedent,”
for it is the universal. “But if this were the case, no one of the
entities would be in existence, for it is possible that a thing may
possess a capacity of existence, though it has never yet existed.
But energy is higher than potentiality. We must thus not assert, as
theologians would have us do, that in the eternal ages there was first
chaos or night” (matter), “nor must we say with natural philosophers
that everything existed simultaneously. For how could the First be
changed, if nothing in reality were cause? For matter does not move
itself, it is the Master who moves it. Leucippus and Plato accordingly
say that motion has always existed, but they give no reason for the
assertion.” Pure activity is, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX. 8),
before potentiality, not in relation to time, but to essence. That is
to say, time is a subordinate moment, far removed from the universal;
for the absolute first Being is, as Aristotle says at the end of the
sixth chapter of the twelfth book, “that which in like activity remains
always identical with itself.” In the former assumption of a chaos and
so on, an activity is posited which has to do with something else, not
with itself, and has therefore a pre-supposition; but chaos is only
bare possibility.

That which moves in itself, and therefore, as Aristotle continues
(Metaph. XII. 7), “that which has circular motion;” is to be posited as
the true Being, “and this is evident not merely from thinking reason,
but also from the fact itself.” From the definition of absolute Being
as imparting motion, as bringing about realization, there follows that
it exists in objectivity in visible nature. As the self-identical
which is visible, this absolute Being is “the eternal heavens.” The
two modes of representing the Absolute are thus thinking reason and
the eternal heavens. The heavens are moved, but they also cause
movement. Since the spherical is thus both mover and moved, there is
a centre-point which causes movement but remains unmoved, and which
is itself at the same time eternal and a substance and energy.[90]
This great definition given by Aristotle of absolute Being as the
circle of reason which returns into itself, is of the same tenor as
modern definitions; the unmoved which causes movement is the Idea which
remains self-identical, which, while it moves, remains in relation to
itself. He explains this as follows: “Its motion is determined in the
following manner. That moves which is desired and thought, whereas
itself it is unmoved, and the original of both is the same.” That is
the end whose content is the desire and thought; such an end is the
Beautiful or the Good. “For the thing that is desired is that which
appears beautiful” (or pleases): “whose first” (or end), “on which the
will is set, is what is beautiful. But it is rather the case that we
desire it because it appears beautiful, than that it appears beautiful
because we desire it.” For if that were so, it would be simply posited
by activity, but it is posited independently, as objective Being,
through which our desire is first awakened. “But thought is the true
principle in this, for thought is moved only by the object of thought.
But the intelligible” (we scarcely believe our eyes) “is essentially
the other co-element (συστοιχία)”[91] namely, that which is posited
as objective, as absolutely existent thought, “and the substance of
this other element is the first; but the first substance is simple
pure activity. Such are the Beautiful and the Good, and the first is
ever the absolutely best or the best possible. But the Notion shows
that the final cause belongs to the unmoved. What is moved may also
subsist in a different manner. Motion (φορά) is the first change; the
first motion, again, is circular motion, but this is due to the above
cause.” Therefore, according to Aristotle, the Notion, _principium
cognoscendi_, is also that which causes movement, _principium essendi_;
he expresses it as God, and shows the relation of God to the individual
consciousness. “The First Cause is necessary. But the term necessary
has three meanings: first what is accomplished by violence, because
it goes contrary to one’s inclination (παρὰ τὴν ὁρμήν); secondly,
that without which the Good does not subsist; thirdly, that which can
exist in no other way than it does, but involves absolute existence.
On such a principle of the unmoved the heavens depend and the whole of
nature”—the visible that is eternal, and the visible that changes. This
system is ever-enduring. “But to us” as individuals, “there is granted,
for a short time only, a sojourn therein of surpassing excellence. For
the system continues ever the same, but for us that is impossible. Now
this activity is in its very self enjoyment, and therefore vigilance,
exercise of the senses, thinking in general, are most productive of
enjoyment; and for the same reason hopes and memories bring pleasure.
But thinking, in its pure essence, is a thinking of that which is
absolutely the most excellent;” the thought is for itself absolute
end. The difference and contradiction in activity and the abrogation
of the same, Aristotle expresses thus: “But thought thinks itself
by participation (μετάληψιν) in that which is thought, but thought
becomes thought by contact and apprehension, so that thought and the
object of thought are the same.” Thought, as being the unmoved which
causes motion, has an object, which, however, becomes transformed into
activity, because its content is itself something thought, _i.e._ a
product of thought, and thus altogether identical with the activity of
thinking. The object of thought is first produced in the activity of
thinking, which in this way separates the thought as an object. Hence,
in thinking, that which is moved and that which moves are the same;
and as the substance of what is thought is thought, what is thought
is the absolute cause which, itself unmoved, is identical with the
thought which is moved by it; the separation and the relation are one
and the same. The chief moment in Aristotle’s philosophy is accordingly
this, that the energy of thinking and the object of thought are the
same; “for thought is that which is receptive of objects of perception
and the existent. When in possession of these it is in a condition
of activity (ἐνεργεῖ δὲ ἔχων); and thus all this” operation by which
it thinks itself, “is more divine than the divine possession which
thinking reason supposes itself to have,”—the content of thought. It
is not the object of thought that is the more excellent, but the very
energy of thinking; the activity of apprehension brings that to pass
which appears as something that is being apprehended. “Speculation
(ἡ θεωρία) is thus the most pleasing and the best. If then God has
eternally subsisted in such surpassing excellence as for a limited time
pertains to us” (in whom this eternal Thought, which is God Himself,
occurs only as a particular condition), “He is worthy of admiration;
if He possesses it in a more eminent degree, His nature is still more
admirable. But this is His mode of subsistence. Life is also inherent
in Him, for the activity of thought is life. But He constitutes this
efficient power; essential energy belongs to God as His most excellent
and eternal life. We therefore say that with God there is life perfect
and everlasting.” From this substance Aristotle moreover excludes

We in our way of speaking designate the Absolute, the True, as the
unity of subjectivity and objectivity, which is therefore neither the
one nor the other, and yet just as much the one as the other; and
Aristotle busied himself with these same speculations, the deepest
forms of speculation even of the present day, and he has expressed
them with the greatest definiteness. With Aristotle it is thus no
dry identity of the abstract understanding that is indicated, for he
distinguishes subjective and objective precisely and decisively. Not
dead identity such as this, but energy, is for him what is most to
be reverenced, God. Unity is thus a poor, unphilosophic expression,
and true Philosophy is not the system of identity; its principle is
a unity which is activity, movement, repulsion, and thus, in being
different, is at the same time identical with itself. If Aristotle
had made the jejune identity of understanding, or experience, his
principle, he would never have risen to a speculative Idea like this,
wherein individuality and activity are placed higher than universal
potentiality. Thought, as the object of thought, is nothing else than
the absolute Idea regarded as in itself, the Father; yet this First
and unmoved, as distinguished from activity, is, as absolute, simply
activity, and is first through this activity set forth as true. In
what he teaches respecting the soul we shall find Aristotle recurring
to this speculative thought; but to Aristotle it is again an object,
like other objects, a kind of condition which he separates from the
other conditions of the soul which he understands empirically, such as
sleep, or weariness. He does not say that it alone is truth, that all
is summed up in Thought, but he says it is the first, the strongest,
the most honourable. We, on the other hand, say that Thought, as that
which relates to itself, has existence, or is the truth; that Thought
comprehends the whole of Truth, even, though we ordinarily represent
to ourselves sensation and so on, besides thought, as having reality.
Thus, although Aristotle does not express himself in modern philosophic
language, he has yet throughout the same fundamental theory; he speaks
not of a special kind of reason, but of the universal Reason. The
speculative philosophy of Aristotle simply means the direction of
thought on all kinds of objects, thus transforming these into thoughts;
hence, in being thoughts, they exist in truth. The meaning of this is
not, however, that natural objects have thus themselves the power of
thinking, but as they are subjectively thought by me, my thought is
thus also the Notion of the thing, which therefore constitutes its
absolute substance. But in Nature the Notion does not exist explicitly
as thought in this freedom, but has flesh and blood, and is oppressed
by externalities; yet this flesh and blood has a soul, and this is its
Notion. The ordinary definition of truth, according to which it is “the
harmony of the conception with the object,” is certainly not borne out
by the conception; for when I represent to myself a house, a beam, and
so on, I am by no means this content, but something entirely different,
and therefore very far from being in harmony with the object of my
conception. It is only in thought that there is present a true harmony
between objective and subjective; that constitutes me. Aristotle
therefore finds himself at the highest standpoint; nothing deeper can
we desire to know, although he has always the appearance of making
ordinary conceptions his starting-point.

Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 9) now solves many other doubtful questions,
for instance, whether thought is compound, and whether science is the
object of science itself. “Some further doubts arise as to thought
(νοῦς), which seems to be of all things the most divine; but it is
only with difficulty that we can conceive under what conditions (πῶς
δ̓ ἔχων) it is a thing of this sort. When it thinks of nothing, but is
in a state like that of a sleeper, what constitutes its superiority?
And when it thinks, but something else is dominant all the time (ἄλλο
κύριον), that which is its substance is not thought (νόησις), but
a potentiality;” it would not be in eternal activity. “In this way
it would not be the highest substance; for it is” (active) “thought
(τὸ νοεῖν) that gives it its high rank. If now, further, thought or
thinking is its substance, what does it think? Itself or another? And
if another, is it always the same, or something different? Does it also
not make a difference, whether it thinks of what is beautiful or what
is casual? In the first place, if thought is not thinking, but only
the power to think, continuous thinking would be laborious for it,”
for every power wears itself out. “In the next place, something else
would be more excellent than thought, namely that which is thought
(νοούμενον); and thinking and thought (τὸ νοεῖν καὶ ἡ νόησις) will be
present to the mind in understanding what is most inferior. As this
is to be avoided (in the same way that it is better not to see some
things than to see them), thinking would not constitute the best.
Thought is therefore this, to think itself, because it is the most
excellent; and it is the thinking, which is the thinking of thinking.
For understanding and sensation and opinion and deliberation seem
always to have an object other than themselves, and to be their own
objects only in a secondary sense. Further, if thinking and being
thought of are different, in relation to which of the two is the Good
inherent in thought? For the Notion[92] of thinking and that of the
object of thought are not the same. Or, in the case of some things,
does the science itself constitute that which is the object of science?
In what is practical the thing is the immaterial substance and the
determination of the end (ἡ οὐσία καὶ τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι), and in what is
theoretical it is the reason and the thinking. As therefore thought and
the object of thought are not different, these opposites, so far as
they involve no connection with matter, are the same thing, and there
is only a thought of the thing thought of.” Reason which thinks itself,
is the absolute end or the Good, for it only exists for its own sake.
“There still remains a doubt whether that which thinks is of composite
nature or not; for it might undergo change in the parts of the whole.
But the Good is not in this or that part, for it is the best in the
universe, as distinguished from it. In this way the Thought which is
its own object subsists to all eternity.”

As this speculative Idea, which is the best and most free, is also to
be seen in nature, and not only in thinking reason, Aristotle (Metaph.
XII. 8) in this connection passes on to the visible God, which is the
heavens. God, as living God, is the universe; and thus in the universe
God, as living God, shows Himself forth. He comes forth as manifesting
Himself or as causing motion, and it is in manifestation alone that
the difference between the cause of motion and that which is moved
comes to pass. “The principle and the first cause of that which is, is
itself unmoved, but brings to pass the original and eternal and single
motion,” that is, the heaven of the fixed stars. “We see that besides
the simple revolution of the universe, which is brought about by the
first unmoved substance, there are other eternal motions, those of the
planets.” We must not, however, enter into further details on this

Regarding the organization of the universe in general, Aristotle says
(Metaph. XII. 10), “We must investigate in what manner the nature of
the whole has within it the Good and the Best; whether as something set
apart and absolute, or as an order, or in both ways, as in the case
of an army. For the good condition of an army depends upon the order
enforced, as much as on the general, and the general is the cause of
the army’s good condition in all the greater degree from the fact of
the order being through him, and not from his being through the order.
All things are co-ordinated in a certain way, but not all in the same
way: take, for example, animals which swim, and those which fly, and
plants; they are not so constituted that one of them is not related to
another, but they stand in mutual relations. For all are co-ordinated
into one system just as in a house it is by no means permitted to the
free inmates to do freely whatever they like, but all that they do, or
the most of it, is done according to orderly arrangement. By slaves and
animals, on the contrary, little is done for the general good, but they
do much that is casual. For the principle of each is his own nature.
In the same way it is necessary that all should attain to a position
where distinction is drawn” (the seat of judgment) “but there are some
things so constituted that all participate in them for the formation
of a whole.” Aristotle then goes on to refute some other notions;
showing, for instance, the embarrassments into which they fall who make
all things proceed from oppositions, and he corroborates, on the other
hand, the unity of the principle by quoting Homer’s line (Iliad II.

  “It is not good that many govern; let one alone bear rule.”


Amongst the special sciences treated by Aristotle, the Physics is
contained in a whole series of physical treatises, which form a
tolerably complete system of what constitutes the Philosophy of
Nature in its whole extent. We shall try to give their general plan.
Aristotle’s first work is his Treatise, in eight books, on Physics, or
on the Principles (φυσικὴ ἀκρόασις ἢ περὶ ἀρχῶν). In this he deals,
as is fitting, with the doctrine of the Notion of nature generally,
with movement, and with space and time. The first manifestation of
absolute substance is movement, and its moments are space and time;
this conception of its manifestation is the universal, which realizes
itself first in the corporeal world, passing into the principle of
separation. Aristotle’s Physics is what for present physicists would,
properly speaking, be the Metaphysics of Nature; for our physicists
only say what they have seen, what delicate and excellent instruments
they have made, and not what they have thought. This first work by
Aristotle is followed by his treatises concerning the Heavens, which
deal with the nature of body and the first real bodies, the earth and
heavenly bodies in general, as also with the general abstract relation
of bodies to one another through mechanical weight and lightness, or
what we should call attraction; and finally, with the determination
of abstract real bodies or elements. Then follow the treatises on
Production and Destruction, the physical process of change, while
formerly the ideal process of movement was considered. Besides the
physical elements, moments which are only posited in process, as such,
now enter in: for instance, warmth, cold, &c. Those elements are the
real existent facts, while these determinations are the moments of
becoming or of passing away, which exist only in movement. Then comes
the Meteorology; it represents the universal physical process in its
most real forms. Here particular determinations appear, such as rain,
the saltness of the sea, clouds, dew, hail, snow, hoar-frost, winds,
rainbows, boiling, cooking, roasting, colours, &c. On certain matters,
such as the colours, Aristotle wrote particular treatises. Nothing is
forgotten, and yet the presentation is, on the whole, empiric. The book
On the Universe, which forms the conclusion, is said not to be genuine;
it is a separate dissertation, addressed to Alexander, which contains
in part the doctrine of the universality of things, a doctrine found
already in the other treatises; hence this book does not belong to this

From this point Aristotle proceeds to organic nature, and here his
works not only contain a natural history, but also a physiology and
anatomy. To the anatomy pertain his works on the Locomotion of Animals,
and on the Parts of Animals. He deals with physiology in the works
on the Generation of Animals, on the common Movement of Animals; and
then he comes to the distinction between Youth and Age, Sleeping and
Waking, and treats of Breathing, Dreaming, the Shortness and Length
of Life, &c., all of which he deals with partly in an empiric,
and partly in a more speculative manner. Finally, there comes the
History of Animals, not merely as a history of Nature, but also as
the history of the animal in its entirety—what we may call a kind of
physiologico-anatomical anatomy. There is likewise a botanical work On
Plants (περὶ φυτῶν) which is ascribed to him. Thus we here find natural
philosophy in the whole extent of its outward content.

As regards this plan, there is no question that this is not the
necessary order in which natural philosophy or physics must be treated.
It is long since physics adopted in its conception the form and
tendency derived from Aristotle, of deducing the parts of the science
from the whole; and thus even what is not speculative still retains
this connection as far as outward order goes. This is plainly to be
preferred to the arrangement in our modern text-books, which is a
wholly irrational succession of doctrines accidentally put together,
and is undoubtedly more suitable to that method of contemplating
nature, which grasps the sensuous manifestation of nature quite
irrespective of sense or reason. Physics before this contained some
metaphysics, but the experience which was met with in endeavouring
unsuccessfully to work it out, determined the physicists, so far as
possible, to keep it at a distance, and to devote their attention to
what they call experience, for they think that here they come across
genuine truth, unspoiled by thought, fresh from the hand of nature;
it is in their hands and before their faces. They can certainly not
dispense with the Notion, but through a kind of tacit agreement they
allow certain conceptions, such as forces, subsistence in parts, &c.,
to be valid, and make use of these without in the least knowing whether
they have truth and how they have truth. But in regard to the content
they express no better the truth of things, but only the sensuous
manifestation. Aristotle and the ancients understand by physics, on the
other hand, the comprehension of nature—the universal; and for this
reason Aristotle also calls it the doctrine of principles. For in the
manifestation of nature this distinction between the principle and what
follows it, manifestation, really commences, and it is abrogated only
in genuine speculation. Yet if, on the one hand, what is physical in
Aristotle is mainly philosophic and not experimental, he yet proceeded
in his Physics in what may be called an empiric way. Thus, as it has
been already remarked of the Aristotelian philosophy in general that
the different parts fall into a series of independently determined
conceptions, so we find that this is the case here also; hence an
account can only be given of a part of them. One part is not universal
enough to embrace the other part, for each is independent. But that
which follows, and which has in great measure reference to what is
individual, no longer comes under the dominion of the Notion, but
becomes a superficial suggestion of reasons, and an explanation from
the proximate causes, such as we find in our physics.

In regard to the general conception of nature, we must say that
Aristotle represents it in the highest and truest manner. For in
the Idea of nature Aristotle (Phys. II. 8) really relies on two
determinations: the conception of end and the conception of necessity.
Aristotle at once grasps the whole matter in its principles, and this
constitutes the old contradiction and divergence of view existing
between necessity (_causæ efficientes_) and end (_causæ finales_),
which we have inherited. The first mode of consideration is that in
accordance with external necessity, which is the same as chance—the
conception that all that pertains to nature is determined from without
by means of natural causes. The other mode of consideration is the
teleological, but conformity to end is either inward or outward, and
in the more recent culture the latter has long retained the supremacy.
Thus men vibrate in their opinion between these two points of view,
seek external causes, and war against the form of an external teleology
which places the end outside of nature. These determinations were
known to Aristotle, and he thoroughly investigates them and considers
what they are and mean. Aristotle’s conception of nature is, however,
nobler than that of to-day, for with him the principal point is the
determination of end as the inward determinateness of natural things.
Thus he comprehended nature as life, _i.e._ as that which has its
end within itself, is unity with itself, which does not pass into
another, but, through this principle of activity, determines changes
in conformity with its own content, and in this way maintains itself
therein. In this doctrine Aristotle has before his eyes the inward
immanent end, to which he considers necessity an external condition.
Thus, on the one hand, Aristotle determines nature as the final cause,
which is to be distinguished from what is luck or chance; it is thus
opposed by him to what is necessary, which it also contains within
itself; and then he considers how necessity is present in natural
things. In nature we usually think of necessity first, and understand
as the essentially natural that which is not determined through end.
For long men thought that they determined nature both philosophically
and truly in limiting it to necessity. But the aspect of nature has
had a stigma removed from it, because, by means of its conformity to
the end in view, it is elevated above the commonplace. The two moments
which we have considered in substance, the active form and matter,
correspond with these two determinations.

We must first consider the conception of adaptation to end as the
ideal moment in substance. Aristotle begins (Phys. II. 8) with the
fact that the natural is the self-maintaining, all that is difficult
is its comprehension. “The first cause of perplexity is, what hinders
nature from not operating for the sake of an end, and because it is
better so to operate, but” being, for example, “like Jupiter, who
rains, not that the corn may grow, but from necessity. The vapour
driven upwards cools, and the water resulting from this cooling falls
as rain, and it happens that the corn is thereby made to grow. In like
manner, if the corn of any one is destroyed, it does not rain for the
sake of this destruction, but this is an accidental circumstance.”
That is to say, there is a necessary connection which, however, is an
external relation, and this is the contingency of the cause as well
as of the effect. “But if this be so,” Aristotle asks, “what hinders
us from assuming that what appears as parts” (the parts of an animal,
for instance) “may thus subsist in nature, too, as contingent? That,
for example, the front teeth are sharp and adapted for dividing,
and that the back teeth, on the contrary, are broad and adapted for
grinding the food in pieces, may be an accidental circumstance, not
necessarily brought about for these particular ends. And the same is
true with respect to the other parts of the body which appear to be
adapted for some end; therefore those living things in which all was
accidentally constituted as if for some end, are now, having once been
so existent, preserved, although originally they had arisen by chance,
in accordance with external necessity.” Aristotle adds that Empedocles
especially had these reflections, and represented the first beginnings
of things as a world composed of all sorts of monstrosities, such as
bulls with human heads; such, however, could not continue to subsist,
but disappeared because they were not originally constituted so that
they should endure; and this went on until what was in conformity with
purpose came together. Without going back to the fabulous monstrosities
of the ancients, we likewise know of a number of animal tribes which
have died out, just because they could not preserve the race. Thus
we also require to use the expression development (an unthinking
evolution), in our present-day natural philosophy. The conception that
the first productions were, so to speak, attempts, of which those which
did not show themselves to be suitable could not endure, is easily
arrived at by natural philosophy. But nature, as _entelecheia_ or
realization, is what brings forth itself. Aristotle hence replies: “It
is impossible to believe this. For what is produced in accordance with
nature is always, or at least for the most part, produced” (external
universality as the constant recurrence of what has passed away), “but
this is not so with what happens through fortune or through chance.
That in which there is an end (τέλος), equally in its character as
something which precedes and as something which follows, is made into
end; as therefore a thing is made, so is its nature, and as is its
nature, so is it made; it exists therefore for the sake of this.” The
meaning of nature is that as something is, it was in the beginning;
it means this inward universality and adaptation to end that realizes
itself; and thus cause and effect are identical, since all individual
parts are related to this unity of end. “He who assumes contingent and
accidental forms, subverts, on the other hand, both nature itself and
that which subsists from nature, for that subsists from nature which
has a principle within itself, by whose means, and being continually
moved, it attains its end.” In this expression of Aristotle’s we now
find the whole of the true profound Notion of life, which must be
considered as an end in itself—a self-identity that independently
impels itself on, and in its manifestation remains identical with
its Notion: thus it is the self-effectuating Idea. Leaves, blossoms,
roots thus bring the plant into evidence and go back into it; and that
which they bring to pass is already present in the seed from which
they took their origin. The chemical product, on the contrary, does
not appear to have itself similarly present, for from acid and base a
third appears to come forth; but here, likewise, the essence of both
these sides, their relationship, is already present, though it is
there mere potentiality, as it is in the product merely a thing. But
the self-maintaining activity of life really brings forth this unity
in all relationships. What has here been said is already contained in
that which was asserted by those who do not represent nature in this
way, but say, “that which is constituted as though it were constituted
for an end, will endure.” For this is the self-productive action of
nature. In the modern way of looking at life this conception becomes
lost in two different ways; either through a mechanical philosophy,
in which we always find as principle pressure, impulse, chemical
relationships and forces, or external relations generally—which
certainly seem to be inherent in nature, but not to proceed from the
nature of the body, seeing that they are an added, foreign appendage,
such as colour in a fluid; or else theological physics maintain the
thoughts of an understanding outside of the world to be the causes.
In the Kantian philosophy we for the first time have that conception
once more awakened in us, for organic nature at least; life has there
been made an end to itself. In Kant this indeed had only the subjective
form which constitutes the essence of the Kantian philosophy, in which
it seems as though life were only so determined by reason of our
subjective reasoning; but still the whole truth is there contained
that the organic creation is the self-maintaining. The fact that most
recent times have brought back the rational view of the matter into our
remembrance, is thus none else than a justification of the Aristotelian

Aristotle also speaks of the end which is represented by organic nature
in itself, in relation to the means, of which he says (Phys. II. 8):
“If the swallow builds her nest, and the spider spreads her web, and
trees root themselves in the earth, for the sake of nutriment, there
is present in them a self-maintaining cause of this kind, or an end.”
For this instinctive action exhibits an operation of self-preservation,
as a means whereby natural existence becomes shut up and reflected
into itself. Aristotle then brings what is here said into relation
with general conceptions which he had earlier maintained (p. 138):
“Since nature is twofold as matter and form, but since the latter is
end, and the rest are on account of the end, this is final cause.”
For the active form has a content, which, as content of potentiality,
contains the means which make their appearance as adapted for an end,
_i.e._ as moments established through the determinate Notion. However
much we may, in the modern way of regarding things, struggle against
the idea of an immanent end, from reluctance to accept it, we must, in
the case of animals and plants, acknowledge such a conception, always
re-establishing itself in another. For example, because the animal
lives in water or in air, it is so constructed that it can maintain
its existence in air or water; thus it requires water to explain the
gills of fishes; and, on the other hand, because the animal is so
constructed, it lives in water. This activity in transformation thus
does not depend in a contingent way on life; it is aroused through the
outward powers, but only in as far as conformity with the soul of the
animal permits.

In passing, Aristotle here (Phys. II. 8) makes a comparison between
nature and art, which also connects what results with what goes
before, in accordance with ends. “Nature may commit an error as well
as art; for as a grammarian sometimes makes a mistake in writing, and
a physician in mixing a medicinal draught, nature, too, sometimes does
not attain its ends. Its errors are monstrosities and deformities,
which, however, are only the errors of that which operates for an
end. In the production of animals and plants, an animal is not at
first produced, but the seed, and even in it corruption is possible.”
For the seed is the mean, as being the not as yet established,
independent, indifferent, free actuality. In this comparison of nature
with art we ordinarily have before us the external adaptation to end,
the teleological point of view, the making for definite ends. And
Aristotle declaims against this, while he remarks that if nature is
activity for a certain end, or if it is the implicitly universal, “it
is absurd to deny that action is in conformity with end, because that
which moves cannot be seen to have deliberated and considered.” The
understanding comes forward with the determination of this end, and
with its instruments and tools, to operate on matter, and we carry
this conception of an external teleology over into nature. “But art
also,” says Aristotle, “does not deliberate. If the form of a ship
were the particular inward principle of the timber, it would act as
nature prompted. The action of nature is very similar to the exercise
of the art whereby anyone heals himself.” Through an inward instinct
the animal avoids what is evil, and does what is good for him; health
is thus essentially present to him, not as a conscious end, but as an
understanding which accomplishes its ends without conscious thought.

As Aristotle has hitherto combated an external teleology, he directs
another equally applicable remark (Phys. II. 9) against merely external
necessity, and thus we come to the other side, or to how necessity
exists in nature. He says in this regard: “Men fancy that necessity
exists in this way in generation, just as if it were thought that a
house existed from necessity, because heavy things were naturally
carried downwards, and light things upwards, and that, therefore, the
stones and foundation, on account of their weight, were under the
earth, and the earth, because it was lighter, was further up, and the
wood in the highest place because it is the lightest.” But Aristotle
thus explains the facts of the case. “The house is certainly not made
without these materials, but not on account of, or through them (unless
the material so demands), but it is made for the sake of concealing and
preserving certain things. The same takes place in everything which
has an end in itself; for it is not without that which is necessary to
its nature, and yet it is not on account of this, unless the matter
so demands, but on account of an end. Hence the necessary is from
hypothesis only, and not as end, for necessity is in matter, but end
is in reason (λόγῳ). Thus it is clear that matter and its movement are
necessity in natural things; both have to be set forth as principle,
but end is the higher principle.” It undoubtedly requires necessity,
but it retains it in its own power, does not allow it to give vent
to itself, but controls external necessity. The principle of matter
is thus turned into the truly active ground of end, which means the
overthrow of necessity, so that that which is natural shall maintain
itself in the end. Necessity is the objective manifestation of the
action of its moments as separated, just as in chemistry the essential
reality of both the extremes—the base and the acid—is the necessity of
their relation.

This is the main conception of Aristotelian Physics. Its further
development concerns the conceptions of the different objects of
nature, a material for speculative philosophy which we have spoken
of above (pp. 153-155), and regarding which Aristotle puts before us
reflections both difficult and profound. Thus he at first (Phys. III.
1-3) proceeds from this point to movement (κίνησις), and says that it
is essential that a philosophy of nature should speak of it, but that
it is difficult to grasp; in fact, it is one of the most difficult
conceptions. Aristotle thus sets to work to understand movement in
general, not merely in space and time, but also in its reality; and
in this sense he calls it “the activity of an existent thing which
is in capacity, so far as it is in capacity.” He explains this thus:
“Brass is in capacity a statue; yet the motion to become a statue
is not a motion of the brass so far as it is brass, but a motion of
itself, as the capacity to become a statue. Hence this activity is
an imperfect one (ἀτελής),” _i.e._ it has not its end within itself,
“for mere capacity, whose activity is movement, is imperfect.” The
absolute substance, the moving immovable, the existent ground of
heaven which we saw as end, is, on the contrary, both activity itself
and the content and object of activity. But Aristotle distinguishes
from this what falls under the form of this opposition, “That moving
is also moved which has movement as a capacity, and whose immobility
is rest. That in which movement is present has immobility as rest;
for activity in rest, as such, is movement.” That is to say, rest is
capacity for motion. “Hence movement is the activity of that which is
movable (κινητοῦ),[93] so far as it is movable; but this happens from
the contact of that which is motive (κινητικοῦ), so that at the same
time it is posited as passive likewise. But that which moves always
introduces a certain form or end (εἶδος), either this particular thing
(τόδε), or a quality or a quantity, which is the principle and cause of
the motion when it moves; thus man, as he is in energy, makes man from
man as he is in capacity. Thus, too, it is evident that movement is in
the movable thing: for it is the activity of this, and is derived from
that which is motive. The activity of that which is motive is likewise
not different, for both are necessarily activity. It is motive because
it has the capacity for being so; but it causes motion because it
energizes. But it is the energetic of the moveable (ἔστιν ἐνεργητικὸν
τοῦ κινετοῦ), so that there is one energy of both; just as the relation
between one and two is the same as that between two and one, and there
also is the same relation between acclivity and declivity, so the way
from Thebes to Athens is the same as from Athens to Thebes. Activity
and passivity are not originally (κυρίως) the same, but in what they
are inherent, in motion, they are the same. In Being (τῷ εἶναι) they
are identical, but activity, in so far as it is activity of this in
this” (what is moved), “and the activity of this from this” (what
moves), “is different as regards its conception (τῷ λόγῳ).” Aristotle
subsequently deals with the infinite (Phys. III. 4-8).

“In like manner it is necessary,” says Aristotle (Phys. IV. 1-5), “that
the natural philosopher should consider the subject of place (τόπος).”
Here come various definitions and determinations under which space
generally and particular space or place appear. “Is place a body? It
cannot be a body, for then there would be in one and the same, two
bodies. Again, if it is the place and receptacle (χώρα) of this body,
it is evident that it is so also of the superficies and the remaining
boundaries; but the same reasoning applies to these, for where the
superficies of water were before, there will now be the superficies
of air,” and thus the places of both superficies would be in one.
“But in truth there is no difference between the point and the place
of the point, so that if place is not different from the other forms
of limitation, neither is it something outside of them. It is not an
element, and neither consists of corporeal nor of incorporeal elements,
for it possesses magnitude, but not body. The elements of bodies
are, however, themselves bodies, and no magnitude is produced from
intelligible elements. Place is not the material of things, for nothing
consists of it—neither the form, nor the Notion, nor the end, nor the
moving cause; and yet it is something.” Aristotle now determines place
as the first unmoved limit of that which is the comprehending: it
comprehends the body whose place it is, and has nothing of the thing
in itself; yet it co-exists with the thing, because the limits and
the limited co-exist. The uttermost ends of what comprehends and of
what is comprehended are identical, for both are bounds; but they are
not bounds of the same, for form is the boundary of the thing, place
is that of the embracing body. Place, as the comprehending, remains
unchangeably passive while the thing which is moved is moved away; from
which we see that place must be separable from the thing. Or place,
according to Aristotle, is the boundary, the negation of a body, the
assertion of difference, of discretion; but it likewise does not merely
belong to this body, but also to that which comprehends. There is thus
no difference at all, but unchangeable continuity. “Place is neither
the universal (κοινός) in which all bodies are” (heaven), “nor the
particular (ἴδιος), in which they are as the first (πρώτῳ).” Aristotle
also speaks of above and below in space, in relation to heaven as that
which contains, and earth as what is beneath. “That body, outside of
which is a comprehending body, is in space. But the whole heavens are
not anywhere, since no body comprehends them. Outside the universe
nothing is, and hence everything is in the heavens, for the heavens
are the whole. Place, however, is not the heavens, but its external
quiescent boundary which touches the body moved. Hence the earth is in
water, water in air, air in ether, but ether in the heavens.”

From this point Aristotle goes on (Phys. IV. 6, 7) to empty space, in
which an old question is involved which physicists even now cannot
explain: they could do so if they studied Aristotle, but as far as they
are concerned there might have been no thought nor Aristotle in the
world. “Vacuum, according to ordinary ideas, is a space in which there
is no body, and, fancying that all Being is body, they say that vacuum
is that in which there is nothing at all. The conception of a vacuum
has its justification for one thing in the fact that a vacuum,” the
negative to an existent form, “is essential to motion; for a body could
not move in a plenum,” and in the place to which it does move there
must be nothing. “The other argument in favour of a vacuum is found
in the compression of bodies, in which the parts press into the empty
spaces.” This is the conception of varying density and the alteration
of the same, in accordance with which an equal weight might consist
of an equal number of parts, but these, as being separated by vacuum,
might present a greater volume. Aristotle confutes these reasonings
most adroitly, and first of all in this way; “The plenum could be
changed, and bodies could yield to one another even if no interval of
vacuum separated them. Liquids as well as solids are not condensed into
a vacuum; something that they contained is expelled, just as air is
expelled if water is compressed.”

Aristotle deals more thoroughly, in the first place (Phys. IV. 8), with
the erroneous conception that the vacuum is the cause of movement.
For, on the one hand, he shows that the vacuum really abolishes
motion, and consequently in vacuum a universal rest would reign. He
calls it perfect indifference as to the greater or less distance to
which a thing is moved; in vacuum there are no distinctions. It is
pure negation without object or difference; there is no reason for
standing still or going on. But body is in movement, and that, indeed,
as distinguished; it has a positive relation, and not one merely to
nothing. On the other hand, Aristotle refutes the idea that movement
is in vacuum because compression is possible. But this does not happen
in a vacuum; there would be established in it not one movement, but
a movement towards all sides, a general annihilation, an absolute
yielding, where no cohesion would remain in the body. “Again, a weight
or a body is borne along more swiftly or more slowly from two causes;
either because there is a difference in that through which it is borne
along, as when it moves through air or water or earth, or because that
which is borne along differs through excess of weight or lightness.” As
regards difference of movement on account of the first difference—that
in the density of the medium—Aristotle says: “The medium through which
the body is borne along is the cause of the resistance encountered,
which is greater if the medium is moving in a contrary direction (and
less if it is at rest); resistance is increased also if the medium is
not easily divided. The difference in velocity is in inverse ratio to
the specific gravity of the medium, air and water, so that if the
medium has only half the density, the rate of progress will be double
as quick. But vacuum has to body no such relation of differences
of specific gravity. Body can no more contain a vacuum within its
dimensions than a line can contain a point, unless the line were
composed of points. The vacuum has no ratio to the plenum.” But as to
the other case, the difference in weight and lightness, which has to
be considered as being in bodies themselves, whereby one moves more
quickly than another through the same space: “this distinction exists
only in the plenum, for the heavy body, by reason of its power, divides
the plenum more quickly.” This point of view is quite correct, and it
is mainly directed against a number of conceptions that prevail in our
physics. The conception of equal movement of the heavy and the light,
as that of pure weight, pure matter, is an abstraction, being taken as
though they were inherently like, only differing through the accidental
resistance of the air.

Aristotle (Phys. IV. 9) now comes to the second point, to the proof of
the vacuum because of the difference in specific gravity. “Many believe
that the vacuum exists because of the rare and the dense;” the former
is said to be a rare body, and the latter a perfect continuity; or
they at least differ quantitatively from one another through greater
or less density. “For if air should be generated from a quantity of
water, a given quantity of water must produce a quantity of air the
same in bulk, or there must necessarily be a vacuum; for it is only
on the hypothesis of a vacuum that compression and rarefaction are
explicable. Now if, as they say, the less dense were that which has
many separate void spaces, it is evident that since a vacuum cannot
be separated any more than a space can have intervals, neither can
the rare subsist in this manner. But if it is not separable, and yet
a vacuum is said to exist in the body, in the first place movement
could thus only be upwards; for the rare is the light, and hence they
say that fire is rare,” because it always moves upwards. “In the
next place the vacuum cannot be the cause of motion as that in which
something moves, but must resemble bladders that carry up that which
adheres to them. But how is it possible that a vacuum can move, or that
there can be a place where there is a vacuum? For that into which it
is carried would be the vacuum of a vacuum. In short, as there can be
no movement in vacuum, so also a vacuum cannot move.” Aristotle set
against these ideas the true state of matters, and states generally the
ideal conception of nature: “that the opposites, hot and cold, and the
other physical contraries, have one and the same matter, and that from
what is in capacity that which is in energy is produced; that matter
is not separable though it is different in essence[94] (τῷ εἶναι),
and that it remains one and the same in number (ἀριθμῷ) even if it
possesses colour, or is hot and cold. And again, the matter of a small
body and a large is the same, because at one time a greater proceeds
from a smaller, and at another time a smaller from a greater. If air is
generated from water it is expanded, but the matter remains the same
and without taking to itself anything else; for that which it was in
capacity it becomes in actuality. In a similar way if air is compressed
from a greater into a less volume, the process will be reversed, and
air will similarly pass into water, because the matter which is in
capacity both air and water, also becomes both.” Aristotle likewise
asserts that increase and decrease of warmth, and its transition into
cold, is no addition or otherwise of warm matter, and also one and the
same is both dense and rare. This is very different from the physical
conceptions which assert more or less matter to correspond with more
or less density, thus comprehending the difference in specific weight
as the external addition of matter. Aristotle, on the contrary, takes
this dynamically, though certainly not in the sense in which dynamics
are to-day understood, viz. as an increase of intensity or as a
degree, for he accepts intensity in its truth as universal capacity.
Undoubtedly the difference must also be taken as a difference in
amount, but not as an increase and decrease, or as an alteration in the
absolute quantity of the matter. For here intensity means force, but
again not as being a thing of thought separated from matter, but as
indicating that if anything has become more intensive, it has had its
actuality diminished, having, however, according to Aristotle, attained
to a greater capacity. If the intensity is again directed outwards,
and compared with other things, it undoubtedly becomes degree, and
therefore magnitude immediately enters in. It then is indifferent
whether greater intension or greater extension is posited; more air is
capable of being warmed to the same degree as less, through the greater
intensity of the warmth; or the same air can thereby become intensively

As regards the investigation of time, Aristotle remarks (Phys. IV.
10, 11, 13) that if time is externally (exoterically, ἐξωτερικῶς)
regarded, we are inevitably led to doubt (διαπορῆσαι) whether it has
any being whatever, or whether it has bare existence, as feeble (μόλις
καὶ ἀμυδρῶς) as if it were only a potentiality. “For one part of it
was and is not: another part will be and is not as yet; but of these
parts infinite and everlasting (ἀεὶ λαμβανόμενος), time is composed.
But it now appears that time, if composed of things that are not, may
be incapable of existence. And also as regards everything divisible, if
it exists, either some or all of its parts must be. Time is certainly
divisible; but some of the parts are past, others are future, and no
part is present. For the _now_ is no part, since a part has a measure,
and the whole must consist of the parts; but time does not appear to
consist of the Now.” That is to say, because the Now is indivisible,
it has no quantitative determination which could be measured. “Besides
it is not easy to decide whether the Now remains, or always becomes
another and another. Again, time is not a movement and change, for
movement and change occur in that which is moved and changed, or
accompany time in its course; but time is everywhere alike. Besides
change is swifter and slower, but time is not. But it is not without
change and motion” (which is just the moment of pure negativity in the
same) “for when we perceive no change, it appears as if no time had
elapsed, as in sleep. Time is hence in motion but not motion itself.”
Aristotle defines it thus: “We say that time is, when we perceive the
before and after in movement; but these are so distinguished that we
apprehend them to be another and another, and conceive that there
is something between, as a middle. Now when we understand that the
extremes of the conclusion are different from the middle, and the
soul says that the Now has two instants, the one prior and the other
posterior, then we say that this is time. What is determined through
the Now, we call time, and this is the fundamental principle. But when
we are sensible of the Now as one, and not as a prior and posterior in
motion, nor as the identity of an earlier or later, then there does
not appear to us to have been any time, because neither was there
any motion.” Tedium is thus ever the same. “Time is hence the number
of motion, according to priority and posteriority; it is not motion
itself, unless so far as motion has number. We judge of the more or
less through number, but of a greater or less motion by time. But we
call number that which can be numbered, as well as that with which
we number; but time is not the number with which we number, but that
which is numbered, and, like motion, always is changing. The Now is,
which is the unity of number, and it measures time. The whole of time
is the same, for the Now which was is the same” (universality as the
Now destroyed) “but in Being it is another. Time thus is through the
Now both continuous (συνεχής) and discrete (διῇρηται). It thereby
resembles the point, for that also is the continuity of the line and
its division, its principle and limit; but the Now is not an enduring
point. As continuity of time the Now connects the past and the future,
but it likewise divides time in capacity,” the Now is only divisibility
and the moments only ideal. “And in as far as it is such, it is always
another; but, in as far as it unites, it is ever one and the same.
Similarly, in as far as we divide the line, other and yet other points
always arise for thought; but in as far as it is one, there is only
one point. Thus the Now is both the division of time in capacity, and
the limit and union of both” _i.e._ of the prior and posterior. The
universally dividing point is only one as actual; but this actual is
not permanently one, but ever and again another, so that individuality
has universality, as its negativity, within it. “But division and
union are the same, and similarly related; however their Notion (τὸ
εἶναι)[95] is different.” In one and the same respect the absolute
opposite of what was posited is immediately set forth as existent; in
space, on the other hand, the moments are not set forth as existent,
but in it first appears this being and its motion and contradiction.
Thus the identity of the understanding is not a principle with
Aristotle, for identity and non-identity to him are one and the same.
Because the Now is only now, past and future are different from it,
but they are likewise necessarily connected in the Now, which is not
without before and after; thus they are in one, and the Now, as their
limit, is both their union and their division.

Aristotle (Phys. V. 1) then goes on to movement as realized in a thing,
to change (μεταβολή) or to the physical processes—while before we had
pure movement. “In movement there is first something which moves, also
something which is moved, and the time in which it is moved; besides
these, that from which, and that into which it is moved.” (Cf. _supra_,
p. 141.) “For all motion is from something and into something; but
there is a difference between that which is first moved and that into
which and from which it is moved, as, for instance, wood, warmth and
cold. The motion is in the wood and not in the form; for neither form
nor place, nor quantity moves or is moved, but” (in the order in which
they follow) “there is that which is moved and that which moves, and
that into which it is moved. That to which movement is made, more than
that out of which movement is made, is named change. Hence to pass
into non-being is also change, although what passes away is changed
from Being: and generation is a mutation into Being, even though it
is from non-being.” The remark is to be interpreted as meaning that
for the first time in real becoming motion, _i.e._ in change, the
relation _whereto_ enters, while the relation _wherefrom_ is that in
which change is still the mere ideal motion. Besides this first form of
difference between motion and change, Aristotle further gives another,
since he divides change into three: “into change from a subject (ἐξ
ὑποκειμένον) into a subject; or from a subject into a non-subject; or
from a non-subject into a subject.” The fourth, “from a non-subject
into a non-subject,” which may also appear in the general division, “is
no mutation, for it contains no opposition.” It may certainly be merely
thought or ideal, but Aristotle indicates the actual phenomenon. “The
mutation from a non-subject into a subject is generation (γένεσις);
that from a subject into a non-subject is corruption (φθορά); that
from a subject into a subject, is motion as such;” because that which
is transformed remains the same, there is no becoming-another of
the actual, but a merely formal becoming-another. This opposition of
the materialized motion as mutation, and of merely formal motion, is

In the sixth book Aristotle comes to the consideration of the dialectic
of this motion and change as advanced by Zeno, that is, to the endless
divisibility which we have already (Vol. I. pp. 266-277) considered.
Aristotle solves it through the universal. He says that they are the
contradiction of the universal turned against itself; the unity in
which its moments dissolve is not a nothing, so that motion and change
are nothing, but a negative universal, where the negative is itself
again posited as positive, and that is the essence of divisibility.

Of the further details into which Aristotle enters, I shall only give
the following. As against atoms and their motion, he remarks (Phys.
VI. 10) that the indivisible has no motion and mutation, which is the
direct opposite of the proposition of Zeno that only simple indivisible
Being and no motion exists. For as Zeno argues from the indivisibility
of atoms against motion, Aristotle argues from motion against atoms.
“Everything which moves or changes is in the first division of this
time partly here and partly there. The atom, as simple indivisible
Being, can, however, not have any part of it in both points in space,
because it then would be divisible. The indivisible could thus only
move if time consisted of the Now; this is, however, impossible, as we
proved before.” Because atoms thus neither have change in themselves,
nor can this come to them from without through impulse, &c., they are
really without truth.

The determination of the pure ideality of change is important.
Aristotle says of this (Phys. VII. 3), “That which is changed is alone
the sensuous and perceptible (αἰσθητόν); and forms and figures, as also
capacities, are not changed, they arise and disappear in a thing only,
without being themselves changed.” In other words: the content of
change is unchangeable; change as such belongs to mere form. “Virtues
or vices belong, for example, to habits acquired. Virtue is the
perfection (τελείωσις) in which something has reached the end of its
nature. Vice, however, is the corruption and non-attainment of this.
They are not changes, for they only arise and pass away while another
alters.” Or the difference becomes a difference of Being and non-being,
_i.e._ a merely sensuous difference.

From these conceptions Aristotle now comes nearer to the first real
or physical motion (Phys. VIII. 6, 8, 9; De C\nlo, I. 4): The first
principle of motion is itself unmoved. An endless motion in a straight
line is an empty creation of thought; for motion is necessarily an
effort after something. The absolute motion is the circular, because
it is without opposition. For because movement has to be considered
in regard to the starting-place and the end in view, in the straight
movement the directions from A to B and from B to A are opposed, but
in motion in a circle they are the same. The idea that heavenly bodies
would of themselves have moved in a straight line, but that they
accidentally came into the sphere of solar attraction, is an empty
reflection which is far from occurring to Aristotle.

Aristotle then shows (De C\nlo, II. I; I. 3) that “the whole heavens
neither arose nor can pass away, for they are one and eternal: they
neither have beginning nor end in eternal time, for they contain
infinite time shut up within them.” All the other ideas are sensuous
which try to speak of essential reality, and in them there always
is that present which they think they have excluded. For when they
assert a vacuum before the beginning of generation, this is the
quiescent, self-identical, _i.e._ the eternal matter, which is thus
already established before origination; they will not allow that
before origination nothing exists. But in fact a thing does not exist
before its origination, _i.e._ in movement there is something to move,
and where reality is, there is motion. They do not, however, bring
together that vacuum, the self-identical, the un-originated matter
and this nothing. “That which has this absolute circular movement is
neither heavy nor light; for the heavy is what moves downwards, and the
light what moves upwards.” In modern physics the heavenly bodies, on
the other hand, are endowed with weight, and seek to rush into the sun,
but cannot do so on account of another force. “It is indestructible
and ungenerated, without decrease or increase, without any change. It
is different from earth, fire, air and water; it is what the ancients
called ether, as the highest place, from its continuous course (ἀεὶ
θεῖν) in infinite time.” This ether thus appears to be eternal matter
which does not, however, take such a definite form, but which remains
as it is, just as the heavens do in our conception, although here the
juxtaposition begins ever to strike us more forcibly.

Aristotle (De C\nlo, III. 6) shows further that the elements do
not proceed from one body, but from one another; for in generation
they neither proceed from what is incorporeal, nor from what is
corporeal. In the first case they would have sprung from the vacuum,
for the vacuum is the immediate incorporeal; but in that case the
vacuum must have existed independently as that in which determinate
corporeality arose. But neither do the elements arise from a corporeal,
for else this body itself would be a corporeal element before the
elements. Thus it only remains that the elements must spring from one
another. Regarding this we must remark that Aristotle understands by
origination, actual origination—not the transition from the universal
to the individual, but the origination of one determinate corporeal,
not from its principle, but from the opposite as such. Aristotle does
not consider the universal as it contains the negative within it; else
the universal would be the absolute matter whose universality, as
negativity, is set forth, or is real.

From this point Aristotle comes (De C\nlo, IV. I-5) to a kind of
deduction of the elements, which is noteworthy. He shows that there
must be four of them, in the following way—because he starts from the
fundamental conceptions of weight and of lightness, or what we should
call attraction and centrifugal force. The corporeal, he says, in its
motion is neither light nor heavy, and, indeed, it is not only relative
but also absolute. The relatively light and heavy is what, while equal
in volume, descends more slowly or quickly. Absolute lightness goes
up to the extremity of the heavens, absolute weight down into the
middle. These extremes are fire and earth. Between these there are
mediums, other than they, which relate to one another like them; and
these are air and water, the one of which has weight, and the other
lightness, but only relatively. For water is suspended under everything
except earth, and air over everything except fire. “Hence,” Aristotle
concludes, “there now are these four matters, but they are four in such
a way that they have one in common; more particularly, because they
arise out of one another, but exist as different.” Yet it is not the
ether that Aristotle designates as this common matter. We must in this
regard remark that however little these first determinations may be
exhaustive, Aristotle is still far further on than the moderns, since
he had not the conception of elements which prevails at the present
time, according to which the element is made to subsist as simple.
But any such simple determination of Being is an abstraction and has
no reality, because such existence would be capable of no motion and
change; the element must itself have reality, and it thus is, as the
union of opposites, resolvable. Aristotle hence makes the elements, as
we have already seen with those who went before (Vol. I., pp. 181, 182;
290-293; 336), arise out of one another and pass into one another; and
this is entirely opposed to our Physics, which understands by elements
an indelible, self-identical simplicity only. Hence men are wonderfully
discerning in reproaching us for calling water, air, &c., elements!
Nor yet in the expression “neutrality” have the modern physicists been
able to grasp a universality conceived of as a unity, such as Aristotle
ascribes to the elements; in fact, however, the acid which unites with
a base is no longer, as is asserted, present within it as such. But
however removed Aristotle may be from understanding simplicity as an
abstraction, just as little does he recognize here the arid conception
of consisting of parts. Quite the contrary. He strives enough against
this, as, for instance, in relation to Anaxagoras (De C\nl. III. 4).

I shall further mention the moments of the real process in relation
to motion, in which Aristotle finally passes on (De gen. et corr.
II. 2-4) to the “principles of perceptible body”; we here see the
elements in process, as formerly in their restful determinateness.
Aristotle excludes the relations which concern sight, smell, &c.,
and brings forward the others as being those which are of sensible
weight or lightness. He gives as these fundamental principles—warmth
and cold, dryness and moisture; they are the sensible differences for
others, while weight and lightness are different for themselves. Now
in order to prepare for the transition of the elements into sensible
relations, Aristotle says: “Because there are those four principles,
and four things have properly six relations to one another, but the
opposite cannot here be connected (the moist cannot be connected
with the dry, or the warm with the cold), there are four connections
of these principles, warm and dry, warm and moist, cold and moist,
cold and dry. And these connections follow those first elements, so
that thus fire is warm and dry, air warm and moist (vapour), water
cold and moist, earth cold and dry.” From this Aristotle now makes
the reciprocal transformation of the elements into one another
comprehensible thus: Origination and decay proceed from the opposite
and into the opposite. All elements have a mutual opposite; each is
as non-being to the Being of the other, and one is thus distinguished
from the other as actuality and capacity. Now amongst these some have
an equal part in common; fire and water, for example, have warmth;
thus if in fire dryness were overcome by moisture, out of fire air
would arise. On the contrary, as regards those which have nothing in
common with one another, like earth, which is cold and dry, and air,
which is warm and moist, the transition goes more slowly forward. The
transition of all elements into one another, the whole process of
nature, is thus to Aristotle the constant rotation of their changes.
This is unsatisfactory, because neither are the individual elements
comprehended nor is the remainder rounded into a whole.

As a matter of fact, Aristotle now goes on, in meteorology, to
the consideration of the universal process of nature. But here we
have reached his limits. Here, in the natural process, the simple
determination as such—this system of progressive determination—ceases
to hold good, and its whole interest is lost. For it is in the
real process that these determinate conceptions always lose their
signification again and become their opposite, and in it also this
contingent succession is forced together and united. In determining
time and motion, we certainly saw Aristotle himself uniting opposite
determinations; but movement, in its true determination, must take
space and time back into itself; it must represent itself as being
the unity of these its real moments and in them; that is, as the
realization of this ideal. But still more must the following moments,
moisture, warmth, &c., themselves come back under the conception of
process. But the sensuous manifestation here begins to obtain the upper
hand; for the empirical has the nature of the isolated form, which is
to fall out of relation. The empirical manifestation thus outstrips
thought, which merely continues everywhere to stamp it as its own,
but which has no longer power to permeate the manifestation, since it
withdraws out of the sphere of the ideal, while it is still in the
region of time, space and movement.


As regards the other side from the Philosophy of Nature, the Philosophy
of Mind, we find that Aristotle has constituted in it also a separation
into special sciences, in a series of works which I shall name. In
the first place, his three books “On the Soul” deal partly with the
abstract universal nature of the soul, though mainly in an antagonistic
spirit; and even more, and in a fashion both profound and speculative,
they deal with the soul’s essential nature—not with its Being, but
with the determinate manner and potentiality of its energy; for
this is to Aristotle the Being and essence of the soul. Thus there
are several different treatises, viz.: On Sense-perception and the
Sensible, On Memory and Recollection, On Sleeping and Waking, On
Dreams, On Divination (μαντική) through Dreams, besides a treatise on
Physiognomy; there is no empirical point of view or phenomenon, either
in the natural or the spiritual world, that Aristotle has considered
beneath his notice. With respect to the practical side, he in like
manner devotes his attention to man in his capacity of householder, in
a work on economics (οἰκονομικά); then he takes into his consideration
the individual human being, in a moral treatise (ἠθικά), which is
partly an inquiry into the highest good or the absolute end, and
partly a dissertation on special virtues. The manner of treatment is
almost invariably speculative, and sound understanding is displayed
throughout. Finally, in his Politics, he gives a representation of the
true constitution of a state and the different kinds of constitution,
which he deals with from the empirical point of view; and in his
Politics an account is given of the most important states, of which we
are, however, told very little.


In Aristotle’s teaching on this subject we must not expect to find
so-called metaphysics of the soul. For metaphysical handling such as
this really pre-supposes the soul as a thing, and asks, for example,
what sort of a thing it is, whether it is simple, and so on. Aristotle
did not busy his concrete, speculative mind with abstract questions
such as these, but, as already remarked, he deals rather with the
manner of the soul’s activity; and though this appears in a general way
as a series of progressive determinations which are not necessarily
blended into a whole, each determination is yet apprehended in its own
sphere with as much correctness as depth.

Aristotle (De Anima, I. 1) makes in the first place the general remark
that it appears as if the soul must, on the one hand, be regarded
in its freedom as independent and as separable from the body, since
in thinking it is independent; and, on the other hand, since in the
emotions it appears to be united with the body and not separate, it
must also be looked on as being inseparable from it; for the emotions
show themselves as materialized Notions (λόγοι ἔνυλοι), as material
modes of what is spiritual. With this a twofold method of considering
the soul, also known to Aristotle, comes into play, namely the purely
rational or logical view, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the
physical or physiological; these we still see practised side by side.
According to the one view, anger, for instance, is looked on as an
eager desire for retaliation or the like; according to the other view
it is the surging upward of the heart-blood and the warm element in
man. The former is the rational, the latter the material view of anger;
just as one man may define a house as a shelter against wind, rain, and
other destructive agencies, while another defines it as consisting of
wood and stone; that is to say, the former gives the determination and
the form, or the purpose of the thing, while the latter specifies the
material it is made of, and its necessary conditions.

Aristotle characterizes the nature of the soul more closely (De Anima,
II. 1) by referring to the three moments of existence: “First there
is matter (ὕλη), which is in itself no individual thing; secondly,
the form and the universal (μορφὴ καὶ εἶδος), which give a thing
individuality; thirdly, the result produced by both, in which matter
is potentiality and form is energy (ἐντελέχεια);” matter thus does
not exist as matter, but only implicitly. “The soul is substance,
as being the form of the physical organic body which is possessed
potentially of life; but its substance is energy (ἐντελέχεια), the
energy of a body such as has been described” (endowed with life). “This
energy appears in twofold form: either as knowledge (ἐπιστήμη) or as
active observation (τὸ θεωρεῖν). But it is evident that here it is to
be regarded as the former of these. For the soul is present with us
both when we sleep and when we wake; waking corresponds with active
observation, and sleep with possession and passivity. But knowledge is
in origination prior to all else. The soul is thus the first energy of
a physical but organic body.” It is in respect of this that Aristotle
gives to the soul the definition of being the entelechy (_supra_, pp.
143, 144).

In the same chapter Aristotle comes to the question of the mutual
relation of body and soul. “For this reason” (because soul is form)
“we must no more ask if soul and body are one than we ask if wax and
its form are one, or, in general, if matter and its forms are one. For
though unity and Being are used in various senses. Being is essentially
energy.” Were we, namely, to pronounce body and soul one in the same
way that a house, which consists of a number of parts, or as a thing
and its properties, or the subject and predicate, and so on, are
called one, where both are regarded as things, materialism results.
An identity such as this is an altogether abstract, and therefore a
superficial and empty determination, and a term which it is a mistake
to employ, for form and material do not rank equally as regards Being;
identity truly worthy of the name is to be apprehended as nothing else
than energy such as has been described. The only question that now
arises is whether activity and the organ it employs are one; and our
idea is to answer in the affirmative. The more definite explanation of
this relation is to be found in the following; “The soul is substance,
but only according to the Notion (κατὰ τὸν λόγον); but that is the
substantial form (τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι)[96] for such and such a body. For
suppose that an instrument, such as an axe, were a natural body, this
form, this axehood, would be its substance, and this its form would be
its soul, for if this were to be taken away from it, it would no longer
be an axe, the name only would remain. But soul is not the substantial
form and Notion of such a body as an axe, but of a body which has
within itself the principle of movement and of rest.” The axe has not
the principle of its form in itself, it does not make itself an axe,
nor does its form, its Notion, in itself constitute its substance, as
its activity is not through itself. “If, for instance, the eye were
in itself a living thing, vision would be its soul, for vision is the
reality which expresses the Notion of the eye. But the eye, as such, is
only the material instrument of vision, for if vision were lost, the
eye would be an eye only in name, like an eye of stone or a painted
eye.” Thus to the question, What is the substance of the eye? Aristotle
answers: Are the nerves, humours, tissues, its substance? On the
contrary, sight itself is its substance, these material substances are
only an empty name. “As this is the case in the part, so it also holds
good of the body as a whole. The potentiality of life is not in any
such thing as has lost its soul, but in that which still possesses it.
The seed or the fruit is such and such a body potentially. Like hewing
and seeing,” in the axe and the eye, “waking” in general “is activity;
but the corporeal is only potentiality. But as the” living “eye is
both vision and the eyeball” (the two being connected as actuality and
potentiality), “so also are soul and body the living animal, the two
are not to be separated. But it is not yet clear whether the soul is
the activity of the body in the same way as the steersman is of the
ship.” That the active form is the true substance, while matter is so
only potentially, is a true speculative Notion.

As settling the question asked in the above-mentioned metaphor, we may
quote what Aristotle says later (De Anima, II. 4): “As the principle of
motion and as end (οὗ ἕνεκα), and as substance of living bodies, the
soul is the cause. For substance is to all objects the cause of their
existence, but life is the existence of the living, and its cause and
principle is the soul; and further, its energy is the existing Notion
of what has potential existence. The soul is cause also as end,” that
is, as self-determining universality, “for nature, like thought, acts
for the sake of an object, which object is its end, but in living
beings this is soul. All the parts of the body are thus the organs of
the soul, and hence exist for its sake.” In like manner Aristotle shows
that the soul is the cause of motion.

Aristotle (De Anima, II. 2, 3) further states that the soul is to
be determined in three ways, namely as nutrient or vegetable, as
sensitive, and as intelligent, corresponding with plant life, animal
life and human life. The nutrient soul, when it is alone, belongs to
plants; when it is at the same time capable of sense-perception, it is
the animal soul; and when at once nutrient, sensitive and intelligent,
it is the mind of man. Man has thus three natures united in himself; a
thought which is also expressed in modern Natural Philosophy by saying
that a man is also both an animal and a plant, and which is directed
against the division and separation of the differences in these
forms. That difference has also been revived in recent times in the
observation of the organic, and it is highly important to keep these
sides separate. The only question (and it is Aristotle who raises it)
is how far these, as parts, are separable. As to what concerns more
nearly the relation of the three souls, as they may be termed (though
they are incorrectly thus distinguished), Aristotle says of them, with
perfect truth, that we need look for no one soul in which all these are
found, and which in a definite and simple form is conformable with any
one of them. This is a profound observation, by means of which truly
speculative thought marks itself out from the thought which is merely
logical and formal. Similarly among figures only the triangle and the
other definite figures, like the square, the parallelogram, &c., are
truly anything; for what is common to them, the universal figure, is
an empty thing of thought, a mere abstraction. On the other hand,
the triangle is the first, the truly universal figure, which appears
also in the square, &c., as the figure which can be led back to the
simplest determination. Therefore, on the one hand, the triangle stands
alongside of the square, pentagon, &c., as a particular figure, but—and
this is Aristotle’s main contention—it is the truly universal figure.
In the same way the soul must not be sought for as an abstraction, for
in the animate being the nutritive and the sensitive soul are included
in the intelligent, but only as its object or its potentiality;
similarly, the nutritive soul, which constitutes the nature of plants,
is also present in the sensitive soul, but likewise only as being
implicit in it, or as the universal. Or the lower soul inheres only in
the higher, as a predicate in a subject: and this mere ideal is not
to be ranked very high, as is indeed the case in formal thought; that
which is for itself is, on the contrary, the never-ceasing return into
itself, to which actuality belongs. We can determine these expressions
even more particularly. For if we speak of soul and body, we term the
corporeal the objective and the soul the subjective; and the misfortune
of nature is just this, that it is objective, that is, it is the
Notion only implicitly, and not explicitly. In the natural there is,
no doubt, a certain activity, but again this whole sphere is only
the objective, the implicit element in one higher. As, moreover, the
implicit in its sphere appears as a reality for the development of the
Idea, it has two sides; the universal is already itself an actual, as,
for example, the vegetative soul. Aristotle’s meaning is therefore
this: an empty universal is that which does not itself exist, or is not
itself species. All that is universal is in fact real, as particular,
individual, existing for another. But that universal is real, in that
by itself, without further change, it constitutes its first species,
and when further developed it belongs, not to this, but to a higher
stage. These are the general determinations which are of the greatest
importance, and which, if developed, would lead to all true views of
the organic, &c., since they give a correct general representation of
the principle of realization.

α. The nutritive or vegetative soul is therefore, according to
Aristotle (De Anima, II. 4), to be conceived as the first, which
is energy, the general Notion of the soul itself, just as it is,
without further determination; or, as we should say, plant life is the
Notion of the organic. What Aristotle goes on to say of nourishment,
for instance, whether the like is nourished by the like, or by the
opposite, is of little importance. It may, however, be mentioned that
Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12) says of the vegetative soul that it is
related only to matter, and that only after a material manner, as when
we eat and drink, but that it cannot take up into itself the forms of
sensible things: we, too, ourselves in practical matters are related as
particular individuals to a material existence here and now, in which
our own material existence comes into activity.

β. There is more to interest us in Aristotle’s determination of
sense-perception (De Anima, II. 5), as to which I shall make some
further quotations. Sense-perception is in general a potentiality (we
should say a receptivity), but this potentiality is also activity;
it is therefore not to be conceived as mere passivity. Passivity and
activity pertain to one and the same, or passivity has two senses.
“On the one hand a passivity is the destruction of one state by its
opposite; on the other hand, it is a preservation of what is merely
potential by means of what is actual.” The one case occurs in the
acquisition of knowledge, which is a passivity in so far as a change
takes place from one condition (ἕξις) into an opposite condition;
but there is another passivity, in which something only potentially
posited is maintained, therefore knowledge is knowing in an active
sense (_supra_, p. 182). From this Aristotle concludes: “There is one
change which is privative; and another which acts on the nature and the
permanent energy (ἕξις). The first change in the subject of perception
(αἰσθητικοῦ) is caused by that which produces the perception; but,
once produced, the perception is possessed as knowledge (επιστήμη).”
Because that which produces the change is different from the result,
perception is passivity; but it is just as much spontaneity, “and
sense-perception, like knowledge (θεωρεῖν), has to do with this aspect
of activity. But the difference is, that what causes the perception is
external. The cause of this is that perceptive activity is directed
on the particular, while knowledge has as its object the universal;
but the universal is, to a certain extent, in the soul itself as
its substance. Everyone can therefore think when he will,” and for
this very reason thought is free, “but perception does not depend
on him, having the necessary condition that the object perceived be
present.” The influence from without, as a passivity, comes therefore
first; but there follows the activity of making this passive content
one’s own. This is doubtless the correct point from which to view
perception, whatever be the manner of further development preferred,
subjective idealism, or any other way. For it is a matter of perfect
indifference whether we find ourselves subjectively or objectively
determined; in both there is contained the moment of passivity, by
which the perception comes to pass. The monad of Leibnitz appears,
it is true, to be an idea opposed to this, since every monad, every
point of my finger, as atom or individual, is an entire universe, the
whole of which develops in itself without reference to other monads.
Here seems to be asserted the highest idealistic freedom, but it is
of no avail to imagine that all in me develops out of me; for we must
always recollect that what is thus developed in me is passive, and not
free. With this moment of passivity Aristotle does not fall short of
idealism; sensation is always in one aspect passive. That is, however,
a false idealism which thinks that the passivity and spontaneity of
the mind depend on whether the determination given is from within
or from without, as if there were freedom in sense-perception,
whereas it is itself a sphere of limitation. It is one thing when the
matter—whether it be sensation, light, colour, seeing or hearing—is
apprehended from the Idea, for it is then shown that it comes to pass
from the self-determination of the Idea. But it is different when,
in so far as I exist as an individual subject, the Idea exists in
me as this particular individual; there we have the standpoint of
finitude established, and therefore of passivity. Thus there need be
no standing on ceremony with sense-perception, nor can a system of
idealism be based on the theory that nothing comes to us from without:
as Fichte’s theory about himself was, that when he put on his coat, he
constituted it in part by drawing it on, or even by looking at it. The
individual element in sensation is the sphere of the individuality of
consciousness; it is present therein in the form of one thing as much
as of another, and its individuality consists in this fact, that other
things exist for it. Aristotle continues: “Speaking generally, the
difference is that potentiality is twofold; as we say a boy may become
a general, and a grown man may also become so,” for the latter has the
effective power. “This is the nature of the faculty of sense-perception
(αἰσθητικόν); it is in potentiality what the object of sense (αἰσθητόν)
is in actuality. Sense-perception is therefore passive, in so far as
it does not resemble its object, but after the impression has been
made it becomes similar to its object, and is identified with it.”
The reaction of sense-perception consists therefore in this active
receiving into itself of that which is perceived; but this is simply
activity in passivity, the spontaneity which abrogates the receptivity
in sense-perception. Sense-perception, as made like to itself, has,
while appearing to be brought to pass by means of an influence working
on it, brought to pass the identity of itself and its object. If
then subjective idealism declares that there are no external things,
that they are but a determination of our self, this must be admitted
in respect to pure sense-perception, since sense-perception is a
subjective existence or state in me, which yet, however, is not for
that reason freedom.

In speaking of sense-perception, Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12)
makes use of his celebrated simile, which has so often occasioned
misapprehension, because it has been understood quite incorrectly. His
words are: “Sense-perception is the receiving of sensible forms without
matter, as wax receives only the impress of the golden signet ring,
not the gold itself, but merely its form.” For the form is the object
as universal; and theoretically we are in the position, not of the
individual and sensuous, but of the universal. The case is different
with us in our practical relations, where the influence working upon us
pre-supposes in return the contact of the material, for which reason,
as Aristotle asserts, plants do not perceive (_supra_, p. 186). On
the other hand, in receiving form, the material is lost sight of; for
the receiving of form indicates no positive relation to the matter,
which is no longer something offering resistance. If, therefore,
sense-perceptions are termed in general sensuous impressions, we, in
matter-of-fact fashion, do not get beyond this crude way of putting
it; and in making the transition to soul, we take refuge behind
popular conceptions, which are partly ill-defined Notions, and partly
not Notions at all. Thus it is said that all sense-perceptions are
impressed on the soul by external things, just as the matter of the
signet ring works on the matter of the wax; and then we hear it alleged
that this is Aristotle’s philosophy. It is the same with most other
philosophers; if they give any sort of illustration that appeals to
the senses, everyone can understand it, and everyone takes the content
of the comparison in its full extent: as if all that is contained in
this sensuous relationship should also hold good of the spiritual. No
great importance is therefore to be attached to this conception, as it
is only an illustration, professing to show by a side comparison that
the passive element in sense-perception is in its passivity for pure
form only; this form alone is taken up into the percipient subject,
and finds a place in the soul. It does not, however, remain in the
same relation to it as that in which the form stands to the wax, nor
is it as in chemistry where one element is permeated by another as
regards its matter. The chief circumstance, therefore, and that which
constitutes the difference between this illustration and the condition
of the soul is altogether overlooked. That is to say, the wax does not,
indeed, take in the form, for the impression remains on it as external
figure and contour, without being a form of its real Being; if it were
to become such, it would cease to be wax; therefore, because in the
illustration there is lacking this reception of form into the Being,
no thought is given to it. The soul, on the contrary, assimilates this
form into its own substance, and for the very reason, that the soul is
in itself, to a certain extent, the sum of all that is perceived by
the senses (_infra_, p. 198): as it was said above (p. 183), if the
axe had its form in the determination of substance, this form would
be the soul of the axe. The illustration of the wax has reference to
nothing but the fact that only the form comes to the soul; and has
nothing to do with the form being external to the wax and remaining so,
or with the soul having, like wax, no independent form. The soul is by
no means said to be passive wax and to receive its determinations from
without; but Aristotle, as we shall soon see (p. 194), really says that
the spirit repels matter from itself, and maintains itself against it,
having relation only to form. In sense-perception the soul is certainly
passive, but the manner in which it receives is not like that of the
wax, being just as truly activity of the soul; for after the perceptive
faculty has received the impression, it abrogates the passivity, and
remains thenceforth free from it (_supra_, p. 187). The soul therefore
changes the form of the external body into its own, and is identical
with an abstract quality such as this, for the sole reason that it
itself is this universal form.

This description of sense-perception Aristotle explains more fully in
what follows (De Anima, III. 2), and expatiates upon this unity and
its contrasts, in the course of which explanation there appear many
clear and far-reaching glimpses into the Nature of consciousness. “The
bodily organ of each sense-perception receives the object perceived
without matter. Hence, when the object of sense is removed, the
perceptions and the images which represent them remain in the organs.
In the act of sense-perception the object perceived is no doubt
identical with the subject that perceives, but they do not exist[97]
as the same; for instance, sound and the hearing are the same when in
active exercise, but that which has hearing does not always hear, and
that which has sound is not always sounding. When that which is the
potentiality of hearing comes into exercise, and likewise that which is
the potentiality of sound, hearing and sound, being in full activity,
coincide,” they do not remain separate energies. “If then movement
and action, as well as passivity, have a place in the object on which
activity is exercised (ἐν τῷ ποιουμένῳ), it follows necessarily that
the energy of hearing and sound is contained in that which potentially
is hearing, for the energy of the active and moving is in the passive.
As therefore activity and passivity are manifested in the subject
which receives the effect, and not in the object which produces it
(ποιοῦντι), the energy both of the object and of the faculty of
sense-perception is in the faculty itself. For hearing and sounding
there are two words, for seeing only one; seeing is the activity of
the person who sees, but the activity of the colour is without name.
Since the energy of that which is perceived and that which perceives
is one energy, and the aspect they present is alone different, the
so-called sounding and hearing must cease simultaneously.” There is a
body which sounds and a subject which hears; they are twofold in the
aspect they present, but hearing, taken by itself, is intrinsically an
activity of both. In like manner, when I have by sense the perception
of redness and hardness, my perception is itself red and hard: that is,
I find myself determined in that way, even though reflection says that
outside of me there is a red, hard thing, and that it and my finger
are two; but they are also one, my eye is red and the thing. It is
upon this difference and this identity that everything depends; and
Aristotle demonstrates this in the most emphatic way, and holds firmly
to his point. The later distinction of subjective and objective is the
reflection of consciousness; sense-perception is simply the abrogation
of this separation, it is that form of identity which abstracts from
subjectivity and objectivity. What is simple, the soul proper or
the I, is in sense-perception unity in difference. “Further, every
sense-perception is in its organ, and distinguishes everything that is
perceived, like black and white, and so on. It is thus not possible for
separate perceptions, white and sweet, to be distinguished as separate
indifferent moments, for both must be present (δῆλα) to one subject.
This one subject must therefore determine one thing to be different
from another. This, as distinguished, can also not be in a different
place or time, for it must be undivided and in undivided time. But
it is impossible that one and the same thing should be affected by
contrary movements, in so far as it is undivided and in undivided time.
If sweetness affects sense-perception in one way, and bitterness in the
contrary way, and whiteness in yet another way, the power of judging is
numerically not discrete nor divisible, but according to the Notion (τῷ
εἶναι)[98] it is distinguished. That which is the same and indivisible
thus possesses in potentiality opposite qualities; but with its true
existence (τῷ εἶναι) that cannot be the case, for in its activity it
is separable, and cannot at the same time be both white and black.
Sense-perception and thinking are like that which some term a point,
which, in so far as it is one, is inseparable, and in so far as it is
two, is separable. So far as it is undivided, the judging faculty is
one and acts in a single point of time, but so far as it is divided”
(not one) “it employs the same sign twice simultaneously. So far as
it employs two, it by limitation distinguishes two, and separates
them as having separate origin; but so far as it is one, it judges by
one act in one single point of time” (_supra_, p. 172). For as the
point in time, which resembles the point in space, contains future and
past, and thus is something different and at the same time one and the
same, since it is in one and the same respect separation and union;
sense-perception is also one and at the same time separation, separated
and not separated, seeing that the faculty of perception has before
it in one unity the distinct sense-perception, which by this means
receives for the first time a determinate content. Another example is
that of number; one and two are different, and, at the same time, even
in two one is used and posited as one.

γ. From sense-perception Aristotle passes on to thought, and becomes
here really speculative. “Thinking,” he says (De Anima, III. 4) “is not
passive (ἀπαθές), but receptive of the form, and is in potentiality
similar to it. Therefore the understanding (νοῦς), because it thinks
all things, is free from all admixture (ἀμιγής), in order that it may
overcome (κρατῇ), as Anaxagoras says, that is, in order that it may
acquire knowledge; for, coming forth in its energy (παρεμφαινόμενον),
it holds back what is alien to it, and fortifies itself against it
(ἀντιφράττει). Therefore the nature of the understanding is none other
than this potentiality.” But potentiality itself is here not matter;
that is to say, the understanding has no matter, for potentiality
pertains to its very substance. For thinking is really the not
being implicit; and on account of its purity its reality is not the
being-for-another, but its potentiality is itself a being-for-self.
A thing is real because it is this determinate thing; the opposite
determination, its potentiality to be, for instance, smoke, ashes,
and so on, is not posited in it. In the corporeal, therefore, matter,
as potentiality, and external form, as reality, are opposed to one
another; but the soul is, in contrast with this, universal potentiality
itself, without matter, because its essence is energy. “Understanding,
then, in the soul, as that which possesses consciousness, is nothing in
reality before it thinks;” it is absolute activity, but exists only
when it is active. “It is therefore not incorporated with the body. For
what should it be like, warm or cold? Or should it be an organ? But it
is none of these. That it is, however, different from the faculty of
sense-perception is clear. For sense-perception cannot perceive after
a violent perception; for instance, it cannot smell nor see after
experiencing strong smells or colours. But the understanding, after
it has thought something which can only be thought with difficulty,
will not have more but less difficulty in thinking of something that
is easier. For there is no sense-perception independent of the body,
but the understanding is separable from it. When it has then become
something individual, like him who is really possessed of a faculty of
knowing (and this happens when he can energize through himself), it
then is also in a certain degree according to potentiality, but yet not
so in the same manner as it was before learning and finding.” (_Cf._
_supra_, pp. 182, 187.)

Thinking makes itself into passive understanding, that is, into what
is for it the objective; and thus it here becomes plain to what extent
the dictum _nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu_ expresses
Aristotle’s meaning. Aristotle, raising difficulties, goes on to ask,
“If reason is simple and unaffected by impressions, and has nothing
in common with other objects, how can it think, since thinking is
certainly a state of receptivity?” That is to say, in thinking there
is a reference to an object distinct from itself. “For it is when two
objects have something in common that the one appears to produce and
the other to receive an impression. There is a further difficulty,
whether understanding can itself be the object of thought. In that case
understanding would either be inherent in other things—unless it is the
object of thought in a different sense from that in which other things
are so, but there is only one sense in which things can be objects of
thought—or, on the other hand, it would have something compounded with
it, making it an object of thought as other things are. Now it has
been already said that passivity is so determined that understanding
is in potentiality all that thought is exercised on: but at the same
time it is in actuality nothing before the exercise of thought.” That
is to say, thought is implicitly the content of the object of what is
thought, and in coming into existence it only coincides with itself;
but the self-conscious understanding is not merely implicit, but
essentially explicit, since it is within itself all things. That is an
idealistic way of expressing it; and yet they say that Aristotle is an

The passivity of understanding has therefore here only the sense of
potentiality before actuality, and that is the great principle of
Aristotle; in regard to this he brings forward at the end of the same
chapter another much-decried illustration, which has been just as much
misunderstood as the preceding. “Reason is like a book upon whose
pages nothing is actually written;” that is, however, paper, but not
a book. All Aristotle’s thoughts are overlooked, and only external
illustrations such as this are comprehended. A book on which nothing
is written everyone can understand. And the technical term is the
well-known _tabula rasa_, which is to be found wherever Aristotle is
spoken of: Aristotle is said to have alleged that the mind is a blank
page, on which characters are first traced by external objects, so
that thinking thus comes to it from without.[99] But that is the very
opposite of what Aristotle says. Instead of the Notion being adhered
to, casual comparisons such as these have been caught up here and
there by the imagination, as if they expressed the matter itself.
But Aristotle did not in the least intend that the analogy should be
pushed to its furthest extent: the understanding is of a surety not a
thing, and has not the passivity of a writing-tablet; it is itself the
energy, which is not, as it would be in the case of a tablet, external
to it. The analogy is therefore confined to this, that the soul has a
content only in so far as actual thought is exercised. The soul is this
book unwritten on, and the meaning consequently is that the soul is all
things implicitly, but it is not in itself this totality; it is like
a book that contains all things potentially, but in reality contains
nothing before it is written on. Before real activity nothing truly
exists; or “Understanding itself can enter thought, like the objects
of thought in general. For in that which is without matter” (in mind),
“the thinker” (the subjective) “and the thought” (the objective) “are
the same; theoretical knowledge and that which comes to be known are
the same. In that which is material, thinking is only in potentiality,
so that understanding itself does not belong to it; for understanding
is a potentiality without matter, but the object of thought exists in
it,” while Nature contains the Idea only implicitly. It is plain from
this that the above illustration has been taken in quite a false sense,
utterly contrary to Aristotle’s meaning.

Until now we have spoken of the passive understanding, which is
the nature of the soul, but also in equal degree its faculty of
sense-perception and imagination. Aristotle now proceeds to distinguish
active understanding from this, as follows (De Anima, III. 5): “In
nature as a whole there is present in every species of things, on the
one hand, matter, which in potentiality is the whole of this species,
and, on the other hand, cause and energy, operative in all things, in
the same way that art is related to matter. It therefore necessarily
follows that in the soul also these different elements should be
present. The faculty of understanding is thus, in one view of it, the
capacity of becoming all things; but in another view it is the capacity
of creating all things, as is done by an efficient power (ἕξις),
light, for instance, which first causes the colours which exist in
potentiality to exist in reality. This understanding is absolute
(χωριστός), uncompounded, and not influenced from without, as it is
essentially activity. For the active is always more in honour than
the passive, and the principle more in honour than the matter that it
forms. Knowledge, when in active exercise, is identical with the thing
(πρᾶγμα) known; but what is in potentiality” (that is, external reason,
imagination, sense-perception) “is certainly prior in respect of time
in one and the same individual, but in the universal (ὅλως) it is not
even so in respect of time. Active understanding is not such that it
sometimes thinks and sometimes does not. When it is absolute, it is the
one and only existence; and this alone is eternal and immortal. We,
however, do not remember this process, because this understanding is
unaffected from without; but the passive understanding is transitory,
and without the former it is incapable of thought.”

The seventh and eighth chapters are expositions of the maxims contained
in the fourth and fifth; they begin with these maxims, and have the
appearance of being from the hand of a commentator. “The soul,” says
Aristotle (De Anima, III. 8), “is in a certain sense the whole of
existence. For existent objects are either perceived by the senses or
thought; but knowledge itself is in a manner the object of knowledge,
and perception the object of perception. What are known and perceived
are either the things themselves or their forms. Knowledge and
sense-perception are not the things themselves (the stone is not in the
soul), but their form; so that the soul is like the hand. As this is
the instrument by which we grasp instruments, so the understanding is
the form by which we apprehend forms, and sense-perception the form of
the objects cf sense.” Before this Aristotle had remarked (De Anima,
III. 4): “It has been truly said that the soul is the _place of ideas_
(τόπος εἰδῶν): not the whole soul, but only the thinking soul, and
these ideas do not exist in the soul actually, but only potentially.”
That is to say, the ideas are at first only quiescent forms, not
activities, and so Aristotle is not a realist. But the understanding
makes these forms, like those of external nature, its objects, its
thoughts, its potentiality, Aristotle therefore says in the seventh
chapter: “The understanding thinks the abstract (τὰ ἐν ἀφαιρέσει
λεγόμενα), just as it conceives snubnosedness not as snubnosedness
that cannot be separated from the flesh, but as hollowness.” Then in
the eighth chapter Aristotle goes on to say: “But as no object is
separated from its perceived dimensions, so in the forms perceived by
sense there are also objects of thought, both abstract conceptions
and the qualities (ἕξεις) and determinations of the objects of sense.
In this way he who perceives nothing by his senses learns nothing
and understands nothing; when he discerns anything (θεωρῇ), he must
necessarily discern it as a pictorial conception, for such conceptions
are like sense-perceptions, only without matter. In what way then
are our primary ideas distinguished, so as not to be mistaken for
conceptions? Or is it not the case also that other thoughts even
are not pictorial conceptions, but only that they are never found
unassociated with such conceptions?” Since what follows contains no
answer to the questions raised here at the very end, this would seem an
additional indication that these portions follow later.[100] Aristotle
concludes the seventh chapter with the words: “Speaking generally,
the understanding is the faculty which thinks things in their real
activity. Whether, however, it can think the absolute or not, unless
it be itself separated from the sensuous, we shall inquire later
(ὕστερον).” This “later” Buhle considers to have reference to the
“highest philosophy.”[101]

This identity of the subjective and objective, which is present
in the active understanding—while finite things and mental states
are respectively one separated from the other, because there the
understanding is only in potentiality—is the highest point which
speculation can reach: and in it Aristotle reverts to his metaphysical
principles (p. 147), where he termed self-thinking reason absolute
Thought, divine Understanding, or Mind in its absolute character. It
is only in appearance that thought is spoken of as on a level with
what is other than thought; this fashion of bringing what is different
into conjunction certainly appears in Aristotle. But what he says of
thought is explicitly and absolutely speculative, and is not on the
same level with anything else, such as sense-perception, which has only
potentiality for thought. This fact is moreover involved, that reason
is implicitly the true totality, but in that case thought is in truth
the activity which is independent and absolute existence; that is,
the thought of Thought, which is determined thus abstractly, but which
constitutes the nature of absolute mind explicitly. These are the main
points which are to be taken note of in Aristotle with regard to his
speculative ideas, which it is impossible for us, however, to treat in
greater detail.

We have now to pass on to what follows, which is a practical
philosophy, and in doing so we must first establish firmly the
conception of desire, which is really the turning round of thought into
its negative side, wherein it becomes practical. Aristotle (De Anima,
III. 7 and 6) says: “The object of knowledge and active knowledge are
one and the same; what is in potentiality is in the individual prior in
point of time, although not so in itself. For all that comes into being
originates from that which operates actively. The object perceived
by sense appears as that which causes the faculty of perception in
potentiality to become the faculty of perception in actuality, for the
latter is not receptive of influence, and does not undergo change. On
that account it has a different kind of movement from the ordinary, for
movement, as we have seen (p. 163) is the activity of an unaccomplished
end (ἐνέργεια ἀτελοῦς); pure activity (ἁπλῶς ἐνέργεια), on the
contrary, is that of the accomplished end (τοῦ τετελεσμένον).”—“The
simple thoughts of the soul are such that in regard to them there
can be no falsity; but that in which there is falsity or truth is a
combination of thoughts as constituting one conception; for example,
‘the diameter is incommensurate.’ Or if by mistake white has been
stated to be not white, not-white has been brought into connection with
it. All this process may, however, just as well be termed separation.
But that which makes everything one is reason, which in the form of its
thinking thinks the undivided in undivided time and with the undivided
action of the soul.”—“Sense-perception resembles simple assertion and
thought, but pleasant or unpleasant sense-perception has the relation
of affirmation or negation,” therefore of the positive and negative
determination of thought. “And to perceive the pleasant or unpleasant
is to employ the activity” (spontaneity) “of the middle state of
sense-perception upon good or evil, in so far as they are such. But
desire and aversion are the same in energy; it is only in manifestation
that they are different. To the reasoning soul pictorial conceptions
take the place of sense-perceptions, and when the mind affirms or
denies something to be good or bad, it desires or avoids its object.
It has the relation both of unity and limit. The understanding,” as
that which determines opposites, “recognizes the forms underlying
pictorial conceptions; and in the same manner as what is desirable in
them and what is to be avoided have been determined for it, so it also
is determined independently of actual sense-perceptions when it is in
mental conceptions. And when, in dealing with conception or thought,
as if seeing them, it compares the future with the present and passes
judgment accordingly, and determines what is pleasant or unpleasant in
this respect; it desires or seeks to avoid it, and in general it finds
itself in practical operation. But independently of action true and
false are of the same character as good or evil.”


From this the conception of will, or the practical element is shown to
us, and it has to be reckoned as still belonging to the Philosophy of
Mind. Aristotle has treated it in several works which we now possess.


We have three great ethical works: the Nicomachean Ethics (Ἠθικὰ
Νικομάχεια) in ten books, the Magna Moralia (Ἠθικὰ μεγάλα) in two
books, and the Eudemean Ethics (Ἠθικὰ Εὐδήμια) in seven books; the
last deals for the most part with particular virtues, while in the
first two general investigations on the principles are contained. Just
as the best that we even now possess in reference to psychology is what
we have obtained from Aristotle, so is it with his reflections on the
actual agent in volition, on freedom, and the further determinations of
imputation, intention, &c. We must simply give ourselves the trouble to
understand these, and to translate them into our own form of speech,
conception and thought; and this is certainly difficult. Aristotle
follows the same course here as in his Physics, determining one
after the other, in the most thorough and accurate fashion, the many
moments which appear in desire: the purpose, the decision, voluntary
or forced action, the act of ignorance, guilt, moral responsibility,
&c. I cannot enter upon this somewhat psychological presentation of
the subject.[102] I shall only make the following remarks on the
Aristotelian definitions.

Aristotle[103] defines the principle of morality or the highest good,
as happiness (εὐδαιμονία), which later on became a much disputed
expression. It is good generally, not as abstract idea, but in such
a way that the moment of realization is what actually answers to it.
Aristotle thus does not content himself with the Platonic idea of the
good, because it is only general; with him the question is taken in
its determinateness. Aristotle then says that the good is what has its
end in itself (τέλειον). If we tried to translate τέλειον by “perfect”
here, we should translate it badly; it is that which, as having its end
(τὸ τέλος) in itself, is not desired for the sake of anything else,
but for its own sake (_supra_, pp. 162, 201). Aristotle determines
happiness in this regard as the absolute end existing in and for
itself, and gives the following definition of it: It is “the energy
of the life that has its end in itself in accordance with absolute
virtue (ζωῆς τελείας ἐνέργεια κατ̓ ἀρετὴν).” He makes rational insight
an essential condition; all action arising from sensuous desires, or
from lack of freedom generally, indicates lack of insight; it is an
irrational action, or an action which does not proceed from thought as
such. But the absolute rational activity is alone knowledge, the action
which in itself satisfies itself, and this is hence divine happiness;
with the other virtues, on the contrary, only human happiness is
obtained, just as from a theoretic point of view feeling is finite as
compared with divine thought. Aristotle goes on to say much that is
good and beautiful about virtue and the good and happiness in general,
and states that happiness, as the good attainable by us, is not to be
found without virtue, &c.; in all of which there is no profound insight
from a speculative point of view.

In regard to the conception of virtue I should like to say something
more. From a practical point of view, Aristotle[104] first of all
distinguishes in soul a rational and an irrational side; in the latter
reason only exists potentially; under it come the feelings, passions
and affections. On the rational side understanding, wisdom, discretion,
knowledge, have their place; but they still do not constitute virtue,
which first subsists in the unity of the rational and the irrational
sides. When the inclinations are so related to virtue that they carry
out its dictates, this, according to Aristotle, is virtue. When the
perception is either bad or altogether lacking, but the heart is good,
goodwill may be there, but not virtue, because the principle—that is
reason—which is essential to virtue, is wanting. Aristotle thus places
virtue in knowledge, yet reason is not, as many believe, the principle
of virtue purely in itself, for it is rather the rational impulse
towards what is good; both desire and reason are thus necessary
moments in virtue. Hence it cannot be said of virtue that it is
misemployed, for it itself is the employer. Thus Aristotle, as we have
already seen (Vol. I. pp. 412-414), blames Socrates, because he places
virtue in perception alone. There must be an irrational impulse towards
what is good, but reason comes in addition as that which judges and
determines the impulse; yet when a beginning from virtue has been made,
it does not necessarily follow that the passions are in accordance,
since often enough they are quite the reverse. Thus in virtue, because
it has realization as its aim, and pertains to the individual, reason
is not the solitary principle; for inclination is the force that
impels, the particular, which as far as the practical side of the
individual subject is concerned, is what makes for realization. But
then the subject must, in this separation of his activity, bring
likewise his passions under the subjection of the universal, and this
unity, in which the rational is pre-eminent, is virtue. This is the
correct determination; on the one hand this definition is opposed to
these ideals of the utter subjection of the passions, by which men
are guided from their youth up, and, on the other, it is opposed to
the point of view that declares desires to be good in themselves.
Both these extreme views have been frequent in modern times, just as
sometimes we hear that the man who by nature is beauteous and noble, is
better than he who acts from duty; and then it is said that duty must
be performed as duty, without taking into account the particular point
of view as a moment of the whole.

Aristotle then passes through the particular virtues at great length.
Because the virtues, considered as the union of the desiring or
realizing with the rational, have an illogical moment within them,
Aristotle places[105] their principle on the side of feeling in
a mean, so that virtue is the mean between two extremes; _e.g._
liberality is the mean between avarice and prodigality; gentleness
between passion and passive endurance; bravery between rashness and
cowardice; friendship between egotism and self-effacement, &c. For the
good, and specially that good which has to do with the senses, which
would suffer if affected to an excessive degree (_supra_, p. 195), is
therefore a mean, just because the sensuous is an ingredient in it.
This does not appear to be a sufficient definition, and it is merely
a quantitative determination, just because it is not only the Notion
that determines, but the empirical side is also present. Virtue is not
absolutely determined in itself, but likewise has a material element,
the nature of which is capable of a more or a less. Thus if it has been
objected to Aristotle’s definition of virtue as a difference in degree,
that it is unsatisfactory and vague, we may say that this really is
involved in the nature of the thing. Virtue, and determinate virtue in
its entirety, enters into a sphere where that which is quantitative has
a place; thought here is no more as such at home with itself, and the
quantitative limit undetermined. The nature of particular virtues is
of such a kind, that they are capable of no more exact determination;
they can only be spoken of in general, and for them there is no further
determination than just this indefinite one.[106] But in our way of
looking at things, duty is something absolutely existent in itself, and
not a mean between existent extremes through which it is determined;
but this universal likewise results in being empty, or rather
undetermined, while that determinate content is a moment of being that
immediately involves us in conflicting duties. It is in practice that
man seeks a necessity in man as individual, and endeavours to express
it; but it is either formal, or as in particular virtues, a definite
content, which, in so being, falls a prey to empiricism.


We have still to speak of Aristotle’s Politics; he was conscious more
or less that the positive substance, the necessary organization and
realization of practical spirit, is the state, which is actualized
through subjective activity, so that this last finds in it its
determination and end. Aristotle hence also looks on political
philosophy as the sum total of practical philosophy, the end of the
state as general happiness. “All science and all capacity (δύναμις),”
he says (Magn. Mor. I. 1), “have an end, and this is the good: the
more excellent they are, the more excellent is their end; but the most
excellent capacity is the political, and hence its end is also the
good.” Of Ethics Aristotle recognizes that it indubitably also applies
to the individual, though its perfection is attained in the nation as
a whole. “Even if the highest good is the same for an individual and
for a whole state, it would yet surely be greater and more glorious
to win and maintain it for a state; to do this for an individual were
meritorious, but to do it for a nation and for whole states were more
noble and godlike still. Such is the object of practical science, and
this pertains in a measure to politics.”[107]

Aristotle indeed appreciates so highly the state, that he starts at
once (Polit. I. 2) by defining man as “a political animal, having
reason. Hence he alone has a knowledge of good and evil, of justice
and injustice, and not the beast,” for the beast does not think, and
yet in modern times men rest the distinction which exists in these
determinations on sensation, which beasts have equally with men.
There is also the sense of good and evil, &c., and Aristotle knows
this aspect as well (_supra_, p. 202); but that through which it is
not animal sensation merely, is thought. Hence rational perception
is also to Aristotle the essential condition of virtue, and thus the
harmony between the sensational point of view and that of reason is
an essential moment in his eudæmonism. After Aristotle so determines
man, he says: “The common intercourse of these, forms the family and
the state; in the understanding, however, that the state, in the order
of nature” (_i.e._ in its Notion, in regard to reason and truth, not
to time) “is prior to the family” (the natural relation, not the
rational) “and to the individual among us.” Aristotle does not place
the individual and his rights first, but recognizes the state as what
in its essence is higher than the individual and the family, for the
very reason that it constitutes their substantiality. “For the whole
must be prior to its parts. If, for example, you take away the whole
body, there is not a foot or hand remaining, excepting in name, and as
if anyone should call a hand of stone a hand; for a hand destroyed is
like a hand of stone.” If the man is dead, all the parts perish. “For
everything is defined according to its energy and inherent powers, so
that when these no longer remain such as they were, it cannot be said
that anything is the same excepting in name. The state is likewise
the essence of the individuals; the individual when separate from the
whole, is just as little complete in himself as any other organic part
separated from the whole.” This is directly antagonistic to the modern
principle in which the particular will of the individual, as absolute,
is made the starting-point; so that all men by giving their votes,
decide what is to be the law, and thereby a commonweal is brought into
existence. But with Aristotle, as with Plato, the state is the _prius_,
the substantial, the chief, for its end is the highest in respect
of the practical. “But whoever was incapable of this society, or so
complete in himself as not to want it, would be either a beast or a

From these few remarks it is clear that Aristotle could not have
had any thought of a so-called natural right (if a natural right be
wanted), that is, the idea of the abstract man outside of any actual
relation to others. For the rest, his Politics contain points of view
even now full of instruction for us, respecting the inward elements
of a state,[108] and a description of the various constitutions;[109]
the latter, however, has no longer the same interest, on account of
the different principle at the base of ancient and modern states. No
land was so rich as Greece, alike in the number of its constitutions,
and in the frequent changes from one to another of these in a single
state; but the Greeks were still unacquainted with the abstract right
of our modern states, that isolates the individual, allows of his
acting as such, and yet, as an invisible spirit, holds all its parts
together. This is done in such a way, however, that in no one is there
properly speaking either the consciousness of, or the activity for
the whole; but because the individual is really held to be a person,
and all his concern is the protection of his individuality, he works
for the whole without knowing how. It is a divided activity in which
each has only his part, just as in a factory no one makes a whole, but
only a part, and does not possess skill in other departments, because
only a few are employed in fitting the different parts together. It is
free nations alone that have the consciousness of and activity for the
whole; in modern times the individual is only free for himself as such,
and enjoys citizen freedom alone—in the sense of that of a _bourgeois_
and not of a _citoyen_. We do not possess two separate words to mark
this distinction. The freedom of citizens in this signification is
the dispensing with universality, the principle of isolation; but it
is a necessary moment unknown to ancient states. It is the perfect
independence of the points, and therefore the greater independence of
the whole, which constitutes the higher organic life. After the state
received this principle into itself, the higher freedom could come
forth. These other states are sports and products of nature which
depend upon chance and upon the caprice of the individual, but now, for
the first time, the inward subsistence and indestructible universality,
which is real and consolidated in its parts, is rendered possible.

Aristotle for the rest has not tried like Plato to describe such a
state, but in respect of the constitution he merely points out that the
best must rule. But this always takes place, let men do as they will,
and hence he has not so very much to do with determining the forms of
the constitution. By way of proving that the best must rule, Aristotle
says this: “The best would suffer injustice if rated on an equality
with the others inferior to them in virtue and political abilities, for
a notable man is like a god amongst men.” Here Alexander is no doubt
in Aristotle’s mind, as one who must rule as though he were a god, and
over whom no one, and not even law, could maintain its supremacy. “For
him there is no law, for he himself is law. Such a man could perhaps
be turned out of the state, but not subjected to control any more than
Jupiter. Nothing remains but, what is natural to all, quietly to submit
to such an one, and to let men like this be absolutely and perpetually
(ἀΐδιοι) kings in the states”[110] The Greek Democracy had then
entirely fallen into decay, so that Aristotle could no longer ascribe
to it any merit.


On the other side of the Philosophy of Mind, we have still Aristotle’s
science of abstract thought, a Logic, to consider. For hundreds and
thousands of years it was just as much honoured as it is despised now.
Aristotle has been regarded as the originator of Logic: his logical
works are the source of, and authority for the logical treatises of all
times; which last were, in great measure, only special developments
or deductions, and must have been dull, insipid, imperfect, and purely
formal. And even in quite recent times, Kant has said that since the
age of Aristotle, logic—like pure geometry since Euclid’s day—has
been a complete and perfect science which has kept its place even
down to the present day, without attaining to any further scientific
improvements or alteration. Although logic is here mentioned for the
first time, and in the whole of the history of Philosophy that is to
come no other can be mentioned (for no other has existed, unless we
count the negation of Scepticism), we cannot here speak more precisely
of its content, but merely find room for its general characterization.
The forms he gives to us come from Aristotle both in reference to the
Notion and to the judgment and conclusion. As in natural history,
animals, such as the unicorn, mammoth, beetle, mollusc, &c., are
considered, and their nature described, so Aristotle is, so to speak,
the describer of the nature of these spiritual forms of thought; but in
this inference of the one from the other, Aristotle has only presented
thought as defined in its finite application and aspect, and his logic
is thus a natural history of finite thought. Because it is a knowledge
and consciousness of the abstract activity of pure understanding, it is
not a knowledge of this and that concrete fact, being pure form. This
knowledge is in fact marvellous, and even more marvellous is the manner
in which it is constituted: this logic is hence a work which does the
greatest honour to the deep thought of its discoverer and to the power
of his abstraction. For the greatest cohesive power in thought is found
in separating it from what is material and thus securing it; and the
strength shows itself almost more, if thus secured when it, amalgamated
with matter, turns about in manifold ways and is seen to be capable
of numberless alterations and applications. Aristotle also considers,
in fact, not only the movement of thought, but likewise of thought
in ordinary conception. The Logic of Aristotle is contained in five
books, which are collected together under the name Ὀργανον.

_a._ The Categories (κατηγορίαι), of which the first work treats, are
the universal determinations, that which is predicated of existent
things (κατηγορεῖται): as well that which we call conceptions of the
understanding, as the simple realities of things. This may be called
an ontology, as pertaining to metaphysics; hence these determinations
also appear in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle (Categor. I.) now
says: “Things are termed homonyms (ὁμώνυμα) of which the name alone is
common, but which have a different substantial definition (λόγος τῆς
οὐσίας); thus a horse and the picture of a horse are both called an

Thus the Notion (λόγος) is opposed to the homonym; and since Aristotle
deduces herefrom τὰ λεγόμενα, of which the second chapter treats, it is
clear that this last expression indicates more than mere predication,
and is here to be taken as determinate Notions. “Determinate
conceptions are either enunciated after a complex (κατὰ συμπλοκήν)
or after an incomplex manner (ἄνευ συμπλοκῆς); the first as ‘a man
conquers,’ ‘the ox runs,’ and the other as ‘man,’ ‘ox,’ ‘to conquer,’
‘to run.’” In the first rank of this division Aristotle places τὰ ὄντα,
which are undoubtedly purely subjective relations of such as exist
_per se_, so that the relation is not in them but external to them.
Now although τὰ λεγόμενα and τὰ ὄντα are again distinguished from one
another, Aristotle yet again employs both λέγεται, and ἐστί of the
ὄντα, so that λέγεται is predicated of a species, in relation to its
particular; ἐστί is, on the contrary, employed of a universal, which
is not Idea but only simple. For Aristotle says, “There are predicates
(ὄντα) which can be assigned to a certain subject (καθ̓ ὑποκειμένον),
yet are in no subject, as ‘man’ is predicated of ‘some certain man,’
and yet he is no particular man. Others are in a subject (ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ
ἐστί) yet are not predicated of any subject (I mean by a thing being
in a subject, that it is in any thing not as a part, but as unable
to subsist without that in which it is), as ‘a grammatical art’ (τὶς
γραμματική) is in a subject, ‘the soul,’ but cannot be predicated
of any,’ or related as genus to a subject. Some are predicated of
a subject (λέγεται) and are in it; science is in the soul and is
predicated of the grammatical art. Some again are neither in, nor are
predicated of any subject, as ‘a certain man,’ the individual, the
one in number; but some of them can be in a subject like ‘a certain
grammatical art.’” Instead of subject we should do better to speak of
substratum, for it is that to which the Notion necessarily relates,
_i.e._ that which is neglected in abstraction, and thus the individual
opposed to the Notion. We can see that Aristotle has the difference of
the genus or universal and the individual present to his mind.

The first thing which Aristotle has indicated in the foregoing is thus
the genus, which is predicated of a man, but which is not in him, at
least not as a particular quality; the brave man, for example, is an
actual, but expressed as a universal conception. In formal logic and
its conceptions and definitions there is always present opposition
to an actual; and the logical actual is in itself something thought,
bravery thus being, for example, a pure form of abstraction. This logic
of the understanding seeks, however, in its three stages to imitate the
categories of the absolute. The conception or definition is a logical
actual, and thus in itself merely something thought, _i.e._ possible.
In the judgment this logic calls a conception A the actual subject
and connects with it another actual as the conception B; B is said to
be the conception and A to be dependent on it—but B is only the more
general conception. In the syllogism necessity is said to be simulated:
even in a judgment there is a synthesis of a conception and something
whose existence is assumed; in the syllogism it should bear the form
of necessity, because both the opposites are set forth in a third
as through the _medius terminus_ of reason, _e.g._ as was the case
with the mean of virtue (_supra_, p. 206). The major term expresses
logical being and the minor term logical potentiality, for Caius is a
mere potentiality for logic; the conclusion unites both. But it is to
reason that life first unfolds itself, for it is true reality. What
comes second in Aristotle is the universal, which is not the genus,
_i.e._ it is not in itself the unity of universal and particular—nor
is it absolute individuality and hence infinitude. This is the moment
or predicate in a subject certainly, but it is not absolutely in and
for itself. This relation is now expressed through οὐ λέγεται; for ὅ
λέγεται is that which, as universal in itself, is likewise infinite.
The third is the particular which is predicated: just as science in
itself is infinite and thus the genus, _e.g._ of the grammatical
art; but at the same time as universal, or as not individual, it is
the moment of a subject. The fourth indicated by Aristotle is what
is called immediate conception—the individual. The reservation that
something such as a definite grammatical art is also in a subject, has
no place here, for the definite grammatical art is not really in itself

Aristotle, himself,[111] makes the following remarks on this matter:
“When one thing is predicated (κατηγορεῖται) of another, as of a
subject, whatever things are said (λέγεται) of the predicate,” _i.e._
what is related to it as a universal, “may be also said of the
subject.” This is the ordinary conclusion; from this we see, since
this matter is so speedily despatched, that the real conclusion has
with Aristotle a much greater significance. “The different genera not
arranged under one another (μὴ ὑπ̓ ἄλλμλα τεταγμένα), such as ‘animal’
and ‘science,’ differ in their species (διαφοράς). For instance,
animals are divided into beasts, bird, fishes—but science has no such
distinction. In subordinate genera, however, there may be the same
distinctions; for the superior genera are predicated of the inferior,
so that as many distinctions as there are of the predicate, so many
will there be of the subject.”

After Aristotle had thus far spoken of what is enunciated respecting
that which is connected, or the complex, he now comes to “that which
is predicated without any connection,” or the incomplex; for as we
saw (p. 212) this was the division which he laid down in the second
chapter. That which is predicated without any connection he treats
of more fully as the categories proper, in what follows; yet the
work in which these categories are laid down is not to be regarded
as complete. Aristotle[112] takes ten of them; “Each conception
enunciated signifies either Substance (οὐσίαν), or Quality (ποιόν), or
Quantity (ποσόν),” matter, “or Relation (πρός τι), or Where (ποῦ), or
When (ποτέ), or Position (κεῖσθαι), or Possession (ἕχειν), or Action
(ποιεῖν), or Passion (πάσχειν). None of these is considered by itself
an affirmation (κατάφασις) or a negation (κατάφασις), _i.e._ none
is either true or false.” Aristotle adds to these predicables five
post predicaments, but he only ranges them all side by side.[113] The
categories of relation are the syntheses of quality and quantity, and
consequently they belonged to reason; but in as far as they are posited
as mere relation, they belong to the understanding and are forms of
finitude. Being, essence, takes the first place in them; next to it
is possibility, as accident or what is caused; the two are, however,
separated. In substance A is Being, B, potentiality; in the relation
of causality A and B are Being, but A is posited in B as being posited
in a postulation of A. A of substance is logical Being; it is its
essence opposed to its existence, and this existence is in logic mere
potentiality. In the category of causality the Being of A in B is a
mere Being of reflection; B is for itself another. But in reason A is
the Being of B as well as of A, and A is the whole Being of A as well
as of B.

Aristotle[114] goes on to speak of Substance; first Substance, “in
its strictest (κυριώτατα), first and chief sense” is to him the
individual, the fourth class of the divisions enunciated above (pp.
212-214). “Secondary substances are those in which as species (εἴδεσι)
these first are contained, that is to say, both these and the genera
of these species. Of the subject both name and definition (λόγος) of
all things predicated of a subject (τῶν καθ̓ ὑποκειμένον λεγομένον)—of
secondary substances—are predicated; for example of the particular
man, as subject, both the name and the definition of ‘man’ (living
being) are also predicated. But of things which are in a subject (ἐν
ὑποκειμένῳ ὄντος) it is impossible to predicate the definition of
the” subordinate “subjects, yet with some we predicate the name: the
definition of ‘whiteness’ thus is not of the body in which it is, but
only the name. All other things however,” besides Definition (λόγος)
and “in most cases name, are related to primary substances as subjects”
(the individual), “or are inherent in them. Thus without the primary
substances none of the rest could exist, for they are the basis
(ὑποκεῖσθαι) of all else. Of secondary substances, species is more
substance than genus; for it is nearer to the primary substance, and
genus is predicated of the species and not the other way.” For species
is here the subject, or what does not always require to be something
really determined as individual, but which also signifies that which
is generally speaking subordinate. “But the species are not more
substance one than another, just as in primary substances one is not
more substance than the other. Species and genera are likewise, before
the rest” (qualities or accidents) “to be called secondary substances:
the definition ‘man’ before the fact that he is ‘white’ or ‘runs.’”
Abstraction has thus two kinds of objects; ‘man’ and ‘learned’ are both
qualities of a certain individual; but the former only abstracts from
the individuality and leaves the totality, and is thus the elevation
of the individual into the rational, where nothing is lost but the
opposition of reflection. “What is true of substances is also true
of differences; for as synonyms (συνώνυμα) they have both name and
definition in common.”

_b._ The second treatise is on Interpretation (περὶ ἑρμηνείας); it is
the doctrine of judgments and propositions. Propositions exist where
affirmation and negation, falsehood and truth are enunciated;[115] they
do not relate to pure thought when reason itself thinks; they are not
universal but individual.

_c._ The Analytics come third, and there are two parts of them, the
Prior and the Posterior; they deal most fully with proof (ἀπόδειξις)
and the syllogisms of the understanding. “The syllogism is a reason
(λόγος) in which if one thing is maintained, another than what was
maintained follows of necessity.”[116] Aristotle’s logic has treated
the general theory of conclusions in the main very accurately, but
they do not by any means constitute the universal form of truth; in
his metaphysics, physics, psychology, &c., Aristotle has not formed
conclusions, but thought the Notion in and for itself.

_d._ The Topics (τοπικά) which treat of ‘places’ (τόποι) come fourth;
in them the points of view from which anything can be considered are
enumerated. Cicero and Giordano Bruno worked this out more fully.
Aristotle gives a large number of general points of view which can
be taken of an object, a proposition or a problem; each problem can
be directly reduced to these different points of view, that must
everywhere appear. Thus these ‘places’ are, so to speak, a system of
many aspects under which an object can be regarded in investigating it;
this constitutes a work which seems specially suitable and requisite
for the training of orators and for ordinary conversation, because the
knowledge of points of view at once places in our hands the possibility
of arriving at the various aspects of a subject, and embracing its
whole extent in accordance with these points of view (Vol. I. p. 358).
This, according to Aristotle, is the function of Dialectic, which he
calls an instrument for finding propositions and conclusions out of
probabilities.[117] Such ‘places’ are either of a general kind, such
as difference, similarity, opposition, relation, and comparison,[118]
or special in nature, such as ‘places’ which prove that something is
better or more to be desired, since in it we have the longer duration
of time, that which the one wise man or several would choose, the
genus as against the species, that which is desirable for itself;
also because it is present with the more honourable, because it is
end, what approximates to end, the more beautiful and praiseworthy,
&c.[119] Aristotle (Topic VIII. 2) says that we must make use of the
syllogism by preference, with the dialectician, but of induction with
the multitude. In the same way Aristotle separates[120] the dialectic
and demonstrative syllogisms from the rhetorical and every kind of
persuasion, but he counts induction as belonging to what is rhetorical.

_e._ The fifth treatise, finally, deals with the Sophistical Elenchi
(σοφιστικοὶ ἔλεγχοι), or ‘On Refutations,’ as in the unconscious
escape of thought in its categories to the material side of popular
conception, it arrives at constant contradiction with itself. The
sophistical elenchi betray the unconscious ordinary idea into these
contradictions, and make it conscious of them, in order to entrap and
puzzle it; they were mentioned by us in connection with Zeno, and the
Sophists sought them out, but it was the Megarics who were specially
strong in them. Aristotle goes through a number of such contradictions
by the way of solving them; in so doing he proceeds quietly and
carefully, and spares no pains, though they might have been made more
dramatic. We have before (Vol. I. pp. 456-459) found specimens of these
in treating of the Megarics, and we have seen how Aristotle solves such
contradictions through distinction and determination.

Of these five parts of the Aristotelian Organon, what is produced in
our ordinary systems of logic is, as a matter of fact, of the slightest
and most trivial description, consisting as it does mainly of what
is contained in the introduction of Porphyry. More particularly in
the first parts, in the Interpretation and in the Analytics, this
Aristotelian logic contains these representations of universal forms
of thought, such as are now dealt with in ordinary logic, and really
form the basis of what in modern times is known as logic. Aristotle has
rendered a never-ending service in having recognized and determined
the forms which thought assumes within us. For what interests us
is the concrete thought immersed as it is in externalities; these
forms constitute a net of eternal activity sunk within it, and the
operation of setting in their places those fine threads which are
drawn throughout everything, is a masterpiece of empiricism, and this
knowledge is absolutely valuable. Even contemplation, or a knowledge of
the numerous forms and modes assumed by this activity, is interesting
and important enough. For however dry and contentless the enumeration
of the different kinds of judgments and conclusions, and their numerous
limitations may appear to us to be, and though they may not seem to
serve their purpose of discovering the truth, at least no other
science in opposition to this one can be elevated into its place. For
instance, if it is held to be a worthy endeavour to gain a knowledge
of the infinite number of animals, such as one hundred and sixty-seven
kinds of cuckoo, in which one may have the tuft on his head differently
shaped from another, or to make acquaintance with some miserable new
species of a miserable kind of moss which is no better than a scab, or
with an insect, vermin, bug, &c., in some learned work on entomology,
it is much more important to be acquainted with the manifold kinds of
movement present in thought, than to know about such creatures. The
best of what is stated respecting the forms of judgment, conclusion,
&c., in ordinary logic, is taken from the works of Aristotle; as far as
details are concerned, much has been spun out and added to it, but the
truth is to be found with Aristotle.

As regards the real philosophic nature of the Aristotelian logic, it
has received in our text-books a position and significance as though
it gave expression only to the activity of the understanding as
consciousness; hence it is said to direct us how to think correctly.
Thus it appears as though the movement of thought were something
independent, unaffected by the object of thought; in other words, as
if it contained the so-called laws of thought of our understanding,
through which we attain to perception, but through a medium which was
not the movement of things themselves. The result must certainly be
truth, so that things are constituted as we bring them forth according
to the laws of thought; but the manner of this knowledge has merely
a subjective significance, and the judgment and conclusion are not a
judgment and conclusion of things themselves. Now if, according to
this point of view, thought is considered on its own account, it does
not make its appearance implicitly as knowledge, nor is it without
content in and for itself; for it is a formal activity which certainly
is exercised, but whose content is one given to it. Thought in this
sense becomes something subjective; these judgments and conclusions
are in and for themselves quite true, or rather correct—this no one
ever doubted; but because content is lacking to them, these judgments
and conclusions do not suffice for the knowledge of the truth. Thus by
logicians they are held to be forms whose content is something entirely
different, because they have not even the form of the content; and the
meaning which is given to them—namely that they are forms—is found
fault with. The worst thing said of them, however, is that their only
error is their being formal; both the laws of thought as such, and
also its determinations, the categories, are either determinations of
the judgment only, or merely subjective forms of the understanding,
while the thing-in-itself is very different. But in that point of
view and in the blame awarded the truth itself is missed, for untruth
is the form of opposition between subject and object, and the lack
of unity in them; in this case the question is not put at all as to
whether anything is absolutely true or not. These determinations
have certainly no empirical content, but thought and its movement
is itself the content—and, indeed, as interesting a content as any
other that can be given; consequently this science of thought is on
its own account a true science. But here again we come across the
drawback pertaining to the whole Aristotelian manner, as also to all
succeeding logic—and that indeed in the highest degree—that in thought
and in the movement of thought as such, the individual moments fall
asunder; there are a number of kinds of judgment and conclusion, each
of which is held to be independent, and is supposed to have absolute
truth as such. Thus they are simply content, for they then have an
indifferent, undistinguished existence, such as we see in the famous
laws of contradiction, conclusions, &c. In this isolation they have,
however, no truth; for their totality alone is the truth of thought,
because this totality is at once subjective and objective. Thus they
are only the material of truth, the formless content; their deficiency
is hence not that they are only forms but rather that form is lacking
to them, and that they are in too great a degree content. Thus as many
individual qualities of a thing are not anything, such as red, hard,
&c., if taken by themselves, but only in their unity constitute a real
thing, so it is with the unity of the forms of judgment and conclusion,
which individually have as little truth as such a quality, or as a
rhythm or melody. The form of a conclusion, as also its content, may
be quite correct, and yet the conclusion arrived at may be untrue,
because this form as such has no truth of its own; but from this
point of view these forms have never been considered, and the scorn
of logic rests simply on the false assumption that there is a lack of
content. Now this content is none other than the speculative Idea.
Conceptions of the understanding or of reason constitute the essence
of things, not certainly for that point of view, but in truth; and
thus also for Aristotle the conceptions of the understanding, namely
the categories, constitute the essential realities of Being. If they
are thus in and for themselves true, they themselves are their own,
and thus the highest content. But in ordinary logic this is not the
case, and even as these are represented in the Aristotelian works
they are only universal thought-determinations, between which the
abstract understanding makes distinctions. This, however, is not the
logic of speculative thought, _i.e._ of reason as distinguished from
understanding; for there the identity of the understanding which
allows nothing to contradict itself is fundamental. However little
this logic of the finite may be speculative in nature, yet we must
make ourselves acquainted with it, for it is everywhere discovered in
finite relationships. There are many sciences, subjects of knowledge,
&c., that know and apply no other forms of thought than these forms of
finite thought, which constitute in fact the general method of dealing
with the finite sciences. Mathematics, for instance, is a constant
series of syllogisms; jurisprudence is the bringing of the particular
under the general, the uniting together of both these sides. Within
these relationships of finite determinations the syllogism has now,
indeed, on account of its terms being three in number, been called the
totality of these determinations, and hence by Kant (Kritik der reinen
Vernunft, p. 261) also the rational conclusion; but this syllogism
addressed to the intelligence as it appears in the ordinary logical
form, is only the intelligible form of rationality, and, as we saw
above (p. 76), is very different from the rational syllogism proper.
Aristotle is thus the originator of the logic of the understanding; its
forms only concern the relationship of finite to finite, and in them
the truth cannot be grasped. But it must be remarked that Aristotle’s
philosophy is not by any means founded on this relationship of the
understanding; thus it must not be thought that it is in accordance
with these syllogisms that Aristotle has thought. If Aristotle did so,
he would not be the speculative philosopher that we have recognized him
to be; none of his propositions could have been laid down, and he could
not have made any step forward, if he had kept to the forms of this
ordinary logic.

Like the whole of Aristotle’s philosophy, his logic really requires
recasting, so that all his determinations should be brought into a
necessary systematic whole—not a systematic whole which is correctly
divided into its parts, and in which no part is forgotten, all being
set forth in their proper order, but one in which there is one living
organic whole, in which each part is held to be a part, and the whole
alone as such is true. Aristotle, in the Politics, for instance
(_supra_, pp. 207-208), often gives expression to this truth. For
this reason the individual logical form has in itself no truth, not
because it is the form of thought, but because it is determinate
thought, individual form, and to be esteemed as such. But as system
and absolute form ruling this content, thought has its content as a
distinction in itself, being speculative philosophy in which subject
and object are immediately identical, and the Notion and the universal
are the realities of things. Just as duty certainly expresses the
absolute, but, as determinate, a determinate absolute which is only
a moment and must be able again to abrogate its determination, the
logical form which abrogates itself as this determinate in this very
way gives up its claim to be in and for itself. But in this case logic
is the science of reason, speculative philosophy of the pure Idea
of absolute existence, which is not entangled in the opposition of
subject and object, but remains an opposition in thought itself. Yet we
certainly may allow that much in logic is an indifferent form.

At this point we would leave off as far as the Aristotelian philosophy
is concerned, and from this it is difficult to break away. For the
further we go into its details, the more interesting it becomes, and
the more do we find the connection which exists among the subjects.
The fulness with which I have set forth the principal content of the
Aristotelian philosophy is justified both by the importance of the
matter itself, because it offers to us a content of its own, and also
by the circumstances already mentioned (p. 118), that against no
philosophy have modern times sinned so much as against this, and none
of the ancient philosophers have so much need of being defended as

One of the immediate followers of Aristotle was Theophrastus,
born Ol 102, 2 (371 B.C.); though a man of distinction, he can
still only be esteemed a commentator on Aristotle. For Aristotle
is so rich a treasure-house of philosophic conceptions, that much
material is found in him which is ready for further working upon,
which may be put forward more abstractly, and in which individual
propositions may be brought into prominence. However Aristotle’s
manner of procedure, which is to take an empirical starting point of
ratiocination [Raisonnement], and to comprehend this in the focus of
the speculative Notion, is characteristic of his mind, without being
one which, on its own account, can be freely elevated into a method
and a principle. Thus of Theophrastus as of many others (Dicæarchus
of Messina, for instance), amongst whom Strato of Lampsacus, the
successor of Theophrastus, is best known, there is not much to tell.
As regards Dicæarchus, Cicero says, (Tusc. Quæst. I. 31, 10) that he
controverted the immortality of the soul, for he asserted that “the
soul is no more than an empty name, and the whole of the capacities
and powers with which we act and feel are equally extended over all
living bodies, and inseparable from the body; for it is nothing
but the body so constituted as to live and feel through a certain
symmetry and proportion in its body.” Cicero gives in an historical
manner a result as he made it comprehensible to himself, without any
speculative conception. Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 796), on the other
hand, quotes from Dicæarchus that he held the soul to be “a harmony of
the four elements.” We have only a little general information to give
of Strato, that he acquired great fame as a physicist, and that his
conception of nature went upon mechanical lines, and yet not on those
of Leucippus and Democritus, and later, of Epicurus; for, according to
Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 298), he made warmth and cold into elements.
Hence, if what is said of him is accurate, he was most unfaithful to
the beliefs of Aristotle, because he led everything back to mechanism
and chance and did away with the immanent end, without accepting the
false teleology of modern times. At least, Cicero (De nat. Deor. I. 13)
relates of him that he maintained that “divine strength lies altogether
in nature, which has in itself the causes of origination, of growth,
and of decay, but lacks all sensation and conformation.” The other
Peripatetics occupied themselves more with working up individual
doctrines of Aristotle, with bringing out his works in a commentated
form, which is more or less rhetorical in character, though similar
in content. But in practical life the Peripatetic school maintained
as the principle of happiness, the unity of reason and inclination.
We thus may set aside any further expansion of the Peripatetic
philosophy, because it has no longer the same interest, and later on
tended to become a popular philosophy (Vol. I. p. 479, Vol. II. p.
130); in this mode it no longer remained an Aristotelian philosophy,
although this, too, as what is really speculative, must coincide most
closely with actuality. This decay of the Aristotelian philosophy is,
indeed, closely connected with the circumstance already mentioned (pp.
126-128), that the Aristotelian writings soon disappeared, and that the
Aristotelian philosophy did not retain its place so much through these
documents as through the traditions in the school, whereby they soon
underwent material changes; and amplifications of Aristotle’s doctrines
were brought about, as to which it is not known whether some may not
have slipped into what pass for his works.

Since Aristotle’s leading thought has penetrated all spheres of
consciousness, and this isolation in the determination through the
Notion, because it is likewise necessary, contains in every sphere
the profoundest of true thoughts, Aristotle, to anticipate here the
external history of his philosophy as a whole, for many centuries
was the constant mainstay of the cultivation of thought. When in the
Christian West science disappeared amongst the Christians, the fame
of Aristotle shone forth with equal brilliance amongst the Arabians,
from whom, in later times, his philosophy was again passed over to the
West. The triumph which was celebrated upon the revival of learning,
on account of the Aristotelian philosophy having been expelled from
the schools, from the sciences, and specially from theology, as from
the philosophy which deals with absolute existence, must be regarded
in two different aspects. In the first place we must remember that
it was not the Aristotelian philosophy which was expelled, so much
as the principle of the science of theology which supported itself
thereon, according to which the first truth is one which is given and
revealed—an hypothesis which is once for all a fundamental one, and by
which reason and thought have the right and power to move to and fro
only superficially. In this form the thought which was awakened in the
Middle Ages reconstructed its theology more especially, entered into
all dialectic movements and determinations, and erected an edifice
where the material that was given was only superficially worked up,
disposed and secured. The triumph over this system was thus a triumph
over that principle, and consequently the triumph of free, spontaneous
thought. But another side of this triumph is the triumph of the
commonplace point of view that broke free from the Notion and shook off
the yoke of thought. Formerly, and even nowadays, enough has been heard
of Aristotle’s scholastic subtleties; in using this name, men thought
that they had a right to spare themselves from entering on abstraction,
and, in place of the Notion, they thought that it justified them
in seeing, hearing, and thus making their escape to what is called
healthy human understanding. In science, too, in place of subtle
thoughts, subtle sight has commenced; a beetle or a species of bird is
distinguished with as great minuteness as were formerly conceptions and
thoughts. Such subtleties as whether a species of bird is red or green
in colour, or has a more or less perfect tail, are found more easy than
the differences in thought; and in the meantime, until a people has
educated itself up to the labour of thought, in order to be able thus
to support the universal, the former is a useful preparation, or rather
it is a moment in this course of culture.

But inasmuch as the deficiency in the Aristotelian philosophy rests in
the fact, that after the manifold of phenomena was through it raised
into the Notion, though this last again fell asunder into a succession
of determinate Notions, the unity of the absolute Notion which unites
them was not emphasized, and this is what succeeding time had to
accomplish. What now appears is that the unity of the Notion which is
absolute existence, makes its appearance as necessity, and it presents
itself first as the unity of self-consciousness and consciousness, as
pure thought. The unity of existence as existence is objective unity,
thought, as that which is thought. But unity, as Notion, the implicitly
universal negative unity, time as absolutely fulfilled time, and in its
fulfilment as being unity, is pure self-consciousness. Hence we see it
come to pass, that pure self-consciousness makes itself reality, but,
at the same time, it first of all does so with subjective significance
as a self-consciousness that has taken up its position as such, and
that separates itself from objective existence, and hence is first of
all subject to a difference which it does not overcome.

Here we have concluded the first division of Greek philosophy, and
we have now to pass to the second period. The first period of Greek
philosophy extended to Aristotle, to the attainment of a scientific
form in which knowledge has reached the standing of free thought. Thus
in Plato and Aristotle the result was the Idea; yet we saw in Plato
the universal made the principle in a somewhat abstract way as the
unmoved Idea; in Aristotle, on the other hand, thought in activity
became absolutely concrete as the thought which thinks itself. The next
essential, one which now is immediately before us, must be contained in
that into which Philosophy under Plato and Aristotle had formed itself.
This necessity is none other than the fact that the universal must now
be proclaimed free for itself as the universality of the principle, so
that the particular may be recognized through this universal; or the
necessity of a systematic philosophy immediately enters in, what we
formerly called one in accordance with the unity of the Notion. We
may speak of the Platonic and Aristotelian systems, but they are not
in the form of a system; for that it is requisite that one principle
should be maintained and consistently carried through the particular.
In the perfect complex of the conception of the universe as it is
to Aristotle, where everything is in the highest form of scientific
knowledge led back to what is speculative, however empiric may be his
manner of setting to work, there certainly is one principle brought
forward, and that a speculative one, though it is not brought forward
as being one. The nature of the speculative has not been explicitly
brought to consciousness as the Notion—as containing in itself the
development of the manifold nature of the natural and spiritual
universe, consequently it is not set forth as the universal, from which
the particular was developed. Aristotle’s logic is really the opposite
of this. He in great measure passes through a series of the living
and the dead, makes them confront his objective, that is, conceiving
thought, and grasps them in his understanding; each object is on its
own account a conception which is laid open in its determinations,
and yet he also brings these reflections together, and thereby is
speculative. If even Plato on the whole proceeded in an empiric way,
taking up this and that idea, each of which is in turn examined, with
Aristotle this loose method of procedure appears still more clearly. In
the Aristotelian teaching the Idea of the self-reflecting thought is
thus grasped as the highest truth; but its realization, the knowledge
of the natural and spiritual universe, constitutes outside of that
Idea a long series of particular conceptions, which are external
to one another, and in which a unifying principle, led through the
particular, is wanting. The highest Idea with Aristotle consequently
once more stands only as a particular in its own place and without
being the principle of his whole philosophy. Hence the next necessity
in Philosophy is that the whole extent of what is known must appear as
one organization of the Notion; that in this way the manifold reality
may be related to that Idea as the universal, and thereby determined.
This is the standpoint which we find in this second period.

A systematic philosophy such as this becomes in the first place
dogmatism, in antagonism to which, because of its one-sided character,
scepticism immediately arises. In the same way the French call
what is dogmatic _systématique_, and _système_ that in which all
the conceptions must consistently proceed from one determination;
hence to them _systématique_ is synonymous with one-sided. But the
philosophies that ensue are one-sided, because in them it was only the
necessity of one principle that was recognized, without their meanwhile
developing from themselves, as might well have come to pass in and
for itself, the Idea as the real universal, and thus comprehending
the world in such a way that the content is only grasped as the
determination of the self-reflective thought. Hence this principle
stands up formally and abstractly, and the particular is not yet
deduced from it, for the universal is only applied to the particular
and the rules for this application sought out. In Aristotle the Idea
is at least implicitly concrete, as the consciousness of the unity of
subjective and objective, and therefore it is not one-sided. Should
the Idea be truly concrete, the particular must be developed from
it. The other relation would be the mere bringing of the particular
under the universal, so that both should be mutually distinguished;
in such a case the universal is only a formal principle, and such a
philosophy is therefore one-sided. But the true difficulty is that the
two endeavours, the development of the particular from the Idea, and
the bringing of the particular under the universal, collide with one
another. The manifestations of the physical and spiritual world must
first, from their respective sides, be prepared for and worked into the
Notion, so that the other sciences can form therefrom universal laws
and principles. Then for the first time can speculative reason present
itself in determinate thoughts, and bring perfectly to consciousness
the inwardly existing connection between them. As dogmatic, however,
those philosophies, it may be further said, are assertive likewise,
because in such a method the principle is only asserted and is not
truly proved. For a principle is demanded under which everything is
subsumed; thus it is only pre-supposed as the first principle. Before
this we have had abstract principles such as pure Being, but here the
particular, with which begins the distinction from what is different,
became posited as the purely negative. That necessity, on the other
hand, makes for a universal which must likewise be in the particular,
so that this should not be set aside, but should have its determinate
character through the universal.

This demand for a universal, even though still unproved principle,
is henceforth present to knowledge. What answers to this demand
now appears in the world through the inward necessity of mind—not
externally, but as being in conformity with the Notion. This necessity
has produced the philosophy of the Stoics, Epicureans, New Academy, and
Sceptics, which we have now to consider. If we have remained too long
in the consideration of this period, we may now make amends for this
protraction, for in the next period we may be brief.



IN this second period, which precedes the Alexandrian philosophy, we
have to consider Dogmatism and Scepticism—the Dogmatism which separates
itself into the two philosophies, the Stoic and the Epicurean; and the
third philosophy, of which both partake and which yet differs from them
both, Scepticism. Along with this last we would take the New Academy,
which has entirely merged in it—while in the Older Academy, Plato’s
philosophy indubitably still maintained its purity. We saw at the
close of the previous period the consciousness of the Idea, or of the
Universal, which is an end in itself—a principle, universal indeed,
but at the same time determined in itself, which is thus capable of
subsuming the particular, and of being applied thereto. The application
of universal to particular is here the relationship that prevails, for
the reflection that from the universal itself the separation of the
totality is developed, is not yet present. There always is in such a
relationship the necessity of a system and of systematization; that
is to say, one determinate principle must consistently be applied to
the particular, so that the truth of all that is particular should be
determined according to this abstract principle, and be at the same
time likewise recognized. Now since this is what we have in so-called
Dogmatism, it is a philosophizing of the understanding, in which
Plato’s and Aristotle’s speculative greatness is no longer present.

In respect of this relationship, the task of Philosophy now comes to
be summed up in the twofold question which we spoke of earlier (Vol.
I. pp. 474, 475), and which has regard to a criterion of truth and to
the wise man. At this point we may better than before, and also from a
different point of view, explain the necessity for this phenomenon. For
because truth has now become conceived as the harmony of thought and
reality, or rather as the identity of the Notion, as the subjective,
with the objective, the first question is what the universal principle
for judging and determining this harmony is; but a principle through
which the true is judged (κρίνεται) to be true, is simply the
criterion. Yet because this question had only been formally and
dogmatically answered, the dialectic of Scepticism, or the knowledge of
the one-sidedness of this principle as a dogmatic principle, at once
appeared. A further result of this mode of philosophizing is that the
principle, as formal, is subjective, and consequently it has taken the
real significance of the subjectivity of self-consciousness. Because
of the external manner in which the manifold is received, the highest
point, that in which thought finds itself in its most determinate
form, is self-consciousness. The pure relation of self-consciousness
to itself is thus the principle in all these philosophies, since in it
alone does the Idea find satisfaction, just as the formalism of the
understanding of the present so-called philosophizing seeks to find its
fulfilment, the concrete which is opposed to this formalism, in the
subjective heart, in the inward feelings and beliefs. Nature and the
political world are certainly also concrete, but externally concrete;
the arbitrary concrete is, on the other hand, not in the determinate
universal Idea, but only in self-consciousness and as being personal.
The second ruling determination is consequently that of the wise men.
Not reason alone, but everything must be something thought, that is,
subjectively speaking, my thought; that which is thought, on the
contrary, is only implicit, that is to say, it is itself objective
in so far as it appears in the form of the formal identity of thought
with itself. The thought of the criterion as of the one principle
is, in its immediate actuality, the subject itself; thought and the
thinker are thus immediately connected. Because the principle of this
philosophy is not objective but dogmatic, and rests on the impulse of
self-consciousness towards self-satisfaction, it is the subject whose
interests are to be considered. The subject seeks on its own account a
principle for its freedom, namely, immovability in itself; it must be
conformable to the criterion, _i.e._ to this quite universal principle,
in order to be able to raise itself into this abstract independence.
Self-consciousness lives in the solitude of its thought, and finds
therein its satisfaction. These are the fundamental determinations in
the following philosophies: the exposition of their main principles
will come next, but to go into details is not advisable.

Although, as no doubt is the case, these philosophies, as regards
their origin, pertain to Greece, and their great teachers were
always Greeks, they were yet transferred to the Roman world; thus
Philosophy passed into the Roman world and these systems in particular
constituted under Roman rule the philosophy of the Roman world, in
opposition to which world, unsuited as it was to the rational practical
self-consciousness, this last, driven back into itself from external
actuality, could only seek for reason in itself and could only care
for its individuality—just as abstract Christians only care for their
own salvation. In the bright Grecian world the individual attached
himself more to his state or to his world, and was more at home in
it. The concrete morality, the impulse towards the introduction of
the principle into the world through the constitution of the state,
which we see in Plato, the concrete science that we find in Aristotle,
here disappear. In the wave of adversity which came across the Roman
world, everything beautiful and noble in spiritual individuality
was rudely swept away. In this condition of disunion in the world,
when man is driven within his inmost self, he has to seek the unity
and satisfaction, no longer to be found in the world, in an abstract
way. The Roman world is thus the world of abstraction, where one
cold rule was extended over all the civilized world. The living
individualities of national spirit in the nations have been stifled
and killed; a foreign power, as an abstract universal, has pressed
hard upon individuals. In such a condition of dismemberment it was
necessary to fly to this abstraction as to the thought of an existent
subject, that is, to this inward freedom of the subject as such. As
what was held in estimation was the abstract will of the individual
ruler of the world, the inward principle of thought also had to be an
abstraction which could bring forth a formal, subjective reconciliation
only. A dogmatism erected on a principle made effectual through the
form of the understanding could alone satisfy the Roman mind. These
philosophies are thus conformable to the spirit of the Roman world,
as indeed Philosophy in general ever stands in close connection with
the world in its ordinary aspect (Vol. I. pp. 53, 54). The Roman world
has, indeed, produced a formal patriotism and corresponding virtue, as
also a developed system of law; but speculative philosophy could not
proceed from such dead material—we could only expect good advocates
and the morality of a Tacitus. These philosophies, always excepting
Stoicism, also arose amongst the Romans in opposition to their ancient
superstitions, just as now Philosophy comes forward in the place of

The three principles of Stoicism, Epicureanism and Scepticism are
necessary; in the first there is the principle of thought or of
universality itself, but yet determined in itself; the abstract
thought is here the determining criterion of the truth. There is
opposed to thought, in the second place, the determinate as such, the
principle of individuality, feeling generally, sensuous perception and
observation. These two form the principles of the Stoic and Epicurean
philosophies. Both principles are one-sided and, as positive, become
sciences of the understanding; just because this thought is not in
itself concrete but abstract, the determinateness falls outside of
thought and must be made a principle for itself; for it has an absolute
right as against abstract thought. Besides Stoicism and Epicureanism,
there is, in the third place, Scepticism, the negation of these two
one-sided philosophies which must be recognized as such. The principle
of Scepticism is thus the active negation of every criterion, of all
determinate principles of whatever kind they be, whether knowledge
derived from the senses, or from reflection on ordinary conceptions, or
from thought. Thus the next result arrived at is that nothing can be
known. Yet the imperturbability and uniformity of mind in itself, which
suffers through nothing, and which is affected neither by enjoyment,
pain, nor any other bond, is the common standpoint and the common
end of all these philosophies. Thus however gloomy men may consider
Scepticism, and however low a view they take of Epicureanism, all these
have in this way been philosophies.


We must, first of all, and in a general way, remark of Stoicism, as
also of Epicureanism, that they came in the place of the philosophy
of the Cynics and Cyrenaics as their counterpart, just as Scepticism
took the place of the Academy. But in adopting the principle of these
philosophies, they at the same time perfected it and elevated it
more into the form of scientific thought. Yet because in them, just
as in the others, the content is a fixed and definite one, since
self-consciousness therein sets itself apart, this circumstance really
puts an end to speculation, which knows nothing of any such rigidity,
which rather abolishes it and treats the object as absolute Notion,
as in its difference an unseparated whole. Hence with the Stoics, as
also really with the Epicureans, instead of genuine speculation, we
only meet with an application of the one-sided, limited principle,
and thus we require in both to enter merely upon a general view of
their principle. Now if Cynicism made reality for consciousness the
fact of being immediately natural (where immediate naturalness was
the simplicity of the individual, so that he is independent and,
in the manifold movement of desire, of enjoyment, of holding many
things to be reality, and of working for the same, really keeps up
the external simple life) the Stoic elevation of this simplicity into
thought consists in the assertion, not that immediate naturalness
and spontaneity is the content and the form of the true Being of
consciousness, but that the rationality of nature is grasped through
thought, so that everything is true or good in the simplicity of
thought. But while with Aristotle what underlies everything is the
absolute Idea as unlimited and not set forth in a determinate character
and with a difference—and its deficiency is only the deficiency which
is present in realization, the not being united into one Notion—here
the one Notion is undoubtedly set forth as real existence, and
everything is related to it, and hence the requisite relation is
undoubtedly present; but that in which everything is one is not the
true. With Aristotle each conception is considered absolutely in its
determination and as separate from any other; here the conception
certainly is in this relation and is not absolute, but at the same
time it is not in and for itself. Because thus the individual is not
considered absolutely but only relatively, the whole working out is
not interesting, for it is only an external relation. Likewise with
Aristotle the individual only is taken into consideration, but this
consideration is lost sight of by the speculative treatment adopted:
here, however, the individual is taken up and the treatment is likewise
external. This relation is not even consistent, if, as also happens,
something such as nature is considered in itself; for the absolute
falls outside of it, since its consideration is only a system of
reasoning from indeterminate principles, or from principles which are
only the first that come to hand.

As a contribution to the history of the philosophy of the Stoics, we
first of all desire to mention the more eminent Stoics. The founder of
the Stoic School is Zeno (who must be distinguished from the Eleatic);
he belonged to Cittium, a town in Cyprus, and was born about the 109th
Olympiad. His father was a merchant who, from his business visits to
Athens, then, and for long afterwards, the home of Philosophy and of
a large number of philosophers, brought with him books, particularly
those of the Socratics, whereby a love and craving for knowledge was
awakened in his son. Zeno himself travelled to Athens, and, according
to some, he found a further motive to live for Philosophy, in that he
lost all his possessions by a shipwreck. What he did not lose was the
cultured nobility of his mind and his love of rational understanding.
Zeno visited several sections of the Socratics, and particularly
Xenocrates, a man belonging to the Platonic School, who, on account
of the strictness of his morality and the austerity of his whole
demeanour, was very celebrated. Thus he underwent the same ordeals
as those to which the holy Francis of Assisi subjected himself, and
succumbed to them just as little. This may be seen by the fact that
while no testimony was given without oath in Athens, the oath was in
his case dispensed with, and his simple word believed—and his teacher
Plato is said often to have remarked to him that he might sacrifice to
the Graces. Then Zeno also visited Stilpo, a Megaric, whom we already
know about (Vol. I. p. 464), and with whom he studied dialectic for
ten years. Philosophy was considered as the business of his life,
and of his whole life, and not studied as it is by a student who
hurries through his lectures on Philosophy in order to hasten on to
something else. But although Zeno principally cultivated dialectic
and practical philosophy, he did not, like other Socratics, neglect
physical philosophy, for he studied very specially Heraclitus’ work on
Nature, and finally came forward as an independent teacher in a porch
called Poecile (στοὰ ποικίλη), which was decorated with the paintings
of Polygnotus. From this his school received the name of Stoic. Like
Aristotle his principal endeavour was to unite Philosophy into one
whole. As his method was characterized by special dialectic skill and
training, and by the acuteness of his argumentation, so he himself was
distinguished, in respect of his personality, by stern morality, which
resembles somewhat that of the Cynics, though he did not, like the
Cynics, try to attract attention. Hence with less vanity his temperance
in the satisfaction of his absolute wants was almost as great, for he
lived on nothing but water, bread, figs and honey. Thus amongst his
contemporaries Zeno was accorded general respect; even King Antigonus
of Macedonia often visited him and dined with him, and he invited
him to come to him in a letter quoted by Diogenes: this invitation,
however, Zeno in his reply refused, because he was now eighty years of
age. But the circumstance that the Athenians trusted to him the key of
their fortress, speaks for the greatness of their confidence in him;
indeed, according to Diogenes, the following resolution was passed at
a meeting of the people: “Because Zeno, the son of Mnaseas, has lived
for many years in our town as a philosopher, and, for the rest, has
proved himself to be a good man, and has kept the youths who followed
him in paths of virtue and of temperance, having led the way thereto
with his own excellent example, the citizens decide to confer on him
a public eulogy, and to present him with a golden crown, on account
both of his virtue and his temperance. In addition to this he shall be
publicly buried in the Ceramicus. And for the crown and the building
of the tomb, a commission of five men shall be appointed.” Zeno
flourished about the 120th Olympiad (about 300 B.C.) at the same time
as Epicurus, Arcesilaus of the New Academy, and others. He died at a
great age, being ninety-eight years of age (though some say he was only
seventy-two), in the 129th Olympiad; for being tired of life, he put an
end to it himself either by strangulation or by starvation—just because
he had broken his toe.[121]

Amongst the succeeding Stoics Cleanthes must be specially singled out;
he was a disciple and the successor of Zeno in the Stoa, and author
of a celebrated Hymn to God, which Stobæus has preserved. He is well
known by an anecdote told respecting him. It is said that he was called
in accordance with the law before a court of justice in Athens to
give an account of the means by which he maintained himself. He then
proved that at night he carried water for a gardener, and by means of
this occupation, earned as much as he required in order in the day to
be in Zeno’s company—as to which the only point which is not quite
comprehensible to us is how, even in such a way, philosophy, of all
things, could be studied. And when for this a gratuity was voted to him
from the public treasury, he refused it at Zeno’s instigation. Like his
teacher, Cleanthes also died voluntarily, in his eighty-first year, by
abstaining from food.[122]

Of the later Stoics there were many more who could be named as having
been famous. More distinguished in science than Cleanthes was his
disciple, Chrysippus of Cilicia, born Ol. 125, 1 (474 A.U.C.; 280
B.C.), who likewise lived in Athens, and who was specially active
in promoting the wide cultivation and extension of the philosophy
of the Stoics. His logic and dialectic were what contributed most
largely to his fame, and hence it was said that if the gods made use
of dialectic, they would use none other than that of Chrysippus. His
literary activity is likewise admired, for the number of his works, as
Diogenes Laërtius tells us, amounted to seven hundred and five. It is
said of him in this regard that he wrote five hundred lines every day.
But the manner in which his writings were composed detracts very much
from our wonder at this facility in writing, and shows that most of his
works consisted of compilations and repetitions. He often wrote over
again respecting the very same thing; whatever occurred to him he put
down on paper, dragging in a great variety of evidence. Thus he quoted
almost entire books by other writers; and someone gave expression to
the belief that if all that belonged to others were taken away from his
books, only white paper would be left. But of course it is not so bad
as all this, as we may see by all the quotations from the Stoics, where
the name of Chrysippus is placed at the head, as it always is, and his
conclusions and explanations are used by preference. His writings,
of which Diogenes Laërtius mentions a long list, have, however, all
been lost to us; so much is nevertheless correct, that he was the main
constructor of the Stoic logic. While it is to be regretted that some
of his best works have not come down to us, it is, perhaps, a good
thing that all are not preserved; if we had to choose between having
all or none, the decision would be a hard one. He died in the 143rd
Olympiad (212 B.C.).[123]

In the period immediately following, Diogenes of Seleucia in Babylonia
is a distinguished figure; Carneades, the celebrated Academic, is said
to have learned dialectic from him, and he is also noteworthy because
with this Carneades and Critolaus, a Peripatetic thinker, in Olympiad
156, 2 (598 A.U.C., or 156 B.C.) and in the time of the elder Cato, he
was sent as Athenian ambassador to Rome—an embassy which first caused
the Romans to make acquaintance with Greek philosophy, dialectic and
rhetoric, in Rome itself. For those philosophers there gave lectures
and discourses.[124]

Besides these, Panaetius is well known as having been Cicero’s
instructor; the latter wrote his treatise, _De Officiis_, after
Panaetius. Finally, we have Posidonius, another equally famous teacher,
who lived for long in Rome in the time of Cicero.[125]

Later on we see the philosophy of the Stoics pass over to the Romans,
that is to say, it became the philosophy of many Romans, though this
philosophy did not gain anything as a science by so doing. On the
contrary, as in the case of Seneca and the later Stoics, in Epictetus
or Antoninus, all speculative interest was really lost, and a
rhetorical and hortatory disposition shown, of which mention cannot be
made in a history of Philosophy any more than of our sermons. Epictetus
of Hierapolis in Phrygia, born at the end of the first century after
Christ, was first of all the slave of Epaphroditus, who, however, freed
him, after which he betook himself to Rome. When Domitian banished
the philosophers, poisoners and astrologers from Rome (94 A.D.),
Epictetus went to Nicopolis, in Epirus, and taught there publicly.
From his lectures Arrian compiled the voluminous _Dissertationes
Epicteteæ_, which we still possess, and also the manual ἐγχειρίδιον of
Stoicism.[126] We still have the Meditations εἰς ἑαυτόν of the Emperor
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, in twelve books; he first of all ruled
along with Lucius Aurelius Verus from 161 to 169 A.D., and then from
169 to 180 alone and he conducted a war with the Marcomanni. In his
Meditations he always speaks to himself; these reflections are not,
however, speculative in nature, being admonitions, such as that man
should exercise himself in every virtue.

We have no other original works by the older Stoics. For the Stoic
Philosophy, too, the sources on which we formerly could count are cut
off. The sources from which a knowledge of the philosophy of the Stoics
is to be derived are, however, well known. There is Cicero, who was
himself a Stoic, though in his representation there is great difficulty
in discovering how, for instance, the principle of Stoic morality is
to be distinguished from that which constitutes the principle of the
morality of the Peripatetics. And, more particularly, we have Sextus
Empiricus, whose treatment is mainly theoretic, and is thus interesting
from a philosophic point of view. For Scepticism has had to do with
Stoicism more especially. But also Seneca, Antoninus, Arrian, the
manual of Epictetus, and Diogenes Laërtius must really be called into

As regards the philosophy of the Stoics themselves, they definitely
separated it into those three parts which we have already met with
(Vol. I. p. 387, Vol. II. pp. 48, 49), and which will, generally
speaking, be always found. There is Logic in the first place; secondly,
Physics, or Natural Philosophy; and thirdly, Ethics, or the Philosophy
of Mind, on the practical side especially. The content of their
philosophy has, however, not much that is original or productive.


As regards the Physics of the Stoics, we may in the first place say
that it does not contain much that is peculiar to itself, since it is
rather a compendium of the Physics of older times, and more especially
of that of Heraclitus. However, each of the three schools now being
dealt with has had a very characteristic and definite terminology,
which is more than can be altogether said of the philosophy of Plato
and Aristotle. Thus we must now make ourselves familiar with the
particular expressions used and with their significance. The following
is the essence of the Physics of the Stoics: The determining reason
(λόγος) is the ruling, all-productive substance and activity, extended
throughout all, and constituting the basis of all natural forms; this
preponderating substance, in its rational effectuating activity, they
call God. It is a world-soul endowed with intelligence, and, since
they called it God, this is really Pantheism. But all Philosophy is
pantheistic, for it goes to prove that the rational Notion is in the
world. The hymn of Cleanthes is to this effect: “Nothing happens on
earth without thee, O Dæmon, neither in the ethereal pole of the
heavens, nor in the sea, excepting what the wicked do through their own
foolishness. But thou knowest how to make crooked things straight, and
thou orderest that which is without order, and the inimical is friendly
to thee. For thus hast thou united everything into one, the good to
the evil; thus one Notion (λόγος) is in everything that ever was, from
which those mortals who are evil flee. How unhappy are they, too, who,
ever longing to possess the good, do not perceive God’s universal law,
nor listen thereto, the which if they but obeyed with reason, (σὺν νῷ)
they would attain a good and happy life!”[127] The Stoics thus believed
the study of nature to be essential, in order to know in nature its
universal laws, which constitute the universal reason, in order that
we might also know therefrom our duties, the law for man, and live
conformably to the universal laws of nature. “Zeno,” according to
Cicero (De nat. Deor. I. 14), “holds this natural law to be divine, and
believes that it has the power to dictate the right and prohibit what
is wrong.” Thus the Stoics desired to know this rational Notion which
rules in nature not altogether on its own account; and the study of
nature was consequently to them rather a mere matter of utility.

If we are now to give some further idea of what these Physics are, we
may say that the Stoics distinguish in the corporeal—although nature
is only the manifestation of one common law—the moment of activity
and that of passivity; the former is, according to Aristotle, active
reason, or, according to Spinoza, _natura naturans_; the latter passive
reason, or _natura naturata_. The latter is matter, substance without
quality, for quality is, generally speaking, form, _i.e._ that which
forms universal matter into something particular. This is indeed the
reason likewise that with the Greeks quality is called τὸ ποιόν, just
as we in German derive _Beschaffenheit_ from _Schaffen_—that which is
posited, the negative moment. But the actuating, as the totality of
forms, is, according to the Stoics, the Notion in matter; and this is
God. (Diog. Laërt. VII. 134.)

As regards the further nature of these forms, these universal laws of
nature, and the formation of the world, the Stoics have in the main
adopted the ideas of Heraclitus, for Zeno studied him very particularly
(_supra_, p. 239). They thus make fire the real Notion, the active
principle which passes into the other elements as its forms. The
world arises by the self-existent gods driving the universal material
substance (οὐσίαν) out of the fire, through the air, into the water;
and as in all generation the moisture which surrounds a seed comes
first as the begetter of all that is particular, so that conception,
which in this respect is called seed-containing (σπερματικός), remains
in the water and then actuates the indeterminate Being of matter into
the origination of the other determinations. The elements, fire, water,
air and earth, are consequently primary. Respecting them the Stoics
speak in a manner which has no longer any philosophic interest.
“The coagulation of the denser parts of the world forms the earth;
the thinner portion becomes air, and if this becomes more and more
rarefied, it produces fire. From the combination of these elements are
produced plants, animals, and other kinds of things.” The thinking
soul is, according to them, of a similar fiery nature, and all human
souls, the animal principle of life, and also plants, are parts of
the universal world-soul, of the universal fire; and this central
point is that which rules and impels. Or, as it is put, souls are a
fiery breath. Sight, in the same way, is a breath of the ruling body
(ἡγεμονικοῦ) transmitted to the eyes; similarly hearing is an extended,
penetrating breath, sent from the ruling body to the ears.[128]

Respecting the process of nature we may further say this: Fire, Stobæus
tells us (Eclog. phys. I. p. 312), is called by the Stoics an element
in a pre-eminent sense, because from it, as the primary element, all
else arises through a transformation, and in it, as in an ultimate,
everything is fused and becomes dissolved. Thus Heraclitus and Stoicism
rightly comprehended this process as a universal and eternal one. This
has even been done by Cicero, though in a more superficial way; in
this reflection he falsely sees the conflagration of the world in time
and the end of the world, which is quite another matter. For in his
work _De natura Deorum_ (II. 46) he makes a Stoic speak thus: “In the
end (_ad extremum_) everything will be consumed by fire; for if all
moisture becomes exhausted the earth can neither be nourished, nor can
air return into existence. Thus nothing but fire remains, through whose
reanimation and through God the world will be renewed and the same
order will return.” This is spoken after the manner of the ordinary
conception. But to the Stoics everything is merely a Becoming. However
deficient this may be, God, as the fiery principle, is yet to them
the whole activity of nature, and likewise the rational order of the
same, and in this lies the perfect pantheism of the Stoic conception of
nature. Not only do they call this ordering force God, but also nature,
fate or necessity (εἱμαρμένην), likewise Jupiter, the moving force of
matter, reason (νοῦν) and foresight (πρόνοιαν); to them all these are
synonymous.[129] Because the rational brings forth all, the Stoics
compare this impelling activity to a seed, and say: “The seed which
sends forth something rational (λογικόν) is itself rational. The world
sends forth the seeds of the rational and is thus in itself rational;”
that is to say, rational both generally, in the whole, and in each
particular existent form. “All beginning of movement in any nature and
soul rises from a ruling principle, and all powers which are sent forth
upon the individual parts of the whole proceed from the ruling power as
from a source; so that each force that is in the part is also in the
whole, because the force is distributed by the ruling power in it. The
world embraces the seed-containing conceptions of the life which is in
conformity with the conception,” _i.e._ all particular principles.[130]
The Physics of the Stoics is thus Heraclitean, though the logical
element is entirely at one with Aristotle; and we may regard it as
being such. However, speaking generally, only those belonging to
earlier times had a physical element in their philosophy: those coming
later neglected Physics entirely and kept alone to Logic and to Ethics.

The Stoics again speak of God and the gods according to the popular
manner of regarding them. They say that “God is the ungenerated and
imperishable maker of all this disposition of things, who after certain
periods of time absorbs all substance in Himself, and then reproduces
it from Himself.”[131] There no definite perception is reached, and
even the above relation of God, as absolute form, to matter has
attained no developed clearness. The universe is at one time the unity
of form and matter, and God is the soul of the world; at another time,
the universe, as nature, is the Being of the constituted matter,
and that soul is antagonistic to it, but the activity of God is a
disposition of the original forms of matter.[132] This opposition is
devoid of the essentials of union and division.

Thus the Stoics remain at the general conception that each individual
is comprehended in a Notion, and this again in the universal Notion,
which is the world itself. But because the Stoics recognized the
rational as the active principle in nature, they took its phenomena
in their individuality as manifestations of the divine; and their
pantheism has thereby associated itself with the common ideas about
the gods as with the superstitions which are connected therewith (p.
235), with belief in all sorts of miracles and with divination—that is
to say, they believe that in nature there are intimations given which
men must receive through divine rites and worship. Epicureanism, on the
contrary, proceeds towards the liberation of men from this superstition
to which the Stoics are entirely given over. Thus Cicero, in his work
_De divinatione_, has taken the most part of his material from them,
and much is expressly given as being the reasoning of the Stoics. When,
for example, he speaks of the premonitory signs given in connection
with human events, all this is conformable with the Stoic philosophy.
The fact that an eagle flies to the right, the Stoics accepted as a
revelation of God, believing that thereby it was intimated to men what
it was advisable for them to do in some particular circumstances. Just
as we find the Stoics speaking of God as having universal necessity,
to them God, as Notion, has hence a relation to men and human ends
likewise, and in this respect He is providence; thus they now arrived
at the conception of particular gods also. Cicero says in the work
quoted above (II. 49): “Chrysippus, Diogenes and Antipater argued thus:
If gods exist, and if they do not let men know beforehand what is to
happen in the future, they cannot love men, or else they themselves do
not know what stands before them in the future, or they are of opinion
that it does not signify whether man knows it or not, or they consider
such a revelation beneath the dignity of their majesty, or they cannot
make it comprehensible to men.” All this they refute, for amongst other
things they say that nothing can exceed the beneficence of the gods,
&c. Thus they draw the conclusion that “the gods make known to men the
future”—a system of reasoning in which the entirely particular ends
of individuals also form the interests of the gods. To make men know
and comprehend at one time and not at another, is an inconsistency,
_i.e._ an incomprehensibility, but this very incomprehensibility, this
obscurity, is the triumph of the common way of regarding religions
affairs. Thus in the Stoics all the superstitions of Rome had their
strongest supporters; all external, teleological superstition is taken
under their protection and justified. Because the Stoics started from
the assertion that reason is God (it certainly is divine, but it
does not exhaust divinity), they immediately made a bound from this
universal to the revelation of that which operates for the sake of
individual ends. The truly rational is doubtless revealed to men as the
law of God; but the useful, what is in conformity with individual ends,
is not revealed in this truly divine revelation.


In the second place, as to the intellectual side of the philosophy, we
must first of all. consider the principle of the Stoics in answering
the question of what the true and rational is. In regard to the source
of our knowledge of truth, or of the criterion, which in those times
used to be discussed (Vol. I. p. 474, Vol. II. p. 233), the Stoics
decided that the scientific principle is the conception that is laid
hold of (φαντασία καταληπτική), for the true as well as for the good;
for the true and good are set forth as content or as the existent.
Thus a unity of apprehending thought and Being is set forth in which
neither can exist without the other; by this is meant not sensuous
conception as such, but that which has returned into thought and become
proper to consciousness. Some of the older Stoics, amongst whom we
certainly find Zeno, called this criterion the very truth of reason
(ὀρθὸς λόγος). Ordinary conception on its own account (φαντασία) is
an impression (τύπωσις), and for it Chrysippus used the expression
alteration (ἐτεροίωσις).[133] But that the conception should be true,
it must be comprehended; it begins with feeling, whereby in fact the
type of another is brought into us; the second step is that we should
transform this into part of ourselves, and this first of all occurs
through thought.

According to Cicero’s account (Academ. Quæst. IV. 47), Zeno illustrated
the moments of this appropriation by a movement of the hand. When he
showed the open palm he said that this was a sensuous perception;
when he bent the fingers somewhat, this was a mental assent through
which the conception is declared to be mine; when he pressed them
quite together and formed a fist, this was comprehension (κατάληψις),
just as in German we speak of comprehension [Begreifen] when by means
of our senses we lay hold of anything in a similar way; when he then
brought the left hand into play and pressed together that fist firmly
and forcibly, he said that this was science, in which no one but the
wise man participated. This double pressure, my pressing with the
other hand that which is grasped, is said to signify conviction, my
being conscious of the identity of thought with the content. “But who
this wise man is or has been the Stoics never say,” adds Cicero; and
of this we shall afterwards have to speak in greater detail. In fact,
the matter is not made clear through this gesticulation of Zeno’s.
The first action, the open hand, is sensuous apprehension, immediate
seeing, hearing, &c.; the first motion of the hand is then, speaking
generally, spontaneity in grasping. This first assent is likewise
given by fools; it is weak, and may be false. The next moment is the
closing of the hand, comprehension, taking something in; this makes
the ordinary conception truth, because the ordinary conception becomes
identical with thought. By this my identity with this determination
is indeed set forth, but this is not yet scientific knowledge, for
science is a firm, secure, unchangeable comprehension through reason or
thought, which is that which rules or directs the soul. Midway between
scientific knowledge and folly is the true Notion as the criterion,
although as yet it is not itself science; in it thought gives its
approbation to existence and recognizes itself, for approbation is
the harmony of a thing with itself. But in scientific knowledge a
perception of the first elements and determinate knowledge through
thought of the object is contained. Thus the ordinary conception as
apprehended is thought; scientific knowledge is the consciousness of
thought, the knowledge of that harmony.

We may also give our assent to these conclusions of the Stoics with
their various stages, since in them there is a perception which is
undoubtedly true. In this we have an expression of the celebrated
definition of the truth, by which it is made the harmony of object and
consciousness; but at the same time it is well to remark that this is
to be understood simply, and not as indicating that consciousness had a
conception, and that on the other side stood an object, which two had
to harmonize with one another, and hence that a third was necessarily
brought into existence which had to compare them. Now this would be
consciousness itself, but what this last can compare is nothing more
than its conception, and—not the object, but—its conception again.
Consciousness thus really accepts the conception of the object; it is
by this approbation that the conception actually receives truth—the
testimony of mind to the objective rationality of the world. It is
not, as is ordinarily represented, that a round object here impresses
itself upon wax, that a third compares the form of the round and of the
wax and, finding them to be similar, judges that the impress must have
been correct, and the conception and the thing have harmonized. For
the action of thought consists in this, that thought in and for itself
gives its approbation and recognizes the object as being in conformity
with itself; this it is in which lies the power of truth—or approbation
is the expression of this harmony, or judgment itself. In this, say
the Stoics, the truth is contained; it is an object which is likewise
thought, so that the thought that gives its assent is the ruling
thought which posits the harmony of subject with content. The fact that
anything is or has truth is thus not because it is (for this moment of
Being is only ordinary conception), but the fact that it is, has its
power in the approbation of consciousness. But this thought alone and
for itself is not the truth, nor is the truth as such contained in it,
for the Notion requires the objective element and is only the rational
consciousness respecting the truth. But the truth of the object itself
is contained in the fact that this objective corresponds to thought,
and not the thought to the objective; for this last may be sensuous,
changeable, false, and contingent, and thus it is untrue for mind.
This is the main point as far as the Stoics are concerned, and even
if we discover the Stoic speculative doctrines from their antagonists
better than from their originators and advocates, yet from them, too,
this idea of unity proceeds; and while both sides of this unity are
opposed, both are necessary, but thought is essential reality. Sextus
Empiricus (adv. Math. VIII. 10) understands this thus: “The Stoics say
that as regards the perceptible and that which is thought some things
alone are true; what is felt, however, is not immediate (έξ εὐθείας),
for it becomes true for the first time through its relation to the
thought that corresponds to it.” Thus neither is immediate thought the
true, excepting in so far us it corresponds to the Notion and is known
through the working out of rational thought.

This general idea is the only one which is interesting in the Stoics,
but even in this very principle, limitations are found to be present.
It merely expresses the truth as subsisting in the object, as thought
of, yet for that very reason it is still a very formal determination,
or not in itself the real Idea. From this point of view Sextus
Empiricus (adv. Math. X. 183) examines the Stoics, and he considers
and discusses them in all sorts of ways. The most striking thing that
he says is what relates to the following. The fact that anything is,
rests in its being thought—the fact that it is thought in something
being there; the one is the pre-supposition of the other. That is to
say, the Stoics assert that a thing exists, not because it is, but
through thought; but consciousness for its existence requires another,
for thought is likewise one-sided. In this criticism by Sextus it is
indicated that thought requires an object as an external to which it
gives its approbation. There can be no talk of its being here indicated
that the thinking mind in order to exist as consciousness does not
require the object; this is really inherent in its conception. But the
“this” of the object as an external is only a moment which is not the
only one or the essential. It is the manifestation of mind, and mind
exists only in that it appears; this therefore must come to pass in
it, that it must have its object as external and give its approbation
to it—that is, it must withdraw from this relationship into itself and
therein recognize its unity. But likewise, having gone into itself, it
has now from itself to beget its object and give itself the content
which it sends forth from itself. Stoicism is only this return of
mind into itself, positing the unity of itself and the object, and
recognizing the harmony; but not the going forth again to the extension
of the real knowledge of a content from itself. We do not find Stoicism
getting any farther, for it stops short at making the consciousness of
this unity its object, without developing it in the slightest; thus
reason remains the simple form which does not go on to the distinction
of the content itself. Hence the formalism of this celebrated standard,
and of the standpoint from which all truth of content is judged, rests
farther in the fact that the thought of thought, as what is highest,
finds this content indeed conformable to itself and appropriates it,
since it transforms it into the universal, but its determinations are
given. For if thought predominates, still it is always universal form
alone. On account of this universality thought yields nothing but the
form of identity with itself; the ultimate criterion is thus only the
formal identity of the thought which discovers harmony. But it may
be asked, with what? For there no absolute self-determination, no
content that proceeds from thought as such is to be found; and hence
everything may harmonize with my thought. The criterion of the Stoics
is consequently only the principle of contradiction; yet when we remove
the contradiction from absolute reality, it is indeed self-identical,
but for that very reason empty. The harmony must be a higher one; there
must be harmony with self in what is other than self, in content, in
determination; and thus it must be harmony with harmony.

In accordance with this recognition of the principle of the Stoics,
both their logic and their morality is judged; neither the one nor the
other arrives at being immanent free science. We have already remarked
(p. 241) that they also occupied themselves with logical definitions,
and since they made abstract thought the principle, they have brought
formal logic to great perfection. Logic is hence to them logic in
the sense that it expresses the activity of the understanding as of
conscious understanding; it is no longer as with Aristotle, at least
in regard to the categories, undecided as to whether the forms of the
understanding are not at the same time the realities of things; for the
forms of thought are set forth as such for themselves. Then along with
this comes in, for the first time, the question respecting the harmony
of thought and object or the demand that an appropriate content of
thought be shown. However, since all given content may be taken into
thought and posited as something thought without therefore losing its
determinate character, and this determinate character contradicts and
does not support the simplicity of thought, the taking of it up does
not help at all; for its opposite may also be taken up and set forth
as something thought. The opposition is thereby, however, only in
another form; for instead of the content being in outward sensation as
something not pertaining to thought and not true, as it formerly was,
it now pertains to thought, but is unlike it in its determinateness,
seeing that thought is the simple. Thus what was formerly excluded
from the simple Notion, now comes into it again; this separation
between activity of the understanding and object must indeed be made,
but likewise the unity in the object as such has to be shown, if it
is only something thought. Hence Scepticism cast up this opposition
more especially to the Stoics, and the Stoics amongst themselves had
always to improve on their conceptions. As we have just seen (p. 250)
in Sextus Empiricus, they did not quite know whether they should define
conception as impression or alteration, or in some other way. Now if
this conception is admitted into that which directs the soul, into pure
consciousness, Sextus further asks (since thought _in abstracto_ is the
simple and self-identical which, as incorporeal, is neither passive
nor active), How can an alteration, an impression, be made on this?
Then the thought-forms are themselves incorporeal. But, according to
the Stoics, only the corporeal can make an impression or bring about
an alteration.[134] That is to say, on the one hand, because corporeal
and incorporeal are unlike they cannot be one; and, on the other,
incorporeal thought-forms, as capable of no alteration, are not the
content, for this last is the corporeal only.

If the thought-forms could in fact have attained the form of content,
they would have been a content of thought in itself. But as they were
they had value as laws of thought (λεκτά)[135] merely. The Stoics
indeed had a system of immanent determinations of thought, and actually
did a great deal in this direction; for Chrysippus specially developed
and worked out this logical aspect of things, and is stated to have
been a master in it (_supra_, pp. 240, 241). But this development took
a very formal direction; there are the ordinary well-known forms of
inference, five of which are given by Chrysippus, while others give
sometimes more and sometimes fewer. One of them is the hypothetical
syllogism through remotion, “When it is day it is light, but now it is
night and hence it is not light.” These logical forms of thought are
by the Stoics held to be the unproved that requires no proof; but they
are likewise only formal forms which determine no content as such. The
wise man is specially skilful in dialectic, we are told by the Stoics,
for all things, both physical and ethical, are perceived through a
knowledge of logic.[136] But thus they have ascribed this perception
to a subject, without stating who this wise man is (p. 250). Since
objective grounds by which to determine the truth are wanting, the
ultimate decision is attributed to the will of the subject; and this
talk about the wise man consequently has its ground in nothing but
the indefiniteness of the criterion, from which we cannot get to the
determination of content.

It would be superfluous to speak further of their logic any more than
of their theory of judgments, which in part coincides with it, and in
part is a grammar and a rhetoric; by it no real scientific content
can be reached. For this logic is not, like Plato’s dialectic, the
speculative science of the absolute Idea; but, as formal logic, as we
saw above (p. 254), it is science as the firm, secure, unalterable
comprehension of reasons, and stops short at the perception of the
same. This logical element, whose essence consists pre-eminently in
escaping to the simplicity of the conception to that which is not in
opposition to itself nor falls into contradiction, obtains the upper
hand. This simplicity, which has not negativity and content in itself,
requires a given content which it may not abrogate—but consequently
it cannot thus attain to a genuine “other” through itself. The Stoics
have constituted their logic often in the most isolated fashion;
the principal point that is established here is that the objective
corresponds to thought, and they investigated this thought more
closely. If in a manner it is quite correct to say that the universal
is the true, and that thought has a definite content that must also
be concrete, the main difficulty, which is to deduce the particular
determination from the universal, so that in this self-determination it
may remain identical with itself, has not been solved by the Stoics:
and this the Sceptics brought to consciousness. This is the point of
view most important in the philosophy of the Stoics; it thus showed
itself in their physics also.


Since the theory of mind, the doctrine of knowledge, came before us
in the investigation of the criterion, we have, in the third and
last place, to speak of the morality of the Stoics, to which is due
their greatest fame, but which does not rise above this formal element
any more than what precedes, although it cannot be denied that in
presenting it they have taken a course which seems very plausible to
the popular conception, but which in fact is to a great extent external
and empiric.

a. In order, in the first place, to find the definition of virtue,
Chrysippus gives some good expositions of practical ethics which
Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 85, 86) quotes at considerable length; they
are psychological in character and in them Chrysippus establishes his
formal harmony with himself. For according to him the Stoics say: “The
first desire (ὁρμή) of the animal is for self-preservation, because
nature from the beginning reconciled each existence with itself. This
first object innate in every animal” (immanent desire) “is thus the
harmony of the animal with itself, and the consciousness of the same,”
the self-consciousness through which “the animal is not alienated
from itself. Thus it repels what is injurious and accepts what is
serviceable to it.” This is Aristotle’s conception of the nature of
adaptation to an end, in which, as the principle of activity, both the
opposite and its sublation are contained. “Enjoyment is not the first
object, for it” (the sense of satisfaction) “is only for the first time
added when the nature of an animal that seeks itself through itself,
receives into itself that which is in conformity with its harmony with
itself.” This is likewise worthy of approbation: self-consciousness,
enjoyment, is just this return into self, the consciousness of this
unity in which I enjoy something and thereby have my unity as this
individual in the objective element. The case is similar in regard
to man; his end is self-preservation, but with a conscious end, with
consideration, according to reason. “In plants nature operates without
voluntary inclination (ὁρμῆς) or sense-perception, but some things in
us take place in the same manner as in plants.” For in the plant there
also is the seed-containing conception, but it is not in it as end, nor
as its object, for it knows nothing about it. “In animals inclination
comes in; in them nature makes their impulses conformable to their
first principle;” _i.e._ the end of inclination is simply the first
principle of their nature, and that through which they make for their
own preservation. “Rational creatures likewise make nature their end,
but this is to live according to reason, for reason becomes in them the
artist who produces inclination,” _i.e._ it makes a work of art in man
from what in the animal is desire merely. To live in accordance with
nature is thus, to the Stoics, to live rationally.

This now appears somewhat like certain receipts given by the Stoics for
the purpose of discovering right motive forces in regard to virtue. For
their principle put generally is this: “Men must live in conformity
with nature, _i.e._ with virtue; for to it” (rational) “nature leads
us.” That is the highest good, the end of everything—a most important
form in Stoic morality, which appears in Cicero as _finis bonorum_
or _summum bonum_. With the Stoics right reason and the securing of
it on its own account, is the highest principle. But here, too, we
immediately see that we are thereby merely led round in a circle in a
manner altogether formal, because virtue, conformity to nature, and
reason, are only determined through one another. Virtue consists in
living conformably with nature, and what is conformable to nature is
virtue. Likewise thought must further determine what is in conformity
with nature, but conformity with nature again is that alone which
is determined through reason. The Stoics further say, according to
Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 87, 88) “To live according to nature is to
live according to that which experience teaches us of the laws both
of universal nature and of our own nature, by doing nothing which
universal law forbids; and that law is the right reason which pervades
everything, being the same with Jupiter, the disposer (καθηγεμόνι) of
the existing system of things. The virtue of the happy man is when
everything occurs according to the harmony of the genius (δαίμονος)
of each individual with reference to the will of the disposer of all
things.” Thus everything remains as it was in a universal formalism.

We must throughout allow to the Stoics that virtue consists in
following thought, _i.e._ the universal law, right reason; anything is
moral and right only in as far as a universal end is in it fulfilled
and brought into evidence. This last is the substantial, the essential
nature of a relationship, and in it we have that which is really in
thought alone. The universal which must be the ultimate determination
in action, is, however, not abstract, but the universal in this
relationship, just as, for example, in property the particular is
placed on one side. Because man, as a man of thought and culture, acts
according to his perception, he subordinates his impulses and desires
to the universal; for they are individual. There is in each human
action an individual and particular element; but there is a distinction
as to whether the particular as such is solely insisted upon or whether
in this particular the universal is secured. It is to the securing
of this universal that the energy of Stoicism is directed. But this
universal has still no content and is undetermined, and thereby the
Stoic doctrines of virtue are incomplete, empty, meaningless and
tedious. Virtue indeed is commended in a forcible, lively and edifying
manner, but as to what this universal law of virtue is, we have no
indications given us.

b. The other side as regards the good is external existence, and the
agreement of circumstances, of external nature, with the end aimed
at by man. For although the Stoics have expressed the good as being
conformity with law, in relation to the practical will, they yet
defined it, according to Diogenes Laërtius (VII. 94, 95), as being at
the same time the useful, “either absolutely and immediately useful or
not contrary to utility,” so that generally speaking the useful is,
as it were, the accident of virtue. “The Stoics likewise distinguished
manifold good into good having reference to the soul, and external
good; the former indicates virtues and their actions; the latter the
fact of pertaining to a noble country, having a virtuous friend, and
so on. In the third place it is neither external nor is it a matter
of self-consciousness alone, when the self-same man is virtuous and
happy.” These conclusions are quite good. Morality does not require
to look so coldly on what concerns utility, for every good action is
in fact useful, _i.e._ it has actuality and brings forth something
good. An action which is good without being useful is no action and
has no actuality. That which in itself is useless in the good is its
abstraction as being a non-reality. Men not only may, but must have
the consciousness of utility; for it is true that it is useful to know
the good. Utility means nothing else but that men have a consciousness
respecting their actions. If this consciousness is blameworthy, it
is still more so to know much of the good of one’s action and to
consider it less in the form of necessity. Thus the question was raised
as to how virtue and happiness are related to one another, a theme
of which the Epicureans have also treated. Here it was, as in more
recent times, regarded as the great problem to discover whether virtue
gives happiness, taken altogether by itself, whether the conception
of happiness is included in its conception. That union of virtue and
happiness, as the mean, is thus rightly represented as being perfect,
neither pertaining only to self-consciousness nor to externality.

α. In order to be able to give a general answer to this question,
we most recollect what was said above of the principle of
self-preservation, according to which virtue has to do with the
rational nature. The fulfilment of its end is happiness as finding
itself realized, and as the knowledge or intuitive perception of itself
as an external—a harmony of its Notion or its genius with its Being
or its reality. The harmony of virtue with happiness thus means that
the virtuous action realizes itself in and for itself, man becomes in
it an immediate object to himself, and he comes to the perception of
himself as objective, or of the objective as himself. This rests in
the conception of action and particularly of good action. For the bad
destroys reality and is opposed to self-preservation; but the good
is what makes for its self-preservation and effectuates it—the good
end is thus the content that realizes itself in action. But in this
general answer to that question, properly speaking, the consciousness
of the implicitly existent end has not sufficiently exactly the
signification of virtue, nor has action proceeding from the same
exactly the signification of virtuous action, neither has the reality
which it attains the signification of happiness. The distinction rests
in the fact that the Stoics have merely remained at this general
conception, and set it forth immediately as actuality; in it however,
the conception of virtuous action is merely expressed, and not reality.

β. A further point is that just because the Stoics have remained at
this position, the opposition between virtue and happiness immediately
enters in, or, in abstract form, that between thought and its
determination. These opposites are with Cicero _honestum_ and _utile_,
and their union is the question dealt with.[137] Virtue, which is
living in accordance with the universal law of nature, is confronted
by the satisfaction of the subject as such in his particularity.
The two sides are, in the first place, this particularity of the
individual, which, in the most varied aspects has existence in me as
the abstract “this,” for example, in the pre-supposition of determinate
inclinations; and here we have pleasure and enjoyment in which my
existence harmonizes with the demands of my particularity. In the
second place, I, as the will that fulfils law, am only the formal
character which has to carry out the universal; and thus, as willing
the universal, I am in accord with myself as thinking. The two now
come into collision, and because I seek the one satisfaction or the
other, I am in collision with myself, because I am also individual.
As to this we may hear many trivial things said, such as that things
often go badly with the virtuous and well with the wicked, and that
the latter is happy, &c. By going well all external circumstances
are understood, and on the whole the content is quite uninteresting,
for it is constituted by the attainment of commonplace ends, points
of view and interests. Such at once show themselves, however, to be
merely contingent and external; hence we soon get past this standpoint
in the problem, and thus external enjoyment, riches, noble birth,
&c., do not accord with virtue or happiness. The Stoics indeed said:
“The implicitly good is the perfect” (that which fulfils its end) “in
accordance with the nature of the rational; now virtue is such, but
enjoyment, pleasure and such-like are its accessories”[138]—the end of
the satisfaction of the individual on his own account. Thus these may
be the concomitants of virtue, although it is a matter of indifference
whether they are so or not, for since this satisfaction is not end,
it is equally a matter of indifference if pain is the concomitant
of virtue. Conduct which is according to reason only, thus further
contains man’s abstract concentration within himself, and the fact that
the consciousness of the true enters into him, so that he renounces
everything that belongs to immediate desires, feelings, &c.

In this quite formal principle of holding oneself in a pure harmony
with oneself of a merely thinking nature, there now rests the power of
becoming indifferent to every particular enjoyment, desire, passion
and interest. Because this following of the determinations of reason
is in opposition to enjoyment, man should seek his end or satisfaction
in nothing else than in the satisfaction of his reason, in satisfying
himself in himself, but not in anything outwardly conditioned. Hence
much has been said by the Stoics in respect of that which pertains to
the passions being something that is contradictory. The writings of
Seneca and Antoninus contain much that is true in this regard, and
they may be most helpful to those who have not attained to the higher
degree of conviction. Seneca’s talent must be recognized, but we must
also be convinced that it does not suffice. Antoninus (VIII. 7) shows
psychologically that happiness or pleasure is not a good. “Regret is a
certain self-blame, because something useful has failed, the good must
be something useful, and the noble and good man must make the same his
interest. But no noble and good man will feel regret that he has fallen
short in pleasure; pleasure is thus neither useful nor good. The man
who has the desire for glory after his death does not recollect that
he who holds him in remembrance himself dies also, and again he who
follows this one, until all recollection through these admiring ones
who have passed away, has been extinguished.” Even if this independence
and freedom is merely formal, we must still recognize the greatness of
this principle. However, in this determination of the abstract inward
independence and freedom of the character in itself lies the power
which has made the Stoics famous; this Stoic force of character which
says that man has only to seek to remain like himself, thus coincides
with the formal element which I have already given (p. 254). For if
the consciousness of freedom is my end, in this universal end of the
pure consciousness of my independence all particular determinations of
freedom which are constituted by duties and laws, have disappeared. The
strength of will of Stoicism has therefore decided not to regard the
particular as its essence, but to withdraw itself therefrom; we see on
the one hand, that this is a true principle, but on the other, it is at
the same time abstract still.

Now because the principle of the Stoic morality professes to be the
harmony of mind with itself, what should be done is not to let this
remain formal, and therefore not to let what is not contained in
this self-contained be any longer shut out of it. That freedom which
the Stoics ascribe to man is not without relation to what is other
than himself; thus he is really dependent, and under this category
happiness really falls. My independence is only one side, to which
the other side, the particular side of my existence, hence does not
yet correspond. The old question, which at this time again came up,
thus concerns the harmony between virtue and happiness. We speak of
morality rather than virtue, because that according to which I ought
to direct my actions is not, as in virtue, my will, as it has become
custom. Morality really contains my subjective conviction that that
which I do is in conformity with rational determinations of will, with
universal duties. That question is a necessary one, a problem which
even in Kant’s time occupied men, and in endeavouring to solve it
we must begin by considering what is to be understood by happiness.
Much more is afterwards said of that in which satisfaction is to be
sought. However, from what is external and exposed to chance we must
at once break free. Happiness in general means nothing more than the
feeling of harmony with self. That which is pleasing to the senses is
pleasing because a harmony with ourselves is therein contained. The
contrary and unpleasing is, on the other hand, a negation, a lack of
correspondence with our desires. The Stoics have posited as the very
essence of enjoyment this harmony of our inner nature with itself,
but only as inward freedom and the consciousness, or even only the
feeling of this harmony, so that enjoyment such as this is contained in
virtue itself. Yet this enjoyment ever remains a secondary matter, a
consequence, which in so far as it is so cannot be made end, but should
only be considered as an accessory. The Stoics said in this regard
that virtue is alone to be sought, but with virtue happiness on its
own account is found, for it confers blessing explicitly as such. This
happiness is true and imperturbable even if man is in misfortune;[139]
thus the greatness of the Stoic philosophy consists in the fact that
if the will thus holds together within itself, nothing can break into
it, that everything else is kept outside of it, for even the removal
of pain cannot be an end. The Stoics have been laughed at because they
said that pain is no evil.[140] But toothache and the like are not in
question as regards this problem. We cannot but know we are subject
to such; pain like this, and unhappiness are, however, two different
things. Thus the problem throughout is only to be understood as the
demand for a harmony of the rational will with external reality. To
this reality there also belongs the sphere of particular existence, of
subjectivity, of personality, of particular interests. But of these
interests the universal alone truly pertains to this reality, for only
in so far as it is universal, can it harmonize with the rationality
of the will. It is thus quite right to say that suffering, pain, &c.,
are no evil, whereby the conformity with myself, my freedom, might be
destroyed; I am elevated over such in the union which is maintained
with myself, and even if I may feel them, they can still not make me
at variance with myself. This inward unity with myself as felt, is
happiness, and this is not destroyed by outward evil.

γ. Another opposition is that within virtue itself. Because the
universal law of right reason is alone to be taken as the standard of
action, there is no longer any really absolutely fixed determination,
for all duty is always, so to speak, a particular content, which
can plainly be grasped in universal form, without this, however, in
any way affecting the content. Because virtue is thus that which is
conformable to the real essence or law of things, in a general sense
the Stoics called virtue everything, in every department, which is
in conformity with law in that department. Hence, Diogenes tells us
(VII. 92), they also speak of logical and physical virtues, just as
their morality represents individual duties (τὰ καθήκοντα) by passing
in review the individual natural relationships in which man stands,
and showing what in them is rational.[141] But this is only a kind
of quibbling such as we have also seen in Cicero’s case. Thus in as
far as an ultimate deciding criterion of that which is good cannot be
set up, the principle being destitute of determination, the ultimate
decision rests with the subject, Just as before this it was the oracle
that decided, at the commencement of this profounder inwardness the
subject was given the power of deciding as to what is right. For since
Socrates’ time the determination of what was right by the standard of
customary morality had ceased in Athens to be ultimate; hence with the
Stoics all external determination falls away, and the power of decision
can only be placed in the subject as such, which in the last instance
determines from itself as conscience. Although much that is elevated
and edifying may find its support here, an actual determination
is still wanting; hence there is according to the Stoics only one
virtue,[142] and the wise man is the virtuous.

c. The Stoics have thus in the third place likewise been in the way of
representing an ideal of the wise man which, however, is nothing more
than the will of the subject which in itself only wills itself, remains
at the thought of the good, because it is good, allows itself in its
steadfastness to be moved by nothing different from itself, such as
desires, pain, &c., desires its freedom alone, and is prepared to give
up all else—which thus, if it experiences outward pain and misfortune,
yet separates these from the inwardness of its consciousness. The
question of why the expression of rel morality has with the Stoics
the form of the ideal of the wise man finds its answer, however,
in the fact that the mere conception of virtuous consciousness, of
action with respect to an implicitly existent end, finds in individual
consciousness alone the element of moral reality. For if the Stoics
had gone beyond the mere conception of action for the implicitly
existent end, and had reached to the knowledge of the content, they
would not have required to express this as a subject. To them rational
self-preservation is virtue. But if we ask what it is that is evolved
by virtue, the answer is to the effect that it is just rational
self-preservation; and thus they have not by this expression got beyond
that formal circle. Moral reality is not expressed as that which is
enduring, which is evolved and ever evolving itself. And moral reality
is just this, to exist; for as nature is an enduring and existent
system, the spiritual as such must be an objective world. To this
reality the Stoics have, however, not reached. Or we may understand
this thus. Their moral reality is only the wise man, an ideal and not a
reality—in fact the mere conception whose reality is not set forth.

This subjectivity is already contained in the fact that moral reality,
expressed as virtue, thereby immediately presents the appearance
of being present only as a quality of the individual. This virtue,
as such, in as far as only the moral reality of the individual is
indicated, cannot attain to happiness in and for itself, even though
happiness, regarded in the light of realization, were only the
realization of the individual. For this happiness would be just the
enjoyment of the individual as the harmony of existence with him
as individual; but with him as individual true happiness does not
harmonize, but only with him as universal man. Man must likewise not
in the least desire that it should harmonize with him as individual
man, that is, he must be indifferent to the individuality of his
existence, and to the harmony with the individual as much as to the
want of harmony; he must be able to dispense with happiness just
as, if he possesses it, he must be free from it; or it is only a
harmony of him with himself as a universal. If merely the subjective
conception of morality is therein contained, its true relationship is
yet thereby expressed; for it is this freedom of consciousness which
in its enjoyment rests in itself and is independent of objects,—what
we expressed above (p. 264) as the special characteristic of the
Stoic morality. Stoic self-consciousness has not here to deal with
its individuality as such, but solely with the freedom in which it is
conscious of itself only as the universal. Now could one call this
happiness, in distinction to the other, true happiness, happiness
would still, on the whole, remain a wrong expression. The satisfaction
of rational consciousness in itself as an immediate universal, is a
state of being which is simulated by the determination of happiness;
for in happiness we have the moment of self-consciousness as an
individuality. But this differentiated consciousness is not present in
that self-satisfaction; for in that freedom the individual has rather
the sense of his universality only. Striving after happiness, after
spiritual enjoyment, and talking of the excellence of the pleasures of
science and art, is hence dull and insipid, for the matter with which
we are occupied has no longer the form of enjoyment, or it does away
with that conception. This sort of talk has indeed passed away and
it no longer has any interest. The true point of view is to concern
oneself with the matter itself and not with enjoyment, that is, not
with the constant reflection on the relation to oneself as individual,
but with the matter as a matter, and as implicitly universal. We must
take care besides that things are tolerable to us as individuals,
and the pleasanter the better. But no further notice or speech about
this is requisite, nor are we to imagine that there is much that is
rational and important within it. But the Stoic consciousness does not
get beyond this individuality to the reality of the universal, and
therefore it has only to express the form, the real as an individual,
or the wise man.

The highest point reached by Aristotle, the thought of thought, is
also present in Stoicism, but in such a way that it does not stand in
its individual capacity as it appears to do in Aristotle, having what
is different beside it, but as being quite alone. Thus in the Stoic
consciousness there is just this freedom, this negative moment of
abstraction from existence, an independence which is capable of giving
up everything, but not as an empty passivity and self-abnegation, as
though everything could be taken from it, but an independence which
can resign it voluntarily, without thereby losing its reality; for its
reality is really just the simple rationality, the pure thought of
itself. Here pure consciousness thus attains to being its own object,
and because reality is to it only this simple object, its object annuls
in itself all modes of existence, and is nothing in and for itself,
being therein only in the form of something abrogated.

All is merged into this: the simplicity of the Notion, or its pure
negativity, is posited in relation to everything. But the real
filling in, the objective mode, is wanting, and in order to enter
into this, Stoicism requires that the content should be given. Hence
the Stoics depicted the ideal of the wise man in specially eloquent
terms, telling how perfectly sufficient in himself and independent
he is, for what the wise man does is right. The description of the
ideal formed by the Stoics is hence a common subject of discussion
and is even devoid of interest; or at least the negative element in
it is alone noteworthy. “The wise man is free and likewise in chains,
for he acts from himself, uncorrupted by fear or desire.” Everything
which belongs to desire and fear he does not reckon to himself, he
gives to such the position of being something foreign to him; for no
particular existence is secure to him. “The wise man is alone king,
for he alone is not bound to laws, and he is debtor to no one.” Thus
we here see the autonomy and autocracy of the wise man, who, merely
following reason, is absolved from all established laws which are
recognized, and for which no rational ground can be given, or which
appear to rest somewhat on a natural aversion or instinct. For even
in relation to actual conduct no definite law has properly speaking
reality for him, and least of all those which appear to belong to
nature as such alone, _e.g._ the prohibition against entering into
marriage relations which are considered incestuous, the prohibition
of intercourse between man and man, for in reason the same thing is
fitting as regards the one which is so as regards the others. Similarly
the wise man may eat human flesh,[143] &c. But a universal reason is
something quite indeterminate. Thus the Stoics have not passed beyond
their abstract understanding in the transgression of these laws, and
therefore they have allowed their king to do much that was immoral;
for if incest, pederasty, the eating of human flesh, were at first
forbidden as though through a natural instinct only, they likewise
can by no means exist before the judgment-seat of reason. The Stoic
wise man is thus also ‘enlightened,’ in the sense that where he did
not know how to bring the natural instinct into the form of a rational
reason, he trampled upon nature. Thus that which is called natural
law or natural instinct comes into opposition with what is set forth
as immediately and universally rational. For example, those first
actions seem to rest on natural feelings, and we must remember that
feelings are certainly not the object of thought; as opposed to this,
property is something thought, universal in itself, a recognition of my
possession from all, and thus it indeed belongs to the region of the
understanding. But should the wise man hence not be bound by the former
because it is not something immediately thought, this is merely the
fault of his want of comprehension. As we have, however, seen that in
the sphere of theory the thought-out simplicity of the truth is capable
of all content, so we find this also to be the case with the good, that
which is practically thought-out, without therefore being any content
in itself. To wish to justify such a content through a reason thus
indicates a confusion between the perception of the individual and that
of all reality, it means a superficiality of perception which does not
acknowledge a certain thing because it is not known in this and that
regard. But this is so for the reason that it only seeks out and knows
the most immediate grounds and cannot know whether there are not other
aspects and other grounds. Such grounds as these allow of reasons for
and against everything being found—on the one hand a positive relation
to something which, though in other cases necessary, as such can also
be again sublated; and, on the other hand, a negative relation to
something necessary, which can likewise again be held to be valid.

Because the Stoics indeed placed virtue in thought, but found
no concrete principle of rational self-determination whereby
determinateness and difference developed, they, in the first place,
have carried on a reasoning by means of grounds to which they lead back
virtue. They draw deductions from facts, connections, consequences,
from a contradiction or opposition; and this Antoninus and Seneca do in
an edifying way and with great ingenuity. Reasons, however, prove to
be a nose of wax; for there are good grounds for everything, such as
“These instincts, implanted as they are by nature,” or “Short life,”
&c. Which reasons should be esteemed as good thereby depends on the end
and interest which form the pre-supposition giving them their power.
Hence reasons are as a whole subjective. This method of reflecting on
self and on what we should do, leads to the giving to our ends the
breadth of reflection due to penetrative insight, the enlargement
of the sphere of consciousness. It is thus I who bring forward these
wise and good grounds. They do not constitute the thing, the objective
itself, but the thing of my own will, of my desire, a bauble through
which I set up before me the nobility of my mind; the opposite of this
is self-oblivion in the thing. In Seneca himself there is more folly
and bombast in the way of moral reflection than genuine truth; and thus
there has been brought up against him both his riches, the splendour
of his manner of life, his having allowed Nero to give him wealth
untold, and also the fact that he had Nero as his pupil; for the latter
delivered orations composed by Seneca.[144] This reasoning is often
brilliant, as with Seneca: we find much that awakens and strengthens
the mind, clever antitheses and rhetoric, but we likewise feel the
coldness and tediousness of these moral discourses. We are stimulated
but not often satisfied, and this may be deemed the character of
sophistry: if acuteness in forming distinctions and sincere opinion
must be there recognized, yet final conviction is ever lacking.

In the second place there is in the Stoic standpoint the higher,
although negatively formal principle, that what is thought is alone as
such the end and the good, and therefore that in this form of abstract
thought alone, as in Kant’s principle of duty, there is contained that
by which man must establish and secure his self-consciousness, so
that he can esteem and follow nothing in himself in as far as it has
any other content for itself. “The happy life,” says Seneca (De vita
beata, 5), “is unalterably grounded on a right and secure judgment.”
The formal security of the mind which abstracts from everything,
sets up for us no development of objective principles, but a subject
which maintains itself in this constancy, and in an indifference
not due to stupidity, but studied; and this is the infinitude of
self-consciousness in itself.

Because the moral principle of the Stoics remains at this formalism,
all that they treat of is comprised in this. For their thoughts are the
constant leading back of consciousness to its unity with itself. The
power of despising existence is great, the strength of this negative
attitude sublime. The Stoic principle is a necessary moment in the
Idea of absolute consciousness; it is also a necessary manifestation
in time. For if, as in the Roman world, the life of the real mind
is lost in the abstract universal; the consciousness, where real
universality is destroyed, must go back into its individuality and
maintain itself in its thoughts. Hence, when the political existence
and moral actuality of Greece had perished, and when in later times the
Roman Empire also became dissatisfied with the present, it withdrew
into itself, and there sought the right and moral which had already
disappeared from ordinary life. It is thus herein implied, not that
the condition of the world is a rational and right one, but only that
the subject as such should assert his freedom in himself. Everything
that is outward, world, relationships, &c., are so disposed as to be
capable of being abrogated; in it there is thus no demand for the real
harmony of reason and existence; or that which we might term objective
morality and rectitude is not found in it. Plato has set up the ideal
of a Republic, _i.e._ of a rational condition of mankind in the state;
for this esteem for right, morality and custom which is to him the
principal matter, constitutes the side of reality in that which is
rational; and it is only through a rational condition of the world
such as this, that the harmony of the external with the internal is
in this concrete sense present. In regard to morality and power of
willing the good, nothing more excellent can be read than what Marcus
Aurelius has written in his Meditations on himself; he was Emperor
of the whole of the then known civilized world, and likewise bore
himself nobly and justly as a private individual. But the condition
of the Roman Empire was not altered by this philosophic emperor,
and his successor, who was of a different character, was restrained
by nothing from inaugurating a condition of things as bad as his own
wicked caprice might direct. It is something much higher when the
inward principle of the mind, of the rational will, likewise realizes
itself, so that there arises a rational constitution, a condition of
things in accordance with culture and law. Through such objectivity
of reason, the determinations which come together in the ideal of
the wise man are first consolidated. There then is present a system
of moral relationships which are duties; each determination is then
in its place, the one subordinated to the other, and the higher is
predominant. Hence it comes to pass that the conscience becomes bound
(which is a higher point than the Stoic freedom), that the objective
relationships which we call duties are consolidated after the manner
of a just condition of things, as well as being held by mind to be
fixed determinations. Because these duties do not merely appear to
hold good in a general sense, but are also recognized in my conscience
as having the character of the universal, the harmony of the rational
will and reality is established. On the one hand, the objective system
of freedom as necessity exists, and, on the other, the rational in
me is real as conscience. The Stoic principle has not yet reached
to this more concrete attitude, as being on the one hand abstract
morality, and, on the other, the subject that has a conscience. The
freedom of self-consciousness in itself is the principle, but it has
not yet attained to its concrete form, and its relation to happiness
exists only in its determination as indifferent and contingent, which
relation must be given up. In the concrete principle of rationality
the condition of the world, as of my conscience, is not, however,

This is a general description of Stoic morality; the main point is to
recognize its point of view and chief relationships. Because in the
Roman world a perfectly consistent position, and one conformable to
existing conditions, has attained to the consciousness of itself,
the philosophy of the Stoics has more specially found its home in the
Roman world. The noble Romans have hence only proved the negative, an
indifference to life and to all that is external; they could be great
only in a subjective or negative manner—in the manner of a private
individual. The Roman jurists are also said to have been likewise
Stoic philosophers, but, on the one hand, we find that our teachers of
Roman law only speak ill of Philosophy, and, on the other, they are
yet sufficiently inconsistent to state it to the credit of the Roman
jurists that they were philosophers. So far as I understand law, I can
find in it, among the Romans, nothing either of thought, Philosophy
or the Notion. If we are to call the reasoning of the understanding
logical thought, they may indeed be held to be philosophers, but this
is also present in the reasoning of Master Hugo, who certainly does not
claim to be a philosopher. The reasoning of the understanding and the
philosophic Notion are two different things. We shall now proceed to
what is in direct contrast to the Stoic philosophy, Epicureanism.


The Epicurean philosophy, which forms the counterpart to Stoicism, was
just as much elaborated as the Stoic, if, indeed, it were not more so.
While the latter posited as truth existence for thought—the universal
Notion—and held firmly to this principle, Epicurus, the founder of
the other system, held a directly opposite view, regarding as the
true essence not Being in general, but Being as sensation, that is,
consciousness in the form of immediate particularity. As the Stoics
did not seek the principle of the Cynics—that man must confine himself
to the simplicity of nature—in man’s requirements, but placed it in
universal reason, so Epicurus elevated the principle that happiness
should be our chief end into the region of thought, by seeking pleasure
in a universal which is determined through thought. And though, in so
doing, he may have given a higher scientific form to the doctrines of
the Cyrenaics. it is yet self-evident that if existence for sensation
is to be regarded as the truth, the necessity for the Notion is
altogether abrogated, and in the absence of speculative interest
things cease to form a united whole, all things being in point of fact
lowered to the point of view of the ordinary human understanding.
Notwithstanding this proviso, before we take this philosophy into
consideration, we must carefully divest ourselves of all the ideas
commonly prevalent regarding Epicureanism.

As regards the life of Epicurus, he was born in the Athenian village of
Gargettus in Ol. 109, 3 (B.C. 342), and therefore before the death of
Aristotle, which took place in Ol. 114, 3. His opponents, especially
the Stoics, have raked up against him more accusations than I can tell
of, and have invented the most trivial anecdotes respecting his doings.
He had poor parents; his father, Neocles, was village schoolmaster,
and Chærestrata, his mother, was a sorceress: that is, she earned
money, like the women of Thrace and Thessaly, by furnishing spells and
incantations, as was quite common in those days. The father, taking
Epicurus with him, migrated with an Athenian colony to Samos, but here
also he was obliged to give instruction to children, because his plot
of land was not sufficient for the maintenance of his family. At the
age of about eighteen years, just about the time when Aristotle was
living in Chalcis, Epicurus returned to Athens. He had already, in
Samos, made the philosophy of Democritus a special subject of study,
and now in Athens he devoted himself to it more than ever; in addition
to this, he was on intimate terms with several of the philosophers
then flourishing, such as Xenocrates, the Platonist, and Theophrastus,
a follower of Aristotle. When Epicurus was twelve years old, he read
with his teacher Hesiod’s account of Chaos, the source of all things;
and this was perhaps not without influence on his philosophic views.
Otherwise he professed to be self-taught, in the sense that he produced
his philosophy entirely from himself; but we are not to suppose from
this that he did not attend the lectures or study the writings of other
philosophers. Neither is it to be understood that he was altogether
original in his philosophy as far as content was concerned; for, as
will be noted later, his physical philosophy especially is that of
Leucippus and Democritus. It was at Mitylene in Lesbos that he first
came forward as teacher of an original philosophic system, and then
again at Lampsacus in Asia Minor; he did not, however, find very many
hearers. After having for some years led an unsettled life, he returned
in about the six and thirtieth year of his age to Athens, to the
very centre of all Philosophy; and there, some time after, he bought
for himself a garden, where he lived and taught in the midst of his
friends. Though so frail in body that for many years he was unable to
rise from his chair, in his manner of living he was most regular and
frugal, and he devoted himself entirely to science, to the exclusion
of all other interests. Even Cicero, though in other respects he has
little to say in his favour, bears testimony to the warmth of his
friendships, and adds that no one can deny he was a good, a humane,
and a kindly man. Diogenes Laërtius gives special commendation to his
reverence towards his parents, his generosity to his brothers, and his
benevolence to all. He died of stone in the seventy-first year of his
age. Just before his death he had himself placed in a warm bath, drank
a cup of wine, and charged his friends to remember what he had taught

No other teacher has ever been loved and reverenced by his scholars
as much as Epicurus; they lived on such intimate terms of friendship
that they determined to make common stock of their possessions with
him, and so continue in a permanent association, like a kind of
Pythagorean brotherhood. This they were, however, forbidden to do by
Epicurus himself, because it would have betrayed a distrust in their
readiness to share what they had with one another; but where distrust
is possible, there neither friendship, nor unity, nor constancy of
attachment can find a place. After his death he was held in honoured
remembrance by his disciples: they carried about with them everywhere
his likeness, engraved on rings or drinking-cups, and remained so
faithful to his teaching that they considered it almost a crime to make
any alteration in it (while in the Stoic philosophy development was
continually going on), and his school, in respect of his doctrines,
resembled a closely-barricaded state to which all entrance was denied.
The reason for this lies, as we shall presently see, in his system
itself; and the further result, from a scientific point of view, ensued
that we can name no celebrated disciples of his who carried on and
completed his teaching on their own account. For his disciples could
only have gained distinction for themselves by going further than
Epicurus did. But to go further would have been to reach the Notion,
which would only have confused the system of Epicurus; for what is
devoid of thought is thrown into confusion by the introduction of
the Notion, and it is this very lack of thought which has been made
a principle. Not that it is in itself without thought, but the use
made of thought is to hold back thought, and thought thus takes up a
negative position in regard to itself; and the philosophic activity of
Epicurus is thus directed towards the restoration and maintaining of
what is sensuous through the very Notion which renders it confused.
Therefore his philosophy has not advanced nor developed, but it must
also be said that it has not retrograded; a certain Metrodorus alone
is said to have carried it on further in some directions. It is also
told to the credit of the Epicurean philosophy that this Metrodorus
was the only disciple of Epicurus who went over to Carneades; for the
rest, it surpassed all others in its unbroken continuity of doctrine
and its long duration; for all of them became degenerate or suffered
interruption. When some one called the attention of Arcesilaus to this
attachment to Epicurus, by the remark that while so many had gone over
from other philosophers to Epicurus, scarcely a single example was
known of any one passing over from the Epicurean system to another,
Arcesilaus made the witty rejoinder: “Men may become eunuchs, but
eunuchs can never again become men.”[146]

Epicurus himself produced in his lifetime an immense number of works,
being a much more prolific author than Chrysippus, who vied with him
in the number of his writings,[147] if we deduct from the latter his
compilations from the works of others or from his own. The number of
his writings is said to have amounted to three hundred; it is scarcely
to be regretted that they are lost to us. We may rather thank Heaven
that they no longer exist; philologists at any rate would have had
great trouble with them. The main source of our knowledge of Epicurus
is the whole of the tenth book of Diogenes Laërtius, which after all
gives us but scanty information, though it deals with the subject
at great length. We should, of course, have been better off had we
possessed the philosopher’s own writings, but we know enough of him to
make us honour the whole. For, besides this, we know a good deal about
the philosophy of Epicurus through Cicero, Sextus Empiricus and Seneca;
and so accurate are the accounts they give of him, that the fragment of
one of Epicurus’s own writings, found some years ago in Herculaneum,
and reprinted by Orelli from the Neapolitan edition (Epicuri Fragmenta
libri II. et XI. De natura, illustr. Orellius, Lipsiæ 1818), has
neither extended nor enriched our knowledge; so that we must in all
earnestness deprecate the finding of the remaining writings.

With regard to the Epicurean philosophy, it is by no means to be looked
on as setting forth a system of Notions, but, on the contrary, as a
system of ordinary conceptions or even of sensuous existence, which,
looked at from the ordinary point of view as perceived by the senses,
Epicurus has made the very foundation and standard of truth (p. 277). A
detailed explanation of how sensation can be such, he has given in his
so-called Canonic. As in the case of the Stoics, we have first to speak
of the manner which Epicurus adopted of determining the criterion of
truth; secondly, of his philosophy of nature; and thirdly and lastly,
of his moral teaching.


Epicurus gave the name of Canonic to what is really a system of logic,
in which he defines the criteria of truth, in regard to the theoretic,
as in fact sensuous perceptions, and, further, as conceptions or
anticipations (προλήψεις); in regard to the practical, as the passions,
impulses, and affections.[148]

a. On the theoretic side the criterion, closely considered, has,
according to Epicurus, three moments, which are the three stages of
knowledge; first, sensuous perception, as the side of the external;
secondly, ordinary conception, as the side of the internal; thirdly,
opinion (δόξα), as the union of the two.

α. “Sensuous perception is devoid of reason,” being what is given
absolutely. “For it is not moved by itself, nor can it, if if is moved
by something else, take away from or add to” that which it is, but
it is exactly what it is. “It is beyond criticism or refutation. For
neither can one sensation judge another, both being alike, since both
have equal authority;”—when the presentations of sight are of the
same kind, every one of them must admit the truth of all the rest.
“Nor can one of them pass judgment on another when they are unlike,
for they each have their value as differing;” red and blue, for
example, are each something individual. “Nor can one sensation pass
judgment on another when they are heterogeneous; for we give heed to
all. Thought, in the same way, cannot criticize the senses; for all
thought itself depends on the sensation,” which forms its content.
But sensuous perception may go far wrong. “The truth of what our
senses perceive is first evinced by this, that the power of perception
remains with us; sight and hearing are permanent powers of this kind
as much as the capacity of feeling pain. In this way even the unknown”
(the unperceived) “may be indicated by means of that which appears”
(perception). Of this conception of objects of perception which are not
immediate we shall have to speak more particularly hereafter (p. 292)
in dealing with physical science. “Thus all” (unknown, imperceptible)
“thoughts originated in the senses either directly in respect of their
chance origin or in respect of relationship, analogy, and combination;
to these operations thought also contributes something,” namely as the
formal connection of the sensuous conceptions. “The fancies of the
insane or of our dreams are also true; for they act upon us, but that
which is not real does not act.”[149] Thus every sensuous perception
is explicitly true, in so far as it shows itself to be abiding, and
that which is not apparent to our senses must be apprehended after the
same manner as the perception known to us. We hear Epicurus say, just
as we hear it said in everyday life: What I see and hear, or, speaking
generally, what I perceive by my senses, comprises the existent; every
such object of sense exists on its own account, one of them does not
contradict the other, but all are on the same level of validity, and
reciprocally indifferent. These objects of perception are themselves
the material and content of thought, inasmuch as thought is continually
making use of the images of these things.

β. “Ordinary conception is now a sort of comprehension (κατάληψις),
or correct opinion or thought, or the universal indwelling power of
thinking; that is to say, it is the recollection of that which has
often appeared to us,”—the picture. “For instance, when I say, ‘this is
a man,’ I, with the help of previous perceptions, at once by my power
of representation recognize his form.” By dint of this repetition the
sensuous perception becomes a permanent conception in me, which asserts
itself; that is the real foundation of all that we hold true. These
representations are universal, but certainly the Epicureans have not
placed universality in the form of thinking, but only said it is caused
by frequency of appearance. This is further confirmed by the name which
is given to the image which has thus arisen within us. “Everything
has its evidence (ἐναργές) in the name first conferred on it.”[150]
The name is the ratification of the perception. The evidence which
Epicurus terms ἐνάργεια is just the recognition of the sensuous through
subsumption under the conceptions already possessed, and to which the
name gives permanence; the evidence of a conception is therefore this,
that we affirm an object perceptible by the senses to correspond with
the image. That is the acquiescence which we have found taking place
with the Stoics when thought gives its assent to a content; thought,
however, which recognizes the thing as its own, and receives it into
itself, with the Stoics remained formal only. With Epicurus the
unity of the conception of the object with itself exists also as a
remembrance in consciousness, which, however, proceeds from the senses;
the image, the conception, is what harmonizes with a sense-perception.
The recognition of the object is here an apprehension, not as an
object of thought, but as an object of imagination; for apprehension
belongs to recollection, to memory. The name, it is true, is something
universal, belongs to thinking, makes the manifold simple, yea, is in a
high degree ideal; but in such a way that its meaning and its content
are the sensuous, and are not thus to be counted as simple, but as
sensuous. In this way opinion is established instead of knowledge.

γ. In the last place, opinion is nothing but the reference of
that general conception, which we have within us, to an object, a
perception, or to the testimony of the senses; and that is the passing
of a judgment. For in a conception we have anticipated that which comes
directly before our eyes; and by this standard we pronounce whether
something is a man, a tree, or not. “Opinion depends on something
already evident to us, to which we refer when we ask how we know that
this is a man or not. This opinion is also itself termed conception,
and it may be either true or false:—true, when what we see before
our eyes is corroborated or not contradicted by the testimony of the
conception; false in the opposite case.”[151] That is to say, in
opinion we apply a conception which we already possess, or the type, to
an object which is before us, and which we then examine to see if it
corresponds with our mental representation of it. Opinion is true if
it corresponds with the type; and it has its criterion in perceiving
whether it repeats itself as it was before or not. This is the whole of
the ordinary process in consciousness, when it begins to reflect. When
we have the conception, it requires the testimony that we have seen or
still see the object in question. From the sensuous perceptions blue,
sour, sweet, and so on, the general conceptions which we possess are
formed; and when an object again comes before us, we recognize that
this image corresponds with this object. This is the whole criterion,
and a very trivial process it is; for it goes no further than the first
beginnings of the sensuous consciousness, the immediate perception
of an object. The next stage is without doubt this, that the first
perception forms itself into a general image, and then the object which
is present is subsumed under the general image. That kind of truth
which anything has of which it can only be said that the evidence of
the senses does not contradict it, is possessed by the conceptions of
the unseen, for instance, the apprehension of heavenly phenomena: here
we cannot approach nearer, we can see something indeed, but we cannot
have the sensuous perception of it in its completeness; we therefore
apply to it what we already know by other perceptions, if there is
but some circumstance therein which is also present in that other
perception or conception (_supra_, p. 282).

b. From these external perceptions of objects presently existing, with
which we here began, the affections, the internal perceptions, which
give the criteria for practical life are however distinguished; they
are of two kinds, either pleasant or unpleasant. That is to say, they
have as their content pleasure or satisfaction, and pain: the first, as
that which peculiarly belongs to the perceiver, is the positive; but
pain, as something alien to him, is the negative. It is these sensuous
perceptions which determine action; they are the material from which
general conceptions regarding what causes me pain or pleasure are
formed; as being permanent they are therefore again conceptions, and
opinion is again this reference of conception to perception, according
to which I pass judgment on objects—affections, desires, and so
on.[152] It is by this opinion, therefore, that the decision to do or
to avoid anything is arrived at.

This constitutes the whole Canon of Epicurus, the universal standard
of truth; it is so simple that nothing can well be simpler, and yet it
is very abstract. It consists of ordinary psychological conceptions
which are correct on the whole, but quite superficial; it is the
mechanical view of conception having respect to the first beginnings
of observation. But beyond this there lies another and quite different
sphere, a field that contains determinations in themselves; and these
are the criteria by which the statements of Epicurus must be judged.
Nowadays even Sceptics are fond of speaking of facts of consciousness;
this sort of talk goes no further than the Epicurean Canon.


In the second place, Epicurus enters on a metaphysical explanation of
how we are related to the object; for sensuous perception and outside
impressions he unhesitatingly regards as our relation to external
things, so that he places the conceptions in me, the objects outside
of me. In raising the question of how we come by our conceptions,
there lies a double question: on the one hand, since sense-perceptions
are not like conceptions, but require an external object, what is
the objective manner in which the images of external things enter
into us? On the other hand, it may be asked how conceptions of such
things as are not matter of perception arise in us; this seems to be
an activity of thought, which derives conceptions such as these from
other conceptions; we shall, however, see presently (pp. 287, 288) and
more in detail, how the soul, which is here related to the object in
independent activity, arrives at such a point.

“From the surfaces of things,” says Epicurus in the first place, “there
passes off a constant stream, which cannot be detected by our senses”
(for things would in any other case decrease in size) and which is very
fine; “and this because, by reason of the counteracting replenishment,
the thing itself in its solidity long preserves the same arrangement
and disposition of the atoms; and the motion through the air of these
surfaces which detach themselves is of the utmost rapidity, because
it is not necessary that what is detached should have any thickness;”
it is only a surface. Epicurus says, “Such a conception does not
contradict our senses, when we take into consideration how pictures
produce their effects in a very similar way, I mean by bringing us into
sympathy with external things. Therefore emanations, like pictures,
pass out from them into us, so that we see and know the forms and
colours of things.”[153] This is a very trivial way of representing
sense-perception. Epicurus took for himself the easiest criterion of
the truth that is not seen, a criterion still in use, namely that it is
not contradicted by what we see or hear. For in truth such matters of
thought as atoms, the detachment of surfaces, and so forth, are beyond
our powers of sight. Certainly we manage to see and to hear something
different; but there is abundance of room for what is seen and what is
conceived or imagined to exist alongside of one another. If the two are
allowed to fall apart, they do not contradict each other; for it is not
until we relate them that the contradiction becomes apparent.

“Error,” as Epicurus goes on to say on the second point “comes to pass
when, through the movement that takes place within us on the conception
therein wrought, such a change is effected that the conception can no
longer obtain for itself the testimony of perception. There would be no
truth, no likeness of our perceptions, which we receive as in pictures
or in dreams or in any other way, if there were nothing on which we,
as it were, put out our faculty of observation. There would be no
untruth if we did not receive into ourselves another movement, which,
to be sure, is conformable to the entering in of the conception, but
which has at the same time an interruption.”[154] Error is therefore,
according to Epicurus, only a displacement of the pictures in us, which
does not proceed from the movement of perception, but rather from this,
that we check their influence by a movement originating in ourselves;
how this interruption is brought about will be shown more fully later
on (pp. 290, 300).

The Epicurean theory of knowledge reduces itself to these few passages,
some of which are also obscurely expressed, or else not very happily
selected or quoted by Diogenes Laërtius; it is impossible to have a
theory less explicitly stated. Knowledge, on the side of thought, is
determined merely as a particular movement which makes an interruption;
and as Epicurus, as we have already seen, looks on things as made up
of a multitude of atoms, thought is the moment which is different from
the atoms, the vacuum, the pores, whereby resistance to this stream of
atoms is rendered possible. If this negative is also again, as soul,
affirmative, Epicurus in the notional determination of thinking has
only reached this negativity, that we look away from something, _i.e._
we interrupt that inflowing stream. The answer to the question of
what this interrupting movement exactly is, when taken for itself, is
connected with the more advanced conceptions of Epicurus; and in order
to discuss them more in detail, we must go back to the implicit basis
of his system.

This constitutes on the whole the metaphysic of Epicurus; in it he has
expounded his doctrine of the atom, but not with greater definiteness
than did Leucippus and Democritus. The essence and the truth of things
were to him, as they were to them, atoms and vacuum: “Atoms have no
properties except figure, weight and magnitude.” Atoms, as atoms, must
remain undetermined; but the Atomists have been forced to take the
inconsistent course of ascribing properties to them: the quantitative
properties of magnitude and figure, the qualitative property of
weight. But that which is in itself altogether indivisible can have
neither figure nor magnitude; and even weight, direction upon something
else, is opposed to the abstract repulsion of the atom. Epicurus even
says: “Every property is liable to change, but the atoms change not. In
all dissolutions of the composite, something must remain a constant and
indissoluble, which no change can transform into that which is not, or
bring from non-being into Being. This unchangeable element, therefore,
is constituted by some bodies and figures. The properties are a certain
relation of atoms to each other.”[155] In like manner we have already
seen with Aristotle (p. 178) that the tangible is the foundation of
properties: a distinction which under various forms is still always
made and is in common use. We mean by this that an opposition is
established between fundamental properties, such as we here have in
weight, figure and magnitude, and sensuous properties, which are
only in relation to us, and are derived from the former original
differences. This has frequently been understood as if weight were in
things, while the other properties were only in our senses: but, in
general, the former is the moment of the implicit, or the abstract
essence of the thing, while the latter is its concrete existence, which
expresses its relation to other things.

The important matter now would be to indicate the relation of atoms to
sensuous appearance, to allow essence to pass over into the negative:
but here Epicurus rambles amidst the indeterminate which expresses
nothing; for we perceive in him, as in the other physicists, nothing
but an unconscious medley of abstract ideas and realities. All
particular forms, all objects, light, colour, &c., the soul itself
even, are nothing but a certain arrangement of these atoms. This is
what Locke also said, and even now Physical Science declares that
the basis of things is found in molecules, which are arranged in a
certain manner in space. But these are empty words, and a crystal,
for instance, is not a certain arrangement of parts, which gives this
figure. It is thus not worth while to deal with this relation of atoms;
for it is an altogether formal way of speaking, as when Epicurus again
concedes that figure and magnitude, in so far as pertaining to atoms,
are something different from what they are as they appear in things.
The two are not altogether unlike; the one, implicit magnitude, has
something in common with apparent magnitude. The latter is transitory,
variable; the former has no interrupted parts,[156] that is, nothing
negative. But the determination of the atoms, as originally formed in
this or that fashion, and having original magnitude of such and such
a kind, is a purely arbitrary invention. That interruption, which we
regarded above (p. 288) as the other side to atoms, or as vacuum, is
the principle of movement: for the movement of thought is also like
this and has interruptions. Thought in man is the very same as atoms
and vacuum are in things, namely their inward essence; that is to say,
atoms and vacuum belong to the movement of thought, or exist for this
in the same way as things are in their essential nature. The movement
of thinking is thus the province of the atoms of the soul; so that
there takes place simultaneously therein an interruption of the inward
flow of atoms from without. There is therefore nothing further to be
seen in this than the general principle of the positive and negative,
so that even thought is affected by a negative principle, the moment of
interruption. This principle of the Epicurean system, further applied
to the difference in things, is the most arbitrary and therefore the
most wearisome that can be imagined.

Besides their different figures, atoms have also, as the fundamental
mode in which they are affected, a difference of movement, caused
by their weight; but this movement to some extent deviates from the
straight line in its direction. That is to say, Epicurus ascribes
to atoms a curvilinear movement, in order that they may impinge
on one another and so on.[157] In this way there arise particular
accumulations and configurations; and these are things.

Other physical properties, such as taste and smell, have their basis
again in another arrangement of the molecules. But there is no bridge
from this to that, or what results is simply empty tautology, according
to which the parts are arranged and combined as is requisite in order
that their appearance may be what it is. The transition to bodies
of concrete appearance Epicurus has either not made at all, or what
has been cited from him as far as this matter is concerned, taken by
itself, is extremely meagre.

The opinion that one hears expressed respecting the Epicurean
philosophy is in other respects not unfavourable; and for this reason
some further details must be given regarding it. For since absolute
Being is constituted by atoms scattered and disintegrated, and by
vacuum, it directly follows that Epicurus denies to these atoms any
relationship to one another which implies purpose. All that we call
forms and organisms, or generally speaking, the unity of Nature’s
end, in his way of thinking, belongs to qualities, to an external
connection of the configurations of the atoms, which in this way is
merely an accident, brought about by their chance-directed motion; the
atoms accordingly form a merely superficial unity, and one which is
not essential to them. Or else Epicurus altogether denies that Notion
and the Universal are the essential, and because all originations are
to him chance combinations, for him their resolution is just as much
a matter of chance. The divided is the first and the truly existent,
but at the same time chance or external necessity is the law which
dominates all cohesion. That Epicurus should in this fashion declare
himself against a universal end in the world, against every relation
of purpose—as, for instance, the inherent conformity to purpose of the
organism—and, further, against the teleological representations of the
wisdom of a Creator in the world, his government, &c., is a matter of
course; for he abrogates unity, whatever be the manner in which we
represent it, whether as Nature’s end in itself, or as end which is
in another, but is carried out in Nature. In contrast to this, the
teleological view enters largely into the philosophy of the Stoics,
and is there very fully developed. To show that conformity to an end
is lacking, Epicurus brings forward the most trivial examples; for
instance, that worms and so on are produced by chance from mud through
the warmth of the sun. Taken in their entirety, they may very well be
the work of chance in relation to others; but what is implicit in them,
their Notion and essence is something organic: and the comprehension of
this is what we have now to consider. But Epicurus banishes thought as
implicit, without its occurring to him that his atoms themselves have
this very nature of thought; that is, their existence in time is not
immediate but essentially mediate, and thus negative or universal;—the
first and only inconsistency that we find in Epicurus, and one which
all empiricists are guilty of. The Stoics take the opposite course of
finding essential Being in the object of thought or the universal; and
they fail equally in reaching the content, temporal existence, which,
however, they most inconsistently assume. We have here the metaphysics
of Epicurus; nothing that he says farther on this head is of interest.


The natural philosophy of Epicurus is based on the above foundation;
but an aspect of interest is given it by the fact that it is still
peculiarly the method of our times; his thoughts on particular aspects
of Nature are, however, in themselves feeble and of little weight,
containing nothing but an ill-considered medley of all manner of loose
conceptions. Going further, the principle of the manner in which
Epicurus looks on nature, lies in the conceptions he forms, which we
have already had before us (pp. 282, 285). That is to say, the general
representations which we receive through the repetition of several
perceptions, and to which we relate such perceptions in forming an
opinion, must be then applied to that which is not exactly matter of
perception, but yet has something in common with what we can perceive.
In this way it comes about that by such images we can apprehend the
unknown which does not lend itself immediately to perception; for from
what is known we must argue to what is unknown. This is nothing else
but saying that Epicurus judged by analogy, or that he makes so-called
evidence the principle of his view of Nature; and this is the principle
which to this day has authority in ordinary physical science. We go
through experiences and make observations, these arising from the
sensuous perceptions which are apt to be overlooked. Thus we reach
general concepts, laws, forces, and so on, electricity and magnetism,
for instance, and these are then applied by us to such objects and
activities as we cannot ourselves directly perceive. As an example, we
know about the nerves and their connection with the brain; in order
that there may be feeling and so on, it is said that a transmission
from the finger-tips to the brain takes place. But how can we represent
this to ourselves? We cannot make it a matter of observation. By
anatomy we can lay bare the nerves, it is true, but not the manner
of their working. We represent these to ourselves on the analogy of
other phenomena of transmission, for instance as the vibration of a
tense string that passes through the nerves to the brain. As in the
well-known phenomenon of a number of billiard balls set close together
in a row, the last of which rolls away when the first is struck, while
those in the middle, through each of which the effect of the stroke has
been communicated to the next, scarcely seem to move, so we represent
to ourselves the nerves as consisting of tiny balls which are invisible
even through the strongest magnifying glass, and fancy that at every
touch, &c., the last springs off and strikes the soul. In the same way
light is represented as filaments, rays, or as vibrations of the ether,
or as globules of ether, each of which strikes on the other. This is an
analogy quite in the manner of Epicurus.

In giving such explanations as those above, Epicurus professed to
be most liberal, fair and tolerant, saying that all the different
conceptions which occur to us in relation to sensuous objects—at our
pleasure, we may say,—can be referred to that which we cannot ourselves
directly observe; we should not assert any one way to be the right one,
for many ways may be so. In so saying, Epicurus is talking idly; his
words fall on the ear and the fancy, but looked on more narrowly they
disappear. So, for instance, we see the moon shine, without being able
to have any nearer experience of it. On this subject Epicurus says:
“The moon may have its own light, or a light borrowed from the sun; for
even on earth we see things which shine of themselves, and many which
are illuminated by others. Nothing hinders us from observing heavenly
things in the light of various previous experiences, and from adopting
hypotheses and explanations in accordance with these. The waxing and
waning of the moon may also be caused by the revolution of this body,
or through changes in the air” (according as vapour is modified in one
way or another), “or also by means of adding and taking away somewhat:
in short, in all the ways whereby that which has a certain appearance
to us is caused to show such appearance.” Thus there are to be found in
Epicurus all these trivialities of friction, concussion, &c., as when
he gives his opinion of lightning on the analogy of how we see fire of
other kinds kindled: “Lightning is explained by quite a large number
of possible conceptions; for instance, that through the friction and
collision of clouds the figuration of fire is emitted, and lightning
is produced.” In precisely the same way modern physicists transfer the
production of an electric spark, when glass and silk are rubbed against
each other, to the clouds. For, as we see a spark both in lightning and
electricity, we conclude from this circumstance common to both that the
two are analogical; therefore, we come to the conclusion that lightning
also is an electric phenomenon. But clouds are not hard bodies, and
by moisture electricity is more likely to be dispersed; therefore,
such talk has just as little truth in it as the fancy of Epicurus. He
goes on to say: “Or lightning may also be produced by being expelled
from the clouds by means of the airy bodies which form lightning—by
being struck out when the clouds are pressed together either by each
other or by the wind,” &c. With the Stoics things are not much better.
Application of sensuous conceptions according to analogy is often
termed comprehension or explanation, but in reality there is in such
a process not the faintest approach to thought or comprehension. “One
man,” adds Epicurus, “may select; one of these modes, and reject the
others, not considering what is possible for man to know, and what is
impossible, and therefore striving to attain to a knowledge of the

This application of sensuous images to what has a certain similarity
to them, is pronounced to be the basis and the knowledge of the
cause, because, in his opinion, a transference such as this cannot
be corroborated by the testimony of mere immediate sensation; thus
the Stoic method of seeking a basis in thought is excluded, and in
this respect the mode of explanation adopted by Epicurus is directly
opposed to that of the Stoics. One circumstance which strikes us at
once in Epicurus is the lack of observation and experience with regard
to the mutual relations of bodies: but the kernel of the matter, the
principle, is nothing else than the principle of modern physics. This
method of Epicurus has been attacked and derided, but on this score no
one need be ashamed of or fight shy of it, if he is a physicist; for
what Epicurus says is not a whit worse than what the moderns assert.
Indeed, in the case of Epicurus the satisfactory assurance is likewise
always present of his emphasizing the fact most strongly that just
because the evidence of the senses is found to be lacking, we must
not take our stand on any one analogy. Elsewhere he in the same way
makes light of analogy, and when one person accepts this possibility
and another that other possibility, he admires the cleverness of the
second and troubles himself little about the explanation given by
the first; it may be so, or it may not be so.[159] This is a method
devoid of reason, which reaches no further than to general conceptions.
Nevertheless, if Physical Science is considered to relate to immediate
experience on the one hand, and, on the other hand—in respect of that
which cannot be immediately experienced—to relate to the application
of the above according to a resemblance existing between it and that
which is not matter of experience, in that case Epicurus may well be
looked on as the chief promoter, if not the originator of this method,
and also as having asserted that it is identical with knowledge. Of the
Epicurean method in philosophy we may say this, that it likewise has
a side on which it possesses value, and we may in some measure assent
when we hear, as we frequently do, the Epicurean physics favourably
spoken of. Aristotle and the earlier philosophers took their start in
natural philosophy from universal thought _a priori_, and from this
developed the Notion; this is the one side. The other side, which is
just as necessary, demands that experience should be worked up into
universality, that laws should be found out; that is to say, that the
result which follows from the abstract Idea should coincide with the
general conception to which experience and observation have led up.
The _a priori_ is with Aristotle, for instance, most excellent but not
sufficient, because to it there is lacking connection with and relation
to experience and observation. This leading up of the particular to the
universal is the finding out of laws, natural forces, and so on. It may
thus be said that Epicurus is the inventor of empiric Natural Science,
of empiric Psychology. In contrast to the Stoic ends, conceptions of
the understanding, experience is the present as it appears to the
senses: there we have abstract limited understanding, without truth
in itself, and therefore without the present in time and the reality
of Nature; here we have this sense of Nature, which is more true than
these other hypotheses.

The same effect which followed the rise of a knowledge of natural laws,
&c., in the modern world was produced by the Epicurean philosophy in
its own sphere, that is to say, in so far as it is directed against
the arbitrary invention of causes. The more, in later times, men
made acquaintance with the laws of Nature, the more superstition,
miracles, astrology, &c. disappeared; all this fades away owing to
the contradiction offered to it by the knowledge of natural laws. The
method of Epicurus was directed more especially against the senseless
superstition of astrology, &c., in whose methods there is neither
reason nor thought, for it is quite a thing of the imagination,
downright fabrication being resorted to, or what we may even term
lying. In contrast with this, the way in which Epicurus works, when
the conceptions and not thought are concerned, accords with truth. For
it does not go beyond what is perceived by the sight, and hearing,
and the other senses, but keeps to what is present and not alien to
the mind, not speaking of certain things as if they could be seen and
heard, when that is quite impossible, seeing that the things are pure
inventions. The effect of the Epicurean philosophy in its own time was
therefore this, that it set itself against the superstition of the
Greeks and Romans, and elevated men above it.[160] All the nonsense
about birds flying to right or to left, or a hare running across the
path, or men deciding how they are to act according to the entrails of
animals, or according as chickens are lively or dull—all that kind of
superstition the Epicurean philosophy made short work of, by permitting
that only to be accepted as truth which is counted as true by sense
perception through the instrumentality of anticipations; and from it
more than anything those conceptions which have altogether denied the
supersensuous have proceeded. The physics of Epicurus were therefore
famous for the reason that they introduced more enlightened views
in regard to what is physical, and banished the fear of the gods.
Superstition passes straightway from immediate appearances to God,
angels, demons; or it expects from finite things other effects than the
conditions admit of, phenomena of a higher kind. To this the Epicurean
natural philosophy is utterly opposed, because in the sphere of the
finite it refuses to go beyond the finite, and admits finite causes
alone; for the so-called enlightenment is the fact of remaining in the
sphere of the finite. There connection is sought for in other finite
things, in conditions which are themselves conditioned; superstition,
on the contrary, rightly or wrongly, passes at once to what is above
us. However correct the Epicurean method may be in the sphere of
the conditioned, it is not so in other spheres. Thus if I say that
electricity comes from God, I am right and yet wrong. For if I ask for
a cause in this same sphere of the conditioned, and give God as answer,
I say too much; though this answer fits all questions, since God is
the cause of everything, what I would know here is the particular
connection of the phenomenon. On the other hand, in this sphere even
the Notion is already something higher; but this loftier way of looking
at things which we met with in the earlier philosophers, was quite put
an end to by Epicurus, since with superstition there also passed away
self-dependent connection and the world of the Ideal.

To the natural philosophy of Epicurus there also belongs his conception
of the soul, which he looks on as having the nature of a thing, just
as the theories of our own day regard it as nerve-filaments, cords
in tension, or rows of minute balls (p. 294). His description of the
soul has therefore but little meaning, since here also he draws his
conclusion by analogy, and connects therewith the metaphysical theory
of atoms: “The soul consists of the finest and roundest atoms, which
are something quite different from fire, being a fine spirit which
is distributed through the whole aggregate of the body, and partakes
of its warmth.” Epicurus has consequently established a quantitative
difference only, since these finest atoms are surrounded by a mass of
coarser atoms and dispersed through this larger aggregate. “The part
which is devoid of reason is dispersed in the body” as the principle
of life, “but the self-conscious part (τὸ λογικόν) is in the breast,
as may be perceived from joy and sadness. The soul is capable of much
change in itself, owing to the fineness of its parts, which can move
very rapidly: it sympathizes with the rest of the aggregate, as we see
by the thoughts, emotions and so on; but when it is taken away from us
we die. But the soul, on its part, has also the greatest sympathy with
sensuous perception; yet it would have nothing in common with it, were
it not in a certain measure covered by the rest of the aggregate” (the
body)—an utterly illogical conception. “The rest of this aggregate,
which this principle provides for the soul, is thereby also partaker,
on its part, of a like condition” (sensuous perception), “yet not of
all that the former possesses; therefore, when the soul escapes,
sensuous perception exists no more for it. The aggregate spoken of
above has not this power in itself, but derives it from the other which
is brought into union with it, and the sentient movement comes to pass
through the flow of sympathy which they have in common.”[161] Of such
conceptions it is impossible to make anything. The above-mentioned
(p. 287) interruption of the streaming together of images of external
things with our organs, as the ground of error, is now explained by
the theory that the soul consists of peculiar atoms, and the atoms
are separated from one another by vacuum. With such empty words and
meaningless conceptions we shall no longer detain ourselves; we can
have no respect for the philosophic thoughts of Epicurus, or rather he
has no thoughts for us to respect.


Besides this description of the soul the philosophy of mind contains
the ethics of Epicurus, which of all his doctrines are the most
decried, and therefore the most interesting; they may, however,
also be said to constitute the best part of that philosophy. The
practical philosophy of Epicurus depends on the individuality of
self-consciousness, just as much as does that of the Stoics; and the
end of his ethics is in a measure the same, the unshaken tranquillity
of the soul, and more particularly an undisturbed pure enjoyment of
itself. Of course, if we regard the abstract principle involved in
the ethics of Epicurus, our verdict cannot be other than exceedingly
unfavourable. For if sensation, the feeling of pain and pleasure, is
the criterion for the right, good, true, for that which man should
make his aim in life, morality is really abrogated, or the moral
principle is in fact not moral; at least we hold that the way is
thereby opened up to all manner of arbitrariness in action. If it is
now alleged that feeling is the ground of action, and that because I
find a certain impulse in myself it is for that reason right—this is
Epicurean reasoning. Everyone may have different feelings, and the
same person, may feel differently at different times; in the same way
with Epicurus it may be left to the subjectivity of the individual to
determine the course of action. But it is of importance to notice this,
that when Epicurus sets tip pleasure as the end, he concedes this only
so far as its enjoyment is the result of philosophy. We have before now
remarked (vol. i., p. 470) that even with the Cyrenaics, while on the
one hand sensation was certainly made the principle, on the other hand
it was essential that thought should be in intimate connection with
it. Similarly it is the case with Epicurus that while he designated
pleasure as the criterion of the good, he demanded a highly cultured
consciousness, a power of reflection, which weighs pleasure to see if
it is not combined with a greater degree of pain, and in this way forms
a correct estimate of what it is. Diogenes Laërtius (X. 144) quotes
from him with regard to this point of view: “The wise man owes but
little to chance; Reason attains what is of the greatest consequence,
and both directs it and will direct it his whole life long.” The
particular pleasure is therefore regarded only with reference to the
whole, and sensuous perception is not the one and only principle of
the Epicureans; but while they made pleasure the principle, they made
a principle at the same time of that happiness which is attained,
and only attainable by reason; so that this happiness is to be
sought in such a way that it may be free and independent of external
contingencies, the contingencies of sensation. The true Epicureans were
therefore, just as much as the Stoics, raised above all particular
ties, for Epicurus, too, made his aim the undisturbed tranquillity of
the wise man. In order to be free from superstition Epicurus specially
requires physical science, as it sets men free from all the opinions
which most disturb their rest—opinions regarding the gods, and their
punishments, and more particularly from the thought of death.[162]
Freed from all this fear, and from the imaginings of the men who make
any particular object their end and aim, the wise man seeks pleasure
only as something universal, and holds this alone to be positive. Here
the universal and the particular meet; or the particular, regarded only
in its bearings to the whole, is raised into the form of universality.
Thus it happens that, while materially, or as to content, Epicurus
makes individuality a principle, on the other hand he requires the
universality of thinking, and his philosophy is thus in accordance with
that of the Stoics.

Seneca, who is known as a thorough-going and uncompromising Stoic, when
in his treatise _De Vita Beata_ (c. 12, 13) he happens to speak of the
Epicureans, gives testimony which is above suspicion to the ethical
system of Epicurus: “My verdict is, however—and in thus speaking I
go, to some extent, against many of my own countrymen—that the moral
precepts of Epicurus prescribe a way of life that is holy and just,
and, when closely considered, even sorrowful. For every pleasure of
Epicurus turns on something very paltry and poor, and we scarcely know
how restricted it is, and how insipid. The self-same law which we lay
down for virtue he prescribes for pleasure; he requires that Nature be
obeyed; but very little in the way of luxury is required to satisfy
Nature. What have we then here? He who calls a lazy, self-indulgent,
and dissolute life happiness merely seeks a good authority for a thing
that is evil, and while, drawn on by a dazzling name, he turns in the
direction where he hears the praise of pleasure sounding, he does not
follow the pleasures to which he is invited by Epicurus, but those
which he himself brings with him. Men who thus abandon themselves
to crime seek only to hide their wickedness under the mantle of
philosophy, and to furnish for their excesses a pretext and an excuse.
Thus it is by no means permitted that youth should hold up its head
again for the reason that to the laxity of its morality an honourable
title has been affixed.” By the employment of our reflective powers,
which keep guard over pleasure and consider whether there can be any
enjoyment in that which is fraught with dangers, fear, anxiety and
other troubles, the possibility of our obtaining pleasure pure and
unalloyed is reduced to a minimum. The principle of Epicurus is to live
in freedom and ease, and with the mind at rest, and to this end it is
needful to renounce much of that which men allow to sway them, and in
which they find their pleasure. The life of a Stoic is therefore but
little different from that of an Epicurean who keeps well before his
eyes what Epicurus enjoins.

It might perhaps occur to us that the Cyrenaics had the same moral
principle as the Epicureans, but Diogenes Laërtius (X. 139, 136, 137)
shows us the difference that there was between them. The Cyrenaics
rather made pleasure as a particular thing their end, while Epicurus,
on the contrary, regarded it as a means, since he asserted painlessness
to be pleasure, and allowed of no intermediate state. “Neither do the
Cyrenaics recognize pleasure in rest (καταστηματικήν), but only in the
determination of motion,” or as something affirmative, that consists
in the enjoyment of the pleasant; “Epicurus, on the contrary, admits
both—the pleasure of the body as well as that of the soul.” He meant
by this that pleasure in rest is negative, as the absence of the
unpleasant, and also an inward contentment, whereby rest is maintained
within the mind. Epicurus explained these two kinds of pleasure more
clearly as follows: “Freedom from fear and desire (ἀταραξία) and from
pain and trouble (ἀπονία) are the passive pleasures (καταστηματικὶα
ἡδοναί),”—the setting of our affections on nothing which we may run the
risk of losing; pleasures of the senses, on the other hand, like “joy
and mirth (χαρὰ δὲ καὶ εὐφροσύνη), are pleasures involving movement
(κατὰ κίνησιν ἐνεργείᾳ βλέπονται.9)” The former pleasures Epicurus held
to be the truest and highest. “Besides this, pain of the body was held
by the Cyrenaics to be worse than sorrow of the soul, while with the
Epicureans this is reversed.”

The main teaching of Epicurus in respect of morals is contained in a
letter to Men\nceus, which Diogenes Laërtius has preserved, and in
which Epicurus expresses himself as follows: “The youth must neither
be slow to study philosophy, nor must the old man feel it a burden,
for no one is either too young or too old to study the health of his
soul. We must therefore endeavour to find out wherein the happy life
consists; the following are its elements: First, we must hold that
God is a living Being, incorruptible and happy, as the general belief
supposes Him to be; and that nothing is lacking to His incorruptibility
nor to His happiness. But though the existence of the gods is known
to be a fact, yet they are not such as the multitude suppose them to
be. He is therefore not impious who discards his faith in the gods of
the multitude, but he who applies to them the opinions entertained of
them by the mass.” By these gods of Epicurus we can understand nothing
else than the Holy, the Universal, in concrete form. The Stoics held
more to the ordinary conception, without indeed giving much thought
to the Being of God; with the Epicureans, on the other hand, the gods
express an immediate Idea of the system. Epicurus says: “That which is
holy and incorruptible has itself no trouble nor causes it to others;
therefore it is unstirred by either anger or show of favour, for it is
in weakness only that such find a place. The gods may be known by means
of Reason; they consist partly in Number; others are the perfected
type of man, which, owing to the similarity of the images, arises
from the continuous confluence of like images on one and the same
subject.”[163] The gods are thus the altogether general images which
we receive into ourselves; and Cicero says (De Natura Deorum, 18, 38)
that they come singly upon us in sleep. This general image, which is
at the same time an anthropomorphic conception, is the same to which
we give the name of Ideal, only that here the source assigned to it is
the reiterated occurrence of images. The gods thus seem to Epicurus to
be Ideals of the holy life; they are also existent things, consisting
of the finest atoms; they are, however, pure souls, unmixed with any
grosser element, and therefore exempt from toil and trouble and pain.
Their self-enjoyment is wholly passive, as it must be if consistent,
for action has always in it something alien, the opposition of itself
and reality, and the toil and trouble which are involved in it really
represent the aspect of consciousness of opposition rather than that
of realization. The gods lead an existence of pure and passive self
enjoyment, and trouble themselves not with the affairs of the world
and of men. Epicurus goes on to say: “Men must pay reverence to the
gods on account of the perfection of their nature and their surpassing
holiness, not in order to gain from them some special good, or for the
sake of this or that advantage,”[164] The manner in which Epicurus
represents the gods as corporeal Beings in human likeness has been
much derided; thus Cicero, for instance, in the passage quoted (c. 18)
laughs at Epicurus for alleging that the gods have only _quasi_ bodies,
flesh and blood. But from this there follows only that they are, as it
were, the implicit, as we see it stated of the soul and things palpable
to the senses, that they have behind them what is implicit. Our talk
of qualities is no better; for if justice, goodness, and so on, are to
be taken _in sensu eminentiori_, and not as they are with men, we have
in God a Being in the same way possessed of only something resembling
justice and the other qualities. With this there is closely connected
the theory of Epicurus that the gods dwell in vacant space, in the
intermediate spaces of the world, where they are exposed neither to
rain or wind or snow or the like.[165] For the intermediate spaces are
the vacuum, wherein, as the principle of movement, are the atoms in
themselves. Worlds, as phenomena, are complete continuous concretions
of such atoms, but concretions which are only external relations.
Between them, as in vacuum, there are thus these Beings also, which
themselves are certainly concretions of atoms, but concretions which
remain implicit. Yet this leads only to confusion, if a closer
definition is given, for concretion constitutes what is for the senses,
but the gods, even if they were concretions, would not be realities
exactly such as these. In illogical fashion the general, the implicit,
is taken out of reality and set above it, not as atoms, but just as
before, as a combination of these atoms; in this way this combination
is not itself the sensuous. This seems ridiculous, but it is connected
with the interruptions spoken of, and with the relation of the vacuum
to the plenum, the atom. So far, therefore, the gods belong to the
category of negativity as against sensuality, and as this negative is
thought, in that sense what Epicurus said of the gods may still to
some extent be said. To this determination of God a larger measure of
objectivity of course belongs, but it is a perfectly correct assertion
that God, as Thought, is a holy Being, to whom reverence is due for
His own sake alone. The first element in a happy life is therefore
reverence for the gods, uninfluenced by fear or hope.

Further, a second point with Epicurus is the contemplation of death,
the negative of existence, of self-consciousness in man; he requires
us to have a true conception of death, because otherwise it disturbs
our tranquillity. He accordingly says: “Accustom thyself then to the
thought that death concerns us not; for all good and evil is a matter
of sensation, but death is a deprivation (στέρησις) of sensation.
Therefore the true reflection that death is no concern of ours,
makes our mortal life one of enjoyment, since this thought does not
add an endless length of days, but does away with the longing after
immortality. For nothing in life has terrors for him who has once truly
recognized the fact that not to live is not a matter of dread. Thus it
is a vain thing to fear death, not because its presence but because
the anticipation of it brings us pain. For how can the anticipation
of a thing pain us when its reality does not? There is therefore in
death nothing to trouble us. For when we are in life, death is not
there, and when death is there, we are not. Therefore death does not
concern either the living or the dead.” This is quite correct, if we
look at the immediate; it is a thought full of meaning, and drives away
fear. Mere privation, which death is, is not to be confounded with the
feeling of being alive, which is positive; and there is no reason for
worrying oneself about it. “But the future in general is neither ours,
nor is it not ours; hence we must not count upon it as something that
will come to pass, nor yet despair of it, as if it would not come to
pass.”[166] It is no concern of ours either that it is or that it is
not; and it need not therefore cause us uneasiness. This the right way
in which to regard the future also.

Epicurus passes on to speak of impulses, saying: “This moreover is
to be kept in mind, that amongst impulses some are natural, but
others are vain; and of those that are natural some are necessary
while others are natural only. Those that are necessary are either
necessary to happiness, or tend to save the body from pain, or to
self-preservation in general. The perfect theory teaches how to choose
that which promotes health of body and steadfastness of soul, and how
to reject what impairs them, this being the aim of the holy life.
This is the end of all our actions, to have neither pain of body nor
uneasiness of mind. If we but attain to this, all turmoil of the soul
is stilled, since the life no longer has to strive after something
which it needs, and no longer has to seek anything outside of itself
by which the welfare of soul and body is arrived at. But even on the
supposition that pleasure is the first and the inborn good, we do not
for that reason choose all pleasures, but many we renounce, when they
are more than counterbalanced by their painful results; and many pains
we prefer to pleasures, if there follows from them a pleasure that
is greater. Contentment we hold to be a good, not that we may aim at
merely reducing our requirements to a minimum, as the Cynics did, but
that we may seek not to be discontented even when we have not very
much, knowing that they most enjoy abundance who can do without it, and
that what is naturally desired is easy to procure, while what is a mere
idle fancy can be procured only with difficulty. Simple dishes afford
just as much enjoyment as costly banquets, if they appease hunger.
Therefore when we make pleasure our aim, it is not the enjoyments of
the gourmand, as is often falsely thought, but freedom from both pain
of body and uneasiness of mind. We attain to this life of happiness by
sober reason alone, which examines the grounds of all choice and all
rejection, and expels the thoughts by which the soul’s rest is most
disturbed. It is surely better to be unhappy and reasonable than to be
happy and unreasonable; for it is better that in our actions we should
judge correctly than that we should be favoured by luck. Meditate on
this day and night, and let thyself be shaken by nought from thy peace
of soul, that thou mayest live as a god amongst men; for the man who
lives amongst such imperishable treasures has nothing in common with
mortal men. Of all those the first and foremost is reasonableness
(φρόνησις), which on this account is still more excellent than
philosophy; from it spring all the other virtues. For they show that
one cannot live happily, unless he lives wisely and honourably and
justly: nor can he live wisely and honourably and justly without living

Therefore, although at first sight there seems not much to be said for
the principle of Epicurus, nevertheless by means of the inversion of
making the guiding principle to be found in thought proceeding from
Reason, it passes into Stoicism, as even Seneca himself has admitted
(_v. supra_, pp. 302, 303); and actually the same result is reached
as with the Stoics. Hence the Epicureans describe their wise man in
at least as glowing terms as the Stoics do theirs; and in both these
systems the wise man is depicted with the same qualities, these being
negative. With the Stoics the Universal is the essential principle,—not
pleasure, the self-consciousness of the particular as particular; but
the reality of this self-consciousness is equally something pleasant.
With the Epicureans pleasure is the essential principle, but pleasure
sought and enjoyed in such a way that it is pure and unalloyed, that
is to say, in accordance with sound judgment, and with no greater evil
following to destroy it: therefore pleasure is regarded in its whole
extent, that is, as being itself a universal. In Diogenes Laërtius,
however (X. 117-121), the Epicurean delineation of the wise man has a
character of greater mildness; he shapes his conduct more according to
laws already in operation, while the Stoic wise man, on the other hand,
does not take these into account at all. The Epicurean wise man is less
combative than the Stoic, because the latter makes his starting-point
the thought of self-dependence, which, while denying self, exercises
activity: the Epicureans, on the other hand, proceed from the thought
of existence, which is not so exacting, and seeks not so much this
activity directed outwards, as rest; this, however, is not won by
lethargy, but by the highest mental culture. Yet although the content
of the Epicurean philosophy, its aim and result, stands thus on as high
a level as the Stoic philosophy, and is its exact parallel, the two
are nevertheless in other respects directly opposed to one another;
but each of these systems is one-sided, and therefore both of them
are dogmatisms inconsistent with themselves by the necessity of the
Notion, that is, they contain the contrary principle within them. The
Stoics take the content of their thought from Being, from the sensuous,
demanding that thought should be the thought of something existent: the
Epicureans, on the contrary, extend their particularity of existence
to the atoms which are only things of thought, and to pleasure as a
universal; but in accordance with their respective principles, both
schools know themselves to be definitely opposed to each other.

The negative mean to these one-sided principles is the Notion, which,
abrogating fixed extremes of determination such as these, moves them
and sets them free from a mere state of opposition. This movement of
the Notion, the revival of dialectic—directed as it is against these
one-sided principles of abstract thinking and sensation—we now see in
its negative aspect, both in the New Academy and in the Sceptics. Even
the Stoics, as having their principle in thought, cultivated dialectic,
though theirs was (pp. 254, 255) a common logic, in which the form of
simplicity passes for the Notion, while the Notion, as such, represents
the negative element in it, and dissolves the determinations, which are
taken up into that simplicity. There is a higher form of the Notion of
dialectic reality, which not only applies itself to sensuous existence,
but also to determinate Notions, and which brings to consciousness the
opposition between thought and existence; not expressing the Universal
as simple Idea, but as a universality in which all comes back into
consciousness as an essential moment of existence. In Scepticism we now
really have an abrogation of the two one-sided systems that we have
hitherto dealt with; but this negative remains negative only, and is
incapable of passing into an affirmative.


As opposed to the Stoic and Epicurean Dogmatism, we first of all have
the New Academy, which is a continuation of Plato’s Academy in as far
as the followers of Plato are divided into the Old, Middle, and New
Academies; some indeed allow of a fourth Academy and even a fifth.[168]
The most noteworthy figures here are those of Arcesilaus and Carneades.
The establishment of the Middle Academy is ascribed to Arcesilaus,
and the New Academy is said to contain the philosophy of Carneades;
but this distinction has no signification. Both of these are closely
connected with Scepticism, and the Sceptics themselves have often
trouble in distinguishing their standpoint from the Academic principle.
Both have been claimed by Scepticism as Sceptics, but between the
Academics and pure Scepticism a distinction has been drawn, which is
certainly very formal, and has but little signification, but to which
the Sceptics in their subtlety undoubtedly attached some meaning. The
distinction often consists in the meanings of words only, and in quite
external differences.

The standpoint of the Academics is that they express the truth as a
subjective conviction of self-consciousness; and this tallies with the
subjective idealism of modern times. The truth, in so far as it is only
a subjective conviction, has hence been called, by the New Academy,
the _probable_. Although followers of Plato, and hence, Platonists,
the Academicians did not remain at the standpoint of Plato, nor could
they have done so. But we easily see the connection of this principle
with the Platonic doctrines, if we recollect that with Plato the Idea
has been the principle, and that, indeed, on the whole, in the form
of universality. Plato remained, as we saw above (pp. 139, 140), in
the abstract Idea; to him the one great matter in Philosophy is to
combine the infinite and finite. Plato’s Ideas are derived from the
necessities of reason, from enthusiasm for the truth, but they are in
themselves devoid of movement, and only universal, while Aristotle
demands actuality, self-determining activity. Plato’s dialectic has
only attempted to assert the universal as such, and to demonstrate the
determinate and particular to be null, thus leaving nothing at all but
abstract universality. His dialectic has hence very often a negative
result, in which determinations are merely done away with and annulled.
With Plato the working out of the concrete has thus not gone far, and
where he, as in the Timæus, proceeds into the determinate, _e.g._ of
organic life, he becomes infinitely trivial and quite unspeculative,
while with Aristotle matters are very different. The necessity for a
scientific ground has necessarily caused us to be carried on beyond
this Platonic point of view. The Stoics and Epicureans were imbued
with the scientific necessity, not yet recognized by Plato, of giving
a content to the universal of the Idea, _i.e._ of grasping particular
determinateness, but the succeeding Academicians stand in a negative
attitude to them in this regard. To the end they made a point of
holding to the Platonic universality, uniting to this the Platonic
dialectic also. The principle of the New Academy could thus, like the
Platonic dialectic, possess a dialectic attitude and bearing which
proceeded to nothing affirmative; as, indeed, in many of Plato’s
dialogues, mere confusion is what is arrived at. But while with Plato
the affirmative result is essentially the result of dialectic, so that
with him we have really found the universal Idea as species, during all
this time, on the other hand, the tendency to abstract apprehension
is predominant; and as this showed itself in the Stoic and Epicurean
philosophy, it has also extended to the Platonic Idea and degraded it
into being a form of the understanding. Plato’s Ideas were thus torn
from their rest through thought, because in such universality thought
has not yet recognized itself as self-consciousness. Self-consciousness
confronted them with great pretensions, actuality in general asserted
itself against universality; and the rest of the Idea necessarily
passed into the movement of thought. This movement now, however, in
the New Academy turned dialectically against the determination of the
Stoics and Epicureans, which rested on the fact that the criterion of
the truth ought to be a concrete. For example, in the conception as
comprehended by the Stoics, there is a thought which likewise has a
content, although, again, this union still remains very formal. But the
two forms in which the dialectic of the New Academy turns against this
concrete, are represented by Arcesilaus and Carneades.


Arcesilaus kept to the abstraction of the Idea as against the
criterion; for though in the Idea of Plato, _i.e._ in the Timæus and in
his dialectic, the concrete was derived from quite another source, this
was only admitted for the first time later on by the Neo-platonists,
who really recognized the unity of the Platonic and the Aristotelian
principles. The opposition to the Dogmatists thus does not in the case
of Arcesilaus proceed from the dialectic of the Sceptics, but from
keeping to abstraction; and here we perceive the gulf marking out this
epoch from any other.

Arcesilaus was born at Pitane in Æolia in the 116th Olympiad (318
B.C.), and was a contemporary of Epicurus and Zeno. Though he
originally belonged to the Old Academy, yet the spirit of the time and
the progressive development of Philosophy did not now admit of the
simplicity of the Platonic manner. He possessed considerable means, and
devoted himself entirely to the studies requisite for the education
of a noble Greek, viz. to rhetoric, poetry, music, mathematics, &c.
Mainly for the purpose of exercising himself in rhetoric, he came to
Athens, here was introduced to Philosophy, and lived henceforth for
its sake alone; he held intercourse with Theophrastus, Zeno, &c.,
and it is a subject of dispute whether he did not hear Pyrrho also.
Arcesilaus, familiar with all the Philosophy of those days, was by
his contemporaries held to be as noble a man as he was a subtle and
acute philosopher; being without pride in himself, he recognized the
merits of others. He lived in Athens, occupied the post of scholarch
in the Academy, and was thus a successor of Plato. After the death
of Crates, the successor of Speusippus, the place of honour in the
Academy devolved on Sosicrates, but he willingly gave it up in favour
of Arcesilaus on account of the superiority of the latter in talent
and philosophy. What really happened as regards the transference
of the chair to others, is, for the rest, unknown to us. He filled
this office, in which he made use of the method of disputation, with
approbation and applause, until his death, which took place in Olympiad
134, 4 (244 B.C.), in the seventy-fourth year of his age.[169]

The principal points in the philosophy of Arcesilaus are preserved
by Cicero in his _Academics Quæstiones_, but Sextus Empiricus is
more valuable as an authority, for he is more thorough, definite,
philosophic and systematic.

_a._ This philosophy is specially known to us as being a dialectic
directed against Stoicism, with which Arcesilaus had much to do, and
its result, as far as its main principles are concerned, is expressed
thus: “The wise man must restrain his approbation and assent.”[170]
This principle was called ἐποχή, and it is the same as that of the
Sceptics; on the other hand this expression is connected with the
principle of the Stoics as follows. Because to Stoic philosophy truth
consists in the fact that thought declares some content of existence to
be its own, and the conception as comprehended gives its approbation
to this content, the content of our conceptions, principles and
thoughts undoubtedly appears to be different from thought, and the
union of the two, which is the concrete, only arises by means of some
determinate content being taken up into the form of thought and thus
being expressed as the truth. But Arcesilaus saw this consequence,
and his saying that approbation most be withheld is thus as much as
saying that by thus taking up the content no truth comes to pass, but
only phenomenon; and this is true, because, as Arcesilaus puts it,
conception and thought likewise remain apart. Arcesilaus has certainly
unthinkingly allowed that this content united to consciousness is
a concrete such as was indicated, only he has asserted that this
connection merely gives a perception with a good ground, and not
what he calls truth. This is called probability, but not quite
appropriately; it is a universal set forth through the form of thought,
and is only formal, having no absolute truth. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c.
33, § 233) puts this plainly in saying that “Arcesilaus has declared
the withholding of approbation in relation to parts, to be a good, but
the assenting to parts to be an evil,” because the assent only concerns
_parts_. That is, if thought is to be retained as a universal, it
cannot come to be a criterion; and that is the meaning of Arcesilaus
when he asks that the wise man should remain at the universal, and not
go on to the determinate as if this determinate were the truth.

Sextus Empiricus gives us (adv. Math. VII. 155, 151-153) a more
particular explanation of this philosophy, which is preserved to us
only as being in opposition to the Stoics. Arcesilaus asserted as
against the Stoics, that everything is incomprehensible (ἀκατάληπτα).
He thus combated the conception of thought (καταληπτικὴν φαντασίαν),
which to the Stoics is the point of most importance and the concrete
truth. Arcesilaus further attacked the Stoics thus: “They themselves
say that the conception of thought is the mean between scientific
knowledge and opinion, the one of which pertains alone to fools and the
other alone to wise men; the conception of thought is common to both,
and the criterion of the truth. Arcesilaus here argued in such a way as
to show that between scientific knowledge and opinion the conception
of thought is no criterion, for it is either in the wise man or the
fool, and in the former it is knowledge, and in the latter, opinion.
If it is nothing excepting these, there remains to it nothing but an
empty name.” For knowledge must be a developed consciousness derived
from reasons, but these reasons, as conceptions of thought, Arcesilaus
states to be just such thoughts as those of the fool. They are thus,
no doubt, the concrete directing power which constitutes the principal
content of our consciousness; but it is not proved that they are the
truth. Thus this mean, as judging between reason and opinion, pertains
equally to the wise man and the fool, and may be error or truth
equally; and thus the wise man and the fool have the same criterion,
and yet they must, in relation to the truth, be distinguished from one

Arcesilaus further gives effect to the distinctions which are more
particularly brought up in modern times, and relied upon. “If
comprehension is the assent given to a conception of thought, it does
not exist. For, in the first place, the assent is not on account of
a conception, but of a reason; that is to say, it is only as regards
axioms that this assent holds good.”[171] That is good; more fully
the purport would be something like this: Thought, as subjective, is
made to assent to an existence which is a determinate content of the
conception. A sensuous image such as this, however, is foreign to
thought, and with it thought cannot accord, because it is something
different from it, something from which thought, on the contrary,
holds itself aloof. It is, in general, only to a thought that thought
finds itself conformable, and only in a thought that it finds itself;
thus only a universal axiom is capable of such accord, for only
such abstract principles are immediately pure thoughts. Arcesilaus
thus holds it up against the Stoics that their principle contains a
contradiction within itself, because the conception of thought is made
to be the thought of another, but thought can only think itself. This
is a thought which concerns the inmost essence of the thing. Arcesilaus
thus here makes the same celebrated distinction as in recent times has
again been brought forward with so much force as the opposition between
thought and Being, ideality and reality, subjective and objective.
Things are something different from me. How can I attain to things?
Thought is the independent determination of a content as universal;
but a given content is individual and hence we cannot assent to such.
The one is here, the other there; subjective and objective cannot
pass to one another—this is a form of thought upon which for long the
whole culture of modern philosophy has turned, and which we still find
to-day. It is important to have a consciousness of this difference,
and to assert this consciousness against the principle of the Stoics.
It was of this unity of thought and reality that the Stoics ought to
have given an account; and this they did not do, and indeed it was
never done in ancient times. For the ancients did not prove that the
subjective element of thought and this objective content are really in
their diversity the passing into one another, and that this identity
is their truth; this was only found in Plato in an abstract form and
as a first commencement. The unity of thought and conception is the
difficult matter; thus if thought, as such, is the principle, it is
abstract. The logic of the Stoics hence remained formal merely, and the
attainment of a content could not be demonstrated. Thought and Being
are themselves such abstractions, and we may move to and fro between
them for long without arriving at any determination. Thus this unity of
universal and particular cannot be the criterion. With the Stoics the
conception as comprehended appears to be immediately asserted; it is a
concrete, but it is not shown that this is the truth of these distinct
elements. Against this immediately accepted concrete, the assertion of
the difference of the two is thus quite consistent.

“In the second place,” says Arcesilaus, “there is no apprehended
conception that is not also false, as has been confirmed many times and
oft,” just as the Stoics themselves say that the apprehended conception
could be both true and false. Determinate content has its opposite in
a determinate which must likewise as an object of thought be true; and
this destroys itself. In this consists the blind wandering about in
thoughts and reasons such as these, which are not grasped as Idea, as
the unity of opposites, but in one of the opposites asserts one thing,
and then, with as good reason, the opposite. The truth of the world is,
on the contrary, quite different, the universal law of reason which is
as such for thought. Reasons are relatively ultimate for a content, but
not absolutely ultimate; they can only be regarded as good reasons, as
probability, as the Academics express it. This is a great truth which
Arcesilaus had attained. But because no unity can thus come forth, he
then draws the conclusion that the wise man must withhold his assent,
that is, not that he should not think, but that he must not merely for
that reason regard as true that which is thought. “For since nothing is
comprehensible, he will, if he assents, assent to an incomprehensible;
now because such an assent is opinion, the wise man will only be wise
in opinion.”[172] We still likewise hear this said: Man thinks, but
does not thereby arrive at the truth; it remains beyond. Cicero (Acad.
Quæst. IV. 24) thus expresses this: “Neither the false nor the true can
be known, if the true were simply to be such as is the false.”

_b._ In relation to what is practical, Arcesilaus says: “But since
the conduct of life without a criterion of the true or the false is
impossible, and the end of life, or happiness, can only be determined
through such grounds, the wise man, not withholding his approbation
regarding everything, will, as regards what has to be done and left
undone, direct his actions in accordance with the probable (εὔλογον),”
as the subjectively convincing conception. What is right in this is
that the good ground does not extend as far as truth. “Happiness is
brought about by discretion (φρόνησις), and rational conduct operates
in fitting and right action (κατορθώμασι); that is rightly done which
is permitted by a well-grounded justification,” so that it appears to
be true. “Thus, he who regards what is well-founded will do rightly and
be happy,” but for this culture and intelligent thought are requisite.
Arcesilaus thus remains at the indeterminate, at subjectivity of
conviction, and a probability justified by good grounds. Thus we see
that in regard to what is positive, Arcesilaus does not really get
any further than the Stoics, nor say anything different from what
they do; only the form is different, because, what the Stoics call
true, Arcesilaus calls well-founded or probable. But, on the whole, he
possessed a higher kind of knowledge than the Stoics, because what is
thus founded cannot be held to have the significance of an implicit
existence, but only a relative truth in consciousness.


Carneades was equally famous; he was one of the followers of Arcesilaus
in the Academy, and he also lived in Athens, though considerably later.
He was born in Cyrene in Ol. 141, 3 (217 B.C.), and died in Ol. 162,
4 (132 B.C.), thus being eighty-five years old; though, according to
others he was as much as ninety.[173] During the already mentioned (pp.
241, 242) embassy of the three philosophers to Rome, it was chiefly
Carneades’ quickness, eloquence, and power of conviction, as also his
great fame, which aroused remark, attracted men together, and gained
great approbation in Rome. For he here held, after the manner of the
Academics, two discourses on justice; the one for and the other against
justice. That on which both generally speaking rested, can easily be
discovered. In the justification of justice he took the universal as
principle; but in showing its nullity, he laid weight on the principle
of individuality, of self-interest. To the young Romans who knew little
of the opposition in the Notion, this was something new; they had no
idea of such methods of applying thought, were much attracted by them,
and were soon won over to them. But the older Romans, and particularly
the elder Cato, the Censor, who was then still living, saw this very
unwillingly, and declaimed much against it, because the youths were
thereby turned away from the strictness of ideas and virtues which
prevailed in Rome. As the evil gained ground, Caius Acilius made a
proposition in the Senate to banish all philosophers from the city,
amongst whom, naturally, without their names being mentioned, those
three ambassadors were included. The elder Cato, however, moved the
Senate to conclude the business with the ambassadors as quickly as
possible, so that they might again set forth, and return to their
schools, and might henceforth instruct only the sons of the Greeks.
The Roman youths might then as formerly give ear to their laws and
magistrates, and learn wisdom from intercourse with the senators.[174]
But this taint can no more be avoided than could in Paradise the
desire for knowledge. The knowledge which is a necessary moment in
the culture of a people, thus makes its appearance as the Fall from
innocence, and as corruption. An epoch such as this, in which thought
appears to veer about, is then regarded as an evil as far as the
security of the ancient constitution is concerned. But this evil of
thought cannot be prevented by laws, &c.; it can and must be the healer
of itself through itself alone, if thought through thought itself is
truly brought to pass.

a. The philosophy of Carneades has been given to us in most detail
by Sextus Empiricus; and all else of Carneades that we possess is
likewise directed against the dogmatism of the Stoic and Epicurean
philosophy. The fact that the nature of consciousness is what is most
particularly considered makes his propositions interesting. While in
Arcesilaus we still found a good reason or argument maintained, the
principle which Carneades supported is expressed as that “in the first
place there is absolutely no criterion of the truth, neither feeling,
conception, nor thought, nor any other such thing; for all this put
together deceives us.” This general empirical proposition is still in
vogue. In developing the matter further, Carneades proves what he says
from reasons, and we have the nature of consciousness more definitely
expressed in the following: “In the second place he shows that even if
such a criterion existed, it could not be without an affection (πάθος)
of consciousness, which proceeds from perception.”[175] For this,
speaking generally, is his principal reflection, that every criterion
must be constituted so that it has two elements, one being the
objective, existent, immediately determined, while the other element is
an affection, an activity, an attribute of consciousness, and belongs
to the sensitive, conceiving or thinking subject—but as such it could
not be the criterion. For this activity of consciousness consists in
the fact that it changes the objective, and thus does not allow the
objective as it is to come to us immediately. Hence the same attitude
of separation is pre-supposed as formerly, viz. that the understanding
is to be regarded as an ultimate and clearly absolute relationship.

α. As against the Epicureans, Carneades maintains this: “Because
the living is distinguished from the dead through the activity of
sensation, by this means it will comprehend itself and what is
external. But this sensation which,” as Epicurus puts it (_supra_, p.
281), “remains unmoved and is impassive and unchangeable, is neither
sensation nor does it comprehend anything. For not until they have been
changed and determined by the invasion of the actual does sensation
show forth things.”[176] The sensation of Epicurus is an existent,
but there is in it no principle of judgment, because each sensation
is independent. But sensation must be analyzed in accordance with
the two points of view there present, for as the soul is therein,
determined, so likewise is that which determines determined by the
energy of the conscious subject. Because I, as a living being, have
sensation, a change in my consciousness takes place, which means that I
am determined from without and from within. Consequently the criterion
cannot be a simple determinateness, for it is really an implicit
relationship in which two moments, sensation and thought, must be

β. Since to Carneades sensation is merely what comes first, he then
says: “The criterion is thus to be sought for in the affection of the
soul by actuality.” For it is only in the mean between the energy
of the soul and that of outward things that the criterion can fall.
A determinate content of sensation such as this, which is at the
same time again determined through consciousness, this passivity and
activity of consciousness, this third something, Carneades called the
conception which constituted to the Stoics the content of thought.
Respecting this criterion, he says: “This being determined must,
however, be an indication both of itself and of the apparent, or of
the thing through which it is affected; this affection is none other
than the conception. Hence in life the conception is something which
presents both itself and the other. If we see something, the sight has
an affection, and it no longer is just as it was before seeing. Through
an alteration such as this there arise in us two things: first change
itself, _i.e._ the ordinary conception” (the subjective side) “and
then that which change produced, what is seen” (the objective). “Now
just as the light shows itself and everything in it, the conception
reigns over knowledge in the animal, and it must, like the light, make
itself evident, and reveal the actual through which consciousness is
affected.” This is quite the correct standpoint for consciousness,
and it is in itself comprehensible, but it is only for the phenomenal
mind that the other in the determinateness of consciousness is
present. We now expect a development of this opposition; but Carneades
passes into the region of empiricism without giving this further
development. “Since the conception,” he continues, “does not always
point to the truth, but often lies, and resembles bad messengers in
that it misrepresents what it proceeds from, it follows that not every
conception can give a criterion of the truth, but only that which is
true, if any are so. But because none is so constituted that it might
not also be false, conceptions are likewise a common criterion of
the true as of the false, or they form no criterion.” Carneades also
appealed to the fact of a conception proceeding even from something
not existing, or—if the Stoics asserted that what in the objective is
thinkingly apprehended is an existent—to the fact that the false may
also be apprehended.[177] In a popular way that is stated thus: There
are also conceptions of untruth. Although I am convinced, it is still
my conception merely, even if men think they have said something by
saying that they have this conviction. They likewise say that insight
or objective knowledge is still only the conviction of difference, but
really the content is in its nature universal.

γ. Finally, “because no conception is a criterion, neither can thought
be taken as such, for this depends on conception”—and must hence be
just as uncertain as it is. “For to thought, that respecting which
it judges must be conception; but conception cannot exist without
unthinking sensation”—this may, however, be either true or false, “so
that there is no criterion.”[178] This constitutes the principle in the
Academic philosophy—that on the one hand the conception is in itself
this distinction of thought and existence, and that there is likewise
a unity of both, which, however, is no absolutely existing unity.
Philosophic culture of those times remained at this standpoint, and in
modern times Reinhold also arrived at the same result.

b. Now what Carneades gave expression to of an affirmative nature
respecting the criterion, is found in the statement that undoubtedly
criteria are to be maintained for the conduct of life and for the
acquisition of happiness, but not for the speculative consideration
of what is in and for itself. Thus Carneades passes more into
what is psychological, and into finite forms of the understanding
consciousness; this is consequently no criterion respecting truth,
but respecting the subjective habits and customs of the individual,
and hence it also is of subjective truth alone, although it still
remains a concrete end. “The conception is a conception of something;
of that from which it comes as of the externally perceived object, and
of the subject in which it is, _e.g._ of man. In this way it has two
relationships—on the one hand to the object, and, on the other, to that
which forms the conception. According to the former relationship it is
either true or false; true if it harmonizes with what is conceived of,
false if this is not so.” But this point of view cannot here in any
way come under consideration, for the judgment respecting this harmony
is most certainly not in a position to separate the matter itself
from the matter as conceived. “According to the relationship to that
which conceives, the one is conceived (φαινομένε) to be true, but the
other is not conceived to be true.” Merely this relationship to the
conceiver, however, comes under the consideration of the Academicians.
“That conceived of as true is called by the Academician appearance
(ἔμφασις) and conviction, and convincing conception; but what is not
conceived as true is called incongruity (ἀπέμφασις) and non-conviction
and non-convincing conception. For neither that which is presented to
us through itself as untrue, nor what is true but is not presented to
us, convinces us.”[179]

Carneades thus determines the leading principle very much as does
Arcesilaus, for he recognizes it merely in the form of a “convincing
conception;” but as convincing it is “likewise a firm and a developed
conception,” if it is to be a criterion of life. These distinctions, on
the whole, pertain to a correct analysis, and likewise approximately
appear in formal logic; they are very much the same stages as are
found, according to Wolff, in the clear, distinct, and adequate
conception. “We have now shortly to show what is the distinction
between these three steps.”[180]

α. “A convincing conception (πιθανή) is that which appears to be true
and which is sufficiently obvious; it has a certain breadth as well,
and may be applied in many ways and in a great variety of cases; ever
verifying itself more through repetitions,” as in the case of Epicurus,
“it makes itself ever more convincing and trustworthy.” No further
account of its content is given, but what is so frequently produced
is, as empirical universality, made the first criterion.[181] But this
is only an individual and, speaking generally, an immediate and quite
simple conception.

β. “Because, however, a conception is never for itself alone, but one
depends on another as in a chain, the second criterion is added, viz.
that it should be both convincing and secure (ἀπερίσπαστος),” _i.e._
connected and determined on all sides, so that it cannot be changed,
nor drawn this way and that and made variable by circumstances; and
other conceptions do not contradict it, because it is known in this
connection with others. This is quite a correct determination, which
everywhere appears in the universal. Nothing is seen or said alone, for
a number of circumstances stand in connection with it. “For example,
in the conception of a man much is contained, both as to what concerns
himself and what surrounds him: as to the former, there is colour,
size, form, movement, dress, &c.; and in reference to the latter,
air, light, friends, and the like. If none of such circumstances make
us uncertain or cause us to think the others false, but when all
uniformly agree, the conception is the more convincing.”[182] Thus
when a conception is in harmony with the manifold circumstances in
which it stands, it is secure. A cord may be thought to be a snake,
but all the circumstances of the same have not been considered. “Thus,
as in judging of an illness all the symptoms must be brought under
our consideration, so the fixed conception has conviction because all
circumstances agree.”[183]

γ. “Even more trustworthy than the fixed conception is the conception
as developed (διεξωδευμένη), which brings about perfect conviction,”
the third moment. “While in the case of the fixed conception we only
investigate whether the circumstances agree with one another, in the
developed conception each one of the circumstances existing in harmony
is strictly inquired into on its own account. Thus he who judges
as well as what is judged and that according to which judgment is
given, are subject to investigations. Just as in common life in some
unimportant matter one witness satisfies us, in one more important
several are required, and in a case which is more material still the
individual witnesses are themselves examined through a comparison of
their testimonies, so in less important matters a general convincing
conception satisfies us, in things of a certain importance one which is
established, but in those which pertain to a good and happy life one
which is investigated in its parts is required.”[184] We thus see—in
contradistinction to those who place truth in what is immediate, and,
especially in recent times, in sensuous perception, in an immediate
knowledge, whether as inward revelation or outward perception—that
this kind of certainty with Carneades rightly takes the lowest place;
the conception worked out and developed really is to him the essential
one, and yet it appears in a formal manner only. In fact, the truth
is only in thinking knowledge, and if Carneades does not exhaust all
that can be said of the nature of this knowledge, he still has rightly
emphasized an essential moment in it, the opening out and the judging
movements of the moments.

In the New Academy we see the subjective side of conviction expressed,
or the belief that not the truth as truth, but its manifestation, or
really what it is to the conception, is present in consciousness.
Thus only subjective certainty is demanded; of the truth nothing
more is said, for only what is relative in respect of consciousness
is considered. Just as the Academic principle limited itself to the
subjective act of the convincing conception, so likewise did the
Stoics really place implicit existence in thought, and Epicurus in
perception; but they called this the truth. The Academicians, on the
contrary, set it up against the truth, and asserted that it is not
the existent as such. They had thus a consciousness that the implicit
really has the moment of consciousness in it, and that without this
it cannot exist; this was also a fundamental principle to the former,
but they were not conscious of it. Though, according to this, the
implicit has now an essential relation to consciousness, this last
is still in contrast with the truth; to conscious knowledge, as to
the moment of explicitude, the implicit thus still stands in the
background, it still confronts it, but at the same time it includes
the explicit as an essential moment, even in antagonism to itself; in
other words, consciousness is not yet set forth in and for itself.
Now, if this Academic standpoint is driven to its ultimate limit, it
amounts to this, that everything is clearly for consciousness alone,
and that the form of an existent, and of the knowledge of existence,
also quite disappears as form; this, however, is Scepticism. Thus if
the Academicians still preferred one conviction, one estimate of truth
to another, as that in which the aim of a self-existent truth might be
said to dwell, or float before their eyes, there still remains this
simple belief in the validity of opinion without distinction, or the
fact that everything is in like manner only related to consciousness,
and is, in fact, phenomenal alone. Thus the Academy had no longer any
fixed subsistence, but hereby really passed into Scepticism, which
merely asserted a subjective belief in truth, so that all objective
truth has really been denied.


Scepticism completed the theory of the subjectivity of all knowledge
by the fact that in knowledge it universally substituted for Being the
expression _appearance_. Now this Scepticism undoubtedly appears to be
something most impressive, to which great respect is due from man. In
all times as now, it has been held to be the most formidable, and,
indeed, the invincible opponent of Philosophy, because it signifies
the art of dissolving all that is determinate, and showing it in its
nullity. Thus it might almost appear as though it were held to be in
itself invincible, and as though the only difference in convictions
were whether the individual decided for it or for a positive, dogmatic
philosophy. Its result undoubtedly is the disintegration of the
truth, and, consequently, of all content, and thus perfect negation.
The invincibility of Scepticism must undoubtedly be granted, only,
however, in a subjective sense as regards the individual, who may
keep to the point of view of taking no notice of Philosophy, and only
asserting the negative. Scepticism in this way seems to be something
to which men give themselves over, and we have the impression that we
are not able to get within reach of anyone who thus throws himself
entirely into Scepticism; another man, however, simply rests content
with his philosophy, because he takes no notice of Scepticism, and
this is really what he ought to do, for, properly speaking, it cannot
be refuted. Certainly if we were merely to escape from it, it would
not in reality have been defeated, for on its side it would remain
where it was, and in possession of the field. For positive philosophy
allows Scepticism to exist beside it; Scepticism, on the other hand,
encroaches upon the domain of positive philosophy, for Scepticism has
power to overcome the other, while positive philosophy cannot do the
same to it. If anyone actually desires to be a Sceptic, he cannot be
convinced, or be brought to a positive philosophy,[185] any more than
he who is paralyzed in all his limbs can be made to stand. Scepticism
is, in fact, such paralysis—an incapacity for truth which can only
reach certainty of self, and not of the universal, remaining merely in
the negative, and in individual self-consciousness. To keep oneself in
individuality depends on the will of the individual; no one can prevent
a man from doing this, because no one can possibly drive another out
of nothing. But thinking Scepticism is quite different; it is the
demonstration that all that is determinate and finite is unstable. As
to this, positive philosophy may have the consciousness that it has the
negation to Scepticism in itself; thus it does not oppose it, nor is it
outside of it, for Scepticism is a moment in it. But this is true in
such a way that this philosophy comprehends in itself the negative in
its truth, as it is not present in Scepticism.

The relation of Scepticism to Philosophy is further this, that the
former is the dialectic of all that is determinate. The finitude of all
conceptions of truth can be shown, for they contain in themselves a
negation, and consequently a contradiction. The ordinary universal and
infinite is not exalted over this, for the universal which confronts
the particular, the indeterminate which opposes the determinate,
the infinite which confronts the finite, each form only the one
side, and, as such, are only a determinate. Scepticism is similarly
directed against the thought of the ordinary understanding which
makes determinate differences appear to be ultimate and existent. But
the logical Notion is itself this dialectic of Scepticism, for this
negativity which is characteristic of Scepticism likewise belongs
to the true knowledge of the Idea. The only difference is that the
sceptics remain at the result as negative, saying, “This and this
has an internal contradiction, it thus disintegrates itself, and
consequently does not exist.” But this result as merely negative is
itself again a one-sided determinateness opposed to the positive;
_i.e._ Scepticism only holds its place as abstract understanding.
It makes the mistake of thinking that this negation is likewise a
determinate affirmative content in itself; for it is, as the negation
of negation, the self-relating negativity or infinite affirmation.
This, put quite abstractly, is the relation of Philosophy to
Scepticism. The Idea, as abstract Idea, is the quiescent and inert; it
only is in truth in as far as it grasps itself as living. This occurs
because it is implicitly dialectic, in order to abrogate that inert
quiescence, and to change itself. But if the philosophic Idea is thus
implicitly dialectic, it is not so in a contingent manner. Scepticism,
on the contrary, exercises its dialectic contingently, for just as the
material comes up before it, it shows in the same that implicitly it is

The older Scepticism must further be distinguished from the modern,
and it is only with the former that we have to do, for it alone is of
a true, profound nature; the modern more resembles Epicureanism. Thus
Schulze of Göttingen has in recent times boasted of his Scepticism;
he wrote an “Ænesidemus” in order thus to compare himself with that
sceptic; and in other works, too, he put forward Scepticism in
opposition to Leibnitz and to Kant. Nevertheless, he ignores entirely
the true position of Scepticism as it has just been described, and
instead of representing the true distinction which exists between his
Scepticism and the ancient, Schulze recognizes nothing but Dogmatism
and Scepticism, and not the third philosophy at all. Schulze and others
make it fundamental that we must consider sensuous Being, what is
given to us by sensuous consciousness, to be true; all else must be
doubted. What we think is ultimate, the facts of consciousness. The
older sceptics, indeed, allowed that men must direct their actions in
accordance with this last, but to assert it to be the truth did not
occur to them. Modern Scepticism is only directed against thought,
against the Notion and the Idea, and thus against what is in a higher
sense philosophic; it consequently leaves the reality of things quite
unquestioned, and merely asserts that from it nothing can be argued as
regards thought. But that is not even a peasants’ philosophy, for they
know that all earthly things are transient, and that thus their Being
is as good as their non-being. Modern Scepticism is the subjectivity
and vanity of consciousness, which is undoubtedly invincible, not,
however, to science and truth, but merely to itself, this subjectivity.
For it goes no further than saying, “This is held by me to be true, my
feeling, my heart is ultimate to me.” But here certainty is alone in
question, and not truth; and, indeed, this nowadays is no longer called
Scepticism. But the conviction of this individual subject expresses
nothing at all, however high the matter which we talk of is supposed to
be. Thus because on the one hand it is said that the truth is merely
the conviction of another, and on the other hand personal conviction,
which is also a ‘merely,’ is set on high, we must leave this subject
alone, first on account of its high pretensions, and then on account
of its lowliness. The result of the older Scepticism is indeed the
subjectivity of knowledge only, but this is founded on an elaborately
thought out annihilation of everything which is held to be true and
existent, so that everything is made transient.

According to this, the function of Scepticism is wrongly termed the
inculcation of proneness to doubt; nor can we translate σκέψις by
Doubt, if Scepticism was also called by Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. 3, § 7)
ephectic (ἐφεκτική) because one of its chief points was that judgment
must be suspended. Doubt, however, is only uncertainty, irresolution,
indecision, the thought which is opposed to something held to be valid.
Doubt proceeds from the fact of there being two; it is a passing to and
fro between two or more points of view, so that we neither rest at the
one nor the other—and yet we ought to remain at one point or another.
Thus doubt in man is quite likely to involve a rending asunder of mind
and spirit; it gives unrest and brings unhappiness with it; doubts,
for instance, arise respecting the immortality of the soul and the
existence of God. Forty years ago,[186] much was written about this;
in poetry, too, we found the situation of the doubter was a subject of
the greatest interest, the unhappiness of doubt being depicted to us as
in the “Messias.” This supposes a deep interest in a content, and the
desire of the mind that this content should either be established in it
or not, because it desires to find its rest either in the one or the
other. Such doubt is said to betoken a keen and sharp-witted thinker,
but it is only vanity and simple verbiage, or a feebleness that can
never arrive at anything. This Scepticism has nowadays entered into our
life, and it thus makes itself of account as this universal negativity.
But the older Scepticism does not doubt, being certain of untruth, and
indifferent to the one as to the other; it does not only flit to and
fro with thoughts that leave the possibility that something may still
be true, but it proves with certainty the untruth of all. Or its doubt
to it is certainty which has not the intention of attaining to truth,
nor does it leave this matter undecided, for it is completely at a
point, and perfectly decided, although this decision is not truth to
it. This certainty of itself thus has as result the rest and security
of the mind in itself, which is not touched with any grief, and of
which doubt is the direct opposite. This is the standpoint of the
imperturbability of Scepticism.

Now what has to be considered even before treating of Scepticism
itself, is its external history. As regards the origin of Scepticism
the Sceptics say that it is very old, that is, if we take it in the
quite indeterminate and universal sense, in so far as to say “Things
are, but their Being is not true, for it likewise involves their
non-being; or they are changeable. For example, this day is to-day,
but to-morrow is also to-day, &c.; it is day now but night is also
now, &c.” Thus of what in this way is allowed to be a determinate,
the opposite is also expressed. Now if it be said that all things are
transient, things may in the first place be changed; however this is
not only possible, but the fact that all things are transient really
means when taken in its universality:—“Nothing exists in itself, for
its reality is the abrogation of self, because things in themselves,
in accordance with their necessity, are transient. Only now are they
thus; at another time they are different, and this time, the now, is
itself no more while I am speaking of it; for time is not itself fixed,
and it makes nothing fixed.” This uncertainty in what is sensuous
represents a long-standing belief amongst the unphilosophic public as
well as amongst philosophers up to this time; and this negativity in
all determinations likewise constitutes the characteristic feature
of Scepticism. The Sceptics have also presented this position in an
historic way, and they show that even Homer was a sceptic, because
he speaks of the same things in opposite ways. They also count in
this category Bias, with his maxim “Pledge thyself never.” For this
has the general sense “Do not consider anything to be anything, do
not attach yourself to any object to which you devote yourself, do
not believe in the security of any relationship, &c.” Likewise the
negative aspect of the philosophy of Zeno and Xenophanes is said to
be sceptical, and further, Heraclitus, too, with his principle that
everything flows, that everything is consequently contradictory and
transient; finally Plato and the Academy are sceptical, only here
Scepticism is not yet quite clearly expressed.[187] All this may be
taken as being in part the sceptical uncertainty of everything; but
that is not its real meaning. It is not this conscious and universal
negativity; as conscious, it must prove, as universal, it must extend
the untruth of the objective to everything; thus it is not a negativity
which says definitely that everything is not implicit but is only for
self-consciousness, and everything merely goes back into the certainty
of itself. As philosophic consciousness Scepticism is consequently of
later date. By Scepticism we must understand a specially constituted
consciousness for which in some measure not only sensuous Being, but
also Being for thought does not hold true, and which can then with
consciousness account for the nullity of that which is asserted to be
reality; and finally, in a general way, it not only annuls this and
that sensuous fact or thought, but is adapted for the recognition in
everything of its untruth.

The history of Scepticism, properly so called, is usually commenced
with Pyrrho as being its founder; and from him the names Pyrrhonism
and Pyrrhonic are derived. Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 3, § 7)
says of him “that he went into Scepticism more fully (σωματικώτερον)
and clearly than did his predecessors.” He is earlier than some of
the philosophers already considered; but because Scepticism is to be
taken as a whole, Pyrrho’s Scepticism, even if it is merely aimed
against the immediate truth both of the senses and of morality, must
be taken along with the later Scepticism, which directs its attention
rather against the truth as thought, as will be farther shown on a
closer consideration; for this last was the first, properly speaking,
to make a sensation. As to the events of Pyrrho’s life, they appear to
be as much a matter of doubt as his doctrine; for they are without any
connection, and little is known for certain concerning them. Pyrrho
lived in the time of Aristotle and was born at Elis. I shall not give
the names of his instructors; Anaxarchus, a disciple of Democritus, is
specially mentioned amongst them. We cannot discover where he really
lived, for the most part at least. As a proof of how very much he was
esteemed during his life, it is said that his native town chose him as
head priest, and the town of Athens gave him the right of citizenship.
It is finally stated that he accompanied Alexander the Great in his
journey to Asia; and that there he had considerable dealings with
magicians and Brahmins. We are told that Alexander had him put to
death because he desired the death of a Persian satrap; and this fate
befel him in his ninetieth year. If all this is to be accepted, since
Alexander spent between twelve and fourteen years in Asia, Pyrrho must
at the earliest have set out on his travels in his seventy-eighth year.
Pyrrho does not appear to have come forward as a public teacher, but
merely to have left behind him individual friends who had been educated
by him. Anecdotes are told, not so much about the circumstances of
his life as about the sceptical manner in which he conducted himself,
and in them his behaviour is made to look ridiculous; in this the
universal of Scepticism is set against a particular case, so that what
is absurd shoots up as of itself into relationships which appear to be
consistent. For because he asserted that the reality of sensuous things
has no truth, it is, for instance, said that were he walking he would
go out of the way of no object, no waggon or horse that came towards
him; or he would go straight up against a wall, completely disbelieving
in the reality of sensuous sensations and such like. They also said
that it was only the friends surrounding him who drew him away from
such dangers and saved him.[188] But such anecdotes are evidently
extravagant, because, for one thing, it is not conceivable that he
could have followed Alexander to Asia at ninety years of age. It is
also very clear that such stories are simply invented with the object
of ridiculing the sceptical philosophy, by following out its principle
to such extreme consequences. To the Sceptics sensuous existence
undoubtedly holds good as phenomenal in so far as the regulation of
ordinary conduct is concerned (_infra_, p. 343), but not in as far as
it is held to be the truth; for even the followers of the New Academy
said that men must not only direct their lives in accordance with
rules of prudence, but also in accordance with the laws of sensuous
manifestation (_supra_, pp. 319, 324).

After Pyrrho, Timon of Phliasis, the sillographist, became specially
famous.[189] Of his Silli, _i.e._ biting remarks respecting all
philosophies, many are quoted by the ancients; they are certainly
bitter and disdainful enough, but many of them are not very witty or
worthy of being preserved. Dr. Paul collected them in an essay, but in
it much is given that is meaningless. Goethe and Schiller certainly
show more capacity in works of a similar nature. The Pyrrhonians
hereupon disappear,—they seem in general only to have shown themselves
in a more or less isolated way; for a long time after this we read in
history of the Peripatetics, Stoics and Epicureans being confronted
only by the Academicians and perhaps some of the older Sceptics who are
mentioned likewise.

Ænesidemus was the first to reawaken Scepticism; he was of Cnossus
in Crete, and lived in Cicero’s time in Alexandria,[190] which soon
began to compete with Athens for the honour of being the seat of
Philosophy and the sciences. Subsequently, when the Academy lost
itself in Scepticism, we see the latter, from which the former is all
the same only separated by a thin partition, taking up a position of
predominance as representing the purely negative point of view. But
a scepticism such as that of Pyrrho, which does not as yet show much
culture or tendency towards thought, but which is directed only against
what is sensuous, could have no interest in the culture of Philosophy
as it is found in Stoicism, Epicureanism, Platonism, &c. Thus it is
requisite, in order that Scepticism should appear with the dignity
pertaining to Philosophy, that it should itself be developed on its
philosophic side; and this was first done by Ænesidemus.

However, one of the most celebrated of the Sceptics, whose works we
still in great measure possess, and who for us is by far the most
important writer upon Scepticism, because he gives us detailed accounts
of this philosophy, is Sextus Empiricus, of whose life unfortunately
as good as nothing is known. He was a physician, and that he was
an empirical physician, who did not act according to theory but in
accordance with what appears, his name tells us. He lived and taught
about the middle of the second century after Christ.[191] His works
are divided into two parts: first, his _Pyrrhoniæ Hypotyposes_, in
three books, which give us somewhat of a general presentation of
Scepticism, and secondly his books _adversus Mathematicos_, _i.e._
against scientific knowledge generally, and more especially against
the geometricians, arithmeticians, grammarians, musicians, logicians,
physicists, and moral philosophers. There were in all eleven books, six
of which are actually directed against mathematicians, but the other
five against the philosophers.

The distinction between the Academy and Scepticism was a matter as to
which the Sceptics exercised themselves much. The New Academy really
bordered so closely upon Scepticism, that the Sceptics had enough to
do to dissociate themselves from it, and in the Sceptic school a long
and important battle raged as to whether Plato, and subsequently the
New Academy, belonged to Scepticism or not;[192] in the course of this
we also see that Sextus did not really know what to make of Plato.
The Sceptics are, on the whole, very careful to distinguish their own
from other systems. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 1, §§ 1-4) distinguishes
three philosophies: “He who seeks an object must either find it or
deny that it can be found, or persevere in the search. Now the same
holds good with philosophic investigations; some assert that they
have found the truth; others deny that it can be grasped; a third set
are still engaged in search. The first, like Aristotle, Epicurus, the
Stoics, and others, are the so-called Dogmatists; those who assert
incomprehensibility are the Academicians; the Sceptics still continue
to seek. Hence there are three philosophies: the Dogmatic, the Academic
and the Sceptical.” For this reason, the Sceptics called themselves the
seekers (ζητητικοί), and their philosophy the seeking (ζητητική).[193]
However, the distinction between Scepticism and the New Academy rests
in the form of expression only, and is thus not a great one: indeed it
is founded only on the mania of the Sceptics to cut off and to shun
any sort of assertive statement. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 7, § 13; c
10, §§ 19-20) says: “The Sceptic does not dogmatize, but only assents
to the affections into which he is impelled, not of his own will, by
the conceptions; thus, if for example, he is warm or cold, he will
certainly not say, I seem not to be cold or warm. But if it be asked
if the subject is as it appears, we allow appearance (φαίνεσθαι); yet
we do not investigate the thing that appears, but only the predicate
predicate (ὃ λέγεται)[194] expressing its appearance. Thus, whether
anything is sweet or not, we consider only as regards the Notion Notion
(ὄσον ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ); but that is not what appears, but what is said of
what appears. But if we institute direct investigations respecting
what appears, we do so not in order to destroy what appears, but in
order to condemn the rashness (προπέτειαν) of the dogmatists.” Thus
the Sceptics endeavour to bring about the result that in what they say
no expression of a Being can be demonstrated, so that, for example, in
a proposition, they always set appearance in the place of existence.
According to Sextus they say (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 7, § 14; c. 28, § 206):
“The Sceptic makes use of his propositions—for example, determine
nothing (οὐδὲν ὁρίζειν), not the more (οὐδὲν μᾶλλον), nothing is true,
&c.—not as if they really did exist. For he believes, for instance,
that the proposition, everything is false, asserts that itself as well
as the others is false, and consequently limits it (συμπεριγράφει).
Thus we must similarly in all sceptical propositions recollect that
we do not at all assert their truth; for we say that they may destroy
themselves, since that limits them of which they are predicated.” Now,
the New Academy of Carneades does not express anything as being the
true and existent, or as anything to which thought could agree; the
Sceptics thus come very near to the Academy. Pure Scepticism merely
makes this objection to the Academy, that it is still impure. Sextus
says (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, §§ 226-233): “But clearly they differ from
us in the judgment of good and evil. For they assert that something is
good or evil,” that is to say, the former is the withholding of assent,
and the latter the granting of it (_supra_, p. 315), “whereby they are
convinced of its being probable that what of good is attributed to the
predicate, is more likely to be good than the opposite.” Thus they have
not elevated themselves to the purity of Scepticism, because they speak
of _existence_, and not of _appearance_. But this is nothing more than
a mere form, for the content immediately destroys that which in form
appears to be an assertion. If we say: “Something is a good, thought
assents to it,” and then ask, “But what is the good to which thought
assents?” the content here is that it should not assent. Hence the form
is, “It is a good,” but the content is that nothing should be held to
be good or true. Thus the Sceptics also assert this: To the Sceptics
“all conceptions are alike in trustworthiness or untrustworthiness in
relation to the ground,” to truth. “But the Academicians say that some
are probable, and others improbable, and amongst the probable, some
again are to be preferred to the others.” Preference is thus one of the
forms which the Sceptics also object to (_infra_, p. 345); for such
expressions strike them as still too positive.

Now, speaking generally, the essential nature of Scepticism consists
in its considering that to self-consciousness on its own account,
there proceeds from the disappearance of all that is objective, all
that is held to be true, existent or universal, all that is definite,
all that is affirmative, through the withholding of assent, the
immovability and security of mind, this imperturbability in itself.
Hence the same result is obtained, that we have already seen in systems
of philosophy immediately preceding this. Thus as soon as anything is
held to be truth to self-consciousness, we find the result that to
self-consciousness this truth is the universal reality, passing beyond
itself, and in regard to this, self-consciousness esteems itself as
nothing. But this external and determinate truth, as finite, is not
implicitly existent, so that its necessity is to vacillate and give
way. Then when this security disappears, self-consciousness itself
loses its equilibrium, and becomes driven hither and thither in unrest,
fear and anguish; for its stability and rest is the permanence of its
existence and truth. But sceptical self-consciousness is just this
subjective liberation from all the truth of objective Being, and from
the placing of its existence in anything of the kind; Scepticism thus
makes its end the doing away with the unconscious servitude in which
the natural self-consciousness is confined, the returning into its
simplicity, and, in so far as thought establishes itself in a content,
the curing it of having a content such as this established in thought.
“The effective principle of Scepticism,” Sextus hence tells us (Pyrrh.
Hyp. I. c. 6, § 12, c. 12, §§ 25-30), “is the hope of attaining to
security. Men of distinguished excellence, disquieted through the
instability of things, and dubious as to which should in preference
be given assent to, began the investigation of what is the truth and
what false in things, as if they could reach imperturbability through
the decision of such matters. But while engaged in this investigation,
man attains the knowledge that opposite determinations,” desires,
customs, &c., “have equal power,” and thus resolve themselves; “since
in this way he cannot decide between them, he really only then attains
to imperturbability when he withholds his judgment. For if he holds
anything to be good or evil by nature, he never is at rest, whether it
be that he does not possess what he holds to be good, or that he thinks
himself vexed and assailed by natural evil. But he who is undecided
respecting that which is good and beautiful in nature, neither shuns
nor seeks anything with zeal; and thus he remains unmoved. What
happened to the painter Apelles, befalls the Sceptic. For it is told
that when he was painting a horse, and was altogether unsuccessful in
rendering the foam, he finally in anger threw the sponge on which he
had wiped his brushes, and in which every colour was therefore mixed,
against the picture, and thereby formed a true representation of foam.”
Thus, the Sceptics find in the mingling of all that exists, and of
all thoughts, the simple self-identity of self-consciousness which
“follows mind as the shadow does the body,” and is only acquired, and
can only be acquired through reason. “Hence we say that the end of the
Sceptic is imperturbability in the conceptions and moderation in the
affections which he is compelled to have.” This is the indifference
which the animals have by nature, and the possession of which through
reason distinguishes men from animals. Thus, Pyrrho once showed to his
fellow-passengers on board a ship, who were afraid during a storm, a
pig, which remained quite indifferent and peacefully ate on, saying to
them: in such indifference the wise man must also abide.[195] However
the indifference must not be like that of the pig, but must be born
of reason. But if to Scepticism existence was only a manifestation or
conception, it was yet esteemed by it as that in respect to which
the Sceptics directed their conduct, both in what they did, and what
they left undone. The above-quoted (p. 336) anecdotes about Pyrrho are
thus opposed to what the Sceptics themselves said on the subject: “We
undoubtedly direct our conduct in accordance with a reason which, in
conformity with sensuous phenomena, teaches us to live conformably to
the customs and laws of our country, and in consonance with recognized
institutions and personal affections.”[196] But for them this had only
the significance of a subjective certainty and conviction, and not the
value of an absolute truth.

Thus the universal method of Scepticism was, as Sextus Empiricus puts
it (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 4, §§ 8-10; c. 6, § 12): “a power of in some way
or other setting what is felt, and what is thought, in opposition,
whether it be the sensuous to the sensuous, and what is thought to
what is thought, or what is sensuous to what is thought, or what is
thought to what is sensuous, _i.e._ showing that any one of these has
as much force and weight as its opposite, and is hence equivalent as
far as conviction and non-conviction are concerned. From this the
suspension of judgment (ἐποχή) results, in conformity with which we
select and posit nothing, and thereby complete freedom from all mental
emotion is attained. The principle of Scepticism is thus found in the
proposition that each reason is confronted by another, which holds
equally good. We do not, however, necessarily accept affirmation and
negation as opposite grounds, but merely those that conflict with
one another.” That which is felt is really existence for sensuous
certainty, which simply accepts it as truth; or it is that which is
felt in the Epicurean form, which consciously asserts it to be true.
What is thought is in the Stoic form a determinate Notion, a content in
a simple form of thought; both these classes, immediate consciousness
and thinking consciousness, comprehend everything which is in any
way to be set in opposition. In as far as Scepticism limits itself
to this, it is a moment in Philosophy itself, which last, having an
attitude of negativity in relation to both, only recognizes them
as true in their abrogation. But Scepticism thinks that it reaches
further; it sets up a pretension of venturing against the speculative
Idea and conquering it; Philosophy, however, since Scepticism itself
is present in it as a moment, rather overcomes it (_supra_, p. 330).
As far as what is sensuous and what is thought in their separation
are concerned, it certainly may conquer, but the Idea is neither the
one nor the other, and it does not touch on the rational at all. The
perpetual misunderstanding which those who do not know the nature of
the Idea are under concerning Scepticism, is that they think that the
truth necessarily falls into the one form or the other, and is thus
either a determinate Notion or a determinate Being. Against the Notion
as Notion, _i.e._ against the absolute Notion, Scepticism does not in
any way proceed; the absolute Notion is rather its weapon of defence,
though Scepticism has no consciousness of this. We shall on the one
hand see Scepticism use that weapon against the finite, and on the
other, how it tries its skill upon the rational.

But though, according to this, Scepticism always expresses itself as if
everything were in appearance only, the Sceptics go further than those
who support the newer and purely formal idealism. For they deal with
content, and demonstrate of all content that it is either experienced
by the senses or thought, and consequently that it has something in
opposition to it. Thus they show in the same thing the contradiction
that exists, so that of everything that is presented the opposite
also holds good. This is the objective element in Scepticism in its
manifestation, and that through which it is not subjective idealism.
Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 13, §§ 32, 33) says: “Thus, for instance,
the sensuous is set against the sensuous by our being reminded of
the fact that the same tower when looked at near is square and when
regarded in the distance looks round;” and hence the one assertion is
as good as the other. This, indeed, is a very trivial example, but its
interest lies in the thought that is present in it. “Or what is thought
is set in opposition to what is thought. As to the fact that there
is a providence,” which rewards the good and punishes the evil, “men
appeal,” as against those who deny it, “to the system of the heavenly
bodies; to this it is objected that the good often fare badly and the
evil well, from which we demonstrate that there is no providence.” As
to the “opposition of what is thought to the sensuous,” Sextus adduces
the conclusion of Anaxagoras, who asserts of the snow, that although
it appears to be white, regarded in relation to the reasons given by
reflection it is black. For it is frozen water, but water has no colour
and hence is black; consequently snow must be the same.

We must now consider further the method in which the Sceptics proceed,
and it consists in this, that they have brought the universal principle
that each definite assertion has to be set over against its ‘other,’
into certain forms, not propositions. Thus, in view of the nature of
Scepticism, we cannot ask for any system of propositions, nor will this
philosophy really be a system; just as little did it lie in the spirit
of Scepticism to form a school, properly speaking, but only an external
connection in the wider sense of the word. Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 8,
§ 16, c. 3, § 7) hence says that Scepticism is no selection (αἵρεσις)
of dogmas, it is not a preference for certain propositions, but only
that which leads, or rather which directs us (ἀγωγή) to live rightly
and think correctly; thus it is in this way rather a method or manner
by which only universal modes of that opposition are shown. Now since
what sort of thoughts reveal themselves is a matter of contingency, the
manner and mode of grasping them is contingent likewise; for in one the
contradiction appears thus and in another otherwise. These determinate
modes of opposition, whereby the withholding of assent comes to pass,
the Sceptics called tropes (τρόποι), which are turned upon everything
that is thought and felt in order to show that this is not what it is
implicitly, but only in relation to another—that it thus itself appears
in another, and allows this other to appear in it, and consequently
that, speaking generally, what is, only seems; and this, indeed,
follows directly from the matter in itself, and not from another which
is assumed as true. If, for example, men say that empiric science has
no truth because truth exists only in reason, this is only assuming the
opposite of empiricism; likewise the truth of reason proved in itself
is not a refutation of empiric science, for this last stands alongside
of the former with equal rights as, and within the same.

Now since the sceptical doctrine consists in the art of demonstrating
contradictions through these _tropes_, we only require to elucidate
these modes. The Sceptics themselves, like Sextus, for example (Pyrrh.
Hyp. I. c. 14, 15) distinguish in these forms the earlier and the
later: ten of them belong to the elder Sceptics, that is to say to
Pyrrho, and five were afterwards added by the later Sceptics, and
Diogenes Laertius indeed tells us (IX. 88) that this was first done
by Agrippa. From a specification of these it will be shown that the
earlier are directed against the ordinary consciousness generally and
belong to a thought of little culture, to a consciousness which has
sensuous existence immediately before it. For they proceed against what
we call common belief in the immediate truth of things, and refute it
in a manner which is immediate likewise, not through the Notion but
through the existence which is opposed to it. In their enumeration,
too, there is this same absence of the Notion. But the five others
appear to be better, have more interest, and are manifestly of later
origin; they proceed against reflection, _i.e._ against a consciousness
which relates itself to the developed understanding, and thus
specially against thought-forms, scientific categories, the thought of
the sensuous, and the determination of the same through Notions. Now
though the most part of these may appear to us to be quite trivial, we
must still be indulgent towards them, for they are historically, and
consequently really, directed against the form “it is.” But without
doubt it is a very abstract consciousness that makes this abstract form
“it is” its object and combats it. However trivial then and commonplace
these tropes may always appear to be, even more trivial and commonplace
is the reality of the so-called external objects, that is, immediate
knowledge, as when, for instance, I say “This is yellow.” Men ought
not to talk about philosophy, if in this innocent way they assert the
reality of such determinations. But this Scepticism was really far from
holding things of immediate certainty to be true; thus it actually
stands in contrast to modern Scepticism, in which it is believed
that what is in our immediate consciousness, or indeed, all that is
sensuous, is a truth (_supra_, pp. 331, 332). As distinguished from
this, the older Scepticism, the modes of which we would now consider
further, is directed against the reality of things.


In the earlier tropes we see the lack of abstraction appearing as
the incapacity to grasp their diversitude under more simple general
points of view, although they all, in fact, partly under a simple
conception and partly in their difference, do in fact converge into
some necessary simple determinations. From all alike, in relation to
immediate knowledge, is the insecurity demonstrated of that of which
we say “it is.” Sextus Empiricus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, § 38) even
remarks, that “all the tropes may be summed up in three: the one is the
judging subject; the other that respecting which the judgment is made;
the third that which contains both sides”—the relation of subject and
object. If thought is developed further, it embraces things in these
more general determinations.

a. “The first trope is the diversitude in animal organization,
according to which different living beings experience different
conceptions and sensations respecting the same object. This the
Sceptics conclude from the different nature of their origin, because
some are brought into being through copulation and others without
copulation” (from a _generatio æquivoca_): “but of the first some are
hatched from eggs, and others come immediately living into the world,
&c. Thus it is a matter of no doubt that this difference of origin
produces opposite constitutions, temperaments, &c. The variety in
the parts of the body, and particularly in those which are given to
the animal for purposes of distinguishing and feeling, thus produces
in them the greatest differences in conceptions. For instance, the
jaundiced patient sees as yellow what to others appears white,” and as
green, what to the latter seems blue. “Similarly the eyes of animals
are differently constructed in different species, and have different
colours, being pale, grey or red; consequently what is perceived
thereby must be different.”[197]

This difference in the subject undoubtedly establishes a difference in
perception, and this last a difference between the conception and the
nature of the object of perception. But if we say “That is,” we mean
something fixed, maintaining itself under all conditions; whereas in
opposition to this the Sceptics show that everything is variable. But
if they thereby destroy similarity and identity for the senses, and
consequently _this_ universality, another steps in, for universality
or existence rests simply in the fact of men knowing that, in the
hackneyed example of the jaundiced man, things appear so to him, _i.e._
the necessary law is known whereby a change of sensation arises for
him. But certainly it is implied in this that the first sensuous
universality is not true universality, because it is one immediate
and unknown; and in it as sensuous existence, its non-universality is
rightly demonstrated within itself through another universality. As
against the statement “This is blue because I see it as such,” which
clearly makes sight the ground of its being asserted to be blue, it
is quite fair to point to another who has immediate perception of the
object and for whom it is not blue.

b. The second trope, the diversitude of mankind in reference to
feelings and conditions, amounts very much to the same thing as in
the first case. In respect to difference in constitution of body, the
Sceptics discover many idiosyncrasies. As regards the proposition
“Shade is cool,” for instance, they say that someone felt cold in the
sunlight, but warm in shadow; as against the statement “Hemlock is
poisonous,” they instance an old woman in Attica who could swallow a
large dose of hemlock without harm—thus the predicate poisonous is
not objective, because it suits the one and not the other. Because
such great bodily differences are present amongst men, and the body is
the image of the soul, men must have a diversity of mind likewise and
give the most contradictory judgments, so that no one can know whom to
believe. To judge by the greater number would be foolish, for all men
cannot be inquired of.[198] This trope again relates to the immediate;
if, therefore, what has to be done is merely to believe some statement
inasmuch as it is made by others, undoubtedly nothing but contradiction
takes place. But a belief like this, that is ready to believe anything,
is, as a matter of fact, incapable of understanding what is said; it
is an immediate acceptance of an immediate proposition. For it did not
demand the reason; but the reason is, in the first place, the mediation
and the meaning of the words of the immediate proposition. Diversitude
in men is really something which now likewise appears in other forms.
It is said that men differ in regard to taste, religion, &c.; that
religion must be left for each to decide for himself; that each, from
a standpoint of his own, must settle how things are to be regarded
as far as religion is concerned. The consequence of this is that in
regard to religion there is nothing objective or true, everything ends
in subjectivity, and the result is indifference to all truth. For then
there is no longer a church; each man has a church and a liturgy of his
own, each has his own religion. The Sceptics more particularly—as those
who in all times spare themselves the trouble of philosophizing, on
some sort of pretext, and who try to justify this evasion—persistently
preach the diversity of philosophies; Sextus Empiricus does this
very expressly, and it may even be brought forward here, although it
will appear more definitely as the first of the later tropes. If the
principle of the Stoics, as it is in its immediacy, holds good, the
opposite principle, that of the Epicureans, has just as much truth, and
holds equally good. In this way, when it is said that some particular
philosophy asserts and maintains certain propositions, the greatest
diversity is undoubtedly to be found. For here we have the talk which
we censured earlier (Vol. I. p. 16): “Since the greatest men of all
times have thought so differently and have not been able to come to
an agreement, it would be presumptuous on our part to believe we had
found what they could not attain to,” and with those who speak thus,
the timid shrinking from knowledge makes out the inertness of their
reason to be a virtue. Now if the diversity cannot be denied, because
it is a fact that the philosophies of Thales, Plato, and Aristotle were
different, and that this was not merely apparently the case, but that
they contradicted one another, this way of wishing in such statements
of them to gain a knowledge of the philosophies, shows a want of
understanding as regards Philosophy; for such propositions are not
Philosophy, nor do they give expression to it. Philosophy is quite the
reverse of this immediacy of a proposition, because in that the very
knowledge that is essential is not taken into account; hence such men
see everything in a philosophy excepting Philosophy itself, and this is
overlooked. However different the philosophic systems may be, they are
not as different as white and sweet, green and rough; for they agree in
the fact that they are philosophies, and this is what is overlooked.
But as regards the difference in philosophies, we must likewise remark
upon this immediate validity accorded to them, and upon the form, that
the essence of Philosophy is expressed in an immediate manner. As
regards this ‘is’ the trope undoubtedly does its work, for all tropes
proceed against the ‘is,’ but the truth is all the time not this dry
‘is,’ but genuine process. The relative difference in philosophies is,
in their mutual attitude towards one another (see the fifth trope),
always to be comprehended as a connection, and therefore not as an ‘is.’

c. The third trope turns on the difference in the constitution of
the organs of sense as related to one another; _e.g._ in a picture
something appears raised to the eye but not to the touch, to which it
is smooth, &c.[199] This is, properly speaking, a subordinate trope,
for in fact a determination such as this coming through some sense,
does not constitute the truth of the thing, what it is in itself.
The consciousness is required that the unthinking description which
ascribes existence to blue, square, &c., one after the other, does not
exhaust and express the Being of the thing; they are only predicates
which do not express the thing as subject. It is always important
to keep in mind that the different senses grasp the same thing in
contradictory ways, for by this the nullity of sensuous certainty is

d. The fourth trope deals with the diversitude of circumstances in the
subject, in reference to its condition, the changes taking place in it,
which must prevent our making an assertion respecting any particular
thing. The same thing manifests itself differently to the same man,
according as he, for instance, is at rest or moving, asleep or awake,
moved by hatred or love, sober or drunk, young or old, &c. In the
diversitude of these circumstances very different judgments are passed
regarding one and the same object, hence we must not talk of anything
as being more than a manifestation.[200]

e. The fifth trope relates to the different positions, distances and
places, for from every different standpoint the object appears to be
different. In respect to position, a long passage appears to the man
who stands at the one end to taper to a point at the other; but if he
goes there he finds it to be of the same breadth at that end as it was
at the other. Distance is likewise, properly speaking, a difference
in the greatness and smallness of objects. In respect to place, the
light in a lantern is quite feeble in the sunshine, and yet in darkness
it shines quite brightly. Pigeons’ necks, regarded from different
points of view, shimmer quite differently.[201] In regard to motion
in particular very different views prevail. The best known example of
such is found in the course of the sun round the earth, or the earth
round the sun. As the earth is said to go round the sun, even though
the opposite appears to be the case, the former assertion is based
on reasons. This example does not, however, come in here, but this
trope will show that because one sensuous feeling contradicts another,
existence is not expressed in it.

f. The sixth trope is taken from intermixture, because nothing comes
within the scope of the sense alone and isolated, but only as mingled
with something else; this admixture with something else, however,
causes change, just as scents are stronger in the sunshine than in
cold air, &c. Further, through the subject himself, this admixture
comes in; the eyes consist of various tunics and humours, the ear has
different passages, &c., consequently they cannot allow sensations—the
light or the voice—to come to us in their purity, for the sensuous
element comes to us first of all modified by these tunics of the eye
and likewise by the passages of the ear.[202] But if we are to express
ourselves in this particular manner, the direct opposite might likewise
be maintained, that the sensuous element there present is simply
purified; the apprehending ear, for example, again purifies the voice
that comes in bodily form from a soul.

g. The seventh trope is the cohesion, the size or quantity of things,
through which they appear different; for instance, we see how glass is
transparent, but loses this transparency when it is pounded, and thus
has its cohesion altered. Shavings of goat’s-horn appear to be white,
but the whole piece looks black; or Carrara marble ground into powder
looks white, though the whole piece is yellow. The same holds good as
regards quantity. A moderate portion of wine fortifies and exhilarates,
a large quantity of it destroys the body, and the case is similar with
drugs.[203] If the quantity is not to be spoken of as the substance,
it is still an abstraction that quantity and combination are matters
of indifference as regards quality and disintegration; the change of
quantity likewise changes the quality.

h. The eighth trope arises from the relativity of things, and is thus
the universal trope of relationship. This relativity of everything
existent and thought is a more inward, real determinateness, and all
the tropes already mentioned really aim at it. “According to this
trope,” says Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 135, 136), “we conclude
that since everything is in relation to something, we must withhold
our judgment as to what it is on its own account and in its nature.
But it must be remarked that we here make use of ‘is’ in the sense
of appearance only. Relationship is used in two respects: first in
relation to the judging subject,” and this difference we saw in the
previous tropes, “and in the second place in relation to the object
which is to be judged, like right and left.” Sextus, in the passage
above (§§ 137, 140), argues as follows: “As regards what is set forth
on its own account and separate from others, is it distinguished from
the mere relative or not? If it were not different from it, it would
itself be a relative. If it is different, it again is a relative.
That is to say, what is different is related to something, for it
is set forth in relation to that from which it is distinguished.”
Relativity, generally, is present in what is absolutely predicated,
for relationship is a relationship in itself and not to another.
Relationship contains opposition: what is in relation to another is
on the one hand independent on its own account, but on the other,
because it is in relationship, it is likewise not independent. For if
anything is only in relation to something else, the other likewise
belongs to it; it is thus not on its own account. But if its other
already belongs to it, its non-being also already belongs to it, and
it is a contradictory as soon as it is not without its other. “But
because we cannot separate the relative from its other, we likewise do
not know what it is on its own account and in its nature, and we must
consequently suspend our judgment.”

i. The ninth trope is the more or less frequent occurrence of things,
which likewise alters one’s judgment upon the things. What happens
seldom is more highly esteemed than what comes to pass frequently; and
custom brings about the fact that one judges in this way and the other
in that way. Custom is thus made a circumstance which also permits us
to say that things appear so and so to us, but not universally and
generally that they are so.[204] When men say of any particular things
that “this is so,” circumstances may be instanced in which the opposite
predicate is applicable to them also. If, for example, we remain at
the abstraction of the man, does it really signify whether or not we
have a prince?—No. States?—No. A republic?—No, and so on, for they are
here and not there.

k. The tenth trope mainly concerns ethics and is related to manners,
customs and laws. What is moral and legal is likewise not such; for
what is here considered to be right is elsewhere held to be wrong. The
attitude of Scepticism in this regard is to show that the opposite
of what is maintained as valid law holds equally good. As regards
the ordinary understanding respecting the validity of this and that
maxim, _e.g._ that the son has to pay the debts of his father, the
ultimate and indeed only ground lies in its being said that this is
true in its immediacy, for it holds good as law or custom. As against
this the Sceptics likewise prove the opposite, saying for instance,
that the son has, indeed, to undertake the debts of the father by the
law of Rhodes; but in Rome he does not require to do so, if he has
renounced his claim on the paternal goods.[205] As in the existence
of what is determined, which is held to be true because it is, the
opposite is shown to exist; so in the case of laws, if their ground
is that they are in force, their opposite can be demonstrated. The
natural man has no consciousness of the presence of opposites; he lives
quite unconsciously in his own particular way, in conformity with the
morality of his town, without ever having reflected on the fact that he
practises this morality. If he then comes into a foreign land, he is
much surprised, for through encountering the opposite he for the first
time experiences the fact that he has these customs, and he immediately
arrives at uncertainty as to whether his point of view or the opposite
is wrong. For the opposite of what held good to him holds equally good,
and he does not possess any further ground for his practice; so that
since the one holds good equally with the other, neither holds good.

We now see in these modes that, properly speaking, they are not logical
modes at all, nor have they to do with the Notion, for they proceed
directly against empiricism. Something is by immediate certainty given
out as being true, the opposite of this last is from some other point
of view demonstrated to be equally true, and thus its other-being is
set forth as valid. The different modes in which the non-validity of
the first and the validity of the other-being relate to one another,
are ranged under the above heads. If we now classify these ten tropes
in conformity with the plan indicated above by Sextus (p. 347), we find
in the first four tropes the dissimilarity of the object to depend on
the judging subject, because that which judges is either the animal or
the man or one of his senses or particular dispositions in him. Or the
dissimilarity depends on the object, and here we come to the seventh
and tenth tropes, since first the amount makes a thing into something
quite different, and then the code of morals in different places makes
itself the only absolute, excluding and prohibiting any other. The
fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth tropes finally deal with a union of
both sides, or these all together contain the relationship; this is a
demonstration that the object does not present itself in itself, but in
relation to something else.

From content and form we see in these modes their early origin; for
the content, which has only to deal with Being, shows its change only,
takes up only the variability of its manifestation, without showing its
contradiction in itself, _i.e._ in its Notion. But in form they show
an unpractised thought, which does not yet bring the whole of these
examples under their universal points of view, as is done by Sextus,
or which places the universal, relativity, alongside of its particular
modes. On account of their dulness we are not accustomed to lay great
stress on such methods, nor esteem them of any value; but, in fact, as
against the dogmatism of the common human understanding they are quite
valid. This last says directly, “This is so because it is so,” taking
experience as authority. Now through these modes this understanding
will be shown that its belief has contingencies and differences within
it, which at one time present a thing in this way and at another time
in that way; and thereby it will be made aware that it itself, or
another subject, with equal immediacy and on the same ground (on none
at all), says: “It is not so, for it really is the opposite,” Thus the
signification of these tropes has still its value. Should faith or
right be founded on a feeling, this feeling is in me, and then others
may say: “It is not in me.” If one person’s tastes are to be accepted
as authoritative, it is not difficult to demonstrate that another
person’s tastes are utterly opposite, but Being is thereby degraded
into seeming, for in every assurance such as that, the opposite holds
equally good.


The five other sceptical tropes have an entirely different character,
and it is at once evident that they indicate quite another point of
view and degree of culture as regards philosophic thought; for they
pertain more to thinking reflection, and contain the dialectic which
the determinate Notion has within it. Sextus Empiricus[206] sets them
forth as follows:—

a. The first trope is the diversitude in opinions (ἀπὸ τῆς διαφωνίας),
and that not among animals and men, but expressly among philosophers;
of this matter we have just spoken above (pp. 349, 350). Sextus, and
an Epicurean quoted by Cicero (Vol. I. p. 16), adduce the manifold
nature of dogmas, and from this the conclusion is drawn that the one
has just as much support as the other. Philosophers and others still
make copious use of this sceptical trope, which is consequently in
great favour: on account of the diversitude in philosophies, they
say, Philosophy has no value, and truth is unattainable because men
have thought about it in ways so contradictory. This diversitude
in philosophic opinion is said to be an invincible weapon against
Philosophy; but the category of difference is very barren, and we
have said in the introduction (Vol. I. pp. 17-19) how it is to be
understood. The Idea of Philosophy is to all philosophers one and the
same, even if they themselves are not aware of it; but those who speak
so much of this diversity know as little about it. The true difference
is not a substantial one, but a difference in the different stages
of development; and if the difference implies a one-sided view, as
it does with the Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics, in their totality
undoubtedly we first reach truth.

b. A very important trope is that of failing into an infinite
progression (ἡ εἰς ἄπειρον ἔκπτωσις); by it the Sceptics show that the
reason which is brought forward for an assertion itself again requires
a reason, and this again another, and so on into infinitude; from this
suspension of judgment thus likewise follows, for there is nothing
which can furnish a solid foundation. Consequently no permanent ground
can be pointed out, for each continues to press further and further
back, and yet finally a cessation must be made. In more recent times
many have plumed themselves on this trope, and, in fact, it is as
regards the understanding and the so-called syllogism (_supra_, pp.
222, 223), a trope of great force. For if deduction from reasons is
made the power of knowledge, we must, on the other hand, remember that
by so doing we have premises which are quite ungrounded.

c. The trope of Relationship, the relativity of determinations (ὀ ἀπὸ
τοῦ πρός τι), has already been found among those mentioned above (p.
353). It is that what is maintained shows itself as it appears, partly
merely in relation to the judging subject and partly to other things,
but not as it is in itself by nature.

d. The fourth trope is that of Pre-supposition (ὀ ἐξ ὑποθέσεως): “When
the dogmatists see that they are thrown back into the infinite, they
put forward something as principle which they do not prove, but wish to
have conceded to them simply and without proof:” that is an axiom. If
the dogmatist has the right to pre-suppose an axiom as unproved, the
sceptic has equally the right, or, if we choose to say so, equally no
right, to pre-suppose the opposite as unproved. One is as good as the
other. Thus all definitions are pre-suppositions. For instance, Spinoza
pre-supposes definitions of the infinite, of substance, of attribute,
&c.; and the rest follows consistently from them. Nowadays men prefer
to give assurances and speak of facts of consciousness.

e. The last trope is that of Reciprocity (διάλληλος), or proof in a
circle. “That which is dealt with is grounded on something which itself
again requires something else as its ground; now that which has been
said to be proved by it is used for this purpose, so that each is
proved through the other.” When we would avoid infinite progression
and the making of pre-suppositions, we use again that which was proved
to prove its own proof. To the question, “What is the ground of the
phenomenon?” the reply is “Power,” but this is itself merely deduced
from the moments of the phenomenon.

Now Sextus shows (Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 15, §§ 169-177) in the following
way that, speaking generally, all sceptical investigations pass into
these five modes of reasoning; and from this it is likewise clear that
Scepticism is not really a reasoning against anything from reasons
which can be found, which quick-wittedness discovers in the particular
object, but that it has a profound knowledge of the categories. (α)
“The object before us is either one felt” (according to Epicurus),
“or one thought” (according to the Stoics). “But however it may be
determined, there always is a difference of opinion respecting it,”
and specially of sophic opinions. This is the first trope. “For some
believe what is felt and others what is thought to be alone the truth,”
_i.e._ the criterion; “others, however, again accept partly what is
thought and partly what is felt.” There consequently is a contradiction
present here. “Now is it possible to harmonize this contradiction
or not? If not, we must withhold our judgment. But if it is to be
solved, the question is, ‘How shall we decide?’” What is to contain the
criterion, the standard, the implicit? “Is what is felt to be judged
by what is felt, or by what is thought?” (β) Either side, individually
considered as the implicit, passes, according to the Sceptics, into
the infinite; but this is a description which must necessarily be
proved on its own account. “If what is felt is to be judged by what is
felt, it is allowed (since feeling is in question) that this sensation
requires another sensation as its reason;” for the conviction of its
truth is not without contradiction. “But if that which constitutes the
reason is again a feeling, that which is said to be a reason must have
a reason just as much; thus we go on into infinitude”—and here we have
the second trope. The case is, however, similar if what is thought is
the criterion, or if the implicit is made to rest on it. “If to what
is thought is given the power of judging what is felt, this likewise,
since it is that respecting which no harmony prevails, requires another
as its ground. This reason is, however, something thought likewise, and
it again requires a reason; thus this, too, passes into the infinite.”
From effect men thus reach cause; nevertheless this too is not
original, but is itself an effect; and so on. But if men thus progress
into infinitude, they have no first original ground to stand on, for
what is accepted as first cause is itself merely effect; and since they
merely progress continually, it is implied that no ultimate is posited.
The false belief that this progression is a true category, is also to
be found in Kant and Fichte; but there is really no true ultimate,
or, what is the same, no true first. The understanding represents
infinite progression as something great; but its contradiction is that
men speak of a first cause and it is then shown that it is only an
effect. Men only attain to the contradiction and constant repetition
of the same, but not to the solution of it, and consequently to the
true _prius_. (γ) But should this endless progression not satisfy
us—which the Sceptics indeed perceived—and therefore have to be put
a stop to, this may happen by what is or what is felt having its
foundation in thought, and, on the other hand, by likewise taking for
the foundation of thought that which is felt. In this way each would be
founded without there having been a progression into infinitude; but
then that which founds would also be that which is founded, and there
would merely be a passing from one to the other. Thus, in the third
place, this falls into the trope of Reciprocity, in which, however,
there is no more than there was before any true foundation. For in
it each merely exists through the other, neither is really set forth
absolutely, but each is the implicit only for the other, and this is
self-abrogation. (δ) But if this is avoided by an unproved axiom which
is taken as an implicit fact, a first and absolute ground, this way
of arguing falls into the mode of Pre-supposition—the fourth trope.
But if an assumption such as this were to be allowed, it would also be
legitimate for anyone to assume the contrary. Thus against the absolute
assertion of idealism, “The Absolute is the I,” it is with equal force
maintained that “The Absolute is existence.” The one man says in the
immediate certainty of himself: “I am absolute to myself;” another man
likewise in certainty of himself says, “It is absolutely certain to
me that things exist.” Idealism did not prove the former, nor did it
destroy the latter; it takes its stand alongside of it, and only bases
its assertions on its own principle. Everything, however, then, comes
round to this, that because the ‘I’ is absolute, the ‘not-I’ cannot
be absolute. On the other hand it may be said as justly: “Because the
thing is absolute, the ‘I’ cannot be absolute.” If it is legitimate,
Sextus further says, immediately to pre-suppose something as unproved,
it is absurd to pre-suppose anything else as proof of that on whose
behalf it is pre-supposed; we only require to posit straightway the
implicit existence of that which is in question. But as it is absurd
to do so, so also is the other absurd. Men set to work in the finite
sciences in a similar way. But when, as in a dogmatism like this, a
man asserts his right of pre-supposing something, every other man has
equally the right of pre-supposing something. Consequently the modern
immediate revelation of the subject now appears. It does no good for
any man to affirm, for example, that he finds in his consciousness that
God exists; since anyone has the right to say that he finds in his
consciousness that God does not exist. In modern times men have not got
very far with this immediate knowledge—perhaps not further than the
ancients, (ε) In the fifth place everything perceived has, according
to the trope of Relationship, a relation to something else, to what
perceives; its Notion is just that of being for another. The same
holds good with what is thought; as the universal object of thought it
likewise has the form of being something for another.

If we sum this up in a general way, the determinate, whether it is
existent or thought, is (α) really, as determinate, the negative of
another, _i.e._ it is related to another and exists for the same, and
is thus in relationship; in this everything is really exhausted. (β) In
this relationship to another this last, posited as its universality,
is its reason; but this reason, as opposed to that which is proved,
is itself a determinate, and consequently has its reality only in
what is proved. And for the reason that I really again consider this
universal as a determinate, it is conditioned by another like the one
that goes before, and so on into infinity. (γ) In order that this
determinate for which, as in consciousness, the other is, should have
existence, this other must exist, for in this it has its reality;
and because this its object is likewise for another, they mutually
condition each other and are mediated through one another, neither
being self-existent. And if the universal as the basis has its reality
in the existent, and this existent its reality in the universal, this
forms the Reciprocity whereby what in themselves are opposites mutually
establish one another. (δ) But what is implicit is something which is
not mediated through another; as the immediate, that is because it is,
it is, however, an Hypothesis. (ε) Now if this determinate is taken as
pre-supposed, so also may another be. Or we might say more shortly that
the deficiency in all metaphysics of the understanding lies partly in
(α) the Demonstration, by which it falls into the infinite; and partly
in (β) the Hypotheses, which constitute an immediate knowledge.

These tropes thus form an effective weapon against the philosophy
of the ordinary understanding, and the Sceptics directed them with
great acuteness, sometimes against the common acceptation of things,
and sometimes against principles of philosophic reflection. These
sceptical tropes, in fact, concern that which is called a dogmatic
philosophy—not in the sense of its having a positive content, but as
asserting something determinate as the absolute; and in accordance
with its nature, such a philosophy must display itself in all these
forms. To the Sceptics, the Notion of dogmatic philosophy is in
effect that something is asserted as the implicit; it is thus opposed
to idealism by the fact of its maintaining that an existence is the
absolute. But there is a misunderstanding or a formal understanding in
considering that all philosophy that is not Scepticism is Dogmatism.
Dogmatism, as the Sceptics quite correctly describe it, consists in
the assertion that something determinate, such as ‘I’ or ‘Being,’
‘Thought’ or ‘Sensation,’ is the truth. In the talk about idealism,
to which dogmatism has been opposed, just as many mistakes have
been made, and misunderstandings taken place. To the criticism which
knows no implicit, nothing absolute, all knowledge of implicit
existence as such is held to be dogmatism, while it is the most wanton
dogmatism of all, because it maintains that the ‘I,’ the unity of
self-consciousness, is opposed to Being, is in and for itself, and
that the implicit in the outside world is likewise so, and therefore
that the two absolutely cannot come together. By idealism that is
likewise held to be dogmatism in which, as is the case in Plato and
Spinoza, the absolute has been made the unity of self-consciousness and
existence, and not self-consciousness opposed to existence. Speculative
philosophy thus, indeed, asserts, but does not assert a determinate;
or it cannot express its truth in the simple form of a proposition,
although Philosophy is often falsely understood as pre-supposing an
original principle from which all others are to be deduced. But though
its principle can be given the form of a proposition, to the Idea what
pertains to the proposition as such is not essential, and the content
is of such a nature that it really abrogates this immediate existence,
as we find with the Academicians. As a matter of fact, that which is
now called a proposition, absolutely requires a mediation or a ground;
for it is an immediate determinate that has another proposition in
opposition to it, which last is again of a similar nature, and so on
into infinitude. Consequently, each, as being a proposition, is the
union of two moments between which there is an inherent difference,
and whose union has to be mediated. Now dogmatic philosophy, which has
this way of representing one principle in a determinate proposition as
a fundamental principle, believes that it is therefore universal, and
that the other is in subordination to it. And undoubtedly this is so.
But at the same time, this its determinateness rests in the fact that
it is _only_ universal; hence such a principle is always conditioned,
and consequently contains within it a destructive dialectic.

As against all these dogmatic philosophies, such criticism and idealism
not excepted, the sceptical tropes possess the negative capacity of
demonstrating that what the former maintain to be the implicit is not
really so. For implicitude such as this is a determinate, and cannot
resist negativity, its abrogation. To Scepticism is due the honour
of having obtained this knowledge of the negative, and of having so
definitely thought out the forms of negativity. Scepticism does not
operate by bringing forward what is called a difficulty, a possibility
of representing the matter otherwise; that would merely indicate some
sort of fancy which is contingent as regards this asserted knowledge.
Scepticism is not an empiric matter such as this, for it contains a
scientific aim, its tropes turn on the Notion, the very essence of
determinateness, and are exhaustive as regards the determinate. In
these moments Scepticism desires to assert itself, and the Sceptic
therein recognizes the fancied greatness of his individuality; these
tropes prove a more cultivated dialectic knowledge in the process of
argumentation than is found in ordinary logic, the logic of the Stoics,
or the canon of Epicurus. These tropes are necessary contradictions
into which the understanding falls; even in our time progression into
infinitude and pre-supposition (immediate knowledge) are particularly
common (_supra_, p. 363).

Now, speaking generally, this is the method of Scepticism, and it
is most important. Because the sceptical conscience demonstrates
that in all that is immediately accepted there is nothing secure and
absolute, the Sceptics have taken in hand all particular determinations
of the individual sciences, and have shown that they are not fixed.
The further details of this application to the different sciences do
not concern us here: this far-seeing power of abstraction is also
requisite in order to recognize these determinations of negation or
of opposition everywhere present in all concrete matter, and in all
that is thought, and to find in this determinate its limits. Sextus,
for example, takes up the individual sciences concretely, thereby
demonstrating much capacity for abstraction, and he shows in all their
determinations the opposite of themselves. Thus he sets the definitions
of mathematics against one another, and that not externally, but as
they are in themselves; he lays hold of the fact (adv. Math. III.
20-22) that there is said to be a point, space, line, surface, one,
&c. We unquestioningly allow the point to rank as a simple unit in
space, according to which it has no dimension; but if it has no
dimension, it is not in space, and therefore is no longer a point. On
the one hand it is the negation of space, and, on the other, inasmuch
as it is the limit of space, it touches space. Thus this negation of
space participates in space, itself occupies space, and thus it is in
itself null, but at the same time it is also in itself a dialectic.
Scepticism has thus also treated of ideas which are, properly speaking,
speculative, and demonstrated their importance; for the demonstration
of the contradiction in the finite is an essential point in the
speculatively philosophic method.

The two formal moments in this sceptical culture are firstly the power
of consciousness to go back from itself, and to take as its object the
whole that is present, itself and its operation included. The second
moment is to grasp the form in which a proposition, with whose content
our consciousness is in any way occupied, exists. An undeveloped
consciousness, on the other hand, usually knows nothing of what is
present in addition to the content. For instance, in the judgment “This
thing is one,” attention is paid only to the one and the thing, and
not to the circumstance that here something, a determinate, is related
to the one. But this relation is the essential, and the form of the
determinate; it is that whereby this house which is an individual,
makes itself one with the universal that is different from it. It is
this logical element, _i.e._ the essential element, that Scepticism
brings to consciousness, and on this it depends; an example of this is
number, the one, as the hypothetical basis of arithmetic. Scepticism
does not attempt to give the thing, nor does it dispute as to whether
it is thus or thus, but whether the thing itself is something; it
grasps the essence of what is expressed, and lays hold of the whole
principle of the assertion. As to God, for example, the Sceptics do not
inquire whether He has such and such qualities, but turn to what is
most inward, to what lies at the ground of this conception, and they
ask whether this has reality. “Since we do not know the reality of
God,” says Sextus (Pyrrh. Hyp. III. c. I, § 4), “we shall not be able
to know and perceive His qualities.” Likewise in the preceding books
(II. c. 4, sqq.), inquiry is made as to whether the criterion of truth
as fixed by the understanding is anything, whether we know the thing in
itself, or whether the ‘I’ is to itself the only absolute certainty.
This is the way to penetrate to reality.

In these ways the operations of Scepticism are undoubtedly directed
against the finite. But however much force these moments of its
negative dialectic may have against the properly-speaking dogmatic
knowledge of the understanding, its attacks against the true infinite
of the speculative Idea are most feeble and unsatisfactory. For this
last is in its nature nothing finite or determinate, it has not the
one-sided character which pertains to the proposition, for it has the
absolute negative in itself; in itself it is round, it contains this
determinate and its opposite in their ideality in itself. In so far as
this Idea, as the unity of these opposites, is itself again outwardly
a determinate, it stands exposed to the power of the negative; indeed
its nature and reality is just to move continually on, so that as
determinate it again places itself in unity with the determinates
opposed to it, and thus organizes itself into a whole whose
starting-point again coincides with the final result. This identity is
quite different from that of the understanding; the object as concrete
in itself, is, at the same time, opposed to itself; but the dialectic
solution of this finite and other is likewise already contained in the
speculative, without Scepticism having first had to demonstrate this;
for the rational, as comprehended, does, as regards the determinate,
just what Scepticism tries to do. However, if Scepticism attempts to
deal with this properly speculative element, it can in no way lay
hold of it, nor make any progress except by doing violence to the
speculative itself; thus the method of its procedure against the
rational is this, that it makes the latter into a determinate, and
always first of all introduces into it a finite thought-determination
or idea of relationship to which it adheres, but which is not really
in the infinite at all; and then it argues against the same. That is
to say it comprehends it falsely and then proceeds to contradict it.
Or it first of all gives the infinite the itch in order to be able to
scratch it. The Scepticism of modern times, with which for crudity of
comprehension and false teaching the old cannot compare, is specially
noteworthy in this respect. Even now what is speculative is transformed
into something crude; it is possible to remain faithful to the letter,
and yet to pervert the whole matter, because the identity of the
determinate has been carried over to the speculative. What here appears
to be most natural and impartial is to have an investigation made of
what the principle of a speculative philosophy is; its essential nature
seems to be expressed thereby, and nothing is apparently added or
imputed to it, nor does any change appear to be effected in it. Now,
here, according to the conception of the non-speculative sciences,
it is placed in this dilemma: the principle is either an unproved
hypothesis or demands a proof which in turn implies the principle. The
proof that is demanded of this principle itself pre-supposes something
else, such as the logical laws of proof; these rules of logic are,
however, themselves propositions such as required to be proved; and
so it goes on into infinitude, if an absolute hypothesis to which
another can be opposed is not made (_supra_, p. 362). But these forms
of proposition, of consecutive proof, &c., do not in this form apply to
what is speculative (_supra_, p. 364) as though the proposition were
before us here, and the proof were something separate from it there;
for in this case the proof comes within the proposition. The Notion is
a self-movement, and not, as in a proposition, a desire to rest; nor is
it true that the proof brings forward another ground or middle term and
is another movement; for it has this movement in itself.

Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. VII., 310-312), for example, thus
reaches the speculative Idea regarding reason, which, as the thought
of thought, comprehends itself, and is thus in its freedom at home
with itself. We saw this (pp. 147-151) with Aristotle. In order to
refute this idea, Sextus argues in the following way: “The reason that
comprehends is either the whole or it is only a part.” But to know
the speculative it is requisite that there should be, besides the
‘either ... or,’ a third; this last is ‘both ... and’ and ‘neither
... nor.’ “If reason as the comprehending is the whole, nothing else
remains to be comprehended. If the comprehending reason is, however,
only a part which comprehends itself, this part again, as that which
comprehends, either is the whole (and in that case again nothing at
all remains to be comprehended), or else, supposing what comprehends
to be a part in the sense that what is comprehended is the other part,
that which comprehends does not comprehend itself,” &c. In the first
place, however, it is clear that by arguing thus nothing is shown
further than the fact that here Scepticism in the first place brings
into the relationship of thought thinking about thought, the very
superficial category of the relationship of the whole and the parts,
as understood by the ordinary understanding, which last is not found
in that Idea, although as regards finite things the whole is simply
composed of all the parts, and these parts constitute the whole, the
parts and the whole being consequently identical. But the relationship
of whole and part is not a relationship of reason to itself, being
much too unimportant, and quite unworthy of being brought into the
speculative Idea. In the second place Scepticism is wrong in allowing
this relationship to hold good immediately, as it does in the ordinary
and arid conception, where we make no objection to it. When reflection
speaks of a whole, there is for it beyond this nothing else remaining.
But the whole is just the being opposed to itself. On the one hand
it is as whole simply identical with its parts, and, on the other
hand, the parts are identical with the whole, since they together
constitute the whole. The self-comprehension of reason is just like
the comprehension by the whole of all its parts, if it is taken in
its real speculative significance; and only in this sense could this
relationship be dealt with here. But in the sense implied by Sextus,
that there is nothing except the whole, the two sides, the whole and
the parts, remain in mutual, isolated opposition; in the region of
speculation the two indeed are different, but they are likewise not
different, for the difference is ideal. Outside of the whole there
thus undoubtedly remains another, namely itself as the manifold of
its parts. The whole argument thus rests upon the fact that a foreign
determination is first of all brought within the Idea, and then
arguments against the Idea are brought forward, after it has been thus
corrupted by the isolation of a one-sided determination unaccompanied
by the other moment of the determination. The case is similar when it
is said; “Objectivity and subjectivity are different, and thus their
unity cannot be expressed.” It is indeed maintained that the words
are literally adhered to; but even as contained in these words, the
determination is one-sided, and the other also pertains to it. Hence
this difference is not what remains good, but what has to be abrogated.

We may perhaps have said enough about the scientific nature of
Scepticism, and we have concluded therewith the second section of Greek
philosophy. The general point of view adopted by self-consciousness in
this second period, the attainment of the freedom of self-consciousness
through thought, is common to all these philosophies. In Scepticism we
now find that reason has got so far that all that is objective, whether
of Being or of the universal, has disappeared for self-consciousness.
The abyss of the self-consciousness of pure thought has swallowed up
everything, and made entirely clear the basis of thought. It not only
has comprehended thought and outside of it a universe in its entirety,
but the result, positively expressed, is that self-consciousness itself
is reality. External objectivity is not an objective existence nor
a universal thought; for it merely is the fact that the individual
consciousness exists, and that it is universal. But though for us
there is an object, yet this is for it no object, and thus it still
has itself the mode of objectivity. Scepticism deduces no result, nor
does it express its negation as anything positive. But the positive
is in no way different from the simple; or if Scepticism aims at the
disappearance of all that is universal, its condition, as immovability
of spirit, is itself in fact this universal, simple, self-identical—but
a universality (or a Being) which is the universality of the individual
consciousness. Sceptical self-consciousness, however, is this divided
consciousness to which on the one hand motion is a confusion of its
content; it is this movement which annuls for itself all things, in
which what is offered to it is quite contingent and indifferent; it
acts according to laws which are not held by it to be true, and is a
perfectly empiric existence. On another side its simple thought is
the immovability of self-identity, but its reality, its unity with
itself is something that is perfectly empty, and the actual filling in
is any content that one chooses. As this simplicity, and at the same
time pure confusion, Scepticism is in fact the wholly self-abrogating
contradiction. For in it the mind has got so far as to immerse
itself in itself as that which thinks; now it can comprehend itself
in the consciousness of its infinitude as the ultimate. In this way
Scepticism flourishes in the Roman world, because, as we saw (p.
281), in this external, dead abstraction of the Roman principle (in
the principle of Republicanism and imperial Despotism) the spirit
has flown from an existence here and now, that could give it no
satisfaction, into intellectuality. Then because here the mind can only
seek reconciliation and eudæmonism inwardly through cultured thought,
and the whole aim of the world is merely the satisfaction of the
individual, good can only be brought forth as individual work in each
particular case. Under the Roman emperors we certainly find famous men,
principally Stoics, such as Marcus Aurelius and others; they, however,
only considered the satisfaction of their individual selves, and did
not attain to the thought of giving rationality to actuality through
institutions, laws and constitutions. This solitude of mind within
itself is then truly Philosophy; but the thought is abstractly at home
with itself as dead rigidity, and as to outward things it is passive.
If it moves it only moves while bearing with it a contempt of all
distinctions. Scepticism thus belongs to the decay both of Philosophy
and of the world.

The stage next reached by self-consciousness is that it receives
a consciousness respecting that which it has thus become, or its
essential nature becomes its object. Self-consciousness is to itself
simple essence; there is for it no longer any other reality than
this, which its self-consciousness is. In Scepticism this reality is
not yet an object to it, for to it its object is merely confusion.
Because it is consciousness, something is for it; in this opposition
only the vanishing content is for the sceptical consciousness, without
its having been comprehended in its simple permanence. Its truth,
however, is its immersion in self-consciousness, and the fact of
self-consciousness becoming an object to itself. Thus reality has
indeed the form of a universal in existence or in thought, but in
this its self-consciousness is really not a foreign thing as it is
in Scepticism. In the first place it is not simple as immediate and
merely existent, a complete ‘other,’ as when we speak of the soul being
simple; for this last is the simple negative that turns back out of
movement, out of difference, as the universal, into itself. In the
second place this universal power that expresses that “I am at home
with myself,” has likewise the significance of the Being, which, as
objective reality, has a permanence for consciousness, and does not
merely, as with the Sceptics, disappear; for reason in it alone knows
how to possess and to find itself. This inwardness of mind at home with
itself has built in itself an ideal world, has laid the foundation
and groundwork of the intellectual world, of a kingdom of God which
has come down into actuality and is in unity with it, and this is the
standpoint of the Alexandrian philosophy.



SINCE Scepticism is the annulling of the opposites which in Stoicism
and Epicureanism were accepted as the universal principles from which
all other opposites took their rise, it likewise is the unity in which
these opposites are found as ideal determinations, so that the Idea
must now come into consciousness as concrete in itself. With this
third development, which is the concrete result of all that has gone
before, an entirely new epoch begins. Philosophy is now on quite a
different footing, since, with the rejection of the criterion for
subjective knowledge, finite principles in general also disappear;
for it is with these that the criterion has to do. This then is the
form which Philosophy takes with the Neo-Platonists, and which is
closely connected with the revolution which was caused in the world
by Christianity. The last stage which we reached—that subjective
contentment and return of self-consciousness into itself which is
attained by the renunciation of all that is fixed and objective, by
flight into the pure, infinite abstraction in itself, by the absolute
dearth of all determinate content—this stage had come to perfection in
Scepticism, although the Stoic and Epicurean systems have the same end
in view. But with this complete entering into and abiding within itself
of infinite subjectivity, Philosophy had reached the standpoint at
which self-consciousness knew itself in its thought to be the Absolute
(Vol. II. p. 372); and since Philosophy now rejected the subjective and
finite attitude of self-consciousness, and its manner of distinguishing
itself from an unmeaning external object, it comprehended in itself the
difference, and perfected the truth into an intelligible world. The
consciousness of this, expressing itself as it did in the spirit of the
world, now constitutes the object of Philosophy; it was principally
brought about by employing and reasoning from Platonic conceptions and
expressions, but also by making use of those of the Aristotelians and

The idea which had now come home to men that absolute existence is
nothing alien to self-consciousness, that nothing really exists for it
in which self-consciousness is not itself immediately present—this is
the principle which is now found as the universal of the world-spirit,
as the universal belief and knowledge of all men; at once it changes
the world’s whole aspect, destroying all that went before, and bringing
about a regeneration of the world. The manifold forms which this
knowledge assumes do not belong to the history of Philosophy, but to
the history of consciousness and culture. This principle appears as a
universal principle of justice, by which the individual man, in virtue
of his existence, has absolute value as a universal being recognized
by all. Thus, as far as external politics are concerned, this is the
period of the development of private rights relating to the property
of individual persons. But the character of Roman culture, under
which this form of philosophy falls, was at the same time abstract
universality (Vol. II. p. 235), in the lifelessness of which all
characteristic poetry and philosophy, and all citizen life perished.
Cicero, for example, shows, as few philosophers do, an utter want of
appreciation of the state of affairs in his country. Thus the world has
in its existence separated into two parts; on the one side we have the
atoms, private individuals, and on the other side a bond connecting
them, though only externally, which, as power, had been relegated to
one subject, the emperor. The Roman power is thus the real Scepticism.
In the domain of thought we find an exact counterpart to this species
of abstract universality, which, as perfect despotism, is in the
decline of national life directly connected with the isolation of the
atom, showing itself as the withdrawal into the aims and interests of
private life.

It is at this point that mind once more rises above the ruin, and again
goes forth from its subjectivity to the objective, but at the same time
to an intellectual objectivity, which does not appear in the outward
form of individual objects, nor in the form of duties and individual
morality, but which, as absolute objectivity, is torn of mind and of
the veritable truth. Or, in other words, we see here on the one hand
the return to God, on the other hand the manifestation of God, as He
comes before the human mind absolutely in His truth. This forms the
transition to the mind’s restoration, by the fact of thought, which had
conceived itself only subjectively, now becoming objective to itself.
Thus in the Roman world the necessity became more and more keenly felt
of forsaking the evil present, this ungodly, unrighteous, immoral
world, and withdrawing into mind, in order here to seek what there
no longer can be found. For in the Greek world the joy of spiritual
activity has flown away, and sorrow for the breach that has been made
has taken its place. These philosophies are thus not only moments in
the development of reason, but also in that of humanity; they are forms
in which the whole condition of the world expresses itself through

But in other forms some measure of contempt for nature here began to
show itself, inasmuch as nature is no longer anything for itself,
seeing that her powers are merely the servants of man, who, like a
magician, can make them yield obedience, and be subservient to his
wishes. Up to this time oracles had been given through the medium of
trees, animals, &c., in which divine knowledge, as knowledge of the
eternal, was not distinguished from knowledge of the contingent. Now it
no longer is the gods that work their wonders, but men, who, setting
at defiance the necessities of nature, bring about in the same that
which is inconsistent with nature as such. To this belief in miracle,
which is at the same time disbelief in present nature, there is thus
allied a disbelief in the past, or a disbelief that history was just
what it was. All the actual history and mythology of Romans, Greeks,
Jews, even single words and letters, receive a different meaning; they
are inwardly broken asunder, having an inner significance which is
their essence, and an empty literal meaning, which is their appearance.
Mankind living in actuality have here forgotten altogether how to
see and to hear, and have indeed lost all their understanding of the
present. Sensuous truth is no longer accepted by them; they constantly
deceive us, for they are incapable of comprehending what is real, since
it has lost all meaning for their minds. Others forsake the world,
because in it they can now find nothing, the real they discover in
themselves alone. As all the gods meet together in one Pantheon, so
all religions rush into one, all modes of representation are absorbed
in one; it is this, that self-consciousness—an actual human being—is
absolute existence. It is to Rome that all these mysterious cults
throng, but the real liberation of the spirit appeared in Christianity,
for it is therein that its true nature is reached. Now it is revealed
to man what absolute reality is; it is a man, but not yet Man or
self-consciousness in general.

The one form of this principle is therefore the infinitude in itself
of the consciousness that knows itself, distinguishes itself in itself,
but yet remains in perfectly transparent unity with itself; and only
as this concretely self-determining thought has mind any meaning. An
actual self-consciousness is the fact that the Absolute is now known
in the form of self-consciousness, so that the determinations of the
former are manifested in all the forms of the latter; this sphere does
not properly belong to Philosophy, but is the sphere of Religion,
which knows God in this particular human being. This knowledge, that
self-consciousness is absolute reality, or that absolute reality is
self-consciousness, is the World-spirit. It is this knowledge, but
knows this knowledge not; it has merely an intuition of it, or knows
it only immediately, not in thought. Knowing it only immediately means
that to the World-spirit this reality as spirit is doubtless absolute
self-consciousness, but in existent immediacy it is an individual man.
It is this individual man, who has lived at a particular time and in
a particular place, and not the Notion of self-consciousness, that is
for the World-spirit absolute spirit: or self-consciousness is not yet
known nor comprehended. As an immediacy of thought, absolute reality is
immediate in self-consciousness, or only like an inward intuition, in
the same way that we have pictures present in our mind.

The other form is that this concrete is grasped in a more abstract way,
as the pure identity of thought, and thus there is lost to thought the
point of self-hood pertaining to the concrete. This aspect, expressed
as absolute reality in the form of mind in conceiving thought, but
yet as in some measure existing immediately in self-consciousness as
absolute reality, comes under Philosophy. But spirit, if complete in
every aspect, must have also the natural aspect, which in this form of
philosophy is still lacking. Now as in Christianity universal history
makes this advance of mind in the consciousness of itself, so in the
innermost mysteries of the same, in Philosophy, this same change must
just as inevitably take place; in fact, Philosophy in her further
development does nothing else than grasp this Idea of absolute reality,
which in Christianity is merely shadowed forth. Absolute Spirit implies
eternal self-identical existence that is transformed into another
and knows this to be itself; the unchangeable, which is unchangeable
in as far as it always, from being something different, returns into
itself. It signifies the sceptical movement of consciousness, but in
such a form that the transient objective element at the same time
remains permanent, or in its permanence has the signification of

In the Christian religion this spiritual reality was first of all
represented as indicating that eternal reality becomes for itself
something different, that it creates the world, which is posited purely
as something different. To this there is added later this moment, that
the other element in itself is not anything different from eternal
reality, but that eternal reality manifests itself therein. In the
third place there is implied the identity of the other and eternal
reality, Spirit, the return of the other into the first: and the other
is here to be understood as not only the other at that point where
eternal reality manifested itself, but as the other in a universal
sense. The world recognizes itself in this absolute reality which
becomes manifest; it is the world, therefore, which has returned into
reality; and spirit is universal Spirit. But since this Idea of spirit
appeared to the Christians first of all in the bare form of ordinary
conception, God, the simple reality of the Jews, was for them beyond
consciousness; such a God doubtless thinks, but He is not Thought, for
He remains beyond reality, and He is only that which is distinguished
from the world that our senses perceive. There likewise stands in
opposition to the same an individual man—the moment of unity of the
world and reality, and spirit, the universality of this unity, as a
believing community, which possesses this unity only in the form of
ordinary conception, but its reality in the hope of a future.

The Idea in pure Thought—that God’s way of working is not external,
as if He were a subject, and therefore that all this does not come to
pass as a casual resolution and decree of God, to whom the thought
of so acting happened to occur, but that God is this movement as
the self-revealing moments of His essence, as His eternal necessity
in Himself, which is not at all conditioned by chance—this we find
expressed in the writings of philosophic or expressly Platonic Jews.
The place where this point of view took its origin happens to be
the country where East and West have met in conflict; for the free
universality of the East and the determinateness of Europe, when
intermingled, constitute Thought. With the Stoics the universality
of thought has a place, but it is opposed to sensation, to external
existence. Oriental universality is, on the contrary, entirely free;
and the principle of universality, posited as particular, is Western
Thought. In Alexandria more especially this form of philosophy was
cultivated, but at the same time regard was had to the earlier
development of thought, in which lie the partially concealed beginnings
of the building up in thought of the concrete, which is now the point
mainly regarded. Even in the Pythagorean philosophy we found difference
present as the Triad; then in Plato we saw the simple Idea of spirit
as the unity of indivisible substance and other-being, though it was
only as a compound of both. That is the concrete, but only in simple
moments, not in the comprehensive manner in which other-being is in
general all reality of nature and of consciousness,—and the unity
which has returned as this self-consciousness is not only a thought,
but living God. With Aristotle, finally, the concrete is ἐνέργεια,
Thought which is its own object, the concrete. Therefore although this
philosophy is known as Neo-Pythagorean and Neo-Platonic, it may also
be termed Neo-Aristotelian; for the Alexandrians studied Aristotle just
as much as Plato, and valued both very highly, later on combining their
philosophies in one unity.

But we must have a clearer grasp of the difference between this point
of view and the earlier. Already in the earlier philosophies we have
seen, that νοῦς is the essence of the world, and similarly Aristotle
comprehended the whole series of things endued with life and mind in
such a way as to recognize the Notion to be the truth of these things.
In the case of the Stoics this unity, this system, was most definitely
brought forward, while Aristotle rather followed up the particulars.
This unity of thought we saw among the Stoics more especially on the
one side as the return of self-consciousness into itself, so that
spirit through the purity of thought is independent in itself; on the
other hand we have seen there an objectivity in which the λόγος became
essentially the all-penetrating basis of the whole world. With the
Stoics, however, this basis remained as substance only, and thus took
on the form of Pantheism, for that is the first idea that we light
on when we determine the universal to be the true. Pantheism is the
beginning of the elevation of spirit, in that it conceives everything
in the world to be a life of the Idea. For when self-consciousness
emerges from itself, from its infinitude, from its thought directed on
self, and turns to particular things, duties, relationships; or when
thought, which thinks this universal substance, passes over from it to
the particular, and makes the heavens, the stars, or man its object,
it descends from the universal immediately into the particular, or
immediately into the finite, since all these are finite forms. But
the concrete is the universal which makes itself particular, and in
this making of itself particular and finite yet remains eternally at
home with itself. In Pantheism, on the contrary, the one universal
substance merely makes itself finite, and thereby lowers itself. That
is the mode of emanation, according to which the universal, in making
itself the particular, or God in creating the world, by becoming
particular becomes debased or deteriorated and sets a limit to Himself;
so that this making of Himself finite is incompatible with any return
into Himself. The same relation is also found in the mythology of the
Greeks and Romans; the giving definiteness and form to God, who remains
no empty abstraction, is a rendering finite of God, who thus becomes
a mere work of art; but the Beautiful itself remains a finite form,
which is not brought to such a point as to express the free Idea. The
determination, the specialization, the reality of objectivity, must
now be of such a nature that it shall be adequate to the absolute
universal; the forms of the gods, as also natural forms and the forms
which are known as duties, fail to be thus adequate.

What is therefore now required is that the knowing mind, which thus
out of objectivity returns into itself and its inwardness, should
reconcile with itself the world which it has left, so that the world’s
objectivity may of course be distinct from mind, yet adequate thereto.
This concrete standpoint which, as it is that of the world, is also
that of Philosophy, is the development of Mind, for it is requisite
to Mind that it should not merely be pure thought, but that it should
be thought which makes itself objective, and therein maintains itself
and is at home with itself. The earlier efforts of thought towards
objectivity constitute a passing into determinateness and finitude
merely, and not into an objective world adequate to absolute existence.
The universal standpoint of the Neo-Platonic or Alexandrian philosophy
now is from the loss of the world to produce a world which in its
outwardness shall still remain an inward world, and thus a world
reconciled; and this is the world of spirituality, which here begins.
Thus the fundamental Idea was Thought which is its own object, and
which is therefore identical with its object, with what is thought; so
that we have the one and the other, and the unity of both.

This concrete Idea has again come to the front, and in the development
of Christianity, as thought also penetrated there, it became known
as the Trinity; and this Idea is absolute reality. This Idea did not
develop directly from Plato and Aristotle, but took the circuitous
path of Dogmatism. With the earlier thinkers it doubtless immediately
emerged as supreme; but beside and beyond it appears the other content
in addition, the riches of the thoughts of Mind and of Nature; and so
it is conceived. Aristotle has thus comprehended the kingdom of Nature;
and with Plato development is represented only in a loose multiplicity.
But in order that the Idea should appear as the truth that encompasses
and includes all within itself, it was requisite that this finite, this
wider content of determinations which had been collected, should be
comprehended on its finite side also, that is, in the finite form of
a universal opposition. That was the function of Dogmatism, which was
then dissolved by Scepticism. The dissolution of all that is particular
and finite, which constitutes the essence of the latter, was not
taken in hand by Plato and Aristotle, and therefore the Idea was not
posited by them as all-inclusive. Now the contradiction is done away
with, and Mind has attained to its negative rest. The affirmative, on
the other hand, is the repose of mind in itself, and to this freedom
from all that is particular Mind now proceeds. It is the knowledge of
what Mind is in itself, after it has come to be reconciled in itself
through the dissolution of all finality. This eternal rest of Mind in
itself now constitutes its object; it is aware of the fact, and strives
to determine and develop it further by thought. In this we likewise
possess the principle of evolution, of free development; everything
except Mind is only finite and transitory. When therefore Mind goes
forth to the particular, the particular is determined as something
plainly contained in this ideality, which Mind knows as something
subject to itself. That is the affirmative result of sceptical
philosophy. It is evident that, starting from this point of view, an
utterly different opinion will be expressed. God, as absolute pure Mind
in and for Himself, and His activity in Himself, are now the object.
But God is no longer known as the Abstract, but as the Concrete in
Himself, and this Concrete is nothing but Mind. God is living, the One
and the Other and the unity of these distinct determinations; for the
abstract is only the simple, but the living has difference in itself,
and is yet therein at home with itself.

Further, the following points have specially claimed the attention of
Mind; firstly, that this consciousness which has become subjective
makes its object the absolute as truth, placing this absolute outside
of itself; or that it attains to faith in God, that God is now
manifested, and reveals Himself, that is, exists for consciousness.
The absolute, altogether universal, posited at the same time as
objective, is God. Here comes in the relation of man to this his
object, to absolute truth. This new standpoint, which from this time
acquires an absolute interest, is therefore not a relation to external
things, duties and the like; these are all determined, limited, they
are not the all-embracing determination, as that is which has just
been spoken of. In this relation the mere turning of the subject on
himself, this talk of the wise man. in his one-sidedness, is likewise
done away with. The same liberty, happiness, steadfastness, which were
the aim of Epicureanism, Stoicism and Scepticism are doubtless still
to be reached by the subject, but now this can only be brought about
by turning to God, by giving heed to absolute truth, not by fleeing
from the objective; so that by means of the objective itself, liberty
and happiness are attained for the subject. This is the standpoint
of reverencing and fearing God, so that by man’s turning to this his
object, which stands before him free and firm, the object of the
subject’s own freedom is attained.

In the second place, there are contradictions herein contained which
necessarily attract the attention of mind, and whose reconciliation
is essential. If we adopt this one-sided position, God is on the one
side, and man in his freedom is on the other. A freedom such as this,
standing in contrast to the objective, a freedom in which man, as
thinking self-consciousness, conceives as the absolute the relation of
his pure inwardness to himself, is, however, only formally, and not
concretely absolute. In so far then as the human will determines itself
negatively towards the objective, we have the origin of sin, evil in
contrast to the absolute Affirmative.

A third essential point of interest is the form in which God must
now be apprehended in general, for since it pertains essentially
to the Notion of Mind to determine God as concrete, living God, it
is indispensable that God should be thought of in relation to the
world and to man. This relation to the world is then a relation to
an ‘other,’ which thereby at first appears to be outside of God; but
because this relation is _His_ activity, the fact of having this
relation in Himself is a moment of Himself. Because the connection
of God with the world is a determination in Himself, so the being
another from the one, the duality, the negative, the distinction,
the self-determination in general, is essentially to be thought of
as a moment in Him, or God reveals Himself in Himself, and therefore
establishes distinct determinations in Himself. This distinction
in Himself, His concrete nature, is the point where the absolute
comes into connection with man, with the world, and is reconciled
with the same. We say God has created man and the world, this is
His determination in Himself, and at the same time the point of
commencement, the root of the finite in God Himself. In this manner,
therefore, that which afterwards appears finite is yet produced by Him
in Himself—the particular Ideas, the world in God Himself, the Divine
world, where God has begun to separate Himself, and has His connection
with the temporal world. In the fact that God is represented as
concrete, we have immediately a Divine world in Himself.

Since the Divine forms, as natural and political, have now separated
themselves from the True, and the temporal world has appeared to men as
the negative, the untrue, so, in the fourth place, man recognizes God
in Mind; he has recognized that natural things and the State are not,
as in mythology, the mode in which God exists, but that the mode, as
an intelligible world, exists in Himself. The unhappiness of the Roman
world lay in its abstraction from that in which man had hitherto found
his satisfaction; this satisfaction arose out of that pantheism, in
which man found his highest truth in natural things, such as air and
fire and water, and further in his duties, in the political life of
the State. Now, on the contrary, in the world’s grief over her present
woes, despair has entered in, and disbelief in these forms of the
natural finite world and in the moral world of citizen life; to this
form of reality, in its external and outwardly moral character, man
has proved untrue. That condition which man terms the life of man in
unity with nature, and in which man meets with God in nature because
he finds his satisfaction there, has ceased to exist. The unity of
man with the world is for this end broken, that it may be restored
in a higher unity, that the world, as an intelligible world, may be
received into God. The relation of man to God thereby reveals itself in
the way provided for our salvation in worship, but more particularly
it likewise shows itself in Philosophy; and that with the express
consciousness of the aim that the individual should render himself
capable of belonging to this intelligible world. The manner in which
man represents to himself his relation to God is more particularly
determined by the manner in which man represents to himself God.
What is now often said, that man need not know God, and may yet have
the knowledge of this relation, is false. Since God is the First, He
determines the relation, and therefore in order to know what is the
truth of the relation, man must know God. Since therefore thought goes
so far as to deny the natural, what we are now concerned with is not to
seek truth in any existing mode, but from our inner Being to go forth
again to a true objective, which derives its determination from the
intrinsic nature of thought.

These are the chief moments of the present standpoint, and the
reflections of the Neo-Platonists belong to it. Before entering upon
them we must, however, make cursory mention of Philo the Jew, and also
notice sundry moments appearing in the history of the Church.


Philo, a learned Jew of Alexandria, lived before and after the birth of
Christ, in the reigns of the first Roman Emperors; that is to say, he
was born B.C. 20, but lived until after Christ’s death. In him we for
the first time see the application of the universal consciousness as
philosophical consciousness. In the reign of Caligula, before whom very
heinous charges against the Jews had been brought by Apion, he was,
when advanced in years, sent to Rome as ambassador from his people,
in order to give to the Romans a more favourable account of the Jews.
There is a tradition that he came also in the reign of the Emperor
Claudius to Rome, and there fell in with the Apostle Peter.[207]

Philo wrote a long series of works, many of which we still possess;
for instance, those on The Creation of the World, on Rewards and
Punishments, the Offerers of Sacrifices, the Law of Allegories, Dreams,
the Immutability of God, &c.; they were published in folio at Frankfort
in 1691, and afterwards by Pfeiffer at Erlangen. Philo was famous for
the great extent of his learning, and was well acquainted with Greek

He is more especially distinguished for his Platonic philosophy, and
also for the pains he took to demonstrate the presence of Philosophy
in the sacred writings of the Jews. In his explanation of the history
of the Jewish nation, the narratives and statements therein contained
have lost for him the immediate significance of reality. He reads
into them throughout a mystical and allegorical meaning, and finds
Plato present in Moses; in short, the endeavour of Philo resembled
that of the Alexandrians when they recognized philosophic dogmas in
Greek mythology. He treats of the nature of Mind, not, indeed, as
comprehended in the element of thought, but as expressed therein, and
this expression is still both far from pure and is associated with all
sorts of imageries. By the spirit of Philosophy the Jews were compelled
to seek in their sacred books, as the heathen sought in Homer and in
the popular religion, a deeper speculative meaning, and to represent
their religious writings as a perfect system of divine wisdom. That is
the character of the time, in consequence of which all that appealed
to the finite understanding in popular conceptions has not endured.
The important point, then, is that on the one hand the popular
conception is here still allied with the forms of reality; but as, on
the other hand, what these forms express only immediately is no longer
sufficient, the desire arises to understand them in a deeper sense.
Although in the external histories of the Jewish and heathen religions
men had the authority and starting-point of truth, they yet grasped the
thought that truth cannot be given externally. Therefore, men read
deep thoughts into history, as the expression is, or they read them out
of it, and this latter is the true conception. For in the case of the
Divine Book, whose author is the Spirit, it cannot be said that this
spirituality is absent. The point of importance comes to be, whether
this spirituality lies deeper down or nearer to the surface; therefore,
even if the man who wrote the book had not the thoughts, they are
implicitly contained in the inward nature of the relation. There is,
generally speaking, a great difference between that which is present
therein and that which is expressed. In history, art, philosophy, and
the like, the point of importance is that what is contained therein
should also be expressed; the real work of the mind is wholly and
solely that of bringing to consciousness what is contained therein.
The other side of the matter is that although all that lies within a
form, a-religion, &c., does not come before consciousness, one can
still not say that it did not enter into the human mind; it was not
in consciousness, neither did it come into the form of the ordinary
conception, and yet it was in mind. On the one side, the bringing of
thought into definite consciousness is a bringing in from without, but
on the other side, as far as matter is concerned, there is nothing
brought in from without. Philo’s methods present this aspect in a
pre-eminent sense. All that is prosaic has disappeared, and, therefore,
in writers of the period that follows, miracles are of common
occurrence, inasmuch as external connection is no longer required as a
matter of necessity. The fundamental conceptions of Philo, and these
alone need be taken into consideration, are then somewhat as follows:—

1. With Philo the main point is the knowledge of God. In regard to
this, he says, in the first place: God can be known only by the eye
of the soul, only by Beholding (ὅρασις). This he also calls rapture,
ecstasy, God’s influence; we often find these terms. For this it is
requisite that the soul should break loose from the body, and should
give up its sensuous existence, thus rising to the pure object of
thought, where it finds itself nearer to God. We may term this a
beholding by the intelligence. But the other side is that God cannot be
discerned by the eye of the soul; the soul can only know that He is,
and not what He is. His essence is the primordial light.[208] Philo
here speaks in quite Oriental fashion; for light is certainly simple,
in contrast with which perception has the signification of knowing
something as determined, as concrete in itself. So long, therefore,
as the determination of simplicity is adhered to, this First Light
permits not itself to be known, and since Philo says, “This One is God
as such,” we cannot know what God is. In Christianity, on the contrary,
simplicity is only a moment, and only in the Whole do we find God the

Philo continues: “The First is the space of the universe, encompassing
and filling it; this existence is itself place, and is filled by
itself. God is sufficient for Himself; all other things are paltry and
meaningless; He fills all other things and gives them coherence, but He
Himself is surrounded by nothing, because He Himself is One and All.
Similarly, God exists in the primordial form of time (αἰών),”[209] that
is, in the pure Notion of time. Why is it necessary that God should
fill Himself with Himself? Even the subjective and abstract has need
also of an object. But the all is likewise, as with Parmenides, the
abstract, because it is only substance, which remains empty beside that
which fills it. Absolute fulness, on the other hand, is the concrete,
and we reach this first in the λόγος, in which we have that which
fills, that which is filled, and a third composed of both.

2. To this Philo now comes in the second place: “God’s image and
reflection is thinking reason (λόγος), the Firstborn Son, who rules and
regulates the world. This λόγος is the innermost meaning of all Ideas;
God Himself, in contrast to this, as the One, as such, is pure Being
(τὸ ὄν) only[210]—an expression which Plato also used. Here verily we
come upon a contradiction; for the image can only represent what the
thing is; if therefore the image is concrete, its original must also be
understood to be concrete. For the rest, it is therefore only logical,
after Philo has once limited the name of God to the First Light or
to pure Being, to assert that only the Son can be known. For as this
Being God is only abstract existence, or only His own Notion; and it
is quite true that the soul cannot perceive what this Being is, since
it is really only an empty abstraction. What can be perceived is that
pure existence is only an abstraction, and consequently a nothing, and
not the true God. Of God as the One it may therefore be said that the
only thing perceived is that He does exist. Perception is the knowledge
of the concrete self-determination of the living God. If we therefore
desire to know God, we must add to Being, as the First, this other
moment also; the former is defective, and as abstract as when we say,
‘God the Father,’” that is, this undisclosed One, this indeterminate
in Himself, who has not yet created anything; the other moment is,
however, the determination and distinction of Himself in Himself, the
begetting. What is begotten is His other, which at the same time is in
Him, and belongs to Him, and is thus a moment of Himself, if God is to
be thought of as concrete and living it is this that is here by Philo
called λόγος. In Christianity the name of God is therefore not limited
to Essence, but the Son is conceived of as a determination which itself
belongs to the true Essence of God. That which God is, He is therefore
as Spirit only, and that is the unity of these moments.

God’s differences therefore, according to Philo, constitute the finite
understanding (λόγος) itself, which is then the archangel (ἀρχάγγελος),
a realm of thought which contains determinateness. That is man as
heavenly man, primeval man, who is also represented under the name of
Wisdom (σοφία, תגמה), as Adam Kadmon, as the rising of the sun—man in
God. This finite understanding now separates itself into Ideas, which
by Philo are also named angels or messengers (ἄγγελοι). This mode of
conception is not yet conception in pure thought, for forms of the
imagination are still interwoven with it. Moreover there comes in here
for the first time that which determines, where God is looked on as
activity, which so far Being was not. This λόγος is therefore itself,
we might say, the first restful world of thought, although it is
already differentiated; but another λόγος is that which gives utterance
(λόγος προφορικός) as speech. That is the activity, the creation of the
world, as the former is its preservation, its permanent understanding.
Speech has always been regarded as a manifestation of God, because it
is not corporeal; as sound it is momentary and immediately disappears;
its existence is therefore immaterial. “God created by the word of
His month, interposing nothing;” what He created remains ideal, like
speech. “If we would express the dogma in a still truer form, the Logos
is the ‘Work of God.’”[211]

This Logos is at the same time the teacher of wisdom for
self-consciousness. For natural things are upheld only in their laws;
but self-conscious beings know also of these laws, and this is wisdom.
Thus the λόγος is the high priest, who is the mediator between God and
man, the Spirit of the Godhead, who teaches man—even the self-conscious
return of God into Himself, into that first unity of the primordial
light. That is the pure intelligible world of truth itself, which is
nothing other than the Word of God.[212]

3. In the third place, since thought has come to negativity, the
sensuous existent world stands in opposition to this ideal world. Its
principle with Philo, as with Plato, is matter, the negative (οὐκ
ὄν).[213] As God is Being, so the essence of matter is non-being; it is
not nothing, as when we say that God created the world out of nothing,
for non-being, the opposite of Being, is itself a positive, and as
good as Being. It exists, in so far as there is placed within it a
resemblance to implicit truth. Philo had the true perception that the
opposite of Being is just as positive as Being. If this seems absurd to
anyone, he need only be reminded that really when we posit Being, the
negative of Being is thinking—which is something very positive. But the
next step, the Notion of this opposition, and the passing of Being into
non-being, is not to be found in Philo. In general this philosophy is
less a metaphysic of the Notion or of Thought itself, than a philosophy
in which Mind appears only in pure Thought, and not here in the mode
of ordinary conception—Notions and Ideas are still represented as
independent forms. Thus, for instance, it is said: “In the beginning
the Word of God created the heavens, which consist of the purest Being
and are the dwelling-place of the purest angels, which do not appear,
and are not perceptible by the senses,” but by thought alone; these
are the Ideas. “The Creator before the whole of the intelligible world
made the incorporeal heavens and the non-sensuous earth, and the Idea
of the air and of the void, and after this the incorporeal essence
of the water and an incorporeal light, and a non-sensuous archetype
(ἀρχέτυπος) of the sun and all the stars;”[214] and the sensuous world
is the anti-type of this. Philo now proceeds according to the Mosaic
record. In the Old Testament history of creation, grass, plants, and
trees are created on the third day, and on the fourth day lights in
the firmament of heaven, the sun and moon. Philo therefore says (De
mundi opificio, pp. 9, 10) that on the fourth day a number adorned the
heavens, the four, the tetractys, the most perfect, &c. These are the
main points in Philo’s philosophy.


The Cabalistic philosophy and the Gnostic theology both occupied
themselves with these same conceptions which Philo also had. To them
also the First is the abstract, the unknown, the nameless; the Second
is the unveiling, the concrete, which goes forth into emanation.
But there is also to be found in some degree the return to unity,
especially among Christian philosophers: and this return, which is
accepted as the Third, belongs to the λόγος; so with Philo Wisdom, the
teacher, the high priest, was that which in the contemplation of God
leads back the Third to the First.


Cabala is the name given to the secret wisdom of the Jews, with which,
however, much that is dark and mysterious is mingled; regarding its
origin also many fables are related. We are told of it that it is
contained in two books, _Jezirah_ (Creation) and _Sohar_ (Brightness).
_Jezirah_, the more important of these two books, is ascribed to a
certain Rabbi Akibha; it is about to be published in a more complete
form by Herr von Mayer, in Frankfort. The book has certain very
interesting general principles, and this better portion of it consists
of ideas, which in some respects resemble those of Philo, though they
are more fancifully presented, and often sink into the fantastic. It
is not of the antiquity which those who reverence the Cabala would
assign to it; for they relate that this heavenly book was given to
Adam to console him after his fall. It is a medley of astronomy,
magic, medicine, and prophecy; sundry traces followed up historically
indicate that such were cultivated in Egypt. Akibha lived soon after
the destruction of Jerusalem, and took an active part in a revolt of
the Jews against Hadrian, in the course of which they collected an army
two hundred thousand strong, in order to establish Barcochba as the
Messiah; the revolt was, however, suppressed, and the Rabbi was flayed
alive. The second book is said to have been the work of his disciple,
Rabbi Simeon Ben Jochai, who was called the Great Light, the Spark of
Moses.[215] Both books were translated into Latin in the seventeenth
century. A speculative Israelite, Rabbi Abraham Cohen Irira, also wrote
a book, the Door of Heaven (_Porta c\nlorum_); it is later, dating
from the fifteenth century, and sundry references to the Arabians and
Scholastics are contained in it. These are the sources of the high
cabalistic wisdom.

In earlier times there is no representation among the Jews of God as
being in His essence Light, of an opposite to God, Darkness and Evil,
which is at strife with the Light; there is nothing of good and evil
angels, of the Fall of the wicked, of their condemnation, of their
being in Hell, of a future day of judgment for the good and the evil,
of the corruption of the flesh. It was not until this time that the
Jews began to carry their thoughts beyond their reality; only now does
a world of spirit, or at least of spirits, begin to open itself up
before them; before this these Jews cared only for themselves, being
sunk in the filth and self-conceit of their present existence, and in
the maintenance of their nation and tribes.

Further particulars of the Cabala are these. One is expressed as the
principle of all things, as it is likewise the first source of all
numbers. As unity itself is not one number among the rest, so is
it with God, the basis of all things, the _En-Soph_. The emanation
therewith connected is the effect of the first cause by the limitation
of that first infinite whose boundary (ὅρος) it is. In this one cause
all is contained _eminenter_, not _formaliter_ but _causaliter_.
The second element of importance is the Adam Kadmon, the first man,
_Kether_, the first that arose, the highest crown, the microcosm, the
macrocosm, with which the world that emanated stands in connection as
the efflux of light. By further expansion the other spheres or circles
of the world came into being; and this emanation is represented as
streams of light. In the first place there come forth ten of such
emanations, _Sephiroth_, forming the pure world _Azilah_, which exists
in itself and changes not. The second is the world _Beriah_, which
does change. The third is the created world, _Jezirah_, the world of
pure spirits set in matter, the souls of the stars—that is, further
distinctions into which this dark and mysterious philosophy proceeds.
In the fourth place comes the created world, the _Asijja_: it is the
lowest, the vegetative and sensible world.[216]


Though there are various sects of the Gnostics, we find certain common
determinations constituting their basis.

\Joe Cooper\roddr\charliehoward\— Professor Neander has with great
learning made a collection of these, and elaborated them exhaustively;
some of the forms correspond with those which we have given. Their
general aim was that of knowledge (γνῶσις); whence they also derived
their name.

One of the most distinguished Gnostics is Basilides. For him, too,
the First is the unspeakable God (θεὸς ἄῤῥητος)—the _En-Soph_ of the
Cabala; He is, as with Philo also, that which is (τὸ ὄν), He who is (ὁ
ὤν), the nameless one (ἀνωνόμαστος)—that is, the immediate. The second
is then the Spirit (νοῦς), the first-born, also λόγος, the Wisdom
(σοφία), Power (δύναμις): more closely defined, it is Righteousness
(δικαιοσύνη), and Peace (εἰρήνη). These are followed by principles
still further determined, which Basilides names archons, heads of
spiritual kingdoms. One main point in this is likewise the return, the
refining process of the soul, the economy of purification (οἰκονονία
καθάρσεων): the soul from matter must come back to wisdom, to peace.
The First Essence bears all perfection sealed up in Himself, but only
in potentiality; Spirit, the first-born, is the first revelation of
the latent. It is, moreover, only through being made one with God that
all created beings can attain to a share in true righteousness and the
peace which flows therefrom.[217]

The Gnostics, for instance Marcus, term the First also the Unthinkable
(ἀνεννόητος), even the Non-existent (ἀνούσιος) which proceeds not to
determinateness, the Solitude (μονότης), and the pure Silence (σιγή);
the Ideas, the angels, the æons, then form the Other. These are termed
the Notions, roots, seeds of particular fulfillings (πληρώματα), the
fruit; every æon in this bears its own special world in itself.[218]

With others, as for instance Valentinus, the First is also termed
“the completed æon in the heights that cannot be seen or named,” or
the unfathomable, the primordial cause, the absolute abyss (ἄβυσσον,
βῦθος), wherein all is, as abrogated: also what is even before
the beginning (προάρχη), before the Father (προπάτωρ). The active
transition of the One signifies then the differentiation (διάθεσις)
of this abyss; and this development is also termed the making itself
comprehensible of the incomprehensible (κατάληψις τοῦ ἀκαταλήπτου), in
the same way that we found comprehension spoken of by the Stoics (Vol.
II. p. 250). Æons, particular expositions, are Notions. The second step
is likewise termed limitation (ὅρος); and inasmuch as the development
of life is conceived more clearly by contrast, the key to this is
stated to be contained in two principles, which appear in the form of
male and female. The one is required to perfect the other, each has its
complement (σύζυγος) in the other; from their conjunction (σύνθεσις,
συξυγία), which first constitutes the real, a perfect whole proceeds.
The inward significance of these fulfilments generally is the world of
æons, the universal filling of the abyss, which therefore, inasmuch
as what was distinguished in it was still unrevealed, is also termed
hermaphrodite, man-woman (ἀῤῥενόθηλυς),[219]—very much the same theory
as was held long before by the Pythagoreans (Vol. I. p. 221).

Ptolemæus assigns two conjunctions (σύζυγους) to the abyss, and
two separations, which are pre-supposed throughout all temporal
existence, Will and Perception (θέλημα καὶ ἔννοια). Complicated and
motley forms here appear, but the fundamental determination is the
same throughout, and abyss and revelation are the most important
matters. The revelation which has come down is also conceived as the
glory (δόξα, Shekinah) of God; as heavenly wisdom, which is itself
a beholding of God; as unbegotten powers which encircle Him and are
radiant with the most brilliant light. To these Ideas the name of God
is more especially given, and in this regard He is also called the
many-named (πολυώνυμος), the demiurge; this is the manifestation, the
determination of God.[220]

All these forms pass into the mysterious, but they have on the whole
the same determinations as principle; and the general necessity which
forms their basis is a profound necessity of reason, namely, the
determination and comprehension of what is absolute as the concrete.
I have, however, merely been desirous of calling these forms to
remembrance, in order to indicate their connection with the universal.


The unity of self-consciousness and Being appears in more philosophical
and intelligent form in the Alexandrian School, which constitutes the
most important, and at the same time the most characteristic form of
philosophy pertaining to this sphere. For Alexandria had for some time
past, mainly through the Ptolemies, become the principal seat of the
sciences. Here, as if in their centre-point, all the popular religions
and mythologies of the East and West, and likewise their history, came
into touch and intermingled with one another in various forms and
shapes. Religions were compared with one another: in each of them there
was, on the one hand, a searching for and putting together of that
which was contained also in the other, and, on the other hand, there
was the more important task of reading into the popular conceptions
of religion a deeper meaning, and of giving to them a universal
allegorical signification. This endeavour has doubtless given birth to
much that is dim and mystical; its purer product is the Alexandrian
Philosophy. The bringing together of the philosophies naturally
succeeded better than those connections which, on the side of religion,
are only the mystic products of a Reason that as yet is unintelligible
to itself. For while in fact there is but one Idea in Philosophy, it
annuls by its own means the special form which it has adopted, the
one-sidedness in which it expresses itself. In Scepticism had been
reached this negative stage of seeing annulled the definite modes of
Being in which the Absolute was posited.

Since the form of philosophy which arose in Alexandria did not attach
itself to any of the earlier philosophic schools, but recognized
all the different systems of philosophy, and more especially the
Pythagorean, Platonic, and Aristotelian, to be in their various forms
but one, it was frequently asserted to be Eclecticism. Brucker (Hist.
crit. phil. T. II., p. 193) is the first to do so, as I have found,
and Diogenes Laërtius gave him the occasion thereto, by speaking
(Pr\nmium, § 21) of a certain Potamo of Alexandria, who not so very
long before (ρπὸ ὀλίγου) had selected from the different philosophies
their principal maxims and the best of their teaching. Then Diogenes
goes on to quote several passages from Potamo, saying that this
writer had produced an eclectic philosophy; but these maxims drawn
from Aristotle, Plato, and the Stoics are not of importance, and the
distinguishing characteristics of the Alexandrians cannot be recognized
therein. Diogenes is also earlier than the Alexandrian School; but
Potamo, according to Suidas (s.v. Ποτάμον, T. III., p. 161), was
tutor of the stepsons of Augustus, and for the instructor of princes
eclecticism is a very suitable creed. Therefore, because this Potamo
is an Alexandrian, Brucker has bestowed on the Alexandrian philosophy
the name of Eclectic; but that is neither consistent with fact, nor is
it true to history. Eclecticism is something to be utterly condemned,
if it is understood in the sense of one thing being taken out of this
philosophy, and another thing out of that philosophy, altogether
regardless of their consistency or connection, as when a garment is
patched together of pieces of different colours or stuffs. Such an
eclecticism gives nothing but an aggregate which lacks all inward
consistency. Eclectics of this kind are sometimes ordinary uncultured
men, in whose heads the most contradictory ideas find a place side
by side, without their ever bringing these thoughts together and
becoming conscious of the contradictions involved; sometimes they are
men of intelligence who act thus with their eyes open, thinking that
they attain the best when, as they say, they take the good from every
system, and so provide themselves with a _vade mecum_ of reflections,
in which they have everything good except consecutiveness of thought,
and consequently thought itself. An eclectic philosophy is something
that is altogether meaningless and inconsequent: and such a philosophy
the Alexandrian philosophy is not. In France the Alexandrians are
still called Eclectics; and there, where _système_ is synonymous with
narrowness of views, and where indeed one must have the name which
sounds least systematic and suspicious, that may be borne with.

In the better sense of the word the Alexandrians may, however, very
well be called eclectic philosophers, though it is quite superfluous
to give them this designation at all. For the Alexandrians took as
their groundwork the philosophy of Plato, but availed themselves of
the general development of Philosophy, which after Plato they became
acquainted with through Aristotle and all the following philosophies,
and especially through the Stoics; that is to say, they reinstated it,
but as invested with a higher culture. Therefore we find in them no
refutation of the views of the philosophers whom they quote. To this
higher culture there more especially belongs the deeper principle that
absolute essence must be apprehended as self-consciousness, that its
very essence is to be self-consciousness, and that it is therefore
in the individual consciousness. This is not to be understood as
signifying that God is a Spirit who is outside of the world and outside
self-consciousness, as is often said, but as indicating that His
existence as self-conscious spirit is really self-consciousness itself.
The Platonic universal, which is in thought, accordingly receives the
signification of being as such absolute essence. In the higher sense a
wider point of view as regards the Idea thus signifies its concretely
blending into one the preceding principles, which contain only single
one-sided moments of the Idea. This really indicates a deeper knowledge
of the philosophical Idea which is known concretely in itself, so
that the more abstract principles are contained in the deeper form
of the Idea. For after some divergence has taken place in the past
it must from time to time come about that the implicit identity of
the divergent views is recognized, so that difference has force only
as form. In this sense even Plato is eclectic, since he harmonized
Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Parmenides; and the Alexandrians are also
thus eclectics, seeing that they were just as much Pythagoreans as
Platonists and Aristotelians; the only thing is that this term always
at once calls up the idea of an arbitrary selection.

All earlier philosophies could therefore find a place in that of
the Alexandrians. For in Alexandria the Ptolemies had attracted to
themselves science and the learned, partly by reason of their own
interest in science, and partly on account of the excellence of their
institutions. They founded the great and celebrated library for which
the Greek translation of the Old Testament was made; after Cæsar had
destroyed it, it was again restored. There was also there a museum, or
what would nowadays be called an Academy of Science, where philosophers
and men of special learning received payments of money, and had no
other duties than that of prosecuting scientific study. In later times
such foundations were instituted in Athens also, and each philosophic
school had its own public establishment,[221] without favour being
shown to one philosophy or to the other. Thus the Neo-Platonic
philosophy arose beside the others, and partly upon their ruins, and
overshadowed the rest, until finally all earlier systems were merged
therein. It, therefore, did not constitute an individual philosophical
school similar to those which went before; but, while it united them
all in itself, it had as its leading characteristic the study of Plato,
of Aristotle, and of the Pythagoreans.

With this study was combined an interpretation of the writings of these
men, which aimed at exhibiting their philosophic ideas in their unity;
and the principal mode in which the Neo-Platonic teachers carried on
and elaborated Philosophy consisted in their explaining the various
philosophical works, especially the writings of Plato and Aristotle, or
giving sketches of these philosophies. These commentaries on the early
philosophers were either given in lectures or written; and many of them
have come down to us, some in the number being excellent. Aristotle’s
works were commented on by Alexander Aphrodisiensis, Andronicus
Rhodius, Nicolaus Damascenus, and also Porphyrius. Plato had as
commentators Numenius and Maximus Tyrius. Other Alexandrians combined
a commentary on Plato with study of the other philosophic maxims or
philosophies, and managed to grasp the point of unity of the various
modes of the Idea very successfully. The best commentaries date from
this period; most of the works of Proclus are commentaries on single
dialogues of Plato and similar subjects. This school has the further
peculiarity of expressing speculation as actual divine Being and life,
and, therefore, it makes this appear to be mystical and magical.


Ammonius Saccas, that is, the sack-bearer, is named as one of the first
or most celebrated teachers of this school; he died A.D. 243.[222]
But we have none of his writings, nor have any traditions regarding
his philosophy come down to us. Among his very numerous disciples
Ammonius had many men celebrated in other branches of science, for
example, Longinus and Origen; it is, however, uncertain if this were
the Christian Father of that name. But his most renowned disciple in
philosophy is Plotinus, through whose writings as they are preserved
to us we derive our chief knowledge of the Neo-Platonic philosophy.
The systematized fabric of this philosophy is, indeed, ascribed to him
by those who came after, and this philosophy is known specially as his


As the disciples of Ammonius had, by their master’s desire, made an
agreement not to commit his philosophy to writing, it was not until
late in life that Plotinus wrote; or, rather, the works received from
him were published after his death by Porphyrius, one of his disciples.
From the same disciple we have an account of the life of Plotinus; what
is remarkable in it is that the strictly historical facts recounted
are mixed up with a great variety of marvellous episodes. This is
certainly the period when the marvellous plays a prominent part; but
when the pure system of Philosophy, the pure meaning of such a man, is
known, it is impossible to express all one’s astonishment at anecdotes
of this kind. Plotinus was an Egyptian; he was born at Lycopolis about
A.D. 205, in the reign of Septimius Severus. After he had attended
the lectures of many teachers of Philosophy, he became melancholy
and absorbed in thought; at the age of eight and twenty he came to
Ammonius, and, finding here at last what satisfied him, he remained for
eleven years under his instruction. As at that time wonderful accounts
of Indian and Brahminical wisdom were being circulated, Plotinus set
out on his way to Persia in the army of the Emperor Gordian; but
the campaign ended so disastrously that Plotinus did not attain his
object, and had difficulty even in procuring his own safety. At
the age of forty he proceeded to Rome, and remained there until his
death, twenty-six years later. In Rome his outward demeanour was most
remarkable; in accordance with the ancient Pythagorean practice, he
refrained from partaking of flesh, and often imposed fasts on himself;
he wore, also, the ancient Pythagorean dress. As a public lecturer,
however, he gained a high reputation among all classes. The Emperor of
those days, Gallienus, whose favour Plotinus enjoyed, as well as that
of the Empress, is said to have been inclined to hand over to him a
town in Campania, where he thought to realize the Platonic Republic.
The ministers, however, prevented the carrying out of this plan, and
therein they showed themselves men of sense, for in such an outlying
spot of the Roman Empire, and considering the utter change in the
human mind since Plato’s days, when another spiritual principle had
of necessity to make itself universal, this was an enterprise which
was far less calculated than in Plato’s time to bring honour to the
Platonic Republic. It does little credit to the sagacity of Plotinus
that this idea ever entered into his head; but we do not exactly know
if his plan were limited to the Platonic Republic, or if it did not
admit of some extension or modification thereof. Of course an actual
Platonic state was contrary to the nature of things; for the Platonic
state is free and independent, which such an one as this, within the
Roman Empire, could of course not be. Plotinus died at Rome, in the
sixty-sixth year of his age, A.D. 270.[223]

The writings of Plotinus are originally for the most part answers
given as occasion required to questions proposed by his auditors; he
committed them to writing during the last sixteen years of his life,
and Porphyrius edited them some time later. In his teaching Plotinus
adopted, as has been already mentioned, the method of commenting in
his lectures on the writings of various earlier philosophers. The
writings of Plotinus are known as Enneads, and are six in number, each
of them containing nine separate treatises. We thus have altogether
fifty-four of such treatises or books, which are subdivided into many
chapters; it is consequently a voluminous work. The books do not,
however, form a connected whole; but in each book, in fact, there are
special matters brought forward and philosophically handled; and it is
thus laborious to go through them. The first Ennead has for the most
part a moral character; the first book proposes the question of what
animals are, and what man is; the second deals with the virtues; the
third with dialectic; the fourth with happiness (περὶ εὐδαιμονίας); the
fifth investigates whether happiness consists in protraction of time
(παρατάσει χρόνου); the sixth speaks of the beautiful; the seventh of
the highest (πρώτου) good and of the other goods; the eighth inquires
into the origin of evil; the ninth treats of a rational departure from
life. Other Enneads are of a metaphysical nature. Porphyrius says in
his Life of Plotinus (pp. 3-5, 9, 17-19) that they are unequal. He
states that twenty-one of these books were already in written form
before he came to Plotinus, which was when the latter was fifty-nine
years of age; and in that year and the five following, which Porphyrius
spent with Plotinus as his disciple, other four-and-twenty were added.
During the absence of Porphyrius in Sicily, Plotinus wrote nine more
books, in the last years before his death, which later books are
weaker. Creuzer is preparing to bring out an edition of Plotinus. To
give an account of him would be a difficult task, and would amount to
a systematic explanation. The mind of Plotinus hovers over each of the
particular matters that he deals with; he treats them rationally and
dialectically, but traces them all back to one Idea. Many beautiful
detached quotations could be made from Plotinus, but as there is in
his works a continual repetition of certain leading thoughts, the
reading of them is apt to prove wearisome. Since then it is the manner
of Plotinus to lead the particular, which he makes his starting-point,
always back again to the universal, it is possible to grasp the ideas
of Plotinus from some of his books, knowing that the reading of those
remaining would not reveal to us any particular advance. Plato’s ideas
and expressions are predominant with him, but we find also many very
lengthy expositions quite in the manner of Aristotle; for he makes
constant use of terms borrowed from Aristotle—force, energy, &c.—and
their relations are essentially the object of his meditations. The main
point is that he is not to be taken as placing Plato and Aristotle in
opposition; on the contrary, he went so far as to adopt even the Logos
of the Stoics.

It is very difficult to give a systematic account of his philosophy.
For it is not the aim of Plotinus, as it was of Aristotle, to
comprehend objects in their special determinations, but rather
to emphasize the truth of the substantial in them as against the
phenomenal. The point of greatest importance and the leading
characteristic in Plotinus is his high, pure enthusiasm for the
elevation of mind to what is good and true, to the absolute. He lays
hold of knowledge, the simply ideal, and of intellectual thought, which
is implicitly life, but not silent nor sealed. His whole philosophy is
on the one hand metaphysics, but the tendency which is therein dominant
is not so much an anxiety to explain and interpret and comprehend
what forces itself on our attention as reality, or to demonstrate the
position and the origin of these individual objects, and perhaps,
for instance, to offer a deduction of matter, of evil; but rather to
separate the mind from these externals, and give it its central place
in the simple, clear Idea. The whole tenor of his philosophy thus leads
up to virtue and to the intellectual contemplation of the eternal, as
source of the same; so that the soul is brought to happiness of life
therein. Plotinus then enters to some extent on special considerations
of virtue, with the view of cleansing the soul from passions, from
false and impure conceptions of evil and destiny, and also from
incredulity and superstition, from astrology and magic and all their
train. This gives some idea of the general drift of his teaching.

If we now go on to consider the philosophy of Plotinus in detail,
we find that there is no longer any talk of the criterion, as with
the Stoics and Epicureans,—that is all settled; but a strenuous
effort is made to take up a position in the centre of things, in
pure contemplation, in pure thought. Thus what with the Stoics and
Epicureans is the aim, the unity of the soul with itself in untroubled
peace, is here the point of departure; Plotinus takes up the position
of bringing this to pass in himself as a condition of ecstasy
(ἔκστασις), as he calls it, or as an inspiration. Partly in this name
and partly in the facts themselves, a reason has been found for calling
Plotinus a fanatic and visionary, and this is the cry universally
raised against this philosophy; to this assertion the fact that for the
Alexandrian school all truth lies in reason and comprehension alone,
presents a very marked antithesis and contradiction.

And firstly, with regard to the term ecstasy, those who call Plotinus a
fanatic associate with the idea nothing but that condition into which
crazy Indians, Brahmins, monks and nuns fall, when, in order to bring
about an entire retreat into themselves, they seek to blot out from
their minds all ordinary ideas and all perception of reality; thus this
in some measure exists as a permanent and fixed condition; and again as
a steady gaze into vacuity it appears as light or as darkness, devoid
of motion, distinction, and, in a word, of thought. Fanaticism like
this places truth in an existence which stands midway between reality
and the Notion, but is neither the one nor the other,—and therefore
only a creature of the imagination. From this view of ecstasy, however,
Plotinus is far removed.

But in the second place there is something in the thing itself which
has contributed to bring upon him this reproach, and it is this,
that very often the name of fanaticism is given to anything that
transcends sensuous consciousness or the fixed notions of the finite
understanding, which in their limitation are held to constitute real
existence. Partly, however, the imputation is due to the manner in
which Plotinus speaks in general of Notions, spiritual moments as
such, as if they had a substantial existence of their own. That is to
say, Plotinus sometimes introduces sensuous modes, modes of ordinary
conception, into the world of Notions, and sometimes he brings down
Ideas into the sphere of the sensuous, since, for instance, he utilizes
the necessary relations of things for purposes of magic. For the
magician is just he who attributes to certain words and particular
sensuous signs a universal efficacy, and who attempts by prayers,
&c., to lift them up to the universal. Such a universal this is not,
however, in itself, in its own nature: universality is only attributed
to it; or the universal of thought has not yet given itself therein a
universal reality, while the thought, the act of a hero is the true,
the universal, whose effects and whose means have equal greatness and
universality. In a certain sense therefore the Neo-Platonists have
well deserved the reproach of fanaticism, for in the biographies of
the great teachers of this school, Plotinus, Porphyrius and Iamblichus
we certainly find much recounted that comes under the category of
miracle-working and sorcery, just as we found it in the case of
Pythagoras (Vol. I. p. 200). Upholding as they did the belief in the
gods of heathendom, they asserted in reference to the worship of images
that these really were filled with the divine power and presence.
Thus the Alexandrian school cannot be altogether absolved from the
charge of superstition.[224] For in the whole of that period of the
world’s history, among Christians and heathen alike, the belief in
miracle-working prevailed, because the mind, absorbed in itself and
filled with astonishment at the infinite power and majesty of this
self, paid no heed to the natural connection of events, and made the
interference of a supreme power seem easy. But what the philosophers
taught is utterly remote therefrom; except the quite theoretical
observation regarding the images of the gods which we mentioned above,
the writings of Plotinus contain nothing in any way related thereto.

He then who gives the name of fanaticism to every effort of the soul
to rise to the supersensuous, to every belief that man can have in
the virtuous, the noble, the divine, the eternal, to every religious
conviction,—may count the Neo-Platonists as being fanatics; but
fanaticism is in this case an empty name employed only by the dull
finite understanding, and by unbelief in all that is high and noble. If
we, however, give the name of fanatics to those who rise to speculative
truths which contradict the categories of the finite understanding, the
Alexandrians have indeed incurred this imputation, but with quite equal
reason may the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy be also termed
fanaticism. For Plato most certainly speaks with enthusiasm of the
elevation of the spirit into thought, or rather the Platonic enthusiasm
proper consists in rising into the sphere of the movement of thought.
Those who are convinced that the absolute essence in thought is not
thought itself, constantly reiterate that God is beyond consciousness,
and that the thought of Him is the notion of One whose existence or
reality is nevertheless an utterly different thing; just as, when we
think of or imagine an animal or a stone, our notion or imagination is
something quite different from the animal itself,—which is making this
last to be the truth. But we are not speaking of this or that animal
perceived by our senses, but of its essential reality, and this is the
Notion of it. The essential reality of the animal is not present as
such in the animal of our senses, but as being one with the objective
individuality, as a mode of that universal; as essence it is our
Notion, which indeed alone is true, whereas what the senses perceive is
negative. Thus our Notion of absolute essence is the essence itself,
when it is the Notion of absolute essence, not of something else. But
this essence does not seem to be co-extensive with the idea of God; for
He is not only Essence or His Notion, but His existence. His existence,
as pure essence, is our thought of Him; but His real existence is
Nature. In this real existence the ‘I’ is that which has the faculty of
individual thought; it belongs to this existence as a moment present
in it, but does not constitute it. From the existence of essence as
essence we must pass over to existence, to real existence as such.
As such, God is doubtless a Beyond to individual self-consciousness,
that is to say, of course, in the capacity of essence or pure thought;
thus to a certain extent He, as individual reality, is Nature which is
beyond thought. But even this objective mode comes back into essence,
or the individuality of consciousness is overcome. Therefore what has
brought upon Plotinus the reproach of fanaticism is this, that he had
the thought of the essence of God being Thought itself and present in
Thought. As the Christians said that He was once present to sensuous
perception at a certain time and in a certain place—but also that He
ever dwells in His people and is their Spirit—so Plotinus said that
absolute essence is present in the self-consciousness that thinks, and
exists in it as essence, or Thought itself is the Divine.

In further defining the relation of individual self-consciousness to
the knowledge of absolute essence, Plotinus asserts (Ennead. VI. l. 7,
c. 35, 36) that the soul which withdraws from the corporeal and loses
every conception but that of pure essence brings itself nigh to the
Deity. The principle of the philosophy of Plotinus is therefore the
Reason which is in and for itself. The condition of ecstasy through
which alone that which has true Being comes to be known, is named
by Plotinus (Ennead. VI. l. 9, c. 11) a simplification of the soul,
through which it is brought into a state of blissful repose, because
its object is itself simple and at rest. But it is evident that we
are not to imagine this simplification of self-consciousness to be
a condition of fanaticism, seeing that even an immediate knowledge
of God such as this is a thinking of Him and a comprehension of Him,
and not a vacant feeling, or what is quite as vacant, an intuition.
This withdrawal of the soul from the body takes place through pure
thought; thought is the activity and at the same time the object. It
is thus a tranquil state, without any wild turmoil of the blood or
of the imagination. Ecstasy is not a mere rapturous condition of the
senses and fancy, but rather a passing beyond the content of sensuous
consciousness; it is pure thought that is at home with itself, and
is its own object. Plotinus often speaks of this condition in the
same way as in the following passage: “Often when I out of the body
awaken to myself, and am beyond the other,” the external, “and have
entered into my inmost nature, and have a wondrous intuition, and live
a godlike life,” &c.[225] In this way Plotinus certainly approaches
to the intuitive point of view. Yet his figurative mode of expression
separates itself still more from the, in great measure, confused
mythical ideas. The Idea of the philosophy of Plotinus is thus an
intellectualism or a higher idealism, which indeed from the side of the
Notion is not yet a perfect idealism; that of which Plotinus becomes
conscious in his ecstasy is, however, philosophic thought, speculative
Notions and Ideas.

As for the determinate principle of Plotinus, the objective, the
content, which is at home with itself in this ecstasy, in this Being of
Thought—this content, as regards its chief moments in the universal, is
that already dealt with. The three principles are for him the One, the
νοῦς and the soul.

a. The first, the absolute, the basis, is here, as with Philo, pure
Being, the unchangeable, which is the basis and the cause of all Being
that appears, whose potentiality is not apart from its actuality, but
is absolute actuality in itself. It is the unity which is likewise
essence, or unity as the essence of all essence. The true principle
is not the multiplicity of present Being, the ordinary substantiality
of things, according to which each appears as one separated from the
others, for really and truly their unity is their essence. This unity
is, properly speaking, not All; for All is nothing but the result of
the units, the comprehension of them—forming the basis, as they do, as
essence—in a unity which is strange to them. Nor is it before all; for
it is not different from the all in actual existence, since otherwise
it would again be only something thought.[226] The later unity, as
regulative of the Reason, has the force of a subjective principle; but
Plotinus establishes it as the highest objectivity, as Being.

This unity has no multiplicity in it, or multiplicity is not implicit;
unity is only as it was for Parmenides and Zeno, absolute, pure
Being; or else the absolute Good, in the sense in which the absolute
was spoken of in the writings of Plato and especially in those of
Aristotle. In the first place, what is the Good?—“It is that on
which all depends (ἀνήρτηται),[227] and which all things desire
(ἐφίεται)”—also according to Aristotle—“and have as principle, and
which they are all in want of, while itself it has lack of nothing, is
sufficient for itself, and is the measure and limit of all, which out
of itself gives the νοῦς and essence (οὐσίαν) and soul and life, and
the activity of reason (περὶ νοῦν ἐνήργειαν). And up to this point all
is beautiful, but _it_ is more than beautiful (ὑπέρκαλος) and better
than the best (ἐπέκεινα τῶν ἀρίστων), the superlatively good, bearing
free rule, exercising royal rights in Thought (βασιλεύων ἐν τῷ νοητῷ).
But it is itself by no means that whose principle it is. For when thou
hast said “the Good,” add nothing thereto, and think of nothing beyond.
When thou hast abrogated Being itself, and takest it in this wise,
astonishment will seize thee; and, making this thy aim and resting
therein, thou wilt understand it and its greatness by what is derived
from it. And when thou hast Being thus before thee, and regardest it in
this purity, wonder will lay hold of thee.”[228]

Of absolute Being Plotinus then asserted that it is unknowable—which
Philo also said—and that it remains in itself. On this point Plotinus
expatiates at great length, and frequently recurs to the fact that the
soul must really first attain to the thought of this unity through
negative movement, which is something different from mere assertion,
and is rather sceptical movement which makes trial of all predicates
and finds nothing except this One. All such predicates as Being and
substance do not conform to it in the opinion of Plotinus; for they
express some determination or other. There is no sensation, no thought,
no consciousness; for in all these there lies a distinction. Because
the determination of the One is the main point, with Plotinus the
Good is the aim for subjective thought as well as for practical; but
although the Good is the absolutely free, it is nevertheless without
resolution and will; for will has in it the distinction of itself and
the Good.[229]

That Being is and remains God, and is not outside of Him, but is His
very self: “Absolute unity upholds things that they fall not asunder;
it is the firm bond of unity in all, penetrating all—bringing together
and unifying things which in mutual opposition were in danger of
separation. We term it the One and the Good. It neither _is_, nor is it
something, nor is it anything, but it is over all. All these categories
are negatived; it has no magnitude, is not infinite. It is the middle
point of the universe, the eternal source of virtue and the origin of
divine love, around which all moves, by which every thing directs its
course, in which νοῦς and self-consciousness ever have their beginning
and their end.”[230] To this substance Plotinus leads back everything;
it alone is the true, and in all remains simply identical with itself.

But out of this First all proceeds, owing to its revealing itself; that
is the connection with creation and all production. But the Absolute
cannot be conceived as creative, if it is determinate as an abstract,
and is not rather comprehended as the One which has energy in itself.
This transition to the determinate is thus not made by Plotinus
philosophically or dialectically, but the necessity of it is expressed
in representations and images. Thus he says (Ennead. III. l. 8, c. 9)
of the νοῦς, his second principle, “The one absolute Good is a source
which has no other principle, but is the principle for all streams, so
that it is not swallowed up by these, but as source remains at rest in
itself,” and thus contains these streams as such in itself; so that
they, “flowing out in one direction and another, have yet not flowed
away, but know whence and whither they are flowing.” This distinction
is the point to which Plotinus often returns, and this advance from the
unrevealed to the revelation, this production, is a point of importance.

b. Now what is first begotten by this Unity, the Son, is finite
understanding (νοῦς), the second Divine Being, the other principle.
Here the main difficulty confronts us—the task known and recognized
long years ago—the comprehension of how the One came to the decision
to determine itself; and the endeavour to elucidate this fact still
constitutes the essential point of interest. The ancients did not
frame this question in the definite form in which we have it; but they
nevertheless occupied themselves with it. For the νοῦς is nothing
more or less than the self-finding of self; it is the pure duality
(δυάς), itself and its object; it contains all that is thought, it is
this distinction, but pure distinction that remains at the same time
identical with itself. Simple unity is, however, the First. Plotinus
thus also says in a somewhat Pythagorean fashion that things are as
numbers in this λόγος. “But number is not the First, for unity is not
a number. The first number is the two, but as indeterminate duality;
and the one is what determines it; the two is also the soul. Number is
the solid; what sensuous perception takes to be existent, is a later

Plotinus has here (Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 6) all sorts of modes of
representation in order to make clear to himself the development out
of the One: “How then this process is accomplished, how out of unity
proceed two and plurality in general—if we would know how to express
this, we must call on God, not, however, with audible voice, but
pouring out our soul in prayer to Him; this we can do only by coming
all alone to Him who is alone. He who contemplates must retire into his
secret heart as into a temple, and remain there at rest, being elevated
above all things, and in such contemplation as admits of no change.”
This is always the mood of the thinking soul, to which Plotinus exhorts
and would lead everything back. In this pure thought or contemplation
the νοῦς is actual; and this is divine activity itself.

Plotinus continues: “This production is not a movement nor a change;
change and what comes to pass through change, the changeable, we
arrive at only in the third place;” change implies other-Being and is
directed to something else, νοῦς is still the remaining at home with
self of meditation. “The finite understanding originating thus from
absolute essence, yet without change, is the immediate reflection of
the same; it is not established by an act of will or a resolution.
But God,” as One, the Good, “is the immovable; and production is a
light proceeding from Him who endures. The One sheds light round about
Himself; the finite understanding flows from Him, the enduring one,
just as the light from the sun encircles it. All things which are
permanent give forth and diffuse from their substance an essence which
is dependent upon them;” or, as Plotinus really says, it is identical
with them. “As fire diffuses warmth, and snow cold, around itself, but
especially as the fragrance of things clings round them,” so does νοῦς,
like light, diffuse Being around. “That which has come to perfection
passes into the emanation, into the circle of light,” spreads a
fragrance around.[232] For this going forth (πρόοδον) or production,
Plotinus also employs the image of overflowing, whereby, however, the
One remains simply one. “Because it is complete in itself, without
anything lacking, it overflows; and this overflow is what is produced.
This that is produced merely, however, returns to the One,” the Good,
“which is its object, content and fulfilling; and this is finite
understanding,”—this the reversion of what is produced to the original
unity. “The first state of Being that is restful is absolute essence,
and finite understanding is the contemplation of this essence;” or it
comes into existence by means of the first essence, through return upon
itself, seeing itself, by its being a seeing seeing. The light shed
around is a contemplation of the One; this reflection of self on self
(ἐπιστρέφειν) is then thought, or the νοῦς is this movement in a circle

These are the main principles of Plotinus; and he has in this way
truly determined the nature of the Idea in all its moments. Only there
is a difficulty here which makes us pause; and it is found in this
development. We can imagine the infinite disclosing itself in a variety
of ways; in later times there has been much talk of an issuing-forth
from God, which, however, is still a sensuous conception or something
quite immediate. The necessity of self-disclosure is not expressed
thereby, for it is stated only as something having come to pass. That
the Father begets the eternal Son satisfies the imagination; the Idea
is according to its content quite correctly conceived as the Trinity,
and this is an important matter. But although these determinations are
true, the form of the immediacy of movement is at the same time neither
sufficient nor satisfying for the Notion. For because the Becoming of
the simple unity, as the abrogation of all predicates, is that same
absolute negativity which is implicitly the production of itself, we
must not begin with unity and only then pass over into duality, but we
must grasp them both as one. For, according to Plotinus, the object of
the finite understanding is clearly nothing which is alien or opposite
to this or to itself; the manifold Ideas are alone the content of the
same. God therefore through distinction and extension is likewise a
return to Himself, that is, this very duality is simply in the unity,
and is its object. What is thought is not outside of νοῦς in thought
νοῦς merely possesses itself as thinking. The object of thought, that
to which thought turns back, is absolute unity; into this, however, as
such, there is no forcing a way, and it is not determined, but remains
the unknown. Since thinking is, however, only the fact of having itself
as object, it has thus already an object which contains mediation and
activity, or, to speak generally, duality in itself. This is Thought as
the thought of Thought. Or in the perfecting of this thought in itself,
inasmuch as it is its own object, there lies for Plotinus the first
and truly intellectual world, which thus stands to the world of sense
in such a relation that the latter is only a distant imitation of the
former. Things, looked at as they exist in this absolute Thought, are
their own Notions and essence (λόγοι); and these are the patterns of
sensuous existences, as Plato also expressed it.[234]

That the nature of thought is to think itself, is a quite Aristotelian
definition. But with Plotinus and the Alexandrians it is likewise the
case that the true universe, the intellectual worlds is produced from
thought; what Plato termed the Ideas, is here the understanding that
forms, the intelligence that produces, which is actual in that which
is produced, and has itself as object, thinks itself. Of the relation
of these many Notions in the understanding, Plotinus states that they
are present there, just as the elements are present in a thing, and
therefore not as mutually indifferent species, but as being diverse
and yet entirely one. They are not indifferent through space, but
only differ through an inner difference, that is, not in the manner
of existent parts.[235] The finite understanding is thereby expressed
as negative unity. But it is utterly inappropriate when the relation
of the elements which constitute a thing is defined as that of the
parts of which the whole consists, and each of which is absolute—for
instance, when it is represented that in a crystal, water, flint,
&c., are still present as such. Their Being is really neutrality, in
which each of them is abrogated as indifferent and existent: therefore
their unity is negative unity, the inner essence, the principle of
individuality as containing in itself elements that differ.

_c._ The world that changes, which is subject to difference, arises
from this, that the multiplicity of these forms is not only implicitly
in the understanding, but they also exist for it in the form of its
object. Further, there is for it a three-fold mode of thinking: in the
first place it thinks the unchangeable, its unity, as object. This
first mode is the simple undifferentiated contemplation of its object,
or it is light; not matter, but pure form, activity. Space is the
abstract pure continuity of this activity of light, not the activity
itself, but the form of its uninterruptedness. The understanding, as
the thought of this light, is itself light, but light real in itself,
or the light of light.[236] In the second place the understanding
thinks the difference between itself and essence; the differentiated
multiplicity of the existent is object for it. It is the creation of
the world; in it everything has its determinate form in regard to
everything else, and this constitutes the substance of things. Since,
in the third place, substantiality or permanency in the faculty of
thought is determination, its production, or the flowing out of all
things from it, is of such a nature that it remains filled with all
things, or likewise absorbs all immediately. It is the abrogation
of these differences, or the passing over from one to another; this
is its manner of thinking itself, or it is object to itself in this
fashion. This is change; thinking has thus the three principles in
it. Inasmuch as νοῦς thinks of itself as changing, but yet in change
remaining simple and at home with itself, the subject of its thought
is life as a whole; and the fact of its establishing its moments as
existing in opposition to each other is the true, living universe. This
turning round on itself of the outflow from itself, this thinking of
itself, is the eternal creation of the world.[237] It is plain that
in these thoughts of Plotinus the Being-another, the foreign element,
is abrogated, existent things are implicitly Notions. The Divine
understanding is the thinking of them, and their existence is nothing
else than this very fact of their being the object of thought of the
Divine understanding; they are moments of thought and, for this very
reason, of Being. Plotinus thus distinguishes in νοῦς thinking (νοῦς),
the object thought of (νοητόν), and thought (νόησις), so that νοῦς is
one, and at the same time all; but thought is the unity of what had
been distinguished.[238] We would term thought not so much unity as
product; yet even thought, that is, the subject, soars upwards to God.
The distinction between thought and an external God is thus doubtless
at an end; for this reason the Neo-Platonists are accused of being
visionaries, and in truth they do themselves propound wondrous things.

α. Plotinus now goes on to describe the third principle, the soul:
“Νοῦς is eternally active in exactly the same way as now. The movement
to it and around it is the activity of the soul. Reason (λόγος), which
passes from it to the soul, confers on the soul a power of thought,
placing nothing between them. Thinking (νοῦς) is not a manifold;
thinking is simple, and consists in the very fact of thinking. The
true νοῦς (not ours, as it is found, for instance, in desire) thinks
in thoughts, and the object of its thought is not beyond it; for it is
itself the object of its thought, has of necessity itself in thought
and sees itself; and sees itself not as non-thinking, but as thinking.
Our soul is partly in the eternal” (light), “a part of the universal
soul; this itself is in part in the eternal, and flows out thence,
remaining in contemplation of itself, without any designed regulation.
The embellishment of the whole gives to every corporeal object what in
view of its determination and nature it is capable of carrying out,
just as a central fire diffuses warmth all around it. The One must not
be solitary, for were it so all things would be hidden, and would have
no form present in them; nothing of what exists would exist if the
One stood by itself, neither would there be the multitude of existent
things, produced by the One, if those who have attained to the order of
souls had not received the power to go forth. Similarly souls must not
exist alone, as if what is produced through them should not appear, for
in every nature it is immanent to make and bring to light something in
conformity with itself, as the seed does from an undivided beginning.
There is nothing to prevent all from having a share in the nature of
the Good.”[239] Plotinus leaves the corporeal and sensuous on one
side, as it were, and does not take pains to explain it, his sole and
constant aim being to purify therefrom, in order that the universal
soul and our soul may not be thereby endangered.

β. Plotinus speaks, moreover, of the principle of the sensuous
world, which is matter, and with which the origin of evil is closely
connected. He dwells much on this subject of matter in his philosophy.
Matter is the non-existent (οῦκ ὄν), which presents an image of the
existent. Things differ in their pure form, the difference that
distinguishes them; the universal of difference is the negative, and
this is matter. As Being is the first absolute unity, this unity of the
objective is the pure negative; it lacks all predicates and properties,
figure, &c. It is thus itself a thought or pure Notion, and indeed the
Notion of pure indeterminateness; or it is universal potentiality
without energy. Plotinus describes this pure potentiality very well,
and defines it as the negative principle. He says, “Brass is a statue
only in potentiality; for in what is not permanent, the possible, as we
have seen, was something utterly different. But when the grammarian in
potentiality becomes the grammarian in actuality, the potential is the
same as the actual. The ignorant man may be a grammarian, as it were
by accident (κατὰ συμβεβηκός), and it is not in virtue of his present
ignorance that he has the possibility of knowledge. It is for the very
reason of its possessing a certain measure of knowledge that the soul
which is actual attains to what it was potentially. It would not be
inappropriate to give the name of form and idea to energy, in so far as
it exists as energy and not as mere potentiality—not simply as energy,
but as the energy of something determinate. For we might give the
name more properly, perhaps, to another energy, namely that which is
opposed to the potentiality which leads to actuality, for the possible
has the possibility of being something else in actuality. But through
possibility the possible has also in itself actuality, just as skill
has the activity related thereto, and as bravery has brave action. When
in the object of thought (ἐν τοῖς νοηντοῖς)[240] there is no matter,—as
in the case of something existing in potentiality—and it does not
become something that does not yet exist, nor something that changes
into something else, nor something that—itself permanent—produces
another, or emerging from itself permits another to exist in its
place—in that case we have then no mere potential but the existent,
which has eternity and not time. Should we consider matter to be there
as form, as even the soul, although a form, is matter in respect to
what is different? But, speaking generally, matter is not in actuality,
it is what exists in potentiality. Its Being only announces a Becoming,
so that its Being has always to do with future Being. That which is
in potentiality is thus not something, but everything;” energy alone
is determinate. “Matter consequently always leans towards something
else, or is a potentiality for what follows; it is left behind as
a feeble and dim image that cannot take shape. Is it then an image
in respect to reality, and therefore a deception? This is the same
as a true deception, this is the true non-existent;” it is untrue
by reason of energy. “That is therefore not existent in actuality
which has its truth in the non-existent;” it exists not in truth, for
“it has its Being in non-Being. If you take away from the false its
falseness, you take away all the existence that it has. Similarly, if
you introduce actuality into that which has its Being and its essence
in potentiality, you destroy the cause of its substance (ὑποστάσεως),
because Being consisted for it in potentiality. If we would therefore
retain matter uninjured, we must keep it as matter; apparently we must
therefore say that it is only in potentiality, in order that it may
remain what it is.”[241]

In accordance with this, therefore, Plotinus (Ennead. III. l. 6,
c. 7, 8) defines it: “Matter is truly non-existent, a motion which
abrogates itself, absolute unrest, yet itself at rest—what is opposed
in itself; it is the great which is small, the small which is great,
the more which is less, the less which is more. When defined in one
mode, it is really rather the opposite; that is to say, when looked
at and fixed, it is not fixed and escapes, or when not fixed it is
fixed—the simply illusory.” Matter itself is therefore imperishable;
there is nothing into which it can change. The Idea of change is itself
imperishable, but what is implied in this Idea is changeable. This
matter is nevertheless not without form; and we have seen that the
finite understanding has a third relationship to its object, namely in
reference to differences. As now this relation and alteration, this
transition, is the life of the universe, the universal soul of the
same, its Being is in like manner not a change which takes place in
the understanding, for its Being is its being the immediate object of
thought through the understanding.

γ. The Evil likewise, as contrasted with the Good, now begins to be
the object of consideration, for the question of the origin of evil
must always be a matter of interest to the human consciousness. These
Alexandrians set up as matter the negative of thought, but since the
consciousness of the concrete mind entered in, the abstract negative
is apprehended in this concrete fashion as within the mind itself,
therefore as the mentally negative. Plotinus regards this question of
evil from many sides; but thoughtful consideration of this subject does
not yet go very far. The following conceptions are those that prevail
at this time: “The Good is νοῦς, but not the understanding in the sense
it used to bear for us, which from a pre-supposition both satisfies
itself and understands what is said to it, which forms a conclusion
and from what follows draws up a theory, and from the consequence
comes to a knowledge of what is, having now obtained something not
formerly possessed; for before this its knowledge was empty, although
it was understanding. But νοῦς, as we now understand it, contains all
things in itself, is all things, and is at home with itself; it has all
things while not having them,” because it is in itself ideal. “But it
does not possess all in the sense in which we regard what we possess
as something different or alien from ourselves; what is possessed is
not distinguished from itself. For it is each thing and everything
and not confounded, but absolute. What partakes of the same does not
partake of all things at once, but partakes in so far as it can. Νοῦς
is the first energy and the first substance of the soul, which has
activity in regard thereto. The soul, externally revolving round νοῦς,
contemplating it and gazing into its depths, beholds God by means of
it; and this is the life of the gods, free from evil and filled with
blessedness”—in so far as the intelligence which goes forth from itself
has in its difference to do only with itself, and remains in its divine
unity. “If it remained thus constant there would be no evil. But there
are goods of the first and second and third rank, all surrounding the
King over all; and He is the originator of all good, and all is His,
and those of the second rank revolve round the second, and those of
the third round the third. If this is the existent and something even
higher than the existent, evil is not included in what is existent or
higher than the existent; for this is the good. Nothing remains then
but that evil, if it exists, is in the non-existent, as a form of the
non-existent—but the non-existent not as altogether non-existent,
but only as something other than the existent.” Evil is no absolute
principle independent of God, as the Manichæans held it to be. “It is
not non-existent in the same way that motion and rest are existent, but
is like an image of the existent, or non-existent in an even greater
degree; it is the sensuous universe.”[242]. Thus evil has its root in
the non-existent.

In the eighth book of the first Ennead Plotinus says (c. 9, 3, 4, 7):
“But how is evil recognized? It is owing to thought turning away from
itself that matter arises; it exists only through the abstraction of
what is other than itself. What remains behind when we take away the
Ideas is, we say, matter; thought accordingly becomes different, the
opposite of thought, since it dares to direct itself on that which
is not within its province. Like the eye turning away from the light
in order to see the darkness which in the light it does not see—and
this is a seeing which yet is non-seeing—so thought experiences the
opposite of what it is, in order that it may see what is opposed to
itself.” This abstract other is nothing but matter, and it is also
evil; the seeing of the less measure is nothing but a non-seeing. “The
sensuous in regard to measure, or the limited, is the less measure, the
boundless, the undefined, unresting, insatiable, the utterly deficient;
such is not accidental to it, but its substance.” Its aim is always
Becoming; we cannot say that it is, but only that it is always about to
be. “The soul which makes νοῦς its aim is pure, holds off matter and
all that is indeterminate and measureless. But why then, when there is
the Good, is there also necessarily Evil? Because there must be matter
in the whole, because the whole necessarily consists of opposites. It
would not be there, if matter were not present; the nature of the world
is compounded of νοῦς and necessity. To be with the gods means to be
in thought; for they are immortal. We may also apprehend the necessity
of evil in this wise: As the Good cannot exist alone, matter is a
counterpart to the Good, necessary to its production. Or we might also
say that Evil is that which by reason of constant deterioration and
decay has sunk until it can sink no lower; but something is necessary
after the first, so that the extreme is also necessary. But that is
matter, which has no longer any element of good in it; and this is the
necessity of evil.”

With Plotinus, as with Pythagoras, the leading of the soul to virtue
is also an important subject. Plotinus has for this reason blamed the
Gnostics frequently, especially in the ninth book of the second Ennead
(c. 15), because “they make no mention at all of virtue and the Good,
nor of how they may be reached, and the soul rendered better and purer.
For no purpose is served by saying,[243] ‘Look unto God;’ it must
also be shown how we can succeed in causing man thus to behold God.
For it may be asked, What is to prevent a man from beholding, while
at the same time he refrains from the gratification of no desire, and
allows anger to take possession of him? Virtue, which sets a final end
before itself and dwells in the soul with wisdom, manifests God; but
without true virtue God is an empty word.” The Gnostics limit truth
to the mental and intellectual; to this mere intellectuality Plotinus
declares himself distinctly opposed, and holds firmly to the essential
connection of the intelligible and the real. Plotinus honoured the
heathen gods, attributing to them a deep meaning and a profound
efficacy. He says in the same treatise (c. 16), “It is not by despising
the world and the gods in it, and all else that is beautiful, that man
attains to goodness. The wicked man holds the gods in contempt, and
it is only when he has completely reached this stage that he becomes
utterly depraved. The above-mentioned reverence of the Gnostics for the
intelligible gods (νοητοὺς θεούς) is nothing corresponding with this
(ἀσυμπαθὴς ἂν γένοιτο):” that is to say, there is no harmony between
thoughts and the real world, when one does not go beyond the object of
thought. “He who loves anything loves also all things related to the
same, therefore also the children of the father whom he loves. Every
soul is the daughter of this father. But souls in the heavenly spheres
are more intelligible, and better, and far more nearly related to the
higher Power than our souls are. For how could this world of reality
be cut off from that higher sphere? Those who despise that which is
related thereto know it only in name. How could it be pious to believe
that Divine providence (πρόνοια) does not reach to matters here below?
Why is God not also here? For how otherwise could He know what takes
place within this sphere? Therefore He is universally present, and is
in this world, in whatever way it be, so that the world participates in
Him. If He is at a distance from the world, He is at a distance also
from us, and you could say nothing of Him or of what He produces. This
world also partakes of Him, and is not forsaken by Him, and never will
be so. For the whole partakes of the divine much more than the part
does, and the world-soul shares in it to a still greater degree. The
Being and the rationality of the world are a proof of this.”

In this we have the main ideas on which the intellectualism of Plotinus
is based, the general conceptions to which everything particular is
led back; the instances in which this is done are often, however,
figurative. What, in the first place, is lacking in them, as we have
already remarked, is the Notion. Severance, emanation, effluence
or process, emergence, occurrence, are words which in modern times
have also had to stand for much, but in fact nothing is expressed
by them. Scepticism and dogmatism, as consciousness or knowledge,
establish the opposition of subjectivity and objectivity. Plotinus
has rejected it, has soared upwards into the highest region, into
the Aristotelian thought of Thought; he has much more in common with
Aristotle than with Plato, and thereby he is not dialectic, nor does
he proceed out of himself, nor as consciousness does he go back out
of himself into himself again. With this, in the second place, there
is connected the fact that the further descent either to nature or
to manifested consciousness, even when expressed as the operation of
the higher soul, yet contains much that is arbitrary, and is devoid
of the necessity of the Notion; for that which ought to be defined
in Notions is expressed in many-coloured pictures, in the form of
a reality; and this, to say the least, is a useless and inadequate
expression. I quote one example only: our soul belongs not only to
the sphere of the finite understanding, where it was perfect, happy,
lacking nothing; its power of thought alone belongs to the first, the
finite understanding. Its power of motion, or itself looked on as life,
had as its source the intelligent world-soul, but sensation had its
source in the soul of the world of sensation. That is to say, Plotinus
makes the first world-soul to be the immediate activity of the finite
understanding, which is an object to itself; it is pure soul above the
sublunar region, and dwells in the upper heaven of the fixed stars.
This world-soul has power to originate; from it again there flows an
entirely sensuous soul. The desire of the individual and particular
soul separated from the whole gives it a body; this it receives in
the higher region of the heavens. With this body it obtains fancy and
memory. At last it repairs to the soul of the sensible world; and from
this it acquires sensation, desires, and the life that is vegetative in

This declension, this further step towards the corporeality of the
soul, is described by the followers of Plotinus as if the soul sank
from the Milky Way and the Zodiac into the orbits of planets which
have their place lower down, and in each of these it receives new
powers, and in each begins also to exercise these powers. In Saturn
the soul first acquires the power of forming conclusions with regard
to things; in Jupiter it receives the power of effectiveness of the
will; in Mars, affections and impulses; in the Sun, sensation, opinion,
and imagination; in Venus, sensuous desires aiming at the particular;
in the Moon, lastly, the power of production.[245] In such a way as
this Plotinus makes into a particular existence for the spiritual the
very things that he declares to be, on the one hand, intelligible
moments. The soul which only has desires is the beast; that which only
vegetates, which has only power of reproduction, is the plant. But
what we spoke of above are not particular conditions of mind, outside
of the universal spirit, in the world-spirit’s particular stages
of its self-consciousness regarding itself; and Saturn and Jupiter
have nothing further to do with it. When they in their potency are
expressed as moments of the soul, this is not a whit better than when
each of them was supposed to express a particular metal. As Saturn
expresses lead, Jupiter tin, and so forth, so Saturn also expresses
argumentation, Jupiter will, &c. It is doubtless easier to say that
Saturn corresponds with lead, &c., that it is the power of drawing
conclusions, or that it represents lead and the power of drawing
conclusions, or anything else you like, instead of expressing its
Notion, its essence. The above is a comparison with a thing that in
like manner does not express a Notion, but is apparent to the senses,
which is laid hold of out of the air, or rather indeed from the ground.
Such representations are warped and false; for if we say that this is
lead, we mean thereby the essence or the implicitness of lead, with
which the soul has an affinity; but this is no longer the sensuous
Being which is known as lead, nor has this moment of such a state any
reality for the soul.


Porphyry and Iamblichus, who have already been mentioned as the
biographers of Pythagoras (Vol. I. p. 197), are distinguished followers
of Plotinus. The first, a Syrian, died in 304: the latter, likewise
of Syria, in the year 333.[246] Amongst other works by Porphyrius,
we possess an “Introduction to the Organon of Aristotle on Genera,
Species, and Judgments,” in which his logic is propounded in its
principal elements. This work is one which has at all times been the
text-book of Aristotelian Logic, and also an authority from which the
knowledge of its form has been derived; and our ordinary books of logic
contain little more than what is found in this Introduction. The fact
that Porphyry devoted himself to logic shows that a determinate form
of thought was coming into favour with the Neo-Platonists; but this is
something pertaining altogether to the understanding and very formal.
Thus we here have the characteristic fact that with the Neo-Platonists
the logic of the understanding, the quite empiric treatment of the
sciences, is found in conjunction with the entirely speculative
Idea, and in respect of practical life with a belief in theurgy, the
marvellous and strange: in his life of Plotinus, Porphyry, indeed,
describes him a miracle-worker, which statement we, however, must set
aside as appertaining to literature.

Iamblichus evinces more mistiness and confusion still; he certainly
was a teacher highly esteemed in his time, so that he even received
the name of divine instructor; but his philosophic writings
form a compilation without much specially to characterize them,
and his biography of Pythagoras does not do much credit to his
understanding. It was likewise in the Pythagorean philosophy that the
Neo-Platonists gloried, and more particularly they revived the form of
number-determination which pertains to it. In Iamblichus thought sinks
into imagination, the intellectual universe to a kingdom of demons
and angels with a classification of the same, and speculation comes
down to the methods of magic. The Neo-Platonists called this theurgy
(θεουργία); for in the miracle speculation, the divine Idea, is, so to
speak, brought into immediate contact with actuality, and not set forth
in a universal way. As to the work _De mysteriis Ægyptiorum_, it is not
known for certain whether it had Iamblichus as its author or not; later
on Proclus makes great ado concerning him, and testifies that he was
indebted to Iamblichus for his main ideas.[247]


Proclus, a later Neo-Platonist who has still to be mentioned, is more
important. He was born in 412 at Constantinople, but carried on his
studies and spent most of his life with Plutarchus in Athens, where he
also died in 485. His life is written by Marinus, in a style similar
to that of the biographies just mentioned. According to this his
parents came from Xanthus in Lycia, a district of Asia Minor; and since
Apollo and Minerva were the tutelary deities of this town, he rendered
grateful worship to them. They, themselves, vouchsafed to him, as their
favourite, particular regard and personal manifestations; indeed, he
was healed of an illness by Apollo touching his head; by Minerva,
however, he was called upon to go to Athens. First of all he went to
Alexandria to study rhetoric and philosophy, and then to Athens, to be
with Plutarchus and Syrianus, the Platonists. Here he first studied
Aristotelian and then Platonic philosophy. Above all the daughter of
Plutarchus, Asclepigenia, initiated him into the profound secrets of
philosophy; she, as Marinus assures us, was the only individual at that
time who retained the knowledge, transmitted to her by her father, of
the mystic ceremonies and of the whole theurgic discipline. Proclus
studied everything pertaining to the mysteries, the Orphic hymns, the
writings of Hermes, and religious institutions of every kind, so that,
wherever he went, he understood the ceremonies of the pagan worship
better than the priests who were placed there for the purpose of
performing them. Proclus is said to have had himself initiated into
all the pagan mysteries. He himself kept all the religious festivals
and observances pertaining to nations the most various; he was even
familiar with the Egyptian form of worship, observed the Egyptian days
of purification and festivals, and spent certain fast days in offering
up prayers and praise. Proclus himself composed many hymns—of which we
still possess some that are very beautiful—both in honour of the better
known divinities and of those whose fame is entirely local. Of the
circumstance that he—“the most God-fearing man”—had dealings with so
many religions, he himself says: “It is not fitting for a philosopher
to be minister (θεραπευτήν) to the worship of one town or of what
pertains to the few, for he should be the universal hierophant of the
whole world.” He considered Orpheus to be the originator of all Greek
theology, and set a specially high value on the Orphic and Chaldaic
oracles. It was in Athens that he taught. Of course his biographer,
Marinus, relates the most marvellous things about him, that he brought
down rain from heaven and tempered great heat, that he stilled the
earthquake, healed diseases, and beheld visions of the divine.[248]

Proclus led a most intellectual life; he was a profoundly speculative
man, and the scope of his knowledge was very great. In his case, as
also in that of Plotinus, the contrast between the insight of such
philosophers and what their disciples relate of them in biographies,
must strike one very forcibly, for of the wonders described by the
biographers few traces are to be found in the works of the subjects
themselves. Proclus left behind him a great number of writings, many of
which we now possess; he was the author of several mathematical works
which we also have, such as that on the Sphere. His more important
philosophic works are the Commentaries on Plato’s Dialogues, certain
of which have been published from time to time; that on the Timæus was
the most famous. But several were only found in manuscript, and of
these Cousin issued in Paris the Commentaries on the Alcibiades (Vols.
II. III.), and the Parmenides (Vols. IV.-VI.) for the first time. The
first volume of Cousin’s edition contains some writings by Proclus
which now exist only in Latin, on Freedom, Providence, and Evil. Works
separately published are his important writings, The Platonic Theology
(εἰς τὲν Πλάτωνος θεολογίαν) and his Theological Elements (συοιχείωσις
θεολογική); the latter short work Creuzer has had re-published, as also
some of the before-mentioned Commentaries.

Proclus lived, so to speak, in the worship of science. We cannot fail
to see in him great profundity of perception, and greater capacity for
working a matter out and clearness of expression than are found in
Plotinus; scientific development also advanced with him, and on the
whole he possesses an excellent manner of expression. His philosophy,
like that of Plotinus, has the form of a Commentary on Plato; his book
“On the Theology of Plato,” is in this respect his most interesting
work. The main ideas of his philosophy may easily be recognized from
this work, which possesses many difficulties for this reason in
particular, that in it the pagan gods are considered, and philosophic
significations derived from them. But he distinguishes himself entirely
from Plotinus by the fact that with him the Neo-Platonic philosophy, as
a whole, has at least reached a more systematic order, and also a more
developed form; thus in his Platonic theology especially (dialectic as
the work undoubtedly is) a more distinct progression and distinction
between the spheres in the Idea is to be found, than is noticeable in
Plotinus. His philosophy is an intellectual system; we must see how
we can work it out. His way of putting it is not perfectly clear, but
leaves much to be desired.

Proclus differs first of all from Plotinus in not making Being his
principle or purely abstract moment, but by beginning from unity,
and for the first time understanding Being or subsistence as the
third; thus to him everything has a much more concrete form. But the
self-development of this unity is not made the necessity of the Notion
with Proclus any more than with Plotinus; we must once for all give up
seeking here for the Notion of disunion. Proclus (Theol. Plat. II. p.
95) says, “The one is in itself inexpressible and unknowable; but it is
comprehended from its issuing forth and retiring into itself.” Proclus
in the same place (pp. 107, 108) defines this self-differentiation, the
first characteristic of unity, as a production (παράγειν), a going
forth (πρόοδος), and also as a representation or demonstration. The
relation to difference of the unity which brings forth is, however, not
an issuing forth from self, for an issuing forth would be a change,
and unity would be posited as no more self-identical. Hence through
its bringing forth unity suffers no loss or diminution, for it is
the thought that suffers no deterioration through the creation of a
determinate thought, but remains the same, and also receives what is
brought forth into itself.[249] As far as this goes, the Notion is,
properly speaking, no clearer than with Plotinus.

What distinguishes Plotinus is his more profound study of the Platonic
dialectic; in this way he occupies himself in his Platonic theology
with the most acute and far-reaching dialectic of the One. It is
necessary for him to demonstrate the many as one and the one as many,
to show forth the forms which the One adopts. But it is a dialectic
which to a greater or less extent is externally worked out, and which
is most wearisome. But while with Plato these pure notions of unity,
multiplicity, Being, &c., appear naturally, and so to speak devoid of
other significance than that which they immediately possess (for we
designate them as universal ideas which are present in our thought),
with Proclus they have another and higher meaning; and hence it comes
to pass that, as we have seen (pp. 59, 60), he found in the apparently
negative result of the Platonic Parmenides the nature of absolute
existence particularly and expressly recognized. Proclus now shows,
according to the Platonic dialectic, how all determinations, and
particularly that of multiplicity, are resolved into themselves and
return into unity. What to the conceiving consciousness is one of its
most important truths—that many substances exist, or that the many
things, each of which is termed a one, and hence substance, exist in
truth in themselves—is lost in this dialectic, and the result ensues
that only unity is true existence, all other determinations are merely
vanishing magnitudes, merely moments, and thus their Being is only
an immediate thought. But since we now ascribe no substantiality,
no proper Being to a thought, all such determinations are only
moments of a thing in thought. The objection at this point made and
constantly maintained against the Neo-Platonists and Proclus is this,
that certainly for thought everything goes back within unity, but
that this is a logical unity alone, a unity of thought and not of
actuality, and that consequently there can be no arguing from the
formal to actuality. From this they say it by no means follows that all
actual things are not actual substances, that they have not different
principles independent of one another, and even that they are not
different substances, each of which is separated from the other and in
and for itself. That is to say, this contradiction always begins the
whole matter over again when it says of actuality that it is something
implicit, for those who do this call actuality a thing, a substance, a
one—which last are merely thoughts; in short they always again bring
forward, as something implicitly existent, that whose disappearance or
non-implicitude has been already demonstrated.

But in this regard Proclus displays great sagacity in a remark he
makes on the manner in which this mode of production appears in the
Parmenides of Plato, who shows in a negative way in this Dialogue that
if the existence of unity is affirmed, the existence of multiplicity,
&c., must be denied. Respecting these negations (ἀποφάσεις) Proclus
now says (Theol. Plat. II. pp. 108, 109) that they do not signify an
abrogation of the content (στερητικαὶ τῶν ὑποκειμένων) of which they
are predicated, but are the creation of determinatives in accordance
with their opposites (γεννητικαὶ τῶν οἷον ἀντικειμένων). “Thus if
Plato shows that the first is not many, this has the significance that
the many proceed from the first; if he shows that it is not a whole,
it proves that the fact of being a whole proceeds from it. The mode
(τρόπος) of negations is thus to be taken as perfection which remains
in unity, issues forth from everything, and is in an inexpressible
and ineffable preponderance of simplicity. On the other hand, God
must likewise be derived from these negations; else there would be
no Notion (λόγος) of them, and also no negation. The Notion of the
inexpressible revolves round itself, never resting, and it strives with
itself;” _i.e._ the one implies its determinations ideally, the whole
is contained in the one. Multiplicity is not taken empirically and then
merely abrogated; the negative, as dividing, producing, and active, not
merely contains what is privative, but also affirmative determinations.
In this way the Platonic dialectic wins for Proclus a positive
significance; through dialectic he would lead all differences back to
unity. With this dialectic of the one and many Proclus makes much ado,
more especially in his famous elementary doctrines. The submersion of
everything in unity remains, however, merely beyond this unity, instead
of which this very negativity must really be grasped as signifying its

That which brings forth, according to Proclus, furthermore brings forth
through a superfluity of power. There certainly also is a bringing
forth through want; all need, all desire, for example, becomes cause
through want; and its bringing forth is its satisfaction. The end here
is incomplete, and the energy arises from the endeavour to complete
itself, so that only in production the need becomes less, the desire
ceases to be such, or its abstract Being-for-self disappears. Unity,
on the other hand, goes forth out of itself through the superfluity
of potentiality, and this superabundant potentiality is actuality
generally: this reflection of Proclus is quite Aristotelian. Hence
the coming forth of the unity consists in the fact that it multiplies
itself, pure number comes forth; but this multiplication does not
negate or diminish that first unity, but rather takes place in the
method of unity (ἑνιαίως). The many partakes of the unity, but the
unity does not partake of multiplicity.[250] The absolute unity
which multiplies itself into many ones has consequently generated
multiplicity as it is in these ones. Proclus makes use of a many-sided
dialectic to show that the many does not exist in itself, is not the
creator of the many, that everything goes back into unity, and thus
unity is also the originator of the many. It is, however, not made
clear how this is the negative relation of the one to itself; what we
see is then a manifold dialectic, which merely passes backwards and
forwards over the relationship of the one to the many.

To Proclus an important characteristic of this progression is the fact
that it takes place through analogy, and what is dissimilar to the
truth is the further removed from the same. The many partakes of unity,
but it is in a measure likewise not one, but dissimilar to one. But
since the many is also similar to what produces it, it likewise has
unity as its essence; hence the many are independent unities (ἑνάδες).
They contain the principle of unity within themselves, for if as being
many they are likewise different, they are, so to speak, only many
for a third, being in and for themselves unities. These unities again
beget others which must, however, be less perfect, for the effect
is not exactly like the cause, that which is brought forth is not
quite similar to what brings it forth. These next unities are wholes,
_i.e._, they are no longer real unities, unities in themselves, since
in them the unity is only an accident. But because things themselves
are in their synthetic nature merely wholes because their souls bind
them together, they are dissimilar to the first unity, and cannot be
immediately united to it. The abstractly conceived multiplicity is
thus their mean; multiplicity is analogous to absolute unity, and is
that which unites unity with the whole universe. Pure multiplicity
makes the different elements like one another, and hence unites them to
unity; but things only have similarity to unity. Thus things that are
begotten ever remove themselves more and more from unity, and partake
of it less and less.[251]

The further determination of the Idea is known as the trinity (τριάς).
Of this Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. p. 140) first of all gives the
abstract definition that its three forms are three gods, and now we
have more especially to find out how he defined the trinity. This
trinity is certainly interesting in the Neo-Platonists, but it is
specially so in the case of Proclus, because he did not leave it in
its abstract moments. For he again considers these three abstract
determinations of the absolute, each on its own account, as a totality
of triunity, whereby he obtains one real trinity. Thus in the whole
there are three spheres, separated from one another, which constitute
the totality, but in such a way that each has again to be considered
as complete and concrete in itself; and this must be acknowledged as a
perfectly correct point of view which has been reached. Because each
of these differences in the Idea, as remaining in unity with itself,
is really again the whole of these moments, there are different orders
in production; and the whole is the process of the three totalities
establishing themselves in one another as identical. It will be shown
directly which orders these are, and Proclus occupies himself much with
these, because he tries to demonstrate the different powers again in
them. Proclus is hence much more detailed, and he went much further
than did Plotinus; it may indeed be said that in this respect we find
in him the most excellent and best that was formulated by any of the

As regards the further details of his trinity there are, according to
his account, three abstract moments present in it, which are worked
out in his Platonic theology—the one, the infinite and the limitation;
the last two we have likewise seen in Plato (p. 68). The first, God,
is just the absolute unity already frequently discussed, which by
itself is unknowable and undisclosed, because it is a mere abstraction;
it can only be known that it is an abstraction, since it is not yet
activity. This unity is the super-substantial (ὑπερούσιον), and in
the second place its first production is the many ones (ἑνάδες) of
things, pure numbers. In these we have the thinking principles of
things, through which they partake of absolute unity; but each partakes
of it only through a single individual unity, through the one, while
souls do so through thought-out, universal unities. To this Proclus
refers the forms of ancient mythology. That is to say, as he calls
that first unity God, he calls these numerous unities of thought that
flow from it, gods, but the following moments are likewise so called.
He says, (Institut. theol. c. 162): “The gods are named in accordance
with what depends upon the orders (τάξεων); hence it is possible to
know from this their unknowable substances, which constitute their
determinate nature. For everything divine is inexpressible on its own
account and unknowable as forming part of the inexpressible one; but
from differentiation, from change, it comes to pass that we know its
characteristics. Thus there are gods capable of being known, which
radiate true Being; hence true Being is the knowable divine, and the
incommunicable is made manifest for the νοῦς.” But there always remains
a compulsion to represent mythology in the determinateness of the
Notion. These gods or unities do not correspond to the order of things
in such a way that there are just as many and such unities (ἑνάδες) or
gods as there are things; for these unities only unite things with the
absolute unity. The third is just the limit which holds these unities
(ἑνάδες) together, and constitutes their unity with the absolute
unity; the limit asserts the unity of the many and the one.[252]

This is better expressed by what follows, in which Proclus takes up
the three fundamental principles—the limit, the infinite and what
is mingled—of Plato’s Philebus, because the opposition is thus more
clearly determined; and therefore these appear to be the original gods.
But to such abstractions the name gods is not applicable, for it is
as returning that we first of all see them as divine. Proclus says
(Theol. Plat. III. pp. 133-134): “From that first limit (πέρας),” the
absolute one, “things have (ἐξέρτηται) union, entirety and community,”
the principle of individuality, “and divine measure. All separation
and fertility and what makes for multiplicity, on the contrary, rest
on the first infinitude (ἄπειρον);” the infinite is thus quantity, the
indeterminate, just as Plato in the Philebus calls the infinite the
evil, and pleasure the untrue, because no reason is present in it (pp.
68, 69). “Hence when we speak of the process of anything divine, it is
implied that in the individuals it remains steadfastly one, and only
progresses towards infinitude,” continuity as self-production, “and
has at the same time the one and multiplicity present in it—the former
from the principle of limitation, and the latter from the principle
of infinitude. In all opposition which is found in species that are
divine, what is more excellent belongs to limitation, and what is
less excellent to the infinite. From these two principles everything
derives its progress until it steps forth into Being. Thus the eternal,
in so far as it is measure as intellectual, partakes of limitation,
but in so far as it is the cause of unceasing effort after Being, of
infinitude. Thus the understanding in so far as it has the standard
(ραραδειγματικὰ μέτρα) within it, is a product of limitation; in so
far as it eternally produces everything, it has undiminished capacity
for infinitude.” Multiplicity as Notion, not as the many, is itself
unity; it is duality, or the determinateness which stands over against
indeterminateness. Now according to Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. p. 137)
the third is a whole, the unity of determinate and indeterminate,
or that which is mingled (μικτόν). “This is first of all everything
existent, a monad of many possibilities, a completed reality, a many
in one (ἓν πολλά).” The expression “mingled” is not very suitable, is
indeed faulty, because mixture at first expresses only an external
union, while here the concrete, the unity of opposites, and even more
the subjective, is properly speaking indicated.

Now if we consider further the nature of what is mingled we find the
three triads likewise, for each of those three abstract principles is
itself a similar complete triad, but under one or these particular
forms. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 135); “The first Being (τὸ
πρώτως ὄν) is the mingled, the unity of the triad with itself; it
is the Being of the life as well as of the understanding. The first
of what is mingled is the first of all existence, the life and the
spirit are the two other orders; everything is consequently in triads.
These three triads determine themselves thus as absolute Being, life
and spirit; and they are spiritual and to be grasped in thought.”
According to this only the intelligible world is true for Proclus. But
that Proclus did not make the understanding proceed immediately from
the unity, is the second point in which he differs from Plotinus; in
this Proclus is more logical, and he follows Plato more closely. His
sequence is excellent, and he is right in placing the understanding,
as the richer, last, since it is not until after the development of
the moments which are present in life that the understanding springs
forth, and from it in turn the soul.[253] Proclus says (Theol. Plat.
I. pp. 21, 22, 28) that certainly in the first unity all agree, but
that Plotinus makes the thinking nature appear just after the unity;
yet the instructor of Proclus, who led him into all divine truth,
limited better this indefinite way of looking at things adopted by
the ancients, and differentiated this disorderly confusion of various
orders into a comprehensible plan, and succeeded in satisfactorily
following and maintaining the distinction of determinations. As a
matter of fact we find more distinction and clearness in Proclus than
in the turbidity of Plotinus; he is quite correct in recognizing the
νοῦς as the third, for it is, that which turns back.

Regarding the relationship of the three orders Proclus now expresses
himself in the passage already quoted (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 135-136)
thus: “These three are themselves really contained in the existent, for
in it is substance, life, the νοῦς and[254] what is the culminating
point of all existence (ἀκρότης τῶν ὄντων),” the individuality of
the self, the existent on its own account, the subjective, the point
of negative unity. “The life that is grasped by thought is the very
centre-point of existence. But the understanding is the limit of the
existent, and it is thought as known (ὁ νοητὸς νοῦς), for in what is
thought is thinking, and in thinking what is thought. But in what
is thought thinking is in the mode of thought (νοητῶς), in thinking
what is thought is in the mode of thinking (νοερῶς). Substance is the
enduring element in existence and that which is interwoven with the
first principles and which does not proceed from the one.” The second,
“the life, is however that which proceeds from the principles and
is born with infinite capacity;” it is itself the whole totality in
the determination of infinitude, so that it is a concrete manifold.
“The understanding is, again, the limit which leads back once more
to the principles, brings about conformity with the principle, and
accomplishes an intellectual circle. Now since it is a three-fold in
itself, in part it is the substantial in itself, in part the living,
in part the intellectual, but everything is substantially contained in
it, and hence it is the foremost in existence, that which is united
from the first principles.” That is the first reality. Excellent! “I
call it substance, since the first substance (αὐτοουσία) is supreme
over all existence and is, so to speak, the monad of everything.
The understanding itself is that which knows, but life is thinking,
and Being is just what is thought. Now if the whole of what exists
is mingled, but the first existence (τὸ αὐτοόν) is substance, the
substance that comes from the three principles (ὑφισταμένε) is
mingled. What is mingled is thus substance as thought; it is from
God, from whom also come the infinite and limitation. There are thus
four moments, since what is mingled is the fourth.” The first is the
monad, the absolute one, then come the many which themselves are units,
the infinite of Plato; the third is limitation. The one is clearly
all-penetrating, remaining at home with itself, all-embracing; it
does not thus appear as one of the three moments, for Proclus adds a
fourth which then likewise appears as the third moment, since it is the
totality. “This united one is not only derived from those principles
which are according to the one, but it also goes forth from them and is
three-fold.” It is one trinity and three trinities. The limit and the
infinite are, according to Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 138, 139),
before substance and again in it; and this unity of moments is what
comes first in all existence (πρωτίστη οὐσία). In the abstract trinity
everything is thus contained in itself. Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III.
pp. 139, 140): “The truly existent has the trinity of Beauty, Truth,
and Symmetry in itself” (this is the way in which, like Plato, he names
these three triads), “Beauty for order, Truth for purity, and Symmetry
for the unity of what is joined together. Symmetry gives the cause that
the existent is unity; Truth, that it is Being; Beauty, that it is
thought.” Proclus shows that in each of the three triads, limit, the
unlimited, and that which is mingled, are contained; each order is
thus the same, but set forth in one of the three forms which constitute
the first triad.

_a._ Proclus says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 140): “Now this is the first
triad of all that is thought—the limit, the infinite, and that which
is mingled. The limit is God going forth to the culminating point
of thought from the uncommunicable and first God, measuring and
determining everything, admitting all that is paternal and coherent,
and the unblemished race of gods. But the infinite” (quantity) “is
the inexhaustible potentiality of this God, that which makes all
productions and orders to appear, and the whole infinitude, the
primeval essence as well as the substantial, and even the ultimate
matter. What is mingled is, however, the first and highest order
(διάκοσμος) of the gods, and it is that which holds everything
concealed in itself, completed in accordance with the intelligible
and all-embracing triad, comprehending in simple form the cause of
all that exists, and establishing in the first objects of thought the
culminating point which is derived from the wholes.” The first order is
thus in its culminating point the abstract substance in which the three
determinations as such are shut up without development and maintained
in strict isolation; this pure reality is in so far the undisclosed.
It is the greatest height reached by thought and likewise really the
turning back, as this likewise appears in Plotinus; and this first
begets in its culminating point the second order which in the whole is
life, and culminates in its turn in the νοῦς.

_b._ This second triad is placed in the determination of the infinite.
On making this step forward Proclus (Theol. Plat. III. pp. 141, 142)
breaks into a transport of bacchanalian ecstasy, and says, “After this
first triad which remains in unity, let us now in hymns praise the
second which proceeds from this, and is brought to pass through the
abolition of that which comes before it. As the first unity begets the
culminating point of existence, the middle unity begets the middle
existence; for it is likewise begetting and self-retaining.” In the
second order three moments again appear as before: “Here the principle
or the first is the substance which was the completion of the first
triad; the second, which was there the infinite, is here potentiality
(δύναμις). The unity of both these is Life (ζωή),” the centre, or
what gives determinateness to the whole order; “the second existence
is life as thought, for in the most external thought Ideas have their
subsistence (ὑπόστασιν). The second order is a triad analogous to the
first, for the second is likewise a God.” The relationship of these
trinities is hence this: “As the first triad is everything, but is so
intellectually (νοητῶς) and as proceeding immediately from the one
(ἑνκαίως), and remaining within limits (περατοειδῶς), so the second
is likewise everything, but in living fashion and in the principle
of infinitude (ζωτικῶς καὶ ἀπειροειδῶς), and similarly the third has
proceeded after the manner of what is mingled. Limitation determines
the first trinity, the unlimited the second, the concrete (μικτόν) the
third. Each determination of unity, the one placed beside the other,
also explains the intelligible order of gods; each contains all three
moments subordinate to itself, and each is this trinity set forth under
one of these moments.” These three orders are the highest gods; later
on, we find in Proclus (in Timæum, pp. 291, 299) four orders of gods

_c._ Proclus comes (Theol. Plat. III. p. 143) to the third triad,
which is thought itself as such, the νούς: “The third monad places
round itself the νούς as thought, and fills it with divine unity; it
places the middle between itself and absolute existence, fills this
last by means of the middle and turns it to itself. This third triad
does not resemble cause (κατ̓ αἰτίαν), like the first existence,
nor does it reveal the all like the second; but it is all as act
and expression (ἐκφανῶς); hence it is also the limit of all that is
thought. The first triad remains concealed in limit itself, and has
all subsistence of intellectuality fixed in it. The second is likewise
enduring, and at the same time steps forward;” the living appears, but
is in so doing led back to unity. “The third after progression shifts
and turns the intelligible limit back to the beginning, and bends the
order back into itself; for the understanding is the turning back to
what is thought” (to unity), “and the giving of conformity with it.
And all this is one thought, one Idea: persistence, progression and
return.” Each is a totality on its own account, but all three are led
back into one. In the νοῦς the first two triads are themselves only
moments; for spirit is just the grasping in itself of the totality of
the first two spheres. “Now these three trinities announce in mystic
form the entirely unknown (ἄγνωστον) cause of the first and unimparted
(ἀμεθεκτοῦ) God,” who is the principle of the first unity, but is
manifested in the three: “the one has inexpressible unity, the second
the superfluity of all powers, but the third the perfect birth of
all existence.” In this the mystic element is that these differences
which are determined as totalities, as gods, become comprehended as
one. The expression “mystic” often appears with the Neo-Platonists.
Thus Proclus for example says (Theol. Plat. III. p. 131): “Let us once
more obtain initiation into the mysteries (μυσταγωγίαν) of the one.”
Mysticism is just this speculative consideration of Philosophy, this
Being in thought, this self-satisfaction and this sensuous perception.
However, μυστήριον has not to the Alexandrians the meaning that it
has to us, for to them it indicates speculative philosophy generally.
The mysteries in Christianity have likewise been to the understanding
an incomprehensible secret, but because they are speculative, reason
comprehends them, and they are not really secret, for they have been

In conclusion, Proclus institutes a comparison between these triads.
“In the first order the concrete is itself substance, in the second it
is life, and in the third the thought that is known.” Proclus calls
substance likewise Ἑστία, the fixed, the principle. “The first trinity
is the God of thought (θεὸς νοητός); the second the thought of and
thinking (θεὸς νοητὸς καὶ νοερός)” the active; “the third the” pure,
“thinking God (θεὸς νοερός),” who is in himself this return to unity
in which, as return, all three are contained; for “God is the whole
in them.” These three are thus clearly the absolute one, and this
then constitutes one absolute concrete God. “God knows the divided as
undivided, what pertains to time as timeless, what is not necessary as
necessary, the changeable as unchangeable, and, speaking generally, all
things more excellently than in accordance with their order. Whose are
the thoughts, his also are the substances, because the thought of every
man is identical with the existence of every man, and each is both the
thought and the existence,” and so on.[255]

These are the principal points in the theology of Proclus, and it
only remains to us to give some external facts. The individuality of
consciousness is partially in the form of an actuality, as magic and
theurgy; this often appears among the Neo-Platonists and with Proclus,
and is called making a god. The element of theurgy is thus brought into
relation with the heathen divinities: “The first and chief names of
the gods, one must admit, are founded in the gods themselves. Divine
thought makes names of its thoughts, and finally shows the images of
the gods; each name gives rise, so to speak, to an image of a god.
Now as theurgy through certain symbols calls forth the unenvying
goodness of God to the light of the images of the artist, the science
of thought makes the hidden reality of God appear through the uniting
and separating of the tones.”[256] Thus the statues and pictures of
artists show the inward speculative thought, the being replete with the
divinity that brings itself into externality; thus the consecration
of images is likewise represented. This connecting fact—that the
Neo-Platonists have even inspired the mythical element with the
divine—is thereby expressed, so that in images, &c., the divine power
is present. Nevertheless I have only wished to call this moment to mind
because it plays a great part at this particular time.


In Proclus we have the culminating point of the Neo-Platonic
philosophy; this method in philosophy is carried into later times,
continuing even through the whole of the Middle Ages. Proclus had
several successors who were scholarchs at Athens—Marinus, his
biographer, and then Isidorus of Gaza, and finally Damascius. Of the
latter we still possess some very interesting writings; he was the last
teacher of the Neo-Platonic philosophy in the Academy. For in 529 A.D.
the Emperor Justinian caused this school to be closed, and drove all
heathen philosophers from his kingdom: amongst these was Simplicius, a
celebrated commentator on Aristotle, several of whose commentaries are
not yet printed. They sought and found protection and freedom in Persia
under Chosroïs. After some time they ventured to return to the Roman
Empire, but they could no longer form any school at Athens; thus as far
as its external existence is concerned, the heathen philosophy went
utterly to ruin.[257] Eunapius treats of this last period, and Cousin
has dealt with it in a short treatise. Although the Neo-Platonic school
ceased to exist outwardly, ideas of the Neo-Platonists, and specially
the philosophy of Proclus, were long maintained and preserved in the
Church; and later on we shall on several occasions refer to it. In the
earlier, purer, mystical scholastics we find the same ideas as are seen
in Proclus, and until comparatively recent times, when in the Catholic
Church God is spoken of in a profound and mystical way, the ideas
expressed are Neo-Platonic.

In the examples given by us perhaps the best of the Neo-Platonic
philosophy is found; in it the world of thought has, so to speak,
consolidated itself, not as though the Neo-Platonists had possessed
this world of thought alongside of a sensuous world, for the sensuous
world has disappeared and the whole been raised into spirit, and this
whole has been called God and His life in it. Here we witness a great
revolution, and with this the first period, that of Greek philosophy,
closes. The Greek principle is freedom as beauty, reconciliation in
imagination, natural free reconciliation that is immediately realized,
and thus represents an Idea in sensuous guise. Through philosophy
thought, however, desires to tear itself away from what is sensuous,
for philosophy is the constitution of thought into a totality beyond
the sensuous and the imaginary. Herein is this simple progression
contained, and the points of view which we have noticed are, as
cursorily surveyed, the following.

First of all we saw the abstract in natural form: then abstract thought
in its immediacy, and thus the one, Being. These are pure thoughts,
but thought is not yet comprehended as thought; for us these thoughts
are merely universal thoughts to which the consciousness of thought is
still lacking. Socrates is the second stage, in which thought appears
as self, the absolute is the thought of itself; the content is not
only determined, _e.g._ Being, the atom, but is concrete thought,
determined in itself and subjective. The self is the most simple form
of the concrete, but it is still devoid of content; in as far as it
is determined it is concrete, like the Platonic Idea. This content,
however, is only implicitly concrete and is not yet known as such;
Plato, beginning with what is given, takes the more determinate content
out of sensuous perception. Aristotle attains to the highest idea; the
thought about thought takes the highest place of all; but the content
of the world is still outside of it. Now in as far as this manifold
concrete is led back to the self as to the ultimate simple unity of the
concrete, or, on the other hand, the abstract principle has content
given to it, we saw the systems of dogmatism arising. That thought
of thought is in Stoicism the principle of the whole world, and it
has made the attempt to comprehend the world as thought. Scepticism,
on the other hand, denies all content, for it is self-consciousness,
thought, in its pure solitude with itself, and likewise reflection on
that beginning of pre-suppositions. In the third place the absolute is
known as concrete, and this is as far as Greek philosophy goes. That
is to say, while in the system of Stoics the relation of difference
to unity is present only as an “ought,” as an inward demand, without
the identity coming to pass, in the Neo-Platonist school the absolute
is finally set forth in its entirely concrete determination, the
Idea consequently as a trinity, as a trinity of trinities, so that
these ever continue to emanate more and more. But each sphere is a
trinity in itself, so that each of the abstract moments of this triad
is itself likewise grasped as a totality. Only that which manifests
itself, and therein retains itself as the one, is held to be true. The
Alexandrians thus represent the concrete totality in itself, and they
have recognized the nature of spirit; they have, however, neither gone
forth from the depths of infinite subjectivity and its absolute chasm,
nor have they grasped the absolute, or, if we will, abstract freedom of
the “I” as the infinite value of the subject.

The Neo-Platonic standpoint is thus not a philosophic freak, but a
forward advance on the part of the human mind, the world and the
world-spirit. The revelation of God has not come to it as from an
alien source. What we here consider so dry and abstract is concrete.
“Such rubbish,” it is said, “as we consider when in our study we see
philosophers dispute and argue, and settle things this way and that at
will, are verbal abstractions only.” No, no; they are the deeds of the
world-spirit, gentlemen, and therefore of fate. The philosophers are
in so doing nearer to God than those nurtured upon spiritual crumbs;
they read or write the orders as they receive them in the original;
they are obliged to continue writing on. Philosophers are the initiated
ones—those who have taken part in the advance which has been made into
the inmost sanctuary; others have their particular interests—this
dominion, these riches, this girl. Hundreds and thousands of years are
required by the world-spirit to reach the point which we attain more
quickly, because we have the advantage of having objects which are past
and of dealing with abstraction.


[1] Diog. Laërt. III. 1-4 (Tennemann, Vol. I. p. 416; II. p. 190).

[2] Diog. Laërt. III. 5, 29.

[3] Plat. Epist. VII, p. 324-326 (p. 428-431); Diog. Laërt. III., 5, 6,

[4] Diog. Laërt. III, 6, 7, 9, 18-21; Plat. Epist. VII., p. 326, 327
(p. 431-433).

[5] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 327-330 (p. 433-439); III. p. 316, 317 (p.
410, 411).

[6] This circumstance is assigned by Diogenes Laërtius, in the passage
quoted (III. 21, 22), not to the time of Plato’s second journey to
Dionysius the younger, _i.e._ of his third visit to Sicily, where it is
placed by the writers of Plato’s Letters, but to the second journey of
Plato to Sicily, which corresponds with his first visit to Dionysius
the younger.—[Editor’s note.]

[7] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 337-342 (p. 453-461), p. 344-350 (p. 466-477);
III. p. 317, 318 (p. 411-415).

[8] Plat. Epist. VII. p. 326 (p. 431).

[9] From the lectures of 1825.

[10] Diog. Laërt. III. 23 (Menag. ad h.l.); Ælian Var. Histor. II. 42;
Plutarch, ad principem ineruditum, init. p. 779, ed. Xyl.

[11] Diog. Laërt. III. 2; Bruckeri Hist. Crit. Philos. Vol. I, p. 653.

[12] Compare Vol. I. p. 47-53.

[13] Brandis: De perditis Aristotelis libris de ideis et de bono, sive
philosophia, p. 1-13. (Compare Michelet: Examen critique de l’ouvrage
d’Aristote intitulé Métaphysique, 1835, p. 28-78.)—[Editor’s note.]

[14] Scholia in Timæum, p. 423, 424 (ed. Bekk: Commentar crit. in Plat.
Vol. II.).

[15] Plat. De Republica, V. p. 471-474 (p. 257-261).

[16] Plat. De Republica VII. pp. 514-516 (pp. 326-328).

[17] Plato De Republica, V. p. 475, 476 (p. 265, 266).

[18] Diog. Laërt. VI. 53; cf. Plato De Rep. VI. p. 508 (p. 319).

[19] Plat. De Republ. V. p. 476-479 (p. 266-273).

[20] Plat. Meno, p. 81 (p. 348, 349).

[21] Plat. Phædrus, p. 246 (p. 39, 40).

[22] Plat. Phædrus, p. 246 (p. 40).

[23] Plat. Phædrus, pp. 246-251 (pp. 40-50).

[24] Plat. Phædo, pp. 65-67 (pp. 18-23).

[25] Ibid. p. 72 (p. 35), p. 75 (p. 41).

[26] Ibid. pp. 78-80 (pp. 46-51).

[27] Plat. Phædo, pp. 85, 86 (pp. 62, 63), pp. 92-94 (pp. 74-80).

[28] Ibid. pp. 110-114 (pp. 111-120).

[29] Plat. Timæus, p. 20 _et seq._ (p. 10 _seq._); Critias, p. 108
_seq._ (p. 149 _seq._).

[30] Cf. Vol. I. pp. 318, 319, and the remarks there made. [Editor’s

[31] Hegel’s Werke, Vol. VI., Pt. I, p. 8.

[32] Plat. Parmenides, pp. 135, 136 (pp. 21-23).

[33] Ibid. p. 129 (pp. 9, 10).

[34] Plat. Parmenides, p. 142 (pp. 35, 36); cf. Arist. Eth. Nicom. ed.
Michelet, T. I. Præf. p. VII. sqq.

[35] Plat. Parmenides, p. 166 (p. 84); cf. Zeller; Platonische Studien,
p. 165.

[36] Plat. Sophist, pp. 246-249 (pp. 190-196).

[37] Ibid. p. 258 (p. 219).

[38] Plat. Sophist. p. 259 (pp. 220, 221).

[39] Plat. Sophist. pp. 260, 261 (pp. 222-224).

[40] Plat. Sophist. pp. 258, 259 (pp. 218-220).

[41] Cf. also Plat. Phileb. p. 14 (p. 138).

[42] Plat. Phileb. pp. 11-23 (pp. 131-156); pp. 27, 28 (pp. 166, 167).

[43] Plat. Phileb. pp. 23-30 (pp. 156-172).

[44] Plat. Phileb. p. 33 (p. 178).

[45] Cf. Plat. Tim. p. 34 (p. 31); p. 48 (pp. 56, 57); p. 69 (p. 96).

[46] Ibid. p. 29 (p. 25).

[47] Plat. Timæus, p. 30, 31 (pp. 25-27).

[48] Plat. Timæus, pp. 31, 32 (pp. 27, 28).

[49] Plat. Timæus p. 32 (p. 28).

[50] Plat. Timæus, pp. 32-34 (pp. 28-31).

[51] Plat. Timæus, p. 35 (p. 32).

[52] Ibid.

[53] Plat. Timæus, pp. 35, 36 (pp. 32-34).

[54] Plat. Timæus, p. 37 (p. 35).

[55] Plat. Timæus, p. 48 (p. 57); pp. 37, 38 (pp. 36, 37).

[56] Plat, Timæus, pp. 47-53 (pp. 55-66).

[57] Plat. Timæus, pp. 53-56 (pp. 66-72).

[58] Plat. Timæus, pp. 67-70 (pp. 93-99).

[59] Plat. Timæus pp. 70-72 (pp. 99-102).

[60] Plat. De Republica, II., pp. 368, 369 (p. 78.)

[61] Following the outline here given by Plato, Hegel, in an earlier
attempt to treat the philosophy of Justice (Werke, Vol. I. pp. 380,
381), included in one these two classes, and later named them the
general class (Werke, Vol. VIII. p. 267); the “other” class (as Hegel
expresses it, in the first of the passages referred to above), which
by Plato is not included in this, Hegel divided, however, in both his
narratives, into the second class (that of city handicraftsmen), and
the third (that of tillers of the soil).—[Editor’s note.]

[62] Plat. de Republica, II. pp. 369-376 (pp. 79-93); III. p. 414 (pp.
158, 159).

[63] Plat. De Republica, V. p. 463, (p. 241,); p. 460 (p. 236).

[64] Plat. De Republica, IX. pp. 427, 428 (pp. 179-181).

[65] Ibid. IV. pp. 428, 429 (pp. 181, 182).

[66] Ibid. pp. 429, 430 (pp. 182-185).

[67] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 430-432 (pp. 185-188).

[68] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 432, 433 (pp. 188-191).

[69] Plat. De Republica, IV. pp. 437-443 (pp. 198-210).

[70] Plat. De Republica, IV. p. 421 (pp. 167, 168).

[71] Ibid. II. p.376-III. p. 412 (pp. 93-155); V. p. 472-VII. fin. (pp.

[72] Plat. De Legibus, IV. pp. 722, 723 (pp. 367-369).

[73] Plat. De Republica, III. pp. 412-415 (pp. 155-161.)

[74] Plat. De Republica, V. pp. 457-461 (pp. 230-239).

[75] Ibid. pp. 451-457 (pp. 219-230); p. 471 (p. 257).

[76] Cf. Hegel: On the Scientific Modes of treating Natural Law (Werke,
Vol. I.), pp. 383-386.

[77] Plat. Hippias Major, p. 292 (p. 433); p. 295 sqq. (p. 439 sqq.) p.
302 (pp. 455, 456).

[78] In quoting the chapters of Aristotle both hitherto and in future,
Becker’s edition is adopted; where a second number is placed in
brackets after the first, different editions are indicated, _e.g._, for
the Organon, Buhle’s edition, for the Nicomachiean Ethics those of Zell
and the editor, &c.—[Editor’s note.]

[79] Diog. Laërt. V. 1, 9, 12, 15; Buhle: Aristotelis vita (ante Arist.
Opera, T. I.) pp. 81, 82; Ammonius Saccas: Aristotelis vita (ed. Buhle
in. Arist. Op. T. I.), pp. 43, 44.

[80] Diog. Laërt. V. 3, 4; 7, 8; Buhle: Aristotel. vita, pp. 90-92.

[81] Aristotelis Opera (ed. Pac. Aurel. Allobrog, 1607), T. I., in
fine: Aristotelis Fragmenta. (Cf. Stahr. Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp. 85-91.)

[82] Aulus Gellius: Noctis Atticæ, XX. 5

[83] Diog. Laërt. V. 5, 6; Suidas, s. v. Aristoteles; Buhle: Aristot.
vit. p. 100; Ammon. Saccas: Arist. vit. pp. 47, 48; Menag. ad. Diog.
Laërt. V. 2; Stahr. Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp. 108, 109; Bruckeri Hist.
crit. phil. T. I. pp. 788, 789.

[84] Strabo, XIII. p. 419 (ed. Casaub. 1587); Plutarch in Sulla, c.
26; Brucker. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. pp. 798-800 (cf. Michelet: Examen
critique de l’ouvrage d’Aristote, intitulé Métaphysique, pp. 5-16.)

[85] Cf. Michelet: Examen critique, &c., pp. 17-23; 28-114; 199-241.

[86] Gellius: Noct. Atticæ, XX. 5; Stahr: Aristotelia, Pt. I. pp

[87] Arist. Metaphys. VI. 1; Physic. II. 2; I. 9. (Cf. Michelet: Examen
critique, etc., pp. 23-27.)

[88] Michelet: Examen critique, pp. 115-198.

[89] Not only the form which is to be abrogated, but also matter is
spoken of by Aristotle as τι, because in truth the form which is to be
abrogated serves only as material for the form which is to be posited;
so that he in the first passage names the three moments ἔκ τινος,
τι, ὑπό τινος, and in the last passage names them τι, εἴς τι, ὑπό
τινος.—[Editor’s Note.]

[90] As this explanation by Hegel of Aristotle’s celebrated passage
has so many authorities to support it, the editor cannot here, as
frequently elsewhere in these lectures, remain faithful to the
directions of his colleagues, quietly to set right anything that is
incorrect. It is, nevertheless, clear that Aristotle is speaking of
three substances: a sublunar world, which the heavens move; the heavens
as the centre which is both mover and moved; and God, the unmoved
Mover. The passage must therefore, on the authority of Alexander of
Aphrodisias (Schol. in Arist. ed. Brandis, p. 804 _b_), of Cardinal
Bessarion (Aristoteles lat. ed. Bekk. p. 525 _b_) and others, be
thus read: ἔστι τοίνυν τι καὶ ὃ κινεῖ (sc. ὁ οὐρανός)· ἐπεὶ δε τὸ
κινούμενον καὶ κινοῦν καὶ μέσον τοίνυν, ἔυτι τι ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ.
The translation, if this reading be adopted, would be as follows:
Besides the heavens in perpetual motion “there is something which the
heavens move. But since that which at the same time is moved and causes
movement cannot be other than a centre, there is also a mover that is
unmoved.” (Cf. Michelet: Examen critique, etc., p. 192; Jahrbücher
für wisseuschaftliche Kritik, November, 1841, No. 84, pp. 668, 669).
[Editor’s note]

[91] συστοιχία is a good word, and might also mean an element which is
itself its own element, and determines itself only through itself.

[92] The word τὸ εἶναι, when it governs the dative (τὸ εἶναι νοήσεί καὶ
νοουμένῳ) invariably expresses the Notion, while, when it governs the
accusative, it denotes concrete existence. (Trendelenburg: Comment, in
Arist. De anima, III. 4, p. 473.) [Editor’s Note.]

[93] Aristotle here distinguishes four determinations: what is moved
in capacity, or the movable [das Bewegbare] (κινητόν); what is moved
in actuality (κινούμενον); the moving in capacity (κινητικόν), or
what Hegel calls the motive [das Bewegliche]; the moving in actuality
(κινοῦν). It might have been better to translate κινητόν by motive
[Beweglich] and κινητικόν by mobile [Bewegerisch].—[Editor’s note.]

[94] While above (p. 164) we must take the expression τὸ εἶναι as
immediate existence because it is opposed to the Notion, here it has
the meaning of Notion, because it stands in opposition to immediate
existence (καὶ οὺ χωριστὴ μὲν ὕλη, δ̓ εἶναι, καὶ μία τῷ ἀριθμῷ). Cf.
Michelet: Comment. in Arist. Eth. Nicom. V. I., pp. 209-214.—[Editor’s

[95] Here τὸ εἶναι has again the signification of Notion, as above (p.
169), because in the preceding words (ἔστι δὲ ταὐτὸ καὶ κατὰ ταὐτὸ ἡ
διαίρεσις καὶ ἥ ἕνωσις) immediate existence is expressed.—[Editor’s

[96] The editor has considered himself justified in adopting this
rendering, which was commonly used by the Scholastics, and revived by
Leibnitz. (Cf. Michelet, Examen Critique, &c., pp. 165, 261, 265.)

[97] Here and once again on this page τὸ εἶναι is the immediate
existence of the separate sides of sense-perception, therefore their
mere potentiality; while, on the other hand, the active unity of the
perceived and the percipient may be expressed as the true Notion of
sense-perception.—[Editor’s Note.]

[98] _Cf._ _supra_, p. 169, and note there given. The two
significations of τῷ εἶναι here come into immediate contact with one
another, being likewise intermingled; for immediate existence (ἀριθμῷ
ἀδιαίρετον καὶ ἀχωριστον), which is opposed to the Notion (τῷ εἶναι)
becomes in what directly follows mere possibility, to which the true
reality (δυνάμει μὲν γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον εἶναι) is opposed
(δυνάμει μὲν γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον τἀναντία, δ̓ εἶναι ου, ἀλλα τῷ
ἐνεργεῖσθαι διαίρετον).—[Editor’s Note.]

[99] Cf. Tenneman, Vol. III. p. 198.

[100] While Aristotle’s reply is short, and given in the manner
usually adopted by him, that of following up by a second question
the first question proposed (ἢ οὐδὲ τἆλλα φαντάσματα, ἀλλʹ οὐκ ἄνευ
φαντασμάτον;), this answer seems quite sufficient. For Aristotle’s
words certainly bear the meaning that the original thoughts of the
active understanding (the reason), in contradistinction to those of
the passive understanding, have quite obliterated in themselves the
element of pictorial conception; while in the latter this has not been
thoroughly carried out, though even in them pictorial conception is not
the essential moment.—[Editor’s Note.]

[101] Against this we have only to remember that in Aristotle’s way
of speaking ὕστερον and πρότερον always refer to the work they occur
in, while he marks quotations from his other writings by the words: ἐν
ἄλλοις, ἐν ἑτέροις, ἄλλοτε, or εἰς ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρὸν ἀποκείσθω (De
Ausc. phys. I. 9). And if it be said, as it may be with truth, that
all the physical and psychological works, including the Metaphysics,
form one great scientific system, so that ὕστερον and πρότερον may
very well be used in relating these works to one another, I have yet
proved that the treatise περὶ ψυχῆς must be placed much later than
the Metaphysics (Michelet: Examen Critique, &c., pp. 209-222). Might
not then the expression ὕστερον refer to the following chapter? In
truth, the difficulty raised at the end of the seventh chapter seems
completely solved by the words of the eighth chapter quoted above (pp.
198, 199).—[Editor’s Note.]

[102] See Michelet, De doli et culpæ in jure criminali notionibus;
System der philosophischen Moral. Book II. Part I; Afzelius,
Aristotelis De imputatione actionum doctrina.—[Editor’s Note.]

[103] Ethic, Nicom. I. 2-12 (4-12); X. 6-8; Eth. Eudem. II. 1.

[104] Magn. Moral. I. 5, 35; Eth. Nic. I. 13; Eth. Eud. II. 1.

[105] Ethic. Nicomach. II. 5-7 (6, 7); Maga. Moral. I. 5-9; Eth. Eud.
II. 3.

[106] Cf. Arist. Ethic. Nicom. I. 1 (3).

[107] Arist. Eth. Nic. I. 1 (2).

[108] Arist. Polit. III. 1; IV. 14-16.

[109] Ibid. III. 7 (5)-IV. 13.

[110] Arist. Polit. III. 13 (8-9).

[111] Categor. c. 3 (c. 2, § 3-5.)

[112] Categor. c. 4 (c. 2, § 6-8).

[113] Categor. c. 10-14 (8-11); cf. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft,
p. 79 (6th Ed.).

[114] Categor. c. 5 (3).

[115] Arist. Categor. c. 4 (2); De Interpretat. c. 4-6.

[116] Arist. Analytic. prior. I. 1; Topic I. 1.

[117] Arist. Topic I. 13 (11) et 1.

[118] Ibid. I. 16-18 (14-16); II. 7, 8, 10.

[119] Ibid. III. 1; Buhle, Argum. p. 18.

[120] Analyt. prior. II. 23 (25).

[121] Diog. Laërt. VII. I, 12, 31, 32, 5, 2 (IV. 6, 7), 13, 6-11, 28,
29. Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 4; Vol. II. pp. 532, 534; Bruck. Hist. Crit.
Phil. T. I. pp. 895, 897-899. (_Cf._ Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. T. II. p.
413), 901.

[122] Diog. Laërt, VII. 168, 169, 176.

[123] Diog. Laërt. VII. 179-181, 184, 189-202; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p.

[124] Diog. Laërt. VI. 81; Cicer. Acad. Quæst. IV. 30; De Oratore II.
37, 38; De Senectute, c. 7; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 444.

[125] Cic. De Officiis III. 2; De Nat. Deor. I. 3; Suidas: s. v.
Posidonius, T. III. p. 159.

[126] Aul. Gell. Noct. Att. I. 2 (Gronovius ad h. 1.); II. 18; XV. 11;
XIX. 1.

[127] Stob. Eclog. phys. I. p. 32.

[128] Diog. Laërt. VII. 136, 142, 156, 157; Plutarch, de plac. philos.
IV. 21.

[129] Diog. Laërt. VII. 135; Stob. Eclog. phys. I. p. 178.

[130] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. IX. 101-103.

[131] Diog. Laërt. VII. 137.

[132] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 234; Diog. Laërt. VII. 138-140, 147,

[133] Diog. Laërt. VII. 54, 46; Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 227-230.

[134] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VIII. 403, sqq.; cf. Senec. Epist. 107.

[135] Diog. Laërt. VII. 63; Sext. Emp. adv. Math. VIII. 70.

[136] Diog. Laërt. VII. 79, 80, 83.

[137] Cicer. De Officiis I. 3, III.; Diog. Laërt. VII. 98, 99.

[138] Diog. Laërt. VII. 94.

[139] Diog. Laërt. VII. 127, 128; Cicer. Paradox, 2.

[140] Cicer. De finibus III. 13; Tusculan. Quæst. II. 25.

[141] Diog. Laërt. VII. 107, 108.

[142] Plutarch. De Stoicorum repugnantia, p. 1031 (ed. Xyl.); Stob.
Eclog. ethic. P. II. p. 110 Diog. Laërt. VII. 125.

[143] Diog. Laërt. VII. 121, 122, 116, 117, 129; Sext. Empir. adv.
Math. XI. 190-194.

[144] Tacit. Annal. XIV. 53; XIII. 42, 3.

[145] Diog. Laërt. X. 1-8, 10-15; Cic. De Nat. Deor. I. 26; De Finibus,
II. 25; Bruck. Hist. Crit. Phil. T. I. pp. 1230, 1231, 1233, 1236;
Sext. Emp. adv. Math. X. 18; I. 3.

[146] Diog. Laërt. X. 11, 24, 9; IV. 43; Cic. De Finib. V. 1; Euseb.
Præp. evangel. XIV. 5.

[147] Diog. Laërt. X. 26.

[148] Diog. Laërt. X. 31.

[149] Diog. Laërt. X. 31, 32.

[150] Diog. Laërt. X. 33.

[151] Diog. Laërt. X. 33, 34.

[152] Diog. Laërt. X. 34.

[153] Diog. Laërt. X. 48, 49.

[154] Diog. Laërt. X. 50, 51.

[155] Diog. Laërt. X. 54, 55.

[156] Diog. Laërt. X. 55-58.

[157] Diog. Laërt. X. 43, 44, 60, 61; Cic. De fato, c. 10; De finibus,
l. 6; Plutarch. De animæ procreat. e Timæo, p. 1015.

[158] Diog. Laërt. X. 78-80, 86, 87, 93-96, 101, 97.

[159] Diog. Laërt. X. 113, 114.

[160] Cicer. De natura Deorum, I. 20.

[161] Diog. Laërt. X. 66, 63, 64.

[162] Diog. Laërt. X. 141-143.

[163] Diog. Laërt. X. 122, 123, 139.

[164] Cicer. De nat. Deor. I. 17, 19, 20.

[165] Cicer. De divinat. II. 17; De nat. Deor. I. 8.

[166] Diog. Laërt. X. 124, 125, 127.

[167] Diog. Laërt. X. 127-132 (119, 135).

[168] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, § 220.

[169] Diog. Laërt. IV. 28-33, 36-38, 42, 44; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil.
T. I. p. 746; Tennemann, Vol. IV. p. 443; Cic. De finib. II. 1.

[170] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 33, § 232; Diog. Laërt. IV. 32.

[171] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 154.

[172] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 154-156.

[173] Diog. Laërt. IV. 62, 65; Tennemann, Vol. IV. pp. 334, 443, 444;
Cicer. Acad. Quæst. II. 6; Valer. Maxim. VIII. 7, ext. 5.

[174] Plutarch. Cato major, c. 22; Gell. Noct. Attic. VII. 14; Cic. De
orat. II. 37, 38; Aelian. Var. hist. III. 17; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil.
T. I. p. 763.

[175] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 159, 160.

[176] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 160, 161.

[177] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 161-164, 402.

[178] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 165.

[179] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 166-169.

[180] Ibid. 166, 167.

[181] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 173-175.

[182] Ibid. 176, 177; 187-189; 179.

[183] Ibid. 176, 177; 179; 187-189.

[184] Sext. Empir. adv. Math. VII. 181-184.

[185] As it is used here and shortly afterwards, “positive philosophy”
has quite an opposite meaning from what we have just seen it to bear in
two previous passages (p. 329), because speculation certainly stands
in opposition to dogmatism; and at the same time we must in Hegel
distinguish altogether this expression in its double significance from
the positivism so prevalent in modern times, which, merely escaping
from the necessity for thinking knowledge, finally throws itself into
the arms of revelation and simple faith, whether it tries to call
itself free thought or not.—[Editor’s note.]

[186] Lectures of 1825-1826.

[187] Diog. Laërt. IX. 71-73; cf. Vol. I. pp. 161, 246, 284.

[188] Diog. Laërt. IX. 61-65, 69, 70; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I.
pp. 1320-1323.

[189] Diog. Laërt. IX. 109.

[190] Diog. Laërt. IX. 116; Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. I. p. 1328.

[191] Bruck. Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 631-636.

[192] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 39, §§ 221-225.

[193] Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 3, § 7; Diog. Laërt. IX. 69, 70.

[194] Cf. _supra_, p. 212.

[195] Diog. Laërt. IX. 68.

[196] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hypot. I. c. 8, § 17.

[197] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 40-44.

[198] Sext. Emp, Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 79-82, 85-89.

[199] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 91, 92.

[200] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 100, 112.

[201] Ibid, §§ 118-120.

[202] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 124-126.

[203] Ibid. §§ 129-131, 133.

[204] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 141-144.

[205] Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 14, §§ 145, 148, 149.

[206] Pyrrh. Hyp. I. c. 15, §§ 164-169. (Diog. Laërt. IX. 88, 89.)

[207] Bruck. Hist. crit. philos. T. II. pp. 797, 799, et notæ; Phil.
De legatione ad Cajum, p. 992 (ed. Francf. 1691): Joseph. Antiq. Jud.
XVIII. c. 10, p. 649; Euseb. Hist, eccles. II. c. 18; _cf._ Fabric
Biblioth. Gr. Vol. III. p. 115 (Hamburg, 1708).

[208] Phil. De confusione linguarum, p. 358; De special. legib. II. pp.
806, 807; De mundi opificio, p. 15; De migratione Abrahami, pp. 393,
417, 418; Quis. rer. divin. hæres. p. 518; Quod Deus sit immutabilis,
pp. 301, 302; De monarchia, I. p. 816; De nominum mutatione, p. 1045;
De Cherub. p. 124; De somniis, p. 576.

[209] Phil. De somniis, pp. 574, 575; Liber legis allegoriarum, I. p.
48; Quod Deus sit immut. p. 298.

[210] Phil. De mundi opificio, pp. 4-6; De agricultura, p. 195; De
somniis, pp. 597, 599.

[211] Phil. Leg. allegor. I. p. 46, et II. p. 93; Quod deterius potiori
insidiari soleat, p. 165; De temulentia, p. 244; De somniis, pp. 578,
586, 588; De confus. ling. pp. 341, 345; Euseb. Præp. ev. VII. c. 13;
Phil. De vita Mosis, III. p. 672; De sacrif. Abel., p. 140.

[212] Buhle: Lehrbuch d. Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. p. 124; Phil. De mundi
opificio, p. 5.

[213] Phil. De mund. opific. p. 4; De victimas offerentibus, p. 857
(Buhle, ibid. p. 125).

[214] De mundi opificio, pp. 5, 6 (Brucker Hist. crit. phil. Tom. II.
pp. 802, 803).

[215] Brucker Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 834-840, 924-927.

[216] Irira: Porta c\nlorum, Dissertatio I. c. 4; c. 6, § 13 et c. 7, §
2; IV. c. 4, sqq.; II. c. 1; V. c. 7, 8; Tiedemann: Geist der speculat.
Philosophie, Pt. III. pp. 149, 150, 155-157; Buhle: Lehrbuch der Gesch.
der Phil. Pt. IV. pp. 156, 162, 160, 157.

[217] Neander: Genetische Entwickelung der vornehmsten gnostischen
Systeme, pp. 10, 33, 34; Philo De nominum mutat. p. 1046.

[218] Neander: Genet. Entwickelung, &c., pp. 168, 170, 171.

[219] Neander: Genet. Entwickelung, &c., pp. 94-97.

[220] Ibid. pp. 160, 10-13; Phil. Quod Deus sit immut. p. 304.

[221] Cf. Buhle, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. pp. 195-200.

[222] Brucker, Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 205, 213, 214.

[223] Porphyrius, Vita Plotini (præmissa Ennead. Plot. Basil. 1580),
pp. 2, 3, 5-8; Brucker, Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 218-221;
Tiedemann, Geist d. spec. Phil. Vol. III. p. 272; Buhle, Lehrb. d.
Gesch. d. Phil. Pt. IV. p. 306.

[224] Cf. Plotin. Ennead. I. l. 6, c. 7; IV. l. 4, c. 39-43; Procli
Theol. Plat. I. pp. 69, 70 (ed. Aem. Portus, Hamburg, 1618).

[225] Plot. Ennead. IV. l. 8, c. 1; cf. _ibidem_, c. 4-7.

[226] Plot. Ennead. III. l. 6, c. 6; VI. l. 9, c. 1, 2; III. l. 8, c. 8.

[227] This Aristotelian word, and also ἐξέρτηται (Procl. Theol. Plat.
III. p. 133), often occur in the Neo-Platonists.

[228] Plot. Ennead. I. l. 8: Περὶ τοῦ τίνα καὶ πόθεν τὰ κακά, c. 2 (VI.
l. 9, c. 6); III. l. 8, c. 9, 10.

[229] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 13, 14; l. 2, c. 1; VI. l. 2, c. 9, 10;
l. 8, c. 8, 9; l. 9, c. 3, VI. l. 9, c. 6; l. 8, c. 7 (13, 21).

[230] Steinhart: Quæstiones de dialectica Plotini ratione, p. 21;
Plotini Ennead. VI. l. 9, c. 1-9, _passim_.

[231] Plot. Ennead. III. l. 8, c. 10 fin.; IV. l. 3, c. 17; V. l. 1, c.
4, 5; c. 7; l. 4, c. 2; l. 5, c. 1.

[232] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 6 (IV. l. 3, c. 17).

[233] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 2, c. 1; l. 1, c. 7; VI. l. 9, c. 2.

[234] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 5; VI. l. 2, c. 8; II. l. 4, c. 4; VI.
l. 4, c. 2; V. l. 9, c. 8, 9.

[235] Plot. Ennead. VI. l. 2, c. 2; V. l. 9, c. 8.

[236] Plot. Ennead. IV. l. 3, c. 17.

[237] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 1, c. 7; l. 2, c. 1, 2; l. 6, c. 4; VI. l. 2,
c. 22.

[238] Plot. Ennead. V. l. 3, c. 5; ἕν ἅμα πάντα ἔσται, νοῦς, νόησις, τὸ

[239] Plot. Ennead. II. l. 9, c. 1-3, 6.

[240] If we were to translate this by “in the intelligible world,” the
expression would be misleading; for “the world” is nowhere. Neither may
we say, “intelligible things,” as if there were things of some other
kind; such distinctions and definitions are nowhere found.

[241] Plot. Ennead. II. l. 4, c. 4, 12-15; l. 5, c. 2-5.

[242] Plot. Ennead. I. l. 8, c. 2, 3.

[243] Instead of δεῖ in the sentence οὐ γὰρ δεῖ τὸ εἰπεῖν we should
certainly read δή, or something of the kind.

[244] Buhle, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. Phil. Part IV. pp. 418, 419;
Tiedemann, Geist. d. spec. Phil. Vol. III. pp. 421-423; cf. Plotini
Ennead. IV. l. 3 et 8 passim.

[245] Buhle, Lehrb. d. Gesch. d. Phil. Part IV. pp. 419, 420.

[246] Brucker: Hist. crit. phil. T. II. pp. 248, 268.

[247] Cf. Procli. Theol. Plat. III. p. 140.

[248] Brucker: Hist. cr. phil. T. II. p. 320; Tennemann, Vol. VI. pp.
284-289; Marinus: Vita Procli, passim (præm. Theol. Plat.).

[249] Procli Institutionis theologicæ, c. 26.

[250] Procli Institut. theol. c. 27; Theol. Plat. III. p. 119; II. pp.
101, 102; III. p. 121; Institut. theol. c. 5.

[251] Procli Institut. theol. c. 1-2; c. 28; Theol. Plat. III. pp. 118,
122-125; II. pp. 108, 109.

[252] Procli Theol. Plat. III. pp. 123-124.

[253] Procli Theol. Plat. III. pp. 141, 127; Instit. theol. c. 192.

[254] It is doubtful whether the καὶ should not be omitted, so that ἡ
ἁκρότης τῶν ὄντων would stand in apposition to νοῦς.

[255] Procli Theol. Plat. III. p. 144 (VI. p. 403); Instit. theol. c.
124, 170.

[256] Procli Theol. Plat. I. pp. 69, 70.

[257] Brucker: Hist. cr. phil. T. II. pp. 350, 347; Joan. Malala: Hist.
chron. P. II. p. 187; Nic. Alemannus ad Procopii anecdot. c. 26. p. 377.

                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy: Volume Two (of 3)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.