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: Logic as the Science of the pure Concept
Author: Croce, Benedetto
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 "Logic as the Science of the pure Concept" ***

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

in an extended version, also linking to free sources for
education worldwide ... MOOC's, educational materials,...)






B.A. (OXON.), M.R.A.S.




 [Benedetto Croce's Philosophy of the Spirit, in the English translation
 by Douglas Ainslie, consists of 4 volumes (which can be read separately):
 1. Aesthetic as science of expression and general linguistic. (A first
 2. Philosophy of the practical: economic and ethic. (In preparation)
 3. Logic as the science of the pure concept.
 4. Theory and history of historiography. (In preparation)
                                                     Transcriber's note.]


The publication of this third volume of the _Philosophy of the
Spirit_ offers a complete view of the Crocean philosophy to the
English-speaking world.

I have striven in every way to render the Logic the equal of its
predecessors in accuracy and elegance of translation, and have taken
the opinion of critical friends on many occasions, though more
frequently I have preferred to retain my own. The vocabulary will be
found to resemble those of the _Æsthetic_ and the _Philosophy of the
Practical,_ thereby enabling readers to follow the thought of the
author more easily than if I had made alterations in it. Thus the word
"fancy" will be found here as elsewhere, the equivalent of the Italian
"fantasia" and "imagination" of "immaginazione"; this rendering makes
the meaning far more clear than the use of the words in the opposite
sense that they occasionally bear in English; this is particularly so
in respect of the important distinction of the activities in the early
part of the _Æsthetic._ I have also retained the word "gnoseology" and
its derivatives, as saving the circumlocutions entailed by the use of
any paraphrase, especially when adjectival forms are employed.

I think that this Logic will come to be recognized as a masterpiece, in
the sense that it supplants and supersedes all Logics that have gone
before, especially those known as formal Logics, of which the average
layman has so profound and justifiable mistrust, for the very good
reason that, as Croce says, they are not Logic at all, but illogic--his
healthy love of life leads him to fight shy of what he feels would
lead to disaster if applied to the problems that he has to face in the
conduct of life. It is shown in the following pages that the prestige
of Aristotle is not wholly to blame for the survival of formal Logic
and for the class of mind that denying thought dwells ever in the _ipse
dixit._ Indeed, one of the chief boons conferred by this book will be
the freeing of the student from that confusion of thought and word that
is the essence of the old formal Logic--of thought that rises upon the
wings of words, like an aviator upon his falcon of wood and metal to
spy out the entrenchments of the enemy.

One of the most stimulating portions of the book will, I think, be
found in Croce's theory of error and proof of its necessity in the
progress of truth. This may certainly be credited to Croce as a
discovery. That this theory of the uses of error has a great future,
I have no doubt, from its appearance at certain debates on Logic that
have taken place at the Aristotelian Society within the last year or
two, though strangely enough the name of the philosopher to whom it
was due was not mentioned. A like mysterious aposiopesis characterized
Professor J. A. Smith's communication to the same Society as to the
development of the ethical from the economic activity (degrees of the
Spirit) some years after the publication of the _Philosophy of the

It is my hope that this original work, appearing as it does in the
midst of the great struggle with the Teutonic powers, may serve to
point out to the Anglo-Saxon world where the future of the world's
civilization lies, namely in the ancient line of Latin culture,
which includes in itself the loftiest Hellenic thought. It is sad to
think that the Germans have relapsed to barbarism from the veneer of
cultivation that they once possessed, particularly sad when one comes
upon the German names that must always abound in any treatise on the
development of thought. Their creative moment, however, was very brief,
and the really important names can be numbered on the fingers of one
hand, that of Emmanuel Kant being corrupted from the Scots Cant. Of
recent years the German contribution has been singularly small and
unimportant, such writers as Eucken being mere compilers of the work of
earlier philosophers, and without originality. The foul-souled Teuton
will need a long period of re-education before he can be readmitted
to the comity of nations upon equal terms--his bestiality will ask a
potent purge.

In conclusion, I can only hope that the fact of this work having been
put into the hands of readers a decade earlier than would in all
probability have been the case, had I not been fortunate enough to
make a certain journey to Naples, will be duly taken advantage of by
students, and that it will serve for many as a solid foundation for
their thought about thought, and so of their thought about the whole of
life and reality in the new world that will succeed the War.



_March_ 1917.


This volume is, and is not, the memoir entitled _Outlines of Logic as
the Science of the Pure Concept,_ which I presented to the Accademia
Pontiana at the sessions of April 10 and May 1, 1904, and April 2,
1905, and which was inserted in volume xxxv. of the _Transactions_
(printed as an extract from them by Giannini, Naples, 1905, in quarto,
pp. 140).

I might have republished that memoir, and made in it certain
corrections, great and small, and especially I might have enriched it
with very numerous developments. But partial corrections and copious
additions, while they would have injured the arrangement of the
first work, would not have allowed me to attain to that more secure
and fuller exposition of logical doctrine which, after four years'
study and reflection, it now seems to be in my power to offer. I
have therefore resolved to rewrite the work from the beginning on a
larger scale, with a new arrangement and new diction regarding its
predecessor as a sketch, which in a literary sense stands by itself,
and only making use of a page, or group of pages, here and there, as
suited the natural order of exposition.

Owing to this connection between the present volume with the
above-mentioned academic memoir, it will be seen in what sense it may
be called, and is called, a "second edition." It is a second edition of
my thought rather than of my book.

B. C.


_November_ 1908.


On reprinting the present volume, after an interval of seven years, I
have reread it with attention to its literary form, but have made no
substantial changes or additions to it; because the further development
of that part which deals with the logic of Historiography has been
collected in a special volume, forming as it were an appendix. This is
now the fourth volume of the _Philosophy of the Spirit._

It seemed to many, upon the first publication of this volume, that it
chiefly consisted of a very keen attack upon Science. Few, above all,
discovered what it was: _a vindication of the seriousness of logical
thought,_ not only in respect to empiricism and abstract thought, but
also to intuitionist, mystical and pragmatistic doctrines, and to
all the others then very vigorous, which, including justly combated
positivism, distorted every form of logicity.

Nor, in truth, did its criticism of Science favour what is known as a
philosophy "detesting facts": indeed, the chief preoccupation of that
criticism was meticulous respect of facts, which was neither observed
nor observable in empirical and abstract constructions and in the
analogous mythologies of naturalism. The character of this _Logic_
might equally be described as affirmation of the concrete universal and
affirmation of the concrete individual, as proof of the Aristotelian
_Scientia est de universalibus_ and proof of Campanula's _Scientia
est de singularibus._ In this manner those empty generalizations and
fictitious riches which are removed from philosophy in the course
of treatment, there appear more than amply, infinitely compensated
for by the restitution to it of its own riches, _of the whole of
history,_ both that known as human and that known as history of nature.
Henceforward it can live there as in its own dominion, or rather its
own body, which is co-extensive with and indivisible from it. The
separation there effected by philosophy from science is not separation
from what is _true knowledge in science,_ that is from the historical
and real elements of science. It is only separation from the schematic
form in which those elements are compressed, mutilated and altered.
Thus it may also be described as a reconnection of it with what of
living, concrete and progressive exists in those sciences. If the
destruction of anything be aimed at in it, that can clearly be nothing
but abstract and anti-historical philosophy. This _Logic_ must thus be
looked upon as a liquidation of philosophy rather than of science, if
abstract science be posited as true philosophy.

That point is dwelt upon in the polemic against the idea of a general
philosophy which should stand above _particular philosophies,_ or
the methodological problems of historical thought. The distinction
of general philosophy from particular philosophies (which are true
generality in their particularity) seems to me to be the gnoseological
residue of the old dualism and of the old transcendency; a not
innocuous residue, for it always tends to the view that the thoughts
of men upon particular things are of an inferior, common and vulgar
nature, and that the thought of totality or unity is alone superior
and alone completely satisfying. The idea of a general philosophy
prepares in this way consciously or otherwise for the restoration of
Metaphysic, with its pretension of rethinking the already thought
by means of a particular thought of its own. This, when it is not
altogether religious revelation, becomes the caprice of the individual
philosopher. The many examples offered by post-Kantian philosophy
are proof of this. Here Metaphysic raged so furiously and to such
deleterious effect as to involve guiltless philosophy in its guilt. The
latent danger always remains, even if this restoration of Metaphysic
does not take place, for if it never becomes effective because it is
carefully watched and restrained, the other draw-back persists, namely,
that that general philosophy, or super-philosophy or super-intelligence
desired, while it does not succeed in making clear particular problems,
which alone have relation to concrete life, nevertheless in a measure
discredits them, by judging them to be of slight importance and by
surrounding them with a sort of mystical irony.

To annul the idea of a "general" philosophy is at the same time to
annul the "static" concept of the philosophic system, replacing it with
the dynamic concept of simple historical "systemizations" of groups of
problems, of which particular problems and their solutions are what
remain, not their aggregate and external arrangement. This latter
satisfies the needs of the times and of authors and passes away with
them, or is preserved and admired solely for æsthetic reasons when
it possesses them. But those who retain some superstitious reverence
for "General Philosophy" or "Metaphysic" have still a superstitious
reverence for what are known as static systems. In so doing they behave
in a rational manner, for they cannot altogether free themselves from
the claims of a definitive philosophy which is to solve once and for
all the so-called "enigma of the world" (imaginary because there are
infinite enigmas which appear and are solved in turn, but there is
not the Enigma), and is to provide the "true system" or "basis" of
the true system. Nevertheless I hope that good fortune will attend
the doctrine of the concept here set out, not only because it seems
to me to afford the satisfaction proper to every statement of truth,
namely, to accord with the reality of things, but also (if I may so
express myself) because it carries with it certain immediate and
tangible advantages. Above all, it relieves the student of philosophy
of the terrible responsibility--which I should never wish to assume--of
supplying the Truth, the unique eternal Truth, and of supplying it in
competition with all the greatest philosophers who have appeared in
the course of centuries. Further, it removes from him together both
the hope of the definitive system and the anxious fear of the mortal
doom which will one day strike the very system that he has so lovingly
constructed, as it has struck those of his predecessors. At the same
time it sets him out of reach of the smiling non-philosophers who
foresee with accuracy and are almost able to calculate the date of that
not distant death. Finally, it frees him from the annoyance of the
"school" and of the "scholars"; "school" and "scholars" in the sense of
the old metaphysicians are no longer even conceivable, when the idea
of "systems" having-their "own principles" has been abolished. All
dynamic systems or provisory systemizations of ever new problems have
the same principle, namely, Thought, _perennis philosophia._ There has
not been and never will be anything to add to this. And although the
many propositions and solutions of problems strive among themselves
to attain harmony, yet to each, if it be truly thought, is promised
eternal life, which gives and receives vigour from the life of each of
the others. This is just the opposite of what takes place with static
systems which collapse, one upon the other, only certain portions of
good work surviving them in the shape of happy treatment of special
problems which are to be found mingled with the metaphysic of every
true philosopher. And although there is no longer a field left over to
these scholars who merely faithfully echo the master, like adepts of a
religion, there is yet a wide field always open to the other type of
scholar, men who pay serious attention and assimilate what is of use to
them in the thought of others, but then proceed to state and to solve
new problems of their own. Finally, the life of philosophy as conceived
and portrayed in this _Logic,_ resembles the life of poetry in this:
that it does not become effective save in passing from _different_ to
_different,_ from one original thinker to another, as poetry passes
from poet to poet, and imitators and schools of poetry, although they
certainly belong to the world, yet do not belong to the world of poetry.

B. C.

_September_ 1916.








Thought and sensation--Thought and language--Intuition and
language as presuppositions--Scepsis as to the concept--Its three
forms--Æstheticism--Mysticism--Empiricism--_Redactio ad absurdum_ of
the three forms--Affirmation of the concept.



Concept and conceptual fictions--The pure concept as ultra- and
omnirepresentative--Conceptual fictions as representative without
universality, or universals void of representations--Criticism of the
doctrine which considers them to be erroneous concepts, or imperfect
concepts preparatory to perfect concepts--Posteriority of fictional
concepts to true and proper concepts--Proper character of conceptual
fictions--The practical end and mnemonic utility--Persistence of
conceptual fictions side by side with concepts--Pure concepts and



Expressivity--Universality--Concreteness--The concrete-universal
and the formation of the pseudoconcepts--Empirical and abstract
pseudoconcepts--The other characteristics of the pure concept--The
origin of multiplicity and the unity of the characteristics of the
concept--Objection relating to the unreality of the pure concept and
the impossibility of demonstrating it--Prejudice concerning the nature
of the demonstration--Prejudice relating to the representability of
the concept--Protests of philosophers against this prejudice--Reason of
their perpetual reappearance.



Disputes of materialistic origin--The concept as value--Realism
and nominalism--Critique of both--True realism--Resolution of
other difficulties as to the genesis of concepts--Disputes arising
from the neglected distinction between empirical and abstract
concepts--Intersection of the various disputes--Other logical
disputes--Representative accompaniment of the concept--Concept
of the thing and concept of the individual--Reasons, laws and
causes--Intellect and Reason--The abstract reason and its practical
nature--The synthesis of theoretical and practical and intellectual
intuition--Uniqueness of thought.




The pseudoconcepts, not a subdivision of the concept--Obscurity,
clearness and distinction, not subdivisions of the concept--Inexistence
of subdivisions of the concept as logical form--Distinctions of
the concepts not logical, but real--Multiplicity of the concepts;
and logical difficulty arising therefrom. Necessity of overcoming
it--Impossibility of eliminating it--Unity as distinction--Inadequacy
of the numerical concept of the multiple--Relation of distincts
as ideal history--Distinction between ideal history and real
history--Ideal distinction and abstract distinction--Other usual
distinctions of the concept, and their significance--Identical,
unequal, primitive and derived concepts, etc.--Universal,
particular and singular. Comprehension and extension--Logical
definition--Unity-distinction as a circle--Distinction in the
pseudoconcepts--Subordination and co-ordination of empirical
concepts--Definition in empirical concepts, and forms of the
concept--The series in abstract concepts.



Opposite or contradictory concepts--Their diversity from distincts
--Confirmation of this afforded by empirical Logic--Difficulty arising
from the double type of concepts, opposite and distinct--Nature of
opposites; and their identity, when they are distinguished, with
distincts--Impossibility of distinguishing one opposite from another,
as concept from concept--The dialectic--Opposites are not concepts,
but the unique concept itself--Affirmation and negation--The principle
of identity and contradiction; true meaning, and false interpretation
of it--Another false interpretation: contrast with the principle of
opposition. False application of this principle also--Errors of the
dialectic applied to the relation of distincts--Its reduction to the
absurd--The improper form of logical principles or laws--The principle
of sufficient reason.





Relation of the logical with the æsthetic form--The concept as
expression--Æsthetic and æsthetic-logical expressions or expressions of
the concept: propositions and judgments--Overcoming of the dualism of
thought and language--The logical judgment as definition--Indistinction
of subject and predicate in the definition--Unity of essence and
existence--Pretended vacuity of the definition--Critique of the
definition as fixed verbal formula.



Identity of definition and syllogism--Connection of concepts and
thinking of concepts--Identity of judgment and syllogism--The middle
term and the nature of the concept--Pretended non-definitive logical
judgments--The syllogism as fixed verbal formula--Use and abuse
of it--Erroneous separation of truth and reason of truth in pure
concepts--Separation of truth and reason of truth in the pseudoconcepts.



Intrinsic impossibility of formal Logic--Its nature--Its partial
justification--Its error--Its traditional constitution--The three
logical forms--Theories of the concept and of the judgment--Theory
of the syllogism--Spontaneous reductions to the absurd of formal
Logic--Mathematical Logic or Logistic--Its non-mathematical
character--Example of its mode of treatment--Identity of nature of
Logistic and formal Logic--Practical aspect of Logistic.



Reaction of the concept upon the representation--Logicization of the
representations--The individual judgment; and its difference from
the judgment of definition--Distinction of subject and predicate in
the individual judgment--Reasons for the variety of definitions of
the judgment and of some of its divisions--Individual judgment and
intellectual intuition--Identity of individual judgment with perception
or perceptive judgment, and with commemorative or historical
judgment--Erroneous distinction of individual judgments as of fact
and of value--The individual judgment as ultimate and perfect form of
knowledge--Error of treating it as the first fact of knowledge--Motive
of this error--Individual syllogisms.



The copula: its verbal and logical significance--Questions relating to
propositions without a subject. Verbalism--Confusion between different
forms of judgments in the question of existentiality--Determination
and subdivision of the question concerning the existentiality of
individual judgments--Necessity of the existential character in these
judgments---The absolutely and the relatively inexistent--The character
of existence as predicate--Critique of existentiality as position
and faith--Absurd consequences of those doctrines--The predicate of
existence as not sufficient to constitute a judgment--The predicate of
judgment as the totality of the concept.



Individual pseudojudgments--Their practical character--Genesis of the
distinction between judgments of fact and judgments of value; and
critique of it--Importance of individual pseudojudgments--Empirical
individual and individual abstract judgments--Formative process
of empirical judgments--Their existential basis--Dependence of
empirical judgments upon pure concepts--Empirical judgments as
classification--Classification and understanding--Substitution of
the one for the other, and genesis of perceptive and judicative
illusions--Abstract concepts and individual judgments--Impossibility
of direct application of the first to the second--Intervention of
empirical judgments as intermediate--Reduction of the heterogeneous
to the homogeneous--Empirical abstract judgments and enumeration
(mensuration, etc.)--Enumeration and intelligence--The so-called
conversion of quantity into quality--Mathematical space and time and
their abstractness.





Result of preceding enquiry: the judgment of definition and the
individual judgment--Distinction between the two: truth of reason
and truth of fact, necessary and contingent, etc.; formal and
material--Absurdities arising from these distinctions: the individual
judgment as ultra-logical; or, duality of logical forms--Difficulty of
abandoning the distinction--The hypothesis of reciprocal implication,
and so of the identity of the two forms--Objection; the lack of
representative and historical element in the definitive--The historical
element in the definitions taken in their concreteness--The definition
as answer to a question and solution of a problem--Individual and
historical conditionally of every question and problem--Definition
as also historical judgment--Unity of truth of reason and truth of
fact--Considerations in confirmation of this--Critique of the false
distinction between formal and material truths--Platonic men and
Aristotelian men--Theory of application of the concepts, true for
abstract concepts and false for true concepts.



The identity of the judgment of definition and of the individual
judgment, as synthesis _a priori_--Objections to the synthesis
_a priori,_ deriving from abstractionists and empiricists--False
interpretation of the synthesis _a priori_--Synthesis _a priori in_
general and logical synthesis _a priori_--Non-logical synthesis _a
priori--_The synthesis _a priori,_ as synthesis, not of opposites,
but of distincts--The category in the judgment. Difference between
category and innate idea--The synthesis _a priori,_ the destruction of
transcendency, and the objectivity of knowing--Power of the synthesis
_a priori_ remained unknown to its discoverer.



The demand for a complete table of the categories--This demand
extraneous to Logic--Logical categories and real categories--Uniqueness
of the logical category: the concept. The other categories, no longer
logical, but real. Systems of categories--The Hegelian system of
the categories, and other posterior systems--The logical order of
the predicates or categories--Illusion as to the logical reality of
this order--The necessity of an order of the predicates not founded
upon Logic in particular, but upon the whole of Philosophy--False
distinction of Philosophy into two spheres--Metaphysic and Philosophy,
rational Philosophy and real Philosophy, etc., derived from the
confusion between Logic and Doctrine of the categories--Philosophy and
pure Logic, etc.; overcoming of the dualism.





Summary of the results relating to the forms of
knowledge--Non-existence of technical forms, and of composed
forms--Identity of forms of knowledge and of knowing. Objections
to them--Empirical distinctions and their limits--Enumeration and
determination of the forms of knowing reality, corresponding to the
forms of knowledge--Critique of the idea of a special Logic as doctrine
of the forms of knowing the external world and of a special Logic
as doctrine of the methods--Nature of our treatment of the forms of



Philosophy as pure concept; and the various definitions of
philosophy--Those which negate philosophy--Those which define it as
science of supreme principle, of final causes, etc.; contemplation
of death, etc.; as elaboration of the concepts, as criticism, as
science of norms; as doctrine of the categories--Exclusion of material
definitions from philosophy--Idealism of every philosophy--Systematic
character of philosophy--Philosophic significance and literary
significance of the system--Advantages and disadvantages of the
literary form of the system--Genesis of the systematic prejudice,
and rebellion against it--Sacred and philosophic numbers; meaning of
their demand--Impossibility of dividing philosophy into general and
particular--Disadvantages of the conception of a general philosophy,
distinct from particular philosophies.



History as individual judgment--The individual element and historical
sources: relics and narrative--The intuitive faculty in historical
research--The intuitive faculty in historical exposition. Resemblance
of history and art. Difference between history and art--The predicate
or logical element in history--Vain attempts to eliminate it--Extension
of historical predicates beyond the limits of mere existence--Asserted
unsurmountable variance in judging and presenting historical facts
and consequent demand for a history without judgment--Restriction of
variance, and exclusion of apparent variances--Overcoming of variances
by means of deep study of the concepts--Subjectivity and objectivity
in history: their meaning--Historical judgments of value, and normal
or neutral values. Critique--Various legitimate meanings of protests
against historical subjectivity--The demand for a theory of historical
factors--Impossibility of dividing history according to its intuitive
and reflective elements--Empiricity of the division of the historical
process into four stages--Divisions founded upon the historical
object--Logical division according to the forms of the spirit--The
empirical division of the representative material--Empirical concepts
in history; and the false theory as to the function they fulfil
there--Hence also the claim to reduce history to a natural science;
and the thesis of the practical character of history--Distinction
between historical facts and non-historical facts; and its empirical
value--The professional prejudice and theory of the practical character
of history.



Necessity of the historical element in philosophy--Historical
quality of the culture required of the philosopher--Apparent
objections--Communication of philosophy as changing of
philosophy--Perpetuity of this changing--The overcoming and continuous
progress of philosophy--Meaning of the eternity of philosophy--The
concept of spontaneous, ingenuous, innate philosophy, etc.; and its
meaning--Philosophy as criticism and polemic--Identity of philosophy
and history--Didactic divisions, and other reasons for the apparent



The natural sciences as empirical concepts, and their practical
nature--Elimination of an equivocation concerning this practical
character--Impossibility of unifying them in one concept--Impossibility
of introducing into them rigorous divisions--Laws in the natural
sciences, and so-called prevision--Empirical character of
naturalistic laws--The postulate of the uniformity of nature, and its
meaning--Pretended impossibility of exceptions to natural laws--Nature
and its various meanings. Nature as passivity and negativity--Nature
as practical activity--Nature in its gnoseological significance,
as naturalistic or empirical method--The illusions of materialists
and dualists--Nature as empirical distinction of an inferior reality
in respect to a superior reality--The naturalistic method, and the
natural sciences as extending to superior not less than to inferior
reality--Claim for such extension, and effective existence of what is
claimed--Historical foundation of the natural sciences--The question
whether history be foundation or crown of thought--Naturalists
as historical investigators--Prejudices as to non-historicity of
nature--Philosophic foundation of the natural sciences, and effect
of philosophy upon them--Effect of natural sciences upon philosophy,
and errors in conceiving such relation--Reason of these errors.
Naturalistic philosophy--Philosophy as the destroyer of naturalistic
philosophy, but not of the natural sciences. Autonomy of these.



Idea of a mathematical science of nature--Various definitions of
mathematics--Mathematical procedure--Apriority of mathematical
principles--Contradictoriness of the _a priori_ principles. They
are not thinkable, and not intuitive--Identification of mathematics
with abstract pseudoconcepts--The ultimate end of mathematics: to
enumerate, and, therefore, to aid the determination of the single.
Its place--Particular questions concerning mathematics--Rigour of
mathematics and rigour of philosophy--Loves and hates between the
two forms--Impossibility of reducing the empirical sciences to the
mathematical; and the empirical limits of the mathematical science of
nature--Decreasing utility of mathematics in the loftiest spheres of
the real.



Theory of the forms of knowledge and doctrine of the
categories--Problem of classification of the sciences; its empirical
nature--Falsely philosophic character that it assumes--Coincidence
of that problem with the search for the categories, when understood
with philosophic rigour--Forms of knowledge and literary-didactic
forms--Prejudices derived from the latter--Methodical prologues to
scholastic manuals, their impotence--Capricious multiplication of the
sciences--The sciences and professional prejudices.





Error as negativity; impossibility of a special treatment of
errors--Positive and existing errors--Positive errors as practical
acts--Practical acts and not practical errors--Economically practical
acts, not morally practical acts--Doctrine of error, and doctrine
of necessary forms of error--Logical nature of all theoretical
errors--History of errors and phenomenology of error--Deduction of
the forms of logical errors. Forms deduced from the concept of the
concept, and forms deduced from the other concepts--Errors derived from
errors--Professionally and nationality of errors.



Definition of these forms--Æstheticism--Empiricism--Positivism, the
philosophy founded upon the sciences, inductive metaphysic--Empiricism
and facts--Bankruptcy of Empiricism: dualism, agnosticism, spiritualism
and superstition--Evolutionistic positivism and rationalistic
positivism--Mathematicism--Symbolical mathematics--Mathematics
as a form of demonstration of philosophy--Errors of mathematical
philosophy--Dualism, agnosticism and superstition of mathematicism.



Rupture of the unity of the _a priori_ synthesis--Philosophism,
logicism or panlogicism--Philosophy of history--Contradictions in its
assumptions--Philosophy of history and false analogies--Distinction
between Philosophy of history and books so entitled--Merits of these,
philosophic and historical--Philosophy of nature--Its substantial
identity with Philosophy of history--Contradictions of Philosophy of
nature--Books entitled Philosophy of nature--Contemporary seekings for
a Philosophy of nature and their various meanings.



Rupture of the unity of the _a priori_ synthesis. The mythologism
--Essence of myth--Problems relating to theory of myth--Myth
and religion--Identity of the two spiritual forms--Religion and
philosophy--Conversion of errors, the one into the other--Conversion of
the mythologism into philosophism (theology) and of the philosophism
into the mythologism (mythology of nature, historical apocalypses,


Dualism--Scepsis and scepticism--Mystery--Critique of affirmations
of mystery in philosophy--Agnosticism as a particular form of
scepticism--Mysticism--Errors in other parts of philosophy--Conversion
of these errors into one another and into logical errors.



Necessary character of the forms of errors. Their definite number
--Their logical order--Examples of this order in various parts of
philosophy--Erring spirit and spirit of search--Immanence of error
in truth--Erroneous distinction between possession of and search
for truth--Search for truth in the practical sense of preparation
for thought; the series of errors--Transfiguration of error into
tentative or hypothesis in the search so understood--Distinction
between error as error and error as hypothesis--Immanence of the
tentative in error itself as error--Individuals and error--Duplicate
aspect of errors--Ultimate form of error: the methodological error or



Inseparability of phenomenology of error from the philosophical
system--The eternal course and recurrence of errors--Returns to
anterior philosophies; and their meaning--False idea of a history of
philosophy as history of the successive appearance of the categories
and of errors in time--Philosophism case in point of this false
view, as is the formula concerning the identity of philosophy and
history of philosophy--Distinction between this false idea of a
history of philosophy, and the books which take it as their title or
programme--Exact formula: identity of philosophy and history--History
of philosophy and philosophic progress--The truth of all philosophies;
and criticism of eclecticism--Researches for authors and precursors of
truths; reason for the antinomies which they exhibit.



Logic and defence of Philosophy--Utility of Philosophy and the
Philosophy of the practical--Consolation of philosophy, as joy
of thought and in the true. Impossibility of a pleasure arising
from falsity and illusion--Critique of the concept of a sad truth
--Examples: Philosophical criticism and the concepts of God and
Immortality--Consolatory virtue, pertaining to all spiritual
activities--Sorrow and elevation of sorrow.





Reality, Thought and Logic--Relation of these three terms--Inexistence
of a general philosophy outside particular philosophic sciences;
and, in consequence, of a general History of philosophy outside the
histories of particular philosophic sciences--Histories of particular
philosophies and literary value of such division--History of Logic in
its particular sense--Works dealing with history of Logic.



Question as to the "father of Logic"--Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
--Enquiries as to the nature of the concept in Greece. Question of
transcendency and immanence--Controversies in Plato concerning the
various forms of the concept--Philosophic, empirical and abstract
concepts in Aristotle. Philosophy, physics, mathematics--Universals of
the "always" and those of "for the most part"--Logical controversies
in the Middle Ages--Nominalism and realism--Nominalism, mysticism and
coincidence of opposites--Renaissance and mysticism--Bacon--Ideal of
exact science and Cartesian philosophy--Adversaries of Cartesianism
--Vico--Empiristic logic and its dissolution. Locke, Berkeley and
Hume--Exact science and Kant. Concept of the category--Limits of
science, and Jacobi--Positive elements in Kantian scepticism--The
synthesis _a priori_--Inward contradiction in Kant. Romantic principle
and classic execution--Progress since Kant: Fichte, Schelling,
Hegel--Logic of Hegel. The concrete concept or Idea--Identity of
Hegelian Idea and Kantian synthesis _a priori_--The Idea and the
antinomies. The dialectic--Lacunæ and errors in Hegelian Logic. Their
consequences--Contemporaries of Hegel: Herbart, Schleiermacher and
others--Posterior positivism and psychologicism--Eclectics. Lotze--New
gnoseology of the sciences. Economic theory of scientific concept.
Avenarius, Mach--Rickert--Bergson and the new French philosophy--Le
Roy, and others--Reattachment to romantic ideas, and progress upon
them--Philosophy of pure experience, of intuition, of action, etc.: and
its insufficiency--The theory of values.



Secular neglect of theory relating to history--Ideas upon history
in Græco-Roman world--Theory of history in mediæval and modern
philosophy--Writers on historical art in the sixteenth century--Writers
on method--Theory of history and G. B. Vico--Anti-historicism of
eighteenth century, and Kant--Hidden historical value of synthesis
_a priori_--Theory of history in Hegel--W. von Humboldt--F.
Brentano--Controversies as to the nature of history--Rickert; Xénopol.
History as science of individual--History as art--Other controversies
relating to history.



Relation between history of Logic and history of Philosophy of
language--Logical formalism. Indian logic free of it--Aristotelian
Logic and formalism--Later formalism--Rebellions against Aristotelian
Logic--Opposition by humanists and its motives--Opposition of
naturalism--Simplicatory elaboration in eighteenth century.
Kant--Refutation of formal Logic. Hegel; Schleiermacher--Its partial
persistence, owing to insufficient ideas as to language--Formal
Logic in Herbart, in Schopenhauer, in Hamilton--More recent
theories--Mathematical Logic--Inexact idea of language among
mathematicians and intuitionists.



Traditional character of this Logic and its connection with Logic of
philosophic concept--Its innovations--I. Exclusion of empirical and
abstract concepts--II. Atheoretic character of second, and autonomy
of empirical and mathematical sciences--III. Concept as unity of
distinctions--IV. Identity of concept with individual judgment and of
philosophy with history--V. Impossibility of defining thought by means
of verbal forms, and refutation of formal Logic--Conclusion.







[Sidenote: _Thought and sensation._]

Presupposed in the logical activity, which is the subject of
this treatise, are representations or intuitions. If man had no
representations, he would not think; were he not an imaginative spirit,
he would not be a logical spirit. It is generally admitted that thought
refers back to sensation, as its antecedent; and this doctrine we have
no difficulty in making our own, provided it be given a double meaning.
That is to say, in the first place, sensation must be conceived as
something active and cognitive, or as a cognitive act; and not as
something formless and passive, or active only with the activity of
life, and not with that of contemplation. And, in the second place,
sensation must be taken in its purity, without any logical reflection
and elaboration; as simple sensation, that is to say, and not as
perception, which (as will be seen in the proper place), so far from
being implied, in itself implies logical activity. With this double
explanation, sensation, active, cognitive and unreflective, becomes
synonymous with representation and intuition; and certainly this is
not the place to discuss the use of these synonyms, though there are
excellent reasons of practical convenience pointing to the preference
of the terms which we have adopted.

At all events, the important thing is to bear clearly in mind, that the
logical activity, or thought, arises upon the many-coloured pageant of
representations, intuitions, or sensations, whichever we may call them;
and by means of these, at every moment the cognitive spirit absorbs
within itself the course of reality, bestowing upon it theoretic form.

[Sidenote: _Thought and language._]

Another presupposition is often introduced by logicians: that of
language; since it seems clear that, if man does not speak, he does
not think. This presupposition also we accept, adding to it, however,
a corollary, together with certain elucidations. The elucidations are:
in the first place, that language must be taken in its genuine and
complete reality; that is to say, it must not be arbitrarily restricted
to certain of its manifestations, such as the vocal and articulate;
nor be changed and falsified into a body of abstractions, such as
the classes of Grammar or the words of the Vocabulary, conceived as
these are in the fashion of a machine, which man sets in motion when
he speaks. And, in the second place, by language is to be understood,
not the whole body of discourses, taken all together and in confusion,
into which (as will be seen in its place) logical elements enter;
but only that determinate aspect of these discourses, in virtue of
which they are properly called language. A deep-rooted error, which
springs directly from the failure to make this distinction, is that
of believing language to be constituted of logical elements; adducing
as a proof of this that even in the smallest discourse are to be
found the words _this, that, to be, to do,_ and the like, that is,
logical concepts. But these concepts are by no means really to be
found in every expression; and, even where they are to be found,
the possibility of extracting them is no proof that they exhaust
language. So true is this that those who cherish this conviction are
afterwards obliged to leave over as a residue of their analysis,
elements which they consider to be illogical and which they call
_emphatic, complementary, colorative,_ or _musical_: a residue in which
is concealed true language, which escapes that abstract analysis.
Finally, the corollary is that if the concept of language is thus
rectified, the presupposition made for Logic regarding language is not
a _new_ presupposition, but is identical with that already made, when
representations or intuitions were discussed. In truth, language in the
strict sense, as we understand it, is equivalent to expression; and
expression is identical with representation, since it is inconceivable
that there should be a representation, which should not be expressed
in some way, or an expression which should represent nothing, or be
meaningless. The one would fail to be representation, and the other
would not even be expression; that is to say, both must be and are, one
and the same.

[Sidenote: _Intuition and language as presuppositions._]

What is a real presupposition of the logical activity, is, for that
very reason, not a presupposition in Philosophy, which cannot admit
presuppositions and must think and demonstrate all the concepts that
it posits. But it may conveniently be allowed as a presupposition
for that part of Philosophy, which we are now undertaking to treat,
namely Logic; and the existence of the representative or intuitive
form of knowledge be taken for granted. After all, scepticism could
not formulate more than two objections to this position: either the
negation of knowing in general; or the negation of that form of knowing
which we presuppose. Now, the first would be an instance of absolute
scepticism; and we may be allowed to dispense with exhibiting yet again
the old, but ever effective argument against absolute scepticism which
may be found in the mouths of all students at the university, even
of the boys in the higher elementary classes (and this dispensation
may more readily be granted, seeing that we shall unfortunately be
obliged to record many obvious truths of Philosophy in the course of
our exposition). But we do not mean by this declaration that we shall
evade our obligation to show the genesis and the profound reasons for
this same scepticism, when we are led to do so by the order of our
exposition. The second objection implies the negation of the intuitive
activity as original and autonomous, and its resolution into empirical,
hedonistic, intellectualist, or other doctrines. But we have already,
in the preceding volume,[1] directed our efforts towards making the
intuitive activity immune against such doctrines, that is to say,
towards demonstrating the autonomy of fancy and establishing an
Æsthetic. So that, in this way, the presupposition which we now allow
to stand has here its pedagogic justification, since it resolves itself
into a reference to things said elsewhere.

[Sidenote: _Scepticism as to the concept._]

Facing, therefore, without more ado, the problem of Logic, the first
obstacle to be removed will not be absolute scepticism nor scepticism
concerning the intuitive form; but a new and more circumscribed
scepticism, which does not question the two first theses, indeed
relies upon them, and negates neither knowledge nor intuition, but
_logical_ knowledge itself. Logical knowledge is something beyond
simple representation. The latter is individuality and multiplicity;
the former the _universality_ of individuality, the _unity_ of
multiplicity; the one is intuition, the other _concept._ To know
logically is to know the universal or concept. The negation of logic is
the affirmation that there is no other knowledge than representative
(or sense knowledge, as it is called), and that universal or conceptual
knowledge does not exist. Beyond simple representation, there is
nothing knowable.

Were this so, the treatise which we are preparing to develop would
have no subject-matter whatever, and would here cease, since it is
impossible to seek out the nature of what does not exist, that is, of
the concept, or how it operates in relation to the other forms of the
Spirit. But that this is not so, and that the concept really exists
and operates and gives rise to problems, undoubtedly results from the
negation itself, pronounced by that form of scepticism which we will
call _logical,_ and which is, indeed, the only negation conceivable
upon this point. Thus, we can speedily reassure ourselves as to the
fate of our undertaking; or, if it be preferred, we must at once
abandon the hope which we conjured up before ourselves, and resign
ourselves to the labour of constructing a Logic; a labour which logical
scepticism, by restricting us to the sole form of representation, had,
as it seems, the good intention of sparing us.

[Sidenote: _Its three forms._]

Logical scepticism, in fact, can assume three forms. It may affirm
simply that representative knowledge is the whole and that unity or
universality, whose existence we have postulated, are words without
meaning. Or it may affirm that the demand for unity is justified, but
that it is satisfied only by the non-cognitive forms of the Spirit.
Or, finally, it may affirm that the demand is certainly satisfied by
these non-cognitive forms, but only in so far as they react upon
the cognitive, that is to say, upon the one admitted form of the
cognitive, namely, the representative. It is clear that there is no
other possibility beyond these three, either that of being satisfied
with representative knowledge; or of being satisfied with something
non-cognitive; or of combining these two forms. In the first case,
we have the theory of _æstheticism_ (which could also be correctly
called sensationalism, if this did not happen to be an inconvenient
term, by reason of the misunderstanding which might easily spring from
it); in the second, the theory of _mysticism;_ in the third, that of
_empiricism_ or _arbitrarism._

[Sidenote: _Æstheticism._]

According to æstheticism, in order to understand the real, it is not
necessary to think by means of concepts, to universalize, to reason, or
to be logical. It suffices to pass from one spectacle to another; and
the sum of these, increased to infinity, is the truth which we seek,
and which we must refrain from transcending, lest we fall into the
void. The _sub specie aeterni_ would be just like that mirror of water
which deceived the avidity of the dog of Phædrus, and made it leave the
real for the illusory food. For the cold and fruitless quest of the
logician there is substituted the rich and moving contemplation of the
artist. Truth lies in works of speech, of colour, of line, and not at
all in the vain babblings of philosophy. Let us sing, let us paint, and
not compel our minds to spasmodic and sterile efforts.

[Sidenote: _Mysticism._]

The æstheticist's attitude may be considered as that of the spirit,
which comes out of itself and disperses itself among things, while
keeping itself above and aloof from them, contemplating, but not
immersing itself in them. Mysticism is not satisfied with this, feeling
that no repose is ever accorded to the spirit which abandons itself to
this orgy, this breathless adventure of infinitely various spectacles,
and that the intimate meaning of them all escapes the æstheticist.
It is true that there is no logical knowledge, that the concept is
sterile, but the claim for unity is legitimate, and demands to be, and
is, satisfied. But in what way is it satisfied? Art speaks, and its
speech, however beautiful, does not content us; it paints, and its
colours, however attractive, deceive us. In order to find the inmost
meaning of life, we must seek, not the light, but the shade, not
speech, but silence. In silence, reality raises its head and shows its
countenance; or, better, it shows us nothing, but fills us with itself,
and gives us the sense of its very being. The unity and universality
that we desire are found in action, in the practical form of the
Spirit: in the heart, which palpitates, loves, and wills. Knowledge is
knowledge of the single, it is representation; the eternal is not a
matter of knowledge, but of _intimate and ineffable experience._

[Sidenote: _Empiricism._]

If the sceptics of logico-æsthetic type are chiefly artistic souls, the
logico-mystical sceptics are sentimental and perturbed souls. These,
although they do not usually take an entirely active part in life, yet
do to some extent take part in it, vibrating in sympathetic unison
with it, and, according to circumstances, suffering, sometimes through
taking part, and sometimes through failing so to do. Empiricists
or arbitrarists are to be found, on the other hand, among those
who, engaged in practical affairs, do not indulge in emotions and
sentiments, but aim at producing definite results. Thus, while they are
in complete agreement with the æstheticists and the mystics in denying
all value to logical knowledge as an autonomous form of knowledge,
they are not satisfied, like the former, with spectacles and with
works of art; nor are they caught, like the latter, in the madness and
sorcery of the One and Eternal. The combination which they effect,
of the æstheticist's thesis concerning the value of representation,
with the mystical concerning the value of action, strengthens neither,
but weakens both; and in exchange for the poetry of the first and for
the ecstasy of the second, it offers an eminently prosaic product
countersigned with a most prosaic name, that of _fiction._ There is
something (they say) beyond the mere representation, and this something
is an act of will; which also satisfies the demand for the universal,
not by shutting itself up in itself, but by means of a manipulation
of single representations, so concentrated and simplified as to give
rise to classes or symbols, which are without reality but convenient,
fictitious but useful. Ingenuous philosophers and logicians have
allowed themselves to be deceived by these puppets and have taken them
seriously, as Don Quixote took the Moorish puppets of Master Peter.
Forgetful of the nature and character of the complete operation,
they have proceeded to concentrate and to simplify where there is no
material for such an undertaking, claiming to group afresh, not only
this or that series of representations, but all representations, hoping
thus to obtain the universal concept, that is to say, the concept which
enfolds in its bosom the infinite possibilities of the real. Thus they
have attained the pretended new and autonomous form of knowledge which
goes beyond representations; a refined, but slightly ridiculous process
of thought, like that of a man who would like to make not only knives
of various sizes and shapes, but a knife of knives, beyond all knives
which have a definite shape and are made of iron and steel.

[Sidenote: _Reduction to the absurd of the three forms._]

We shall proceed to examine in their places both the errors resulting
from these modes of solving, or of cutting, the problem of knowledge,
and also the partial truths mingled with them which it is necessary to
exhibit in their full efficacy. But, at the point which now occupies
us, _i.e.,_ the affirmation or negation of the conceptual form of
knowledge, let it suffice to observe how all the ranks of those who
deny the concept move to the assault armed with the _concept._ We
need simply observe, not strive to confute, because it is a question
of something which leaps to the eye at once and does not demand many
words; although many would be necessary to illustrate psychologically
the conditions of spirit and of culture, the natural and acquired
tendencies, the habits and the prejudices, which render such marvellous
blindness possible. The æstheticists affirm that truth resides in
æsthetic contemplation and not in the concept. But, pray, is this
affirmation of theirs perchance song, or painting, or music, or
architecture? It certainly concerns intuition, but it is not intuition;
it has art for subject-matter, but it is not art; it does not
communicate a state of the soul, but communicates a thought, that is to
say, an affirmation of universal character; therefore, it is a concept.
And by this concept it is sought to deny the concept. It is as if one
sought to leap over one's own shadow, when the leap itself throws
the shadow, or, by clinging to one's own pigtail, to pull oneself
into safety out of the river. The same may be said of the mystics.
They proclaim the necessity of silence and of seeking the One, the
Universal, the I, concentrating upon themselves and letting themselves
live; during which mystical experience it may, perhaps, befall them (as
in the _Titan_ of J. P. Richter) to rediscover the I, in a somewhat
materialized form, in their own person. Nevertheless in the case of
those who recommend silence, _non silent silentum,_ they do not pass
it by in silence; rather, it has been said, they _proclaim_ it, and go
about explaining and demonstrating how efficacious their prescription
is for satisfying the desire for the universal. Were they silent about
it, we should not be faced with that doctrine, as a precise formula
to combat. The doctrine of silence and of silent action and inner
experience is nothing but an affirmation of absolute character and
universal content, by means of which are refuted, and it is believed
confuted, other affirmations of the same nature. This too, then,
is a concept; as contradictory as you will, and therefore, needing
elaboration, but always conceptual elaboration and not practical;
which last would altogether prevent the adepts in the doctrine from
talking. And who, in our day, talks as much as the mystics? Indeed,
what could they do, in our day, if they did not talk? And is it not
significant that mystics are now found, not in solitudes, but crowded
round little tables in the cafés, where it is customary, not so much to
achieve inner experiences, as, on the contrary, to chatter? Finally,
the theorists of fictions and of toys, in their amiable satire of
logic and of philosophy, forget to explain one small particular, which
is not without importance; that is to say, whether their theory of
the concepts as fiction, is in its turn _fiction._ Because, were it
fiction, it would be useless to discuss it, since by its own admission
it is without truth; and if it were not (as it is not), it would have
a character of true and not fictitious universality; or, it would
be, not at all a simplification and symbol of representations, but
a concept, and would establish the true concept at the very moment
that it unmasks those that are fictitious. Fiction and the theory
of fiction are (and it should appear evident) different things; as
the delinquent and the judge who condemns him are different, or the
madman and the doctor who studies madness. A fiction, which pretends
to be fiction, opens, at the most, an infinite series which it is not
possible to close, unless there eventually intervene an act which is
not fiction, and which explains all the others, as in the unravelling
of a comedy of cross-purposes. And this is the way that the empiricists
or arbitrarists also come to profess the faith that they would deny.
_Salus ex inimicis_ is a great truth for philosophy not less than for
the whole of life; a truth, which on this occasion finds beautiful
continuation in the hostility towards the concept, perhaps never so
fierce as it is to-day, and in the efforts to choke it, never so great
and never so courageously and cleverly employed. But those enemies
find themselves in the unhappy condition of being unable to choke it,
without in the very act suppressing the principle of their own life.

[Sidenote: _Affirmation of the concept._]

The concept, then, is not representation, nor is it a mixture and
refinement of representation. It springs from representations, as
something implicit in them that must become explicit; a necessity
whose premisses they provide, but which they are not in a position to
satisfy, not even to affirm. The satisfaction is afforded by the form
of knowledge which is no longer representative but logical, and which
occurs continually and at every instant in the life of the Spirit.

To deny the existence of this form, or to prove it illusory by
substituting other spiritual formations in its place, is an attempt
which has been and is made, but which has not succeeded and does not
succeed, and which, therefore, may be considered desperate. This series
of manifestations, this aspect of reality, this form of spiritual
activity, which is the Concept, constitutes the object of Logic.

[Footnote 1: See the first volume of this _Philosophy as Science of the
Spirit; Æsthetic as Science of Expression._]



[Sidenote: _Concepts and conceptual fictions._]

By distinguishing the concept from representations, we have recognized
the legitimate sphere of representation, and have assigned to it in the
system of spirit the place of an antecedent and more elementary form
of knowledge. By distinguishing the concept from states of the soul,
from efforts of the will, from action, it is intended also to recognize
the legitimacy of the practical form, although we are not here able
to enlarge upon its relations with the cognitive form.[1] But by
distinguishing the concept from _fictions,_ it would almost seem that
in their case we have not explicitly admitted any legitimate province,
that, indeed, we have implicitly denied it, since we have adopted for
them a designation which in itself sounds almost like a condemnation.
This point must be made clear; because it would be impossible to go
further with the treatment of Logic, if we left doubtful and insecure,
that is, not sufficiently distinguished, one of the terms, from which
the concept must be distinguished. What are conceptual fictions? Are
they false and arbitrary concepts, morally reprehensible? Or are they
spiritual products, which aid and contribute to the life of the spirit?
Are they avoidable evils, or necessary functions?

[Sidenote: _The pure concept as ultra- and omnirepresentative._]

A true and proper concept, precisely because it is not representation,
cannot have for content any single representative element, or
have reference to any particular representation, or group of
representations; but on the other hand, precisely because it is
universal in relation to the individuality of the representations, it
must refer at the same time to all and to each. Take as an example any
concept of universal character, be it of _quality,_ of _development,_
of _beauty,_ or of _final cause._ Can we conceive that a piece of
reality, given us in representation, however ample it may be (let it
even be granted that it embraces ages and ages of history, in all
the complexity of the latter, and millenniums and millenniums of
cosmic life), exhausts in itself quality or development, beauty or
final cause, in such a way that we can affirm an equivalence between
those concepts and that representative content? On the other hand,
if we examine the smallest fragment of representable life, can we
ever conceive that, however small and atomic it be, there is lacking
to it quality and development, beauty and final cause? Certainly,
it may be and has been affirmed, that things are not quality, but
pure quantity; that they do not develop, but remain changeless and
motionless; that the criterion of beauty is the arbitrary extension
which we make to cosmic reality of some of our narrow individual and
historical experiences and sentiments; and that final cause is an
anthropomorphic conception, since not "end" but "cause" is the law
of the real, not teleology but mechanism and determinism. Philosophy
has been and is still engrossed in such disputes; and we do not here
present them as definitely solved, nor do we intend to base ourselves
upon determinate conceptions in the choice of our examples. The point
is, that if the theses which we have just mentioned as opposed to the
first, were true, they would furnish, in every case, true and proper
concepts, superior to every representative determination, and embracing
in themselves all representations, that is to say, every possible
experience; and our conception of the concept would not thereby be
changed, but indeed confirmed. Final cause or mechanism, development
or motionless being, beauty or individual pleasure, would always, in
so far as they are concepts, be posited as ultrarepresentative and
at the same time omnirepresentative. Even if, as often happens, both
the opposed concepts were accepted for the same problem, for example,
final cause and mechanism, or development and unmoved substance, it
is never intended simply to apply either of them to single groups of
representations, but to make them elements and component parts of all
reality. Thus, every reality would be, on one side, end, and on the
other, cause; on one side, motionless, on the other, changeable; man
would have in himself something of the mechanical and something of the
teleological; nature would be matter, but urged forward by a first
cause which was non-material, that is, spiritual and final, or at least
unknown--and so on. When it is demonstrated of a concept that it has
been suggested by contingent facts, by this very fact we eliminate
it from the series of true concepts, and substitute for it another
concept, which is given as truly universal. Or again, we suppress it
without substituting another for it, that is to say, we reduce the
number of true and proper concepts. Such a reduction is a progress
of thought, but it is a progress which can never be extended to the
abolition of all concepts, because one, at least, will always remain
ineliminable; that of thought, which thinks the abolition; and this
concept will be ultra- and omnirepresentative.

[Sidenote: _Conceptual fictions as representative without

Fictional concepts or conceptual fictions are something altogether
different. In these, either the content is furnished by a group of
representations, even by a single representation, so that they are
not ultrarepresentative; or there is no representable content, so
that they are not omnirepresentative. Examples of the first type are
afforded by the concepts of _house, cat, rose_; of the second, those
of _triangle,_ or of _free motion._ If we think of the house, we refer
to an artificial structure of stone or masonry or wood, or iron or
straw, where beings, whom we call men, are wont to abide for some
hours, or for entire days and entire years. Now, however great may be
the number of objects denoted by that concept, it is always a finite
number; there was a time when man did not exist, when, therefore,
neither did his house; and there was another time when man existed
without his house, living in caverns and under the open sky. Of course,
undoubtedly, we shall be able to extend the concept of house, so as
to include also the places inhabited by animals; but it will never
be possible to follow with absolute clearness the distinction between
artificial and natural (the act of inhabiting itself makes the place
more or less artificial, by changing, for instance, the temperature);
or between the animals which are inhabitants and the non-animals,
which nevertheless are inhabitants, such as plants, which, as well as
animals, often seek a roof; admitting that certain plants and animals
have other plants and animals as their houses. Hence, in view of the
impossibility of a clear and universal distinctive character, it is
advisable to have recourse at once to enumeration and to give the name
house to certain particular objects, which, however numerous they are,
are also finite in number, and which, with the enumeration complete, or
capable of completion, exclude other objects from themselves. If it is
desired to prevent this exclusion, no other course remains than that of
understanding by _house_ any mode of life between different beings; but
in that case, the conceptual fiction becomes changed into a universal,
lacking particular representations, applicable alike to a house and to
any other manifestation of the real. The same may be said of the cat
and of the rose, since it is evident that cats and roses have appeared
on the earth at a definite time and will disappear at another, and
that while they endure, they can be looked upon as something fixed and
precise, only when we have regard to some particular group of cats and
of roses, indeed to one particular cat or rose at a definite moment of
its existence (a gray cat or a black cat, a cat or a kitten; a white
rose or a red rose, flowering or withered, etc.), elevated into a
symbol and representative of the others. There is not, and there cannot
be, a rigorous characteristic, which should avail to distinguish the
cat from other animals, or the rose from other flowers, or indeed a cat
from other cats and a rose from another rose. These and other fictional
concepts are, therefore, representative, but not ultrarepresentative;
they contain some objects or fragments of reality, they do not contain
it all.

[Sidenote: _or universals void of representations_]

The conceptual fictions of the triangle and of free motion have an
analogous but opposite defect. With them, it appears, we emerge from
the difficulties of representations. The triangle and free motion are
not something which begins and ends in time and of which we are not
able to state exactly the character and limits. So long as thought,
that is to say, thinkable reality, exists, the concept of the triangle
and of free motion will have validity. The triangle is formed by the
intersection of three straight lines enclosing a space and forming
three angles, the sum of which, though they 'vary from triangle to
triangle, is equal to that of two right angles. It is impossible to
confuse the triangle with the quadrilateral or the circle. Free motion
is a motion, which we think of as taking place without obstacles of
any sort. It is impossible to confuse it with a motion to which there
is any particular obstacle. So far so good. But if those conceptual
fictions let fall the ballast of representations, they ascend to a zone
without air, where life is impossible; or, to speak without metaphor,
they gain universality by losing reality. There is no geometric
triangle in reality because in reality there are no straight lines, nor
right angles nor sums of right angles, nor sums of angles equal to that
of two right angles. There is no free motion in reality, because every
real motion takes place in definite conditions and therefore among
obstacles. A thought, which has as its object nothing real, is not
thought; and those concepts are not concepts but conceptual fictions.

[Sidenote: _Critique of the doctrine which considers them to be
erroneous concepts,_]

Having made clear, by means of these examples, the character of
concepts and of fictional concepts, we are prepared to solve the
question as to whether the second are legitimate or illegitimate
products, and if they merit the reproach which seems to attach to
their name. And certainly, a view which has had and still has force
does not hesitate to consider those fictions as nothing but _erroneous
concepts,_ and declares a war of extermination against them, in the
name of rigorous thought and of truth. If it follows from what we have
said, that the cat or the house or the rose are not concepts, and
that the geometrical triangle or free motion are not so either, the
conclusion seems inevitable that we must free ourselves from these
errors or misconceptions, and affirm that there is neither the cat
nor the rose nor the house, but a reality all compact (although it is
continuously changing) which develops and is new at every instant; nor
is there either the triangle or free motion, but the eternal forms of
this reality, which cannot be abstracted and fixed by themselves, and
deprived of the conditions which are an integral part of them. But a
single fact suffices to invalidate this conclusion and to confute the
premiss upon which it rests, that conceptual fictions are erroneous
concepts. An error once discovered cannot reappear, at least until the
discovery is forgotten, and there is a falling back into the conditions
of mental obscurity similar to those antecedent to the discovery.
When, for example, the position has been attained that morality is not
a phenomenon of egoism and that it has value in itself, or one has
become certain that Hannibal was ignorant of the disaster that befell
his brother Hasdrubal on the Metaurus, it is impossible to continue
believing that morality is egoism, or that Hannibal has been informed
of the arrival of Hasdrubal and had voluntarily allowed him to be
surprised by the two Consuls. But with conceptual fictions similar to
those in the example the case is otherwise. Even when we are persuaded
that the triangle and free motion correspond to nothing real, and that
the rose, the cat, and the house have nothing precise and universal in
them, we must yet continue to make use of the fictions of triangles, of
free motion; of houses, cats, and roses. We can criticise them, and we
cannot renounce them; therefore, it is not true that they are, at least
altogether and in every sense, errors.

[Sidenote: _or imperfect concepts preparatory to perfect concepts._]

This indispensability of conceptual fictions to the life of the spirit,
finds acknowledgment in a more temperate form of the doctrine which
considers them as erroneous concepts; that is, in the thesis that
they are erroneous, but at the same time preparatory to, and almost a
first step towards, the formation of true and proper concepts. The
spirit does not issue all at once from representations and attain to
the universal; it issues from them little by little, and prior to
the rigorous universal, it constructs others less rigorous, which
have the advantage of replacing the infinite representations with
their infinite shades, through which reality presents itself in
æsthetic contemplation. Conceptual fictions, then, would be sketches
of concepts, and therefore, like all sketches, capable of revision
and annulment, but useful. Thus it would be explained how they are
errors, and errors made for a good reason. But this moderate theory
also clashes noisily with the most evident facts. Above all, it is not
true that the spirit issues little by little from the representations,
passing through a series of grades; the procedure of the spirit, in
this regard, is altogether different, and when philosophers have wanted
to find a comparison for it, they have been obliged to come back to
that very 'leap' which they wanted to avoid: "Spirit (said Schelling,
for example,) is an _eternal island,_ which is not to be reached from
matter, without a leap, whatever turns and twists be made." And, for
this very reason, conceptual fictions are not good passages to rigorous
concepts: to think rigorously, we must plunge ourselves again into the
flood of representations and think immediate reality, clearing away the
obstacles that proceed from conceptual fictions. And always for the
same reason, rigorous concepts, when they find themselves confronted
with conceptual fictions as rivals in the same problem, do not claim
their assistance, nor correct, nor refine upon them, in order partially
to preserve them, but combat and destroy them. What the rigorous
concepts are unable to do, is to prevent the others from reappearing;
because the spirit, as has been seen, preserves, without correcting
them, although it has recognized their falsity: it preserves them, that
is to say, not fused and rendered true in the rigorous concepts, but
_outside and after these._

[Sidenote: _Posteriority of conceptual fictions to true and proper

In short, we have to abandon entirely the idea that conceptual fictions
are errors, or sketches and aids, and that they precede rigorous
concepts. Quite the opposite is true: conceptual fictions do not
precede rigorous concepts, but follow them, and presuppose them as
their own foundation. Were this not so, of what could they ever be
fictions? To counterfeit or imitate something implies first knowledge
of the thing which it is desired to counterfeit or to imitate. To
falsify means to have knowledge of the genuine model: false money
implies good money, not vice versa. It is possible to think that man,
from being the ingenuous poet that he first was, raised himself,
immediately, to the thought of the eternal; but it is not possible to
think that he constructed the smallest conceptual fiction, without
having previously imagined and thought. The house, the rose, the cat,
the triangle, free motion presuppose quantity, quality, existence,
and we know not how many other rigorous concepts: they are made with
iron instruments great and small, which logical thought has created,
and which come to be used with such rapidity and naturalness that we
usually end by believing that we have proceeded without them. Whoever
makes conceptual fictions, has already taken his logical bearings in
the world: he knows what he is doing and reasons about it; progress
with his conceptual fictions depending upon progress with his rigorous
concepts, and being continuously remade, according to the new needs and
the new conditions which are formed. Now that the concept of miracle
or witchcraft has been destroyed, the conceptual fictions relating
to the various classes and modes of miraculous facts and acts of
witchcraft are no longer constructed; and since the destruction of
the belief in the direct influence of the stars upon human destinies,
the astrological and mathematical fictions, which arose upon those
conceptual presuppositions, have also disappeared.

Those who have seen errors or sketches of truth in conceptual
fictions have certainly seen something: because (without incidentally
anticipating at this point the theory of errors, or that of sketches
or aids to the search for truth) it may at once be admitted, that
conceptual fictions also sometimes become both errors and obstacles,
and suggestions and aids to truth. But because a given spiritual
product is adopted for an end different from that which rightly belongs
to it (thereby becoming itself different and giving rise to a new
spiritual product), we must not omit to search for the intrinsic end,
which constitutes the genuine nature of this product. The portrait
of a fair lady, white as milk and red as blood, which the prince of
the story finds beneath a cushion by the help of the fairy, may serve
as an incentive to make him undertake the journey round the world
in search of the woman in flesh and blood, who is like the portrait
and whom he will make his wife; but that portrait, before it is an
instrument in the hands of the fairy, is a picture, that is to say, a
work of art, which has come from the hands, or rather from the fancy,
of the painter; and must be appreciated as such. Thus conceptual
fictions, before they are transmuted into errors or into expedients,
into obstacles or into aids to the search for truth, have, before
them, a truth already constructed, toward the construction of which,
therefore, they cannot serve; whereas that truth has served them, for
they would not otherwise have been able to arise. They are, therefore,
intrinsically neither obstacles nor aids to truth, but something else,
that is, themselves; and what they are in themselves it is still
necessary to determine.

[Sidenote: _Practical character of conceptual fictions._]

For this purpose it is needful to direct our attention to the moment of
their formation, which, as has been said, is not at all theoretical,
but practical; and to ask ourselves in what way and with what end
the practical spirit can intervene in representations and concepts
previously produced, manipulate them and make of them conceptual
fictions. The view that the work of the practical spirit can give
rise to new knowledge, not previously attained, must be resolutely
excluded: the practical spirit is such, precisely because it is
non-cognitive; as regards knowledge it is altogether sterile. If,
then, it accomplishes those manipulations, and says to a cat: "You
will represent for me all cats"; or to a rose: "See, I draw you in
my treatise on botany, and you will represent all roses"; and to
the triangle: "It is true I cannot think you, nor represent you;
but I suppose that you are the same as what I draw with rule and
compass, and I make use of you to measure the approximate triangles
of reality";--in so doing, it recognizes that it does not accomplish
any act of _knowledge._ But does it, in that case, accomplish an act
of _anti-knowledge_--that is, does it make these manipulations and
fictions in order to place obstacles in the way of knowledge and to
simulate its products, so that it leads astray the seeker for truth?
If this were so, the "practical spirit" would be synonymous with
the spirit of confusion; and the contriver of conceptual fictions
would deserve the reprobation that attaches to forgers of documents,
sophists, rhetoricians, and charlatans; whereas, on the contrary,
he receives the applause and gratitude of every one. Each one of
us, at every instant, would be guilty of a plot against the truth,
because at every instant each of us forms and employs those fictions;
whereas the moral consciousness, delicate and intolerant though it
be, makes no reproof, but indeed offers encouragement. Therefore, the
act of forming intellectual fictions is an act neither of knowledge
nor of anti-knowledge; it is not logically rational, but neither is
it logically irrational; it is rational, indeed, but _practically_

[Sidenote: _The practical end and mnemonic utility._]

In this case the practical end in view can be but one. We know in order
to act; and he who acts is interested only in that knowledge, which is
the necessary precedent of his doing. But since our knowledge is all
destined to be recalled as occasion serves for action, or to aid us in
the search for new knowledge (which in this case is a form of acting),
the practical spirit is impelled to provide for the preservation of the
patrimony of acquired knowledge. Without doubt, speaking absolutely,
everything is preserved in reality, and nothing that has once been
done or thought, disappears from the bosom of the cosmos. But the
preservation of which we speak, is properly the making easily available
to memory, knowledge that has once been possessed, and providing for
its ready recall from the bosom of the cosmos or from the apparently
unconscious and forgotten. For this purpose there are constructed
those instruments, which are conceptual fictions, by means of which
armies of representations are evoked with a single word, or by which
a single word approximately indicates what form of operation must be
resorted to, in order that certain representations may be recovered.
The cat of the appropriate conceptual fiction does not enable us to
know any single cat, as a painter or a historian of cats makes us
know it; but by means of it, many images of animals, which would have
remained separate before the memory, or each one dispersed and fused in
the complete picture in which it had been imagined and perceived, are
arranged in a series and recorded as a whole. This matters little or
nothing to one who dreams as a poet or who seeks absolute truth; but it
matters a great deal to one whose house is infested by rats, and who
must employ some one to obtain a cat; and it matters not less to the
seeker for the cat, in that he has to study a new animal, and that he
must proceed in that study with some order, though it be artificial,
and though he reject the artifice in the final synthesis. Again, the
geometrical triangle is of no service either to imagination or to
thought, which are developed without it; but it is indispensable to
any one measuring a field, in the same way as it may possibly be of
service to a painter in his preparatory studies for a picture, or to
a historian, who wishes to know well the configuration of a piece of
ground where a battle was fought.

[Sidenote: _Persistence of conceptual fictions side by side with

This is the real reason why, however perfect rigorous concepts become,
conceptual fictions remain ineliminable, and indeed obtain from these
fresh nourishment. They cannot be criticized and resolved by means of
rigorous concepts, because they are of a different order from them:
they cannot act as inferior degrees of the rigorous concept, because
they presuppose it. The reason, which we were pledged to give, is
given; and henceforward there can no longer arise any misunderstanding
as to the relation of the concept to conceptual fictions. It is a
relation not of identity, nor of contrariety, but simply of diversity.

[Sidenote: _Pure concepts and pseudoconcepts._]

The terminological question remains, and this, as always, has but
slight importance. "Conceptual fictions" is a manner of speech; and no
one would wish to combat manners of speech. For brevity's sake we shall
call them _pseudoconcepts,_ and for the sake of clearness we shall
call the true and proper concepts _pure concepts._ This term seems to
us more suitable than that of _ideas_ (pure concepts), as opposed to
_logical concepts_ (pseudoconcepts), as they were at one time called
in the schools. It must further be noted, that the pseudoconcepts,
although the word "concept" forms part of their name, are not concepts,
they do not form a species of, nor do they compete with, concepts (save
when forcibly made to do so); and that the pure concepts have not got
the impure concepts at their side, for these are not truly concepts.
Every word offers, in some degree, a hold for misunderstanding, because
it circulates in this base world, which is full of snares; the search
for words which should absolutely prevent misunderstandings is vain,
for it would be necessary first of all to clip the wings of the human
spirit. We may prefer one word to another, according to historical
contingencies; and for our part we prefer the words _pseudoconcept_
and _pure concept,_ if for no other reason than to remind the makers
of fictional concepts to be modest, and to flash above their heads the
light of the only true form of concept, which is logical nature itself
in its universality and in its severity. How can we fail to think
that the choice has been well made if this title of _pure concept_
please the few, but terrify the many and irritate the most, more than
the red cloth shaken before the eyes of the bull; and if, like every
efficacious medicine, it provoke a reaction in the organism of the

[Footnote 1: These relations are examined in the _Philosophy of the
Practical,_ first part.]



The characteristics of the pure concept, or simply, concept, may be
gathered from what has previously been said.

[Sidenote: _Expressivity._]

The concept has the character of _expressivity;_ that is to say, it is
a cognitive product, and, therefore, expressed or spoken, not a mute
act of the spirit, as is a practical act. If we wish to submit the
effective possession of a concept to a first test, we can employ the
experiment which was advised on a previous occasion:--whoever asserts
that he possesses a concept, should be invited to expound it in words,
and with other means of expression (graphic symbols and the like). If
he refuse to do so, and say that his concept is so profound that words
cannot avail to render it, we can be sure, either that he is under the
illusion of possessing a concept, when he possesses only turbid fancies
and morsels of ideas; or that he has a presentiment of the profound
concept, that it is in process of formation, and will be, but is not
yet, possessed. Each of us knows that when he finds himself in the
meditative depth of the internal battle, of that true _agony_ (because
it is the death of one life and the birth of another), which is the
discovery of a concept, he can certainly talk of the state of his soul,
of his hopes and fears, of the rays that enlighten and of the shadows
that invade him; but he cannot yet communicate his concept, which is
not as yet, because it is not yet expressible.

[Sidenote: _Universality._]

If this character of expressivity be common to the concept and to the
representation, its _universality_ is peculiar to the concept; that is
to say, its transcendence in relation to the single representations, so
that no single representation and no number of them can be equivalent
to the concept. There is no middle term between the individual and
the universal: either there is the single or there is the whole, into
which that single enters with all the singles. A concept which has been
proved not universal, is, by that very fact, confuted as a concept.
Our philosophical confutations do not proceed otherwise. Sociology,
for instance, asserts the concept of _Society,_ as a rigorous concept
and principle of science; and the criticism of Sociology proves that
the concept of society is not universal, but individual, and is
related to the groupings of certain beings which representation has
placed before the sociologist, and which he has arbitrarily isolated
from other complexes of beings that representation also placed or
could place before him. The theory of tragedy postulates the concept
of the _tragic,_ and from it deduces certain necessary essentials
of tragedy; and the criticism of literary classes demonstrates that
the tragic is not a concept, but a roughly defined group of artistic
representations, which have certain external likenesses in common; and,
therefore, that it cannot serve as foundation for any theory. On the
other hand, to establish a universality, which at first was wanting,
is the glory of truly scientific thought; hence we give the name of
discoverers to those who bring to light connections of representations
or of representative groups, or of concepts, which had previously been
separate; that is to say, who universalize them. Thus, it was thought
at one time that will and action were distinct concepts; and it was
a step in progress to identify them by the creation of the truly
universal concept of the will, which is also action. Thus, too, it was
held that expression in language was a different thing from expression
in art; and it was an advance to universalize the expression of art by
extending it to language; or that of language by extending it to art.

[Sidenote: _Concreteness._]

Not less proper to the concept is the other character of
_concreteness,_ which means that if the concept be universal and
transcendent in relation to the single representation, it is yet
immanent in the single, and therefore in all representations. The
concept is the universal in relation to the representations, and is
not exhausted in any one of them; but since the world of knowledge
is the world of representations, the concept, if it were not in the
representations, would not be anywhere: it would be in _another_ world,
which cannot be thought, and therefore is not. Its transcendence,
therefore, is also immanence; like that truly literary language that
Dante desired, which, in relation to the speech of the different parts
of Italy, _in qualibet redolet civitate nec cubat in ulla._ If it is
proved of a concept that it is inapplicable to reality, and therefore
is not concrete, it is thereby confuted as a true and proper concept.
It is said to be an _abstraction,_ it is not reality; it does not
possess _concreteness._ In this way, for example, has been confuted the
concept of spirit as different from nature (abstract spiritualism); or
of the good, as a model placed above the real world; or of atoms, as
the components of reality; or of the dimensions of space, or of various
quantities of pleasure and pain, and the like. All these are things not
found in any part of the real, since there is neither a reality that is
merely natural and external to spirit, nor an ideal world outside the
real world; nor a space of one or of two dimensions; nor a pleasure or
pain that is homogeneous with another, and therefore greater or less
than another; and for this reason all these things do not result from
concrete thinking and are not concepts.

[Sidenote: _The concrete universal, and the formation of the

Expressivity, universality, concreteness, are then the three
characteristics of the concept derived from the foregoing discussion.
Expressivity affirms that the concept is a cognitive act, and denies
that it is merely practical, as is maintained in various senses by
mystics, and by arbitrarists or fictionists. Universality affirms that
it is a cognitive act _sui generis,_ the logical act, and denies that
it is an intuition, as is maintained by the æstheticists, or a group
of intuitions, as is asserted in the doctrine of the arbitrarists
or fictionists. Concreteness affirms that the universal logical act
is also a thinking of reality, and denies that it can be universal
and void, universal and inexistent, as is maintained in a special
part of the doctrine of the arbitrarists. But this last point needs
explanation, which leads us to enunciate explicitly an important
division of the pseudoconcepts, which has hitherto been mentioned as
apparently incidental.

[Sidenote: _Empirical pseudoconcepts and abstract pseudoconcepts._]

The pseudoconcepts, falsifying the concept, cannot imitate it
scrupulously, because, if they did, they would not be pseudoconcepts,
but concepts; not imitations, but the very reality which they imitate.
An actor who, pretending on the stage to kill his rival in love,
really did so, would no longer be an actor, but a practical man and an
assassin. If, therefore, with regard to the representations, and when
preparing to form pseudoconcepts, we should think representations with
that universality which is also the concreteness proper to the true
concept, and with that transcendence which is also immanence (and is
therefore called _transcendentalism),_ we should form true concepts.
This, indeed, often happens, as we can see in certain treatises which
mean to be empirical and arbitrary, and from which, _currente rota,
non urceus, sed amphora exit._ Their authors, led by a profound and
irrepressible philosophic sense, gradually and almost unconsciously
abandon their initial purpose, and give true and proper concepts in
place of the promised pseudoconcepts: they are philosophers, disguised
as empiricists. In order to create pseudoconcepts, we must therefore
begin by arbitrarily dividing into two the one supreme necessity of
logic, immanent transcendence, or concrete universality, and form
pseudoconcepts, which are _concrete_ without being _universal,_
or _universal_ without being _concrete._ There is no other way of
falsifying the concept; whoever wishes to falsify it so completely as
to render the imitation unrecognizable, does not falsify, but produces
it; he does not remain outside, but permits himself to be caught in its
coils; he does not invent a practical attitude, but thinks. That one
mode is therefore specified in two particular modes, of which examples
have already been given in our analysis of the pseudoconcepts of the
house, the cat, the rose, which are concrete without being universal;
and of the triangle and of free motion, which are universal without
being concrete. There is nothing left to do, therefore, but to baptize
them; selecting some of the many names that are applied, and often
applied, sometimes to the one, sometimes to the other of the two forms,
or indifferently to both, and giving to each of them a particular name,
which will be constant in this treatise. We shall then call the first,
that is to say, those which are concrete and not universal, _empirical_
pseudoconcepts; and the second, or those which are universal and not
concrete, _abstract_ pseudoconcepts; or, taking as understood for
brevity's sake, the general denomination (pseudo), _empirical concepts_
and _abstract concepts._

[Sidenote: _The other characteristics of the pure concept._]

Thus, of the three characteristics of the concept which we have
exhibited, the second and the third constitute, as we can now see, one
only, which is stated in a double form, solely in order to deny and
to combat these two one-sided forms which we have called empirical
and abstract concepts. But, on the other hand, it is easy to see that
the characteristics of the concept are not exhausted in the two that
remain, namely, in expressivity or cognizability, and in transcendence
or concrete universality. Others can reasonably be added, such as
_spirituality, utility, morality,_ but we shall not dwell upon these,
because either they belong to the general assumption of Logic, that
is, to the fundamental concept of Philosophy as the science of spirit,
or they are more conveniently made clear in the other parts of this
Philosophy. The concept has the character of spirituality and not of
mechanism, because reality is spiritual, not mechanical; and for this
reason we have to reject every mechanical or associationist theory
of Logic, just as we have to reject similar doctrines in Æsthetic,
in Economic and in Ethic. A special discussion of these views seems
superfluous, because they are discussed and negated, that is to say,
surpassed, in every line of our treatise. The concept has the character
of utility, because, if the theoretic form of the spirit be distinct
from the practical, it is not less true, by the law of the unity of
the spirit, that to think is also an act of the will, and therefore,
like every act of the will, it is teleological, not antiteleological;
useful, not useless. And, finally, it has the character of morality,
because its utility is not merely individual, but, on the contrary,
is subordinated to and absorbed in the moral activity of the spirit;
so that to think, that is, to seek and find the true, is also to
collaborate in progress, in the elevation of Humanity and Reality, it
is the denial and overcoming of oneself as a single individual, and
the service of God.

[Sidenote: _The origin of the multiplicity and unity of character of
the concept._]

Certainly, the form in which the order of our discourse has led us to
establish the characters of the concept--that of enumeration, the one
character being connected with the other by means of an "also"--is,
logically, a very crude form, and must be refined and corrected. Above
all, if we have spoken of _characters_ of the concept, we have done so
in order to adhere to the usual mode of expression. The concept cannot
have characters, in the plural, but _character,_ that one character
which is proper to it. What this is has been seen; the concept is
concrete-universal two words which designate one thing only, and can
also grammatically become one: "transcendental," or whatever other word
be chosen from those already coined, or that may be coined for the
occasion. The other determinations are not _characters_ of the concept,
but affirm its _relations_ with the spiritual activity in general,
of which it is a special form, and with the other special forms of
this activity. In the first relation, the concept is spiritual; in
relation with the æsthetic activity, it is cognitive or expressive,
and enters into the general theoretic-expressive form; in relation
with the practical activity, it is not, as concept, either useful or
moral, but as a concrete act of the spirit it must be called useful
and moral. The exposition of the characters of the concept, correctly
thought, resolves itself into the compendious exposition of the whole
Philosophy of spirit, in which the concept takes its place in its
unique character, that is to say, in itself.

[Sidenote: _Objections relating to the unreality of the pure concept
and to the impossibility of demonstrating it._]

This declaration may save us from the accusation of having given an
empirical exposition of the non-empirical _Concept of the concept,_ and
so committing an error for which logicians are justly reproved (for
they have often believed themselves to possess the right of treating
of Logic without logic; perhaps for the same reason that custodians of
sacred places are wont, through over-familiarity, to fail in respect
towards them). But it lays us open to censure very much more severe;
which, if it ultimately prove to be inoffensive, is certainly very
noisy and loquacious. The pretended characters of the concepts (it
is said) are, by your own confession, nothing but its relations with
the other forms of the spirit; and the one character proper to it is
that of universality-concreteness, that is, of being itself, since the
"concrete-universal" is synonymous with the concept, and _vice versa._
So it turns out that in spite of all your efforts, your concept of the
concept becomes dissipated in a tautology. Give us a demonstration
of what you affirm, or a definition which is not tautologous; then
we shall be able to form some sort of an idea of your pure concept.
Otherwise you may talk about it for ever, but for us it will always be
like "Phœnician Araby" of Metastasian memory: "you say _that it is;
where it is,_ no one knows."

[Sidenote: _Prejudice relating to the nature of demonstration._]

Beneath such dissatisfaction and the claim it implies, we find first
of all a prejudice of scholastic origin concerning what is called
_demonstration._ That is to say, it is imagined that demonstration
is like an irresistible contrivance, which grasps the learner by the
neck and drags him willy-nilly, whither he does not and the teacher
does will to go, leaving him open-mouthed before the truth, which
stands external to him, and before which he must, _obtorto collo,_ bow
himself. But such coercive demonstrations do not exist for any form
of knowledge--indeed, for any form of spiritual life--nor is there a
truth outside our spirit. Not that truth presupposes _faith,_ as is
often said, so that rationality is subordinated to some unknown form of
irrationality; but _truth is faith,_ trust in oneself, certainty of
oneself, free development of one's inner powers. The light is in us;
those sequences of sounds, which are the so-called demonstration, serve
only as aids in discarding the veils and directing the gaze; but in
themselves they have no power to open the eyes of those who obstinately
wish to keep them closed. Faced with this sort of reluctance and
rebellion, the pedagogues of the good old days had recourse, as we
know, not to demonstrations, but to the stool of penitence and to the
stick; so fully were they persuaded that the demonstration of truth
requires good dispositions, _i.e._ requires those who are disposed to
fall back upon themselves and to look into themselves. How can the
beauty of the song of Farinata be demonstrated to one who denies it,
and will neither appreciate the soul contained in that sublime poem,
nor accomplish the work necessary to attain to the possibility of such
an appreciation, nor will, on the other hand, humbly confess his own
incapacity and lack of preparation,--how can we forcibly demonstrate
to him that that song is beautiful? The critical wisdom of Francesco
de Sanctis would be disarmed and impotent before such a situation.
How can we demonstrate to one who deliberately refuses to believe
in any authority or document, and breaks the tradition by which
we are bound to the past, that Miltiades conquered at Marathon, or
that Demosthenes strove all his life against the power of Macedonia?
He will capriciously throw doubt on the pages of Herodotus and the
orations of Demosthenes; and no reasoning will be able to repress
that caprice. What more can be said? Even in arithmetic, for which
calculating machines exist, compulsory demonstration is impossible.
In vain you will lift two fingers of the hand, and then the third
and the fourth, in order to demonstrate to one who does not wish for
demonstration that two and two are four; he will reply that he is not
convinced. And indeed he cannot be convinced, if he do not accomplish
that inner spiritual synthesis by which twice two and four reveal
themselves as two names of one and the same thing. Therefore, he
who awaits a compelling demonstration of the existence of the pure
concept, awaits in vain. For our part, we cannot give him anything
but that which we are giving: a discourse, directed towards making
clear the difficulties, and towards demonstrating how, by means of
the pure concept, all problems concerning the life of the spirit are
illuminated, and how, without it, we cannot understand anything.

[Sidenote: _Prejudice concerning the representability of the concept._]

But another prejudice, perhaps yet more tenacious than the first,
accompanies this extravagant idea about demonstration. Accustomed as
men are to move among things, to see, to hear, to touch them, while
hardly or only fugitively reflecting upon the spiritual processes which
produce that vision, hearing and touching; when they come to treat of a
philosophic question, and to conceive a concept (and especially when it
is necessary to conceive precisely the concept of the concept), they do
not know how to refrain from demanding just that which they have been
obliged to renounce in their new search, and which they have already
renounced, owing to the very fact of their having entered into it: the
representative element, something that they can see, hear and touch. It
is almost as though a novice, on entering a monastery, and having just
pronounced the solemn vow of chastity, should ask, as his first request
upon taking possession of his cell, for the woman who is to be his
companion in that life. He will be answered that in such a place his
spouse cannot be anything but an ideal spouse, holy Religion or holy
Mother Church.

[Sidenote: _Protests of the philosophers against this prejudice._]

All philosophers have been compelled to protest against the request,
which they have had addressed to them, for an impossible external
demonstration and for something representative in a field where
representation has been surpassed. "In our system (said Fichte) we
must _ourselves_ lay the _foundation_ of our own philosophy, and
consequently that system must seem to be without foundation to one
who is incapable of accomplishing that act. But he may be assured
beforehand that he will never find a foundation elsewhere, if he do
not lay such an one for himself, or remain not satisfied with it.
It is fitting that our philosophy should proclaim this in a loud
voice, in order that it may be spared the pretence of demonstrating
to mankind from _without_ what they must create in themselves."[1]
Schelling appropriately compared philosophic obtuseness with æsthetic
obtuseness: "There are two only ways out of common reality. Poetry,
which transports you into an ideal world, and Philosophy, which makes
_the real world disappear altogether from our sight._ One does not see
why the sense for Philosophy should be more generally diffused than
that for Poetry."[2] And Hegel, giving explanations which precisely
meet the present case, says: "What is called the _incomprehensibility_
of Philosophy, arises, in part, from an incapacity (in itself only
a lack of habit) to think abstractly, that is to say, to hold pure
thoughts firmly before the spirit and to move in them. In our ordinary
consciousness, thoughts are clothed in and united with ordinary
sensible and spiritual matter; and in our rethinking, reflecting and
reasoning we mingle sentiments, intuitions and representations with
thoughts: in every proposition whose content is entirely sensible (for
example: this leaf is green) there are already mingled categories,
such as being and individuality. But it is quite another thing to
take as our object thoughts by themselves, without any admixture.
The other reason for its incomprehensibility is the impatience which
demands to have before it as representation that which in consciousness
appears only as thought and concept. And we hear people say that they
do not know what there is _to think_ in a concept, which is already
apprehended; whereas _in a concept there is nothing to be thought
but the concept itself._ But the meaning of this saying is just that
they want a familiar and ordinary _representation._ It seems to
consciousness as if, with the removal from it of the representation,
the ground had been removed which was its firm and habitual support.
When transported into the pure region of the concepts, it no longer
knows _what world it is in._ For this reason, those writers, preachers
and orators are esteemed marvels of _comprehensibility_ who offer their
readers or hearers things which they already know thoroughly, things
which are familiar to them and which are self-evident."[3]

[Sidenote: _Reason for their perpetual recurrence._]

Thus have all philosophers protested, and thus will all protest still,
from age to age, because that intolerance, that immobility, that
recalcitrance before the very painful effort of having to abandon
the world of sense (though but for a single instant, and in order
to reconquer and to possess it more completely) will perpetually be
renewed. They are the birth-pangs of the Concept, to escape which no
plans for virginity and no manœuvres to procure abortion are of any
avail. They must be endured, because that law of the Concept ("thou
shalt bring forth in suffering") is also a law of life.

[Footnote 1: _System de Sittenlehre_ (in _Sämmtl. Werke_), iv. p. 26.]

[Footnote 2: _Idealismo transcendentale,_ trad. Losacco, p. 19.]

[Footnote 3: _Encyclopædia,_ Croce's translation, § 3, Observations.]



[Sidenote: _Disputes of materialistic origin._]

Disputes as to the nature of the concept have sometimes had their
origin (notably in the recent period of philosophic barbarism,
which "renews the fear of thought," whence we have with difficulty
emerged) in materialistic, mechanical and naturalistic prejudices.
Therefore, as already mentioned, discussion has arisen as to whether
the concept should be considered logical or psychological, as the
product of synthesis or of association, or of individual or hereditary
association. But these are controversies which, for the reasons we gave
before, we shall not spend time in illustrating.

[Sidenote: _The concept as value._]

Nor shall we pay attention to the other controversy, as to whether
concepts are _values or facts,_ whether they operate only as _norms_ or
also as _effective forces_ of the real; because the division between
values and facts, between norms and effective existence (between
_Gelten_ and _Sein,_ as it is expressed in German terminology), is
itself surpassed and unified, implicitly and explicitly, in all our
philosophy. If the concept or thought has value, it can have value
only because it _is;_ if the norm of thought operate as a norm, that
implies that it is thought itself, its own norm, a constitutive element
of reality. There is not to be found in any form of spiritual life any
value which is not also reality--not in art, where there is no other
beauty than art itself; nor in morality, where no other goodness is
known than action itself directed to the universal; nor in the life of
thought. The concept has value, because it is; and is, because it has

[Sidenote: _Realism and nominalism._]

But the greater part of these dissensions, which have existed for
centuries and are yet living, rests on the confusion between concepts
and pseudoconcepts, and the consequent pretension to define the concept
by denying one or other of these two forms. This is the origin of
the two opposite schools of _realists_ and _nominalists,_ which are
also called in our times rationalists and empiricists (arbitrarists,
conventionalists, hedonists). The realists maintain that concepts
are real: that they correspond to reality; the nominalists, that
they are simple names to designate representations and groups of
representations, or, as is now said, tickets and labels placed upon
things in order to recognize and find them again. In the former case,
no elaboration of representations higher than the universalizing act
of the concept is possible; in the latter, the only possible operation
is that which has already been described--mutilation, reduction and
fiction, directed to practical ends.

[Sidenote: _Critique of both._]

The consequence of these one-sided affirmations has been that the
realists have defined as concepts, and therefore as having a universal
character, all sorts of rough pseudoconcepts; not only the horse, the
artichoke and the mountain, but also, logically, the table, the bed,
the seat, the glass, and so on; and they have exposed themselves from
the earliest beginnings of philosophy to the sarcastic and irresistible
objection that the horse exists, but not horsiness, the table, but not
tabularity. This conceptualization of pseudoconcepts is the error of
which they have really been guilty, not that of conferring empirical
reality on the concepts by placing them as single things alongside
of other things, an extravagance which it is doubtful if any man of
moderate sense has ever seriously committed. The realists who rendered
the concepts real in this sense at the same time rendered them unreal,
that is to say, single and contingent, and in need of being surpassed
by true concepts. The nominalists, on the other hand, considered as
arbitrary and mere names all the presuppositions of their mental
life--being and becoming, quality and final cause, goodness and beauty,
the true and the false, the Spirit and God. Without being aware of it,
they have fallen into inextricable contradictions and into logical

[Sidenote: _True realism._]

It is henceforth clear that this secular dispute cannot be decided in
favour of one or other of the contending parties, for both are right in
what they affirm and wrong in what they deny, that is, both are right
and wrong. The two forms of spiritual products, of which each of those
schools in its affirmations emphasizes only one, both actually exist;
the one is not in antithesis to the other, as the rational is to the
irrational. The true doctrine of the concept is realism, which does
not deny nominalism, but puts it in its place, and establishes with it
loyal and unequivocal relations.

[Sidenote: _Solution of other difficulties concerning the genesis of

By establishing such relations we emerge from the vicious circle,
which has given such trouble to certain logicians, who have striven
to explain the genesis of the concepts in terms of nominalism, but
were afterwards, when probing their doctrine to the bottom, compelled
to admit the _necessity of the concepts_ as a _foundation_ for the
_genesis of the concepts._ They believed that they had got out of
the difficulty by distinguishing two orders of concepts, primary and
secondary, formative models and formations according to models; and
they thus reproduced, in the semblance of a solution, the problem still
unsolved. In different words, others admitted the same embarrassment.
They attempted to obtain the concepts from _experience,_ but
recognized at the same time that all experience presupposes an _ideal
anticipation._ Or they declared that the concept fixes the _essential_
characters of things, and, at the same time, that the essential
characters of things are indispensable for fixing the _concept._ Or,
finally, they based the formation of concepts upon _categories,_ which,
enumerated and understood as they understood them, were by no means
categories and functions, but _concepts._ Primary concepts, formative
models, ideal anticipations, essential concepts, concept-categories,
and the like, are nothing but verbal variants of the pure concepts;
the necessary presupposition, as we know, for the impure concepts or

[Sidenote: _Disputes arising from neglect of the distinction between
empirical and abstract concepts._]

Other disputes, far enough apart in significance and nature, concerning
the nature of the concept, acquire a more precise meaning when
referred to our subdivision of pseudoconcepts into _empirical_ or
_representative,_ and _abstract._ Thereby we can understand why it
has been asked if the concepts are _concrete_ or _abstract, general_
or _universal, contingent_ or _necessary, approximate_ or _rigorous;_
if they are obtained _a posteriori_ or _a priori,_ by _induction_ or
_deduction,_ by _synthesis_ or _analysis,_ and so on. This series
of disputes likewise cannot be settled, save by admitting that both
contending parties are right and wrong, and demonstrating that
pseudoconcepts (which are alone here in discussion) are constructed
by analysis, and by deduction are _a priori,_ and have the characters
of abstractness, rigorousness, universality and necessity, if it be
a question of _abstract_ pseudoconcepts, that is to say, of empty
fictions, outside experience; while, on the other hand, they are
constructed by synthesis, and by induction are _a posteriori,_ and have
the characters of concreteness, approximation, mere generality and
contingency, if they be empirical or _representative_ pseudoconcepts,
that is to say, groups of representations, which do not go beyond
representation and experience. Indeed, from this last point of view, no
error was made in denying any difference between the (representative)
_concept_ and the _general representation._ It is false that this
latter is the result of psychical mechanism or association, and the
former of psychical purpose, because there is nothing mechanical in
the spirit; and the general representation, if it is a product of the
spirit, is as teleological as the other, indeed is absolutely one with
the other. It obeys, like it, the law of _economy,_ or, as we have
shown, the practical ends of convenience and utility.

[Sidenote: _Crossing of the various disputes._]

But these last disputes have crossed with that which we first examined
between realism and nominalism, and have sometimes taken on the same
meaning. This must be kept in mind, to serve as a guide in the dense
forest. Is the concept _a priori_ or _a posteriori,_ universal or
general, necessary or contingent? These questions and others like them
were sometimes understood as equivalent to the question: is it real or
nominal, truth or fiction?

[Sidenote: _Other logical disputes._]

Certain problems of Logic, not yet solved in a satisfactory manner,
arise from the failure to make clear the confusion between concepts
and pseudoconcepts, and between empirical and abstract concepts.
Is it or is it not true that every concept must have an individual
representation, taken from its own sphere, as a necessary _support_?
Are concepts of _things_ possible, or is there a special concept
corresponding to every thing? Is a concept of the _individual_
possible? These three questions may be answered in the affirmative, in
the negative, and in the affirmative-negative, according as they are
referred to the empirical concept, the abstract concept, or the pure

[Sidenote: _The representative accompaniment of the concept._]

For, if we consider the first question, we must resolutely deny that
the abstract concept has any need of a particular representation as its
necessary support. The geometric triangle, as such, is neither white
nor black, nor of any given size; if the representation of a particular
triangle unites itself to it, geometry discards it. But we must just
as resolutely affirm than an empirical or representative concept has
always an image to support it; the concept of a cat needs the image of
a cat, and every book on zoology is accompanied with illustrations.
The image may be varied, but never suppressed; and it may be varied
only within certain limits, because, if these be exceeded, the concept
itself loses its form and is dissipated. Thus, for the concept of the
cat, we could frame a representation of a white or black or red cat, or
a small or big one; but if scarlet colour or the size of an elephant
be attributed to the cat, which serves as symbol of the fiction, the
concept must be changed. That concept has at its command the images
of cats, upon which it has been formed, which, as we know, are always
finite in number. Finally, with reference to the pure concept, it must
be said that every image and no image is in turn a symbol of it; as
every blade of grass (as Vanini said) represents God, and a number of
images, however great it be, does not suffice to represent Him.

[Sidenote: _The concept of the thing and the concept of the

In like manner, as regards the second question, it must be answered
that the empirical concept is nothing but a concept of things, or a
grouping of a certain number of things beneath one or other of them,
which functions as a type; that the abstract concept is by definition,
the not-thing, incapable of representation; and that the pure concept
is a concept of every thing and of no thing. And as regards the third,
we must answer that the abstract concept is altogether repugnant to
individuality; the pure concept alights upon every individual, only
to leave it again, and in so far as it thinks all individual things,
it renders them all, in a certain way, concepts, and in so far as it
surpasses them, it denies them as such; while the empirical concept
can be the _concept of the individual._ Because if in reality, the
individual be the situation of the universal spirit at a determinate
instant, empirically considered the individual becomes something
isolated, cut off from the rest and shut up in itself, so that it is
possible to attribute to it a certain constancy in relation to the
occurrences of the life it lives; so that that life assumes almost the
position of the individual determinations of a concept. Socrates is the
life of Socrates, inseparable from all the life of the time in which he
developed; but empirically and usefully we can construct the concept of
a Socrates a controversialist, an educator, endowed with imperturbable
calm, of which the Socrates who ate and drank and wore clothes, and
lived during such and such occurrences, is the incarnation. Thus we can
form pseudoconcepts of individuals as well as of things, or, to express
it in terms that are the fashion, we can form _Platonic ideas_ of them.

[Sidenote: _Reasons, laws, and causes._]

It is also well to note that to adduce the _reasons,_ the _laws,_
the _causes_ of things and of reality, is equivalent to establishing
concepts, and since the word "concepts" has been applied in turn to
pure and to empirical and abstract concepts, laws and causes have been
alternately described as truths and as fictions. It belongs to the
discussion of terminology to remark that in general the word "reason"
has been used only for researches into pure and abstract concepts,
"cause" for empirical concepts, and "laws" almost equally for all
three, but perhaps a little more for empirical and abstract than for
pure concepts. But to the confusion of these three forms of spiritual
products is to be attributed the fact that there have been discussions,
as, for instance, whether there be _concepts of laws_ in addition to
concepts of things, the issue of which was at bottom the desire to
ascertain whether there exist abstract and pure concepts, in addition
to empirical concepts.

[Sidenote: _Intellect and Reason._]

The profound diversity of the concepts and of the pseudoconcepts
suggested (at the time when it was customary to represent the forms
or grades of the spirit as faculties) the distinction between two
logical faculties, which were called _Intellect_ (or, also, _abstract_
Intellect), and _Reason._ The first of these formed what we now call
pseudoconcepts; the second, pure concepts.

[Sidenote: _The abstract intellect and its practical nature._]

But the proper character of neither of the two faculties was realized
by those who postulated them; they fell into the error, which we have
already had occasion to criticize, of conceiving the Intellect as a
form of knowledge, which either lives in the false, or is limited to
preparing the material for the superior faculty, to which it supplies
a first imperfect sketch of the concept. But the faculty required
for this should be, not of a theoretical nature, but of a practical.
It is a terminological question of slight interest, whether the name
"Intellect" should be retained for the production of pseudoconcepts,
or whether the purely theoretic meaning, which it first had, should be
restored to it, and it should thus be made synonymous with "Reason."
It can only be observed that it will be very difficult to remove
henceforth from "Intellect," from "intellectual formations," and from
"intellectualism," the suspicion and discredit cast upon them by the
great philosophic history of the first half of the nineteenth century;
so much so, that only where a rather popular style is employed, can
Intellect and Reason be used promiscuously.

With greater truth, Reason was considered as unifying what the
Intellect had divided, and therefore as unifying abstraction and
concreteness, deduction and induction, analysis and synthesis. With
greater truth, although complete exactness would have demanded here,
not so much that to Reason should be given the power of unifying
what has been unduly divided, as that to the Intellect, that is to
say, to the practical faculty, should be given the power of dividing
extrinsically what for Reason is never divided: a power which the
Intellect, as a practical faculty, possesses and exercises, not in a
pathological, but in a physiological way.

[Sidenote: _The synthesis of theoretic and practical, and the
intellectual intuition._]

The incomplete survey of the so-called Intellect, the theoretic
character of which was preserved, though in a depreciatory sense,
issued in the result that finally to Reason itself was attributed a
character, no longer theoretic, or rather, _more than theoretic._
Knowledge, presenting itself in the form of Intellect, seemed
inadequate to truth; to attain to which there intervened Reason, or
speculative procedure, the _synthesis of theory and practice,_ a
knowledge which is action, and an action which is knowledge. Sometimes,
Reason itself, thus transfigured, seemed insufficient, owing to
the presence of ratiocinative processes, which came to it from the
Intellect, and were absorbed by it; and the supreme faculty of truth
was conceived, not as logical reasoning, but as intuition; an intuition
differing from the purely artistic and revealing the genuine truth,
an organ of the absolute, _intellectual Intuition._ It was urged
against intellectual intuition that it created irresponsibility in
the field of truth, and made lawful every individual caprice. But a
similar objection could be brought against Reason, which is superior to
knowledge, and is the synthesis of theory and practice: while, on the
other hand, it cannot be denied, both of intellectual Intuition and of
Reason, that on the whole they affirmed or tended to affirm _the rights
of the pure Concept,_ as opposed to empirical and abstract concepts.

[Sidenote: _Uniqueness of thought._]

For our part, we have no need to lower the cognitive activity beneath
the level of truth, by attributing to it an intellectualiste and
arbitrary function; nor, on the other hand (in order to supplement
knowledge and intellect thus pauperized), to exalt Reason above
itself. Thought (call it Intellect, or Reason, or what you will) is
always thought; and it always thinks with pure concepts, never with
pseudoconcepts. And since there is not another thought beneath thought,
so there is not another thought superior to it. The difficulties
which led to these conclusions have been completely explained, when
we have distinguished concepts from pseudoconcepts, and demonstrated
the heterogeneity which exists between these two forms of spiritual



[Sidenote: _The pseudoconcepts, not a subdivision of the concept._]

Precisely because they are heterogeneous formations, pure concepts and
pseudoconcepts do not constitute divisions of the generic concept of
the concept. To assume that they did, would be a horrible confusion of
terms, not far different (to use Spinoza's example) from that of the
division of the dog into _animal_ dog and _constellation_ dog; though
poets used at one time to talk of the celestial dog also, as "barking
and biting," when the sun implacably burned the fields.

[Sidenote: _Obscurity, clearness and distinction, not subdivisions of
the concept._]

And seeing that our point of view is philosophic, we can take no
account of another division of the concept, which had great fame
and authority in the past: that into _obscure, confused, clear_ and
_distinct_ concepts and the like, or of the degrees of _perfection_ to
which the concept attains. Such a division can retain at the most but
an empirical and approximate value, and under this aspect it will be
difficult altogether to renounce it in ordinary discourse; but it has
no logical and philosophic value whatever. The concept is what is truly
concept, the perfect concept, not at all the encumbered or wandering
tendency toward it. Yet that division had great historical importance.
By means of it, indeed, the attempt was made to differentiate the
concept, under the name of _clear_ and _distinct_ thought, from the
intuition, which was _clear_ but _confused_ thought, and both of these
from sensation, impression, or emotion, which was called _obscure._
This was attempted, but without success; the problem was set but not
solved; for the solution was only attained when it was seen that,
in this case, it was not a question of three degrees of thought, as
absolute logic claimed, but of three forms of the spirit: of thought
or _distinction,_ of intuition _ox clearness_; and of the practical
activity, _obscurity_ or _naturality._

[Sidenote: _Non-existence of subdivisions of the concept as a logic at

Logically, the concept does not give rise to distinctions, for there
are not several forms of concept, but one only. This is a perfectly
analogous result in Logic to that which we reached in Æsthetic, when
we established the uniqueness of intuition or expression, and the
non-existence of special modes or classes of expressions (except
in the empirical sense, in which we can always establish as many
classes as we wish). In distinguishing the forms of the spirit, the
two principal forms, theoretic and practical, having been divided,
and the theoretic having been subdivided into intuition and concept,
there is no place for a further subdivision of the theoretic forms,
since intuition and concept are each of them indivisible forms. The
reason for this indivisibility cannot be clearly understood, save by
the complete development of the Philosophy of the spirit; and it is
only to be remarked here in passing, that the division of intuition
and concept has as its foundation the distinction between individual
and universal. And since in this distinction there is no _medium quid_
nor an _ulterius,_ a third or fourth intermediate form, so there is no
subdivision; since we pass from the concept of individuality to single
individuality, which is not a concept, and from the concept of the
concept to the single act of thought, which is no longer the simple
definition of logical thinking, but effective logical thinking itself.

[Sidenote: _The distinctions of the concept not logical, but real._]

Since all subdivision of the logical form of the concept has been
excluded, the multiplicity of concepts can be referred only to the
variety of the objects, which are thought in the logical form of the
concept. The concept of _goodness_ is not that of _beauty_; or rather,
both are logically the same thing, since both are logical form; but the
aspect of reality designated by the first is not the same aspect of
reality as is designated by the second.

[Sidenote: _Multiplicity of the concepts, and the logical difficulty
arising therefrom. Necessity of overcoming it._]

But here arises the difficulty. How can it be that since in the concept
we deal with reality, in its universal aspect, we yet obtain so many
various forms of reality, that is, so many distinct concepts (for
example, passion, will, morality, imagination, thought, and so on), so
many _universals,_ whereas the concept should give us _the universal._
If this variety were not overcome or capable of being overcome by the
concept, we should have to conclude that the true universal is not
attainable by thought, and to return to scepticism, or at least to
that peculiar form of logical scepticism which makes the consciousness
of unity an act of the inner life, which cannot be stated in terms of
logic; that is, mysticism. The distinction of the concepts, one from
another, in the absence of unity, is separation and atomism; and it
would certainly not be worth while getting out of the multiplicity of
representations if we were then to fall into that of the concepts.
For this, no less than the other, would issue in a _progressus ad
infinitum,_ for who would ever be able to affirm that the concepts
which were discovered and enumerated were all the concepts? If they be
ten, why should they not be, if better observed, twenty, a hundred, or
fifty thousand? Why, indeed, should they not be just as numerous as
the representations, that is to say, infinite? Spinoza, who counted,
without mediating between them, two attributes of substance, thought
and extension, admitted, with perfect coherence, that two are known to
us, but that the attributes of Substance must in reality be considered
infinite in number.

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of eliminating it._]

The concept, then, demands that this multiplicity be denied; and we
can affirm that the real is one, because the concept, by means of
which alone we know it, is one; the content is one, because the form
of thought is one. But in accepting this claim, we run into another
difficulty. If we jettison distinction, the unity that we attain is
an empty unity, deprived of organic character, a whole without parts,
a simple _beyond_ the representations, and therefore inexpressible
so that we should return to mysticism by another route. A whole is a
whole, only because and in so far as it has parts, indeed _is_ parts;
an organism is such, because it has and is organs and functions; a
unity is thinkable only in so far as it has distinctions in itself,
and is the unity of the distinctions. Unity without distinction is as
repugnant to thought as distinction without unity.

[Sidenote: _Unify as distinction._]

It follows, therefore, that both terms are reciprocally indispensable,
and that the distinctions of the concept are not the negation of the
concept, nor something outside the concept, but the concept itself,
understood in its truth; the _one-distinct;_ one, only because
distinct, and distinct only because one. Unity and distinction are
correlative and therefore inseparable.

[Sidenote: _Inadequateness of the numerical concept of multiplicity._]

The distinct concepts, constituting in their distinction unity, cannot,
above all, be infinite in number, for in that case they would be
equivalent to the representations. Not indeed that they are finite in
number, as if they were all alike equally arranged upon one and the
same plane, and capable of being placed in any other sort of order,
without alteration in their being. The _Beautiful,_ the _True,_ the
_Useful,_ the _Good,_ are not the first steps in a numerical series,
nor do they permit themselves to be arranged at pleasure, so that we
may place the beautiful after the true, or the good before the useful,
or the useful before the true, and so on. They have a necessary order,
and mutually imply one another; and from this we learn that they are
not to be described as finite in number, since number is altogether
incapable of expressing such a relation. To count implies having
objects separate from one another before us; and here, on the contrary,
we have terms that are distinct, but inseparable, of which the second
is not only second, but, in a certain sense, also first, and the first
not only first, but, in a certain way, also second. We cannot dispense
with numbers, when treating of these concepts of the spirit, owing to
their convenience for handling the subject; hence we talk, for example,
of the _ten_ categories, or of the _three_ terms of the concept, or of
the _four_ forms of the spirit. But in this case the numbers are mere
_symbols_; and we must beware of understanding the objects which they
enumerate, as though they were ten sheep, three oxen, and four cows.

[Sidenote: _Relation of the distinct concepts as ideal history._]

This relation of the distinct concepts in the unity which they
constitute, can be compared to the spectacle of life, in which every
fact is in relation with all other facts, and the fact which comes
after is certainly different from that which precedes, but is also the
same; since the consequent fact contains in itself the preceding, as,
in a certain sense, the preceding virtually contained the consequent,
and was what it was, just because it possessed the power of producing
the consequent. This is called _history_; and therefore (continuing
to develop the comparison) the relation of the concepts, which are
distinct in the unity of the concept, can be called and has been called
_ideal history_; and the logical theory of such ideal history has been
regarded as the theory of the _degrees of the concept,_ just as real
history is conceived as a series of _degrees of civilization._ And
since the theory of the degrees of the concept is the theory of its
distinction, and its distinction is not different from its unity, it
is clear that this theory can be separated from the general doctrine
of the concept with which it is substantially one, only with a view to
greater facility of exposition.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between ideal and real history._]

Metaphors and comparisons are metaphors and comparisons and (like all
forms of language) their effectiveness for the purposes of dissertation
is accompanied, as we know, by the danger of misunderstanding. In order
to avoid this, without at the same time renouncing the convenience of
such modes of expression, it will be well to insist that the historical
series, where the distinct concepts appear connected, is _ideal,_ and
therefore outside space and time, and eternal; so that it would be
erroneous to conceive that in any smallest fragment of reality, or in
any most fugitive instant of it, one degree is found without the other,
the first without the second, or the first and the second without
the third. Here too, we must allow for the exigencies of exposition,
whereby, sometimes, when we intend to emphasize the distinction, we
are led to speak of the relation of one degree to another, as if they
were distinct existences; as if the practical man really existed side
by side with the theoretic man, or the poet side by side with the
philosopher, or as if the work of Art stood separate from the labour
of reflection, and so on. But if a particular historical fact can in
a certain sense be considered as essentially distinct in time and
space, the grades of the concept are not existentially, temporally, and
spatially distinct.

[Sidenote: _Ideal and abstract distinction._]

An opposite, but not less serious error, would be to conceive the
grades of the concept as distinct only _abstractly,_ thus making
abstract concepts of distinct concepts. The abstract distinction
is unreal; and that of the concept is real; and the reality of the
distinction (since here we are dealing with the concept) is precisely
_ideality,_ not _abstraction._ The universal, and therefore also all
the forms of the universal, are found in every minutest fragment of
life, in the so-called physical atom of the physicists, or in the
psychical atom of the psychologists; the concept is therefore all
distinct concepts. But _each one of them is, as it were, distinct
in that union_; and in the same way as man is man, in so far as he
affirms all his activities and his entire humanity, and yet cannot
do this, save by specializing as a scientific man, a politician, a
poet, and so on. In the same way the thinker, when thinking reality,
can think it only in its distinct aspects, and in this way only he
thinks it in its unity. A work of Art and a philosophical work, an
act of thought or of will, cannot be taken up in the hand or pointed
out with the finger; and it can be affirmed only in a practical and
approximate sense that this book is poetry, and that philosophy,
that this movement is a theoretic or practical, a utilitarian or a
moral act. It is well understood that this book is also philosophy;
and that it is also a practical act; just as that useful act is also
moral, and also theoretic; and _vice versa._ But to think a certain
intuitive datum and to recognize it as an affirmation of the whole
spirit, is not possible save by thinking its different aspects
distinctly. This renders possible, for example, a criticism of Art,
conducted exclusively from the point of view of Art; or a philosophical
criticism, from the exclusive point of view of philosophy; or a moral
judgment, which considers exclusively the moral initiative of the
individual, and so on. And therefore, here as in the preceding case,
it is needful to guard against forcing the comparison with history
too far, and conceiving, in history, the possibility of divisions as
rigorous as in the concept. If distinct concepts be not _existences,_
existences are not _distinct_ concepts; a fact cannot be placed in the
same relation to another fact, as one grade of the concept to another,
precisely because in every fact there are all the determinations of the
concept, and a fact in relation to another fact is not a conceptual

Certainly _distinct_ concepts can become _simple abstractions_; but
this only happens when they are taken in an abstract way, and so
separated from one another, co-ordinated and made parallel, by means of
an arbitrary operation, which can be applied even to the pure concepts.
The distinct concepts then become changed into _pseudoconcepts,_ and
the character of abstraction belongs to these last, not to the distinct
concepts as such, which are always at once distinct and united.

[Sidenote: _Other usual distinctions of the concept, and their meaning,
identicals, disparates, primitives, and derivatives, etc._]

This is not the place to dwell upon the other forms of concepts met
with in Logic, known as _identical_ concepts, which cannot be anything
but synonyms, or words;--or upon _disparate_ concepts, which are simply
distinct concepts, in so far as they are taken in a relation, which
is not that given in the distinction, and is therefore arbitrary, so
that the concepts, thus presented without the necessary intermediaries,
appear disparate;--or _primitive and derived concepts, or simple and
compound concepts_; a distinction which does not exist for the pure
concepts, since they are always simple and primitive, never compound or

[Sidenote: _Universals, particulars, and singulars. Intension and

But the distinction of concepts into _universal, particular,_ and
_singular_ deserves elucidation, for the reason that we are now
giving. Concepts, which are only universal, or only particular, or
only singular, or to which any one of these determinations is wanting,
are not conceivable. Indeed, universality only means that the distinct
concept is also the unique concept, of which it is a distinction and
which is composed of such distinctions; particularity means that the
distinct concept is in a determinate! relation with another distinct
concept; and singularity that in this particularity and in that
universality it is also itself. Thus the distinct concept is always
singular, and therefore universal and particular; and the universal
concept would be abstract were it not also particular and singular. In
every concept there is the whole concept, and all other concepts; but
there is also one determinate concept. For example, beauty is spirit
(universality), theoretic spirit (particularity), and intuitive spirit
(singularity); that is to say, the whole spirit, in so far as it is
intuition. Owing to this distinction into universal, particular, and
singular, it is self-evident that intension and extension are, as the
phrase is, in inverse ratio, since this amounts to repeating that the
universal is universal, the particular particular, and the singular

[Sidenote: _Logical definition._]

The interest of this distinction of universality, particularity, and
singularity lies in this, that upon it is founded the doctrine of
_definition,_ since it is not possible to define, that is, to think
a concept, save by thinking its _singularity_ (peculiarity), nor to
think this, save by determining it as _particularity_ (relation with
the other distinct concepts) and _universality_ (relation with the
whole). Conversely, it is not possible to think universality without
determining its particularity and singularity; otherwise that universal
would be empty. The distinct concepts are defined by means of the one,
and the one by means of the distinct. This doctrine, thus made clear,
is also in harmony with that of the nature of the concepts.

[Sidenote: _Unity, distinction as circle._]

But the theory of the distinct concepts and that of their unity still
present something irrational and give rise to a new difficulty.
Because, if it be true that the distinct concepts constitute an ideal
history or series of grades, it is also true that in such a history
and series there is a _first_ and _last,_ the concept _a,_ which opens
the series, and, let us say, the concept _d,_ which concludes it.
Commencement and end thus remain both without motive. But in order
that the concept be unity in distinction and that it may be compared
to an organism, it is necessary that it have no other commencement
save itself, and that none of its single distinct terms be an absolute
commencement. For, in fact, in the organism no member has priority over
the others; but each is reciprocally first and last. Now this means
that the symbol of _linear series_ is inadequate to the concept; and
that its true symbol is the _circle,_ in which _a_ and _d_ function, in
turn, as first and last. And indeed the distinct concepts, as eternal
ideal history, are an eternal going and returning, in which _a, b, c,
d_ arise from _d,_ without possibility of pause or stay, and in which
each one, whether _a_ or _b_ or _c_ or _d,_ being unable to change its
place, is to be designated, in turn, as first or as last. For example,
in the Philosophy of Spirit it can be said with equal truth or error
that the end or final goal of the spirit is to know or to act, art or
philosophy; in truth, neither in particular, but only their totality
is the end; or only the Spirit is the end of the Spirit. Thus is
eliminated the rational difficulty, which might be urged in relation to
this part.

[Sidenote: _Distinction in the pseudoconcepts._]

It is still better eliminated, and the whole doctrine of the pure
concepts which we have been expounding is thereby illumined and thrown
into clearer outline when we observe the transformation (which we will
not call either inversion or perversion), to which it is submitted in
the doctrine of the pseudoconcepts. It is therefore expedient to refer
rapidly to this for the sake of contrast and emphasis.

Above all, certain distinctions, which in the doctrine of the pure
concepts have been seen to be without significance or importance,
find their significance in the doctrine of the pseudoconcepts. We
understand, for instance, how and why _identical_ concepts can be
discussed; since, in the field of caprice, one and the same thing,
or one and the same not-thing, can be defined in different ways
and give rise to two or more concepts which, owing to the identity
of their matter, are thus identical. The concept of a figure having
three angles, or that of a figure having three sides, are identical
concepts, alike applicable to the triangle; the concept of 3 x 4 and
that of 6 x 2 are identical, since both are definitions of the number
12; the concept of a feline domestic animal and that of a domestic
animal that eats mice are identical, both being definitions of the cat.
It is likewise clear how and why _primary_ and _derived, simple_ and
_compound_ concepts are discussed; for our arbitrary choice, by forming
certain concepts and making use of these to form others, comes to posit
the first as simple and primitive in relation to the second, which are,
in their turn, to be considered as compound or secondary.

[Sidenote: _The subordination and co-ordination of the empirical

We have already seen that the arbitrary concept differs from the pure
concept in that, of necessity, it produces two forms by the two acts of
empiricism and emptiness and thereby gives rise to two different types
of formations, empirical and abstract concepts. Empirical concepts
have this property, that in them unity is outside distinction and
distinction outside unity. And it is natural: for if it were the case
that these two determinations penetrated one another, the concepts
would be, as we have already noted, not arbitrary, but necessary and
true. If the distinction is placed outside the unity, every division
that is given of it is, like the concepts themselves, arbitrary;
and every enumeration is also arbitrary, because those concepts can
be infinitely multiplied. In exchange for the rationally determined
and completely unified distinctions of the pure concepts, the
pseudoconcepts offer multiple groups, arbitrarily formed, and sometimes
also unified in a single group, which embraces the entire field of the
knowable, but in such a way as not to exclude an infinite number of
other ways of apprehending it.

In these groups the empirical concepts simulate the arrangement of
the pure concepts, reducing the particular to the universal, that is
to say, a certain number of concepts beneath another concept. But
it is impossible in any way to think these subordinate concepts, as
actualizations of the fundamental concept, which are developed from
one another and return into themselves; hence we are compelled to
leave them external to one another, simply co-ordinated. The scheme
of _subordination_ and _co-ordination,_ and its relative spatial
symbol (the symbol of _classification_), which is a right line, on
the upper side of which falls perpendicularly another right line,
and from whose lower side descend other perpendicular and therefore
parallel right lines, is opposed to the circle and is the most evident
ocular demonstration of the profound diversity of the two procedures.
It will always be impossible to dispose a nexus of pure concepts in
that classificatory scheme without falsifying them; it will always be
impossible to transform empirical concepts into a series of grades
without destroying them.

[Sidenote: _The definition in the empirical concepts, and the notes of
the concept._]

In consequence of the scheme of classification, the definition which,
in the case of pure concepts, has the three moments of universality,
particularity, and singularity, in the case of empirical concepts
has only two, which are called _genus_ and _species_; and is applied
according to the rule, by means of the _proximate genus_ and the
_specific difference._ Its object indeed is simply to record, not to
understand and to think, a given empirical formation; and this is fully
attained when its position is determined by means of the indication of
what is above and what is beside it. In order to determine it yet more
accurately, the doctrine of the definition has been gradually enriched
with other _marks_ or _predicables,_ which, in traditional Logic,
are five: _genus, species, differentia, property, accident._ But it
is a question of caprice upon caprice, of which it is not advisable
to take too much account. And as it would be barbaric to apply the
classificatory scheme to the pure concepts, so it would be equally
barbaric to define the pure concepts by means of _marks,_ that is, by
means of characteristics mechanically arranged.

[Sidenote: _Series in the abstract concepts._]

Where the thinker forgets the true function of the empirical concepts
and is seized with the desire to develop them rationally, and thus
to overcome the atomism of the scheme of classification and of
extrinsic definition, he is led to refine them into abstract concepts,
in which that scheme and that method of definition are overcome:
the classification becomes a _series_ (numerical series, series of
geometrical forms, etc.), and the definition becomes _genetic._ But
this improvement not only makes the empirical concepts disappear,
and is therefore not improvement but death (like the death which the
empirical concepts find in true knowledge when they return or mount up
again to pure thought); but such improvement substitutes for empiricism
emptiness. Series and genetic definitions answer without doubt to
demands of the practical spirit; but, as we know, they do not yield
truth, not even the truth which lies at the bottom of an empirical
concept or of a falsified and mutilated representation. Hence, here as
elsewhere, empirical concepts and abstract concepts reveal their double
one-sidedness, and exhibit more significantly the value of the unity
which they break up; the distinction, which is not classification,
but circle and unity; the definition, which is not an aggregate of
intuitive data; the series, which is a complete series; the genesis,
which is not abstract but ideal.



[Sidenote: _Opposite or contrary concepts._]

By what has been said, we have made sufficiently clear the nature of
distinct concepts, that is to say, unity in distinction and distinction
in unity, and we have left no doubt as to the kind of unity which
the concept affirms, that it is not _in spite of_ but _by means of_
distinction. But another difficulty seems to arise, due to another
order of concepts, which are called _opposites_ or _contraries._

[Sidenote: _Their difference from distincts._]

It is indubitable that opposite concepts neither are nor can be reduced
to distincts; and this becomes evident so soon as instances of both
are recalled to mind. In the system of the spirit, for instance, the
practical activity will be distinct from the theoretic, and within
the practical activity the utilitarian and ethical activities will
be distinct. But the contrary of the practical activity is practical
inactivity, the contrary of utility, harmfulness, the contrary of
morality, immorality. Beauty, truth, utility, moral good are distinct
concepts; but it is easy to see that ugliness, falsehood, uselessness,
evil cannot be added to or inserted among them. Nor is this all: upon
closer inspection we perceive that the second series cannot be added
to or mingled with the first, because each of the contrary terms
is already inherent in its contrary, or accompanies it, as shadow
accompanies light. Beauty is such, because it denies ugliness; good,
because it denies evil, and so on. The opposite is not positive, but
negative, and as such is accompanied by the positive.

[Sidenote: _Confirmation of this given by the Logic of empiria._]

This difference of nature between opposite concepts and distinct
concepts is also reflected in empirical Logic, that is, in the theory
of pseudoconcepts; because this Logic, while it reduces the distinct
concepts to _species,_ refuses to treat the opposites in like manner.
Hence one does not say that the genus _dog_ is divided into the species
_live_ dogs and _dead_ dogs; or that the genus _moral man_ is divided
into the species _moral_ and _immoral_ man; and if such has sometimes
been affirmed, an impropriety--even for this kind of Logic--has been
committed, since the _species_ can never be the _negation_ of the
_genus._ So this empirical Logic confirms in its own way that opposite
concepts are different from distinct.

[Sidenote: _Difficulty arising from the double type of concepts,
opposites, and distincts._]

It is, however, equally evident that we cannot content ourselves with
enumerating the opposite, side by side with the distinct concepts;
because we should thus be adopting non-philosophical methods in place
of philosophical, and in the philosophical theory of Logic should be
lapsing into illogicality or empiricism. If the unity of the concept
be at the same time its _self-distinction,_ how can that same unity
have another parallel sort of division or self-distinction, which is
_self-opposition!_ If it is inconceivable to resolve the one into
the other, and to make of the opposites distinct concepts, or of the
distincts opposite concepts, then it is not less inconceivable to leave
both distincts and opposites within the unity of the concept unmediated
and unexplained.

[Sidenote: _Nature of the opposites; and their identity with the
distincts when distinguished from them._]

It will possibly serve towards a solution of this
difficulty--undoubtedly a very grave one--to go deeply into the
nature of the difference between opposite and distinct concepts.
These latter are distinguishable in unity; reality is their unity and
also their distinction. Man is thought and action; indivisible but
distinguishable forms; so much so that in so far as we think we deny
action, and in so far as we act we deny thought. But the opposites are
not distinguishable in this way: the man who commits an evil action,
_if he really does something,_ does not commit an evil action, but an
action which is useful to him; the man who thinks a false thought, _if
he does something real,_ does not think the false thought, indeed does
not think at all, but, on the contrary, lives and provides for his own
convenience and in general for a good which at that instant he desires.
Hence we see that the opposites, when taken as distinct moments, are no
longer opposites, but distincts; and in that case they retain negative
denominations only metaphorically, whereas, strictly speaking, they
would merit positive. In order, therefore, that the consideration of
opposition be not changed when superficially regarded into that of
distinction, it is desirable not to make of it a distinction in the
bosom of the concept, that is to say, to combat every distinction by
opposition, by declaring it to be _merely abstract._

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of distinguishing one opposite from another,
as concept from concept._]

So true is this, that no sooner are opposite terms taken as distincts
than the one becomes the other, that is to say, both evaporate into
emptiness. The disputes caused by the opposition of _being_ to
_not-being_ and the unity of both in _becoming_ are celebrated in this
connection. And we know that being, thought as pure being, is the same
as not-being or nothing; and nothing, thought as pure nothingness,
is the same as pure being. Thus, the truth is neither the one nor
the other, but is becoming, in which both are, but as opposites, and,
therefore, indistinguishable: becoming is being itself, which has in
it not-being, and so is also not-being. We cannot think the relation
of being to not-being as the relation of one form of the spirit, or
of reality, to another form. In the latter case we have unity in
distinction: in the former, rectified or _restored_ unity, that is to
say, reaffirmed against _emptiness;_ against the empty unity of mere
being, or of mere not-being; or against the mere sum of being and of

[Sidenote: _The dialectic._]

The two moments should certainly be synthesized, when we attack the
abstract thought, which divides them: taken in themselves, they
are, not two moments united in a third, but one only, the third
(in this case also the number is a symbol), that is to say, the
indistinguishability of the moments. It thus happens (be it said in
passing) that Hegel, to whom we owe the polemic against empty being,
was content for this purpose neither with the words _unity_ and
_identity,_ nor with _synthesis,_ nor with _triad,_ and preferred
to call this indistinguishable opposition in unity the objective
_dialectic_ of the real. But whatever be the words that we chose to
employ, the thing is what has been said. The opposite is not the
distinct of its opposite, but the abstraction of the true reality.

[Sidenote: _The opposites are not concepts, but the unique concept

If this be the fact, the duality and parallelism of distinct and
opposite concepts no longer exist. The opposites are the concept
itself, and therefore the concepts themselves, each one in itself,
in so far as it is determination of the concept, and in so far as it
is conceived in its true reality. Reality, of which logical thought
elaborates the concept, means, not motionless being or pure being,
but opposition: the forms of reality, which the concept thinks in
order to think reality in its fullness, are opposed in themselves;
otherwise, they would not be forms of reality, or would not be at
all. _Fair is foul and foul is fair_: beauty is such, because it has
within it ugliness, the true is such because it has in it the false,
the good is such because it has within it evil. If the negative term
be removed, as is usually done in abstract thought, the positive also
disappears; but precisely because, with the negative, the positive
itself has been removed. When we talk of negative terms, or of
non-values and so of not-beings as existing, existence really means
that to the _establishment_ of the fact we add the _expression of the
desire_ that another existence should arise upon that existence. "You
are dishonest" means "You are a man that seeks your own pleasure" (a
theoretic judgment); "but you _ought to be_" (no longer a judgment, but
the expression of a desire) "something else, and so serve the universal
ends of Reality." "You have written an ugly verse" will mean, for
example, "You have provided for your own convenience and repose, and
so have accomplished an economic act" (a theoretic judgment); "but you
_ought to_ accomplish an æsthetic act" (no longer judgment, but the
expression of a wish). Examples can be multiplied. But every one has in
him evil, because he has good: Satan is not a creature extraneous to
God, nor the Minister of God, called Satan, but God himself. If God had
not Satan in himself, he would be like food without salt, an abstract
ideal, a simple _ought to be_ which is not, and therefore impotent
and useless. The Italian poet who had sung of Satan, as "rebellion"
and "the avenging force of reason," had a profound meaning when he
concluded by exalting God: as "the most lofty vision to which peoples
attain in the force of their youth," "the Sun of sublime minds and of
ardent hearts." He corrected and integrated the one abstraction with
the other, and thus unconsciously attained to the fullness of truth.

[Sidenote: _Affirmation and negation._]

Thought, in so far as it is itself life (that is to say, the life
which is thought, and therefore life of life), and in so far as it is
reality (that is to say, the reality which is thought, and therefore
reality of reality) has in itself opposition; and for this reason it
is also _affirmation and negation_; it does not affirm save by denying,
and does not deny save by affirming. But it does not affirm and deny
save by distinguishing, because thought is distinction, and we cannot
distinguish (truly distinguish _i.e.,_ which is a different thing from
the rough and ready separations made by the pseudoconcepts) save by
unifying. He who meditates upon the connections of affirmation-negation
and unity-distinction has before him the problem of the nature of
thought, and so of the nature of reality; and he ends by seeing that
those two connections are not parallel nor disparate, but are in their
turn unified in unity-distinction understood as effective reality, and
not as simple abstract possibility, or desire, or mere ought to be.

[Sidenote: _The principle of identity and contradiction; its true
meaning and false interpretation._]

If we now wish to state the nature of thought as reality in the form of
_law_ (a form which we know to be one with that of the concept, though
the first term be adopted by preference for the pseudoconcepts), we can
only say that the law of thought is the law of unity and distinction,
and therefore that it is expressed in the two formulæ A is A (unity)
and A is not B (distinction), which are precisely what is called
the law or _principle of identity and contradiction._ It is a very
improper, or, rather, a very equivocal formula, chiefly because it
allows it to be supposed that the law or principle is outside or above
thought, like a bridle and guide, whereas it is thought itself; and it
has the further inconvenience of not placing in clear relief the unity
of identity and distinction. But these are not too great evils, because
misunderstandings can be made clear, and because--what we will not tire
of repeating--all, all words indeed, are exposed to misunderstandings.

[Sidenote: _Another false interpretation; struggle with the principle
of opposition. False application of this principle._]

We have a much greater evil, when the principle of identity and
contradiction is formulated and understood, not in the sense that A is
not B, but in that of A is A only and not also not A, or its opposite;
because, understood in this way, it leads directly to placing the
negative moment outside the positive, not-being outside or opposite
to being, and so, to the absurd conception of reality as motionless
and empty being. In opposition to this degeneration of the principle
of identity and contradiction, another law or principle has been
conceived and made prominent, whose formula is: "A is also not A," or
"everything is self-contradicting." This is a necessary and provident
reaction against the one-sided way in which the preceding principle was
interpreted. But it too brings in its turn the inconvenience of all
reactions, because it seems to rise up against the first law, like an
irreconcilable rival destined to supplant it. In the first formula we
have a duality of principles, which, as has been said, cannot logically
be maintained; in the second, a degeneration in the opposite sense, the
total loss of the criterion of distinction. To the false application
of the principle of identity and contradiction succeeds _the false
application of the dialectic principle._

This false application has also been manifested in a form which could
be called doubly arbitrary; that is to say, when it has attempted to
treat dialectically neither more nor less than empirical and abstract
concepts, whereas in any case it could not be applied to anything
but the pure concepts. The dialectic belongs to opposed categories
(or, rather, it is the thinking of the one category of opposition),
not at all to representative and abstract fictions, which are based
either upon mere representation or upon nothing. As the result of that
arbitrary form, we have seen vegetable opposed to mineral, society
opposed to the family, or even Rome opposed to Greece, and Napoleon
to Rome; or the superficies actually opposed to the line, time to
space, and the number two to the number one. But this error belongs to
another more general error, which we shall deal with in its place, when
discussing philosophism.

[Sidenote: _Errors of the dialectic applied to the relation of the

Here it is important to indicate only that false application of the
dialectic which tends to resolve in itself and so to destroy distinct
concepts, by treating them as opposites. The distinct concepts are
distinct and not opposite; and they cannot be opposite, precisely
because they already have opposition in themselves. Fancy has its
opposite in itself, fanciful passivity, or æsthetic ugliness, and
therefore it is not the opposite of thought, which in its turn has
its opposite in itself, logical passivity, antithought, or the false.
Certainly (as has been said), he who does not make the beautiful
(in so far as he does anything, and he cannot but do something)
effectively produces another value, for example the useful, and he
who does not think, if he does anything, produces another value, the
fanciful for instance, and creates a work of art. But in this way we
issue from those determinations considered in themselves, from the
opposition which is in them and _which constitutes them_; and from the
consideration of effectual opposition we pass to the consideration of
distinction. Considered as real, the opposite cannot be anything but
the distinct; but the opposite is precisely the unreal in the real,
and not a form or grade of reality. It will be said that unless one
distinct concept is opposed to another, it is not clear how there can
be a transition from one to the other. But this is a confusion between
concept and fact, between _ideal_ and therefore eternal moments of the
real and their _existential_ manifestations. Existentially, a poet
does not become a philosopher, save when in his spirit there arises
a contradiction to his poetry, that is to say, when he is no longer
satisfied with the individual and with the individual intuition: in
that moment, he does not pass into but is a philosopher, because
to pass, to be effectual, and to become are synonyms. In the same
way, a poet does not pass from one intuition to another, or from one
work of art to another, save through the formation of an internal
contradiction, owing to which his previous work no longer satisfies
him; and he passes into, that is to say he becomes and truly is,
_another_ poet. Transition is the law of the whole of life; and
therefore it is in all the existential and contingent determinations
of each of these forms. We pass from one verse of a poem to another
because the first verse satisfies, and also does not satisfy. The ideal
moments, on the contrary, do not pass into one another, because they
are eternally in each other, distinct, and one with each other.

[Sidenote: _Its reductio ad absurdum._]

Moreover, the violent application of the dialectic to the distincts,
and their illegitimate distortion into opposites, due to an elevated
but ill-directed tendency to unity, is punished where it sins; that
is to say, in not attaining to that unity to which it aspired. The
connection of distinct is circular, and therefore true unity; the
application of opposites to the forms of the spirit and of reality
would produce, on the contrary, not the circle, which is true infinity,
but the _progressif ad infinitum,_ which is false or bad infinity.
Indeed, if opposition determine the transition from one ideal grade
to the other, from one form to the other, and is the sole character
and supreme law of the real, by what right can a final form be
established, in which that transition should no longer take place?
By what right, for instance, should the spirit, which moves from the
impression or emotion and passes dialectically to the intuition, and
by a new dialectic transition to logical thought, remain calm and
satisfied there? Why (as is the contention of such philosophies)
should the thought of the Absolute or of the Idea be the end of Life?
In obedience to the law of opposition, it would be necessary that
thought, which denies intuition, should be in its turn denied; and the
denial again denied; and so on, to infinity. This negation to infinity
exists, certainly, and it is life itself, seen in representation; but
precisely for this reason we do not escape from this evil infinite
of representation save through the true infinite, which places the
infinite in every moment, the first in the last and the last in
the first, that is to say, places in every moment unity, which is

We must, however, recognize that the false application of the dialectic
has had, _per accidens,_ the excellent result of demonstrating the
instability of a crowd of ill-distinguished concepts; as we must take
advantage of the devastation and overturning of secular prejudices
which it has brought about. But that erroneous dialectic has also
promoted the habit of lack of precision in the concepts, and sometimes
encouraged the charlatanism of superficial thinkers; though this too,
_per accidens,_ so far as concerns the initial motive of dialectical
polemic is rich with profound truth.

[Sidenote: _The Improper form of logical principles or laws. The
principle of sufficient reason._]

The form of _law_ given to the concept of the concept has led to this
confusion; for it is an improper form, all saturated with empirical
usage. Given the law of identity and contradiction, and given side by
side with it that of opposition or dialectic, there inevitably arises a
seeming duality; whereas the two laws are nothing but two inopportune
forms of expressing the unique nature of the concept, or, rather, of
reality itself. The peculiar nature of the concept may rather be said
to be expressed in another law or principle, namely that of _sufficient
reason._ This principle is ordinarily used as referring to the concept
of cause, or to the pseudoconcepts, but (both in its peculiar tendency
and in its historical origin) it truly belonged to the concept of end
or reason. That is to say, it was desired to establish that things
cannot be said to be known, when any sort of cause for them is adduced,
but on the contrary, that cause must be adduced, which is also the end,
and which is, therefore, the _sufficient_ reason. But what else does
seeking the sufficient reason of things mean but thinking them in
their truth, conceiving them in their universality, and stating their
concept? This is logical thought, as distinct from representation or
intuition, which offers things but not reasons, individuality but not

It is not worth while talking about the other so-called logical
principles; because, either they have been already implicitly dealt
with, or they are ineptitudes without any sort of interest.





[Sidenote: _Relation of the logical with the Æsthetic form._]

With the ascent from the intuition-expression to the concept, and with
the concentration upon it of our attention, we have risen from the
purely imaginative to the purely logical form of the spirit. We must
now, so to speak, begin the descent; or rather consider in greater
detail the position that has been reached, in order to understand it in
all its conditions and circumstances. Were we not to do this, we should
have given a concept of the concept, which would err by abstraction.

[Sidenote: _The concept as expression._]

The concept, to which we have risen from intuition, does not live in
empty space. It does not exist as a mere concept, or as something
abstract. The air it breathes is the intuition itself, from which it
detaches itself, but in whose ambient it continues. If these images
seem unsuitable, or somewhat drawn from the sphere of representations,
we may choose others, such as that, which we used on another occasion,
of the second grade, which, to be second, must rest upon the first,
and, in a certain sense, be the first. The concept does not exist, and
cannot exist, save in the intuitive and expressive forms, or in what is
called language. To think is also to speak; he who does not express, or
does not know how to express his concept, does not possess it: at the
most, he presumes or hopes to possess it. Not only is there never in
reality an unexpressed representation, a pictorial vision unpainted,
or a song unsung; but there is never even a concept which is simply
thought and not also translated into words.

We have previously defended this thesis against the objections which
are wont to be made to it.[1] But in order to recapitulate and thus to
avoid the misunderstandings which might arise from the abbreviating
formulæ which we use, it will be well to repeat that the concept is
not expressed only in the so-called vocal or verbal forms; and if we
mention these more than others, it will be by synecdoche, that is to
say, when we refer to them, we desire to take them as representative
of all the others. Undoubtedly, the affirmation that the concept can
also be expressed in non-verbal form may cause surprise. It will be
said that geometry itself, in so far as it describes geometrical
figures, at the same time employs or implies speech; and we shall be
ironically challenged to attempt to set the _Critique of Pure Reason_
to music or to make a building of Newton's _Natural Philosophy._ But
we must carefully beware of breaking up the unity of the intuitive
spirit, because errors arise and become incorrigible, precisely through
such breaking up. Words, tones, colours, and lines are physical
abstractions, and only by abstraction can they be successfully
separated. In reality, he who looks at a picture with his eyes also
speaks it in words to himself; he who sings an air also has its words
in his spirit; he who builds a palace or a church speaks, sings, and
makes music; he who reads a poem sings, paints, sculptures, constructs.
_The Critique of Pure Reason_ cannot be set to music, because it
already has its music; the _Natural Philosophy_ cannot be built in
stone, because it is already architectonic; in exactly the same way
that the _Transfiguration_ cannot be turned into a symphony in four
movements, or the _Promessi Sposi_ into a series of pictures. Thus the
challenge, if made, would testify to the lack of reflection on the part
of the challengers, for they would confuse physical distinctions with
the real and concrete act of the intuitive spirit.

[Sidenote: _Æsthetic and Æsthetic-logical expressions or expressions of
the concept; propositions and judgments._]

Owing to the incarnation of the concept or logic in expression and
language, language is quite full of logical elements; hence people
are often led astray into affirming (we have already made clear the
erroneousness[2] of this) that language is a logical function. Water
might as well be called wine, because wine has been poured into the
water. But language as language or as simple æsthetic fact is one
thing, and language as expression of logical thought is another, for
in this case, certainly, language remains always language and subject
to the law of language, but is also more than language. If the first
be termed simple expression, _logos seimantikos,_ as Aristotle said,
or _judicium æstheticum sive sensitivum,_ according to the school of
Baumgarten, the second must on the contrary be called affirmation,
_logos apophantikos, judicium logicum_ or _æsthetico-logicum._ To
this same issue we can reduce, if we understand it properly, the
distinction between _proposition_ and _judgment,_ for they are only
distinguishable in so far as it is assumed that the second form is
dominated by the concept, whereas the first is given as free of such

But we should seek in vain for facts in proof of expressions belonging
to either form, because we cannot furnish them without making the
proviso that we understand them in the meaning of one or other of
the two forms. Taken by themselves, any verbal expressions which we
adduce or can adduce as proofs are indeterminate and therefore of many
meanings. "Love is life" can be the saying of a poet who notes an
impression with which his soul is agitated and marks it with fervour
and solemnity; or it can be, equally, the logical affirmation of
some one philosophizing on the essence of life. "Clear, fresh, and
sweet waters," when uttered by Petrarch, is an æsthetic proposition;
but the same words become a logical judgment when, for example, they
answer the question as to which is the most celebrated love song
of Petrarch, or pseudological when applied by a naturalist to the
substance water. A word no longer has meaning, or--what amounts to the
same thing--has no definite meaning, when it is abstracted from the
circumstances, the implications, the emphasis, and the gesture with
which it has been thought, animated, and pronounced. Nevertheless,
forgetfulness of this elementary hermeneutic canon, by which a word is
a word only on the soil that has produced it and to which it must be
restored, has been in Logic the cause of interminable disputes as to
the logical nature of this or that verbal phrase, separated from the
whole to which it belonged and rendered abstract. It would be much less
equivocal to adduce such poems as _I Sepolcri,_ or the song _A Silvia,_
as documents of æsthetic propositions, and philosophical treatises
(for examples, the _Metaphysics_ or the _Analytics_) as documents of
æsthetic-logical judgments or propositions. But here, too, we should
need to add: "poetry considered as poetry," and "philosophy considered
as philosophy," since it is clear that a poem is prose in the soul of
him who reflects upon it, and prose is poetry in the soul of a writer
vibrating with enthusiasm and emotion in the act of composition. Facts
do not constitute proofs in philosophy, save when they are interpreted
through the medium of philosophy; and then, too, they become mere
_examples,_ which aid in fixing the attention upon what is being

[Sidenote: _Surpassing of the dualism of thought and language._]

The relation between language and thought, conceived as we have
conceived it, does not admit the criticism that it creates an
insuperable dualism, though that criticism was justly aimed at those
who set the two concepts side by side and parallel with one another.
In that case the sole means that remained of obtaining unity was
to present language as an acoustic fact and declare thought to be
the unique psychic reality, and language the physical side of the
psychophysical nexus. But no one will henceforth wish to repeat the
blasphemy that language (the synonym of fancy and poetry) is nothing
but a physical-acoustic fact and merely adherent to thought. We have in
the two forms, notwithstanding their clear distinction, not parallelism
and dualism, but an organic relation of connection in distinction,--the
first form being implied in the second, the second crystallized into
the first,--precisely in conformity with that rhythmical movement of
the concepts which we have already discussed. And thus, too, when asked
if the _prius_ of Logic be the concept or the judgment, we must reply
that the judgment, understood as an æsthetic proposition, is certainly
a _prius;_ but understood as a logical judgment, it is neither a
_prius_ nor a _posterius_ in relation to the concept, since it is the
concept itself in its effectuality.

[Sidenote: _The logical judgment as definition._]

This pure expression of the concept, which is the logical judgment,
constitutes what is called _definitive judgment_ or _definition._
This, considered on its verbal side, or as the synthesis of thought
and word, does not give rise to any special logical theory in addition
to that which we have already stated, when definition showed itself to
be one with distinction or conceptual thought; nor does it give rise
to any special æsthetic doctrine, since the general doctrine expounded
elsewhere includes this also. The dispute, as to whether the definition
be verbal or real, finds its solution in the relation we have just
established between thought and words; hence definition is verbal
because it is real, and _vice versa._ And as to the other meaning
of the question, whether, that is to say, definition be _nominal_
or _real,_ conventional or corresponding with the truth, that finds
its solution in the distinction between pseudoconcepts and concepts,
the first of which, it is clear, are _defined_ only in a nominalist
or conventional way, because they _are,_ in fact, nominalist and

[Sidenote: _The indistinguishability of subject and predicate in the
definition. Unity of essence and existence._]

Greater importance attaches to the other dispute, as to whether the
definitive judgment be analysable into subject, predicate, and copula,
whether, for example, the definition: "the will is the practical
form of the spirit," can be resolved in the terms: "will" (subject),
"practical form of the spirit" (predicate), and "is" (copula). Now,
the difference between subject and predicate is here illusory, since
predicate means the universal which is predicated of an individual, and
here both the so-called subject and the so-called predicate are two
universals, and the second, far from being more ample than the first,
is the first itself. As to the "is," since the two distinct terms which
should be copulated are wanting, it is not a copula; nor has it even
the value of a predicate, as in the case in which it is asserted of an
individual fact that it is, that is to say, that it has really happened
and is _existing._ The "is," in the case of the definition, expresses
nothing except simply the act of thought which thinks; and what is
thought is, in so far as it is thought; if it were not, it would not be
thought; and if it were not thought, it would not be. The concept gives
the essence of things, and in the concept _essence involves existence._
That this proposition has sometimes been contested is due solely to
the confusion between the essence, which is existence and therefore
concept, and the existence which is not essence and therefore
is representation. It is due therefore to the problem to which
representations gave rise in this respect, and with which we shall
deal further on. Freed from this confusion, the proposition is not
contestable, and is the very basis of all logical thought, of which we
have to examine the conceivability, or essence, that is, its internal
necessity and coherence; and when this has been established, existence
has also been established. If the concept of _virtue_ be conceivable,
virtue is; if the concept of _God_ be conceivable, God is. To the most
perfect concept the perfection of existence cannot be wanting without
being _itself_ non-existent.

[Sidenote: _Alleged emptiness of the definition._]

Yet it would seem that though the definition affirms both essence
and existence, and therefore the reality of the concept, it is,
nevertheless, an empty form; for we have recognized that in every
definition subject and predicate are the same, and it is therefore a
tautological judgment. Certainly, the definition is tautological, but
it is a sublime tautology, altogether different from the emptiness
which is usually condemned in that expression. The tautology of the
definition means that the concept is equal only to itself and cannot be
resolved into another or explained by another. In the definition truth
_praesentia patet,_ and if the Goddess does not reveal herself by her
simple presence, it is in vain that the priest will strive to discover
her to the multitude by comparing her with what is inferior to her:
with sensible things, which are particular manifestations of her.

[Sidenote: _Critique of the definition as fixed verbal form._]

As in relation to the concept the definition is not to be held
distinguishable, so in its expressive or verbal aspect it must not be
understood as a formula separate from the basis of the discourse, as
though it were the official garb of truth, the only worthy setting
for that gem. Such a conception of its nature has caused _pedantry of
definition, hatred_ of and consequent rebellion _against definitions._
That pedantry, however, like all pedantries, had some good in it; that
is to say, it energetically affirmed the need for exactitude; and too
frequently the rebellion, denying, like all rebellions, not only the
evil but also whatever good there might be in the thing opposed, has,
through its hatred of formulæ, made exactitude of thought a negligible
matter. But definition, taken verbally, is not a formula, a period
or part of a book or discourse; it is the whole book or the whole
discourse, from the first word to the last, including all that in it
may seem accidental or superficial, including even the accent, the
warmth, the emphasis, and the gesture of the living word, the notes,
the parentheses, the full stops, and commas of the writing. Nor can we
indicate a special literary form of definition, such as _the treatise
or system or manual,_ because the definition or concept is given alike
in opuscules and in dialogues, in prose and in verse, in satire and
in lyric, in comedy and in tragedy. To define, from the verbal point
of view, means to express the concept; and all the expressions of the
concept are definitions. This might trouble rhetoricians desirous of
devoting a special chapter to the form of scientific treatment; but it
does not trouble good sense, which quickly recognizes that the thing
is just so, and that an epigram may give that precise and efficacious
definition in which the ample scholastic volume of a professor
sometimes fails, although full of pretence in this respect.

[Footnote 1: See _Æsthetic,_ part i. chap. iii.]

[Footnote 2: See Sect. I. Chap. III.]



[Sidenote: _Identity of definition and syllogism._]

The definition not only is not a formula separable or distinguishable
from the thread of the discourse, but it cannot even be separated or
distinguished from the ratiocinative forms or forms of demonstration,
as is implied in the custom of logicians, who make the doctrine of the
definition or of the _systematic_ forms, as they usually call them,
follow that of the forms of demonstration. They ingenuously imagine
that thought, after having had a rough-and-tumble with its adversaries,
and after having proclaimed, shouted, and finally vindicated its own
right, mounts the rostrum and henceforth calm and sure of itself begins
to define. But, in reality, to think is to combat continuously without
any repose; and at every moment of that battle there is always peace
and security; and definition is indistinguishable from demonstration,
because it is found at every instant of the demonstration and
coincides with it. _Definition and Syllogism_ are the same thing.

[Sidenote: _Connection of concepts and thought of the concept._]

The syllogism, indeed, is nothing but a connection of concepts; and
although it has been disputed as to whether it must be considered so,
or rather as a connection of logical propositions or judgments, the
dispute is at once solved, so far as we are concerned, by observing
:hat precisely because the syllogism is a connection of concepts, and
concepts only exist in verbal forms, that is to say, in propositions
or judgments, the syllogism is also a connection of judgments. This
serves to reinforce the truth that if the effective presence of the
verbal form must always be recognized in the logical fact, it must, on
the other hand, be forgotten when Logic is being constructed and the
nature of Logic and of the concept is being sought. Now, the connection
of the concepts represents nothing new in relation to the thinking of
the concept. As has already been seen, to think the concept signifies
to think it in its distinctions, to place it in relation with the other
concepts and to unify it with them in the unique concept. A concept
thought outside its relations is indistinct, that is to say, not
thought at all.

Therefore, the connection of the concepts, or syllogizing, cannot be
conceived as a new and more complex logical act. To syllogize and
to think are synonymous; although, in the ordinary use of language,
the term "to syllogize" throws into special relief the verbal aspect
of thinking, and, more exactly, the _dynamic_ character of verbal
exposition, which is indeed the very character of this exposition,
for it is with difficulty, or only empirically, that it can be
distinguished into static and dynamic, definition and demonstration.

[Sidenote: _Identity of judgment and of syllogism._]

But if the syllogism be thus identified with the concept itself, it may
nevertheless seem that it must be distinguished from the judgment of
definition seeing that the syllogism is a form of logical thought, and
consequently of verbal expression, quite distinct from and incapable
of being confounded with any other: a connection of _three_ judgments,
two of which are called _premisses_ and the third _conclusion,_ closely
cemented by the syllogistic force, which is placed in the _middle_
term. This character of triplicity seems ineradicable and peculiar to
the syllogism in contrast with the judgment.

Some question, however, must be raised concerning this characteristic
because of another characteristic universally recognized in the
syllogism; namely, that the premisses are conclusions of other
syllogisms, just as the conclusion becomes, in its turn, a premiss.
This being so, it might be said with greater truth that the syllogism
is to syllogize or to think; and since this is infinite, so the
propositions of which it consists are also infinite. On the other hand,
there is no judgment which is not a syllogism, since it is clear that
he who affirms a judgment affirms it by some reasoning or syllogism,
present and active in his spirit, though more or less understood in
the words. And are not other propositions understood in the syllogisms
which are properly so-called, not only in the forms, which are called
abbreviated (immediate inferences, enthymemes, etc.), but also in all
the other forms; since it is admitted that every syllogism, as has
just been observed, presupposes other preceding syllogisms, indeed an
infinity of others? It will be replied that at the end of the chain
there must yet be found the difference between judgment and syllogism,
or two first judgments, which are not produced by syllogism, and form
the columns, upon which the structure of the first conclusion rests.
But such an answer (if it do not imply simply the strange fancy that
thought has a beginning and therefore also an end in time) will mean
that judgment and syllogism are distinct in intrinsic character, which
makes the one the necessary condition of the other. Now, this intrinsic
distinctive character is precisely what cannot be found, because it
does not exist; and if it be not in every link, it is vain to seek it
at the beginning of the chain.

[Sidenote: _The middle term and the nature of the concept._]

Certainly, that _venatio medii,_ that _ergo,_ that unification
of triplicity, are things of much importance. But whence comes
their importance if not from being the expression of the synthetic
force of thought, of thought which unifies and distinguishes, and
distinguishes because it unifies and unifies because it distinguishes?
And is triplicity truly triplicity, one, two, three, arithmetically
enumerable? But if this be so, how is it that we never succeed in
counting those three, resolving each one of them into a series of
similar terms, or of other propositions and concepts? Upon attentive
consideration we perceive that here, too, the number three is
symbolical, and that it does no more than designate the distinction,
which unifies or thinks the _singular_ concept in the _universal_
through the _particular,_ or determines the _universal_ through the
_particular,_ by making it a _singular_ concept, whence it remains
perfectly certain that the relation of these three determinations is
not numerical. Such a logical operation, not being anything special,
but simply logical reasoning itself, is of necessity found also in the

[Sidenote: _Pretended non-definitive logical judgments._]

A possible objection at this point is that even if the unity of
judgment and syllogism can be held to be demonstrated as regards
definitions and syllogisms which are the basis of definitions, yet
it has not been demonstrated for the other forms of syllogisms and
logical judgments, which are not definitive. But if these judgments
and syllogisms be logical, they cannot fail to be definitive, or to
have for their content affirmations of concepts. "All men are mortal"
is a definition of the concept of man, whose mortality is verbally
emphasized or his immortality denied. It is without doubt an incomplete
definition, because it is torn from the web of thoughts and of speech
of which it formed part; and this web will also always be incomplete
or capable of infinite completion by means of new affirmations and
new negations. But in its incompleteness it is at the same time also
complete, because it affirms a concept of reality, of life and death,
of finite and infinite, of spirituality and of its forms, and so on;
these are all presupposed determinations, and therefore existing and
operating in the concepts of _man_ and _mortality._ "Caius is a man"
(which is the second premiss of the syllogism traditionally adduced as
an example) is certainly not a definition (though it presupposes and
contains many definitions) precisely for the reason that it is not a
pure logical judgment. Hence it happens that the conclusion itself:
"therefore Caius is mortal," is more than a pure logical conclusion,
since it also contains a historical element, the person of Caius. But
we shall speak further on of these individual or historical judgments;
and then we shall also see in what relation they stand to the universal
or pure logical judgments, and if it be truly possible to distinguish
between them, otherwise than for the sake of convenience. The
distinction is in any case convenient and does no harm at this point;
and therefore for didactic reasons we allow it to stand; indeed we make
use of it.

[Sidenote: _The syllogism as fixed verbal form. Its use and abuse._]

Just as in the case of definitions, so also in the case of the
syllogism, it is to be noted that the verbal expression does not
consist of an obligatory formula, but assumes the most varied forms,
apparently very remote from syllogizing as commonly understood. The
abuse of the syllogism as a formula continued for centuries, notably
in mediæval Scholasticism, and notwithstanding the rebellion of the
Renaissance, it has persisted among many philosophical schools,
its last conspicuous manifestation being the didactic elaboration
of the Leibnitzian philosophy, or Wolffianism. Certain of Wolff's
demonstrations have remained famous, such as that concerning the
construction of windows, contained in his _Manual of Architecture._ "A
window must be large enough for two persons to lean against it, side by
side," he developed it in this way: "_Demonstration._ It is customary
to lean against a window with another person in order to look out. But
the architect must serve the interests of his employer in everything.
Therefore he must make the window large enough for two persons to be
able to be there side by side.[1] _Q.E.D._"

No more such syllogistic pedantries have been seen in our times, but
(as has been already remarked in reference to pedantry of definition)
contempt for the formula has too often resulted in contempt even for
the correctness of the reasoning. So that it has sometimes been
necessary to advise a bracing bath of scholasticism, and it has been
observed and lamented of certain new civilizations (for example, of
Russian culture, or of the Japanese people, who are so little addicted
to mathematics), that they have not had a scholastic period, like that
of the West, so general with them is the habit of incorrect, loose, and
passionately impulsive and fantastic reasoning. Certainly the formula,
the exercise of disputation in _forma,_ the _logica scholastica
utens_ has its merits; and we must know how to have recourse to it
when it is advantageous to do so, and to express thought in the brief
and perspicuous formulæ of the syllogism, of the sorites, or of the
dilemma. From this point of view the new methods of mathematical Logic
or Logistic, upon which some are now working, and even the logical
machines which have been constructed, would help; they would help--if
they helped. For the point is just this: when formulæ, methods of
demonstration, machines and the like, are recommended, expedients
and instruments of practical or economic use are thereby proposed;
and these cannot make good their existence otherwise than by getting
themselves accepted for the utility--the saving of time and space, and
so of fatigue, which they effect. Like all technical inventions, those
products must be brought to the market; and the market alone decides
upon their value and assigns to them their price. At the present time,
it seems that logistic methods have no value and price, save for
certain narrow circles of people, who amuse themselves with them in
their own way and so pass the time.

[Sidenote: _Erroneous separation of truth and reason of truth in the
pure concepts._]

Certain erroneous doctrines take their origin from the undue separation
of demonstration and definition, conspicuously that particular error
which places a difference of degree between _truth_ and _reason_ of
truth, and consequently admits that a truth can be known without its
reason being known. But a truth, of which the reason is not known, is
not even truth; or it is truth only in preparation and in hypothesis.
We hear much about the _intuition_ with which men of genius are
equipped, and which enables them to go straight to the truth, even when
they are not capable of demonstrating it. But this intuition, when it
is not that truth in preparation, or that orientation towards a truth
still quite hypothetical, must of necessity be thought and thus also
be demonstration of truth; it must be truth and also reason of truth;
thought and reasoning performed no doubt with lightning rapidity,
which is expressed in brief propositions and needs going over again
and rethinking, in order that it may afford a more ample and, from the
didactic point of view, a more persuasive, exposition; but it is always
thought and reasoning.

Things are still worse, when not only is a diversity of degree
admitted, but the complete _indifference_ of demonstration to truth is
proclaimed, so that many or infinite possible demonstrations of one
identical truth would be possible. If by this it were meant merely that
one identical truth, or one identical concept, can assume infinite
verbal or expressive forms, and if demonstration were understood as
"exposition" or "expression," there would be nothing to object. But
if by demonstration be meant something truly logical, that which is
properly called by that name in Logic, this thesis leads directly to
the negation of truth, making the demonstration of truth, or truth
itself, an illusion, a sophistical appearance created simply to
persuade. Those acquainted with courts of law know that very often when
a magistrate has made his decision and pronounced sentence he deputes
to a younger colleague the task of "reasoning" it, or of providing an
appearance of reasoning to what is indeed not a logical product, but
simply the _voluntas_ of a certain provision. But though this procedure
be intelligible and useful when it occurs in the field of practice and
of law, it cannot be admitted in the theoretical field, where it would
be the ruin of thought and indirectly of the will itself.

[Sidenote: _Difference between truth and reason of truth in the

Naturally, all that has been said as to the definition and the
syllogism has reference to the true and proper concept, or the pure
concept. In the case of pseudoconcepts, where practical motives enter,
definition is a simple _command_ (a nominalist definition), and
demonstration has no place, save for those of its elements that are
derived from the pure concept: _given_ the definitions, the reasoning
must logically proceed in a determinate manner. In pseudoconcepts,
then, definitions are separate from demonstrations: the first do not
spring from the second and are not all one with them; the second
presuppose the first and do not produce them. Of these definitions
infinite demonstrations are possible, precisely because in reality
none is possible, for the definitions themselves are infinite; and
when a demonstration is given, this is done only _pro forma_; it is
a deception, to conceal a practical convenience, or rather a logical
reasoning employed to make it clear. It is for this reason also that
the definitions employed in those demonstrations seem to be obtained
by means of an act of _faith_ in the irrational; and here faith
signifies, not the confidence of thought in itself, but the making a
virtue of necessity, accepting as true what is not known as such.--For
the rest, pseudoconcepts and concepts have the same relation with the
verbal form; that is to say, all are expressed in the most various
ways, and there is no obligatory form of language, which can be called
the literary form of logical character. The style of the _Civil Code,_
which aroused the admiration of Stendhal, is not the eternal style
of laws, for laws were once even put into verse; as in like barbaric
times the sciences used to be put into verse. In the life of the word,
concepts and pseudoconcepts rush forward in such a way that it is vain
to seek there for distinction among them.

[Footnote 1: Mentioned in Hegel, _Wiss. d. Logik 2,_ iii. 370 _n._]



[Sidenote: _Intrinsic impossibility of formal Logic._]

From the fact that in the verbal form all distinctions (pure
concepts, and empirical and abstract concepts, distinct concepts and
opposite concepts) are indistinguishable, and on the other hand all
identities, such as that of concept, definition and demonstration,
appear differentiated or capable of differentiation, we can deduce the
impossibility of constructing logical Science by means of an analysis
of the verbal form. The condemnation of all _formal_ Logic is thus

[Sidenote: _Its nature._]

This Logic has been variously called _Aristotelian, peripatetic,
scholastic,_ after its authors and historical representatives;
_syllogistic,_ from the doctrine that forms its principal content;
_formal,_ from its pretensions to philosophic purity; _empirical,_ by
those who tried to drive it back to its place; and although this last
name is correct, it would be better to call it _formal,_ and still
better, _verbal,_ to indicate of what the empiricism to which it is
desired to allude, chiefly consists. Indeed, if empiricism be marked
by its limiting itself to single representations, regrouping them in
types and arranging them in classes, there is no doubt that that method
of treatment is empirical, which takes the logical function, not in
the eternal peculiarity of its character as thought of the universal,
but only in its various particular translations or manifestations, in
which it acquires contingent characteristics. Since these contingent
characteristics come to it, in the first place, from the verbal form,
it can well be called verbalism. Owing to its verbalism, too, it has
happened, that over and above the grammars of individual languages,
there has been conceived as existing a _general, rational_ and
_logical_ Grammar; and this hybrid science, which is no longer grammar
and arose from logical assumptions, has developed in such a way as to
be indistinguishable from empirical or verbal Logic.

[Sidenote: _Its partial justification._]

Certainly, as mere empiricism, this so-called Logic could not be
condemned. And Hegel was not wrong in remarking that if people are
interested in establishing that there are sixty species of parrots
and one hundred and thirty-seven of veronica, it is not clear why
it should be of less interest to establish the various forms of the
judgment and of the syllogism. That discipline has its utility as mere
empiricism, and it may be useful to any one to employ in certain cases
the terminology in which an affirmation is characterized as positive
or as merely negative, as particular or as universal, as a judgment
that awaits reasoning and demonstration, as an immediate inference,
enthymeme or sorites, as a conclusive or an inconclusive, or as a
correct or an incorrect syllogism, and so on. It is also comprehensible
how, as mere empiricism, it assumed a _normative_ character, and was
translated into _rules_; rules, which are valid within their own
sphere, neither more nor less than are all empirical rules.

[Sidenote: _Its error._]

But it does not limit itself to acting simply as an empirical
description, nor even as a simple technique; it usurps a much more
lofty office. Just as Rhetoric and Grammar, innocent and useful so
long as they limit themselves to the functions of convenient grouping
and convenient terminology, become false and harmful when they assume
the attitude of sciences of absolute values, and must then be resolved
into, and replaced by Æsthetic; so empirical or verbal Logic becomes
transformed into error when it claims to give the laws of thought, or
the thought of thought, which cannot be other than the concept of the
concept. It is not, then, _formal,_ as it boasts itself to be, because
the only logical form is the universal, and this alone is the object of
logical investigation; but it is falsely formal, since it relies upon
contingencies, and must, therefore, be called _formalist._ We reject it
here exclusively in its formalist aspect; that is to say, in so far as
it is a complex of empirical distinctions that wish to pass as rational
and usurp the place of true rationality.

[Sidenote: _Its traditional constitution._]

Several of such empirical distinctions, such as the distinction between
thought and principle of thought, truth and reason of truth, judgments
and syllogisms, and such-like, have been recorded and criticized; we
shall proceed to mention others, when suitable opportunities occur.
Here it will be well to refer to the general physiognomy and structure
of that Logic, as it was embodied for centuries in the schools and
still persists in treatises.

[Sidenote: _The three logical forms._]

Its point of departure is the external distinction between words and
connections of words, which belongs properly to Grammar. But words
are then treated by it as concepts, and connections of words, as
judgments. Thus it obtains the identification of the concept with the
abstract and mutilated grammatical word and arrives at the monstrous
determination of the concepts as things which are not in themselves
either true or false. Thus, again, by constantly calling upon the
connections of the concepts for succour, it succeeds in distinguishing
the judgment from the mere proposition. A double criterion is
constantly adopted in establishing these and other fundamental forms:
the verbal and the logical; and formalist Logic oscillates equivocally
between the two different determinations; whence the alternating
appearance of truth and of falsehood, with which its distinctions
present themselves. The syllogism, which should be the third
fundamental form, is conceived as the connection of three distinct
judgments; but if it yet retains its importance and preponderance
over two-membered forms or over serial forms of more than three
propositions and judgments, this is really because to the distinction
and enumeration of the three propositions there is added the criterion
of the concept as a nexus, or as a triunity of universal, particular
and singular.

[Sidenote: _The theories of the concept and of the judgment._]

The three fundamental forms have been reduced by some logicians to
two, by others; amplified to four or to five, by adding to them
the perceptive form or the definitive and systematic form. These
restrictions and amplifications have always encountered resistance,
because it was justly felt that in this way one form of empiricism was
being mingled with another: the verbal form with empirical distinctions
drawn from other presuppositions. But in determining in particular the
three fundamental forms, formalist Logic has not been able to restrict
itself to the mere distinction of words and propositions, artificially
placed in relation with the pure concept; but has been obliged to draw
from other sources. The concepts are variously classified, sometimes
from the verbal point of view, as _identical, equivalent, equivocal,
anonymous_ and _synonymous_; sometimes from the logical point of view,
as _distinct, disparate, contrary_ or _contradictory_; sometimes
from the psychological point of view, as _incomplete_ and _complete,
obscure_ and _clear,_ the concepts further always being understood
as names, so that, for example, distinct concepts are indifferently
philosophically distinct concepts, and empirically distinct concepts;
and the contraries are both the philosophical contraries and those
empirically so-called. The same has occurred in the classification
of judgments where sometimes the determinations of the concept are
taken as foundation and the judgments distinguished as _universal
particular_ and _individual;_ sometimes the intrinsic dialectic nature
of the concept, and they are distinguished as _affirmative, negative_
and _indeterminate_ or _infinite_; sometimes the stages passed through
in the search for truth, and they are distinguished into _categorical,
hypothetical_ and _disjunctive,_ or _apodeictic, assertory_ and
_problematic._ And these forms have further always been understood
verbally. "Universality" is the "totality" empirically designated
by the word, and not true universality; and "individuality," on the
contrary, is not only the individuality of the representation, but
also the single particularity of the distinct concept; "affirmative"
is differentiated from "negative" by accidental grammatical form, and
not because that unique act which is thought, at once affirmation and
negation (as the will is both love and hatred) can be truly divided.

[Sidenote: _The theory of the syllogism._]

The classification of syllogisms, founded exactly upon the empirical
conception of the judgment as the copulation of a _subject_ and a
_predicate_ affords a suitable parallel to this method of treatment of
the judgment; subject and predicate being understood in an empirical
and grammatical manner, whence they are also discovered in those
verbal affirmations, in which they are not distinct, because they are
identical, as in the case of the judgment of definition. For empirical
Logic, in the judgment: "The will is the practical form of the spirit,"
"will" is subject and "practical form" predicate in the same way as in
"Peter is a man," "Peter" is subject, and "man" predicate. From the
distinction between subject and predicate, arise the four _figures_
of the syllogism; the criterion being the position of the middle term
in the two premisses of the three propositions of which the syllogism
is formed. If the middle term be subject in the first premiss and
predicate in the second, we have the first figure; if it be predicate
in both, the second; if it be subject in both, the third; if it be
predicate in the first and subject in the second, the fourth figure
("_sub-prae,_ turn _prae-prae,_ turn _sub-sub,_ turn _prae-sub")._
But in order to deduce the moods of each figure recourse is then had
to another criterion, indeed to two other criteria; that is, to the
empirical distinctions of judgments into universal and particular, and
into affirmative and negative, with the four consequent determinations
into universal-affirmative judgments (A), universal-negative (E),
particular-affirmative (I), and particular-negative (O). Thus, in the
first figure, two universal affirmative premisses constitute the first
mood, and the conclusion is universal affirmative _(Barbara)_; two
premisses, both universal, but one affirmative and the other negative,
constitute the second, and the conclusion is universal negative
_(celarent)_; two premisses, one universal affirmative and the other
particular affirmative, constitute the third mood, and the conclusion
is particular affirmative _(darii);_ two premisses, one universal
negative and one particular affirmative, constitute the fourth mood,
and the conclusion is particular negative _(ferio)._ And so on.

[Sidenote: _Spontaneous reductions to the absurd of formal Logic._]

This is not the occasion to go on expounding in its other particulars
this construction, of which we have given an example, for it is
very well known: nor to attach importance to criticizing it, since'
its foundations themselves have already been shown to be false and
its hybrid genesis explained. Verbal Logic, which vaunts itself as
rational, carries its own caricature in itself, namely the creation of
_Sophisms_; because, since it seeks the force of thought in words, it
cannot prevent sophistical ability from making use, in its turn, of
words, in order capriciously to create thoughts and forms of thought.
Thus verbal Logic, in order to combat sophisms, is constrained hastily
and eagerly to abandon simple verbal connections, and to take refuge in
concepts and connections of concepts thought in words; that is to say,
neither more nor less than to negate the formalist point of view. And
with analogous self-irony it renounces that point of view and dissolves
itself, when it tries to refute the fourth figure of the syllogism, or
to reduce the second, third and fourth to the first, as the only real
figure, and then the first to a connection of three concepts; not to
mention the permanent self-irony and patent demonstration of falsity
involved in the logical deduction of the figures of the syllogism which
it makes from a series of moods, recognized as _not conclusive._

[Sidenote: _Mathematical Logic or Logistic._]

Formalist Logic has been the object of many violent attacks from the
Renaissance onwards; but it cannot be said that it has been struck in
its essential part, because up to the present, the principle itself, or
the incoherence from which it springs, has not been attacked. Several
attempts at reform have followed and still follow; they have all of
them the same defect, which is the wish to reform formal Logic without
issuing from its circle, and without refuting its tacit presumption--
the pretension of obtaining thought in words, concepts in
propositions. The most considerable attempt of the kind that has been
made, which has many zealous followers in our day, is _mathematical
Logic,_ also called _calculatory, algebraical, algorhythmic, symbolic,
a new analytic,_ or a _Logical calculus or Logistic._

[Sidenote: _Its non-mathematical character._]

It is admitted by those who profess it and is for the rest evident
from the definitions of Logistic that have been given, that it has
nothing in common with mathematics, for although the majority of its
cultivators are mathematicians and use is made of the phraseology usual
in Mathematics, and it is directed toward Mathematics, in certain of
its practical intentions, there is nothing intrinsically mathematical
in it. Logistic is a science which deals, not with quantity alone, but
with _quantity and quality together_; it is a science of _things in
general_; it is _universal mathematics,_ containing also, subordinated
to itself, the mathematical sciences properly so-called, but not
coinciding with these. It means to be, not mathematics, but _a general
science of thought._

[Sidenote: _Example of its mode of treatment._]

But the "thought" of Logistic is nothing but the "verbal proposition,"
which, in fact, supplies its starting-point. What the proposition is;
whether it be possible truly to distinguish the proposition we call
"verbal" from all the others, poetical, musical, pictorial; whether
the verbal proposition does not bear indistinctly in itself, a series
of very diverse spiritual formations, from poetry to mathematics, from
history and philosophy to the natural sciences; what language is and
what the concept is--these and all other questions concerning the forms
of the spirit and the nature of thought, remain altogether extraneous
to Logistic and do not disturb it in its work. The propositions (the
concept of the proposition remaining an unexplained presupposition)
can be indicated by _p, q,_ etc.; the relation of implication of one
proposition in another can be indicated by the sign _⊃,_ hence an
isolated proposition is "that which implies itself" _(p.⊃.q.)._ By
following a method such as this, many distinctions of the traditional
formalist Logic are eliminated, and in compensation for this, new ones
are added and old and new are dressed in a new phraseology. The logical
_sum a + b_ is the smallest concept, which contains the other two _a_
and _b_ and is what was previously called the "sphere of the concept";
the logical _product a x b_ indicates the greater concept contained
in _a_ and in _b,_ and answers to that which was previously called
"comprehension." There are also new or renovated laws, like the law
of _identity,_ by force of which, in Logic (differently from Algebra),
_a + a + a ... = a;_ by which it is desired to signify this profound
truth, that the repetition of one and the same concept as many times as
one wishes, always gives the same concept;--the law of _commutation,_
by which _ab = ba_;--or that of absorption, by which _a(a + b) = a;_
or--(the convention being that the negation of a concept is indicated
by placing against it a vertical line) the other beautiful laws and
formulæ: _a + a | = a| (a | )a = a; aa | = o._ This is a charming
amusement for those who have a taste for it.

[Sidenote: _Identity of nature of Logistic with formalist Logic._]

Thus it is seen that if the words and the formulæ be somewhat
different, the nature of mathematical Logic in no respect differs from
that of formalist Logic. Where the new Logic contradicts the old, it is
not possible to say which of the two is right; as of two people walking
side by side over insecure ground, it is impossible to say which of
the two walks securely. The very doctrine of the _quantification
of the predicate_ (which has been the leaven of the reform) in no
wise alters the traditional manner of conceiving the judgment, with
the corresponding arbitrary manner of distinguishing subject and
predicate. It simply establishes a convention with the object of being
able to symbolize, with the sign of equality, the subject and the
predicate:--the subject being included in the predicate, is part of it:
"men are mortal" equals: "men are some mortals"; and so, "men" being
indicated with _a_ and "some mortals" with _b,_ the judgment can be
symbolized: _a = b._ For us, it is indifferent whether the modes of
the syllogism be the 64 and the 19 recognized as valid by traditional
Logic, or the 12 affirmative and the 24 negative of Hamilton's Logic,
which distinguishes four classes of affirmative and four of negative
propositions. It is indifferent whether the methods of conversion
be three or two or one. It is indifferent whether logical laws or
principles be enumerated as two, three, five or ten. Since we do not
accept the point of departure, it is impossible for us, far from
admitting the development, even to discuss it; save to demonstrate
that from capricious choice comes capricious choice, as we have made
sufficiently clear in our treatment of formalist Logic. Mathematical
Logic is a new manifestation of this formalist Logic, involving a great
change in traditional formulæ, but none in the intimate substance of
that pretended science of thought.

[Sidenote: _Practical aspect of Logistic._]

As the _science of thought,_ Logistic is a laughable thing; worthy, for
that matter, of the brains that conceive and advocate it, which are the
same that are promulgating a new Philosophy of language, indeed a new
Æsthetic, with their insipid theories of the _universal Language._ As a
formula of _practical utility_ it is not incumbent upon us to examine
it here; all the more since we have already had occasion to give our
opinion upon this subject. In the time of Leibnitz, fifty years later
in the last days of Wolffianism; a century ago in Hamilton's time;
forty years ago in the time of Jevons and of others; and finally now,
when Peano, Boole, and Couturat are flourishing, these new arrangements
are offered on the market. But every one has always found them too
costly and complicated, so that they have not hitherto been generally
used. Will they be so in the future? The practical work of persuasion,
proper to the commercial traveller seeking purchasers of a new product,
and the foresight of the merchant or manufacturer as to the fortune
that may await that product, are not pertinent to Philosophy; which,
being disinterested, could here, at the most, reply with words of
benevolent patience: "If they be roses, they will bloom."



[Sidenote: _Reaction of the concept upon the representation._]

Problems of a widely different nature from these formalist playthings
await exploration in the depths of the Science of Logic. And resuming
what we have called the descent of the universal into the individual,
it is of importance, after having established the relation between
concept and form of expression, to examine in what way the concept
reacts upon the representation, from which it appears to be at a stroke
and altogether separated.

In more precise terms: Beyond doubt the concept is thought only in
so far as it becomes concrete in an expressive form and itself also
becomes, from this point of view, representative. Thus, a logical
affirmation, or one that presents itself as logical, can be viewed
under a twofold aspect, as logical and as æsthetic. It can be regarded
as well thought-out, and so also very well expressed, perfectly
æsthetic because perfectly logical; or as very well expressed but ill
thought, or not truly thought, and so not logical, and yet sentimental,
passionate and imaginative. But this expression-representation,
in which the concept lives (and which is, for example, the tone,
the accent, the personal form, the style, which I am employing in
this book to expound Logic), is a _new_ representation, conditioned
by the concept. We now ask, not indeed the character of this
representation (which is sufficiently clear), but of what kind are
those representations, about and upon which, the thought of the concept
has been kindled. Do they remain apart, excluded from the light of
the concept, obscure as before, that is, logically obscure? Does the
concept illuminate only itself in a sort of egoistic satisfaction,
without irradiating with its light the representations upon which it
has arisen?

[Sidenote: _Logicization of the representations._]

That would be inconceivable and contrary to the unity of the spirit;
and indeed, such separation and indifference do not exist. The
appearance of the concept transfigures the representations upon which
it arises, making them _other_ than they formerly were; from being
indiscriminate it makes them discriminate; from fantastic, logical;
from clear but indistinct (as used to be said), clear and distinct.
I am, for example, in such a condition of soul as prompts me to sing
or to versify, and thus to make myself objective and known to myself;
but I am objective and known only to fancy, so much so, that at the
moment of poetical or musical expression I should not be able to say
what was really happening in me: whether I wake or dream, whether I
see clearly, or catch glimpses, or see wrongly. When from the variety
of the multitude of representations, which have preceded and which
follow it, I pass on to enquire as to the truth of them all (that is
to say, the reality, which does not pass), and rise to the concept,
those representations themselves must be revised in the light of the
concept that has been attained, but no longer with the same eyes as
formerly,--they must not be _looked at,_ but henceforth, _thought._
My state of soul then becomes determinate; and I shall say, for
example: "What I have experienced (and sung and made poetry of), was
an absurd desire; it was a clash of different tendencies that needed
to be overcome and arranged; it was a remorse, a pious desire," and
so on. Thus by means of the concept is formed a _judgment_ of that

[Sidenote: _The individual judgment and its difference from the
definitive judgment._]

We have already studied the judgment, which is proper to the concept,
and called it definitive judgment or judgment of definition. We have
shown how in it there is no distinction of subject and predicate,
so much so that it may be said, with regard to it, that there is
neither subject nor predicate, but the complete identity of the two:
a predicate or universal, which is subject to itself. However, the
judgment which is now being discussed is not a simple definition and
does not coincide with the first. It certainly has as its base a
concept and therefore a definition; but it contains something more,
a representative or individual element, which is transformed into
logical fact, but does not lose individuality on that account; indeed
it reaffirms its individuality with more precise distinction. This
judgment is connected with the first, but it represents a further stage
of thought. If the first form be a conceptual or _definitive_ judgment,
the second may be called an _individual_ judgment.

[Sidenote: _Distinction of subject and predicate in the individual

Owing to this new element, which the individual judgment contains,
and the judgment of definition does not contain, we eventually find
fully justified in the former that distinction between subject and
predicate which verbal Logic in vain claims to discover in all
judgments, including those of universal character (and even in simple
propositions); so that it ends by attributing to that distinction, of
which later we shall perceive the capital philosophical importance, a
purely grammatical or verbal significance. Subject and predicate can
be distinguished only in so far as the one is not and the other is
universal, in so far as the one is not and the other is concept, that
is to say, only in so far as the one is representation and the other
concept. A particular or singular concept (for example, the will) is
always also a universal concept; and therefore not adapted to function
as a subject to which a predicate is applied; because that predicate,
that universal, is already explicitly in the pretended subject itself
which is net thinkable, save by means of that predicate. Only the
_representation_ can be truly _subject;_ and only the _concept_ can
be _predicate._ This takes place plainly in the individual judgment,
where the two elements are connected. "Peter is good," an individual
judgment, implies the subject "Peter" and the predicate "good," the one
not to be confounded with the other; whereas, in the definition "the
will is the practical form of the spirit," "practical form" and "will"
are identical.

[Sidenote: _Reasons for the variety of definitions of the judgment and
of certain of its divisions._]

When the attempt was made to define the judgment as differing both
from the concept and from the definition, what was aimed at was
the individual judgment. But, if this be so, then the definitions
which conceive the judgment either as relation of representations
or as relation of concepts (the subsumption of one concept under
another, etc.), must be termed false, since it is henceforth clear
that, as individual judgment, it must be conceived as a _relation
of representation and concept._ On the other hand, some celebrated
divisions of the judgment find their origin in the distinction made
by us (which, we again repeat, is given at this point provisionally
with the intention of seeking the definite formula further on),
between the judgment of the concept and the judgment of the
representation, between definition and individual judgment. In this
way the _analytic_ judgment, defined as that in which the concept of
predicate was obtained from the subject, reveals itself as nothing
but the definition, the identity of subject and predicate; the
_synthetic_ judgment, which adds to the subject something which was
not there previously, is the individual judgment, logical thinking
of the intuition, at first only intuited and not thought. We shall
examine further on the true meaning and the definite formula of this
distinction also.

[Sidenote: _The individual judgment and intellectual intuition._]

To ignore the form of the individual judgment, and to recognize only
that of the concept and of the definition, is an impossible position,
though occasionally there appears a tendency in that direction.
We perceive it, for instance, in those who seek for definitions
of everything, and limit themselves to syllogizing, when there is
certainly a case for thinking, but also one for looking, or for
thinking while we look, and for looking while we think. This may be
said truly to represent knowledge, that complete knowledge in which
all anterior forms unite, and which is the result of all of them. To
know is to know reality; and knowledge of reality is translated into
representations, penetrated with thought. That famous _intellectual
intuition,_ which has sometimes been described as the faculty to which
man aspires, but does not possess, and sometimes as a prodigious
faculty, superior to knowledge itself, should be declared, with the
full rigour of letter and concept, to be nothing but the individual
judgment; which is, in truth, intellectual intuition or intuited

[Sidenote: _Identity of the individual judgment with perception or
perceptive judgment._]

But the individual judgment can take another name, much better known
and more familiar: _perception_; and perception, in its turn, should
be called, synonymously, individual judgment, or at least _perceptive
judgment._ Perception does not consist of opening the eyes, of offering
the ear, and of unlocking any of the other senses, which are wont to be
enumerated, nor, in general, of abandoning oneself to sensation. The
world does not enter our spirit by these wide gates; but has itself
announced, in order to be received with due honours. That good folk
(and among the best of folk are to be counted many philosophers) think
otherwise is in truth to be explained by their wonted neglect or lack
of analysis and reflection.

And further, perception is not intuition, _i.e.,_ an impression
theoretically fashioned, or that stage or moment of the spirit which
is represented in an eminent degree by the poet, who intuites and does
not know what he intuites, indeed does not know that he does not know
(because the pertinent question has not arisen, and cannot arise, in
him, as poet). To perceive means to apprehend a given fact as having
this or that nature; and so means to think and to judge it. Not even
the lightest impression, the smallest fact, the most insignificant
object, is perceived by us, save in so far as it is thought.

Hence the supreme importance of the individual judgment, which is that
which embraces all knowledge produced by us at every moment, by means
of which we _possess the world,_ by means of which a _world exists._

[Sidenote: _and with the commemorative or historical judgment._]

In perceptive judgments also, are comprised those judgments which
are called by some _commemorative_ or _historical,_ that is to say,
those by which it is recognized that a given fact has occurred in the
past. This recognition can never be founded upon anything other than
present intuitions, intuitions, that is to say, of our present life,
which contains the past in it, and persuades us of the veracity of a
given piece of evidence, as now apprehended by us. And conversely, all
perceptive judgments are, in some way, commemorative and historical,
because the present, in the very act by which we hold it before our
spirit, becomes a past, that is to say an object of memory and of

[Sidenote: _Erroneous distinction of individual judgments as of fact
and of value._]

On the other hand, it would be erroneous to divide individual
judgments, as has often been attempted, into judgments of _fact_ and
judgments of _value,_ claiming that the judgment, "Peter is a man," is
of a different nature from: "Peter is good." Every judgment of fact, in
so far as it attributes a predicate to a subject, gives to it a value,
declaring it to participate in the universal or in a determination of
the universal. And conversely, every judgment of value, in so far as
it attributes a value, cannot attribute other than the universal or
a determination of the universal, since outside the universal there
is no value. Even judgments of negative form, such as: "Peter is
not good," or "is not-good," or: "Peter is bad," are attributes of
universality and of value; because, as we know, theoretically they do
not affirm anything other than that Peter has a spiritual determination
different from goodness (for example, that he is utilitarian, not yet
moral). Certainly, in judgments such as these which we have selected
as examples, there is mingled (this too has been noted; and at this
point it suffices to recall it) the expression of an _ought to be,_
which, in this case, is revealed in the negative formula adopted; but
the expression of an ought to be or of a desire is not a judgment
either of fact or of value; indeed, it is not a judgment at all; it is
a mere proposition, a logos semanticos, not apophanticos, an optative
or desiderative formula, a _lyricism_ of the spirit directed to the

[Sidenote: _The individual judgment as ultimate and perfect form of

There is no other cognitive fact to know, beyond perception or
individual judgment. In this, the ultimate and the most perfect
of cognitive facts, the circle of knowledge is completed. Obscure
sensibility, having become clear intuition, and then having made itself
thought of the universal, in the individual judgment is logically
thought, and is, henceforward, knowledge of fact or of event, that is,
of effectual reality. The individual judgment, or perception, is fully
adequate to reality.

[Sidenote: _Error of treating it as the first fact of knowledge._]

But precisely because perception is the completion of knowledge, it
must be placed not at the beginning, but at the end of cognitive life.
To place it at the beginning, as mere sensibility, and to derive from
it the concepts, either as the effect of psychological mechanism,
or by an arbitrary act of will, is the error of sensationalists and
empiricists. To conceive it as judgment, and nevertheless to place
it at the beginning, and to deduce from it the concepts by further
elaboration, is the error of rationalists and intellectualists. Against
these, it must be firmly maintained that the first moment of knowledge
is _intuitive_ and not perceptive; and that the concepts do _not
originate_ from the intellectual act of perception, but enter the act
itself as _constituents._ To begin with perception, understood as
perceptive judgment, is to begin at the end, that is to say, with the
most highly complex. Perception is thus the sole problem of gnoseology;
but only because it is the whole problem, which contains in itself
all the others. And it also is, if you like, the _first_ form of the
cognitive spirit, but not because it is the most simple, but precisely
because it is the _last_; and the last, being also the whole, can also
in an absolute sense be called first.

[Sidenote: _Origin of this error._]

Certainly, the misunderstanding of the sensationalists and the
opposing error of the rationalists contain an element of truth, since
both are really concepts, which are developed from perception and
presuppose it. But, on the other hand, they are not true and proper
concepts, but pseudoconcepts, as we have already defined them, and
these, being developed from perception, give rise, in their turn,
to pseudojudgments. We shall treat of this further on; and thereby
explain the genesis of the misunderstanding, that is to say, the
erroneous theory will be overcome as misunderstanding and determined as
truth. In this difference between individual judgments and individual
pseudojudgments, between perceptions and pseudoperceptions, will
also clearly be found another of the motives (and perhaps the most
profound), which have divided judgments into judgments of fact and
judgments of value.

[Sidenote: _Individual syllogisms._]

It is also easy to understand that, as there are individual judgments,
so there are also individual syllogisms; or rather, that since it
is not possible to distinguish between judgments and syllogisms in
philosophical Logic, for they constitute one indivisible whole, so it
is not possible to distinguish individual syllogisms from individual
judgments, or it is only possible to do so verbally. "Caius is dead,"
is indeed the conclusion of a syllogism; since it is not possible to
affirm that he is mortal without some reason: for example, because he
is a man, an animal, or a finite being. Thus, the syllogism: "Men are
mortal, Caius is a man; therefore, Caius is mortal," is only verbally
different from "Caius is mortal." We do not say that the difference of
words is nothing; there is always a spiritual difference, even when,
instead of saying, "Caius is mortal," we say, "He, whom I call Caius,
is mortal," or when the same thought is expressed in Latin or German.
But being here occupied with Logic, we declare that there is none,
because, indeed, there is none, _in point of difference of logical
act,_ both forms being the realization of logical reasoning alone.

[Footnote 1: See above, Section I. Chap. VI.]



[Sidenote: _The copula: its verbal and logical significance._]

Subject and predicate are indistinguishable in the judgment of
definition, and distinguishable and distinct in the individual
judgment; but the act of distinction (which is also union) between
subject and predicate, representation and concept, is again, in the
individual judgment, the same as the act of distinction and union, by
means of which, in the judgment of definition, the concept is defined.
In both cases thought makes essential what it thinks. In this respect
there is no difference between the two forms of judgment, which we have
analysed and have hitherto kept distinct for reasons of analysis. One
identical act of thought distinguishes both from mere representation,
in which there is wanting the "is" (logical and not verbal)--that "is,"
which belongs to the judgment of definition and to the individual
judgment, and which in the second of these more properly assumes the
name of _coptila,_ because it unites two distinct elements, the one
representative, the other logical. Here, too, of course, we must not
allow ourselves to be deceived by verbalism. The essentialization, the
copula, thought, cannot be made to consist of a word, which, abstracted
from the whole, becomes a simple sound, and as sound can assume any
other signification. In mere representation there can also be found the
"is," or what, verbally and grammatically, is called copula, but there
it has no value whatever as act of thought.

    _Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero_
               _Pulsanda tellus_

is a proposition which possesses the "is," but in this case it has
merely the value of a sign, not of an act of thought, for that phrase
of old Horace is nothing but the expression of a hortatory motion.
The word, too, can be suppressed, but we do not thereby suppress the
act of thought. The exclamation "beautiful!" uttered before a picture
may be an individual judgment, having as subject the representation
of the picture, and as predicate the æsthetic universal, which is
called beautiful, in which the copula (and here, also, the subject) is
verbally understood, but logically existent, and therefore always also
capable of verbal reintegration. On the other hand, this reintegration
cannot be effected when it is a case of a mere representation or an
expression of a state of the soul; because, in that case, there would
be, not a reintegration, but an integration, that is to say, it would
carry out that act of thought, and produce that individual judgment
which was not present before.

[Sidenote: _Questions concerning propositions without subject.

Thus, in asking a last question concerning the individual judgment,
that is to say, whether it be always _existential,_ we must, as always,
transfer the enquiry from verbal to logical analysis, and not waste
time with speculations as to words or fragments of propositions,
arbitrarily torn from their context, and therefore insignificant and
equivocal. The dispute has been most keen in relation to what are
called propositions without a subject, such as "It rains" and the
like. But, although we do not intend to negate the results, obtained
or obtainable from these disputes, we cannot accept the position which
they imply and which renders it possible to agitate and to discuss the
problem to infinity and therefore makes it insoluble. "It is raining"
said with a smile of satisfaction means: "Thank heaven, it is raining";
with a feeling of disappointment: "Bother the rain for preventing my
taking a walk"; in reply to some one asking what is the noise audible
on the window-panes: "The audible sound is the sound of rain"; to
contradict some one who says the weather is fine: "You are stating a
falsehood and have not given yourself the trouble of observing; it is
raining"; or it is the correction of an historical error. And so on.
It is therefore waste of breath to dispute as to the logical nature of
that proposition if its precise signification be not determined; and
when it is truly determined (for the propositions we have substituted,
taken abstractly, can also appear to have many senses and give rise
to misunderstandings), we have quite abandoned the materiality of
verbalism and passed to the thinking of spiritual acts, taken in

[Sidenote: _Confusion between different forms of judgments with
relation to existentiality._]

The question of existentiality in the act of judgment has been
strangely confused, owing both to this verbalism and to the failure
to keep distinct the judgment of definition and the individual
judgment, and even the concept and the pseudoconcept. The question
as to existence has been asked, as if it were the same in the case
of a judgment of definition, like: "The Idea is," and in the case of
an individual judgment like "Peter is." But in the first case, as we
already know, existence coincides with essence, and that judgment
only says that the Idea is thought, and therefore is; whereas the
second not only says that Peter is representable, and therefore is,
but that he exists; Peter might be representable and not exist; the
griffin is representable and does not exist. Pseudoconcepts have
also been incorrectly adduced as examples of judgment of definition
in such statements as: "The triangle is thinkable, but does not
possess existence," or: "The genus mammifer is thinkable, but does
not exist as single animals"; for in this case it should have been
said that "triangle" and "mammifer" are not thought at all, but are
constructed, and therefore have neither essence nor existence. For
us, then, the question of existentiality cannot arise, either for the
pure judgment of definition, which is a concept and has existence as
a concept, that is to say, essence; nor for the definitive judgment
of the pseudoconcepts, which is not even thought; but arises only for
the individual judgment, into which there enters as a constituent
a representative element, that is to say, something individual and
finite. Essence does not coincide with existence in the individual and
finite; indeed its definition is just this: the inadequacy of existence
to essence. Therefore the individual changes at every instant, and
although being at every instant the universal, yet it is adequate to it
only at infinity.

[Sidenote: _Determination and subdivision of the question of existence
in individual judgments._]

Having limited the question to the individual judgment, for which alone
it has meaning, we can opportunely divide it into three particular
questions: (i.) Does the individual judgment always imply that the
subject of the judgment is existent? (ii.) What is the character of
existentiality? (iii.) Does this character suffice to construct that

[Sidenote: _Necessity of the existential character in these judgments._]

Beginning with the first, we believe that without doubt the answer
is affirmative and that adherence should be given to those who have
discovered and persistently defended the necessity of the existential
character, thus contributing in no small degree to the progress of
logical science. Whether what is represented exist or not, is doubtless
indifferent to the intuitive man, to the poet or artist, simply
because he does not leave the circle of representation. But it is not
indifferent to the logical man, since he forms an individual judgment.
He cannot _judge of what does not exist._

It has been incorrectly objected that the logical judgment always
remains the same, whether I have a hundred dollars in my pocket or
only in my imagination; that a mountain of gold is a subject of
judgment, although hitherto at least no one has found one in any part
of the earth; that Pamela is a virtuous woman (whatever Barretti may
have written to the contrary), although she has never lived elsewhere
than in the imagination of Richardson and of Goldoni. No predicate
whatsoever can be attributed to a hundred dollars, to a mountain of
gold, and to a Pamela which do not exist; and if it be said that
those hundred dollars are exactly divisible by two or by five; or
that that mountain of gold, imagined as of a certain base and height,
is measurable in terms of cubic metres, and has a value of so many
millions or milliards on the market; or that Pamela is worthy of esteem
and of reward; it must be noted that neither the hundred imagined
dollars, nor the imagined mountain, nor the imagined Pamela are
judged with these judgments, but that the judgments define simply the
arithmetical concepts of number, prime number and divisibility, or the
geometrical concepts of the cube, and the economic concepts of gold
as merchandise, or the moral concepts of virtue, esteem and reward.
No judgment whatever has been given as to those non-existent facts,
because where there is nothing the king (in this case, thought) loses
his rights.

[Sidenote: _The absolute and the relative non-existent._]

It will be replied that we talk at every moment about these
non-existent things, and consequently judge them. But here care must
be taken not to confuse absolute with relative non-existence, which
latter is non-existent only in name. The absolutely non-existent is
what is excluded from the judgment, implicitly in the affirmative
formula, explicitly in the negative formula. To him who speaks of the
mountain of gold, of the possession of a hundred dollars, and of Pamela
as existing realities, we reply by denying these existences, that is
to say, by denying them in an absolute manner; and of those negated
existences it is not possible to judge, or even to talk, precisely
because they are altogether negated. Here, in fact, we are speaking of
the individual judgment, which excludes its contradictory from itself,
as, for that matter, is also the case with the judgment of definition.
But in that absolute affirmation and negation there is also made,
explicitly or implicitly, a relative affirmation or negation; as when
we say, in the examples given: "The mountain of gold, the hundred
dollars, Pamela, do not exist," we say at the same time: "There do
exist phantasms, products of the fancy or of the imagination, of a
mountain of gold, of a hundred dollars, and of a virtuous Pamela." Now
the mountain, the dollars, and Pamela are, as such, not the absolutely
non-existent, but certain facts, _subjects_ of judgment, of which the
predicate is expressed by the word "non-existent," which in this case
is equivalent to "existing as phantasms." The absolutely non-existent
is the contradictory, true and proper nothingness; the relatively
non-existent (which is precisely that of the individual judgment) is
an existence, _different_ from that which the same individual judgment

Certainly relative non-existence, and the whole content of the
concept of existence in general, would require more minute analysis;
from which it would perhaps be seen that the so-called non-existent
resolves itself into certain categories of practical facts; and thus
designates sometimes _arbitrary constructions,_ made by combining
images for amusement or with some other intention; sometimes, on the
contrary, the _desires,_ which accompany every volitional act and are
the infinite _possibilities_ of the real. And it would also be seen
that non-existence in the second sense, or the desires, which have been
represented by art, are not in its circle in any way distinguished
from effective volitions and actions; since, in order to distinguish
them, it would be necessary that art should possess a philosophy of
the will, however summary, whereas art is without any philosophy. This
examination would lead us, however, not only outside the problem now
before us, but also outside Logic, to another part of Philosophy,[1]
which, although closely related to Logic (as Logic to it), must be
the object of special treatment if we do not wish to produce mental
confusion by offering everything at once. This was the defect, for
example, of G. B. Vico, who put all books into one book, the whole book
into a chapter, and frequently his whole philosophy and history into a
page or a period. The present writer, though proud to call himself a
Vichian, does not propose to imitate the didactic obtuseness of that
man of genius.

Suffice it to have made clear, as concerns the problem which now
occupies us, that every individual judgment implies the existence of
what is spoken of, or of the fact given in the representation, even
when this fact consists of an act of imagination, that this act may be
recognized as such and as such existentialized. It assumes a concept of
reality, which divides into effective reality and possible reality,
into existence and non-existence, or mere representability. Some modern
investigators of what is called the _theory of values_ (students who
fluctuate between psychology and philosophy, and between an antiquated
philosophy and one that has the future before it) have maintained that
a judgment of value cannot be pronounced when we are not dealing with
an existing thing. Since for us a judgment of value is equivalent to
any individual judgment, we must accept their thesis; freeing it from
the embarrassment in which it finds itself in regard to _unreal images_
(which yet give rise, as they themselves confess, to such judgments
of value as the æsthetic) by observing that in that case there is the
_effectuality,_ the _reality,_ or, in short, the _existence_ of images,
which have the _ineffectual_ or _non-existent_ as their content.

[Sidenote: _The character of existence as predicate._]

We have in this way opened a path for the solution of the second
question enunciated, which concerns the character to be assigned to
the existentializing act of the judgment. Does this consist of an act
of thought, that is to say, of the application of a predicate to a
subject; or is it an original act of an altogether peculiar nature,
which does not find its parallel in the other acts of thought? In
short, is existence a predicate, or is it not? The answer, already
implicitly contained in the foregoing explanations, affirms that
_existence_ in the individual judgment is a _predicate._ And we say "in
the individual judgment" because in the judgment of definition it is
not predicate, for the reason already expounded, that in that judgment
there is no distinction between subject and predicate, and that in it
existence coincides with essence.

[Sidenote: _Critique of existentiality as position and faith._]

The traditional reply is, on the other hand, that existence, in the
judgment of existence, is not a predicate, but a knowledge _sui
generis,_ sometimes called a knowledge of _position,_ sometimes an act
of belief, or _faith;_ two determinations, which are reducible to a
single one. Because, if being is conceived as external to the human
spirit, and knowledge as separable from its object, so much so that the
object could be without being known, it is evident that the existence
of the object becomes a position, or something placed before the
spirit, given to the spirit, extraneous to it, which the spirit would
never appropriate to itself unless it were courageously to swallow the
bitter mouthful with an irrational act of faith. But all the philosophy
which we are now developing demonstrates that there is nothing external
to the spirit, and therefore there are no positions opposed to it.
These very conceptions of something external, mechanical, natural, have
shown themselves to be conceptions, not of external positions, but of
positions of the spirit itself, which creates the so-called external,
because it suits it to do so, as it suits it to annul this creation,
when it is no longer of use. On the other hand, it has never been
possible to discover in the circle of the spirit that mysterious and
unqualifiable faculty called _faith,_ which is said to be an intuition
that intuites the universal, or a thinking of the universal, without
the logical process of thought. All that has been called faith has
revealed itself step by step as an act of knowledge or of will, as a
theoretic or as a practical form of the spirit.

There is therefore no doubt that existence, if it be something that
is affirmed or denied, cannot be anything but a predicate; it can
only be asked what sort of predicate it is, that is to say, what is
the precise content or concept of existence, and this has already
been indicated or at least sketched in the preceding explications.
Objections have been made to the conceptual and predicative character
of existence, such as that which maintains that if it were a predicate
it would be necessary in the judgment "A is" to be able to think the
two terms--A and existence--separately, whereas in the thought of A, A
is already existentialized. But these objections show themselves to be
sophistical; because outside the judgment A is not thinkable, but only
representable, and therefore without existentiality, which predicate it
only acquires in the act of judgment.

[Sidenote: _Absurd consequences of those doctrines._]

For the rest, the difficulties that befall those who conceive
existentiality in the individual judgment as something _sui generis,_
are illustrated by the theory to which they find themselves led, of a
double kind of judgment, the existential and the categorical, without
their being able to justify this duality. This is at bottom the most
apparent manifestation of their more or less unconscious _metaphysical
dualism,_ which assumes an object external to the spirit, and makes
the spirit apprehend it with an _act of faith_ and afterwards reason
about it with an act of _thought._ Why not always continue with an act
of faith? Or why not also extend the act of thought to the initial
judgment? We have either to continue upon the same path, or to change
it altogether--this is the dilemma which imposes itself here.

[Sidenote: _The predicate of existence as not sufficing to constitute a

But in rejecting the double form of the individual judgment, the one
existential, the other categorical, and in resolving both into the
single form, which is the categorical by making existence a predicate
among predicates, we must also explain for what reason (in reply to
the third of the questions into which we have divided the treatment
of existentiality) we now say that the predicate of existence does
not suffice to constitute the judgment. How can it fail to suffice?
If I say that "Peter is," or that "The Ægean is," have I not before
me a perfect judgment? and is it not simply a judgment of existence?
But here, too, we must repeat: _cave_; beware of the deceptions of
verbalism; think of things, not of words. The judgments adduced as an
example are so little judgments of existence that in them we speak of
the "Ægean" and of "Peter," and since we speak of them, it is clear
that we know that the Ægean, for example, is a sea, and what a sea
is, and so on; that Peter is a man, and a man made in this or that
way, an Italian and not a Bushman, thirty years old and not a month,
and so on. The merely representative element cannot be found in the
judgment by fixing it in a word, which, in so far as it forms part of
the judgment, is, like all the rest, penetrated with logical character;
and when we say that "Peter" is the subject and is representation,
and "existing" is the predicate, we speak in a general sort of way and
almost symbolically. If we are looking for the formula of the merely
existential judgment in relation to a representation, that is, of a
judgment which leaves the representation free from all other predicate
save that of existence, such a formula could only be _"Something
is."_ But upon mature consideration this formula would no longer be
an individual judgment, since every logical transfiguration of the
individual and every individual determination of the universal would
not have been excluded: it would correspond neither more nor less than
to a judgment of definition which asserts that "something" (something
in general, indeterminate) "is" or that "reality is."

[Sidenote: _The predicate of judgment as the totality of the concept._]

But our theory concerning the indispensability of other predicates in
constituting the judgment is not to be understood as an affirmation
of the necessity that any _other_ predicate of any sort should be
_added_ to the predicate of existence, nor even that _all the others
possible_ should be added to it. In the first case, we shall always
have an unjustifiable duality of predicates: that of existence and
that necessary for essentializing and completing the judgment; in
the second, duality would certainly be avoided, since to constitute
the judgment all the predicates would be necessary, without their
distinction into a double order, and all would be qualitative
predicates; but there would remain the idea of a successive addition
of predicates. Granted this idea, it is impossible ever to understand
what those acts would be, by which the first, or also the second, or
also the third predicate, and so on, should be attributed, without
yet attaining in such attributions the full totality of truth. They
are representations no longer; and not yet judgments: they are then
something insufficient and one-sided, whose existence could not be
admitted save arbitrarily (as in Psychology), and which, therefore,
would be inadmissible in Philosophy. It therefore only remains to
conclude that in the judgment, all possible predicates are _given in
one act_ alone; that is, that the subject is predicated as existence,
and for this very reason determined in a particular way; determined in
a particular way, and for this very reason, as existence.

In other words, the concept which is predicated in the individual
judgment is not and cannot be a fœtus or a sketch of a concept; but is
the whole concept, in its indivisible unity, as universal, particular
and singular. And if existence seem to be a first predicate, the reason
lies perhaps in this, that the concept of existence as actuality and
action, and in its distinction from mere possibility, is perhaps the
fundamental concept of the real, although on the other hand it is not
truly thinkable save as determined in the particular forms of reality;
hence that first predicate is first only in so far as it contains the
last, that is to say, is neither last nor first, but the whole. To
explain these statements is in any case, as has been said, the task of
the whole of Philosophy, not of Logic alone, which here, as elsewhere,
must rest satisfied with demonstrating the point that most closely
concerns it; that is to say, the impossibility of separating from one
another in the judgment, the predicates necessary for the determination
of the reality of the fact, the absence of any one of which renders the
judgment itself impossible.

[Footnote 1: See the _Philosophy of the Practical,_ pt. i. sect. ii.
ch. 6.]



[Sidenote: _Individual pseudojudgments._]

As pseudoconcepts imitate pure concepts and the corresponding judgments
of definition, so by means of them are imitated pure individual
judgments, and spiritual formations are obtained, which can be
conveniently called _individual pseudojudgments._

[Sidenote: _Their practical character._]

The character of these pseudojudgments, like that of the
pseudoconcepts, is not cognitive, but practical and more properly
mnemonic. Fixing our attention upon certain examples of such judgments,
if we say of an animal: "It is a squirrel," or "It is a platyrrhine
monkey"; if we say of a house: "This house is thirty metres high
and forty wide"; if of a painting we say: "The _Transfiguration_ is
a sacred picture," or "The _Danaë_ is a mythological picture"; or
if of a literary work we say, "The _Promessi Sposi_ is a historical
romance";--what have we learned as to the true nature of the _Promessi
Sposi,_ of the _Transfiguration,_ of the _Danaë,_ of that house and of
those animals? Upon close consideration, nothing at all. The animals
have been put into one or another compartment or glass case, decorated
with a name which might also be different from what it is, as the
compartment and the glass case might also be different; the house
has been compared in respect of its dimensions to other houses or to
an object arbitrarily assumed as the unit of measurement, which is
the metre, but which might be the foot, the palm, and so on; the two
pictures and the literary work have been looked at from the visual
angle of an arbitrary character, such as the mythological, religious
or historical subject. As to what they truly are, as to how all these
things came to be and to live, and as to their relation with other
things and with the Whole, we have been silent. Their _value,_ as it is
called, remains unknown.

[Sidenote: _Genesis of the distinction between judgments of fact and
judgments of value; and criticism of them._]

This lack of all determination as to value, which is characteristic of
individual pseudoconcepts, gives support to the distinction between
judgments of _fact_ (as individual pseudojudgments are sometimes
called) and judgments of _value;_ a distinction which makes evident the
further need of supplying the spirit with what the first judgments
do not give, that is to say, with the meaning or value of things. But
since the individual pseudojudgments are not for us what they boast
themselves to be, judgments of fact, we have no need to complete them
with judgments of value; which would thus be themselves arbitrary (that
is to say, conceived extrinsically to the determination of fact). True
individual judgments are pure, and in them the universal penetrates the
individual and the determination of value coincides with that of fact.
In pseudojudgments there takes place no such penetration, but only the
mechanical _application_ of a predicate to a subject; so much so, that
here is a true occasion for employing words which signify an extrinsic
placing side by side, a reunion, combination or aggregation of subject
with predicate.

[Sidenote: _Importance of the individual pseudojudgments._]

Having made this clear, it is superfluous to repeat that we do
not intend to remove, or even to attenuate, the due importance of
individual pseudojudgments, as we did not remove or attenuate that of
pseudoconcepts, when we defined them for what they are. And how can
we deny their importance, if each one of us create and employ them at
every instant, if each one of us strive to keep in order as best he
can the patrimony of his own knowledge? It is easier for a student to
work without notes and memoranda than for any one not to make use of
individual pseudojudgments. If I pass mentally in review the material
that must go to form the history of Italian painting or literature, I
must of necessity arrange it in works of greater or less importance,
in plays and novels, in sacred pictures and landscapes, and so on;
save when I wish to understand those facts historically, and then I
must abandon those divisions. I must abandon them during that act
of comprehension; but I must immediately resume them, if I wish to
give the result of my historical research; and in this exposition it
will be impossible for me to avoid saying that Manzoni, after having
composed _five sacred hymns_ and _two tragedies,_ set to work upon a
historical _romance_; or that _landscape painting_ was developed in the
seventeenth century. These words are necessary instruments for swift
understanding, and only a philosophical pedant could propose to expel
them. In like manner, if I wish to buy a house, I shall visit several
houses and arrange them in memory, according to the situation, their
arrangement, their size and other characteristics, all formulated in
pseudojudgments. I shall have to abandon all of these in the act of
choice, for then the house that I shall choose will possess one only
characteristic: that of being the one that suits my wants, that is
to say, the one _that pleases me._ But I shall again have to employ
those abstract characteristics, in my conversation with the person who
sells it to me and in the contract that I make; there I shall speak,
not only of my will and pleasure, but also of a house thirty metres
high and forty wide, and so on. The same must be said of the squirrels
and platyrrhine monkeys, which I cannot contrive to see in a museum
or zoological garden, unless I describe them in that way; and I shall
continue so to describe them, although those abstract characteristics
have no definite value, either in permitting me to describe those
animals with accuracy, or in making me understand their meaning in the
universe, or in the history of the cosmos.

[Sidenote: _Empirical individual judgments and abstract individual

But in proceeding further to determine the differential characteristics
presented by pseudojudgments in contrast with individual judgments, it
is necessary to consider them according to the double form, empirical
and abstract, assumed by pseudoconcepts, thus distinguishing them as
empirical individual judgments and abstract individual judgments.

[Sidenote: _Process of formation of empirical judgments._]

In comparing empirical individual judgments with pure individual
judgments--for example, "The _Transfiguration_ is a sacred picture," an
empirical judgment, and "The _Transfiguration_ is an æsthetic work," a
pure judgment--the first thing to note is that the empirical individual
judgment presupposes the pure individual judgment. We already know
that pseudoconcepts, empirical or abstract, presuppose the idea of
the pure concept; but that idea does not suffice for the formation of
determinate empirical concepts, which can be employed as predicates of
empirical judgments. We must not only think effectively these or those
pure concepts, but they must be translated into individual judgments.
Were this not so, where would empirical concepts obtain their material?
Before the judgment: "The _Transfiguration_ is a sacred picture," can
be pronounced, we must first have the empirical concept of "sacred
picture." Now this empirical concept (setting aside the fact that it
presupposes other empirical concepts which we do not here take into
account, because they would complicate the problem without aiding
the solution that we wish to give) presupposes in its turn the pure
concept of "æsthetic work"; and it is only when a certain number, more
or less large, of artistic works have been recognized as such, that
is, when pure individual judgments concerning them have been formed,
that we can abstract the characteristics and pass to the formation
of the pseudoconcepts: sacred, historical, mythological pictures,
landscapes, and so on. Having obtained these, then, and only then when
we stand before an æsthetic work, for example, the _Transfiguration,_
and formulate again the pure individual judgment which recognizes it
as such ("The _Transfiguration_ is an æsthetic work"), are we enabled
finally to apply the pseudoconcept and to pronounce the empirical
judgment: "The _Transfiguration_ is a sacred picture."

[Sidenote: _Its foundation in existence._]

The consequence of the process here recognized as to the manner in
which individual empirical judgments are formed, and in virtue of which
they have pure judgments as their base, is that empirical judgments
also in the last analysis are based upon the concept of existentiality.
Pseudoconcepts of possibility are not formed, because possibilities are
infinite, and it would be vain, or of no mnemonic use, to fix types of
them. When, as sometimes occurs, such types seem to be formed outside
of all existence, their appearance serves, not a mnemonic purpose,
but a purpose of research. This is the case with hypotheses and with
other provisional methods of thought. But the empirical judgment is
related to the individual or existential judgment, and it also employs
pseudoconcepts of existential origin. For this reason, when giving
examples of judgments of existence in the preceding chapter, we availed
ourselves without scruple of empirical judgments also; for these obey
the same law in relation to existentiality. "This animal is a monkey"
implies, not only the existence of the animal taken as subject of the
judgment; but also of that class of animals, of which the character has
been abstracted, and the complex of characteristics which under the
name of a monkey fulfil the function of predicate. An animal that does
not exist and a class of animals that does not exist are not reducible
to subject and predicate, and do not give rise to judgment of any sort.

[Sidenote: _Dependence of empirical judgments upon pure judgments._]

Another consequence is that empirical concepts and judgments are
continually originated and modified by pure individual judgments.
The object of empirical concepts and judgments is to maintain the
possession and the easy use of our knowledge; and this with no other
end than that of serving as base for our actions, and thus also as
a means of attaining new knowledge. New knowledge is expressed in
new pure individual judgments, which in their turn supply material
for the elaboration of new empirical concepts and judgments. In this
way empirical concepts and judgments must be and continually are
renewed, by being dipped in the waters of pure individual judgments,
true judgments of reality. From these waters they issue forth with
youth renewed. If they do not do this, the worse for them: they fall
ill, waste away and die. Given a rapid and profound revolution of
thought, or, as it is also called, a transvaluation of all the values
of life and reality, we should also have at once a no less rapid and
profound transformation of all the empirical concepts and judgments
previously possessed and employed. But this is continually occurring
in the life of the spirit, if not in cataclysmic form, then in a more
modest way. For example, who now employs the empirical concept of
phlogiston, or forms judgments based upon it, now that we no longer
admit the existence of that element, which was at one time believed to
be separated from combustible bodies in the act of combustion? Who now
says (save in jest) that such and such a syllogism is in _bramantip_ or
in _fresison,_ or that a certain part of a speech is an _ornatum_ or
a _hypotyposis,_ now that we no longer believe the facts upon which
such concepts of the old Logic and Rhetoric were based? Who still
distinguishes human destinies according to the _conjunctions_ of the
stars that presided at birth, as was done when astrology was believed?

[Sidenote: _Empirical judgments as classification._]

The empirical judgment, in so far as it applies a predicate to a
subject supplied by the pure individual judgment, makes that subject
_enter_ that predicate, which is a _type_ or _class_; and therefore it
_classifies_ the subjects of individual judgments. Thus we may also
call empirical judgments, judgments of _classification._ This explains
why the judgment has sometimes been considered to be nothing but a
relation of subordination: for the empirical judgment does indeed
subordinate a representation (which has first been logically determined
by the individual judgment) to an empirical concept; that is, it places
it in a class.

[Sidenote: _Classification and intelligence._]

_Classification_ is an essential function, for the reasons already
given, which it would be useless to repeat; but to classify is not
to _realize intellectually,_ to understand, to grasp, to comprehend.
If therefore, in life, we disapprove of those unmethodical people
who detest classification, we do not disapprove any the less of the
perpetual classifiers, who content themselves with arranging things in
classes, when on the contrary the needful thing is to penetrate their
nature and peculiar value. It is a very common error to believe that
something has been thoroughly understood and every problem relating to
it completely solved, when it has simply been put into a drawer, that
is, into a class. Thus in the not distant past, instead of establishing
whether the _Promessi Sposi_ were or were not an æsthetic work, and
what movement of the spirit it represents, it was considered to be the
duty of criticism to enquire whether that book were a romance or a
novel, a historical or didactic romance, a historical representation
of persons or of environment, and so on. The zoologist too, instead of
studying the history and transformations of animals, their life and
habits, limited himself to adding a rare specimen to a variety, or a
variety to a subspecies, or a subspecies to a species, and believed
that by so doing he had completely fulfilled the function of science.

[Sidenote: _Interchange of the two, and genesis of perceptive and
judicial illusions._]

The abuse of empirical or classificatory judgments is not less in
relation to perception, which, as we know, is nothing but the series of
individual judgments. It frequently happens that when entering upon
the discussion of real facts, and having in mind groups and series of
pseudoconcepts, we hastily form empirical judgments, which take the
place of pure individual judgments and are taken in exchange for them.
From these exchanges have arisen certain famous controversies about
the truth of perception, such as that indicated by the instance of the
stick immersed in water, which seems to the eye to be broken, whereas
it is whole and straight. The usual answer to such a view is that the
error lies in the judgment, since perception as perception is never
wrong. This answer is not altogether correct, since the perception
is a judgment, and if the judgment is wrong, the perception also is
wrong. On the contrary, the error is not in the judgment, but in the
prejudice that the stick in question is in reality straight, and that
when immersed in water the genuine reality is disturbed by a new
element; as though the stick outside the water possessed greater or
less reality than when immersed in the water. This error arises from
the construction of the empirical concept of "stick," taken as a true
and proper concept, so that when the stick is immersed in water and
seems to be broken it seems not to answer to its true concept. Strictly
speaking, the perception of the stick as broken or otherwise altered
is not less true than that of the straight stick; the absurdity,
occasioned by the empirical concept, arises from seeking the true
perception among various perceptions, in order to make of it the basis
and foundation of the others declared illusory. This error would seem
to be of slight importance, so long at least as it is a matter of a
stick; but it entails most serious consequences, since it is owing to
similar errors that outside the Spirit there has come to be posited
_the Thing in itself._

[Sidenote: _Abstract concepts and individual judgments._]

Passing from the empirical to the abstract concepts, if these latter
presuppose the pure concept, they do not on the other hand presuppose
individual judgments. For example, in order to form the concepts of
numerical series, or of geometrical figures, it is not necessary to
know individual things. Those concepts are abstract, just because they
are without any representative content, and therefore no representative
element is required for their formation.

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of direct application of the first to the

But if this be so, it is clear that they cannot alone be translated
into individual pseudojudgments. They will certainly give rise to
judgments of definition (though always arbitrary and abstract), but
not to individual judgments. And in truth numerical and geometrical
series is not applicable to individual facts, as affirmed in
individual judgments. These are at the same time different and yet
inter-connected, in such a way that the one is somehow in the other.
The application of numerical series or geometrical figures implies
that we have before us _homogeneous_ objects (or objects which have
been made homogeneous, which amounts to the same thing). Things
qualitatively different elude such procedure: we cannot add up a cow,
an oak, and a poem. It may be urged that all things have this at least
in common, that they are _things_ and can therefore be enumerated as
such. But things, as such, or things in general are innumerable, being
infinite; which amounts to saying that the series of things in general
is the same as numerical series. Doubtless numerical series can be
constituted; but our enquiry concerns the possibility of making direct
applications of numbers to the individual; that is to say, whether or
not they give rise to _abstract_ individual judgments. We must reply
to this question in the negative. The formula "abstract individual
judgments" is itself a contradiction in terms; for the individual taken
in itself can never be abstract, nor the abstract ever individual, even
through a practical fiction.

[Sidenote: _Intervention of empirical judgments as intermediaries.
Reduction of the heterogeneous to the homogeneous._]

The consequence of this demonstration is then that if abstract
concepts can be applied to individual judgments (and they are as
a fact applied), there must be an intermediary which makes the
application possible. The Individual empirical judgments are just such
an intermediary. They reduce the heterogeneous to the homogeneous
and prepare the ground for the application of the abstract concepts
and for the formation of their corresponding pseudojudgments. These
are therefore more correctly termed empirico-abstract judgments
than individual-abstract judgments. Empirical and empirico-abstract
judgments cannot then be presented as two co-ordinate classes of the
individual pseudojudgment. They are two forms, of which the second is
evolved from the first.

The reduction of the _heterogeneous_ to the _homogeneous_ is effected
by means of the procedure already discussed, by the formation of
classes and classification with them as basis. Individual varieties,
which escape all numerical application, are thus subdued, and we obtain
in exchange things belonging to the same class, as for example oaks,
cows, men, ploughs, plays, pictures, and so on. These things are finite
in number (as we already know from our analysis of the representative
elements contained in a determinate empirical concept) and can
therefore be numbered. Thus we can finally arrive at pronouncing the
empirico-abstract judgments: "These cows number one hundred," "these
oaks are three hundred in number," "there are four hundred houses in
this village," "it contains two thousand inhabitants," "there are two
ploughs in this field," and so on. Or we can say elliptically: "100
cows," "300 oaks," "400 houses," "2000 inhabitants," "2 ploughs," and
so on, as is done in statistics and inventories.

[Sidenote: _Empirico-abstract judgments and enumeration (measurement,

If the procedure proper to individual judgments has been described
as _classification,_ that of empirico-abstract judgments is rightly
called _enumeration._ Enumeration also makes possible another
procedure, known as _measurement,_ and what has been said by way of
example about abstract concepts of number must be repeated _mutatis
mutandis_ of geometrical figures, which are employed as instruments
of measurement. The procedure of measurement is somewhat more
complicated; enumeration and measurement are related to one another as
are arithmetical and geometrical concepts, but substantially they come
to the same thing. The definition sometimes given of measurement can
be extended to enumeration in general, namely, that it is _qualitative
quantity_ applied to quality, strictly speaking, to quality rendered
homogeneous by the process of classification. The empirico-abstract
judgments are in fact qualitative-quantitative.

[Sidenote: _Enumeration and intelligence._]

If classification does not imply understanding things and assigning
to them their value, neither does enumeration imply intelligence
and comprehension, because it consists of a manipulation, which is
altogether extrinsic and indifferent to the quality of the things
enumerated. That given objects are capable of enumeration or measurable
as ioo, or iooo, or 10,000 reveals nothing as to their character. It is
only as the result of gross illusion that value is sometimes believed
to be a function of number, and that value increases or diminishes with
the increase or diminution of number. The common saying that number is
not quality is a good answer to that illusion.

[Sidenote: _So-called conversion of quantity into quality._]

A mental fact, afterwards called the transition from _quantity_ to
_quality,_ or the conversion of quantity into quality, has certainly
been known since ancient times. This transition finds a parallel in
those logical diversions, in which, granted the admission, apparently
as legitimate as it is slight, that by the removal of a single hair
from the head of a luxuriantly haired individual, that individual does
not become bald, or that by the removal of a single grain from a heap,
the heap does not disappear, one hair or one grain after another is
removed, and he of the luxuriant locks becomes bald and for the heap
is substituted the bare ground. But the error is in reality contained
entirely in the first admission. A man with a head of hair or a heap
of grain are what they are, so long as nothing in them is changed. The
change of quantity is translated into change of quality, not because
the first concept is constitutive of the second, but, on the contrary,
because the second is constitutive of the first. Quantity has been
obtained, measurement has been effected, by starting from quality,
determined in the pure individual judgment and made homogeneous in the
empirical judgment, which is the basis of the judgment of enumeration
and of measurement. Thus quality constitutes the only real content
of the abstract quantitative concept. By the taking away of the hair
or the grain, _quality_ itself is changed through the _quantitative
formula._ That is to say, quantity does not pass into quality, but one
quality passes into another quality. Quantity, taken by itself, as an
abstract determination, is impotent in presence of the real.

[Sidenote: _Mathematical space and time and their abstraction._]

A final observation, suggested by the difference between pure
individual judgments (or judgments of reality and value, if it please
you so to call them), and quantitative or empirico-abstract judgments,
is that the entire conception of things as occupying various portions
of _space_ and following one another in a _discontinuous_ manner,
_separated_ from one another in _time,_ is derived from the last type
of pseudojudgments, namely the quantitative. It is an _alteration_
effected for practical ends from the ingenuous view offered by pure
perception. To show, as we have shown, the genesis of quantitative
judgments and so of mathematical space and time, amounts to describing
their nature and giving their definition. It amounts to revealing them
as thoughts of _abstractions,_ which are not to be confounded with real
thought, or with genuine thought of reality. The Kantian concept of the
_ideality_ of _time_ and _space_ gives the same result. This doctrine
is among the greatest discoveries of history, and should be accepted
by every philosophy worthy of the name. In accepting it ourselves, we
make but one reservation (justified by the proofs given above), namely,
that the character of mathematical space and time should be called not
ideality (because ideality is true reality), but rather _unreality_ or
_abstract ideality,_ or, as we prefer to call it, _abstractness._





[Sidenote: _Result of preceding enquiry: the judgment of definition and
the individual judgment._]

The descent, as we have called it, from the pure concept to the
intuition, or the examination of the relations which are established
between the concept and the intuitions, when we have attained the
first, and of the ensuing transformations, to which the second are
subject, might at first sight seem complete. The concept, which was
first contemplated in abstraction, has been demonstrated in a more
concrete manner, in so far as it takes the form of language and exists
as the judgment of definition. Further, we have shown how, when thus
concretely possessed, it reacts upon the intuitions from which it was
formed, or how it is applied to them, as it is called, giving rise
to the individual or perceptive judgment. The transition from the
intuitions to the concept, and so to the expression of the concept or
the judgment of definition, and from this to the individual judgment,
has been followed and demonstrated in its logical necessity. Thus the
two distinct forms are also united, the first being the presupposition
and base of the second, so that the connection seems at first sight to
be perfect. The judgment of definition is not an individual judgment;
but the individual judgment implies a previous judgment of definition.
To think the concept of man does not mean that the man Peter exists.
But if we affirm that the man Peter exists, we must first have affirmed
that the concept of man exists, or is thought.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between the two: truth of reason and truth of
fact, necessary and contingent, etc., formal and material._]

The distinction between the two forms, the judgment of definition and
the individual judgment, is universally recognized. Not only can it be
found, as has already been noted, in at least one of the significations
which have been attached to the two classes of judgments, analytic and
synthetic, but it is even more clearly expressed in the well-known
distinction between _truth of reason_ and _truth of fact,_ between
_necessary truths_ and _contingent_ truths, between truths _a priori_
and truths _a posteriori,_ between what is _logically_ and what is
_historically_ affirmed. Indeed, it is only on the basis of this
distinction that it seems possible to give any content to the logical
doctrine, which recognizes the possibility of propositions true _in
form_ and false _in fact._ This doctrine, as usually stated, is
altogether untenable. It is impossible, above all, to maintain that
formal truth can be distinguished from effective truth, always assuming
that "form" is understood in its philosophical sense and not in that of
formalist Logic, where it indicates an arbitrarily fixed externality,
which, as such, is neither true nor false. It is therefore impossible
to maintain that one and the same proposition can be true in one
respect and false in another; for a proposition can be judged only
from one point of view, which is that of its unique signification and
value. But it is clear that once we admit the distinction between truth
of reason and truth of fact, affirmations of both kinds might be found
incorporated in the same verbal proposition, one of them false and the
other true. For example, that the saying of Cambronne, "The Guard dies
and never surrenders," is a "sublime saying" is formally (rationally)
true, but it is materially (as fact) false, because Cambronne did not
utter those words. On the other hand, that the _Assedio di Fiorenze_ of
Guerrazzi is "a very beautiful book, because it inflamed many youthful
bosoms with love of country," is materially (as fact) true, but it is
formally (rationally) false, because the fact of its having produced
such an effect is not proof of the beauty of a book, since beauty does
not consist of practical efficacy.

[Sidenote: _Absurdities arising from these distinctions; the individual
judgment as ultralogical._]

Yet, notwithstanding the apparently glaring distinction between the
judgment of definition and the individual judgment, between truth
of reason and truth of fact; notwithstanding its secular celebrity
and its confirmation by universal agreement and common usage, this
distinction meets with a very grave difficulty. In order to understand
it, we must, above all, establish clearly what we have just stated
in positing that distinction and in making the individual judgment
or truth of fact _follow_ the judgment of definition or truth of
reason. We have already posited a distinction of this kind between
intuition and concept, and have noted that we have thus distinguished
two fundamental forms of the Spirit: the representative or fantastic
form, and the logical. Now, in positing as distinct the judgment of
definition and the individual judgment, do we mean to do something
analogous? Do we mean to distinguish the logical form (concept or
definition) from another form, no longer logical, although containing
the logical form in itself as overcome and subordinate, in the same way
that the concept contains in itself the intuition? In other words, is
the individual judgment something _ultralogical_? It can certainly be
asserted that it is not mere definition; but can it be asserted that
it is not logical? The words used should not lead to misconception. If
in the individual judgment the subject be a representation, it is also
true that this representation is not found there as it would be found
in æsthetic contemplation, but as subject of a judgment, and therefore
not as a representation pure and simple, but as a representation
thought, or made logical. Hegel has several times remarked that whoever
doubts the unity of individual and universal can never have paid
attention to the judgments which he utters at every instant. In these,
by means of the copula, he resolutely affirms that Peter _is_ a man,
or that the individual (the subject) _is_ the universal (predicate);
not something different, not a piece or fragment, but just that, the
universal. Further, are not truths of fact also truths of reason? Would
it not be irrational to think that a fact was not the fact it had
been? The existence of Cæsar and of Napoleon is not less _rational_
than that of quality and of becoming. And are not both kinds of facts
equally necessary--those called contingent not less than those called
necessary? We are right to laugh at those who like to think that things
could have happened otherwise than they have happened. Cæsar and
Napoleon are as necessary as quality and becoming.

[Sidenote: _or duality of logical forms._]

It follows from these considerations (which could be easily multiplied)
that the individual judgment is not less logical than that of
definition. Truths of fact, contingent and _a posteriori,_ are not
less logical than those of reason, necessary and _a priori._ But if
this be so, the distinction between the two forms would not be a
distinction between forms of the spirit, but a subdistinction within
the logical form of the spirit: a subdistinction of which we have
already denied the possibility. For it is not clear how a logical
thought, or thought of the universal, can be _two_ thinkings, one in
one way, one in another: one universal of the universal, the other
universal of the individual. Either the first is void, or the second is
improper. Intuition and concept are distinguished as individual from
universal; but that universal should be distinguished from universal
by the introduction of individuality as element of differentiation is

[Sidenote: _Difficulty of abandoning the distinction._]

The difficulty becomes greater from the equal inconceivability and
impossibility of abandoning the result reached above, by which the
individual judgment was shown to be possible only by means of a concept
or judgment of definition. Every attempt that may be made to cancel
that presupposition and to reconceive the individual or perceptive
judgment as preceding the concept and being altogether without logical
character, a mere assertion of fact, unenlightened by universality,
must be considered, for the reasons we have given, to be entirely
vain. If we cannot admit a duality of logical forms, still less can we
admit that an alogical character, below the level of logic altogether,
attaches to the individual judgment.

[Sidenote: _The hypothesis of reciprocal implication and so of the
identity of the two forms._]

There seems to be but one way out of such a difficulty: namely,
to preserve the result attained, that is to say, the necessity of
the judgment of definition as the presupposition of the individual
judgment, but to affirm at the same time the necessity of the
individual judgment as the presupposition of the judgment of
definition. Admitting this supposition by way of hypothesis, let us
see what it would mean and what effect it would have in the discussion.
Since the one judgment presupposes the other, and this presupposition
is reciprocal, we could no longer talk of distinction between the two,
but of unity pure and simple, of _identity,_ in which distinction
could arise only by abstraction and the arbitrary act of dividing
what cannot exist save as indivisible. But, on the other hand, the
distinction, although abstract, would always retain its value as a
didactic means of making clear the true nature of the logical act. Thus
we should justify our first proceeding to develop the concept and the
judgment of definition and then the individual judgment, and also the
reservation that we have always made as to the provisional nature of
such distinction, and thus also the new question as to the unity of the
act, put and answered in the way proposed. All the difficulties arising
from the appearance of a duality of logical forms would disappear.
Definitions and individual judgments, truth of reason and truth of
fact, necessity and contingency, _a priori_ and _a posteriori,_ would
be revealed as one act and one truth. And we should also be justified
in talking of them as distinct acts, for in expressing that single
truth and single judgment verbally or in literature, we can attach
greater importance now to the definition, and now to the statement of
fact; now to the subject, and now to the predicate.

[Sidenote: _Objection: the lack of an historical and representative
element in definitions._]

This path, which would offer such advantages and would constitute a
true way out of the difficulty, seems, however, to be closed to us by
the fact that in definitions there is no trace whatever of individual
judgments which, on this hypothesis, would have to be contained within
and be one with them. If we say "the will is the practical form of the
spirit," or "virtue is the habit of moral actions," where is to be
found in such statements the individual judgment and the representative
element? We find in them without doubt the verbal form, expressive and
representative, which is necessary to the concept for its concrete
existence; but we do not find the statement of fact of which we are
in search. Thus the proposed hypothesis will prove very ingenious and
rich with all the advantages that we have stated; but since it does not
appear to be confirmed by facts, we must, it seems, reject it, even at
the risk of having to think out a better one, or, if we fail in this,
of renouncing as desperate the attempt at a solution.

[Sidenote: _The historical element in definitions, taken in their

We must not, however, be in a hurry, but rather carefully recall the
observation just made incidentally: that the verbal or literary form
can throw into _relief_ a moment of the judgment, while casting a
shadow over the other and causing it to be forgotten, without thereby
ever being able to suppress it. There seemed, we remember, to be no
trace of concepts in perceptive judgments or judgments of fact, and
especially in those forms of them which are called merely existential
and in those called impersonal. Yet there can be no doubt that none
of those judgments is ever possible without the concept as basis. An
analysis which does not allow itself to be arrested by appearances
and examines verbal forms as regards both what they express and what
they leave to be understood (though this too is expressed in its own
way) has discovered it. Similarly a definition does not exist in the
air, as might appear from the examples given in treatises, in which
the _where_ and the _when_ and the _individual_ and the _actual
circumstances_ in which the definition has been given are omitted. In a
definition thus presented, it would certainly be impossible to discover
a representative element and an individual judgment. But the reason for
this is that it has been mutilated and made abstract and indeterminate,
to such an extent that it can be made determinate only by the meaning
which he to whom it is communicated likes to attach to it. If, on the
contrary, we look at the definition in its concrete reality, we shall
_always_ find in it when we examine it with care the _representative
element_ and the _individual judgment._

[Sidenote: _The definition as answer to a question and solution of a

For every definition is the answer to a question, the solution of a
problem. Did we not ask questions and set problems, there would be
no occasion for giving any definition. Why should we give them? What
need could there be? The definition is an act of the spirit and every
act of the spirit is conditioned. Without contradiction, there can
be no agreement; without the shock of multiplicity there can be no
unity; without the travail of doubt that calls for peace, there can be
no affirmation of the true. Not only does the answer presuppose the
question; but every answer implies a certain question. The answer must
be in harmony with the question; otherwise, it would not be an answer,
but the avoiding of an answer. In reply to a question of a certain
kind, we should turn our deaf ear, as the saying is, or reply with a
blow. This means that the nature of the question colours the answer
and that a definition taken in its concreteness is determined by the
problem which gives it rise. The definition varies with the problem.

[Sidenote: _Individual and historical conditionedness of every question
and problem._]

But the question, the problem, the doubt is always individually
conditioned. The doubt of the child is not that of the adult, the
doubt of the uncultured man is not that of the man of culture, or
the doubt of the novice that of the learned. Further, the doubt of
an Italian is not that of a German, and the doubt of a German of the
year 1800 is not that of a German of the year 1900. Indeed, the doubt
formulated by an individual in a given moment, is not that formulated
by the same individual a moment after. It is sometimes said by way
of simplification, that the same question has been put by very many
men, in various countries and at various times. But in the very act of
saying this, we simplify. In reality, every question differs from every
other question. Every definition, though it may seem to be the same and
bounded with certain definite words, which seem to remain unchanged
and constant, differs in reality from every other, because the words,
even when they seem to be materially the same, are in effect different,
according to the spiritual differences of those who pronounce them.
Each of these is an individual, and on that account each finds himself
in circumstances that are individually determined. "Virtue is the habit
of moral actions," is a formula which can be pronounced a hundred
times. But if it be seriously pronounced as a definition of virtue
each of those hundred times, it answers to a hundred psychological
situations, more or less different, and is in reality not _one,_ but _a
hundred_ definitions.

It will be replied that the concept remains the same through all these
definitions, like a man who changes his clothes a hundred times. But
(setting aside the fact that even the man who changes his clothes a
hundred times does not remain the same) the truth is that the relation
between concept and definition is not the same as that between a man
and his clothes. No concept exists save in so far as it is thought and
enclosed in words, or in so far as it is defined. If the definitions
vary, the concept itself varies. There are, certainly, variations
of the concept, of that which is, _par excellence,_ self-identical.
These are the life of the concept, not of the representation. But the
concept does not exist outside its life, and every thinking of it is a
phase of this life, never its overcoming, since however far we go, it
is never possible to swim outside water, or however high we climb, to
fly outside air.

[Sidenote: _The definition as also historical judgment. Unity of truths
of reason and of fact._]

If we posit individual or historical conditions for every thinking of
the concept, or of every definition (conditions which constitute the
doubt, the problem, the question, to which the definition replies),
we must admit that the definition, which contains the answer and
affirms the concept, at the same time illumines by so doing those
individual and historical conditions, that group of facts, from which
it comes. It illumines, that is to say, qualifies it as what it is,
grasps it as subject by giving it a predicate, and judges it. And
since the fact is always individual, it forms an individual judgment.
This means just that every definition is also an individual judgment.
And this agrees with the hypothesis we framed: it is the assumption
that seemed doubtful and now is proved. Truth of reason and truth of
fact, analytic and synthetic judgments, judgments of definition and
individual judgments, do not exist as distinct from one another: they
are abstractions. The logical act is unique: it is the identity of
definition and of individual judgment, the thinking of the pure concept.

[Sidenote: _Considerations confirming this._]

Such a theory as this, although it goes against the ordinary way
of thinking (though this, in its turn, suffers from its own
contradictions), can be made convincing even to ordinary thought,
when it is led to reflect upon what is implicitly understood in any
judgments of definition that are pronounced. For example, definitions
have always in view some particular adversary; they change according to
time and circumstances, and those definitions that we felt constrained
to give, at one stage of our mental development, we abandon at another,
not because we judge them to be erroneous, but because they seem to
us to be inopportune or commonplace. These and other facts, easy to
observe, would not be possible, unless judgment of definite situations
intervened to produce the change. And this judgment, though we may try
to think of it as preceding or as following each one of those acts of
definition, in reality neither precedes nor follows them, but on the
contrary presents itself to the mind as contemporaneous, or rather
coincident and identical with the act of definition. Every one who
attains to a conceptual truth, every one, for instance, who achieves
a definite doctrine of art or of morality, is immediately aware in
himself that henceforth he knows more adequately not only the kingdom
of ideas but also the kingdom of things. He realizes that as soon as
an idea becomes more clear _ipso facto_ it makes clearer the things out
of whose vortex and tumult it comes. The star-gazer who forgets the
earth, will be an astronomer, but certainly not a philosopher. In the
act of thought, in the world of ideas, earth and sky are fused in one.
Whoever looks well at the sky sees in it (miraculously!) the earth.

For the rest, the identity of definition and individual judgment, which
we have demonstrated by various processes that are usually called
negative, hypothetical, or inductive and based upon observation, is
also confirmed by the process called deductive. For if the thinking
of the concept be a degree superior to pure representation, and if in
the degrees of the spirit the superior contain in itself the inferior,
it is evident that representation as well as conceptual elements must
always be found in the concept. But it is also evident that we can
never find them distinct or distinguishable, but mingled in such a
way that every distinction in them must be introduced solely by a
deliberate act. The logical act is certainly spoken, represented,
individualized. But when it is split up into concept and individual
judgment, one of two things must happen: either we make an empirical
and external distinction, of more or less; or two monstrosities are
asserted: a non-individualized concept, which therefore does not exist,
and a judgment not thought, and therefore non-existent as judgment, and
existing, at the most, as pure intuition.

[Sidenote: _Critique of the false distinction between formal and
material truths._]

As our distinction between definitions and individual judgments was
provisional, so also we must regard the consequence that we showed
to issue from it--the partial justification of the doctrine of
affirmations formally (logically) true and materially (individually)
false. In reality, an error of fact implies a more or less inaccurate
and erroneous definition, and an error of definition implies an error
of fact. Thus this distinction also retains only an empirical meaning
useful for the rough distinction of certain classes of errors from
certain others. And resuming another previous observation, we must
also say that, strictly speaking, it must be held impossible to err as
to facts through the use of pure concepts, since the penetration of
concepts, however great one may think it, is also always penetration
of facts. This formula, too, cannot have anything but an empirical
meaning, to indicate a certain type of errors of concept and of fact,
which is popularly called the use of concepts and the use of facts,
whereas it is the abuse of both.

[Sidenote: _Platonic and Aristotelian men._]

In ordinary life it is customary to distinguish between those who
cultivate ideas and those who cultivate facts, between _Platonic_ and
_Aristotelian_ men. But if the Platonists seriously cultivate ideas,
they cultivate facts and are also Aristotelians, and the Aristotelians
cultivate ideas and are Platonists. Here, too, the difference is
practical and extrinsic, not substantial; so much so that we are often
astonished both at the singular clear-sightedness and penetration of
the actual situation manifested by cultivators of ideas, and at the
profound philosophy which we discover in the pretended cultivators of

[Sidenote: _Theory of the application of the concepts, true for
abstract concepts and false for pure concepts._]

Hence the further consequence, that we must avoid the formula which
speaks of the _application_ of concepts, as, for instance, that in
the individual judgment the concept is applied to the intuition. To
say this, is, as a saying, innocuous, since like many others, it is
metaphorical; but the doctrine implied in it, or that may be suggested
by it (and that is indeed rarely separated from it), is altogether
erroneous. The concept is not applied to the intuition, because it
does not exist, even for a moment, outside of the intuition, and the
judgment is a _primitive act_ of the spirit, it is the logical spirit
itself. If that formula has been successful, the reason for its success
must usually be sought in the theory of the pseudoconcepts. Even
these, in relation to the question which engages us now, and in so far
as they are empirical concepts, are indistinguishable from individual
pseudojudgments. To construct an empirical concept is equivalent to
pronouncing that the objects _a, b, c, d,_ etc., belong to a definite
class. The two acts of the construction of the class and of effectual
classification are only to be distinguished in an abstract manner. In
conformity with this, we must now correct the theory that we have given
above. But on the other hand, in so far as they are abstract concepts,
they are void of all representative content, and therefore constituted
outside of every individual judgment. They cannot of themselves give
rise to such judgments. Before they can be united to them, we must
_apply them_ to individual judgments, elaborated into pseudojudgments,
or made homogeneous by the process of classification. And in truth,
'not only the doctrine of application, but also the distinctions
between analytic and synthetic judgments, between definitions and
perceptions, between truths of reason and of fact, between necessity
and contingency, find their confirmation in being referred to abstract
concepts, as distinct from empirical. The same may be also said of
the other doctrine, which distinguishes between affirmations that are
formally true and materially false. Two griffins plus three griffins
make five griffins. This is formally true, since it is true that two
plus three equals five; but it is materially false, because griffins
do not exist. Numbers and their laws would, for example, be truths
of reason, necessary, _a priori,_ in analytical judgments and pure
definitions; truths derived from experience would be truths of fact,
contingent, _a posteriori,_ in synthetic and individual judgments. But
though this conception may have currency in a field where, properly
speaking, there is neither thought nor truth, in the field of truth
and of thought the terms of both series are found in the corresponding
terms of the other. Analysis apart from synthesis is as unthinkable
as synthesis apart from analysis. In the same way we can empirically
distinguish intention and action in the practical spirit. But in
reality pure intention outside effectual action, is not even intention,
because it is nothing. And an action beyond and without intention is
nothing, for practical reality is the identity of intention and action.
Here, too, theoretical spirit and practical spirit correspond at every



[Sidenote: _The identity of the judgment of definition and of the
individual judgment, as synthesis a priori._]

If analysis apart from synthesis, the _a priori_ apart from the _a
posteriori,_ be inconceivable, and if synthesis apart from analysis,
the _a posteriori_ apart from the _a priori,_ be equally inconceivable,
then the true act of thought will be a synthetic analysis, an analytic
synthesis, an _a posteriori-a priori,_ or, if it be preferred, an _a
priori synthesis._

In this manner, the identity that we have established between the
judgment of definition and the individual judgment comes to assume a
name celebrated in the annals of modern philosophy. And by assuming
it at this point, it is also able to affirm, since it has already
demonstrated, the truth of the _a priori_ synthesis, and to determine
its exact content.

[Sidenote: _Objections raised by abstractionists and empiricists
against the a priori synthesis._]

This is not the place to enter again into the objections which the
Kantian concept elicited (indeed could not fail to elicit): objections
which in Italy too gave rise to very acute attempts at confutation,
and which ended in the partial absorption of that concept into the
mental organism of its opponents. Suffice it to say that all the
objections to the _a priori_ synthesis, when thoroughly examined, seem
to be derived, as was to be expected, from the upholders of the two
one-sided doctrines which were surpassed by the synthesis. Thus the
dogmatists or abstractionists believed the concept to be thinkable
apart from or above the facts (simple analysis); the empiricists
perceived only the representative element and claimed to obtain the
concept from mere facts (simple synthesis). Both failed to explain
perception, or the individual judgment. The former found it to arise
from the external and almost accidental contact between pure concepts
and given facts; the latter sometimes assumed it without explanation,
sometimes confused it with pure intuition, if not altogether with
sensibility and emotion. It can be said that whoever does not accept
the _a priori_ synthesis is outside the path of modern philosophy,
indeed of all philosophy. Strive to find or to rediscover that path,
unless you wish to incur the punishment of trifling with empiricism,
of lying to yourself with mysticism, or of wandering in the void with

[Sidenote: _False interpretation of the a priori synthesis._]

Instead of noting and of examining all the objections made to the _a
priori_ synthesis (which we have already substantially discussed in
the development of our treatise), it will be of assistance to add some
explanations, which will prevent false interpretations of that concept.
These false interpretations sometimes (as often happens) mingle with
the true even in the philosopher who discovered it, and confer force
and authority upon several of the objections to the very reality of the
_a priori_ synthesis.

[Sidenote: _A priori synthesis in general and logical a priori

In the first place, in accordance with the formula given in Logic we
must not speak of the _a priori_ synthesis in general, but of the
_logical a priori synthesis._ The _a priori_ synthesis belongs to all
the forms of the Spirit; indeed, the Spirit, considered universally,
is nothing but _a priori_ synthesis. The synthesis is operative in the
æsthetic activity, not less than in the logical. For how could a poet
create a pure intuition, if he did not proceed from a given fact, from
some passionate moment of his own, conditioned and constituted in a
particular way? Without something to intuite and to express could there
ever be a poet? And would he be a poet, if he were to repeat that
something mechanically, without transforming it into pure intuition?
In his pure intuition, there is and there is not matter: not as brute
matter, but as formed matter, or form. Thus it is said with reason
that art is pure form, or that matter and form, content and form, in
art are wholly one (_a priori_ æsthetic synthesis). The _a priori_
synthesis is not less operative in the practical activity than in
the æsthetic and logical (that is, in the theoretic activity). It is
impossible to will without material to will, or to will outside the
given material. The practical man accepts actual conditions, and at the
same time transforms them with his volitional act, creating something
new, in which those conditions are and are not. They are, because
the action achieved is in relation to them; they are not, because
being new, it has transformed them. _A priori_ synthesis, in general,
then, means spiritual activity; not abstract but concrete spiritual
activity, that is to say, the spirit itself, which is _condition_ to
itself and _conditioned_ by itself. Thus the _a priori_ synthesis,
which is constituted by the coincidence or identity of the judgment of
definition with the individual judgment, is not _a priori_ synthesis in
general, but logical _a priori_ synthesis.

[Sidenote: _Non-logical a priori syntheses._]

Having clearly established this point we are enabled to eliminate the
confusion caused by the citation of certain spiritual formations,
which do not correspond with that logical act, as examples of _a
priori_ synthetic judgments. Such for instance is the case of the
famous example: "5 + 7 = 12," concerning which it was long disputed
whether it were an _a priori_ synthetic judgment or simply analytical;
the synthetic element being found or not found in it, according to
the point of view. The same thing has occurred in the case of other
examples of a different nature, as in the judgment: "Snow is white."
Here the dispute has been as to whether it be _a priori_ synthetic,
or simply synthetic. The truth is, on the contrary, that in neither
of these two cases is there _logical a priori_ synthesis, because
the judgment "5 + 7= 12" is the expression of abstract or numerical
concepts, and "snow is white" is the expression of empirical or
classificatory concepts. This amounts to saying that both are products,
not of a logical nature, nor of a theoretic nature, but, as we know,
of an arbitrary or practical nature. For this reason, we have denied
the very possibility of simply analytic or simply synthetic judgments
in pure logic. On the other hand, both these kinds of spiritual
formations are _a priori_ syntheses, precisely because, being spiritual
formations (though of a practical nature), they cannot fail to be
produced by a creative (synthetic) act of the spirit. This explains why
they sometimes appear as _a priori_ syntheses, sometimes as something
altogether different from the _a priori_ synthesis. It suffices to
add to the affirmative solution the adjective "practical" and to the
negative the adjective "logical" to obtain agreement and truth.

[Sidenote: _The a priori synthesis, as synthesis, not of opposites but
of distincts._]

A question of no less importance is whether the logical _a priori_
synthesis (we might say, the _a priori_ synthesis in general) is to be
conceived as a synthesis of opposites; if, in other words, intuition
and concept, matter and form, exist in the _a priori_ synthesis in the
same way as Being and not Being exist in true Being, which is Becoming;
or as good and evil, true and false, and so on, exist in the special
forms of the Spirit. The affirmative reply to this question finds,
as is well known, its chief representative in the doctrine of Hegel.
We do not wish to deny the great truth contained in this doctrine,
in so far as by considering the _a priori_ synthesis as a synthesis
of opposites, it insists upon this essential point: that intuition
and concept matter and form, do not exist in the logical act as two
separable elements, merely externally connected. Outside the synthesis
the subject does not exist as subject, and the predicate does not
exist in any way. We must banish altogether the idea of the _a priori_
synthesis, conceived as the reuniting of two facts existing separately.
But having recognized the true side of the doctrine, we must correct
the inexactness it contains. This arises from the confusion already
criticized, by which the relation of opposition is unduly extended to
distinct concepts, and the unity of effectual distinction is confused
with the dialectic unity, which declares itself synthetic, only in so
far as it makes war against an abstract distinction.[1] The _a priori_
synthesis is a unity of distinct concepts and not of opposites. That
which is the material of the logical synthesis and which outside it
has no logical character (is not subject), yet in another and inferior
grade of the spirit is form and not matter, and is called intuition.
Hence, there is distinction and unity together; form is not without
matter; but the new matter was already form and, therefore, had its
own matter. The logical _a priori_ synthesis presupposes an æsthetic
_a priori_ synthesis. When considered in the logical sphere, this is
certainly no longer a synthesis, but an indispensable element of the
new synthesis. But outside the logical sphere, it possesses its own
proper and peculiar autonomy. In the logical act intuition is _blind_
without the concept, as the concept is _void_ without the intuition.
But pure intuition is not blind, because it has its own proper
intuitive light. The concept contains the intuition, but the intuition
transfigured. It is a synthesis, not of itself and its opposite, but
of itself and its distinct concept which is indistinguishable from
itself, save by an act of abstraction. In this way we satisfy the
demand expressed in the formula of the synthesis as unity of opposites,
and at the same time repress its tendency to usurpation. This tendency
leads to the rejection of the concept of æsthetic synthesis, in favour
of the concept of logical synthesis; it means the negation of art by
philosophy, not only in the philosophical field (which would be just),
but in the whole spiritual field. Extending itself from this to other
usurpations and led on by the mirage of an ill-understood unity, it
claims all the other syntheses for logical synthesis, and produces a
great spiritual desert, in which logical thought itself at length dies
of starvation.

[Sidenote: _The category in the judgment. Difference between category
and innate idea._]

The logical element, the pure concept or judgment of definition
considered in itself, is given the name of _category_ in the logical
_a priori_ synthesis. This term is nothing but the Greek equivalent
for the word "predicate," which we have hitherto employed. It has been
asked if the category is what used to be called an _inniate idea._
The answer must be that it is both that and also something profoundly
different. The innate idea was indeed the category, but the category
taken as possessed and thought _prior_ to experience, according to
the view that we have described as abstract or dogmatic. First the
music, then the words; first definitions, then individual judgments or
perceptions. The category, on the contrary, is neither the mother nor
the first-born. It is born at one birth with the individual judgment,
not as its twin, but as that judgment itself. From this aspect the
category or the _a priori_ is not the innate, but the perpetually
new-born. From this we see the vanity of the question, whether the
judgment or the concept be logically _prior,_ not only in the relation,
which we have already examined, of concept with verbal form (judgment
of definition), but also in the relation of concept with individual
judgment. We can say indifferently that to _think_ is to _conceive,_
or that to _think_ is to _judge,_ because the two formulæ are reduced
to one. Equally vain is the question as to whether the categories
precede the judgment or are obtained from it. They not only do not
precede the judgment, but are not even obtained from it. We never issue
forth from the judgment, as we never issue forth from reality and

[Sidenote: _The a priori synthesis, the destruction of transcendency,
and the objectivity of knowledge._]

A final explanation, not less important than those already given,
concerns the _importance_ of the logical _a priori_ synthesis. This too
has been diminished by the very man who discovered and defined that
mental act, and even more by those who have repeated him, without being
capable of reviving again the moment of discovery, and of understanding
the intimate reasons that brought it about. When the concept was placed
outside and prior to the representative element, and thought prior to
and outside the world, so that the former was applied to the latter,
the world was bound to appear to be something inferior to the concept,
a degradation or an impure contact, which thought had to undergo.
When, on the other hand, the representative element was placed outside
and prior to the concept, the latter seemed to be inferior to it,
almost as though it were an expedient for taking hold of the world,
without truly being able to do so, and thus in its turn a degradation
or defilement of it. Hence the sigh that we hear already in antiquity
and more strongly in modern times: oh, if _words_ (that is to say
_concepts,_ because concepts were called words) were not, how directly
should we apprehend things! Oh, if _thought_ were not, how vigorously
should we embrace genuine reality!

In the first instance, reality is inferior to the concept, in the
second the concept to reality; but in both alike, the two elements
are always thought--as mutually external and truth as undiscoverable.
Thus both these one-sided tendencies end in mystery. According to the
former, the world is created by a God external to it, and will be
disintegrated when it shall seem good to him, while the latter holds
that the truth of things is plunged in impenetrable darkness. But
granted the idea of the _a priori_ synthesis, reality is not inferior
to thought nor thought to reality, nor is the one external to the
other. Representations are docile to thought, and thought conceals
representations even less than the tenuous and scanty veil concealed
the beauty of Alcina. The interpenetration of the two elements is
perfect, and they constitute unity. The false belief in the externality
and heterogeneity of reality and thought can only arise when for the
pure concept and the _a priori_ synthesis there are substitutes, either
abstract concepts with their related analytic judgments, which are
void of all representative content, or empirical concepts with their
related and merely synthetic judgments, which are without logical
form. The value of the _a priori_ synthesis lies in its efficacy in
putting an end to doubts as to the _objectivity_ of thought and the
_cognizability_ of reality, and in making triumphant the power of
thought over the real, which is the power of the real to know itself.

[Sidenote: _Power of the a priori synthesis never known to its

But this efficacy of the _a priori_ synthesis remained obscure to its
discoverer (and most obscure to his orthodox followers). To such an
extent was this the case, that even to Kant the category did not seem
to be immanent in the real and to be the thinking of its reality,
but an extrinsic, though necessary adjunct, an inevitable alteration
introduced into reality to make it thinkable, an anticipatory
renunciation of the knowledge of genuine reality. Reality itself lay
outside every category and judgment, a _thing in itself._ Even in Kant,
the _a priori_ synthesis was confused with simple analysis and with
simple synthesis. These being manipulations of the real, extrinsic and
not intrinsic, practical and not logical, useful, but without truth, so
the _a priori_ synthesis appeared to him to be an expedient to which
man has recourse and cannot but have recourse, but which constitutes,
not his power, but his weakness. Kant, too, dreamed of an ideal of
knowledge, which was not _a priori_ synthesis, but the _intellectual
intuition,_ the perfect adequacy of thought to reality, unattainable
by the human spirit. He did not perceive that the intellectual
intuition, which he longed for as an impossible ideal, was precisely
the continuous operation of the _a priori_ synthesis, nor did he think
that what is necessary and insuperable cannot be defective. He never
knew that the _a priori_ synthesis, which he had discovered, is alone
the true concept and the true judgment, and, therefore, operates in an
altogether different way from simple analysis and simple synthesis,
which are neither concept nor judgment; nor finally that if these
last postulate a _thing in itself,_ the _a priori_ synthesis cannot
postulate it, because it has _it in itself._

To understand all the richness of the _a priori_ synthesis is to pay
honour to the genius of Emmanuel Kant; but it is also to recognize
that the systematic construction of Kant showed itself altogether
unequal to the great principle he laid down, but whose value he
insufficiently estimated.

[Footnote 1: See above, Sect. I. Chap. VI.]



[Sidenote: _The demand for a complete table of the categories._]

When the definition of the _a priori_ synthesis and of the category has
been attained, it is usual to demand of logical Science (and this will
be demanded also of our exposition) that it should say how many and of
what sort are the categories, how they are connected among themselves,
_i.e._ that it should draw up a _table_ of them.

[Sidenote: _A request extraneous to Logic. Logical and real

Logic, in our opinion, should reject this demand, the origin of
which lies in the confusion between thought in general and thought
as the science of thought. The categories are certainly affirmed in
the individual judgment, but Logic, as the science of thought, does
not undertake to formulate judgments which will say what are the
predicable terms, the ultimate or pure concepts, the categories, with
which reality is thought. Logic cannot claim to substitute itself for
the other philosophic sciences and itself to solve all the problems
which offer themselves to thought as to the nature of reality. Its
scope is to define categories and to formulate judgments _only on that
aspect of Reality, which is logical thought._ It is, therefore, under
the obligation to face the question as to whether there be logical
categories, supreme concepts or supreme predicables from the point of
view of logic, and if there be, to indicate and to deduce them. It is
not obliged to indicate and to deduce all the supreme predicables and

[Sidenote: _The uniqueness of the logical category: the concept._]

Now we have already treated of the question as to the categories
of Logic and have solved it, partly affirmatively, partly in the
negative. That is to say, we have denied to Logic a multiplicity
of categories, since the three fundamental categories, usually
given as concept, judgment, and syllogism, have been revealed to be
identical. The others, derived from formalist Logic and relating to
classes of concepts, to forms of judgments and to figures of the
syllogism (and even these three preceding, if they are taken as
separable or distinguishable), have been shown to be empirical and
arbitrary. Finally, those that were based upon the gnoseology of the
pseudoconcepts have shown themselves to be extraneous to pure Logic.
On the other hand, we have affirmed the category proper to Logic,--the
unique category to which it gives rise. It has been defined as the
pure concept, at once judgment of definition and individual judgment,
the logical _a priori_ synthesis. Thus the enquiry can be looked upon
as exhaustive as regards this part of the subject.

[Sidenote: _The other categories. No longer logical, but real. Systems
of categories._]

A glance at the tables of categories that have appeared in the course
of the history of philosophy, from that of Aristotle, which is the
first, at least among the conspicuous, to that of Stuart Mill, or if
it be preferred, to the Kategorienlehre of E. von Hartmann, which is
the last, or among the last, shows at once that the other categories,
which have been described as logical categories, can be reduced to
verbal variants of this unique one of the pure concept, or belong to
other aspects of the spirit and of reality, as distinct from that of
logical thought. For if in the Aristotelian table the _ousia_ and the
_poion,_ substance and quality, to some extent denote the subject and
the predicate of the judgment, that is to say, the abstract elements
of the _a priori_ synthesis: the _poson,_ on the other hand, appeals
to the processes of enumeration and of measurement, the _pou_ and
the _poté_ to the determination of space and time, the _poiein_ and
the _paschein_ to the principles of practical activity, and so on.
The Kantian table seems to refer, or to mean to refer, to logical
thought; but that does not prevent the appearance in it of traces of
the principles of mathematical, naturalistic, heuristic, and other
processes. Furthermore, in the Kantian philosophy, the whole system
of the categories is to be deduced, not from the transcendental Logic
alone, but also from the transcendental Æsthetic (space and time), and
from the Critique of Practical Reason and Judgment, which all lead to
functions or forms, operating as spiritual syntheses and reappearing
as categories in judgments. Finally, we must not neglect the Kantian
metaphysical categories of Physics.

[Sidenote: _The Hegelian system of the categories and other later

All this becomes clearer in the doctrine of Hegel, where the categories
are not only those of logical thought or subjective thought, concept,
judgment, syllogism; but also those of quality, quantity and measure,
essence, phenomenon and reality, with their subforms and transitions,
and those of the objective concept, mechanism, chemism, and teleology,
and those of the Idea, life, knowing, and the absolute Idea. The
Hegelian, Kuno Fischer, makes certain declarations in his _Logic_
to which it is expedient to give heed. Following the example of the
master, he was induced to include knowing and willing among the
categories; "It may at first sight seem strange (he says), that
knowing and willing should appear here as logico-metaphysical concepts,
as categories. Knowledge has need of categories; but is knowledge
itself a category? Willing belongs to Psychology and Morality, not
to Logic and Metaphysic. It seems, then, that the categories lose
themselves now in Physics or Physiology, by means of concepts such
as those of mechanism and organism, now in Psychology and Ethics,
with the concepts of knowing and of willing. Objections of this sort
have often been made. We have shown that the concept must be thought
as object, and that the concept of object demands that of mechanism:
the justification of the thing resides in this proof. Willing and
knowing are indeed categories. If the test, by which we recognize the
categories, consists in that they are valid, not only for certain
objects, but for all, and in that they should express the universal
nature of things, it is not difficult to see in what a profoundly
significant way knowing and willing emerge triumphantly from such a
test. They belong not only to what are called the faculties of the
human spirit, but in truth to the _very conditions of the world._ If
the world must be understood as end it must also be understood as
willing; for the end without the willing is nothing. ... If knowing
and willing were only a small human province of the world, they
would certainly not be categories. Their concept would belong not to
metaphysic, but to the anthropological sciences. Since they are, on the
contrary, both of them cosmic principles, universal concepts, without
which the concept of objects and of the world cannot be thoroughly
thought and known, for that reason they necessarily have the value of
categories. And since, in truth, they compose the concept of the world,
they are the supreme categories."[1] This argument amounts to saying,
that whenever a concept is truly universal (not restricted to this
or that class of manifestations of reality and therefore empirical),
whenever a concept is a pure concept, it is always a category. This
thesis is most exact, but it amounts to excluding such a search from
pure Logic, which does not give the concepts or concept of reality,
but only the _concept of the concept._ The attempt of Hegel to embrace
the totality of the categories was not understood and was abandoned
at a later date, and a return was made in some sort to the categories
of the theoretic and practical--theoretic spirit alone--(von Hartmann
gives them in his fundamental tripartition of the categories into
sensibility, reflective thought and speculative thought). But the
tendency to totality reappeared, in an elementary form, in Stuart
Mill, who opposed to the Aristotelian table his own, divided into
the three classes of _sentiments_ (sensations, thoughts, emotions,
volitions), of _substances_ (bodies and spirits), and of _attributes_
(quality, relation, quantity): a vertiginous regression to an infantile
conception, which yet sought to embrace in its own way the whole of

[Sidenote: _The logical order of the predicates or categories._]

The doctrine of the categories has been introduced and retained in
Logic, not only because of the confusion between the thought of thought
and thought in general, which has just been explained, but also because
of another confusion, which must now be explained, as it has far
deeper roots and far greater importance. It has been and may be argued
in this way. It is true that the categories are nothing but simply
the concepts of reality; but these concepts, acting as predicates,
are presented in logic in a necessary order, which it is the task of
logical Science to deduce. In determining reality by means of thought,
we begin with a first predicate, for instance _being,_ judging that
reality is. This judgment immediately shows itself insufficient,
whence it becomes necessary to determine it with a second predicate
and to judge that reality both is and is not, or is _becoming._ This
predicate of becoming appears in its turn vague and abstract, and it
becomes necessary to determine reality as _quality,_ then as _quantity,
measure, essence, existence, mechanism, teleology, life, reflexion,
will, idea,_ in short with all the predicates that exhaust the concept
of reality.

[Sidenote: _Illusion as to the logical reality of this order._]

But we know that this order, this supposed succession, is illusory and
is simply the product of abstract analysis. In the predicate to which
verbal prominence is given, there is concentrated or understood every
predicate, because in every judgment complete reality[2] is predicated
of the subject. Moreover this is shown just by the observation, which
reveals the insufficiency of an isolated and abstract predicate,
and requires for sufficiency nothing less than the totality of the
predicates, the full concept of the Real, of the Spirit or of the Idea.
The concept of Reality, of Spirit or the Idea, can without doubt be
developed, in its unity and in its distinctions; but (let us yet again
repeat) logical Science has for its object, not the effective unity and
distinction of the Real, but the _concept_ of unity and distinction..

[Sidenote: _The necessity of the order of the predicates, not founded
in Logic in particular, but in the whole of Philosophy._]

The ordering of the variety of the predicates, their gradation
according to their greater or less adequacy to reality, arises from
the fact that disputes as to reality show themselves as one-sided
affirmations of this or that predicate or group of predicates,
coupled with the neglect or negation of others, which are not less
indispensable. When, therefore, we attack such one-sidedness and
affirm the complete indivisibility of the predicates, the single
predicates, the objects of the one-sided affirmations, are scrutinized
one after the other, in order to demonstrate their insufficiency, and
for this very reason a certain order is given to them. This order is,
without doubt, necessary, because the possibility of errors, or of
one-sided thoughts, is a consequence of the distinctions, in which
the unity of the Real lives, and which are necessary to it. But for
this very reason the order must be sought, not in logical Science,
but in the total conception of Reality. For instance, in researches
concerning the ethical concept, only he who thinks, not the concept
of the concept (logical science), but the concept of ethical activity
(ethical science), will be able to determine what one-sided concepts
are there possible and what is their order. Only he who thinks a
whole philosophy will be able to determine how many and what and how
connected are the one-sided and erroneous modes of philosophy. This
cannot be found in the concept of the concept; or rather only those
erroneous modes are there found which derive from a one-sided thinking
of the concept of the concept. This we shall see in its place. The
order of the categories in the sense indicated is certainly not
subjective and arbitrary, as a didactic ordering of them would be, a
_πρότερον prὸs ἡμᾶς_; it is a _πρότερον φύσει._ But since this first by
nature is identical with the whole concept of Reality, it is not wholly
contained in the concept of Logic.

[Sidenote: _False distinction of philosophy into two spheres,
Metaphysic and Philosophy, rational philosophy and real philosophy,
etc., due to the confusion between Logic and doctrine of the

If the confusion between Logic and the Doctrine of the Categories, or
between the thinking of the logical category and the thinking of the
other categories, had produced no other effect than that of introducing
into books of Logic a method of treatment that exceeds their bounds,
the evil would not be great. It would chiefly affect literary harmony
and clarity of didactic exposition. But from that confusion there has
sometimes as _rational Philosophy and real Philosophy,_ sometimes as
_Gnoseology and Anthropology (or Cosmology,)_ sometimes as _Logic and
System of Philosophy,_ and so on. The conception of Reality is thus
twice described: once as part of Logic (the Doctrine of the Categories,
Ontology, etc.); and again as effective or applied Philosophy.
Philosophy is divided into a Prologue to Philosophy and Philosophy,
or into Philosophy and a Conclusion to Philosophy. But Philosophy,
although it is distinguishable into philosophies (for example,
Æsthetic, Logic, Economic and Ethic), _is this distinction itself,_
or the unity immanent in it. It never gives rise to a duality of
grades. It is never prologue, development and conclusion, being, at its
every point, prologue, development and conclusion. As from empirical
and formalist Logic arose the idea of a Logic which should not be
philosophy, but an organ or instrument or rule or law for the rest of
philosophy; so from the confusion of Logic with the Doctrine of the
Categories has arisen the idea of a Logic, or Metaphysic, or general
Philosophy, or whatever else it may be called, which should be _opposed
to or above_ the rest of philosophy. But the Science of thought, Logic,
is at once thought and effective philosophy; it is thought itself
which in thinking the Real, thinks itself and places itself, as logical
Science, in the place which belongs to it in the system of the Real.

[Sidenote: _Philosophy and pure logic: overcoming of the duality._]

It may seem that in this way thought and reality are again divided and
a metaphysical dualism created. But the exact opposite is the truth.
When Philosophy is distinguished into general and particular, into
rational and real, into pure and applied, into Logic-metaphysic and
into Philosophy of nature and of man, an irreparable breach is made,
which can only be concealed or attenuated in a more or less ingenious
manner. But when that doubleness of degree is destroyed (and thought
thinking the real thereby thinks itself), and in the construction of
Philosophy, the Philosophy of philosophy, namely Logic, is constructed,
the dualism is for ever overcome. This thought is the thinking of the
distinctions, which the real presents; but to think distinctions and to
think unity is, as has been already demonstrated, the same thing.

[Footnote 1: _Logik,_ pp. 532-3.]

[Footnote 2: See above Sect. II. Chap. V.]





[Sidenote: _Summary of results as to the forms of acquaintance._]

The result of the preceding enquiries into the constitution of the
cognitive spirit can be resumed, for mnemonic purposes, by saying
that there are _two pure theoretic_ forms, _the intuition_ and
_the concept,_ the second of which is subdivided into _judgment
of definition and individual judgment,_ and that there are two
modes of _practical_ elaboration of knowledge, or of formation of
pseudoconcepts, the _empirical concept and the abstract concept,_ from
which are derived the two subforms of judgment of _classification_ and
of judgment of _enumeration._ If the methods in use in the mediæval
schools or in those of Port-Royal (which were not without their
utility) were still in vogue, we should be able to embody these results
in a few _mnemonic verses,_ which would render the distinctions we have
made easy to impart.

Easy to impart, but not understood, or worse, ill understood; because,
as we know, both the scheme of classification here adopted and the
arithmetical determination of two or more forms are not truly logical
thoughts adequate to the representation of the process of the real
and of thought. Our grouping constructed to help the memory must
therefore be interpreted with the aid of the developments offered
above, and not only corrected, but altogether resolved in them. In
these developments, the intuition and the concept have appeared as two
forms, not capable of co-ordination, but both distinct and united. The
judgment of definition and the individual judgment have appeared as
logically identical, divisible only from an external or literary point
of view, that is to say, by the greater or less importance attached
either to the predicate or to the subject. Further, the formation of
the pseudoconcepts is outside theory, although founded upon theoretic
elements; it belongs essentially, not to the cognitive spirit, but
to the practical spirit. And if their subdivision into empirical and
abstract concepts is necessary, the necessity is founded upon the fact,
that only in these two modes can the concept be practically developed,
when its synthetic unity is arbitrarily split up into two one-sided
forms. Finally, the two fundamental forms of the spirit themselves, the
theoretic and the practical, are not co-ordinate with one another, nor
capable of arithmetical enumeration. The one is in the other, the one
is correlative to the other, because the one presupposes the other.

[Sidenote: _Non-existence of technical forms, and of composite forms._]

No other cognitive or practical-cognitive forms, or other subforms,
beyond those which we have defined, are conceivable. The _technical
knowledge,_ which is discussed in some treatises on Logic, is nothing
but knowledge itself, which is always and entirely technical, preceding
and conditioning the action and practice of life. The same may be
said of _normative_ knowledge, by which, as with technical, it is
especially meant in ordinary language to designate the whole of the
pseudoconcepts. But this is erroneous, when we consider that such
knowledge constitutes the true immediate precedent condition of action.
The pseudoconcepts must be retranslated into individual judgments, in
order that they may be able to form the basis of action, for which,
as is justly remarked, we require direct and concrete perceptions of
actual situations. Formulæ and abstractions aid perception only in an
indirect and subsidiary manner.

The so-called combined or _composite_ forms in which two or more
original forms are brought together, must also be rejected, for the
reason already given, that composite concepts do not exist in pure
Logical thought, and consequently cannot exist in the Science of
Logic, which is the science of that thought. The composite form, then,
is an empirical and arbitrary determination, as may be observed, for
instance, in the case in which we speak of an empirico-philosophic
concept, that is, of the union (which is a successive enunciation) of
an empirical concept and a philosophic concept.

[Sidenote: _Identity of cognitive forms and forms of knowledge.
Objections to it._]

The cognitive forms having thus been established, we pass on to
the question, what and how many and of what kind are the _forms of
knowledge._ The reply must be that the forms of knowledge (for example,
History and the natural Sciences) cannot be anything but identical with
the cognitive forms, and of the same kind and same number as they. The
first of these statements finds itself at once at issue with common
thought, in which a profound distinction is drawn between the ordinary
and the scientific man, the profane and the philosopher, the poet and
the non-poet, the ignorant and the learned, layman and clergy; and
again, between conversation and science, effusion of the soul and
art, collection of facts and history, good sense and philosophy. It
is thought that acquaintance belongs to all: every one communicates
his sentiments, narrates his experiences and those of others, reasons,
classifies and calculates. But art, philosophy, history and science are
believed to belong to the few. That alone deserves those solemn names,
which is the result of exceptional moments, when man is more than man,
or at least when he is no longer one of the crowd, but belongs to an

[Sidenote: _Empirical distinctions and their limits. _]

And, certainly, these distinctions are useful, and therefore necessary
in practice. We all feel the need of creating an aristocracy of men and
things; of distinguishing the word that a sergeant whispers in the ear
of a maid-servant from a sonnet or a symphony; the proverbs of Sancho
Panza from a treatise on Ethics; and the report of a police-agent from
the history of Rome or of England. We distinguish the classification
of the glasses and bowls in use at home from that of Mineralogy or
of Zoology; the reckoning of our daily expenses from the calculation
of the astronomer; and, finally, Tom, Dick and Harry from Aeschylus,
Plato, Thucydides, Hippocrates and Euclid. The _odi profanum vulgus_ is
a motto that should be appropriated by whosoever labours to promote
the life of thought and of art, yet not without adding to it Ariosto's
post-script: "Nor do I wish to absolve any from the name of vulgar,
save the prudent."

But, admitting all this, we must recognize not less energetically
that these distinctions, imposed by the necessities of life, have in
philosophy no value at all, and that their introduction there, if it
has some excuse in professional custom, is nevertheless the way to shut
off from us for ever all understanding both of the forms of knowledge
and of those of acquaintance. Man is complete man at every instant
and in every man; the spirit is always whole in every individuation
of itself. The philosopher in the highest sense (in the philosopher
worthy of the name) could be defined as one who raises doubts, collects
difficulties, and formulates problems, intent upon clearing up doubts,
upon levelling difficulties, and upon solving problems; the artist as
a man who limits himself to looking and to recording the significance
of what he has seen. In this case, the ordinary man would be he who
encounters no theoretic difficulties and is unaware of spectacles
worthy of contemplation. But in reality the ordinary man also sets
himself problems and solves them, contemplates and expresses the
spectacle of the real. The distinction has value, therefore, only in
descriptive Psychology, which passes in review types of reality and
the perfected organs, so to speak, which reality creates for itself in
great philosophers and great poets. But what empiricism always divides,
philosophy must always unite. To be scandalized when some one speaks of
the poetry, philosophy, science, mathematics, which are in every one's
mouth; to mock those who unify and identify; to appeal to good sense
and to threaten the madhouse, are things that reveal much pedantry
but no humanity, or, at most, very little. It is foolish to fear that
such an identification as we propose will lessen the importance of the
forms of knowledge and render trivial divine Poetry, lofty Philosophy,
severe History, serious Science and ingenious Mathematics. As the hero
is not outside humanity, but is he in whom the soul of the people is
concentrated and made powerful, so poetry, philosophy, science and
history, aristocratically circumscribed, are the most conspicuous
manifestations attained by the elementary forms of acquaintance
themselves. Such they could not be, were they not all one with them,
just as the mountains could not be, were it not for the earth upon
which they are raised and of which they are constituted.

It might be said that the forms of knowledge are rich and complex
manifestations of the human spirit, if this statement did not open
the way to another common prejudice, to the belief that to each of
those forms (for instance, to Art, History and Philosophy) several
spiritual activities contribute. Were this so, we should have before
us a mixture, not a product of an unique and original character, such
as we find, as a matter of fact, in a work of Art, a philosophic
theory, a narrative, and a theorem. By the law of the unity of the
spirit all the forms of the spirit are implicit in one another; and the
results, previously obtained from the various forms, condition each
one of them. But each one of them is, explicitly, itself and not the
others; it absorbs and transforms the results of the others; it does
not leave them within itself as extraneous elements, and it therefore
makes of them its own results. The strength of each one of those
forms of knowledge lies precisely in this _purity,_ which persists
in the greatest complexity. A great poem is as homogeneous as the
shortest lyric or as a verse; a philosophic system as homogeneous as a
definition; the most complicated calculations as the addition of "two
and two make four."

[Sidenote: _Enumeration and determination of the forms of knowing,
corresponding to the forms of acquaintance._]

If the forms of acquaintance and the forms of knowledge be identical,
it is proved thereby that the second are as many and of the same
sort as the first; and the existence of combined or composite forms
is also excluded from the forms of knowledge. Thus we are henceforth
freed from the obligation of enquiring into the particular nature of
the various forms of knowledge, a task that we have already fulfilled
when enquiring into the forms of acquaintance. It is sufficient to
name them (in correspondence) with the names already given to the
forms of acquaintance, for thus they will be clearly distinguished and
completely enumerated. The method of denomination itself will not be
new and surprising, because it has been, as it were, anticipated, and
foreseen from the examples of which we have availed ourselves above,
and also from some terminological references. We have now only to make
it manifest, to declare it, so to speak, in clear tones.

Pure intuition is the theoretic form of Art (or of _Poetry,_ if we wish
to extend to the whole of æsthetic production the name given to a group
of works of art); and art cannot be otherwise defined than as pure
intuition. The thinking of the pure concept, of the concept as itself,
of the universal that is truly universal and not mere generality or
abstraction, is _Philosophy,_ and Philosophy cannot be otherwise
defined than as the thinking, or the conceiving of the pure concept.
And since the pure concept can be expressed either in the form of
definition or in that of individual judgment, there corresponds to this
duplication the distinction of the two forms of knowing, _Philosophy
in the strict sense, and History._ The method of treatment called
_empirical Science or natural Science,_ or most commonly in our time,
_Science,_ is composed of those pseudoconcepts known as representative
or empirical or classificatory. The mathematical Sciences are
composed of abstract, enumerative and mensurative pseudoconcepts,
and the application of the second of these, by means of the first,
to individual judgments, is nothing else than what is called the
_mathematical Science of nature._

[Sidenote: _Critique of the idea of a special Logic as doctrine of the
forms of knowledge,_]

It is usual for the treatment of the forms of knowledge to be presented
in the majority of treatises as a _special_ or _applied Logic_;
following _general_ or _pure Logic,_ which has for its object the
specific forms of acquaintance alone, or as it is significantly
expressed, the _elementary_ forms of acquaintance. But we cannot admit
the existence of such a Logic, for the reasons already given. The
elementary or fundamental forms are the only forms philosophically
conceivable and really existing, and the whole of logical Science is
exhausted in them. There is no duality of grades for logical Science
any more than for Philosophy in general. And as no special Æsthetic
exists independent of general Æsthetic, no special Ethic and Economic
independent of general Economic, so there is not a _general_ Logic
alongside of a _special_ Logic.

[Sidenote: _and as doctrine of methods._]

Special Logic is also inadmissible, when it is presented as doctrine
of _methods,_ and especially of demonstrative or intrinsic methods.
The method of a form of knowledge and in general of a form of the
spirit, is not something different or even distinguishable from this
form itself. The method of poetry is poetry, the method of philosophy
is philosophy, the method of mathematics is mathematics, and so on.
Only by means of empirical abstraction is the method separated from the
activity itself; and when this duality has been created, we are led
to add to it a third term, which is called the _object_ of that form.
But since the method is the form itself, so form and method are the
object itself. Certainly, all the forms of the spirit have a common
object, which is Reality; but this is not because reality is separated
from them, but because they are reality: they therefore _have_ not, but
_are_ this object. Thus the forms of knowledge have not a theoretic
object, but create it: they themselves are that object. Philosophy has
the pure concept for method and object; art has intuition; science
the empirical concept, and so on. If we wished to treat of methods in
a special Logic, we could not do otherwise than repeat what we have
already said in respect to the character of each form.

[Sidenote: _Nature of our treatise in respect to the forms of

All this amounts to saying that the things we shall discuss concerning
the various forms of knowledge are not to be understood as a special
Logic, although they are grouped in a second part for literary reasons.
There we shall examine one by one the various forms of knowledge,
in order to confirm their identity with the forms of awareness and
to demonstrate how the characters adopted by them are reducible to
those already explained for the others, and how the difficulties
found in them are overcome by means of the same principles that we
employed to overcome the difficulties presented by the others. In
so doing, we shall also gain the advantage of making more clear the
doctrines already laid down as to the elementary forms, by fixing
our attention upon those manifestations of them which are presented
on a larger scale. To those who forget or deny the existence of the
pure concept or of the abstract concept, it will be of assistance,
in giving the speculative deduction of those forms, to point out the
masterpieces of Art, of Philosophy, or of Mathematics, and to invite an
examination of their structure. It is true that in our day preference
is given to another method, which is not only antiphilosophical but
also antipædagogic. This method consists in altogether neglecting
philosophic demonstration in the attempt to divert the attention from
notable and luminous manifestations of the spirit, in order to devote
it to rude and uncertain manifestations. Inscriptions of savages are
preferred to the art of Michael Angelo, the philosophy that is still
crudely enveloped in religion and custom to that of civilized times,
something whose nature none can tell precisely, owing to lack of
documents and the elements of research, to what is evidently art and
philosophy. Such enquirers adopt precisely an opposite course to that
followed by the sciences of observation, which have made telescopes
and microscopes to enlarge the little and bring the distant near.
They seek for instruments which shall diminish the great and make the
near remote. Theirs is a strange empirical caricature of philosophy,
which substitutes the chronologically remote for the fundamentally
conceptual, and for the logically simple, the materially small, which
is not, on that account, simple and is far less transparent. For our
part (and we say it in passing), we believe that to furnish examples
of where to fix the attention in logical enquiry, the minds of an
Aristotle or of a Kant afford all we require, without there being any
necessity to have recourse to the psychology of sucklings and idiots.
But to study Aristotle and Kant does not suffice for knowledge of the
truth of the concept. We must find in all beings of whatever grade and
importance, the universal Spirit and its eternal forms.

And since we have studied the first and most ingenuous form of
knowledge, Art, in a special volume, we shall here begin our
examination of the second of its forms, Philosophy; and first of all,
of Philosophy _in the strict sense._



[Sidenote: _Philosophy as pure concept and the various definitions of
philosophy. Those which deny philosophy._]

All the definitions that have ever been given of philosophy will be
found to contain the thought that philosophy is the pure concept
(or to say the same thing with more words and less precision), that
it has the pure concept as its directive criterion. All, be it well
understood, save those which, in negating the pure concept, negate also
the peculiar nature of philosophy. But such are not, properly speaking,
definitions of philosophy, although even these, by contradicting
themselves, imply and assume the definition of philosophy as an
original form, and so as the pure concept. Such is the case with the
theories already examined, of æstheticism, mysticism, and empiricism
(and also of mathematicism), to which we shall return. For them,
philosophy is art, sentiment, the empirical (or abstract) concept.
But it is an art in some way differentiated from the rest of art, a
sentiment that acquires a peculiar value, an empirical or abstract
concept, which raises itself up and looks over the heads of the others.
Thus it is something peculiar, a mode of reflecting _sui generis,_
and so precisely the pure concept. Empiricism especially reveals this
intimate contradiction, when it advocates a philosophy consisting of a
systematization or synthesis of the results of the empirical sciences.
That is to say, it advocates something not given by the empirical
sciences, because, were they to give it, they would already be
systematized and synthesized of themselves, and the further elaboration
asked for would be altogether superfluous.

[Sidenote: _Those that define it as the science of supreme principles,
ultimate causes, etc.; contemplation of death, etc.;_]

All the other definitions which presuppose the peculiarity of
philosophy are reducible, as is easily seen, to the single character of
the pure concept. Philosophy (they say) is the science of the _supreme
principles of the real,_ the science of _ultimate causes,_ of the
_origin of things,_ and the like. In these propositions, the supreme
principles are evidently not real things, or groups of real things, or
empty formulæ, but the ideal generators of the real. Ultimate causes
are not causes (for the cause is never ultimate, being always the
effect of an antecedent cause), but ideal principles. The origin in
question is not the historical origin of this or that single fact, but
the ideal deduction of the fact from facts or from omnipresent reality.
The same idea is expressed in the imaginative saying that philosophy is
the _contemplation of death._ For what but the individual dies? And is
not the contemplation of the death of the individual also that of the
immortality of the universal? Is it not contemplation of the eternal?
This remark supplies the motive for that other formula which defines
philosophy as "the vision of things _sub specie aeterni._"

[Sidenote: _as elaboration of the concepts, criticism, science of

The character of the pure concept is also indicated in the definition
of philosophy as the _elaboration of the concepts,_ which the other
sciences leave imperfect and self-contradictory. Indeed, since no human
activity has the imperfect and contradictory as its aim, if the other
sciences are involved in imperfect and contradictory concepts, this
means that they do not aim at constructing concepts and that philosophy
alone elaborates true and proper concepts. For this reason, philosophy
has sometimes been conceived, not as science, but as criticism, and
criticism means placing oneself above the object criticized, in virtue
of a concept superior to those criticized. For this reason, finally,
philosophy has been conceived as the science of _norms and values_:
norms and values, which, if they are to surpass singular things, cannot
be extraneous to them. Hence it is the same thing to speak of _norms
and values,_ or of universal concepts, surpassing and containing in
themselves each single thing.

[Sidenote: _as doctrine of the categories._]

If philosophy is the pure concept, it is also the distinctions of
the pure concept; it is all the pure concepts capable of serving as
predicates to individual judgments and so of acting as categories. Here
there is another definition of philosophy: philosophy is the _doctrine
of the categories._ For this reason we have already refused to assign
to Logic the search for the categories: first because the doctrine of
the categories is the whole of Philosophy, whereas Logic is only one
of its links, and consequently seeks only one of the categories, that
of logicity. It could also be said that Philosophy is the doctrine of
the categories, and that Logic, as a part of Philosophy, is a Category
of categories, or a Philosophy of Philosophy. Hence its singular
position among philosophical sciences, so that it appears at the same
time within and without Philosophy, because it completes by surpassing
and surpasses by completing it. In reality, Logic, like every other
philosophic science, is within and not without Philosophy; like the
glassy water which reflects the landscape and is itself part of the

[Sidenote: _Exclusion of mathematical definitions of philosophy._]

These definitions which we have selected to record and to interpret
(and others which we leave to the reader to record and to interpret)
are all _formal,_ in the legitimate sense of the word. They define
the eternal nature of philosophy, they do not determine actually any
special solution of other philosophical problems, although naturally
they do potentially determine one solution, in that they can agree
only with one solution. Obedient to this formal character, we have
not taken and shall not take account of definitions that imply the
effective solution of all philosophical problems, or of Philosophy in
its totality. Such is, for instance, the definition that Philosophy is
knowledge of oneself, as was said at the dawn of Hellenic thought; or
that it is the return to the inward man where dwells the truth, as St.
Augustine said; or that it is the science of Spirit, as we say. This
definition offers something more than the simply logical aspect of
Philosophy. Looked at from the purely logical standpoint, Philosophy
will be the science of God or of the Devil, of Spirit or Matter, of
final cause or mechanism, or of anything else that may be suggested
as a hypothesis for enquiry, provided that this, whatever it be, is
thinkable as a _pure concept or Idea._ Whoever should negate this
condition, would not negate this or that philosophy, but as we have
seen, philosophy itself, in favour of art, of action, or of something

[Sidenote: _Idealism of every philosophy._]

But if Philosophy is by its logical nature pure concept or idea, every
philosophy, to whatever results it may attain, and whatever may be its
errors, is in its essential character and deepest tendency, _idealism._
This has been recognized by philosophers of the most different and
antagonistic views (for example, by Hegel and by Herbart). It should
be taught as truth to those who are ignorant of it and those who have
forgotten should be reminded of it. Determinism negates the end and
affirms the cause; but the cause which it posits as its principle, is
not this or that cause, but the _idea_ of cause. Materialism negates
thought and affirms matter; but not this or that matter, which composes
this or that body, but the _idea_ of matter. Naturalism denies spirit
and affirms nature; not this or that manifestation of nature, but
nature as _idea._ Finally, when a single natural fact seems to be
posited as the principle of explanation of reality, this fact is
idealized and stands as the idea of itself, generating itself and
everything else. Thus (it has been repeatedly remarked) the water
of Thales, by the very fact that it is taken as a principle, is no
longer any given empirical water, but metaphysical and ideal water.
In like manner, the _numbers_ of Pythagoras are not those of the
Pythagorean table, but cosmic principles and ideas. Theism does not
believe it possible to obtain the sufficient reason of reality, without
positing a personal God, above and beyond the world. But this God is
always something non-representative, however much he may be involved
in sensible representation, and placed upon Sinai or Olympus. He is
the idea of personal divinity, the idea of Jehovah or of Jove. The
philosophy which is called idealist in the strict sense of the word (it
would be better called activist or finalist or absolute spiritualism),
strives to prove that, for instance, cause, matter, nature, number,
water, Jehovah, Jove and the like, are not thinkable as pure concepts
and as such imply contradictions, and that therefore such philosophies
are insufficient. This means that it holds the _idealism_ of those
philosophies _insufficient,_ that they are not equal to themselves and
are inadequate to the assumption on which they rest; but it does not
imply that this assumption is not idealistic.

Were it not idealistic, it would not be philosophical, and so it would
not be possible to submit it to criticism from the philosophical point
of view.

[Sidenote: _Systematic character of philosophy._]

From the identity of philosophy with the pure concept can be also
deduced its necessarily _systematic_ character.

To think any pure concept means to think it in its relation of unity
and distinction with all the others. Thus, in reality, what is thought
is never _a_ concept, but _the_ concept, the _system_ of concepts. On
the other hand, to think the concept in general is only possible by
arbitrary abstraction. To think it truly in general, means to think
it also as particular and singular, and so to think the whole system
of distinct concepts. Those who wish to think an isolated concept
philosophically without paying attention to the others, are like
doctors who wish to cure an organ without paying attention to the
organism. Such a mode of treatment may cure the organ, but the organism
dies and with it dies the healed organ a moment after. The true
philosopher, when he makes even the smallest modification in a concept,
has his eye on the whole system, for he knows that this modification,
however small it may seem, modifies to some extent the whole.

[Sidenote: _Philosophic and literary significance of system._]

The systematic character of philosophy, understood logically,
belongs to every single philosophical proposition which is always a
philosophical cosmos, as every drop of water is the ocean, indeed, the
whole world, contracted into that drop of water. It is hardly necessary
to distinguish from this the _literary sense_ of system, which is the
name given to certain forms of exposition, which embrace definite
groups of problems, traditionally held to be those in which philosophy
is contained. When some or many of those groups do not receive explicit
literary treatment, it is said that system is wanting. It is true
that there is wanting the fulfilment of a literary task (or what here
amounts to the same thing, of a pedagogic task); but the system is
there, even in the case when a very specialized problem is treated,
provided it be approached with philosophic and so with systematic
energy. That the same thinker, when he passes to another problem,
should give a wrong solution contradictory to that previously given,
does not prove that he had not at first a system, but that he has lost
it when faced with the new difficulty. He was at first a philosopher
and so systematic; afterwards, not philosopher enough, and so not
sufficiently systematic.

[Sidenote: _Advantages and disadvantages of the literary form of

The traditional groupings of problems, and the construction of system
in the literary and pedagogic sense, certainly have their utility
(all that exists has its proper function and value). They preserve
and promote culture already acquired, by obliging it to examine
difficulties, which, were they neglected, might unexpectedly become
a great hindrance and loss. Hence the love for system, or for the
literary form of system, a love which the author of these pages
also nourishes in his soul and of which he has sought to give some
proof, by writing a _system,_ although it is long since systems have
been written, in Italy at least (unless scholastic manuals be thus
called), and it is no slight merit to have braved the ridicule of the
enterprise. But systems have also the disadvantage of sometimes leading
to a tiresome re-exposition of problems that are out of date and
whose solutions have passed into the common patrimony of culture. The
treatment of these problems is better left to be understood, that time
and space may be gained for the treatment of others more urgent. Hence
the rebellion against system, or against the pedantry which can adhere
to that form of exposition. This rebellion is similar at all points
with that against the pedantry of definition, which is a legitimate
rebellion, yet cannot eliminate the logical form of definition. Instead
of systems, we write monographs, essays, and aphorisms, but these, if
philosophic, will always be inwardly systematic.

[Sidenote: _Genesis of the systematic prejudice and rebellion against

But the rebellion against systems has another more serious cause, less
literary and more philosophical. Sometimes the demand for a system
becomes a _systematic prejudice._ This fact merits explanation, because
thus stated it may reasonably appear to be paradoxical. However could
the demand inherent in a function be changed into a prejudice, or into
an obstacle to that function? Stated in these terms, it certainly
seems inconceivable. But it becomes clear and admissible, when we
remember that philosophical enquiry is both induction and deduction,
the thinking of distinction and the thinking of unity in distinction.
Neither of the two processes, which are one single thing, should be
substituted for or dominate the other. If we think the concept of
morality, it should be placed in relation to and deduced from the
other forms of the spirit and thus from unity; but it must also be
thought in itself. The thinking of the peculiar nature of the moral
act cannot remain isolated and atomic, but unity in its turn cannot
give the character of the moral act, unless this act be present to
the spirit and make itself known for what it is. In the process of
research, it is possible to deduce the moral act from the consideration
of the other activities of the spirit, without thinking it in itself.
But here a _heuristic_ process is adopted, a _hypothesis_ is made,
and this hypothesis must afterwards be verified, in order to become
effective thought and concept. Now the systematic prejudice consists
precisely in thinking the unity without thinking the distinctions, in
deduction without induction, in changing the hypothesis into a concept
without having seriously verified it. Hence analogical constructions
(or falsely analogical, and so metaphysical and fantastic), which take
the place of philosophical distinctions, and hence the systematic
prejudice, which is a _false idea of system._ Against this rebellion
is justified. But the mistake is usually made of discarding the true
demand for system through horror of the false, or of denying the
utility of the analogical process, which is blameable in the system,
but useful in enquiry.

[Sidenote: _Sacred and philosophical numbers; meaning of the demand
which they express._]

Another aspect of this same rebellion which has become universal
in most recent times, is the distrust of or open hostility towards
the search for _symmetry,_ the arrangement of philosophic concepts
in _dyads, triads, quatriads,_ or in other suchlike numbers, which
precisely express symmetry in the ordering of those concepts. And
such distrust will be judged reasonable by any one who recalls the
excesses caused by this love of symmetry and the puerilities to which
some even of the loftiest philosophers abandoned themselves, owing to
their excessive attachment to certain numbers. The pedantry of the
Kantian quatriads and triads is truly insupportable, nor are Hegel's
triads less artificial. These were very often reduced by his disciples
to conjuring tricks and almost to buffoonery. It was natural that
there should be a reaction towards the search for the asymmetrical and
towards the doctrine that the concepts attained cannot be arranged
in a beautiful order, for they change their order from one sphere to
another, but that nevertheless they and no others are the concepts of
reality--inelegant but honest; asymmetrical but true. The reaction
is comprehensible, the distrust justifiable; but the hostility is
certainly unjustifiable. If distinct concepts constitute a unity, they
must of necessity constitute an order or symmetry, of which certain
numbers, that can be called regular, are the expression or symbol. The
concepts of an empirical science may be thirty-seven, eighty-three,
a hundred and thirteen, or as many as you like according as they
are arranged. But the concepts of philosophy will always be dyads,
triads, quatriads and the like, that is to say, an organic unity of
distinctions and a correspondence of parts. For this reason, the human
race has always had _sacred numbers_ in religion and _philosophic
numbers_ in philosophy. Let him laugh who wills; but we do not say
that he laughs well. The criterion of symmetry must not become a
_prejudice._ It must, however, act as a control upon the enquiry that
has been accomplished, since it greatly aids, as a heuristic process,
the enquiry that is yet to be made. Astronomers are praised, when,
thanks to their calculations, supported by the criterion of proportion
and symmetry, they form a hypothesis that a star, unseen at the time,
but which the telescope eventually discovers, must be at a certain
place in the sky. Why should not a philosopher be equally praised, who
deduces that for reasons of symmetry, there must be in the spirit a
form, as yet unobserved, or that for the same reasons, there should
be eliminated a form which does not seem to be eliminable, but which
spoils the symmetry? Why should the spirit be less rhythmical and less
symmetrical than the starry sky?

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of dividing philosophy into general and

When the systematic character of philosophy is conceived in this
way, it is seen that the system is not something superadded, like a
thread used for binding together the various parts of philosophy and
quite external to the objects that it unites, so that we can consider
separately the objects and the thread, the parts and the system. In
philosophy, none of the parts are without the whole, and the whole does
not exist without the parts. Translated into other terms, this means
chat there are not _particular_ philosophic sciences, just as there
is not a _general_ philosophy. We have made use of this proposition,
in order to confute the usual conception of Logic as a prologue to
philosophy, and to show how this error (which in the case of Logic
is supported by special reasons) is the principal source of other
like errors. Thus Metaphysic or Ontology, or some other science,
which is supposed to give the unity of the real, of which the special
philosophic sciences give only the distinctions, is placed before or
after the special philosophic sciences like a prologue or an epilogue.
The truth is that general philosophy is nothing but the special
philosophic sciences, and _vice versa._ The plural and the singular
cannot be separated in the pure concept, where the plural is plural of
the singular, and the singular is singular of the plural.

[Sidenote: _Evils of the conception of a general philosophy, separated
from particular philosophies._]

The destruction of this erroneous idea of a general philosophy has
direct practical, importance. For, once the so-called science has been
constituted, by means of a group of arbitrarily isolated problems,
which really belong to the various sciences called particular, we
are led to believe that true philosophy consists of a medley, in
constant agitation and shock, and that, thanks to this agitation and
these shocks, it becomes ever more worthy of itself, that is, of
being a medley. But the problems of God and of the world, of spirit
and of matter, of thought and of nature, of subject and of object,
of the individual and of the universal, of life and death, torn from
Logic, from Æsthetic, from the Philosophy of the practical, become
insoluble or are solved only in appearance (that is to say, verbally
and imaginatively). Many young men, ignorant of all particular
philosophical knowledge, attack them as if they were the first step
in philosophy, and many old professors find themselves at the end of
their lives in the same state of mental confusion as at the beginning,
indeed with their confusion increased and henceforth inextricable,
owing to the false path that they have followed for so many years.
They have not respected philosophy, in their first relations with it;
they resemble those men who will never really love a woman, because
they failed of respect to women in their youth. On the other hand,
the so-called particular philosophical sciences, deprived of some of
their organs and become blind or deaf or otherwise maimed, fall into
the power of psychologism and empiricism. Hence the empirical and
psychological treatment of Morality, of Æsthetic, and of Logic itself.
In regard to this evil, now more than ever rampant in philosophic
studies, it is necessary to remember, that the history of philosophy
teaches that no philosophic progress has ever been achieved by
so-called general philosophy, but always by discoveries made in one or
other of the so-called special philosophies. The concept of Socrates
and the dialectic of Hegel are discoveries in Logic. Kant's concept
of freedom is a discovery in Ethics. The concept of intuition is a
discovery in Æsthetic. The critique of formalist logic is a discovery
in the Philosophy of language. The old idea of God has been dissolved
by those most modest, yet greatest of men, who contented themselves
with formulating a new proposition on the syllogism or on the will, on
art or history, or with defining the abstract intellect or with fixing
the limits of the fancy. Had we been obliged to await these solutions
from the cultivators of that anæmic general philosophy, the old idea of
God would now be more rife than before. And in truth it is still rife
among those philosophers of whom we have spoken, for it reappears from
the midst of the medley which they stir, either with the name of the
Unknowable, or with the old name that still is reverenced.



[Sidenote: _History as individual judgment._]

Since all the characteristics assigned to Philosophy are verbal
variants of its unique character, which is the pure concept, so all
the characteristics of History can be reduced to the definition and
identification of History with the individual judgment.

History, being the individual judgment, is the synthesis of subject and
predicate, of representation and concept. The intuitive and the logical
elements are both indispensable to it and both are bound together with
an unseverable link.

[Sidenote: _The individual element and historical sources; relics and

Owing to the necessity for the subject or intuitive element, history
cannot be constructed by pure reason. The vision of the thing done
is necessary and is the sole _source_ of history. In treatises upon
historical method the sources are usually divided into _remains_ and
_narratives,_ meaning by remains (_Ueberreste_) the things which
remain as traces of an event (for example, a contract, a letter, a
triumphal arch), and by narratives the accounts of the event as they
have been communicated by those who were more or less eye-witnesses, or
by those who have consulted the notes of eye-witnesses. But, in truth,
narratives are valuable just in so far as it is presumed that they
place us in direct contact with the thing that happened and make us
live it again, drawing it forth from the obscure depth of the memories
that the human race bears with it. Had they not this virtue, they would
be altogether useless, as are the narratives to which for one reason
or another credence is refused. A hundred or a thousand narratives
lacking authenticity are not equal to the poorest authentic document.
An authentic narrative is both a document and remains; it is the
reality of the fact as it was _lived_ and as it vibrates in the spirit
of him who took part in it. The search for veracity and the criticism
of the value of sources are reducible in the ultimate analysis, to the
isolation of this genuine resonance of fact, by its liberation from
perturbing elements, such as the illusions, the false judgments, the
preoccupations and passions of the witness. Only in so far as this can
be successfully done, and in the measure in which it is successful,
do we have the first condition of history as act of cognition--that
something can be _intuited_ and thereby transformable into the
_subject_ of the individual judgment, that is to say, into historical

[Sidenote: _The intuitive faculty in historical research._·]

On this necessity is based the importance which in the examination of
historians is attached to intuition, or touch, or scent, or whatever
else it may be called, that is to say, to the capacity (derived in
part from natural disposition and in part from practical exercise) of
directly intuiting what has occurred, of passing beyond the obstacles
of time and space and the alterations produced by chance or human
passion. An historian without intuitive faculty, or more exactly (since
no one is altogether without it), with but slender intuitive faculty,
is condemned to barrenness, however learned and ingenious he may be in
argument. He finds himself inferior to others, less learned and less
logical than he, inferior even to the uncultured and to the illogical,
when it is a question of feeling what lies beneath words and signs, or
of reproducing in himself what actually happened. For the same reason,
it sometimes happens that an expert in a given trade is astonished to
hear the learned arm-chair historian describe certain orders of facts,
of which he has no experience and of which he talks as a blind man
talks of colours. A sergeant can intuite a march better than a Thiers,
and laugh at the millions of men that Xerxes had led into Greece by
simply enquiring how they were fed. A political schemer understands
a court or ministerial intrigue far better than an honest man like
Muratori. A craftsman can reconstruct the successive brush-strokes and
the traces of change of mind in a picture better than the erudite and
æsthetic historian of art. Historical works perhaps defective or even
failures from other points of view, sometimes fascinate by the proof
they give of freshness of impression: and this quality may serve to
increase our knowledge of facts and to rectify the errors into which
their authors have fallen in other respects. To a historian of the
French Revolution we can pardon even the mistaking of one personage
for another, of a river for a mountain, or the confusion of months and
years, when on the whole he has lived again better than others the soul
of the Jacobins, the spiritual conditions of the mob of Paris, the
attitude of the peasants of Burgundy or of La Vendée. What is called an
historical novel sometimes has in certain respects greater value than
a history, if the novel is inspired by the spirit of the time and the
history contains merely an inventory.

[Sidenote: _The intuitive faculty in historical exposition. Similarity
of history and art._]

The intuitive faculty, indispensable in research, is not less
indispensable in historical exposition; since it is necessary to
intuite the actual fact, not in a fugitive and sketchy manner, but so
firmly as to be able to express it and to fix it in words, in such a
way as to transmit its genuine life to others. Hence the specially
artistic character that must be possessed by true historians. Here
they resemble pure artists, painting pictures, as they do, composing
poems and writing tragic dialogues. Certainly, every thought, even that
of the most abstruse philosopher and mathematician, becomes concrete
in artistic form. But the historian (in the somewhat empirical sense
of the word) approximates much more nearly to those who express pure
intuitions, since he gives literary preference to the subject over
the predicate. This has been generally recognized both by historians,
who have freely presented themselves as bards of their race invoking
the Muse who represents History upon Parnassus, while there is there
no representative of Philosophy, Mathematics, or Science; and by
theorists, who have constantly debated the question as to _whether
history is art._ It seems indeed to be art, when the predicate or
logical element is so well concealed that hardly any attention is paid
to it.

[Sidenote: _Difference between history and art. The predicate or
logical element in history._]

I say _hardly_; because if no attention whatever be paid to it, if
literary emphasis become logical mutilation, art will remain, but
history will have gone. A book of history will no longer merely
_resemble_ a poem or romance, but will _be_ a poem or a romance. What
is it that, from the point of view of intuition, distinguishes an
imaginative vision and an historical narrative? If we open the _Divine
Comedy_ or the _Rime_ of Petrarch and read: "In the middle pathway
of our life, I found myself in a dark forest ...," or, "I raised my
thought to where she whom I seek was and find not upon earth ..."; and
if we open Livy's _History,_ at the place where he recounts the battle
of Cannae, and read: "_Consules satis exploratis itineribus sequentes
Poenum, ut ventum ad Cannas est, ubi in conspecta Poenum habebant,
bina, castra communiunt,"_ nothing at first seems changed; both are
narratives. Yet everything is changed. If we read Livy as we read
Dante or Petrarch, the battle of Cannae in the same way as the voyage
of Dante to the Inferno, or the passage of the spirit of Petrarch to
the third heaven, Livy is no longer Livy, but a story book. In like
manner, if we read a book of stories, as, for example, the _Kings of
France_ or the _Guerin Meschino,_ in the same way as they are read by
the uneducated man of the people, who seeks history in them, the story
book becomes transformed into a historical book, although of a kind
that must be criticized and refuted when a higher degree of culture has
been attained. This suffices to show the importance of that predicate,
which is sometimes left to be understood in the words, but whose
effective presence transforms the pure intuition into the individual
judgment and makes _history_ of a _poem._

[Sidenote: _Vain attempts to eliminate it._]

The necessity of the logical element has been several times denied,
and it has been affirmed that the historian must let things speak for
themselves and put into them nothing of his own. This fine phrase may
have some reference to a-certain truth, as we shall see. But if it is
understood as the exclusion of the logical element in favour of pure
intuition (and worse still, if it intends to exclude also the category
of intuition, for in that case we have simple _muteness),_ it proclaims
the death of history. Without the logical element it is not possible to
say that even the smallest, the most ordinary fact, belonging to our
individual and everyday life, has _occurred;_ as, for instance, that I
rose this morning at eight o'clock and took luncheon at twelve. For (to
give no other reasons) these historical propositions imply the concept
of existence or actuality and the correlative concept of non-existence
or possibility, since in affirming them I also deny that I only dreamed
of rising at eight or of taking luncheon at twelve. All will agree that
we cannot speak of a historical fact if we do not know that it is a
fact, that is to say, something that has happened; even stories become
the object of history, in so far as their existence as stories is
attributed to them. A story, told without knowing or deciding whether
it be or be not a story, is poetry; perceived and told as a story, it
is mythography, that is to say, history; the author of the _Iliad_ or
the author of the _Niebelungen_ is not Adalbert Kuhn, Jacob Grimm or
Max Müller.

[Sidenote: _Extension of historical predicates beyond that of mere

But the criterion of existentiality does not itself suffice, as some
believe, for the effectual constitution of historical narrative. For
what sort of narrative should we have, if we merely said that something
had happened, without saying _what_ had happened? That something has
happened and does happen at every instant, is not, as we know, the
content of historical narrative, because it is the affirmation that
being is, or that becoming is. What has been said of the individual
judgment, namely, that it is constituted by all the predicates
together, that is, of the whole concept, and not by the predicate of
existence alone, torn from the others, must also be said of historical
narrative. It is truly complete and therefore realized, when the
intuition, which supplied it with the rough material, is completely
penetrated by the concept, in its universality, particularity and
singularity. That the consuls, after having sufficiently explored
the routes, followed the Carthaginian, entered Cannae, and seeing
themselves face to face with the army of Hannibal, pitched and
fortified their camp (as runs Livy's narrative), implies a crowd of
concepts, equal in number to the historical affirmations collected in
that sentence. No one ignorant as to what is man, war, army, pursuit,
route, camp, fortification, dream, reality, love, hatred, fatherland,
and so on, is capable of _thinking_ such a sentence as this. And the
obscurity of one of those concepts is sufficient to make it impossible
to form the narrative as a whole, just as any one who does not
understand the meaning of the word _castra_ is not in a position to
understand what forms the argument of Livy's narrative. If the sources
are changed, the historical narrative changes; but this latter changes
no less, if our convictions as to the concepts are changed. The same
matter is differently arranged and gives rise to different histories,
if it is narrated by a savage or a cultured European, by an anarchist
or a conservative, by a protestant or a catholic, by the me of this
moment or the same me of ten years hence. Given that all have the same
documents before them, each one reads in them a different happening.

[Sidenote: _Alleged insuperable variation in judging and presenting
historical facts, and consequent claim for a history without

But the fact here stated seems to lead straight to despair as to the
fate of history, or at least as to its fate, so long as it is bound
to the logical element, to convictions about the concepts. When it is
observed that the same facts are narrated in the most different way;
that what for some is the work of God is for others the work of the
Devil; that what for some is the manifestation of spiritual forces is
for others the product of material movements of the brain, according
as it is well or ill-nourished; that to some the good of life lies in
every explosion and revolt, while to others it lies only in regular
work under the tutelage of laws rigorously observed and made to be
observed,--we arrive at the conclusion of historical scepticism,
namely, that history as usually narrated is nothing but a story woven
from such a state of degeneration seems to be a return to the pure and
simple reproduction of the document, or at least to the pure intuition,
which introduces no element of _judgment,_ or of what is called
_subjective._ But this salvation is only a figure of speech, for pure
intuition is poetry and not history, and to return to it is equivalent
to abolishing history. This, however, is clearly impossible, for the
human race has always narrated its doings, and none of us can dispense
with establishing at every instant how things have happened, what has
really happened, and in what actual or historical conditions he finds

[Sidenote: _Restriction of variations and exclusion of apparent

Historical scepticism is, however, as inexact and one-sided in the
observation of fact as it is puerile in the suggestion of a remedy.
Certainly, there are divergences between the various accounts of
the same fact; but (setting aside _apparent_ divergences, derived
from the different interest taken in a given fact, owing to which
verbal prominence is given to one or to another aspect of it, and
limiting ourselves here to _real_ differences) we must, for the sake
of exactitude, take account of all the no less real agreements, to
be found side by side with these divergences. In virtue of them, for
instance, Protestant and Catholic are unanimous in recognizing that
Luther and Leo X. existed, that the one produced a definite movement
in Germany and that the other had recourse to certain definite
prohibitions; and, finally, both Protestant and Catholic recognize (now
at least) the corruption of the ecclesiastical orders at the beginning
of the sixteenth century, and the mundane and political interests of
the German princes in the wars of religion. In like manner no one,
however revolutionary or conservative he is, will question the bad
condition of French finances at the eve of the Revolution; or that
Louis XVI. convoked the States General; or that he attempted flight
and was stopped at Varennes; or that he was guillotined on the 21st
of January 1793; or that the French Revolution was an event which
profoundly changed the social and moral life of the whole of Europe.
Owing to this substantial agreement between two historians in very many
points, and indeed in the greater part of the narrative, it happens
that we can often read and advise others to read histories that are
tainted with the passions of the partisan, while merely recommending
the reader to make a mental allowance for these passions. In like
manner, we can usefully employ a defective instrument of measurement,
provided we include in the calculation the coefficient of aberration.

[Sidenote: _The overcoming of variations by means of deepening the

As to the remedy, it is clear that if the divergences as to the
concepts arise from ignorance, prejudice, negligence, illegitimate
private or national interests, and from other disturbing passions,
that is to say, from _insufficient conceiving of the concepts,_ or
from inexact thought, the remedy is certainly not to be sought in the
abandonment of concepts and of thought, but in correcting the former
and making perfect the latter. Abandonment would not only be cowardly,
but impossible. Having left the Eden of pure intuition and entered
the field of history, it is not given us to retrace our steps. There
is no returning to blessed and ingenuous ignorance; innocence is lost
for ever, and we must no longer aspire to it, but to virtue, which
is neither innocent nor ingenuous. Why does what seems good to the
Protestant seem bad to the Catholic? Evidently, owing to the different
conception that each forms as to this world and the world above us,
death and life, reason and revelation, criticism and authority, and so
on. It is necessary, then, to open the discussion with the enquiry as
to whether the truth is with the Protestants or with the Catholics,
or whether it be not found rather in a third view, which goes beyond
both. Once a definite result has been obtained, perplexity will be at
an end (at least for him who has attained it), and the narrative can be
constructed with as much security as the available historical sources
permit. The way indicated will seem hard; but it is the only way.
Whoever decides to retain his own opinions, received without criticism,
will perhaps provide for his own convenience, but he will renounce
history and truth. For the rest, we do not here draw up a programme for
the future, but simply establish what history is in its true nature,
and consequently how it is manifested and has _always_ been manifested.
Men in every age have discussed the concepts with which historical
reality has been interpreted and have agreed upon very many points,
as to which there is no longer any discussion. Both Catholics and
Protestants, Revolutionaries and conservatives are, as has been already
remarked, more in agreement than they were formerly; because something
has passed and penetrated from each to each, or rather the _humanity,_
which is in both, has become elevated. Scepticism accomplishes an easy
task, but uses an illusory argument, in history as in philosophy,
when it catalogues the points of disagreement. These are before the
eyes of all, just because they represent the problems which it is
important to solve. Would it not be worth while to keep in view as of
equal importance the points already solved, and to say, for example,
that historians are henceforth agreed that Anchises did not sleep with
Aphrodite, that the wolf did not suckle Romulus and Remus, and that
William Tell did not establish the liberty of the Swiss Cantons? In
short, it would not be easy to find either those who support or those
who deny Mary's immaculate conception. The Catholic writers who insist
upon such disputes are rare, and those who deny are found only in
little democratic journals of the inferior sort or of degraded taste.

[Sidenote: _Subjectivity and objectivity in history: their meaning._]

To drive _subjectivity_ out of history, in order to obtain
_objectivity,_ cannot therefore mean to drive away thought to obtain
intuition, or worse still, to obtain brute matter, which is altogether
inexpressible; but to drive away false thought, or passion that
usurps the place of truth, and to mount to true thought, rigorous
and complete. If we attain to intuition, instead of saving ourselves
from passion we shall burn in its flames. For intuition says nothing
but what we as individuals experience, suffer, and desire. It is
just intuition which, when unduly introduced into history, becomes
subjectivity _sensu deteriori;_ whereas thought is _true subjectivity,_
that of the universal, which is at the same time _true objectivity._

[Sidenote: _Historical judgments of value, and normal or neutral
values. Critique._]

We have thus also solved the question (so much discussed in our day)
as to the _criterion of value_ in history, and whether judgments of
values, as well as judgments of fact belong to the province of the
historian. It is solved, because true judgments of fact, individual
judgments, are precisely judgments of value, or determinations of the
proper quality, and therefore of the meaning and value of the fact.
We admit no other criterion of value than the concept itself. For
this reason, we must also reject the distinction of the _history_ of
fact and the _criticism_ (or valuation) of it. Every history is also
criticism, and every criticism is also history; to say that a thing is
the fact which we call the _Divine Comedy_ is to say what its value
is, and so to criticize it. To think _normal_ or _neutral_ values,
as to which (according to the most modern historical theories) men
of different points of view should agree, seems at the most a mere
_symbol_ of that agreement which men are constantly seeking and
realizing in the subjectivity objectivity of thought. This will never
be a _fact_ completely agreed upon, because it is a perpetual _fieri._
It cannot be expected of the future, because it will belong to the
future, as it belongs and has belonged to the present and to the past.

[Sidenote: _Various legitimate meanings of the protests against
historical subjectivity._]

If the protest against the intrusion of subjectivity into history
cannot logically be said to have any legitimate meaning save that of a
polemic against false subjectivity in favour of true subjectivity, it
may also imply, on the literary side, a question of expediency, namely,
that in the historical work of art greater importance should be given
to the representation of facts than to the theoretical discussion of
concepts. A historical should not be transformed into a philosophical
work. But this is a question that must be studied case by case; for
what harm could it do, if a historian, beginning by writing a history,
were to end by writing a philosophic treatise? Certainly, it would not
be a greater evil than if a philosopher, becoming passionate about the
facts he gives as instances, were gradually to abandon his first plan
and produce a history in place of a system. At bottom it would do no
harm, or very little, provided that such philosophy or such historical
representation were good; and this is precisely what must be examined
case by case. A more appropriate meaning of the polemic against the
subjectivity of history is the recommendation that in narrating
history, _emphatic, negative,_ and _desiderative_ forms should
accompany logical judgments which, as such, are judgments of value,
as little as possible. These forms, it is argued, are justifiable in
relation to the present or immediate past, because they indicate the
direction of the future, but in relation to the remote past they are
usually empty and superfluous. Indeed, to rage against Marius or Sulla,
Cæsar or Pompey, Frederick Barbarossa or the burgesses of Lombardy, is
somewhat vain, because those historical personages have, in general,
no near or practical interest. But, on the other hand, it is also true
that these characters always have some near and practical interest,
and in that measure we cannot prevent history, even of the remote
past, being here and there revived with the accents of our present
and of our future. Still more legitimate is the significance of that
polemic when the intention is to blame the habit of those who assume
the functions of praise or blame, in relation not only to men, but to
historical events. They applaud paganism, abuse Christianity, weep
over the fall of the Roman Empire, deplore the formation of Islamism,
regret that Buddhism should not have been disseminated in Europe,
sympathize with the Reformation, or disapprove of Catholicism after
the Council of Trent. To them was addressed the saying that history
is not to be judged but to be narrated. But it would be more accurate
to say that history is not to be judged by the categories by which we
judge the actions of individuals, which are subject to the dialectic
of good and evil, because the action of an individual differs from the
historical event, which transcends individual wills. But the definition
of individuality and of event goes outside the gnoseology of history,
and more properly belongs to the Philosophy of the Practical.[1]

[Sidenote: _The demand for a theory of historical facts._]

The conviction that has been gained as to the necessity of the logical
element, of concepts, criteria, or values, for the formation of
narrative, has induced some to demand, not only that the historian
should continually have clearly and firmly in mind the concepts that
he employs and his intention in employing them, but that a _theory
of historical factors_ or, as others call it, a _table of values,_
should be constructed, which should serve as foundation for historical
narrative in general. The demand is exactly similar to that of the man
who, observing that electricians or metal-founders employ physical
forces, demands the construction of a physical theory to serve as the
basis of industry; as if Physics did not exist and supply the basis
for industry; or as if the sciences changed their nature, according
to the men who employ them. The theory of historical factors, or the
table of values, exists, and is called _Philosophy,_ whose precise
business it is to define _universals,_ which are _factors_ and not
facts, and to give the table of _values,_ which are _categories._ At
the most this demand might be taken to suggest the recommendation of a
popular philosophy, for the use of professional historians; but this
too exists and is natural _good sense. A_ historian who entertains
doubts as to the deliverances of good sense begins to philosophize
(in the restricted and professional sense of the word), and once he
has done this, what is called popular philosophy no longer suffices
him, or serves only to make his mental condition worse, with its
insufficient nourishment. Books on the teaching of history which abound
in our literature of to-day are proof of this. Disquisitions as to
the _predominance_ or the _fundamental_ character of this or that
historical factor belong to this popular and more or less dilettante
literature. In strict philosophy, such problems do not arise, or are
promptly dissolved, because it is known that, since every fact of
reality depends upon another fact, so also every factor, or every
constitutive element of the spirit and of reality, is such only in
union with other factors and elements. None of them predominates,
because measures of greater or less are not used in philosophy, and
none is fundamental, because all are fundamental.

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of dividing history according to its
intuitive and reflective elements._]

The representative and conceptual elements in historical judgment
are not separable or even, strictly, distinguishable unless it is
intended to dissolve the historical narrative in order to return to
pure intuition. This too is a corollary of what has been said on the
individual judgment. For this reason, every division of history, based
upon the presence or absence of one or other of these elements, must
be held to be without truth. Of this kind is the once popular division
into _picturesque_ and _reflective_ or _thinking_ history. But this
division designates not two kinds of history, but rather, on the one
hand, the return to indiscriminate intuition, and on the other, true
history, which is intuition thought or reflected. The same false
division is sometimes expressed in the terms _chronicle_ and _history,_
or _narrative_ and _philosophic_ history.

[Sidenote: _Empirical nature of the division of the historical process
into four stages._]

Outside the individual judgment, there is neither subject nor
predicate. Outside the narrative, which synthesizes representation and
concept, and by representing gives existence and judgment, there is no
history. Technical manuals usually divide the process of historical
composition into four stages. The first is _heuristic,_ consisting
of the collection of historical material; the second _criticism_ or
_separation_ of it; the third is _interpretation_ or _comprehension,_
the fourth _exposition_ or _narrative._ These distinctions portray the
professional historian's method of work. _First,_ he examines archives
and libraries, _then_ he verifies the authenticity of the documents
found, _then_ he seeks to understand them, and _finally_ he puts his
thoughts on paper and pays attention to the beauty of form of the
exposition. These are doubtless useful didactic distinctions. But it
must be observed that so long as we do not have a historical source
before us (the first stage) the very condition of the birth of history
is wanting. Hence the first stage does not belong to historical work,
but to the practical stage of him who goes in search of a material
object. The second stage is already a complete historical work in
itself, since it consists in establishing, whether a given fact, called
sincere evidence, has really taken place. The third coincides logically
with the second, since it is the same thing to ascertain the value of
a piece of evidence and to pronounce on the reality and quality of the
facts to which it witnesses. The fourth coincides with the second and
third, because it is impossible to think a narrative without speaking
it, that is, without giving to it expressive or verbal form.

[Sidenote: _Divisions founded upon the historical object._]

If history be not divisible on the basis of the presence or absence
of the reflective or representative element, it may well be divided
by taking as basis, either the concept that determines the particular
historical composition, or the representative material that enters into

[Sidenote: _Logical division according to the forms of the spirit._]

The first mode of distinction is rigorous, because founded upon the
character of unity-in-distinction, proper to the pure concept. Thus,
the human mind cannot think history as a whole, save by distinguishing
it at the same time into the history of doing and the history of
knowing, into the history of the practical activity and the history
of æsthetic production, of philosophic thought, and so on. In like
manner, it cannot think any one of these distinctions, save by placing
it in relation with the others, or with the whole, and thinking it
in complete history. Naturally, this intimate, logical unity and
distinction has nothing to do with the _books_ which are called
histories of the practical, philosophic, artistic activities, and the
like. There the correspondence with the division of which we speak is
only approximate, owing to the operation of what we called practical
or economic motives. But every historical proposition, like every
individual judgment, qualifies the real according to one aspect of the
concept, and excludes another, or it qualifies it indeed according to
all its aspects, but distinguishes them, and therefore prevents the
one from intruding upon the other. The literary division of books into
books of practical, philosophic, and artistic history, and so on, gets
its importance from this fundamental distinction, according to which
are also divided the different points of view of historians and the
various interests of their readers.

[Sidenote: _Empirical division of representative material._]

The second mode is, of necessity, empirical, and cannot be carried
out without the introduction of empirical concepts. For otherwise it
would not be possible to keep the representations of reality separate,
since they constitute a continuous and compact series. By means of
empirical concepts, history is divided into the history of the State,
of the Church, of society, of the family, of religion (as distinct
from philosophy), or of philosophy (as distinct from religion). Or,
as the history of philosophy, it is divided into the history of
idealism, of materialism, of scepticism; or as the history of art,
into the history of painting, of poetry, of the drama, of fiction. Or
again, as the history of civilization, it is divided into oriental
history--history of Greece, of Rome, of the Middle Ages, of the
Renaissance, of the Reformation, and so on. Even these last mentioned
criteria (Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, etc.) are empirical concepts
and not representations, because, as we know,[2] the representation
is individual, and when it is made constant and general it is changed
into a concept of the individual, the summary and symbol of several
representations, in fact, the empirical concept. Each one of these
divisions is valid in so far as it is useful; and equally valid, under
a like condition, are all the divisions that have been conceived, and
the infinite number that are conceivable.

[Sidenote: _Empirical concepts in history and the false theory as to
the function that they have there._]

But the failure to understand that the true function of the
introduction of empirical concepts is to divide the mass of historical
facts and to regroup them conveniently for mnemonic purposes, has
greatly interfered with the ideas of logicians as to the writing
of history. Just as the individual judgment presupposes neither
the empirical concept, nor the judgment of classification, nor the
abstract concept, nor the judgment of enumeration, whereas all these
forms presuppose just the individual judgment; so history does not
presuppose classifications conducted from the practical point of
view, or enumerations and statistics, whereas on the other hand all
of these do presuppose history, and without it could not appear. We
should not be deceived by finding them fused in historical works (which
continually have recourse to such aids to memory), nor allow ourselves
to forget that their function is _subservient,_ not _constitutive._
There can be no abstract idea of the Greek, unless we have first known
the individual life of the men called Pericles and Alcibiades. Nor can
there be any enumeration of the Three Hundred of Thermopylæ or of the
Three Hundred of Cremera, except in so far as each was known in his
individual features, and then classified as a citizen of Sparta or a
Roman of the Fabian _gens._ To avail oneself of these simplifications
is not to narrate history, which is already present to the spirit,
but to fix it in the memory and to communicate it to others in an
easier way. Those others, if they have not the capacity to recover
the individual fact beneath those concepts of class and of number,
will understand nothing of history, thus simplified and reduced to a
skeleton for the purposes of communication.

[Sidenote: _Hence comes also the claim to reduce history to a natural

The positivist fiction that _history can be reduced to a science_
(natural science is of course meant) arises from the false
interpretation of the subsidiary character of the pseudoconcepts in
history and from making them a constitutive part of it. History, on
this view, would be rendered a perfect example of what it has hitherto
been only in imperfect outline, a classification and statistical table
of reality. The many practical attempts at such a reduction have
damaged contemporary historical writing not a little, by substituting
colourless formulæ and empty abstractions which are applicable to
several epochs at once or to all times, for the narration of individual
reality. The same tendency appears in what is called _sociologism,_ and
in its polemic against what it calls _psychological_ or _individual_
history, and in favour of _institutional_ or _social_ history. Against
these materialistic reductions of history, the doctrines of _accident_
or of _little causes_ which upset the effects of _great_ causes, are
efficacious and valuable, for these and suchlike absurdities have the
merit of reducing that false reduction to absurdity.

[Sidenote: _and the thesis of the practical character of history._]

By reason of the same erroneous interpretation there has come from
philosophers who are not positivists, the theory that history is
rendered possible only by the intervention of _the practical_ spirit.
On this view, the practical spirit, after establishing practical
values, arranges beneath them the formless material and shapes it into
historical narrative. But the practical spirit is impotent to produce
anything in the field of knowledge; it can act only as the custodian
and administrator of what has already been produced. For this reason,
the theory here referred to, by appealing to the practical spirit,
resolves itself into a complete negation of the value of history as
knowledge. And this negation, though it was certainly not foreseen or
desired by those who maintain the theory, yet is unavoidable.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between historical facts and facts that are not
historical, and its empirical value._]

In this connection, there has also been maintained the importance of
the distinction between historical events and events not worthy of
history, between historical and non-historical, or between teleological
and ateleological personages. Such a distinction, it has been affirmed,
is afforded by the practical spirit. This is true, but for the reason
already given, it amounts to removing all theoretical importance from
the distinction, by emptying it of all cognitive content. In reality,
for the practical economy of social work, for selecting subjects
for books, or for being easily understood in our own speech, it is
necessary to speak of a definite event or of a definite individual as
a thing and person altogether common and unworthy of history. But it
asks the brain of a pedant to imagine that the individual or the event
has thereby been suppressed, we do not say from the field of reality
(which would be too manifestly absurd), but from that of the _narrative
of reality,_ or from history. What is understood forms part of what
is said; and if we did not always imply a mental reference to the men
we call commonplace, and to insignificant facts, which are more or
less excluded from our words, great men and significant events would
also lose all meaning. Such implications are so little eliminated
or eliminable, that they break out and are even verbally expressed,
according to the various interests that determine books on history at
various times. Thus we have seen domestic and social life, neglected
by the old historians, not only gradually assume importance, but throw
wars and diplomatic negotiations into the shade. We have seen the
so-called masses, neglected in favour of the individual genius, in
their turn conquer, and almost eclipse, the heroes (which does not mean
that these latter will not have their revenge). We have seen names,
once hardly mentioned, become attractive and popular, and others, at
one time celebrated, lose their colour and disappear from view. Even
Italian histories of the most recent events afford instances of such
fluctuations. For instance, in the period of the Risorgimento, the
prevailing interest regarded as supremely important and historical,
the formation of Italian nationality, the constitution of the middle
class and of the commune, and popular rebellions against foreigners
or against tyrants. Now it is the social problem and the socialist
movement that dominate, and preference is given to histories of
economic facts, of class struggles and of movements of the proletariat.

[Sidenote: _Professional prejudice and the theory of the practical
character of history._]

Practical preoccupations are so strong with any one engaged in a given
trade, even though it is that of a maker of books of history, as to
suggest almost inevitably the strange doctrine of the _practical_
character of history, or the non-theoretic character of that form,
which is the crowning result of the theoretic spirit, and which alone
gives full truth--if truth is the Knowledge of Reality, and if Reality
is history.

[Footnote 1: See on this point my _Philosophy of the Practical,_ part
i. sect. ii. chaps, v.-vi.]

[Footnote 2: See above, Part I. Sect. I. Chap. IV.]



[Sidenote: _Necessity of the historical element in philosophy._]

The necessity of philosophy as a condition of history has been made
evident from the preceding considerations. It is now necessary
to affirm with no less clearness the necessity of history for
philosophy. If history is impossible without the logical, that is,
the philosophical, element, philosophy is not possible without the
intuitive, or historical element.

For a philosophic proposition, or definition, or system (as we have
called it), appears in the soul of a definite individual at a definite
point of time and space and in definite conditions. It is therefore
historically conditioned. Without the historical conditions that
demand it, the system would not be what it is. The Kantian philosophy
was impossible at the time of Pericles, because it presupposes, for
instance, exact natural science, which developed from the Renaissance
onward. And this presupposes geographical discoveries, industry,
capitalist or civil society, and so on. It presupposes the scepticism
of David Hume, which in its turn presupposes the deism of the beginning
of the eighteenth century, which in its turn is connected with the
religious struggles in England and in all Europe in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, and so on. On the other hand, if Kant were
to live again in our time, he could not write the _Critique of Pure
Reason_ without modifications so profound as to make of it, not only a
new book, but an altogether new philosophy, though containing within
itself his old philosophy. Stiff with old age, he was even capable
of ignoring the interpretations and developments of Fichte, and of
ignoring Schelling. But to-day he could not ignore either of these,
nor Hegel, nor Herbart, nor Schopenhauer. He could not even ignore
the representatives of the mediæval philosophy, which followed the
classical period of modern philosophy; the authors of positivist myths,
Kantian and Hegelian scholastics, the new combinations of Platonism and
Aristotelianism, that is, of pre-Kantian with post-Kantian philosophy,
the new sophists and sceptics, the new Plotinians and Mystics, nor
the states of soul and the facts, which condition all these things.
For the rest, Kant truly lives again in our days, with a different
name (and what is individuality, countersigned with the name, save a
juxtaposition of syllables?) He is the philosopher of our times, in
whom is continued that philosophic thought, which once took, among
others, the Scoto-German name of Kant. And the philosopher of our day,
whether he will it or no, cannot abandon the historical conditions in
which he lives, or so act as to make that not to have happened which
happened before his time. Those events are in his bones, in his flesh
and blood, and it is impossible to drive them out. He must therefore
take account of them, that is, know them historically. The breadth
of his philosophy will depend upon the breadth of his historical
knowledge. If he did not know them, but merely carried them in him as
facts of life, his condition would not differ from that of any animal
(or of ourselves in so far as we are animals or beings that are, or
rather seem to be, completely immersed in will and practice). For the
animal is precisely conditioned by the whole of nature and the whole of
history, but does not know it. The meaning of the demand must therefore
be understood that a truthful answer may be obtained. _History_ must
be known in order to obtain the truth of _philosophy._

[Sidenote: _Historical quality of the culture required in the

This demand is usually expressed in the formula that the philosopher
must be cultured, though it is not clear what is the quality of this
culture that is said to be requisite. Some, especially in our own
days, would wish the philosopher to be a physiologist, a physicist, a
mathematician, that is, that his brain should be full of abstractions,
which are certainly not useless (everything is worth knowing, even the
triviality of girls, for even that is a part of life and of reality),
but which are in no direct relation to that form of knowledge which
must be the condition of philosophy. This form of knowledge is, on the
contrary, history; or, as it is said (with an _a potiori_ intention),
the history of philosophy, which of necessity as the history of a
moment of the spirit, includes all history in itself, as we have shown
above, when criticizing the divisions of history. That is to say, it is
necessary to know the meaning of the problems of our own time, and this
implies knowing also those of the past, in order not to take the former
for the latter and so cause inextricable confusion. And to the extent
that they can be of use according to the requirements of the problem,
we must know also the natural, physical, and mathematical sciences. But
we must _not_ know them _as stick_ and develop them as such, but rather
_as historical knowledge_ concerning the state of the natural sciences,
of physics, and of mathematics, in order to understand the problems
that they help to raise for philosophy.

[Sidenote: _Apparent objections._]

It is vain to set against this the example of great philosophers
without historical culture, as it is vain in the case of the necessity
of historical knowledge for æsthetic criticism to bring forward
instances of those who, although without any historical knowledge,
have yet given far more true and more profound judgments upon art
than the historically learned. If those judgments are true, then the
critic supposed to be ignorant of history is not ignorant of it. He has
somehow absorbed, scented in the air, divined with rapid perception
those actual facts that were applicable to the given case. And, on the
other hand, the so-called learned man will not be cultured, because his
erudition is not lively and synthetic. The same happens in the case
of those acute philosophers, who are said to be ignorant of the world
and of history and of the thoughts of other philosophers. It cannot
be denied that much or little history may be learned outside the
usual course of teaching by manuals and by orderly mnemonic methods.
But here, too, the exceptional mode of learning confirms the rule and
does not obviate the usefulness for the majority of the customary
modes of learning. On the other hand, if he who is said empirically to
be without historical knowledge, but is not so in a given instance,
should nevertheless prove really ignorant in other instances, where
his unusual way of learning is not open to him, his philosophy also
suffers. For this reason, those philosophers who are ignorant of
history exhibit deficiencies that have often been deplored. They burst
open doors already opened, they do not avail themselves of important
results, they ignore grave difficulties and objections, they fail
to probe certain problems sufficiently deeply, and show themselves
too insecure and too superficial in others, and so on. Thus is the
customary learning of history avenged upon them: and Herbert Spencer,
who would never read Plato or Kant, is rejected, while Schelling and
Hegel are again in the hands of students.

[Sidenote: _Communication of history as changing of history._]

Philosophy also changes with the change of history, and since history
changes at every moment, philosophy at every moment is new. This can
be observed even in the fact of the communication of philosophy from
one individual to another by means of speech or writing. Change at once
takes place in that transmission. When we have simply created again in
ourselves the thought of a philosopher, we are in the same condition
as he who has enjoyed a sonnet or a melody, by suiting his spirit to
that of the poet or composer. But this does not suffice in philosophy.
We may attain to ecstasy by the recitation of a poem or the execution
of a piece of music, just as it is, without altering it anywhere. But
it does not seem possible to possess a philosophic proposition, save
when we have _translated_ it, as we say, _into our own language,_ when
in reality, relying upon its results, we formulate new philosophic
propositions and solve new problems that have presented themselves in
our souls. For this reason no book ever completely satisfies us. Every
book quenches one thirst, only to give us a new one. So true is this,
that when we have finished reading or are in course of reading, we
often regret that it is impossible to speak with the author. We are led
to say, like Socrates in the _Phædrus,_[1] that written discourses are
like pictures and do not answer questions, but always repeat what has
already been said. Or we lose patience, like that Paduan professor of the
fifteenth century, who, commenting on the jurist Paolo, and annoyed
at the difficulties, exclaimed at a certain point: _"Iste maledictus
Paulus tam obscure loquitur ut, si haberem eum in manibus, eum per
capillos interrogarem!"_ But if instead of the dumb book, we had
before us a living man, a Paolo obliged to be clear, the process would
still be the same: his speech would be translated into our speech, his
problem would arouse in our spirit our own problem.

[Sidenote: _The perpetuity of change._]

The author of a philosophic work is, however, always dissatisfied, for
he feels that his book or treatise hardly suffices for an instant,
but immediately reveals itself as more or less insufficient. For this
reason, to any philosopher, as to any poet, the only works of his
own that bring true satisfaction are those that he has still to do.
Thus every philosopher and every true artist dies unsatisfied, like
Karl Marx, who, when asked in the last year of his life to prepare
a complete edition of his works, replied that he had yet to write
them. He alone is satisfied who at a certain moment ceases to think
and takes to admiring himself, that is to say, the corpse of himself
as a thinker, and is careful, not of art or philosophy, but of his
own person. Yet to no one can even this give the satisfaction he
imagines, for life is no less voracious and insatiable than thought.
In any case, to be satisfied, the author must become philosophically
immobile in a _formula,_ and the reader must content himself with this
formula. Thoughts must become "obtuse and deaf," as Leibnitz called
them, who defined such a spiritual condition as _psittacism._ The
only consolation left to one who does not become immobile is that of
reflecting, like Socrates, that his discourses will not be sterile, but
fruitful. Other discourses will spring from them in his own soul and in
the soul of others, in whom he has sown the _seeds_[2] He will console
himself with the thought that philosophy, like life, is infinite.

[Sidenote: _Surpassing and continuous progress of philosophy._]

The infinity of philosophy, its continuous changing, is not a doing
and an undoing, but a continuous _surpassing of itself._ The new
philosophic proposition is made possible only by the old; the old
lives eternally in the new that follows it and in the new that will
follow that again and make old that other which is new. This suffices
to reassure those minds which are easily led astray and inclined to
lament the vanity of things. Where everything is vain, nothing is
vain; fullness consists precisely in that perpetual becoming vain,
which is the perpetual birth of reality, the eternal becoming. Nobody
renounces love because love is transitory, nor abandons thinking
because his thought will give place to other thoughts. Love passes, but
generates other beings, who will love. Thought passes, but generates
other thoughts, which, in their turn, will excite other thoughts. In
the world of thought also, we survive in our own children: in our
children who contradict us, substitute themselves for us and bury us,
not always with due piety.

[Sidenote: _Meaning of the eternity of philosophy._]

No other meaning but this is to be found in the vaunted eternity
of philosophy in regard to time and space. The eternity of every
philosophic proposition must be affirmed against those who
materialistically consider all propositions as valueless existences,
and fugitives which leave no trace, as phenomena of brute matter,
which alone persists. Philosophic propositions, though historically
conditioned, are not effects produced and determined by these
conditions, but creations of thought, which is continued in and through
them. When they appear to be produced determinately, they must be
held to be, not philosophy, but false philosophy, vital interests
masquerading as thoughts. That alone can be eternal as philosophy,
which is knowledge and truth. But when eternity is misunderstood as
isolation from those conditions, it must then be denied, and in place
of it the thesis of relativity must be admitted, provided we are
careful that it does not assume the erroneous vesture of historical
materialism and economic determinism. The thesis that the history of
philosophy should be treated _psychologically,_ by the attribution
of ideas to the temporal conditions and the personal experiences of
philosophers, to social history and biography, is reducible (and it
is worth while noticing this) to materialism and determinism in its
least evident form, namely psychologism. Such a thesis is the failure
to recognize spiritual value, or at least (as is the case with some
unconscious æstheticists), the logical value of philosophy, whose
history, when changed into that of the expressions of states of the
soul, comes to coincide altogether with the history of poetry and

[Sidenote: _The concept of spontaneous, ingenuous, innate philosophy,
etc., and its meaning._]

The eternity of philosophy is its truth, and the conception which is
sometimes brought forward of a _spontaneous_ or _ingenuous_ or _innate_
or _cryptic_ (_abdita_) philosophy, which alone should be permanent
amid the variations of philosophic opinions, or to which the spirit
should return after many wanderings, is nothing but a symbol of this
truth. The Platonic theory of _reminiscence (anamneisis)_ is reducible
to this conception. In this theory true knowledge is explained as the
recollection of an original state; and it is this reminiscence, as the
restitution of the childish soul, that is described by our Leopardi in
the following verses:

I believe that to know is very often, if we examine it, nothing but to
perceive the folly of beliefs due to habit, and the careful reconquest
of the knowledge of childhood, taken from us by age; for the child
neither knows nor sees more than we, but he does not believe that he
sees and knows.

But such philosophy and such reminiscence are really found only in
propositions historically conditioned. Ingenuous philosophy and
primitive knowledge are nothing but the concept itself of philosophy,
fully realized in all and none. "Platonic reminiscence (explained
Schelling) is the memory of that state, in which we are all one with
nature." But since we are one with nature in every one of our acts,
each one of them demands a special reminiscence and so a new thought.
In like manner, _the state of nature,_ celebrated in moral and
political doctrines (the doctrines of morality and rights), was a state
of perfection which can never be found anywhere in the world or at any
moment of time, because it expressed the very concept of the good, of
virtue and of justice. Socrates, in another Platonic dialogue, spoke
of those true beliefs (doxai aleiteis) as elusive like the statues of
Daedalus, that disappear from the soul, unless one binds them with
rational arguments, and only when thus bound do they from beliefs
become knowledge.[3] Such is ingenuous philosophy, which in reality
exists only when bound and never when loose and ingenuous, as the name
would suggest; philosophy _abdita_ exists only as philosophy _addita._
Certainly, to the consciousness of doctrinaires, obscured with too much
labour, we can sometimes oppose ingenuous consciousness, and to the
pedantry of scholastic treatises we can oppose the truth of proverbs,
of good sense, of children, of the people, or of primitive races. But
we must not forget that in all these cases ingenuous is a metaphor
which designates truth in contradistinction to what is not truth.

[Sidenote: _Philosophy as criticism and polemic._]

The division of philosophy into ingenuous and learned is due to its
convenience and to its didactic value, and in like manner philosophy
properly so-called, or _system,_ is distinguished from philosophy as
_criticism._ The former is looked upon as the solid and permanent
part, the latter as variable and adaptable to times and places,
having as its object the defence of the eternal truths conquered by
the human spirit, against the wiles and assaults of error. In reality
the distinction is empirical: philosophy and philosophical criticism
are the same thing; every affirmation is a negation, every negation
is an affirmation. The critical or negative side is inseparable from
philosophy, which is always substantially a _polemic,_ as can be seen
from the examination of any philosophic writing. Peace-loving people
are fond of recommending abstention from polemics and the expression of
one's own ideas in a _positive_ manner. But only the artist is capable
of expressing his soul without polemic, since it does not consist of
ideas. Ideas are always armed with helmet and lance, and those who wish
to introduce them among men must let them make war. A philosopher, when
he truly abstains from polemics and expresses himself as though he
were pouring out his own soul, has not even begun to philosophize. Or,
having philosophized upon certain problems, he makes, as Plato does,
the act of renunciation when he is confronted with others, feeling that
he has attained to the extreme limit of his powers, and from philosophy
he passes to poetry and prophecy.

[Sidenote: _Identity of philosophy and history._]

Philosophy, then, is neither beyond, nor at the beginning, nor at
the end of history, nor is it achieved in a moment or in any single
moments of history. It is achieved _at every moment_ and is always
completely united to facts and conditioned by historical knowledge. But
this result which we have obtained and which completely coincides with
that of the conditioning of history by philosophy is still somewhat
provisional. Were we to consider it definite, philosophy and history
would appear to be two forms of the spirit, mutually conditioning one
another, or (as has sometimes been trivially remarked) in reciprocal
action. But philosophy and history are not two forms, they are one sole
form: they are not mutually conditioned, but identical. The _a priori_
synthesis, which is the reality of the individual judgment and of the
definition, is also the reality of philosophy and of history. It is the
formula of thought which by constituting itself qualifies intuition
and constitutes history. History does not precede philosophy, nor
philosophy history: both are born at one birth. If it is desired to
give precedence to philosophy, this can only be done in the sense that
the unique form of philosophy-history must take the name and character,
not of intuition, but of what transforms intuition, that is to say, of
thought and of philosophy.

[Sidenote: _Didactic divisions and other reasons for the apparent

Philosophy and history are distinguished, as we know, for didactic
purposes, philosophy being that form of exposition in which special
emphasis is accorded to the concept or system, and history as that form
in which the individual judgment or narrative is specially prominent.
But from the very fact that the narrative includes the concept, every
narrative clarifies and solves philosophic problems. On the other
hand, every system of concepts throws light upon the facts which are
before the spirit. The confirmation of the value of a system resides
in the power of interpreting and narrating history, which it displays.
It is history which is the touchstone of philosophy. It is true that
the two may appear to be different, owing to the external differences
of books, in which only one of the two seems to be treated: and it
is also true that the didactic division is based upon a diversity
of aptitudes, which practice contributes to develop. But, provided
always that the meaning both of a philosophic proposition and of a
historical proposition is fathomed to the bottom, their intrinsic
unity is indubitable. The fact that is so often cited of conflicts
between philosophy and history is in reality a conflict between two
philosophies, the one true and the other false, or both partly true and
partly false. Some thinkers, for instance, are idealist in recounting
history and materialist in their philosophic systems. This means
that two philosophies are at strife within them without either being
sufficiently aware of it. And does it not also happen that we find in
a philosophic exposition propositions that contradict one another and
divergent systems capriciously associated in one system?

From intuition, which is indiscriminate individualization, we rise to
the universal, which is discriminate individualization, from art to
philosophy, which is history. The second stage, precisely because it is
second, is more complex than the first, but this does not imply that
it is, as it were, split into two lesser degrees, philosophy _and_
history. The concept, with one stroke of the wing, affirms itself and
takes possession of the whole of reality, which is not different from
it, but is itself.

_Note._--May I be permitted an explanation concerning the history of
my thought (and also of its criticism owing to their unity already
demonstrated)? Sixteen years ago I began my studies in philosophy with
a memoir entitled _History beneath the general concept of Art_ (1893).
There I maintained, not that history is art (as others have summarized
my thought) but (as indeed the title clearly showed) that history
can be placed beneath the _general_ concept of art. I now maintain,
sixteen years after, that, on the contrary, history is philosophy
and that history and philosophy are indeed the same thing. The two
theories are certainly different; but they are far less different
than appears, and the second theory is in any case a development and
perfecting of the first. _Elle a bien changé sur la route,_ without
doubt; but without discontinuity and without gaps. Indeed, the objects
of my memoir were chiefly: (1) to combat the _absorption_ of history,
which the natural sciences were then attempting more than they are
now; (2) the affirmation of the _theoretic_ character of art and of
its _seriousness,_ art being then regarded as a hedonistic fact by the
prevailing positivism; (3) the negation of history as a _third form_
of the theoretic spirit different from the æsthetic form and from that
of thought. I still maintain these three theses intact and they form
part of my _Æsthetic_ and of my _Logic._ But the proper character of
philosophy, so profoundly different from the empirical and abstract
sciences, was not clear to me at the time, and therefore neither was
the difference between philosophic Logic and Logic of classification.
For this reason I was unable completely to solve the problem that I had
proposed to myself. Owing to this confusion of the true universality
of philosophy and of the false universality of the sciences (which is
either mere generality or abstractness) in a single group, it seemed
to me that the concreteness of history could enter only the group of
art, understood in its greater extension (hence the general concept of
art). In this group, by means of the fallacious method of subordination
and co-ordination, I distinguished history as the _representation of
the real,_ placing it without mediation alongside the representation of
the _possible_ (art in the strict sense of the word). When I understood
the true relation between Philosophy and the sciences (a slow progress,
because to reattain to consciousness of what philosophy truly is has
been slow and difficult for the men of my generation), the nature of
history also became somewhat clearer to me as I gradually freed myself
from the remnants of the intellectualistic and naturalistic method.
In the _Æsthetic_ I looked upon that spiritual product as due to the
intersection of philosophy and of art. In the _Outlines of Logic_ I
made another step in advance, history there appearing to me as the
ultimate result of the theoretic spirit, the sea into which flowed the
river of art, swelled with that of philosophy. The complete identity of
history and of philosophy was, however, always half-hidden from me,
because in me the prejudice still persisted that philosophy might have
a form in a certain way free from the bonds of history, and constitute
in relation to it a prior and independent moment of the spirit. That is
to say, something abstract persisted in my idea of philosophy. But this
prejudice and this abstractness have been vanquished little by little.
And not only have my studies in the Philosophy of the practical greatly
helped me to vanquish them, but also and above all, the studies of my
dearest friend Giovanni Gentile (to whom my mental life owes many other
aids and stimulations), concerning the relation between philosophy
and history of philosophy (cf. now especially _Critica,_ vii. pp.
142-9). In short, I have gradually passed from the accentuation of the
character of concreteness, which history possesses in relation to the
empirical and abstract sciences, to the accentuation of the concrete
character of philosophy. And having completed the elimination of the
double abstractness, the two concretenesses (that which I had first of
all claimed for history, and that which I have afterwards claimed for
philosophy) have finally revealed themselves to me as one. Thus I can
now no longer accept without demur my old theory, which is not the new
one, but is linked to it by such close bonds.

Such is the road I have travelled, and I wished especially to describe
it, in order to leave no misunderstandings which, through my neglect,
might lead others into error.

[Footnote 1: _Phædrus,_ 275.]

[Footnote 2: _Phædrus,_ 276-7.]µ

[Footnote 3: _Meno,_ 97-8.]



[Sidenote: _The natural sciences as empirical concepts, and their
practical nature._]

The natural sciences are nothing but edifices of pseudoconcepts, and
precisely of that sort of pseudoconcept that we have distinguished from
the others as _empirical_ or _representative._

This is evident also from the definitions that they assume as _sciences
of phenomena,_ in opposition to philosophy, the science of _noumena_;
and as _sciences of facts,_ again in opposition to philosophy, which
is taken to be the science of _values._ But the pure phenomenon is not
known to science; it is represented by art: and the noumena, in so far
as they are known, are also phenomena, since it would be arbitrary to
break up unity and synthesis. In like manner, true values are facts,
and, on the other hand, facts without the determination of value and of
universality dissolve again into pure phenomena. Hence it is possible
to conclude that those sciences offer neither pure phenomena nor mere
facts, but, on the contrary, develop representative concepts, which
are not intuitions, but spiritual formations of a practical nature.

[Sidenote: _Elimination of a misunderstanding concerning this practical

The word "practical" having been pronounced, it behoves us to eliminate
a misapprehension which leads to the natural sciences (or simply
_sciences,_ as they are also called) being said to be practical, in the
same sense as those whose aim is action. Bacon was a fervent apostle
of the naturalistic movement of modern times and full of this latter
idea or preconception. He proclaimed to satiety that _meta scientiarum
non aha est quam ut dotetur vita humana novis inventis et copiis_;
that they propose to themselves _potentiae et amplitudinis humanae
fines in latim proferre_; and that, by means of them, reality _ad
usus vitae humanae subigitur_[1] But in our day also, many theorists
do not tire of repeating that the sciences are _ordonnées à faction._
Now, this does not suffice to describe the natural sciences, because
all knowledge is directed to action, art, philosophy, and history
alike, which last, by providing knowledge of the actual situation, is
the true and complete precedent and fact, preparatory to action.[2]
The misapprehension in favour of the natural sciences arises from
the vulgar idea that the only practical things in life are eating,
drinking, clothes, and shelter. It is forgotten that man does not
live by bread alone, and that bread itself is a spiritual food if
it increase the force of spiritual life. But further: the natural
sciences, just because they are composed of empirical concepts (which
are not true knowledge), do not _directly_ subserve action, since
in order to act it is necessary to return from them to the precise
knowledge of the individual actual situation. That is to say, in
ordinary parlance, _abstractions_ must be set aside and it must
be seen _how things_ truly and properly _stand._ The patient, the
individual patient, is treated, not the malady; Socrates or Callias
(as Aristotle said), not man in general: θεραπευτὸν τὸ καθ' ἕκαστον:
knowledge of _materia medica_ does not suffice; the _clinical eye_ is
needed. The natural sciences are not directed to action, but _are,_
themselves, actions: their practical character is not extrinsic, but
_constitutive._ They are actions, and are therefore not directed to
action, but to aid the cognitive spirit. Thus they subserve action
(that is, other actions) only in an indirect way. If an action does not
become knowledge, it cannot give rise: to a new action.

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of unifying them in a concept._]

The empirical character (and the practical character in the sense
already established) of the natural sciences is commonly admitted in
the case of such of them as consist in classifications of facts: for
example, of zoology, botany, mineralogy, and also of chemistry, in so
far as it enumerates chemical species, and of physics, in so far as
it enumerates classes of phenomena or physical forces. The universals
of all these sciences are quite arbitrary, for it is impossible to
find an exact boundary between the concept of animal (the universal
of zoology) and that of vegetable (the universal of botany). Indeed
it is impossible to find one between the living and the not living,
the organic and the material. Finally, the cellule, which is, for the
present at any rate, the highest concept of the biological sciences,
is differentiated from chemical facts only in an external way. It will
be objected that there is in any case no lack of attempts to determine
strictly the supreme concepts of the sciences, such, for instance, as
those that place the _atom_ at the beginning of all things and attempt
to show each individual fact as nothing but a different aggregate of
atoms. There are also those who mount to the concept of _ether_ or of
_energy_ and declare all individual facts to be nothing but different
forms of energy. Or finally, the vitalists recognize as irreducible
the two concepts of the teleological and the mechanical, of organic
and inorganic, of life and matter. But in all these cases _the natural
sciences are deserted,_ phenomena are abandoned for noumena, and
philosophic explanations are offered. These may or may not have value,
but they are of no use from the point of view of the natural sciences,
or at most ensure to some professor the insipid pleasure of calling an
animal "a complex of atoms," heat "a form of energy," and the cellule
"vital force."

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of introducing into them strict divisions._]

Since the natural sciences cannot be unified in a concept (hence their
ineradicable _plurality_), and therefore remain unsystematic, a mass of
sciences without close relation among themselves, logical distinctions
are not possible in any science. No one will ever be able to prove that
genera and species must be so many and no more, or describe the truly
original character by which one genus may be distinguished from another
genus and one species from another species. The animal species hitherto
described have been calculated it over four hundred thousand, and those
that may yet be described as fifteen millions. These numbers simply
express the impotence of the empirical sciences to exhaust the infinite
and individual forms of the real and the necessity in which they are
placed of stopping at some sort 1 of number, of some hundreds, of some
thousands, or of some millions. Those species, however few or many they
may be, flow one into the other owing to the undeniable conceivability
of graduated, indeed of continuous intermediate forms, which made
evident the arbitrariness of the clean cut made into fact by separating
the wolf from the dog or the panther from the leopard.

[Sidenote: _Laws in the natural sciences, and so called prevision._]

But some doubt is manifested where we pass from classification and
description or from _system_ (as the lack of system of naturalistic
classifications is called, by a curious verbal paradox) to the
consideration of the laws that are posited in those sciences. It is
then perceived that the classification is certainly a simple labour
of preparation, arbitrary, convenient, and nominalistic, but that the
true end of the natural sciences is not the class but the _law._ In the
compass of the law strict accuracy of its truth is indubitable; so much
so that by means of laws it is actually possible to make _previsions_
as to what will happen. This is indeed a miraculous power, which places
the natural sciences above every form of knowledge, and endows them
with an almost magical force, by means of which man, not contented
with knowing what has happened (which is yet so difficult to know), is
capable of knowing even what has not yet happened, what will happen,
or the future! _Prevision_(there must be a clear understanding of the
concepts) is equivalent to _seeing beforehand or prophesying,_ and the
naturalist is thus neither more nor less than a clairvoyant.

[Sidenote: _Empirical character of naturalistic laws._]

The miraculous nature of this boasted power should suffice to make us
doubt whether the law is truly what it is said to be, a strict truth,
quite different from the empirical concept, from the class, and from
the description. In reality, the law is nothing but the empirical
concept itself, the description, class or type, of which we have
just spoken. In philosophy law is a synonym for the pure concept; in
the empirical or natural sciences it is a synonym for the empirical
concept; hence laws are sometimes called _empirical_ laws, or laws of
experience. If they were not empirical, they would not be naturalistic,
but philosophic universals, which, as we have seen, are unfruitful in
the field of the natural sciences. The law of the wolf is the empirical
concept of the wolf: granted that in reality there is found one part
of the representation corresponding to that concept, it is possible to
conclude that the rest is also found. Thus Cuvier (to choose a very
trite example), arranging the types of animals and hence the laws of
the correlations of organs, was able to reconstruct from one surviving
bone the complete fossil animal. In like manner, granted the chemical
concept of water, H2O, and given so much of oxygen and double that
quantity of hydrogen, O and H2, and submitting the two bodies to the
other conditions established by chemistry, it is possible to conclude
that water will be seen to appear. All naturalistic laws are of this
type. Certain naturalists and theorists have reasonably protested
against the division of the natural sciences into descriptive and
explicative, sciences of classification and sciences of laws, and have
maintained that all have one common character, namely, law. But this
is not because the law is superior to the class or to the empirical
concept, but because the two things are identical: the law is the
empirical concept and the empirical concept is the law.

[Sidenote: _The postulate of the uniformity of nature, and its

The postulate of the _constancy or uniformity of nature_ is the
base of _empirical laws or concepts._ This, too, is something
mysterious, before which many are ready to bow, seized with reverence
and sacred terror. But that postulate is not even an hypothesis,
somehow conceivable, though not yet explained and demonstrated.
Ordinary thought, like philosophical thought, knows that reality is
neither constant nor uniform, and indeed that it is perpetually being
transformed, evolving and becoming. That constancy and uniformity,
which is postulated and falsely believed to be objective reality,
is the same _practical necessity_ which leads to the neglect of
differences and to the looking upon the different as uniform, the
changeable as constant. The postulate of the uniformity of nature is
the demand for a treatment of reality made uniform for reasons of
convenience. _Natura non facit saltus_ means: _mens non facit saltus in
naturae cogitatione,_ or, better still, _memoriae usus saltus naturae

[Sidenote: _Pretended inevitability of natural laws._]

Another consequence of this is the inversion of the assertion (to be
found everywhere in the rhetoric of the natural sciences) as to the
_inexorability and inevitability_ of the laws of nature. Those laws,
precisely because they are arbitrary constructions of our own and give
the movable as fixed, are not only not inevitable and do sometimes
afford exceptions; but there _is_ absolutely _no real fact,_ which is
not an _exception_ to its naturalistic law. By coupling a wolf and a
she-wolf we obtain a wolf cub, which will in time become a new wolf,
with the appearance, the strength, and the habits of its parents. But
this wolf will not be identical with its parents. Otherwise how could
wolves ever evolve with the evolution of the whole of reality, of which
they are an indivisible part? By chemical analysis of a litre of water
we obtain H2O; but if we again combine H2O, the water that we obtain
is only in a way of speaking the same as before. For that combining
and recombining must have produced some modification (even though not
perceived by us), and in any case changes have occurred in reality
in the subsequent moment, from which the water is not separable, and
therefore in the water itself taken in its concreteness. We could
consequently give the following definition: the _inexorable_ laws of
nature are those that _are violated at every moment,_ while philosophic
laws are by definition those that are _at every moment observed._
But in what way they are observed cannot be known, save by means of
history, and therefore true knowledge knows nothing of previsions;
it knows only facts that have really happened; of the future there
can be no knowledge. The natural sciences, which do not furnish real
knowledge, have, if possible, even less right (if one may speak thus)
to talk of previsions.

Yet, it will be objected, it is a fact that we all form previsions,
and that without them we should neither be able to cook an egg nor
to take one step out of doors. That is quite true, but those alleged
previsions are merely the summary of what we know by experience to
have happened, and according to which we resolve upon our action. We
know what has happened. We do not know, nor do we need to know, what
will happen. Were any one truly to wish to know it, he would no longer
be able to move and would be seized with such perplexity before life,
that he would kill himself in desperation or die of fear. The egg,
which usually takes five minutes to cook in the way that suits my
taste, sometimes surprises me by presenting itself to my palate after
those five minutes, either as too much or too little cooked; the step
taken out of doors is sometimes a fall on the threshold. Nevertheless,
the knowledge of this does not prevent me from leaving the house and
cooking the egg, for I must walk and take nourishment. The laws of my
individual being, of my temperament, of my aptitudes, of my forces,
that is, the knowledge of my past, make me resolve to undertake a
journey, as I did twenty years ago, to begin work upon a statue, as I
did ten years ago. Alas! I had not considered that in the meantime my
legs have lost their strength and my arm has begun to tremble. By all
means call the previsions made use of in these cases true or false;
but do not forget that they are nothing but empirical concepts, that
is to say, mnemonic devices, founded upon historical judgments. There
can be no doubt that they are useful; indeed, what we maintain is that
just because they are useful, they are not true. If they possess any
truth, it resides in the establishment of the fact. That is to say, it
does not reside in the prevision and in the law, but in the historical
judgment which forms its basis.

[Sidenote: _Nature and its various meanings. Nature as passivity and

Having thus made clear the coincidence of empirical concepts and the
natural sciences, we must determine exactly the meaning of the word
"natural," which is used as qualifying these sciences. It has not
seemed advisable to change it, since its use is so deeply rooted,
although we have, on the other hand, already given its synonym in
qualifying these sciences as "empirical." What is _nature_? The first
meaning of "nature" is the "opposite" of "spirit," and designates
the natural or material moment in relation to the spiritual, the
mechanical in relation to the teleological moment, the negative moment
in relation to the positive. Thus, in the transition from one form of
the spirit to another, the inferior form is like matter, ballast, or
obstacle, and so is the negation of the superior form. Hence reality is
imagined as the strife of two forces, the one spiritual and the other
material or natural. It is superfluous to repeat that the two forces
are not two, but one, and that if the negative moment were not, the
positive moment could not be. The pigeon (says Kant), which rises to
take flight, may believe that had it not to vanquish the resistance of
the air, it would fly still better. But the fact is that without that
resistance, it would fall to earth. In this sense, there is no science
of Nature (of matter, passivity, negation, etc.) distinguishable from
that of Spirit, which is the science of itself and of its opposite, and
the science of itself only in so far as it is also the science of its

[Sidenote: _Nature as practical activity._]

But in another sense, _nature_ is, not indeed the opposite of spirit,
but something distinct _in_ the spirit, and especially distinct from
the cognitive spirit, as that form of spirituality and activity
which is not cognitive. A non-theoretical activity, a spirituality
which should not be in itself knowledge, cannot be anything but the
_practical_ form of the spirit, the will. _Man makes himself nature_
at every moment, because at every moment he passes from knowing to
willing and doing and from willing and doing returns to knowing, which
is the basis for new will and action. In this sense, the science of
nature, or the philosophy of nature, could not be anything but the
philosophic science of the will, the Philosophy of the practical.

[Sidenote: _Nature in the gnoseological sense, as naturalistic or
empirical method._]

The natural sciences have nothing to do with a philosophic knowledge
of nature as will, with a Philosophy of the practical. They are, as
has already been said, not knowledge of will, but will; not truth, but
utility. In consequence of this, they extend to the whole of reality,
theoretic and practical, to the products of the theoretic spirit, not
less than to those of the practical spirit; and without knowing any
of them, universally or individually, they manipulate and classify
them all in the way we have seen. They have not therefore a _special
object,_ but _a special mode of treatment,_ their object or matter
being the presupposed philosophic-historical knowledge of the real.
They do not treat of the material and mechanical aspect of the real,
nor even of its non-theoretical, practical, volitional aspect (or what
is incorrectly called the irrational aspect of it). They turn the
theoretical into the practical, and by killing its theoretic life,
make it dead, material, and mechanical. Nature, matter, passivity,
motion _ab extra,_ the inert atom and so on, are not reality and
concepts, but natural science itself in action. Mechanism, logically
considered, is neither a fact nor a mode of knowing the fact. It is a
non-fact, a mode of not-knowing: a practical creation, which is real
only in so far as it becomes itself an object of knowledge. This is the
_gnoseological_ or _gnoseopractical_ meaning of the word "nature," a
meaning which must be kept carefully distinct from the two preceding
meanings. When we speak, for instance, of _matter_ or of _nature_
as not existing, we mean to refer to the puppet of the naturalists,
which the naturalists themselves and the philosophers of naturalism,
forgetting its genesis, take for a real if not a living being. That
matter (said Berkeley) is an abstraction; it is (say we) an empirical
concept, and whoever knows what empirical concepts are will not pretend
that matter or nature exists, simply because it is spoken about.

[Sidenote: _The illusions of materialists and dualists._]

We do not claim to have supplied the full solution of the problem
concerning the dualism or materialism of the real with this discussion
on the theme of Logic. This solution cannot (we repeat) be expected,
save from all the philosophic sciences together, that is to say, from
the complete system. But we can already see, from the logical point
of view, that the dualists and materialists cannot avoid the task of
showing that the nature or matter, which they elevate to a principle of
the real or to one of the two principles of the real, is not: firstly,
the mere negation of the spirit, nor secondly, a form of the spirit,
nor thirdly, the abstraction of the natural sciences. They must also
show that it answers to something conceivable and existing, outside
or above the spirit. Logic can pass onward at this point, saying of
materialists and dualists what Dante said of the devils and the damned
struggling in the lake of burning pitch: "And we leave them thus

[Sidenote: _Nature as empirical distinction of an inferior in relation
to a superior reality._]

The word "nature" has yet a fourth meaning (but this time altogether
empirical), which is clear in those propositions which distinguish
natural life from social life, natural men _(Naturmenschen)_ or savages
from civilized men, and again natural from human beings, animals
from men, and so on. Nature, in this sense, is distinguished from
civilization or humanity, and thus the sole reality is divided into two
classes of beings: natural beings and human beings (which are sometimes
also called spiritual as compared with the former, which are called
material). The vague and empirical nature of this distinction is at
once perceived from the impossibility that we meet with of assigning
boundaries between civilization and the state of nature, between
humanity and animality. Man can be only empirically distinguished
from the animal, the animal from the vegetable, and vegetables from
inorganic beings, which are organic in their own way. Certainly,
what are called _things_ are not organic, for example a mountain or
a plough-share; but they are not organic, because they are not real,
but aggregates, that is to say, empirical concepts. In the same way,
a forest is not organic, though it is composed of things vegetating,
nor a crowd, though composed of men. When we treat of things in the
above sense, we can say with some mathematicians that _things_ do not
exist, but only their _relations._ Hence if the dualists feel able to
affirm that the two classes of beings, natural and human, are based
upon the existence of two different substances and upon the different
proportions of these in each of the two classes, the task of proving
the thinkability of the two substances and the different proportions of
the compound falls upon them.

[Sidenote: _The naturalistic method and the natural sciences as
extended to superior not less than to inferior reality._]

The distinction between nature and spirit being therefore, in this last
sense, altogether empirical, it is clear that the natural sciences
(in the gnoseological or gnoseopractical sense in which we give chem
this name) are not restricted to the development of knowledge relating
to what is called inferior reality, from the animal downwards, leaving
to the sciences of the spirit the knowledge that relates to superior
reality from the animal upwards, that is to say, to man. Sciences
of nature and sciences of the spirit, _orbis naturalis_ and _orbis
intellectuals,_ are also, in this case, partitions and convenient
groupings. All do substantially the same thing, that is to say, they
provide one single homogeneous practical treatment of knowledge.

[Sidenote: _Demand for such an extension, and effective existence of
what is demanded._]

On this unity and homogeneity is based the demand so often made
(especially in the second half of the nineteenth century) for the
extension of _the method of the natural sciences_ to the sciences
of the spirit or moral sciences, the _orbis intellectualis,_ for a
naturalistic treatment of the productions of language and of art, or
of political, social, and religious life. Thus were originated or
prophesied a Psychology, an Æsthetic, an Ethic, a Sociology, _methodo
naturali demonstratae._ It was necessary to draw the attention of those
makers of programmes and advisers (apart from the evil philosophic
intentions, positivist or materialistic, which they nourished in their
bosoms) to the superfluity of their demand, and gently to reprove them
with the old phrase: _Quod petis in manu habes._ Since man was man and
constructed pseudoconcepts and empirical sciences, these naturalistic
classifications have never been limited to animals, plants, and
minerals, nor to physical, chemical, and biological phenomena, but
have been extended to all the manifestations of reality. Naturalistic
Logic, Psychology, Linguistic Sociology and Ethics have not awaited the
nineteenth century ere they should open to the sun. And (without going
too far back in time, or leaving Europe) they already bore flower and
fruit in the Sociology (Politics) of Aristotle, in the Grammatics of
the Alexandrians, in the Poetics and Rhetoric of Aristotle himself, or
of Hermagoras, of Cicero, or of Quintilian, and so on. The novelty of
the nineteenth century has principally consisted in giving the names
_social Physics,_ or the _physico-acoustic science of language_ to what
was once more simply, and perhaps in better taste, called otherwise.
But in saying this we do not wish to deny that certain naturalistic
work has been far more copious in the nineteenth century than in
Greece, and that naturalistic methods have not been applied with
singular acumen and exactitude in those fields of study. Linguistic
affords a case in point, with _its phonetic laws,_ by reason of which
it moves so proudly among its companions.

[Sidenote: _Historical basis of the natural sciences._]

The natural sciences and the empirical concepts which compose them
appear therefore like a tachygraphic transcription upon living and
mutable reality, capable of complete transcription only in terms of
individual representations. But upon what reality? Upon the reality of
the poet, or upon the clarified and existentialized reality of--the
historian? The constructions of the natural sciences take history
for their presupposition, just as judgments of classification take
individual judgments. Were this not so, their economic function would
have no way of expressing itself, from lack of matter whereon to work.
To employ the easy example already given, it would be of no use to the
zoologist to construct types and classes of animals that were certainly
conceivable, but non-existent. For while those types and classes would
distract the attention from the useful and urgent task of summarizing
reality historically given and known, they would not exhaust the
possibilities, which are infinite And if it appear that imaginary
animals are sometimes classified, as for example griffins centaurs,
Pegasi, and sirens, it is easy to see that this is not done in Zoology,
but in another naturalistic science,--comparative Mythology, in which
not animals but the imaginings of men are really classified. These
too are historical facts, because they are imaginings or fancies
historically given. They are not combinations of images which no people
has ever dreamed of, nor any poet represented, for such, as has already
been said, would be infinite in number and food for mere diversion.

[Sidenote: _The question as to whether history is the foundation or the
crown of thought._]

History, which has philosophy for its foundation, becomes in its
turn foundation in the natural sciences. This explains why, with the
controversy as to whether history be a science or an art, there has
always been inextricably connected the other question as to whether
history be the foundation of science or science the foundation of
history. The question finds a solution in the solution of the ambiguity
of the term "science," which is used indifferently, sometimes in the
sense of philosophy, sometimes in that of the natural sciences. If
science is understood as philosophy, history is not its foundation,
indeed philosophy is the foundation of history. Both mingle and are
identified in the sense already explained. If science is understood
as naturalistic science, then history is its necessary foundation or
precedent. Certainly, naturalistic classifications are also reflected
in historical narrative; but, as we have seen, they do not perform a
constitutive function in it; they are of merely subsidiary assistance.

[Sidenote: _Naturalists and historical research._]

But since history is the foundation of the natural sciences, and the
special treatment of perceptive material or historical data by these
sciences does not possess theoretic value, but is valuable merely as
a convenient classification, it is clear that the whole content of
truth of the natural sciences (the measure of truth and reality that at
bottom they contribute) is history. Therefore it is not without reason
that the natural sciences or some of them have been called in the
past _natural history._ History is the hot and fluid mass, which the
naturalist cools and solidifies by pouring it into formal classes and
types. Previous to this manipulation, the naturalist must have thought
as a historian. The matter thus cooled and solidified for preservation
and for transport has no theoretic value, save in so far as it can
again be rendered hot and fluid. Similarly, on the other hand, it is
necessary to revise continually the classifications adopted, returning
to the observation of facts, to simple intuitions and perceptions, to
the historical consideration of reality. The _naturalist_ who makes a
discovery, in so far as he is a discoverer of truth, is a _historical_
discoverer; and revolutions in the natural sciences represent progress
in historical knowledge. Lamarckianism and Darwinism may serve as an
example of this. Naturalists (and we use the word in its ordinary
meaning, applying it to those who explore this "fair family of plants
and animals," and what is called in general the physical world)
feel themselves somewhat humiliated when described as classifiers
careless of truth. But if such classification is exactly what the
natural sciences accomplish from the gnoseological point of view, yet
naturalists as individuals and as corporations of students exercise a
far more substantial and fruitful function. The historical foundation
of the life of the natural sciences is also found in the fact that
a change of historical conditions sometimes renders, if not wholly
useless, at least less useful, certain classifications made with the
object of controlling conditions of life remote from us, or perceptions
concerning life that have now been abandoned. This has occurred
with regard to the classifications of alchemy and of astrology, and
also (passing on to examples from other empirical sciences) to the
descriptive and casuistic portions of feudal law. When the book is no
longer read, the _index_ also falls into disuse.

[Sidenote: _The prejudice as to the non-historicity of nature._]

The strangest of statements, that _nature has no history,_ comes from
forgetting the historical foundation of the natural sciences, from
ignorance that it constitutes their sole truth, and from attributing
theoretic importance to classifications which have merely practical
importance. In this case, nature signifies that reality, from man
downwards, which is empirically called inferior reality. But how, if
it is reality, is it without history? How, if it is reality, is it
not becoming? And further, the thesis is confuted by all the most
attentive studies of so-called inferior reality. To limit ourselves
to the animal kingdom, a century before Darwin the acute intellect
of the Abbé Galiani shook itself free of this prejudice as to the
immobility of animals. He remarks in certain places about cats:
"_A-t-on des naturalistes bien exacts qui nous disent que les chats, il
y a trois mille ans, prenaient les souris, préservaient leurs petits,
connaissaient la vertu médicinale de quelques herbes, ou, pour mieux
dire, de l'herbe, comme ils font à présent? ... Mes recherches sur
les mœurs des chattes m'ont donné des soupçons très forts qu'elles
sont perfectibles; mais au bout d'une longue traînée de siècles,
je crois que tous que les cliats savent est l'ouvrage de quarante à
cinquante mille ans. Nous n'avons que quelques siècles d'histoire
naturelle: ainsi le changement qu'ils auront subi dans ce temps,
est imperceptible."_[3] This slight perceptibility of the relative
changes of what is called nature or inferior reality has contributed
to that prejudice (not to mention the confusion between the fixity
that belongs to naturalistic classifications and reality, which is
always in motion). Nature appears to be motionless, just because of
the slight interest that we take in the shadings of its phenomena and
in their continuous variation. But not only is nature not motionless,
but it is not even true that it proceeds (as the poet says) "with
steps so slow that it seems to stand still." The movement of nature or
inferior reality is fast or slow, neither in less nor greater degree
than human reality, according to the various arbitrary constructions of
empirical concepts which are adopted, and according to the variable and
arbitrary standards of measurement which are applied to them. We watch
with vigilant eye every social movement that can cause a variation in
the price of grain or the value of Stock Exchange securities; but we
do not surprise with equally vigilant eye the revolutions that are
prepared in the bosom of the earth or among the green-clad herbs of the

[Sidenote: _The philosophic foundation of the natural sciences, and the
efficacy of the philosophy that they contain._]

But if history is the foundation of the natural sciences, it follows
from this that those sciences are always based upon a philosophy. This
is indubitable, for the naturalist, however much he be a naturalist, is
above all things a man, and a man without a philosophy (or what comes
to the same thing, without a religion) has not yet been found. This
does not mean that the natural sciences are philosophy. Their special
task is classification, and here they are just as independent and
autonomous as philosophy is incompetent. But philosophy is competent
in philosophy, and so we see that those naturalists who possess
philosophic culture avoid the prejudices, errors, and absurdities
that spring from bad philosophies, and to which other naturalists are
prone. For instance, if the chemist Professor Ostwald had possessed a
better philosophy, he would not have abandoned his good chemistry for
that doubtful mixture of things--his _Philosophy of Nature._ And had
Ernest Haeckel made an elementary study of philosophy, he would never
have given up his researches upon micro-organisms, in order to solve
the riddles of the universe and to falsify the natural sciences. Let
us limit ourselves to these instances, for our life of to-day supplies
innumerable examples of philosophizing men of science, who are as
pernicious to science as they are to philosophy and to culture. The
antithesis between science and philosophy, of which so many speak, is
a dream. The antithesis is between philosophy and philosophy, between
true philosophy and that which is very imperfect and yet very arrogant,
and manifestly active in the brains of many scientists, though it
has nothing to do with the discoveries made in laboratories and

[Sidenote: _Action of the natural sciences upon philosophy, and errors
in conceiving such relation._]

The action of philosophy upon the natural sciences is not constitutive
of them, but preparatory. The action of the natural sciences upon
philosophy is not even preparatory, but merely incidental and
subsidiary, having for its end simplicity of exposition and of
memorizing, just as in history. A very common error, derived from a too
hasty analysis of the forms of spiritual life, is that of looking upon
the empirical and natural sciences as a _preparation_ for philosophy.
But in the achievement of the natural sciences, philosophy has been
cold-shouldered, and to recover it we must seek pure intuition, which
is the necessary and only precedent of logical thought.

Still worse is it, when the natural sciences are considered, not
only as preparation, but just as a first sketch, or a chiselling of
the marble block, from which philosophy will carve the statue. For
this view denies without being aware of it, either the autonomy of
the natural sciences, or that of philosophy, according as either the
philosophic method or the naturalistic method is held to be the method
of truth.

Indeed, in the first case, if the natural sciences be of a philosophic
nature and represent a first approximation to philosophy, they must
disappear when philosophy is evolved, as the provisional disappears
before the definite, as the proof before the printed book. This would
mean that natural sciences as such do not exist and that what really
exists is philosophy. In the second case, if philosophy have the same
nature as the natural sciences, the further development of the first
sketch will always be the work of the naturalistic method, however
refined and however increased in power we may please to imagine it.
Thus, what would really exist would never be philosophy, but always the
natural sciences. This erroneous conception therefore reduces itself
to a denial, either of the natural sciences or of philosophy; either
of the pseudoconcepts or of the pure concepts; a negation that need
not be confuted, because the whole of our exposition of Logic is its
explicit confutation.

[Sidenote: _Motive of these errors: naturalistic philosophy._]

The genesis of such a psychological illusion resides in the fact that
the natural sciences seem to be tormented with the thirst for full and
real truth, and philosophy, on the other hand, to be intent solely
upon correcting the perversions and inexactitudes of the empirical and
natural sciences. But it is a question of likeness or appearance only,
because the thirst for truth belongs not to the natural sciences, but
to philosophy, which lives in all men, and also in the naturalist.
And the philosophic perversions and inexactitudes which have to be
corrected do not form part of the natural sciences (which as such
affirm neither the true nor the false), but to that philosophy which
the naturalist forms and into which he introduces the prejudices
derived from his special business.

[Sidenote: _Philosophy as destroyer of naturalistic philosophy, but not
of the natural sciences. Autonomy of these._]

The proof of the theory here maintained is that even when philosophy
engages in strife with naturalistic prejudices, it dissolves those
prejudices, but does not and could not dissolve the sciences which had
suggested them. Indeed, a philosopher becoming again a naturalist,
cultivates those sciences successfully, just as his philosophizing
does not forbid his going into the garden and there scenting and
pruning the plants. The naturalistic sciences of language and of art,
of morality, of rights and of economics (to take instances from the
intellectual world, which seem to have closer contact with philosophy),
are not only what is called the _empirical stage_ of the corresponding
philosophic disciplines, but persist and will persist side by side with
them, because they render services which cannot be replaced. Thus there
is no philosophy of language and of art which can expel from their
proper spheres, even if it does expel them from its own, empirical
Linguistic, Grammar, Phonetics, Morphology, Syntax, and Metric, with
their empirical categories, which are useful to memory. Nor can they
eliminate the classifications of artistic and literary kinds, and
those of the arts according to what are called means of expression,
by means of which it is possible to arrange books on shelves, statues
and pictures in museums, and our knowledge of artistic-literary
history in our memories. Psychology, an empirical and natural science,
certainly does not make us understand the activity of the spirit;
but it permits us to summarize and to remember very many effective
manifestations of the spirit, by classifying as well as may be the
species or classes of facts of representation (sensations, intuitions,
perceptions, imaginings, illusions, concepts, judgments, arguments,
poems, histories, systems, etc.), facts of sentiment, and volitional
facts (pleasure, pain, attraction, repulsion, mixed feelings, desires,
inclinations, nostalgias, will, morality, duties, virtue, family,
judicial, economic, political, religious life, etc.), or by classifying
these same facts according to groups of individuals (the Psychology
of animals, of children, of savages, of criminals, and of man, both
in his normal and abnormal conditions). This wholly extrinsic mode of
consideration, which is now prevalent in Psychology, is the source of
the remark that it has risen (or has sunk?) _to the level_ of a natural
science, and that its method is mechanical, determinist, positive,
antiteleological. Sociology, understood not as a philosophic science
(--there is no such thing--), but as an empirical science, classifies
as well as may be the forms of family and the forms of production, the
forms of religion, of science and of art, political and social forms,
and constructs series of classifications to summarize the principal
forms which human history has assumed in the course of its development.
The philosopher expels these classifications from philosophy, as
extraneous elements causing pathological processes; but that same
philosopher, in so far as he is a complete man, and in so far as
he provides for the economy of his internal life and for more easy
communication with his fellows, must fashion and avail himself of the
empirical. Having ideally destroyed the adjective and the adverb, the
epic and the tragic kinds, the virtues of courage and of prudence, the
monogamous and the polygamous family, the dog and the wolf, he must yet
speak when necessary of adjectives and adverbs, of epics and tragedies,
of courage and of prudence, of families formed in this or that way, of
the species "dog," as though it were clearly distinguished from the
species "wolf."

Thus is confirmed the autonomy and the peculiar nature of the empirical
or natural sciences, indestructible by philosophy as philosophy is
indestructible by them.

[Footnote 1: _Nov. Org._ I. §§ 81, 116; and II. in fine.]

[Footnote 2: See _The Philosophy of the Practical,_ pt. i. sect. i.]

[Footnote 3: Letter to d'Epinay, October 12, 1776.]



[Sidenote: _The idea of a mathematical science of nature._]

The conception of a _mathematical science of nature_ is at variance
with the thesis that recognizes the ineliminable historical foundation
of the natural sciences and the consequences which follow from it. It
is claimed that this mathematical science, in expressing the ideal and
end of the natural sciences, would express also their true nature,
which is not empirical but abstract, not synthetic but analytic, not
inductive but deductive. The mathematical conception of the natural
sciences would imply perfect mechanism, the reduction of all phenomena
to quantity without quality, the representation of each phenomenon
by means of a mathematical formula, which should be its adequate

[Sidenote: _Various definitions of mathematics._]

But the nature of mathematics cannot be considered a mystery in our
time. Mathematics (as has lately been said with a subtlety equal to
its truth) is a science "in which it can never be known _what_ we
are talking about, nor whether what we are talking about be _true_"
These affirmations are made one after the other by all mathematicians
who are conscious of their own methods. In what sense can a process
that merits such a description be called a science? A science that
states no sort of truth does not belong to the theoretic spirit,
since it is not even poetry; and a science which is not related to
anything is not even an empirical science, which is always related
to a definite group of representations. For this reason, others
incline to consider mathematics sometimes as _language,_ sometimes as
_logic._ But mathematics is neither language in general nor any special
language; it is not language in the universal sense, co-extensive with
expression and with art; nor is it a historically given language,
which would be a contingent fact; nor a class of languages (phonetic,
pictorial, or musical language, etc.), which would be an approximate
and empirical definition, inapplicable in a function like mathematics,
which expresses its own original nature. It is not logic, because
there is only one logic, and thought thinks always as thought. If it
is maintained, on the other hand, that the human spirit has also a
special logic, which is that of mathematicizing, a return is made to
the problem to be solved, namely, what is mathematicizing? that is to
say, this logic, which is not the logic of thought, because it does not
give truth, and is not the logic of the empirical sciences, because it
does not depend upon representations.

[Sidenote: _Mathematical process._]

Any sort of arithmetical operation can serve as an example of
mathematical process. Let us take the multiplication: 4×4 = 16. The
sign = (equals) indicates identity: 4×4 is identical with 16, as it
is identical with an infinite number of such formulæ, since there
can be infinite definitions of every number. What do we learn from
such an equivalence concerning the reality, phenomenal or absolute,
to which the human mind aspires? Nothing at all. But we learn how to
substitute 16 for 8×2, for 9+7, for 21-5, for 32÷2, for 4², for √256,
and so on. One or the other substitution is of service, according to
circumstances. When, for instance, some one promises to pay us 4 lire
daily, and we wish to know the total amount of lire, that is to say,
the object that we shall have at our disposal after four days, we shall
carry out the operation 4×4=16. Again, when we have 32 lire to divide
into equal parts between ourselves and another, we shall have recourse
to the formula: 32÷2 = 16. Mathematics as Mathematics does not know,
but establishes formulæ of equality; it does not subserve knowing, but
counting and calculating what is already known.

[Sidenote: _Apriority of mathematical principles._]

For counting and calculating Mathematics requires formulæ, and to
establish these it requires certain fundamental principles. These are
called in turn definitions, axioms, and postulates. Thus arithmetic
requires the number series, which beginning from unity, is obtained by
always adding one unit to the preceding number. Geometry requires the
conception of three dimensional spaces, with the postulates connected
with it. Mechanics requires certain fundamental laws, such as the
law of inertia, by which a body in motion, which is not submitted
to the action of other forces, covers in equal times equal spaces.
There has been much dispute as to whether these principles are _a
priori_ or _a posteriori,_ pure or experimental; but the dispute must
henceforth be considered settled in favour of the former alternative.
Even empiricists distinguish mathematical principles from natural or
empirical principles, as at least (to use their expression) _elementary
experiences,_ as experiences which man completes in his own spirit,
in isolation from external nature. This means, whether they like it
or no, that they too distinguish them profoundly from _a posteriori_
or experimental knowledge. The _a priori_ character of mathematical
principles is made manifest by every attack upon it.

[Sidenote: _Contradictory nature of these a priori principles. Their

But when they are recognized as being not _a posteriori_ and empirical,
but _a priori,_ difficulties are not thereby at an end. The apriority
of those principles possesses other most singular characteristics,
which render them unlike the _a priori_ knowledge of philosophy,
the consciousness of universals and of values, for instance, of
logical or of moral value. For if it is impossible to think that
the concepts of the true and of the good are not true, on the other
hand it is _impossible to think that the principles of mathematics
are trice._ Indeed, when closely considered, they prove to be all of
them altogether false. The number series is obtained by starting from
unity and adding always one unit; but in reality, there is no fact
which can act as the beginning of a series, nor is any fact detachable
from another fact, in such a way as to generate a discrete series. If
mathematics abandons the discrete for the continuous, it comes out of
itself, because it abandons quantity for quality, the irrational,
which is its kingdom, for the rational. If it remains in the discrete,
it posits something unreal and unthinkable. Space is characterized
as constituted of three or more dimensions; but reality gives, not
this space, thus constituted, made up of dimensions, but spatiality,
that is to say, thinkability, intuitibility in general, living and
organic extension, not mechanical and aggregated. Its character is
not to have three dimensions, one, two, three, but to be spatiality,
in which all the other dimensions are in the one, and so there are
not distinguishable and enumerable dimensions. And if the three or
more dimensions as attributes of space prove to be unthinkable, and
also the point without extension, the line without superficies, and
the superficies without solidity--so too in consequence are all the
concepts derived from them, such as those of geometrical figures, none
of which has, or can have, reality. No triangle has, or can have,
the sum of its angles equal to two right angles, because no triangle
has existence. Hence those geometrical concepts are not completely
expressed in any real fact, since they are in none, thereby differing
from the philosophic concepts, which are all in every instant and are
not completely expressed in any instant. Similar results follow in the
case of the principles of Mechanics. No body can be withdrawn from the
action of external forces, because every body is connected with all the
others in the universe; hence the law of inertia is unthinkable.

[Sidenote: _and not intuitible._]

As they are unthinkable, so are the principles of mathematics
unimaginable; they have therefore been ill defined as imaginary
entities, for they would in that case lose such _a priori_ validity
as they have. They are _a priori,_ but without the character of
truth--they are organized contradictions. Had mathematics (said
Herbart) to die because of the contradictions of which it is composed,
it would have died long ago.[1] But it does not die of them, because it
does not set itself to think them, as a venomous animal does not die
of its own poison, because it does not inoculate itself. Were it to
pretend to think them and to give them as true, those contradictions
would all become falsities.

[Sidenote: _Identification of mathematics with abstract

Now, a function which organizes theoretic contradictions without
thinking them, and so without falling into contradictions, is not a
theoretic, but a practical function, and is perfectly well known to
us as that particular productive form of the practical spirit which
creates pseudoconcepts. But since those contradictions are _a priori_
and not _a posteriori,_ pure and not representative, mathematics cannot
consist of those pseudoconcepts which are representative or empirical
concepts. It remains, therefore, that it consists of the other form of
pseudoconcepts, which are _abstract_ concepts, which we have already
defined as altogether void of truth and also void of representation,
as analytic _a priori_ and not synthetic _a priori._ And we have
demonstrated how, in the falsification or practical reduction of the
pure concept, concreteness without universality, that is to say, mere
generality, belongs to empirical concepts, and universality without
concreteness, that is to say, abstraction, to abstract concepts.

Such indeed are the fictions of mathematics;--they have universality
without concreteness, and therefore feigned universality. Inversely
to the natural sciences, which give the value of the concept to
representations of the singular, although they succeed in doing so
only by convention, mathematics gives the value of the single to
concepts, also succeeding in this only by convention. Thus it divides
spatiality into dimensions, individuality into numbers, movement into
motion and rest, and so on. It also creates fictitious beings, which
are neither representations nor concepts, but rather concepts treated
as representations. It is a devastation, a mutilation, a scourge,
penetrating into the theoretical world, in which it has no part, being
altogether innocuous, because it affirms nothing of reality and acts
as a simple practical artifice. The general purpose of that artifice
is known; it is to aid memory. And the particular mnemonic purpose of
this is at once evident; it is to aid the recall to memory of series of
representations, previously collected in empirical concepts and thus
rendered homogeneous. That is to say, they serve to supply the abstract
concepts, which make possible the judgment of enumeration; to construct
instruments for counting and calculating and for composing that sort of
false _a priori_ synthesis, which is the enumeration of single objects.

[Sidenote: _The ultimate end of mathematics: to enumerate and
consequently to aid the determination of the single. Its place._]

Applying thus to mathematics what has been said of the judgment of
enumeration, it is now clear that it facilitates the manipulation of
knowledge as to individual reality. Calculation indeed presupposes:
(i) perceptions (individual judgments); (2) classifications (judgments
of classification); and only by means of these latter does it attain
to the first. But it must attain to the first, because were there
no single things to recall to the mind, calculation would be vain.
Quantification would be sterile fencing, if it did not eventually
arrive at qualification.

Mathematics is sometimes conceived as the special instrument of the
natural sciences, _appendix magna_ to the natural sciences, as Bacon
called it; but from what has been said, we must not forget that both
taken together, because co-operating, constitute an _appendix magna_
or an _index locupletissimus_ to history, which is full knowledge of
the real. It is further altogether erroneous to present mathematics
as a prologue to all knowledge of the real, to philosophy and to the
sciences, for this confuses head with tail, _appendix_ and _index,_
with text and preface.

[Sidenote: _Particular questions concerning mathematics._]

It does not form part of the task that we have undertaken further to
investigate the constitution of mathematics and to determine whether
there be one or several mathematical sciences; if one be fundamental
and the others derived from it; if the Calculus include in itself
Geometry and Mechanics, or if all three can be co-ordinated and unified
in general mathematics; if Geometry and Mechanics be pure mathematics,
or if they do not introduce representative and contingent elements
(as seems to be without doubt the case in mathematical Physics); and
so on. Suffice it that we have established the nature of mathematical
science and furnished the criterion according to which it can be
discerned if a given formation be mathematics or natural science, if
it be pure or applied mathematics (concept or judgment of enumeration,
scheme of calculation, or calculation in the act). And for this reason
we shall not enter into the solution of particular questions, like
those concerning the number of possible fundamental operations of
arithmetic, or concerning the nature of the calculus of infinitesimals,
and whether, in this, there be any place for non-mathematical concepts,
that is, the philosophic, not the quantitative infinite, or, again,
concerning the number of the dimensions of space. As to the use of
mathematics, it concerns the mathematician who knows his business to
see what arbitrary distinctions it suits him to introduce, and what
arbitrary unifications to produce, in order to attain certain ends.
For the philosopher, these unifications and those distinctions, if
transported into philosophy, are all alike false, and all can be
legitimate, if employed in mathematics. If three dimensions of space
are arbitrary but convenient, four, five and _n_ dimensions will be
arbitrary, and the only question that can be discussed will be whether
they are convenient. Of this the philosopher knows nothing, as indeed
he is sure _a priori_ is the case.

[Sidenote: _Rigour of mathematics and rigour of philosophy. Loves and
hates of the two forms._]

Practical convenience suggests the postulates to mathematics; but the
purity of the elements that it manipulates gives to them the rigour
of demonstrations, the force of truth. It is a curious force, that
has a weakness for point of support,--the non-truth of the postulate,
and reduces itself to a perpetual tautology, by which it is recorded
that what has been granted has been granted. But the rigour of the
demonstrations and the arbitrariness of the foundations explain how
philosophers have been in turn attracted and repelled by mathematics.
Mathematics operating with pure concepts is a true _simia philosophiae_
(as it was said of the devil that he was _simia Dei_), and philosophers
have sometimes seen in it the absoluteness of thought and have saluted
it as sister or as the first-born of philosophy. Other philosophers
have recognized the devil in that divine form, and have addressed to it
the far from pleasant words that saints and ascetics used to employ on
similar occasions. Hence mathematics has been accused of not being able
to justify its own principles, notwithstanding its rigorous procedure;
and of constructing empty formulæ and of leaving the mind vacant. It
has been accused of promoting superstition, since the whole of concrete
reality lies outside its conventions, an unattainable mystery; and of
being too difficult for lofty spirits, just because it is too easy.[2]
Gianbattista Vico confessed that having applied himself to the study of
Geometry, he did not go beyond the fifth proposition of Euclid, since
"that study, proper to minute intellects, is not suitable to minds
already made universal by metaphysic."[3] But these accusations are not
accusations, and simply confirm the peculiar nature of those spiritual
formations, eternal as the nature of the spirit is eternal.

[Sidenote: _Impossibility of reducing the empirical sciences to
mathematics, and empirical limits of the mathematical science of

The nature of mathematics being explained, we can now resume the thread
of the narrative, left hanging loose, and discover how inadmissible is
the claim for a mathematical science of nature, which should be the
true end and the inner soul of the empirical and natural sciences. It
is said that this mathematical science presides, as an ideal, over
all the particular natural sciences, but it should be added, as an
unrealized and unrealizable ideal, and therefore rather an illusion
and a mirage than an ideal. It is urged that this ideal has been
partially realized, and that therefore nothing prevents its being
altogether realized. But, indeed, whoever looks closely will see that
it has not been even partially realized, because mathematical formulæ
of natural facts are always affected by the empirical and approximate
character of the naturalistic concepts which they use, and by the
intuitive element upon which these are based. When it is sought to
establish in all its rigour the ideal of the mathematical science of
nature, it becomes necessary to assume as a point of departure elements
that are distinct, but perfectly identical and therefore unthinkable;
quantity without quality, which are nothing but those mathematical
fictions of which we have spoken. The idea of a mathematical science is
thus resolved into the idea simply of mathematics, and the much-vaunted
universality of that science is the universal _applicability_ of
mathematics, wherever there are things and facts to number, to
calculate and to measure. The natural sciences will never lose their
inevitable intuitive and historical foundation, whatever progress may
be made in the calculus and in the application of the calculus. They
will remain, as has been said, _descriptive_ sciences (and this time
it has been well said, as it prevents the failure to recognize the
intuitive elements, of which they are composed).

[Sidenote: _Decreasing utility of mathematics in the most lofty spheres
of the real._]

We have already illustrated the slight perceptibility of differences
(or the slight interest that we take in individual differences),
as we gradually descend into what is called nature or inferior
reality. On this is founded the illusion that nature is invariable
and without history. And it also explains why mathematics has seemed
more applicable to the _globus naturalis_ than to the _globus
intellectualis,_ and in the _globus naturalis,_ to mineralogy more
than to zoology, to physics more than to biology. Still, mathematics
is equally applicable to the _globus intellectualis,_ as, for
instance, in Economics and Statistics. And, on the other hand, it
is inapplicable to both spheres, when they are considered in their
effective truth and unity as the _history of nature_ or the _history
of reality,_ in which nothing is repeated and therefore nothing is
equal and identical. Beneath that difference of applicability there
is nothing but a consideration of utility. If the grains of sand on
which we tread can be considered (although they are not) equal to one
another, it happens less frequently that we regard those with whom we
associate and act in the same light. Hence the _decreasing utility_ of
naturalistic constructions (and of mathematical calculation), as we
gradually approach human life and the historical situation in which
we find ourselves. Decreasing but never non-existent, for otherwise,
neither empirical sciences (grammars, books on moral conduct,
psychological types, etc.) nor calculations (statistics, economic
calculations, etc.,) would continue in use. A constructor of machines
needs little intuition, but much physics and mechanics. A leader of
men needs very little mathematics, little empirical science, but much
intuitive and perceptive faculty for the vices and value of the human
individuals with whom he has to do. But both little and much are
empirical determinations; the Spirit, which is the whole spirit in
every particular man and at every particular instant of life, is never
composed of measurable elements.

[Footnote 1: _Introduction to Philosophy,_ Italian tr., Vidossich, p.

[Footnote 2: There is a curious collection of judgments adverse to
mathematics in Hamilton, _Fragments philosophiques,_ tr. Plisse, Paris,
1840, pp. 283-370.]

[Footnote 3: Autobiography in _Works,_ Ferrari, 2nd edition, iv. p.



[Sidenote: _The theory of the forms of knowledge and the doctrine of
the categories._]

The explanations given as to the various forms of knowledge are
also explanations concerning the categories of the theoretic and
theoretic-practical spirit: the intuition, the concept, historicity,
type, number; and also quality and quantity and qualitative quantity,
space, time, movement, and so on. They form part of that doctrine of
the categories, in which the account of philosophy in the strict sense
is completed. To ask what mathematics or history is, means to search
for the corresponding categories; to ask what is the relation between
history and mathematics, and in general how the various forms of
knowledge are related to one another, means to develop genetically all
these forms, which is precisely what we have attempted.

[Sidenote: _The problem of the classification of the sciences and its
practical nature._]

But the difficult enquiry as to the forms of knowledge as categories
has not been much in favour in recent times. Another problem has, on
the other hand, acquired vogue. It has seemed more easy, but that is
not so, because though artfully disguised, it is at bottom identical
with the preceding problem. Instead of putting the question in the
manner indicated above, which implies seeking out the constitution
of the theoretic spirit, a modest request has been made for a
classification of the various forms of knowledge, a _classification of
the sciences._

Scant confidence in philosophic thought, and excessive confidence in
naturalistic methods, have so operated that, unable to renounce the
necessity of dominating the chaos of the various competing sciences and
not wishing to have recourse to philosophic systematization, an attempt
has been made to classify the sciences like minerals, vegetables, and
animals. Even now there exist writers occupying professorships who
claim to be specialists in classifying sciences. Volumes on this theme
appear with an unprofitable frequency and abundance.

[Sidenote: _False philosophic character that it assumes._]

Certainly, if such writers and professors were to proceed in an
altogether empirical manner, corresponding with their declarations,
nothing could be said against their labours, beyond advising them not
to discuss them philosophically in order that they may not waste time
in misunderstandings, and to recognize their slight utility. But, as
a fact, none of them contains himself within empirical limits, but
each gives some philosophic and rational basis to the classification
which he proposes. Thus there appear bipartitions of the sciences into
_concrete_ and _abstract,_ into _historical_ and _theoromatic_(or
nomotechnical), into sciences of the _successive_ and sciences of the
_coexistent,_ or into _real_ and _formal;_ or _tripartitions,_ into
sciences of _fact,_ of _law_ and of _value_; into _phenomenalist,
genetic_ and _systematic_ sciences; and into similar partitions and
groups, of which some are old acquaintances and correspond to functions
of the spirit that we have already distinguished, while others, on the
contrary, must be held to be false, because they confuse under the
same name functions that are different and divide functions that are
unique. But all of them, true or false, leave the empirical and direct
themselves to the problem of Logic and of theoretic Philosophy. This is
not the place to criticize them, because substantially it has already
been done in the course of the exposition of our theories; and what is
left would reduce itself to a criticism of minute errors, which finds a
more suitable place in reviews dealing with books of the day than in
philosophic treatises. So true is it that those classificatory systems
pass with the day that witnessed their birth.

[Sidenote: _Coincidence of that problem with the search for the
categories, when understood in a strictly philosophic sense._]

We are concerned only to demonstrate more clearly that the demand
inherent in such attempts is identical with that which leads to the
establishing of a doctrine of the categories or a philosophic system.
It is indeed possible to discover now and then in the demands for a
classification of the sciences, two demands, the one limited, the other
wider. The first takes the form of a demand for a classification of the
forms of knowledge, as in the Baconian system, and in the others which
repeat the type. Here the sciences are divided according to the three
faculties, memory (natural and civil history), imagination (narrative,
dramatic and parabolical poetry), and reason (theology, philosophy of
nature and philosophy of man). The other tends to a classification
not according to gnoseological forms alone, but according to objects,
according to all the real principles of being, as in the system of
Comte and in those derived from it. Now a classification of the first
kind coincides with researches relating to the forms of the theoretic
spirit, and the problems that it exposes cannot be solved save by
penetrating into the problems of these forms. Otherwise it is not
possible to say if, for example, the Baconian classification be exact
or no, and if not, where it should be corrected. But in passing to
the other form of classification, according to objects or to the real
principles of being, we pass from the sea to the ocean, because that
coincides with the entire philosophic system. The classification of
Comte, for example, is his positivism itself, and it is not possible to
accept or refute or evaluate the one, without accepting or refuting or
submitting to examination the other. There are people who ingenuously
believe that they can understand things by representing them on a
sheet of paper, in the form of a genealogical tree or of a table rich
in graphic signs of inclusion and exclusion. But when we seriously
engage upon the work, we perceive that in order to draw up the tree and
construct the table, it is above all things needful to have understood
them. The pen falls from the hand and the head is obliged to bend
itself in meditation, when it does not prefer to abandon the dangerous
game and amuse itself in other ways.

[Sidenote: _Forms of knowledge and literary-didactic forms._]

And this is just the occasion to make clear the distinction that
we have on several occasions employed, between forms of knowledge
and literary or didactic forms of knowledge, between the orders of
knowledge and books. The arrangement of books is not always determined
solely by the demand for the strict treatment of a determinate problem;
very frequently, its motive is supplied by the practical need of having
certain different pieces of knowledge collected together, in order not
to be obliged to go and search for them in several places, that is to
say, in their true places. Thus, side by side with scientific treatises
properly so-called, are to be found scholastic compilations and
manuals. Such are Geographies, Pedagogies, juridical or philological
Encyclopædias, Natural Histories, and so on. Authors, even outside
strictly scholastic limits, used formerly to consider it convenient
sometimes to isolate, sometimes to unite certain orders of knowledge,
and to baptize the mutilation or mixture with a particular name. It is
evident that when dealing with these hybrid compilations and formations
the philosopher and the historian of the sciences, who seek not books,
but ideas, must carry out a series of analyses and syntheses, of
disassociations and associations, without allowing themselves to be
seduced by the authority of the writers or by the solidity of these
mixtures, which have become traditional.

[Sidenote: _Prejudices arising from these last._]

But it is not an easy matter. Those mixtures are no longer ingenuous,
nor are the practical motives that have determined them apparent.
Around them has grown up a dense forest of philosophemes, of capricious
distinctions, of false definitions, of imaginary sciences, of
prejudices of every sort. Any one who has succeeded in discerning the
genuine connections and attempts to separate the interlaced boughs,
to isolate the trees and to show the different roots, any one who
sets an axe to those wild tree-trunks, is horrified by cries and
complaints, not less resonant than those that drove Tancred from the
enchanted wood. And there is the traditionalist who admonishes us
severely not to divide _natural_ groupings and not to introduce among
them our own _caprice._ Thus he calls the capricious natural and the
natural capricious. "What?" (has recently written the shocked Professor
Wundt) "for the excellent reason that the search for the individual
is historical search, must Geology be considered history and research
relating to the glacial epoch be abandoned to the amiable interest of
the historian?" And others lament that the ancient _richness_ of the
sciences is destroyed by these simplifications, and call the confusion

[Sidenote: _Methodical prologues to Scholastic Manuals and their

It is true that in order to obviate the evil of confusion and the
defective consciousness of the various kinds of research which have
been mingled together, many authors are in the habit of prefixing to
their books theoretic introductions, about the _method,_ as they call
it, of their science. The special logic of the individual disciplines
is to be sought (they say) in the books that treat of these. Manuals
in the German language are especially notable for this arrangement,
preceded, as they are, by the heaviest introductions, which occupy a
great part of the volume or of the volumes of the book. They present a
contrast to French and English books, which usually enter at once _in
medias res._ This arrangement seems preferable: the German type has
against it the sensible observation of Manzoni, that one book at a time
is enough, when it is not more than enough. He who opens a historical
book in order there to learn the particulars of an event, or a book on
economics in order to learn how an economic institution works, should
not be obliged to read the theory of historica events and disquisitions
on the place of Economics in the system of the sciences. _"Il s'agit
d'un chapon et non point d'Aristote,"_ as the judge in the _Plaideurs_
said to the advocate who went back in his speech to the _Politics_ of
Aristotle. But, besides the literary contamination, there is also here
the other inconvenience, that science and the theory of the sciences
being different operations and demanding different aptitudes and
preparations, the specialist who is competent in the first is usually
not at all competent in the second; though he may be believed to be so,
owing to a confusion of names. Why, indeed, should an expert on banking
and Stock Exchange business be versed in the gnoseology of economic
science? The affirmation of competence in the one on the strength of
competence in the other constitutes a true and proper sophism _a dicto
simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid._

[Sidenote: _The capricious multiplication of the sciences._]

Further, the specialist has his pride, which leads him to exaggerate
what he practises and fail to recognize its true nature and limits. The
multiplication of the _Sciences_ in our days has no other origin than
this; the philosopher contemplates it with astonishment; it is a truly
miraculous multiplication of the seven loaves of bread and five small
fishes. A _new science_ is announced, whenever a crude idea passes
through the brain of a professor. We are made glad with _Sociologies,
social Psychologies, Ethnopsychologies, Anthropogeographies,
Criminologies, comparative Literatures,_ and so on. Some years ago,
an eminent German historian, having observed that some use might be
made of genealogical and heraldic studies, generally abandoned to the
cultivators and purveyors of the mania for birth and titles, instead
of limiting himself to publishing his little collection of minute
observations at once proclaimed Genealogy as a science, _Genealogie
als Wissenschaft,_ and provided the appropriate manual. This begins
by determining the _concept_ of Genealogy, and proceeds to study its
relations with history, with the natural sciences, with zoology, with
physiology, with psychology and psychiatry, and with the knowable

[Sidenote: _The sciences and academic prejudices._]

Finally, the specialist is generally a teacher, and therefore
accustomed to identify eternal ideal science with his real and
contingent chair, and the organism of knowledge with that of the
university faculties. Hence arises a fashion of conceiving the nature
and scope of the sciences that has become habitual in the academic
world. It consists of _personifying_ science, and telling this
imaginary person what he has to do, without regard to whether the
assignment of the task accords or no with the quality of the function.
"Logic will be occupied with this, but yet will not neglect this other
thing; it will benefit by casting a look on this third thing also,
which is extraneous to its task, but not to its interest; nor will
it fail to aid, with due regard, the student of an analogous matter,
by giving to him suggestions, if not even rules." Whoever reads the
scientific books of our times will recognize in this example, not
a caricature, but a plan constantly repeated and applied. It was
said of the poet Aleardo Aleardi that he treated the Muse like his
maid-servant, since he was at every instant addressing himself to her
and asking her something. The professor ends by treating Science like
his steward, or at least his respectable consort, with whom he naively
comes to an agreement regarding the portions that are to form the meals
of the day, and other matters concerning the management of the family.




[Sidenote: _Error as negativity, and impossibility of treating
specially of errors._]

Error has sometimes been called privation or _negativity._ It is
commonly defined as a thinking of the false, as the non-conformity
of thought with its object, and in other similar ways. These are all
reducible to the first, since, for example, thought which is of a
different form from its object is false thought, which does not attain
to its intrinsic end; and false thought is not thought, but privation
of thought, negativity.

As negativity error gives rise to a negative concept, responding
to the positive concept, which is truth. True and false, truth and
error, are related to one another as opposite concepts. Now we know
from the logical doctrines just stated that opposite concepts, far
from being separable, are not even distinguishable, and when they are
distinguished, they represent nothing but the abstract division of
the pure concept, of the unique concept, which is the synthesis or
dialectic of opposites. And we know from the whole of Philosophy that
Reality, thought in the pure concept and of which the pure concept
is also an integral element, genuine and truly real Reality, is a
perpetual development and progress, which is rendered possible by the
negative term intrinsic to the positive and constituting the mainspring
of its development.

If then, error is negativity, it is vain to treat it as something
positive. No other positivity or reality belongs to it than just
negativity, which is a moment of the dialectic synthesis and outside
the synthesis is nothing. A treatment of error in this sense already
exists quite complete in the treatment of logical truth; and there is
nothing special to add here to that argument. As a fact, a form of the
spirit distinguishable from the positive and real forms, error does not
exist, and philosophy cannot philosophize upon what is not.

[Sidenote: _Positive and existing errors._]

Nevertheless, we all know errors, distinguishable from truth and
existing for themselves. The evolutionist affirms the biological
formation of the _a priori_; the utilitarian resolves duty into
individual interest; the Christian says that God the Father sent
his son Jesus to redeem men from the perdition into which they had
fallen through the sin of Adam; the Buddhist preaches the annulment of
the Will. Are not these true and proper errors? Have they perchance
no existence? Have they not been expressed, repeated, listened to,
believed? Whoever does not admit the validity of the examples adduced
can himself find others; there will certainly be no lack of examples in
such a field. Do we wish to maintain that these errors do not exist, in
homage to the definition of error as negativity and unreality? They may
not exist as truth, but they may perfectly well exist as errors.

[Sidenote: _Positive errors as practical acts._]

There is no way of escaping from this antithesis between the
inconceivability of the existence of error and the impossibility of
denying the existence of errors which the mind recognizes and the
fact proves, save by the solution to which we have several times had
occasion to refer. That error, which has existence, is not error and
negativity, but something positive, a product of the spirit. And since
that product of the spirit is without truth, it cannot be the work
of the theoretic spirit. And since beyond the theoretic spirit there
is nothing but the practical spirit, error, which we meet with as
something existing, must of necessity be a product of the practical
spirit. If every way of issue is closed, this one is open; it goes to
the very bottom and leads to the place of rest.

Indeed, he who produces an error has no power to twist or to
denaturalize or stain the truth, which is his thought itself, the
thought which acts in him and in all men; indeed, no sooner has he
touched thought than he is touched by it: he thinks and does not err.
He possesses only the practical power of passing from thought to
_deed_; and his doing, in fact his thinking, is to open his mouth and
emit sounds to which there corresponds no thought, or, what is the same
thing, no thought which has value, precision, coherence and truth.
It is to smear a canvas to which no intuition corresponds; to rhyme
a sonnet, combining the phrases of others, which simulate the genius
that is absent. Theoretical error, when it is truly so, is inseparable
from the life of thought, which to the extent to which it perpetually
overcomes that negative moment, is always born anew. When it is
possible to separate and consider it in itself, what is before us is
not theoretical error, but practical act.

[Sidenote: _Practical acts not practical errors._]

Practical act and not practical error, or Evil; for that practical act
is altogether rational. Let him who doubts this cast a glance at those
who produce errors. He will be at once convinced that they act with
perfect rationality. The dauber produces an object which is asked for
in the market by people who wish to have at home pictures of any sort,
to cover the walls and to attest to their own easy circumstances or
riches, and who are altogether indifferent to the æsthetic significance
of those objects. The rhymer wishes to secure an easy success for
himself among people who look upon a sonnet as a social amusement. The
babbler who emits sounds instead of thoughts, often obtains in virtue
of those sounds applause and honour denied to the serious thinker: _un
sot trouve toujours un plus sot pour l'admirer._ If, by means of those
so-called errors, provision is made for house, firing, food, children's
clothes, or for the satisfaction of self-esteem, ambitions and
caprices, who will say that they are irrational acts? Man does not live
by bread alone, but he does live by bread; and if, by means of those
acts, bread is provided, that is to say, if the wants of each one's
individuality are met, they are well-directed, far-sighted, fruitful,
and therefore most rational.

[Sidenote: _Economically practical, not morally practical._]

This does not, on the other hand, mean that they are moral; they are
rational, economically rational but not moral. Morality demands that
man should think the true. Producers of errors evade, or rather, do
not elevate themselves to that duty. Still intent upon the demands
of practical life _qua talis,_ they do not actualize in themselves
the universal life, nor do they create in obedience to this last the
ethical will and the will for truth. Therefore there arises in their
souls, and in the souls of those who see them at work, the desire for
another superior activity, which should supervene upon the preceding
and complete it. They demand, not only to live, but to live well, to
seek not only bread, but that "bread of the angels" with which, as the
divine poet says, we are never sated. The expression of this desire
manifests itself in a cry of discontent, of reprobation, of anguish,
of longing; and therefore, with negative emphasis, it accuses of
irrationality that inferior rationality which has to be surpassed, and
gives the name theoretical error to that which considered in itself
must be called a simple economic act.

[Sidenote: _Doctrine of error, and doctrine of the necessary forms of

The doctrine here expounded is developed from what has been said above,
or from developments given elsewhere in the Philosophy of the Spirit.
We shall not therefore enlarge further upon the immanence of values
in facts, upon evil as the stimulus and concreteness of the good,
on the non-existence of evil in itself, on the practical character
of theoretical error, on moral responsibility for such error, on
the content of desire exhibited by negative statements accompanying
judgments of value, and so on. In an exposition of Logic the genesis of
the theoretical error could be set aside as presupposed, for in this
didactic sphere any one among the common definitions which present
error as a thinking of the false is sufficient.

A task in closer connection with Logic is that of enquiring as to the
necessary forms of error, the task, that is to say, not of confuting
all errors (which is performed by Philosophy as a whole), but of
establishing in how many ways the products of the various forms
of knowing and of knowledge can be practically combined, and what
therefore are the gnoseological possibilities of error. If error is
nothing but an _improper combination_ of ideas (as Vico said), we
must see the number to which the fundamental forms of these improper
combinations can be reduced. In traditional Logic, the theory of error
appears as the doctrine of _Sophisms_ or of sophistical refutations:
it has the formalist, verbalist, empirical character common to all
that Logic. In our Logic, it must have a philosophic character, that
is to say, it must depend upon the already distinguished forms of the
theoretic spirit, and deduce from them the arbitrary combinations of
the errors which are formally possible. The ideas or concepts of the
theoretic and theoretic-practical spirit are so many and no more, and
so many and no more must be the possible improper combinations of them
and the forms of theoretic error.

[Sidenote: _Logical nature of all theoretic errors._]

That theoretical error is always at bottom logical error. This is an
important proposition, which merits explicit statement, because it
is customary to speak of æsthetic, naturalistic, mathematical and
historical errors side by side with those that are properly logical
or philosophical. We too have spoken and will speak thus, when more
subtle distinctions and more precise determinations are not necessary.
But in truth, a fact like _humano capiti cervicem equinam jungere,_
or _simulare cupressum_ in the sea where the shipwrecked struggles in
the waves, does not constitute in itself that practical act, called
æsthetic error, unless there be added to it the false affirmation that
the object produced is an æsthetic object, that is to say, unless there
be added a logical affirmation, so that the practical act becomes,
by means of it, logical error. Taken in itself, the union of a human
head with a horse's neck, or of a cypress with the sea is a sort of
play of the imagination, such as occurs in fancy, in idleness and in
dream. The extrinsic combination of a fancy and a concept is also
altogether innocent, as in the case of allegory, which, in itself, is
not unsuccessful art, but becomes so only when it is affirmed that
the two heterogeneous elements form only one; or rather, it then
becomes, not unsuccessful art, but bad philosophy. In the same way, a
mathematical error (for example, the formula 4 x 4 = 20) is nothing
but a _flatus vocis,_ such as is made in jest or to loosen the tongue.
Only when we add the logical affirmation that in this _flatus vocis_ an
effectual multiplication has been expressed, do we have a mathematical
error, which is therefore a logical error. It is not possible to
consider and to condemn as a theoretical error a combination which
does not intend to deceive any one as to its proper nature; neither
those to whom it is shown, nor him who has made it. Thus, among
æsthetic, naturalistic, mathematical, historical, logical and practical
productions, combinations without cognitive content are quite possible
and constantly to be found; but they do not become theoretical errors
unless they are crowned with an improper logical affirmation, or rather
with an arbitrary judgment formed upon a logical affirmation. Indeed,
even illogical combinations of philosophic concepts are not, as such,
logical or theoretical errors, since they can be made tentatively,
in order to see whether the two concepts combine or no. To make them
errors, the arbitrariness of a special act of judgment is necessary.
That arbitrariness consists in a lying to others or to ourselves, in
order to satisfy an interest of our merely individual life, and it is
impossible to lie without employing an affirmation, which is always a
logical product.

[Sidenote: _History of errors and phenomenology of error._]

In this way the problem of determining the various forms of theoretical
errors, according to the already distinguished forms of knowledge,
becomes transformed and circumscribed in the other problem of
determining the various forms of _logical errors,_ in relation to
the various forms of knowledge, that is to say, of determining the
necessary forms of philosophic errors. Certainly, every individual
errs in his own way, according to the conditions in which he finds
himself; just as every individual according to those conditions
discovers truth in his own way. But Philosophy in the strict sense (in
the form of a philosophical treatise) cannot complete the examination
of all individual errors. This is the task of all philosophies as they
are developed in the ages and of the thought of all thinking beings,
who have been, are, and will be. _Its_ task is to illuminate the
eternal ideal history of errors, which is the eternal ideal history
of truth, in its relations with the eternal forms of the practical
spirit. The Philosophy of the spirit, as a treatise of philosophy,
cannot give the history of errors; but must limit itself to giving
their _phenomenology._ In this sense is to be understood the enquiry
concerning the fundamental forms of philosophical errors. These forms
may be briefly deduced as follows.

[Sidenote: _Deduction of the forms of logical errors. Forms deduced
from the concept of the concept, and forms deduced from the other

The pure concept, which is philosophy, can be incorrectly combined and
mistaken either for the form that precedes it, pure representation
(art), or for that which follows it, the empirical and abstract
concept (natural and mathematical sciences); or it can be wrongly
divided in its unity of concept and representation _(a priori_
synthesis), and wrongly again combined--either the concept may be
taken as representation, or the representation as concept. Hence
arise the fundamental forms of errors which it will be useful to
denominate as _æstheticism, empiricism, mathematicism, philosophism,_
and _historicism_ (or _mythologism_). On the other hand, the other
distinctions of the concept, or distinct concepts, can be incorrectly
combined among themselves in a series of false combinations,
corresponding to the series of the other particular philosophic
sciences, and hence arise the forms of the other philosophic errors.
But in Logic it is sufficient to show the possibility of these last
forms of errors, and to adduce certain cases as examples, because a
complete determination of them would demand that complete exposition of
the whole philosophic system, which cannot be furnished in a treatise
on Logic.

[Sidenote: _Errors arising front errors._]

Finally, since it is impossible that any form whatever of these errors,
whether specifically logical or generically philosophic, should
satisfy the mind, which asks for the true and does not lend itself to
deception or mockery, each one of these forms tends to convert itself
into the other, owing to its arbitrariety and untenability, and all
mutually destroy one another. When the attempt is made to preserve
both the true form and the insufficient form, or all the insufficient
forms, we have gnoseological dualism; but with the decline to complete
destruction, we have the error of _scepticism_ and of _agnosticism._
Finally, if, having been by these led back to life and being deprived
of every concept that should illuminate it back to life as a mystery,
we affirm that truth lies in that theoretic mystery, in living life
without thought, we have the error of _mysticism._ Dualism, scepticism
(or agnosticism) and mysticism thus extend both to strictly logical
problems (that is to say, to the possibility, in general, of knowing
reality), and to all other philosophic problems. Hence we can speak of
a practical dualism, of an æsthetic or ethical scepticism, and of an
æsthetic or ethical mysticism.

[Sidenote: _Professionalism and nationality of errors._]

Such, stated in a summary manner, is the deduction of philosophic
errors, which we shall now proceed to examine in detail. Upon their
forms, which represent so many tendencies of the human spirit, is based
this other fact, which is constantly striking us, and which may be
called the _professionalism_ of errors. Every one is disposed to use
in other fields of activity those instruments that are familiar to him
in the field which he knows best. The poet by vocation and profession
dreams and imagines, even when he should reason; the philosopher
reasons even when he should be poetical; the historian seeks authority,
even when he should seek the necessity of the human mind; the practical
man asks himself of what use a thing is, even when he should ask
himself what a thing is; the naturalist constructs classes, even when
he should break through them, in order to think real things; the
mathematician persists in writing formulae, even when there is nothing
to calculate. If the narrowness of the _Esprits mathématiques_ has been
denounced, it must not be believed that the other professions have
not also got their narrownesses. The philosopher's profession is no
exception to this, for he should surpass all one-sided views, but does
not always succeed. It is one thing to say and another to do, and if
a man forewarned is half saved, he is not therefore altogether saved.
That professionalism of error, which we observe in individuals, is also
to be observed on a large scale among peoples. Thus we speak of peoples
as antiartistic, antiphilosophical, or antimathematical: of speculative
Germany, of intellectualist and abstract France, of empiricist
England, of Italy as artistic in the centre and the north, and as
philosophic in the south. But peoples, like individuals, are changeable
and can be educated: so much so that in our days, the traditional
Anglo-Saxon empiricism begins little by little to lose ground before
the speculative education of the English people, due to classical
German thought; France that was abstractionist becomes intuitionist and
mystic. Germany leaves the vast dominion of the skies assigned to her
by Heine for that of industry and commerce, and philosophizes somewhat
unworthily; Italy, which in greater part was a country of artists,
poets and politicians, is traversed in every direction by religious and
philosophic currents. Were it not for this capacity for education of
individuals and peoples, History would not be a free development, but
determinism and mechanism, and each of us would possess less of that
courage for social activity which each one exhibits with great ardour
according to his own convictions.



[Sidenote: _Definition of these forms._]

Æstheticism is the philosophic error which consists in substituting
the form of intuition for the form of the concept, and of attributing
to the former the office and value of the latter. Empiricism is the
analogous substitution of the empirical concept, by means of which
philosophic function and value is attributed to the empirical and
natural sciences. Finally, mathematicism is the presentation of the
abstract concept as concrete concept and of mathematics as philosophy.

[Sidenote: _Æstheticism._]

We have met with æstheticism and with empiricism at the beginning of
our exposition, and again here and there throughout its course; and we
have sufficiently determined the nature of both and demonstrated the
contradictions in which they become involved. In every one of their
movements they presuppose the pure concept and the philosophy of which
they mean to take the place. At the same time, they do not develop the
philosophy which they have presupposed, because they suffocate it in
the vapour of the intuitions and in the chilly waters of naturalistic
concepts. They are not therefore effective thought, but an adulteration
of thought with heterogeneous elements, which by a misuse of words are
said to be furnished with theoretic and logical value.

Æstheticism has few representatives, because complete abstention
from reflection and reason is too obviously contradictory. Even when
art was considered to be a true _instrument_ of philosophy, in the
Romantic period, this affirmation was put forward in a confused manner,
intuition being finally distinguished from intuition, art from art.
This amounted at bottom to a radical change and an abandonment of
the original thesis. We have seen æstheticism reappear in our times
under the name of _intuitionism,_ or again as _pure experience:_ an
experience which is taken to be not posterior, but anterior to every
intellectual category, and should therefore be called nothing but pure

[Sidenote: _Empiricism_]

The representatives of empiricism are on the other hand most numerous,
now as in the past; so much so that empiricism sometimes seems to
be the sole adversary of philosophy, and the true origin of all
philosophic errors. This opinion is without doubt inexact, but it finds
support in the fact that philosophy is obliged to defend itself from
the incessant assaults of empiricism, more than from any other enemy.
The confusion between pure and empirical concepts is, indeed, easy,
since both have the form of universality (though the universality of
the second is falsely assumed) and both refer to the concept (though
in the second the concept is something arbitrarily limited). The
empiricist is like the philosopher, in so far as he immerses himself in
facts and constructs concepts.

[Sidenote: _Positivism, philosophy founded upon the sciences, inductive

The last great historical manifestation of empiricism is that which,
from the system of Auguste Comte, took the name of _positivism_ and
by its very name expressed the intention of basing itself upon facts
(that is, upon facts historically certified), in order to classify
them, thus reducing philosophy to a classification. This, like all
classifications, proceeded from the poorest to the richest, from the
abstract gradually to the less abstract, though never to the concrete.
Positivism did not seem to be aware that the facts from which it
proposed to proceed and which it believed to be the rough material of
experience, were already _philosophic determinations,_ and could only
in this way be admitted as _historically ascertained. Psychologist_ is
also positivism; positivism, that is to say, more properly applied to
the group of the so-called mental and moral sciences. _Neocriticism_
can be almost altogether identified with positivism, although its
upholders generally possess some knowledge of philosophical history
(which is altogether lacking to the pure positivists), and this
confers a more specious polish on their doctrine. Neocriticism,
indeed, tends to eliminate every speculative element from the Kantian
criticism, and by so doing approaches positivism--so as almost to
become confounded with it. It is no wonder, therefore, that from
the camp of the neocritics should have originated the proclamation
and programme of _a philosophy founded upon the sciences,_ or of
an _inductive metaphysic._ This is simply and solely the reduction
of philosophy to the sciences, because a scientific philosophy, an
inductive metaphysic, is not speculation, but classification, or
as those who advocate it ingenuously declare, a systematization of
the results obtained by the sciences. Here too are kindled the most
comical quarrels between scientists and philosophers. For when it is
only a question of classifying and systematizing those results, the
scientist rightly feels that he can dispense with the labours of the
philosopher, indeed, he feels that he alone, who has obtained the
results, knows what these exactly are and how they should be treated
in order to avoid deformation. And the philosopher, who by making
himself an empiricist, a positivist, a psychologist and a neocritic,
has renounced his autonomy, approaches the scientists and offers with
little dignity services that they refuse. He elaborates scientific
expositions, which they call compilations and mistakes, he proposes
additions or corrections at which they mock as superfluous or foolish.
Nevertheless, the philosopher does not grow weary nor become offended
at these repulses and jests; he returns to the charge and indeed it is
only when someone wishes to redeem him from this voluntary servitude
and abjection that he turns upon him with fury, saying that philosophy
should live on _familiar terms_ with the sciences. As if the relations
that we have faithfully described were relations of reciprocal respect
and harmony! The truth is that the majority of empirical philosophers
are failures in science and unsuccessful in philosophy, who out of
their double incompetence compound a logical theory, thus furnishing
another proof (if further proof were needed) in confirmation of the
practical origin of errors. For our part, we recognise the justice of
the accusation of parasitism, which is brought against a philosophy of
this character, and we will willingly afford our aid to the scientists
in driving out these intruders, who dishonour philosophy in our eyes
not less than in theirs they dishonour the sciences.

[Sidenote: _Empiricism and facts._]

Empiricism owes the greater part of its influence upon the minds of
many to its continual appeal to reality and facts. This leads to the
belief that speculative philosophy wishes to neglect reality and facts
and to build, as the saying is, upon clouds. But we have here an
ambiguity and a sophism with which we must not allow ourselves to be
deceived. Not only does speculative philosophy also base itself upon
facts and have the phenomenal world as its point of departure; but
speculative philosophy truly founds itself upon facts and empiricism
does not. The first considers facts in their infinite variety and
in their continuous development; the second, a certain number of
facts, collected at certain epochs and among certain peoples, or
at all epochs and among all peoples empirically known; chat is to
say, it considers a limited number of facts. Speculative philosophy,
presupposing the pure phenomenon, transforms it into (historical) fact
and is a true _philosophy of fact_; empiricism, without being aware of
it, presupposes the facts that it accepts, which are already, though
with little criticism, historically ascertained and interpreted. This
unconsciousness of what it is doing makes its condition worse, so that
it can give nothing but _a philosophy of classifications,_ which are
taken for facts only through habitual lack of reflection. Speculative
philosophy, therefore, can answer the claim and the boast of empiricism
that it is based upon facts, by accepting the claim but denying the
boast, as one to which empiricism has and can have no right, and by
appropriating this achievement to itself.

[Sidenote: _Bankruptcy of empiricism: dualism, agnosticism,
spiritualism and superstition._]

But the bankruptcy of empiricism in all its forms and under all its
synonyms is clear in the dualism to which it leads, of appearance and
essence, phenomenon and noumenon. For while it professes that there is
nothing knowable but the phenomenon, it also postulates an essence, a
noumenon, something that is beyond the phenomenon and unknowable. It
is all very well to say that this unknowable is not, for it, a proper
object for science and philosophy, but it is not to be driven from the
field of reality merely by removing it from science and philosophy.
Every empiricism, then, recognises side by side with the rights of
thought, the rights of _feeling,_ and thus the circle of reality comes
to be broken at one or more points. When it is wished to continue
working empirically upon the unknowable residue, we have those various
attempts, which can all of them be summarized beneath the name of
_spiritualism._ Here the hidden truth is sought by means of experiments
of a naturalistic type and spirit is reduced to matter more or less
light and subtle. Empiricism ends in superstition. This has always
happened; in the decadence of ancient civilization, when philosophers
took to converting themselves into thaumaturges; at the eve of the
French Revolution, after a century of empiricism and sensationalism,
when all sorts of fanatics and schemers appeared and were the
favourites of a society of most credulous materialists; in our times,
when they have been favoured by a less credulous public of positivists,
or of ex-positivists.

[Sidenote: _Evolutionist positivism and rationalist positivism._]

Empiricism has certainly sought to cure its own insufficiencies, of
which it was more or less conscious, and _evolutionist positivism_
must be numbered among these attempts. This form proposed to correct
the anti-historical character of positivism by providing a _history_
of reality. But this history was always based upon empirical
presuppositions, and was therefore a history of classifications, not
of concrete reality; an extravagant caricature of the philosophy of
becoming, from whose breast comes History rightly and truly so-called.
Another attempt was that of _rationalist positivism,_ which sought to
check the degeneration of positivism toward dualism, sentimentalism
and superstition, by appealing to the absolute rights of reason.
But this reason is nevertheless always empirical reason, limited to
certain series of facts, extrinsic, classificatory, unintelligent.
Absolute authority can well be attributed to it in words, but such an
attribution does not confer the power of exercising it. This kind of
positivism, therefore, meets in our day with favour in freemasonry
(at least of the Franco-Italian sort). This is a sect, which is
annoying, chiefly because, heedless of facts, it preserves and defends
the habit of making use of empty formulas and phrases, and because
when it has insulted some priestly vestment, it believes that it
has successfully destroyed superstition and obscurantism in man, or
when it has declaimed about liberty, it imagines that by this slight
effort, liberty has been won and established. True _reason_ abhors
_rationalism,_ if it be rationalism of that sort.

[Sidenote: _Mathematicism_]

_Mathematicism_ is much rarer than empiricism, because the confusion
between thinking and calculating is less easy than that between
thinking and classifying. Owing to its rarity and paradoxical
character, mathematicism has something aristocratic about it,
resembling in this the other extreme error, of æstheticism; whereas
the intermediate error, empiricism, just because of its mediocrity, is
popular and indeed vulgar.

[Sidenote: _Symbolical mathematics._]

We cannot properly consider as mathematicism that form of philosophy
which appeared in antiquity as _Pythagoreanism_ and _Neopythagoreanism_
and has reappeared in our days as a doctrine of the mathematical
relations of the universe and the harmony of the world. In this
conception, numbers are not numbers, but symbols; the numerical
relations are not arithmetical, but æsthetic. The pretended
mathematical philosophers of this type are neither philosophers nor
mathematicians, nor are they arbitrary combiners of these two methods.
They would be better described as poets or semi-poets.

[Sidenote: _Mathematics as demonstrative form of philosophy._]

Nor again can we consider to be mathematicism the attempt made by some
philosophers to expound their own ideas by a mathematical, algebraical
or geometrical method. If their ideas were ideas and not numbers, the
method to which they had recourse necessarily remained extrinsic, and
possessed no mathematical character beyond the verbal complacency with
which they adopted certain formulae of definitions, axioms, theorems,
lemmas, corollaries and certain numerical symbols, These formulas and
symbols could always be replaced by others, without any inconvenience
whatever. It is possible to discuss, it has indeed been discussed,
whether such modes of exposition are in good or bad literary taste,
or of greater or less didactic convenience. They can be condemned,
as they have been condemned, and caused to fall into disuse, as they
have fallen; but the quality of the philosophic truth thus expressed,
remains unaltered and is never changed into mathematics. Neither the
system of Spinoza, who employed the geometrical method, nor that of
Leibnitz, who desired the universal calculus, are mathematical systems.
If they were so, modern philosophy would not owe some of its most
important idealist concepts to those two systems.

[Sidenote: _Errors of mathematicist philosophy._]

Better examples of mathematicism than the treatises and systems
developed according to its rules are found in the unfulfilled
programmes of such treatises and systems, or in the mathematicist
treatment of certain philosophie problems. Such, for instance, is that
concerning the infinity of the world in space and time, a problem
which, treated mathematistically, becomes insoluble and makes many
people's heads turn. It is impossible to comprehend the world in one's
own mind with the mathematical infinite; and either to give or to
refuse to it a beginning and an end. Hence the exclamations of terror
before that infinite, and the sense of sublimity which seems to arise
in the struggle joined between it, which is indomitable, and the
human mind which wishes to dominate it. It has, however, already been
observed with reason, that such sublimity is not only very near to the
ridiculous, but falls into it with all its weight; and that such terror
could not in truth be anything but terror of the _ennui_ of having
to count and recount in the void and to infinity. The mathematical
infinite is nothing real; its appearance of reality is the shadow
projected by the mathematical power which the human spirit possesses,
of always adding a unit to any number. The true infinite is all before
us, in every real fact, and it is only when the continuous unity of
reality is divided into separate facts, and space and time are rendered
abstract and mathematical, only then, if the complete operation be
forgotten, that the desperate problem arises and the anguish of never
being able to solve it. Another and more actual example of this
mathematicist mode of treatment is that of the dimensions of space.
Here, forgetting that space of three dimensions is nothing real that
can be experienced, but is a mathematical construction, and on the
other hand finding it convenient for mathematical reasons to construct
spaces of less or more than three dimensions, or of _n_ dimensions,
they end by treating these constructions as conceivable realities, and
seriously discuss bi-dimensional beings or four-dimensional worlds.

[Sidenote: _Dualism, agnosticism and superstition of mathematicism._]

With affirmations such as those of infinites incomprehensible to
thought, and of real but not experienceable spaces, mathematicism also
creates a dualism of thought and of reality superior to thought, or
(what amounts to the same thing) of thought which meets its equivalent
in experience and thought without a corresponding experience. The
unknowable here too lies in wait and falls upon the imprudent
mathematicist philosopher, who feels himself lost before a second,
third, fourth and infinite worlds, excogitated by himself, superior
or inferior worlds to those of man, underworlds and overworlds and
over-over worlds. He then becomes even spiritualist and asks with
Zollner, why spiritualist facts should not possess reality and be
produced in the fourth dimension of space, shut off from us. The
contradiction of the mathematicist attempt, like that of the æsthetic
and empiricist, is clearly revealed in the dualistic, agnostic and
mystical consequences to which, as we shall see more clearly further
on, all of them necessarily lead.



[Sidenote: _Rupture of the unity of the a priori synthesis._]

The three modes of error examined exhaust the possible combinations of
the pure concept with the forms of the theoretic or theoretic-practical
spirit, anterior or posterior to it. Other modes of error arise from
the breaking up of the unity of the concept, from the separation of its
constitutive elements. Each one of these elements, abstracted from the
other, and finding that other before it, annuls, instead of recognizing
the other as an organic part of itself; that is to say, substitutes for
it its own abstract existence.

The concept, as we know, is the logical _a priori_ synthesis, and
so the unity of subject and predicate, unity in distinction and
distinction in unity, affirmation of the concept and judgment of the
fact, at once philosophy and history. In pure and effective thought,
the two elements constitute an indissoluble organism. A fact cannot be
affirmed without thinking; it is impossible to think without affirming
a fact. In logical thought, the representation without the concept is
blind, it is pure representation deprived of logical right, it is not
the subject of a judgment; the concept without representation is void.

[Sidenote:_Philosophism, logicism or panlogism._]

This unity can be severed, practically, in the act which is called
error, where propositions expressing the truth are combined, not
according to their theoretical connection, but according to what is
deemed useful by him who makes the combination. It then happens that
in the first place we have an empty concept, which, being without
any internal rule (owing to this very vacuity), fills itself with a
content which does not belong to it--for this it could have only from
contact with the representation--and gives itself a _false_ subject.
The opposite also occurs, that is to say, a false predicate or concept
is posited, a case which will be considered further on. Limiting
ourselves, meanwhile, to the first and observing that it consists in
the abuse of the logical element, we shall be able to call that mode
of error _logicism_ or _panlogism,_ or also _philosophism_ (since
the abuse of the logical element is identical with the abuse of the
philosophic element).

[Sidenote: _Philosophy of history._]

Logicism, panlogism or philosophism, is the usurpation that philosophy
in the narrow sense wreaks upon history, by pretending to deduce
history a _priori,_ as the process is called. This usurpation is
logically impossible owing to the identity of philosophy and history
already demonstrated, whence bad history is bad philosophy, and
inversely. It may happen that the same individual who at a given moment
creates excellent philosophy (and excellent history at the same time)
may create bad history (and so bad philosophy) the moment after. But
this amounts to saying that he who at one moment has philosophized
well, may philosophize badly and err the moment after, and not by any
means that the two things are possible in the same act. However, the
usurpation, logically impossible, is practically effected, in which
case, it is not strictly speaking usurpation, although it comes to
be so considered from the logical point of view. On the other hand,
the claim for the _a priori_ in history is perfectly just; for to
affirm a fact means to think it, and it is not possible to think
without transforming the representation by means of the concept, and
so deducing it from the concept. But this deduction is an _a priori_
synthesis and therefore also induction, whereas the claim to deduce
history _a priori_ would amount to a deduction without induction,
not _History_ (which is, for that very reason, _Philosophy),_ but a
_Philosophy of History._

[Sidenote: _The contradictions in this undertaking._]

The absurdity of this programme must be clearly set forth, because
those who formulate it are wont to concede equivocally that a
Philosophy of history must be founded upon actual data, and have
induction as its basis. In reality, were those actual data documents
to be interpreted, we should not have the Philosophy of history that
they desire, but simply History. The actual data, the so-called
formless material, in the programme of the Philosophy of history,
are at the most already constructed histories, which do not content
the philosophers of history. They do not content them, not because
they judge them to be false interpretations of the documents (in
which case nothing else would be needed but to correct history with
history, carrying out the work that all historians do); but because
the _very method of history_ does not content them, and they demand
something else. History is despised as mere narration, and considered
not as a form of thought, but as its material, a chaotic mass of
representations. The true form of thought is for them the Philosophy
of history, which appears in history and not in documents. And how
does it appear? If the documents are removed, the _a priori_ synthesis
is no longer possible. It arises, then, by the parthenogenesis of the
abstract concept, which history finds in itself, without the spark
being struck by confrontation with documents. History is deduced
_a priori,_ not in the concrete but in the void. Whatever be the
declarations which philosophers of history add to their programme, its
essence cannot be changed. Were these declarations made seriously and
all their logical consequences accepted, there would be no reason for
maintaining a Philosophy of history beside and beyond history. The
two things would become identical, and the programme itself would be
annulled, both for those who propose it, and for us who judge it to
be contradictory. This is the dilemma, from which there is no escape:
either the Philosophy of history is an interpretation of documents,
and in this case it is synonymous with History and makes no new
claim;--or it does make a new claim and in that case, being no longer
interpretation of documents and intending all the same to think facts,
it thinks them without documents and draws them from the empty concept,
and we have the Philosophy of history, philosophism, panlogism.

[Sidenote: _Philosophy of history and false analogies._]

In order to give itself body, the Philosophy of history has recourse to
analogy. This is a legitimate process of thought, which, in its search
for truth, seeks analogies and harmonies. But it is legitimate, as
we know, only on condition that the analogy does not remain a merely
heuristic hypothesis, but is effectively thinkable and thought. Now the
concepts that the Philosophy of history deduces cannot be effectively
thought, because they are void; they are neither pure concepts nor
pure representations, but an arbitrary mixture of the two forms, and
therefore contradiction and vacuity. Thus the analogies of which the
Philosophy of history avails itself, are _false analogies,_ that is
to say, _metaphors_ and _comparisons,_ transformed into analogies and
concepts. It will declare, for instance, that the Middle Ages are the
negation of ancient civilization, and that the modern epoch is the
synthesis of these two opposites. But ancient civilization is nothing
but an unending series of facts, of which each is a synthesis of
opposites, real only in so far as it is a synthesis of opposites. And
between ancient civilization and the Middle Ages, there is absolute
continuity, not less than between the Middle Ages and the modern epoch.
Facts cannot stand to one another as opposite concepts, because they
cannot be opposed to one another as positive and negative. The fact
that is called positive is positive-negative and so, in like manner,
is that which is called negative. It will further declare (always by
way of example) that Greece was thought and Rome action, and the modern
world is the unity of thought and action. But in reality, Greek life
was thought and action, like that of Rome, and like modern life. Every
epoch, every people, every individual, every instant of life is thought
and action, in virtue of the unity of the spirit, whose distinctions
are never broken up into separate existences. The affirmations that
belong to the Philosophy of history are all of this kind, and when they
are not of this kind, it means that they do not belong to the essence
of the Philosophy of history.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between the Philosophy of history, and the
books thus entitled. Philosophical and historical merits of these._]

The last-mentioned case occurs frequently in books that bear the title
of Philosophy of history. These certainly cannot be considered to have
been refuted when the concept of that science has been refuted. Science
is one thing and the book another. The error of a false attempt at
science is one thing and the value of books, which usually (especially
with great thinkers and writers) have deeper motives and more valuable
parts, is another. Among books upon the philosophy of history are
numbered some masterpieces of human genius,--fountains of truth, at
which many generations have quenched their thirst and to which men
return perpetually. They have often indeed been marvellous books on
history, true history, produced by reaction against superficial,
partisan or trifling histories. They have for the first time revealed
the true character of certain epochs, of certain events, of certain
individuals.[1] The sterile form of duality and opposition between
Philosophy of history and simple History, concealed the fruitful
polemic of a better history against a worse history. Even the formulae,
which were falsely regarded as deductions of concepts (for example,
that the Middle Ages are the negation of antiquity and the Renaissance
the negation of the Middle Ages, or that the Germanic spirit, from the
Reformation to the Romantic movement, is the affirmation of inward
liberty, or that Italy of the fifteenth century represents Art,
France the State, and so on), were at bottom vivacious expressions of
predominant characteristics, by means of which the various epochs and
events were portrayed. These expressions and truths could be accepted
without there being any necessity for presupposing clear and fixed
oppositions and distinctions, or for denying the extra-temporality of
spiritual forms. Besides these historical characteristics, discoveries
more strictly philosophical appeared for the first time in those books;
hence not only do we find in them the first outlines of a Logic of
historical science (a Logic of the individual judgment), but also,
sometimes in imaginative forms, determinations of eternal aspects of
the Spirit, which had previously been unknown or ill-known. Such is
the case with the concept of _progress_ and _providence,_ and of that
other concept concerning the spiritual autonomy of _language_ and of
_art,_ which presented itself for the first time as the discovery of
the historical epoch, in which man, wholly sense and imagination,
without intelligible genera and concepts, is supposed to have spoken
and poetized without reasoning. In an equally imaginary fashion the
constancy of the spirit, which eternally repeats itself, also found
in those philosophies the formula of the perpetual _passing_ away and
returning of the various epochs of civilization. These philosophical
truths, like the historical characteristics, must be purged, the first
from the representations improperly united with them, the second from
the logical character which they wrongly assumed. But they cannot be
discarded, unless we are willing to throw away the gold, through our
unwillingness to have the trouble of separating it from the dross.
And this necessity for purification further confirms the error of the
philosophism, since it is the purification of Philosophy and of History
from the Philosophy of History.

[Sidenote: _Philosophy of nature._]

Another manifestation of the philosophism, somewhat different from
the preceding, is the science which assumes the name of _Philosophy_
of _nature._ Here it is claimed to deduce, not the historical facts
themselves, but the general concepts, which constitute the natural
sciences. The philosophy of nature can be considered as the converse
error to the empiricist error, which claims to induce philosophic
categories _a posteriori,_ whereas this claims to deduce empirical
concepts _a priori._

[Sidenote: _Its substantial identity with the Philosophy of history._]

But the theoretic content of empirical concepts and of the natural
sciences is, as we know, nothing but perception and history. So that,
in the final analysis, the Philosophy of nature can be reduced to the
Philosophy of history (extended to so-called inferior or subhuman
reality), making, like the other, the vain attempt to produce in the
void what thought can produce only in the concrete, that is to say,
by synthesizing. And that it tends to become a Philosophy of history
is also to be seen from its not infrequent hesitances before abstract
concepts, or mathematical science, sometimes declaring that the pure
abstractions of the intellect must remain such and are not otherwise
deducible and capable of being philosophized about. The Philosophy
of nature has usually been extended to the field of the physical and
natural sciences, including also some parts of mechanics. But it has
refused to undertake the deduction of the theorems of geometry and
still more the operations of the Calculus.

[Sidenote: _The contradictions of the Philosophy of nature._]

The Philosophy of nature, like the Philosophy of history, has abounded
in declarations of the necessity of the historical and empirical
method. It has recognized that the physical and natural sciences are
its antecedent and presupposition and that it continues and completes
their work. But it is not permitted to complete this work because
this work extends to infinity. And it would not be able to continue
it, save by turning itself into physics and natural sciences, working
as these do in laboratories, observing, classifying, and making laws
(legislating). Now the Philosophy of nature does not wish to adopt such
a procedure, but to introduce a new method into the study of nature.
And since a new method and a new science are the same thing, it does
not wish to be a continuation of physics and of the natural sciences,
but a new science. And since a new science implies a new object, it
wishes to give a new object, which is precisely the _philosophic
idea of nature._ This philosophic idea of nature would therefore be
constructed by a method which would not and could not have anything
in common with that of the empirical sciences. Yet the Philosophy of
nature is not able to dispense with the empirical concepts, which it
strives to deduce _a priori._ And here lies the contradictoriness of
its undertaking. The dilemma which confronted the Philosophy of history
must be repeated in this case also:--either it has to continue the work
of the physical and natural sciences, and in this case there will be
progress in the physical and natural sciences and not in the Philosophy
of nature; or it has to construct the Philosophy of nature (the
physical and natural sciences); and this cannot be done, save by an _a
priori_ deduction of the empirical and thus falling into the error of
panlogism or philosophism.

[Sidenote: _False analogies in the Philosophy of nature._]

The Philosophy of nature, like that of history, expresses itself in
false analogies. It will say, for instance, that the poles of the
magnet are the opposed moments of the concept, made extrinsic and
appearing in space; or that light is the ideality of nature; or that
magnetism corresponds to length, electricity to breadth and gravity to
volume; or again (like more ancient philosophers), that water, or fire,
or sulphur, or mercury, is the essence of all natural facts. But these
phenomena which are given as essences, those classes of natural facts
which are given as moments of the concept and of the spirit, are no
longer either scientific phenomena, or the concepts and spiritual forms
of philosophy. The first are intuitions and not categories; the second
categories and not intuitions; and just because they are so clearly
distinguished from one another they mutually mingle in the _a priori_
synthesis. On the other hand, the concepts of the Philosophy of nature
are categories, which as such present themselves in their emptiness
as intuitions, and intuitions, which in their blindness present
themselves as categories. These thoughts are contradictory. They can
be _spoken,_ or rather _tittered,_ because it is possible to combine
phonetically contradictory propositions, but it is impossible to think
them. Such combinations by their ingenuity often give rise to surprise
or astonishment. But mental satisfaction is never obtained from them
merely because the mind is excited and deluded. On the other hand, the
Philosophy of nature, in this labour of ingenuity, runs against limits,
which even ingenuity cannot overcome. Then are heard affirmations,
which amount to open confessions of the impossibility of the task. Of
this sort is the assertion that nature contains the contingent and the
irrational and therefore is incapable of complete rationalization;
or that nature in its self-externality is impotent to achieve the
concept and the spirit. In like manner. Philosophies of history end by
confessing that there are facts which are told and are not deduced,
because they are small, contingent and fortuitous matter for chronicle.
Thus, after having announced in the programme the rationality of nature
and of history, they recognize in the execution of the programme that
the contrary is true. They simply deny the rationality of the world,
because they cannot bring themselves to deny the rationality of the
pseudo-sciences of philosophism.

[Sidenote: _Works entitled Philosophy of nature._]

Finally, the reservations made in the case of works dealing with the
Philosophy of history are to be repeated for those dealing with the
Philosophy of nature. In them, too, there is something more than, and
something different from, the sterile analogical exercises that we have
mentioned. Some of the philosophers of nature, in the pursuit of their
illusions, have made occasional scientific discoveries, in the same way
that the alchemists seeking the philosopher's stone made discoveries
in Chemistry. Those discoveries in physical and natural science cannot
serve to increase the value of the theory of the Philosophy of nature
any more than those made in chemistry increased the value of alchemy.
But they confer value on the books entitled Philosophy of nature, and
do honour to their authors as physicists, not as metaphysicians. From
the philosophical point of view, those works have had the merit of
affirming, though but in imaginative and symbolical ways, the unity
and spirituality of nature, opening the path to its unification with
the history of man. They have the yet greater merit of contributing
effectively in the battle engaged by them against the sciences of
making clear the empirical character of the naturalistic concepts and
the abstract character of the mathematical. Nevertheless, they drew
illegitimate conclusions from such gnoseological truth and carried on
a war of conquest, which must be held to be unjust. In virtue of the
positive elements that they contain, works on the Philosophy of nature
have aided the advance both of the sciences and of philosophy, which in
their properly philosophico-naturalistic parts they have violated and
debased and forced into hybrid unions.

[Sidenote: _Contemporary demands for a Philosophy of nature and their
various meanings._]

In our day demands for a Philosophy of history are rare and received
with scant favour; but it seems that those for a Philosophy of nature
are again acquiring vigour. On seeking the inward meaning of this fact,
it is seen that on the one hand many of those who demand a Philosophy
of nature are empiricists, desirous of a natural science elaborated
into a philosophy, and therefore not properly of a Philosophy of
nature, but of a view of the natural sciences that may supplant
philosophy. Other upholders of a Philosophy of nature echo the only
programme of such a philosophy, as it was formulated especially by
Schelling and by Hegel, but declare themselves altogether dissatisfied
with the attempts to carry it out made by Schelling, by Hegel and by
the followers of both. They are dissatisfied, but incapable of setting
their dissatisfaction at rest by a new attempt at carrying out the
programme. They are also without the intellectual courage necessary
to question and to re--examine the solidity of the programme itself,
which is in their judgment plausible and guaranteed by such great
names. For what indeed is more plausible upon first inspection than
the affirmation that the empirical sciences must be elevated to the
rank of philosophy? It seems that too much mental liberty is needed
to understand and to distinguish from the preceding, the somewhat
different proposition that empiricism (empirical philosophy) must
certainly be elevated to the rank of non-empirical philosophy, but that
the _empirical sciences_ must be left in peace to their own methods,
without any attempt to render perfect by means of extrinsic additions
that which has in itself all the perfection of which it is capable.
It seems that more intelligence than is usually met with is necessary
in order to recognize that this last proposition does not establish a
_dualism_ of spirit and nature, of philosophy and the natural sciences,
but for ever destroys every dualism by making of the natural sciences
a merely practical formation of the spirit, which has no voice in
the assembly of the philosophical sciences, as the object which it
has created has no reality. An ultimate tendency can be discerned in
the complex movement of the day toward a Philosophy of nature. This
is the attainment of the consciousness that reality is on this side
of the classifications of the natural sciences, and that the natural
sciences must be retranslated into _history,_ by means of a historical
consideration (concrete and not abstract) of the facts that are called
natural. But this tendency is not something that will attain its end
in a near or in a distant future. It has always shown its value and
shows it also to-day; it can be recommended and promoted, but neither
more nor less than every other legitimate form of spiritual activity
can be recommended and promoted. Classifications are classifications;
and what man really seeks out, what continually enriches the empirical
sciences, is always the history of nature,--the series of facts, which,
as we know, can be distinguished only in an empirical manner from the
history of man, and which along with this constitutes _History_ without
genitive or adjective; history, which cannot even be strictly called
history of the spirit, for the Spirit is, itself, History.

[Footnote 1: See my _Essay on Hegel,_ chap. ix. (_What is living, etc.,
of Hegel,_ tr. D. Ainslie).]



[Sidenote: _Rupture of the unity of the synthesis a priori.

When by the severance of subject from predicate, of history from
philosophy, the mutilated subject is given as predicate, mutilated
history as philosophy, and consequently a false predicate is
posited, which predicate is an abstract subject and therefore mere
representation; when this happens, there occurs the opposite error
to that which we have just particularly examined. That was called
philosophism; this might be called historicism; but since this last
term has usually been employed to indicate a form of positivism, it
will be more convenient to call it _mythologism._

The process of this error (somewhat abstruse in the way that we have
stated it) becomes clear at once in virtue of the name that has been
assigned to it. Every one has examples of myths present in his memory.
Let us take the myths of Uranus and Gæa, of the seven days of creation,
of the earthly Paradise, and of Prometheus, of Danaë, or of Niobe.
Every one is ready to say of a scientific theory which introduces
causes not demonstrable either in the experience or in thought, that it
is not theory, but mythology, not concept, but myth.

[Sidenote: _Essence of the myth._]

What then is it that is called myth? It is certainly not a simple
poetic and artistic fancy. The myth contains an affirmation or logical
judgment, and precisely for this reason may be considered a hybrid
affirmation, half fanciful and erroneous. If it has been confused with
art, it is not so much a false doctrine of the myth that should be
blamed, as a false æsthetic doctrine, which we have already refuted,
and which fails to recognize the original and ingenuous character of
art. On the other hand, the logical affirmation does not stand to the
myth as something extrinsic, as in the case of a fable or image put
forward to express a given concept, where the difference of the two
terms and the arbitrariness of the relation between them declares
itself more or less openly. In this case there is not myth, but
_allegory._ In myth, on the contrary, the concept is not separated
from the representation, indeed it is throughout penetrated by it.
Yet the compenetration is not effected in a logical manner, as in the
singular judgment and in the _a priori_ synthesis. The compenetration
is obtained capriciously, yet it gives itself out as necessary and
logical. For instance, it is desired to explain how sky and earth were
formed, how sea and rivers, plants and animals, men and language arose;
and behold, we are given as explanations, the stories of the marriage
of Uranus and Gæa, and the birth of Chronos and of the other Titans;
or the story of a God Creator, who successively drew all things out of
chaos in seven days, and made man of clay and taught him the names of
things. It is desired to explain the origin of human civilization, and
the tale is told of Prometheus, who steals fire and instructs men in
the arts; or of Adam and Eve, who eat the forbidden fruit, and driven
from the earthly Paradise are forced to till the ground and bathe it
with their sweat. It is desired to explain the astronomical phenomena
of dawn or of winter, and the story is told of Phœbus, who pursues
Daphne, or of the same god who slays one after the other the sons of
Niobe. These naturalistic interpretations may pass as examples, however
contested and antiquated they may be. In place of the concepts which
should illuminate single facts, we are given representations. Hence
are derived what we have called false predicates. Philosophy becomes a
little anecdote, a novelette, a story; history too becomes a story and
ceases to be history, because it lacks the logical element necessary
for its constitution. The true philosophic doctrine in the preceding
cases, for example, will be that of an immanent spirit, of which stars
and sky, earth and sea, plants and animals, constitute the contingent
manifestations; the doctrine which looks upon the consciousness of
good and evil and the necessity for work, not as the result of a theft
made from the gods or of a violation of one of their commands, but
as eternal categories of reality; and which regards language, not as
the teaching of men by a god, but as an essential determination of
humanity, or indeed of spirituality, which is not truly, if it does
not express itself. They will also, if we like, be the philosophic
doctrines of materialism and of evolutionism; but these, in order
to be accepted as philosophic, must prove, like the preceding, that
they do not substitute representations for concepts and are strictly
founded upon thought and employ its method, that is to say, that they
are philosophy and not mythology. For this reason, in philosophical
criticism, adverse philosophies often accuse one another of being
more or less mythological, and we hear of the mythology of _atoms,_
the mythology of _chance,_ the mythology of _ether,_ of the _two
substances,_ of _monads,_ of the _blind will,_ of the _Unconscious,_
or, if you like, of the mythology of the _immanent Spirit._

[Sidenote: _Problems concerning the theory of myth._]

The particular treatment of all the problems that concern the myth does
not belong to this place, where it was important solely to determine
the proper nature of that spiritual formation. It is customary, for
instance, to distinguish between _myth_ and _legend,_ attributing
the first name to stories of universal content, and the second to
stories with an individual and historical content. This partition is
analogous to that between philosophy in the strict sense and history,
and as such, though it possesses no little practical importance, it is
without philosophic value, because, as has been remarked, in myth the
universal becomes history and history becomes legend. Nor is it only
legend of the past, but it extends even to the future, and thus appear
_apocalypses,_ the legend of the _Millennium,_ and _eschatology._
Again, myths are usually distinguished as _physical_ and _ethical,_
and this division is in turn analogous to that between the philosophy
of the external world and the philosophy of the internal world, the
philosophy of nature and the philosophy of the spirit, and stands or
falls with it. So that by this criticism we can solve the disputes as
to whether physical myths precede ethical or inversely, whether the
origin of myth is or is not anthropomorphic, and the like.

[Sidenote: _Myth and religion. Identity of the two spiritual

But the myth can assume another name, which makes yet clearer the
knowledge of the logical error of which the analysis has been given:
the name of _religion._ Mythologism is the _religious error._ Against
this thesis various objections have been brought, such as that religion
is not theoretical but practical, and has therefore nothing to do
with myth; or that it is something _sui generis,_ or that it is not
exhausted in the myth, since it consists of the complex of all the
activities of the human spirit. But against these objections it must
above all be maintained that religion is a theoretic fact, since
there is no religion _without affirmation._ The practical activity,
however noble it may be held, is always an operating, a doing, a
producing, and to that extent is mute and alogical. It will be said
that that affirmation is _sui generis_ and goes beyond the limits
of human science. This is most true, if by science we understand
the empirical sciences; but it is not true, if by human science we
understand philosophy, since philosophy also goes beyond or is outside
the limits of the empirical sciences. It will be said that every
religion is founded upon a _revelation,_ whereas philosophy does not
admit of other revelation than that which the spirit makes to itself
as thought. That too is most true; but the revelation of religion, in
so far as it is not that of the spirit as thought, expresses precisely
the logical contradiction of mythologism: the affirmation of the
universal as mere representation, and this asserted as a universal
truth on the strength of a contingent fact, a communication which
ought to be proved and thought, whereas on the contrary it is taken
capriciously, as a principle of proof and as equivalent or superior to
an act of thought. The theory of religion as a mixture hardly merits
refutation, since that complex of the activities of the spirit is a
metaphor of the spirit in its totality; that is to say, it gives not a
theory of religion, but a new name of the spirit itself,--the object of
philosophic speculation.

[Sidenote: _Religion and philosophy._]

Since then, religion is identical with myth, and since myth is not
distinguishable from philosophy by any positive character, but only
as false philosophy from true philosophy and as error from the truth
which rectifies and contains it, we must affirm that religion, in
so far as it is truth, is identical with philosophy, or as can also
be said, _that philosophy_ is the _true religion._ All ancient and
modern thought about religions, which have always been dissolved in
philosophies, leads to this result. And since philosophy coincides
with history, and religion and the history of religion are the same,
and myth and religion are strictly speaking indistinguishable, we can
see very well the vanity of the attempt that is being made beneath our
eyes to preserve a religion or mythological truth side by side with a
history of religions, which on the contrary is supposed to be practised
with complete mental freedom and with an entirely critical method.
This, which is one of the tendencies of so-called _modernism,_ is
condemned as contradictory and illogical, by philosophy not less than
by the Catholic Church.[1] The history of religions is an integral part
of the history of philosophy, and as inseparable from it as error from
the history of truth.

[Sidenote: _Conversion of errors into one another. Conversion of
mythologism into philosophism (theology) and of philosophism into
mythologism (mythology of nature, historical apocalypses, etc.)._]

When religion does not dissolve into philosophy and wishes to persist
together with it, or to substitute itself for philosophy, it reveals
itself as effective error; that is to say, as an arbitrary attempt
against truth, due to habit, feelings and individual passions. But
the destiny of every form of error is to be unable to persist before
the light of truth. Hence the constant change of tactics and the
passage of every error into the error from which it had at first
wished to disassociate itself, or into which it did not mean to fall.
Thus æstheticism, dislodged from its positions, takes refuge in
those of empiricism; and empiricism either descends again into pure
sensationalism and æstheticism, or becomes volatilized in mysticism.
Thus (to stop at the case we have before us) mythologism, which intends
to be the opposite of philosophism and to work with blind fancy instead
of with empty concepts, is obliged in order to save itself from the
attacks of criticism to have recourse to philosophism; and religion is
then called _theology._ Theology is philosophism, because it works with
concepts which are empty of all historical and empirical content. Myth
becomes _dogma_; the myth of the expulsion from Paradise becomes the
dogma of original sin; the myth of the son of God becomes the dogma of
the incarnation and of the Trinity. Nor must it be thought that for its
part philosophism does not accomplish the opposite transition. Every
philosophy of nature ends by appearing as a _mythology of nature,_
every philosophy of history as an _apocalypse._ Sometimes even a sort
of revelation occurs in them, and we often find that the unthinkable
connections of concepts constituting those pseudo-philosophies are
obtained and comprehended in virtue of second sight, as the result of a
mental illumination, which is the prerogative of but a few privileged
persons. Finally, philosophism and mythologism embrace one another
and fall embracing into empiricism and into the other forms of error
previously described.

[Sidenote: _Scepsis._]

This perpetual transition from one form of error to another gives rise
to a _scepsis,_ which promotes the reciprocal dissolution of errors,
and scorning illusions and confusions, throws their _mental vacuity_
into clear light. Such a scepsis fulfils an important function. The
lies of æstheticism, mathematicism, philosophism, mythologism, cannot
resist it. Their little wordy strongholds are broken into; the shadows
are dispersed. Especially against mythologism, which in a certain sense
may be called the most complete negation of thought, a scepsis is
helpful; and owing to the resistance offered here more than elsewhere,
by passions and interests, it often takes the form of violent satire.
The last great epoch of this strife is what is called the _Aufklärung,_
Encyclopedism or Voltaireism, and was directed against Christianity,
especially in its Catholic form. We must make so many reservations in
what follows concerning the enlightened Encyclopedist and Voltairean
attitude, that here we feel obliged to indicate explicitly its serious
and fruitful side.

[Footnote 1: See with reference to this G. Gentile, _Il modernismo e
l'enciclica, Critica,_ vi. pp. 208-229.]



[Sidenote: _Dualism._]

Total scepticism can be reached only through _dualism,_ which, in
addition to being a particular error in a given philosophic problem,
is a logical error, consisting in the attempt to affirm two methods of
truth at the same time--the philosophic method and the non-philosophic
method, however the second of these be afterwards determined. Such an
error would not be error but supreme truth, if the various methods
were given each its due post (which is what has been attempted in
this Logic); but it becomes error when the various methods are made
philosophical and placed _alongside_ the philosophical. This is the
error of those conciliatory people, who, unwilling to seek out where
reason stands, admit that reason is operative in all of them, and
divide the kingdom of truth amongst all in equal parts. Thus arise
those logical doctrines which demand for the solution of philosophic
problems, the successive or contemporaneous application of the
naturalistic method, of mathematics, of historical research, and so
on. At the least they demand the combination of the naturalistic
method (empiricism) with the speculative and the use of what they call
the double criterion of _teleology_ and _causality,_ or of _double_
causality. To the question, what is reality, they reply with two
methods and consequently offer two concurrent and parallel realities.
Beneath the appearance of treatment and solution, they abandon the
philosophic problem. Instead of conceiving, they describe, and
description is given as concept, and concept as description: hence the
justifiable intervention of the scepsis.

[Sidenote: _Scepsis and scepticism._]

But the scepsis, which clears the ground of all forms of erroneous
logical affirmation, is the negation of error and consequently the
negativity of negativity. The negativity of negativity is affirmation,
and for this reason, the true scepsis, like every true negation, always
contains a positive content in the negative verbal form, which can be
also verbally developed as such. If this positive content, instead of
being developed, is choked in the bud, if instead of negation, which
is also affirmation, a mere negation is given,--an abstract negation,
which destroys without constructing, and if this negation claims to
pass as truth, the final form of error is obtained, which is no longer
called scepsis, but _scepticism._

[Sidenote: _Mystery._]

Scepticism is the proclamation of mystery made in the name of
thought;--a definition the contradictoriness of which leaps to the
eye. It is mortally wounded both by the ancient dilemma against
scepticism and by the _cogito_ of Descartes. Nevertheless, since a
singular tenderness for the idea of mystery seems to have invaded the
contemporary world, it is desirable to leave open no loophole whatever
for misunderstanding. The _mystery_ is _life itself,_ which is an
eternal _problem_ for thought; but this problem would not even be a
problem, if thought did not eternally solve it. For this reason, both
those who consider mystery to be definitely penetrated by thought and
those who consider it impenetrable are equally wrong. The first we
already know: they are the philosophists who reduce reality to pure
terms of abstract thought, by breaking up the _a priori_ synthesis
and by neglecting the historical element, which is ever new and ever
assuming forms not determinable _a priori._ Thus, they claim to shut
up the world for ever in one single act (maybe in some particular
philosophic system). Through their excessive love of the infinite
they make it finite; the sun and the earth and all the stars, the
historical forms of life, and what is called human life, which has
been known for some thousands of years, are transformed by them into
categories of thought, solidified and made eternal. This conception,
which appears (at least as a tendency) in certain parts of the Hegelian
philosophy, is narrow and suffocating. The spirit is superior to all
its manifestations hitherto known, and its power is infinite. It
will never be able to surpass itself, that is to say, its eternal
categories, just as God (according to the best theological doctrines)
could destroy heaven and earth, but not the true and the good, which
are his very essence; yet the spirit is able to surpass, and actually
does surpass, its every contingent incarnation. The world, which is
abstractly assumed to be more or less constant, is all in movement and
becoming. Those who will be raised up to think it will know what worlds
will issue from this world of ours. That we cannot know, for we must
think this world which exists at our moment, and must act on the basis
of it.

[Sidenote: _Critique of the affirmations of mystery in philosophy._]

But if the philosophers incur the guilt of arrogance, the sceptics,
who affirm a mystery, that is to say, that reality is impenetrable to
thought, fall under the accusation of cowardice. These, when faced with
the problems of the real (soluble, we repeat, by the very fact that
they are problems), avoid the hard work of dominating and penetrating
them, and think it convenient to wrap themselves in abstract negation
and to affirm that _mystery is._ There is mystery, without doubt; and
this means that there is a problem, something that invokes the light of
thought. And it is a beautiful solution which these mysterious ones and
sceptics offer, for it consists in stating the problem and leaving it
untouched. In the same way, when a man asks for help, we might claim to
have given it to him when we had noticed his request. Charity consists
in hastening to render effective aid, not in noting that aid has been
asked for and then turning the back. To think is to break up the
mystery and to solve the problem, not simply to recognize that there is
a problem and a mystery, and to renounce seeking the solution as though
it had already been given and the matter settled by that recognition.

It seems strange that it should be necessary to explain these
elementary concepts; yet in our time it is necessary, so much have
those concepts been darkened for historical reasons, which it would
take long to expound here, and which can all of them be summarized
as due to a certain moral weakening. And it may be opportune here to
give a warning (since we are dealing with a theme that belongs to
the elementary school of philosophy) that to inculcate the courage
to confront and to solve the problem and to conquer the mystery, is
not to counsel the neglect of difficulties, or superficiality and
arrogance. Mysteries are covered and must continually be covered
by their own shadows; problems torment and must torment, yet it is
only through these shadows and by means of those torments that we
attain to momentary repose in the true; and only thus does repose not
become sloth, but the restoration of our forces to resume the eternal
journey. Superficiality, arrogance, neglect of difficulties, belong
to the sceptics who deafen themselves with words and contrive to live
at their ease in their abstract negation. True thinkers suffer, but
do not flee from pain. "_Et iterum ecce turbatio_ (groans St. Anselm
amid the anxious vicissitudes of his meditations), _ecce iterum obviat
maeror et luctus quaerenti gaudium et laetitiam. Sperabat jam anima
mea satietatem, et ecce iterum obruitur egestate. Conabar assurgere
ad lucem Dei, et recidi in tenebras meas: immo non modo cecidi in
eas, sed sentio me involutum in eis...."_[1] Such words as these are
the pessimistic lyric of the thinker. Sceptics create no such lyric,
because they have cut the desire at the root. They are as a rule
blissfully calm and smiling.

[Sidenote: _Agnosticism as a particular form of scepticism._]

There is a form of scepticism which would like to appear critical and
refined and which takes the name of _agnosticism._ It is a scepticism
limited to ultimate things, to profound reality, to the essence of
the world, which amounts to saying that it is limited to the supreme
principles of philosophy. Now, since the principles of philosophy are
all equally supreme, such agnostic scepticism extends its affirmation
of mystery over neither more nor less than the whole of philosophy and
consequently over the whole of human knowledge. Its limits would be
nothing less than the boundaries of knowledge. Indeed, agnosticism is
the spiritual fulfilment sought by all those who negate philosophy,
such as æstheticists, mathematicians, and especially empiricists; and
agnostics and empiricists are ordinarily so closely connected that the
one name is almost synonymous with the other.

[Sidenote: _Mysticism._]

The sceptical error, which consists in stating the problem as solution
and mystery as truth, can give way to another mode of error, in which
the very affirmation of scepticism is denied and it is recognized
that thought cannot explicitly state mystery. But this recognition,
which would imply that of the authority of thought, is strangely
combined with the most precise negation of such authority. Thought
being excluded, either affirmatively or negatively, as in the
self-contradiction of scepticism, what remains is life, no longer
a problem, or a solution of a problem, but just life, life lived.
To affirm that truth is life lived, reality directly felt in us as
part of us and we part of it, is the pretension of _mysticism._
This is the last general form of error that can be thought; and its
self-contradiction is evident from the genetic process which we have
already expounded. Mysticism affirms, when no affirmation is permitted
to it; and it is yet more gravely contradictory than scepticism, which,
though forbidding to itself logical affirmation, does not forbid
itself speech, that is to say, æsthetic expression. To mysticism not
even words can be permissible, because mysticism, being life and not
contemplation, practice and not theory, is by definition _dumbness._
But we shall say no more of mysticism, having had occasion to refer to
it, as also to æstheticism and empiricism, at the beginning of this
treatise on Logic.

[Sidenote: _Errors in the other parts of philosophy._]

When we consider these errors more closely, it is easy to see that
dualism, scepticism, and mysticism manifest themselves not only in the
forms of thought, in philosophy as Logic, but also in all the other
particular philosophic problems, distinct from those that are peculiar
to Logic, and in the errors due to them. The complete enumeration of
these and their concrete determination would (as has already been said)
require the development of the whole philosophic system, and therefore
cannot all be contained in the present treatise. Indeed, they take
their name, not from the forms of the spirit, with which the logical
form is confused, or from the internal mutilation of the logical form,
but from the confusion and mutilation of the remaining spiritual forms.
They are no longer called æstheticism, mathematicism, or philosophism,
but ethical utilitarianism, moral abstractionism, æsthetic logicism,
sensationalism and hedonism, practical intellectualism, metaphysical
dualism or pluralism, optimism and pessimism, and so on. It is not
those who, as in the previous instances, deny philosophy itself, that
fall into such errors, but those who admit it and carry it out more
or less badly in its other parts. Without the admission of the method
of philosophic thought, and without the assertion of a concept, it is
impossible to conceive logical usurpations in the domain of another
concept, which is not less necessary than the first to the fulness and
unity of the real.

_Ethical utilitarianism,_ for instance, thinks the concept of
utilitarian practical activity; but its fallacy consists in arbitrarily
maintaining that the concept of utility altogether exhausts that of
the practical activity, thus negating the other concept distinct from
it, the practical moral activity. _Moral abstractionism_ commits
the opposite error, affirming the moral activity, but negating the
utilitarian. _Æsthetic logicism_ rightly affirms the reality of the
logical mental form, but is wrong in not recognizing the intuitive
mental form and in considering it to be resolved in the logical
form. Æsthetic _sensationalism,_ directing its attention to crude
and unexpressed sensation, emphasises the necessary precedent of the
æsthetic activity, but then makes of the condition the conditioned,
defining art as sensation. Æsthetic _hedonism, utilitarianism or
practicism,_ is true in so far as it notes the practical and hedonistic
envelope of the æsthetic activity; but it becomes false in so far as
it takes the envelope for the content, and treats art as a mere fact
of pleasure and pain. _Practical intellectualism_ perceives that the
will is not possible without a cognitive basis, but by exaggerating
this, it ends by destroying the originality of the practical spiritual
form, and reduces it to a complex of concepts and reasonings. In like
manner, _metaphysical dualism_ avails itself of the difference between
the concept of reality as spirit and that of reality as nature, the
one arising from logical thought, the other from an empirical and
naturalistic method of treatment, in order to transmute them into
concepts of two distinct forms of reality itself, as spirit and matter,
internal and external world, and so on. _Pluralism_ or monadism,
confounding the individuality of acts with the substantiality which
belongs to the universal subject, makes entities of single acts and
turns them into a multiplicity of simple substances. _Pessimism_ and
_optimism,_ each one availing itself of an abstract element of reality,
which is the unity of opposites, maintain that reality is all evil and
suffering, or all goodness and joy. This process of exemplification
could be carried much further, and would become, as we see, a deduction
of all philosophical concepts and errors.

[Sidenote: _Conversion of these errors with one another and with
logical errors._]

Now, each one of those false solutions, obeying the law of errors,
is obliged, in order to maintain itself, to pass into that from
which it was distinguished, and then to pass back again from that
to this. Thus utilitarianism becomes abstract morality and abstract
morality utilitarianism. Hence the work of scepsis and the consequent
appearance of a _particular scepticism of this or that concept._ Ethics
having vainly struggled with the alternate negations, of utility and
of morality, ends in _ethical scepticism;_ Æsthetic torn between
sensationalism and utilitarianism and logicism, and other errors, and
destroying them all with its scepsis, ends in _Æsthetic scepticism_;
Metaphysics, torn between materialism, abstract spiritualism,
dualism, pluralism, pessimism, optimism, and other erroneous views,
ends in _metaphysical scepticism._ And to these errors of particular
scepticism, errors of _particular mysticism_ soon succeed. Thus we hear
it said that there is no concept of the beautiful, as there is of the
true or the good, but that it is only felt and lived; or, again, that
there is no possible definition of what is good, since it concerns a
thing that must be left to sentiment and to life; or, finally, that
thought has value within the limits that abstraction has value, but
that it is impotent before complete reality, because life alone is
capable of comprehending reality, by receiving it into its very bosom.

On the other hand, it is not possible that any æstheticism, empiricism,
mathematicism, philosophism, mythologism, or logicism whatever, should
remain limited to a determinate philosophic concept without coming
in contact with others, because those forms of error strike at the
logical form of thought itself, and therefore equally at all other
philosophic concepts. The ethical or æsthetic empiricist, for instance,
must logically affirm a general philosophic empiricism if he does not
wish to correct himself by contradicting himself (an hypothesis which
must be neglected and left to be understood in this consideration of
the simple, elementary, fundamental, or _necessary_ forms of error).
He who in a particular philosophic problem has committed a confusion
of concepts, and has thence arrived at a particular scepticism and
mysticism, is led by the systematic and unitary character of philosophy
to widen that mysticism and scepticism from particular to general. From
this general mysticism and scepticism, he is led to return gradually to
mythologism, philosophism, empiricism, and to the other negations of
the logical form of philosophy. Everything is connected in philosophy
and everything is connected in error, which is the negation of

[Footnote 1: _Proslog.,_ c. 18.]



[Sidenote: _Necessary character of the forms of errors. Their definite

Everything is connected in errors; error has its necessary forms.
This implies, in the first place, that the possible forms of errors,
the logical forms of the illogical, are _so many_ and _no more._
Indeed, the forms of the spirit or concepts of reality, which can
be arbitrarily combined, can be stated as a finite number (where
the process of numbering can be applied to them). Consequently,
the arbitrary combinations or errors which arise from them can
also be similarly numbered. Only the individual forms of error are
infinite, and that for the same reason which we have already given,
as the individual forms of truth are infinite. Problems are always
historically conditioned, and the solutions are conditioned in the same
way; even false solutions, which are determined by feelings, passions,
and interests, also vary according to historical conditions.

[Sidenote: Their logical order.]

In the second place, and as corollary to the preceding thesis, the
possible forms of errors present a necessary order; and this, because
the forms of the spirit or the concepts of reality stand in a necessary
order to one another. They cannot be placed after or before one another
nor changed at will. This necessary order is, as we know, a genetic
order of degrees, and consequently the possible forms of errors
constitute a series of degrees. It is commonly said that _error has
its logic,_ and we must say more correctly, that it cannot constitute
itself as error, save by borrowing logical character from truth.

[Sidenote: _Examples of this order in the various parts of philosophy._]

This is already clearly seen in the exposition given of the forms of
logical error, and more clearly still when, resuming, we consider
that the spirit, when it rebels against the concept, must by this
very act affirm the term which is distinct from the concept, whether
it be called representation, intuition, or pure sensation. Hence the
necessity of the form of error (in a certain sense the first), which is
_æstheticism,_--the affirmation of truth as pure sensation. Below this
stage, the spirit can descend to annul the problem in _dualism;_ or,
going further and abandoning affirmation, it may fall into scepticism;
or, finally, abandoning even expression, it may fall into _dumbness,_
or _mysticism,_ which is the lowest degree. Above æstheticism it
can raise itself to try to take refuge in _empiricism,_ in which
is posited a universal, but one that is merely representative and,
therefore, a false universal. It is the second step, nor can any other
be conceived as second:--we must give a false value either to the pure
representation (æstheticism);--or (taking the second step), to the
representation and the concept together, as is the case in the form of
the empirical concept (empiricism). The third step is the desperate
escape from the insufficiency of the empirical concept, by means of the
abstract concept, which guarantees the universality which the other
lacks, but gives an empty universality (mathematicism). Finding no
refuge in this emptiness from the objections of its adversaries, it is
obliged finally to enter philosophy. But the erring spirit continues
its work in philosophy itself and, once it has taken possession, abuses
it. Now it is not possible to abuse philosophy, save by reducing it
either to a concept without intuition, which is nevertheless taken as a
synthesis of concept and intuition (_philosophism_); or to an intuition
without concept, which, in its turn, is taken as the requisite
synthesis _(mythologism)._ The result of all this process is always the
renunciation of the philosophic problem, disguised by the admission of
the double method (dualism), and hence the descent below the logical
form, either with the affirmation which denies itself (scepticism),
or, again, with that which denies even the possibility of expression
(mysticism) and returns to life, which is not a problem at all, being
life lived.

The same thing occurs with the other errors, when we refer to the other
concepts of the spirit or of reality, although we shall not be able to
give the complete series without summarizing the whole of philosophy,
which is not necessary here, and by its excessive concentration and
extreme brevity would be obscure. Suffice it to say, by way of example,
that the ethical problem, besides being negated by means of erroneous
sensationalist, empiricist, and mycologist solutions, and so on (to
which, in common with all philosophic problems, it is subject), can
be negated by practical intellectualism, which does not recognize a
practical problem side by side with that of the theoretic spirit,
and reduces virtue to knowledge. Hence _ethical intellectualism._
Since ethical intellectualism cannot resist objections, it is obliged
to introduce at least the slightest practical element that can be
admitted, which is that of individual utility, and resolving morality
into this, it then presents itself as _ethical utilitarianism._
This in its turn, finding itself in contradiction with the peculiar
character of morality, which goes beyond individual utility, arranges
to recognize and to substitute for the first a super-individual
utility, which is the universal practical value or morality. And thus,
by negating the first on account of the second concept, it presents
itself as _moralism_ or _ethical abstractionism._ The impossibility of
negating both the first and the second, and the necessity of affirming
both, urge the acceptance of the final form of _practical dualism,_
in which utility and morality appear as co-ordinated or juxtaposed.
Each one of these arbitrary doctrines is critical of the others,
and, by its internal contradictions, of itself. Hence the fall into
scepticism and mysticism. The circle of error can be traversed again,
but it is impossible to alter the place that each of those forms has
in the circle, by placing, for instance, practical dualism before
utilitarianism or intellectualism after moralism.

[Sidenote: _Spirit of error and spirit of search._]

There is no gradual issuing from the infernal circle of error, and
salvation from it is not possible, save by entering at one stroke into
the celestial circle of truth, in which alone the mind rests satisfied
as in its kingdom. The spirit that _errs_ or flees from the light must
be converted into the spirit of _search,_ that longs for the light;
pride must yield to humility; narrow love for one's own abstract
individuality become wider and elevate itself to an austere love, to
an unlimited devotion toward that which surpasses the individual, thus
becoming an "heroic fury," the "_amor Dei intellectualis._"

[Sidenote: _Immanence of error in truth._]

In this act of love and fervour the spirit becomes pure thought and
attains to the true, is indeed transmuted into the true. But as spirit
of truth it possesses truth and also its contrary transfigured in
that. The possessing of a concept is the possession of it in all its
relations, and so are possessed all the modes in which that concept can
be wrongly altered by error. For instance, the true concept of moral
activity is also the concept of utilitarianism, of abstractionism,
of practical dualism, and so on. The two series of knowledge, that
of the true and that of its contrary, are, in truth, inseparable,
because they really constitute one single series. The concept is

[Sidenote: _Erroneous distinction between possession of and search for

It will be said that this is perhaps exact in the case of the
_possession_ of truth, but not in that of the _search_ for it, where
the two series may well appear disunited. Truth, to one who searches,
is at the top of the staircase of errors, and as it is possible to
climb a great part of the staircase without reaching what is at the
top of it, so when once the desired place has been reached, it is
possible not to see or not to remember the staircase that is below. But
the possession of truth is never static, as in general no real fact
is static. The possession of and the search for truth are the same.
When it seems that a truth is possessed in a static way and almost
solidified, if we observe closely we shall see that the word expressing
it, the sound of it, has remained, but the spirit has flown away. That
truth was, but is no longer thought, and so is not truth. It will be
truth only when it is thought anew, and thinking and thinking anew are
the same, since each rethinking is a new act of thought. In thinking
the truth is search for truth; it is a most rapid ideal motion which,
starting from the centre, runs through all the possibilities of error,
and only in so far as it runs through and rejects them all does it find
itself at its centre, which is the centre of motion.

[Sidenote: _The search for truth in the practical sense of preparation
for thought; and the series of errors._]

In order to separate truth from the search for truth this latter must
be understood, not as the will for thought and so as thought in action,
but as the _will which lays down the conditions for thought,_ the will
which prepares itself for thought, but does not yet think effectually.
This indeed is the usual meaning of the word "search." To search
is to stimulate oneself for thinking, by employing opportune means
for that purpose. And there is no more opportune means than that of
confronting one with another the various forms of the spirit and the
various concepts; because in the course of that confrontation there is
produced the true combination; that is to say, thought, which is truth,
is aroused. To search means therefore to _run through the series of

[Sidenote: _Transfiguration, in the search thus understood, of error
into suggestion or hypothesis._]

But the seeker sets to work in quite a different spirit from that of
the assertor of errors. The spirit of research is not the rebel erring
spirit, and therefore the path that both follow is only the same in
appearance; the first was the path of errors, but the second can only
be so called by metaphor. Errors are errors when there is the will for
error. Where, on the other hand, there is the will to unify material
and to prepare the conditions of thought, the improper combination
of ideas is not indeed error, but _suggestion_ or _hypothesis._ The
hypothesis is not an act of truth, because either it is not verified
and so reveals itself as without truth, or it is verified and becomes
truth only at the moment in which it is verified. But neither is it
an act of error, because it is affirmed, not as truth, but as simple
means or aid toward the conquest of truth. In the doctrine of search,
the series of errors is all redeemed, baptized, or blessed anew; the
diabolic spirit abandons it precipitately, leaving it void of truth,
but innocent.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between error as error and error as

The distinction between error as _error_ and error as _suggestion,_
between _error_ and _hypothesis_ or heuristic expedients, is of
capital importance. It is found as basis of some common distinctions,
such as those between _mistake_ and _error,_ between error committed
in _good faith_ and error committed in _bad faith,_ and the like.
These and others like them show themselves to be certainly untenable,
because error as error is always in bad faith, and there is no
difference between error and mistake, save an empirical difference,
or a difference of verbal emphasis, for it can be said according to
empirical accidents that an affirmation is either simply erroneous or
altogether a mistake. But although they cannot be maintained as they
are formulated, they nevertheless suggest the desirability and the
anticipation of this true and profound distinction.

[Sidenote: _Immanence of the suggestion in error itself as error._]

On the other hand, error and suggestion, error and heuristic procedure,
since they have in common the practical, extrinsic, and improper
combination of ideas, stand in this relation to one another, that
the suggestion is not error, but _error always contains in itself
willingly or unwillingly a suggestion._ The erring spirit, though
without intending it, prepares the material for the search for truth.
It means to evade that search or to bring it to an arbitrary end; but
in doing so it breaks up the clods of earth, throws them about, ploughs
and fertilizes the field where the truth will sprout. Thus it happens
that many combinations of ideas, proposed and maintained through
caprice and vanity with the lawyer's object of scoring his point, or
of shining and astonishing with paradox, or for pastime and for other
utilitarian reasons, have been adopted by more serious spirits as steps
in the progress of research. The enemies of the truth not only testify
to the truth but come to serve it themselves, through the unforeseen
consequences of their work. A sort of gratitude comes over us at times
and makes us tender toward these adversaries of the truth, because we
feel that from them has come the stimulus to obtain it, as from them
come the strengthening of our hold upon it and the inspiration, the
clear-sightedness, and the warmth of the defence of it that we make
against them.

[Sidenote: _Individuals and error._]

But it is not necessary in yielding to the generous feeling for human
fraternity to exaggerate in this last direction. The gratitude that we
feel is not deserved by them; at the most, it is God or the universal
spirit or Providence who deserves it. They did not wish to serve the
truth and did not serve it, save through consequences which are not
their work. One-sided and abstract optimism has intruded here also;
and perceiving in error the element of suggestion, it has altogether
cancelled the category of error in favour of that of suggestion and
has pronounced that man always seeks the true, as he always wills the
good. Certainly; but there is the man who stops at his individual
good, _fruges consumere natus_; and there is the man who progresses
to the universal good. There is the man who combines words to give
himself and others the illusion of knowing what he does not know and
of being able to attend to his own pleasures without further trouble;
and there is the man who combines words with anxious soul and spirit
intent, _venator medii,_ a hunter of the concept. Here, too, the truth
is neither in the optimism nor in the pessimism, but in the doctrine,
which conciliates and surpasses them both. Nor does it matter that
owing to the defect of abstract optimism that very philosopher, who did
more than any other to reveal the hidden richness of the dialectical
principle, was not able to look deeply into the problem of error.

The conscience of humanity well understood knows how to do justice to
all men, without, on that account, confounding him who seeks with him
who errs, the man of good will with the utilitarian. It does justice
to them, because in every man, indeed at every instant in the life
of every man, it discovers all those various spiritual moments, both
inferior and superior. Error and the search for truth are continually
intertwined. Sometimes a beginning is made with research, and it ends
with an obstinate persistence in the suggestion that has been made,
which is converted into a result and an erroneous affirmation. At
others a beginning is made, with the deliberate intention of escaping
difficulties by means of some sort of a combination of ideas; and that
combination arouses the mind and becomes a suggestion for research,
which is followed until peace is found in the truth. Each one of us is
at every moment in danger of yielding to laziness and to the seduction
of error and has hope of shaking off that laziness and following the
attraction of truth. We fall and rise up again at every instant; we are
weak and strong, cowardly and courageous. When we call another weak and
cowardly, we are condemning ourselves; when we admire another as strong
and courageous, we idolize the strength and courage which is active
within us. When we are in the presence of a complex product, as, for
example, a faith, a doctrine, a book, it would be naïve and fallacious
to look upon it as only error or as only suggestion. For it is both
the one and the other; that is to say, it contains equally the moments
of error properly so-called, and the other moments of suggestion and
search; the voluntary interposition of obstacles to the truth and
the voluntary removal of such obstacles; the disfigured image of the
truth and the outline of the truth. Sometimes we are unable to say of
ourselves whether we are erring or are seeking, whether we believe
that we have found the whole truth or only discovered a ray of it. The
logical criticism which implacably condemns us seems to be unjust,
although we cannot contest its arguments which impose the truth upon
our thought. We feel that that truth was in a way sought, seen for a
moment, and almost possessed in that spiritual state of ours, which has
been summarily and abruptly condemned by others as altogether erroneous.

[Sidenote: _The double aspect of errors._]

For this reason even that which has been rejected and blamed as false
from one point of view must be accepted and honoured from another as
an approach to truth. Empiricism is perverse in so far as it is a
construction opposed to the philosophic universal, but it is innocuous
and indeed beneficial in so far as it is an attempt to rise from
pure sensation and representation to the thinking of the universal.
Scepticism as error annuls the theoretic life; but as suggestion it
is necessary to the demonstration of the impossibility of dwelling in
that desert when all false doctrines have been annulled. Mythologism
presents this double aspect in a yet clearer manner; religion is the
negation of thought, but it is also in another aspect a preparation
for thought; the myth is both a travesty and a sketch of the concept;
hence every philosophy feels itself adverse to myth and born from
myth, an _enemy_ and a _daughter_ of religions. In what is empirically
defined as religion or as a body of religious doctrines, for example,
in Christianity, in its myths and in its theology, there is so much of
truth and suggestion of truth that it is possible to affirm (always
from the empirical point of view) the superiority of that religion
over a well-reasoned but poor, a correct but sterile philosophy.
Nevertheless, a period of reverence, of attentive harkening, of
philosophic study and criticism, which is not pure scepticism,
succeeds to a period of encyclopædism, of irreligious scepticism, of
enlightenment, and of Voltaireism. Those who in the nineteenth or in
this twentieth century have repeated the Voltairean scepticism and have
jibed at religion have with good reason been considered superficial of
intellect and soul, vulgar and trivial people. The philosophy of the
eighteenth century has filled and filled well the office of enemy of
religion; that of the nineteenth century has disdained to give blows
to the dead and has adopted towards religion the attitude of a pious
daughter and diligent heir. For our part we are persuaded that the
inheritance of religion has not been well and thoroughly utilized.
This inheritance is at bottom indistinguishable from the philosophic
inheritance, for is there not religion, in, for instance, the Cartesian
idea of God, which unifies the two substances and guarantees with its
truth the certainty of our knowledge? And is it not also philosophy,
that is to say, the concept (in however gross a form), of the immanent
Spirit which is a self-distinguishing unity and certainty of itself?

[Sidenote: _Last form of the methodological error; Hypothesism._]

We have now attained to the theory of research, yet we cannot abandon
the survey of the necessary forms of error without mentioning a new
form which arises precisely from the confusion between truth and the
search for the conditions preparatory to truth, between truth and
hypothesis. This error, which converts Heuristic into Logic, may be
called _hypothesism._ It asserts that in regard to truth man can do
nothing more than propose hypotheses, which are said to be more or
less probable, so that his fate is not dissimilar to the punishments
which were assigned to Tantalus, Sisyphus, and the Danaids. But in the
kingdom of the True, differently from that of Erebus:

    The birds do not feed,
    The wheels do not turn,
    The stone is not rolled up the high mountain,
    Nor water drawn with the sieve from the fountain.

The hypothesis is made, because it serves toward the attainment of the
truth; did it not serve this end it would not be made. The spirit does
not admit waste of time; for it time is always money. Hypothesism is
sometimes restricted to the supreme principles of the real, or to what
is called metaphysics, which would thus be always hypothetical; but for
the reasons given in our discussion of agnosticism, if the principles
of the real were hypothetical, the whole truth would be so, that is to
say, there would not be any truth. For the rest, hypothesism, besides
being internally contradictory, openly reveals that it is so, in
its reference to the greater or lesser _probability_ of hypotheses.
It would be impossible to determine the degree of approximation to
the true without presupposing a criterion of truth, a truth and
consequently the truth. We should hardly have made mention of this
error did it not constitute the fulcrum of some of the most celebrated
and revered philosophies of our times.



[Sidenote: _Inseparability of the phenomenology of error from the
philosophic system. _]

The phenomenology of error, in its double sense of error and of
suggestion, coincides therefore with the philosophic system. Both
error and suggestion are improper combinations of philosophic ideas or
concepts. To determine these improper combinations is equivalent to
showing the _obverse_ of that of which the philosophic system is the
_face._ But face and obverse are not separable, for they constitute a
single thought (and single reality), which is positivity-negativity,
affirmation-negation. There is, therefore, no phenomenology of error
outside the philosophic system, nor a philosophic system outside
the phenomenology of error; the one is conceived at the moment when
the other is conceived. And since the philosophic system and the
doctrine of the categories are the same, the phenomenology of error is
inseparable and indistinguishable from the doctrine of the categories.

[Sidenote: _The eternal going and coming of errors._]

As such the phenomenology of error is an ideal and eternal circle, like
the eternal circle of the truth. Its stages are eternally traversed and
retraversed by the spirit, being the stages of the spirit itself. At
every instant of the life of history and of our individual life there
are represented the stages that have been surpassed and must again be
surpassed: the lower stages return and announce beforehand the higher.

[Sidenote: _Returns to anterior philosophies, and their meaning._]

In this lies the origin of a fact which cannot fail to attract
attention in the history of philosophy: the tendency which is found
there, to _return_ to one or other of the philosophies of the past, or,
more correctly, to one or other of the philosophic points of view of
the past. The thirteenth century returned to Aristotle, the Renaissance
to Plato; Bruno revived the philosophy of Cusanus, Gassendi that of
Epicurus; Hegel wished to renew Heraclitus; Herbart, Parmenides;
in recent times a return has been made to Kant, and in times yet
more recent to Hegel. These are spiritual movements, which must be
understood in all their seriousness. This consists wholly in the need
of the philosophic spirit of a certain moment, which, struggling with
an error, discovers the true concept with which it should be corrected,
or at least, the superior and more ample suggestion, to which we
must pass in order to progress. And since that concept or suggestion
had already been represented in an eminent degree in the past by one
particular philosopher, or by one particular school, they speak of the
necessity of again asserting the superiority of that philosopher and
his school against other philosophers and other schools. In reality
neither Aristotle nor Plato returns, nor Cusanus nor Epicurus, nor
Heraclitus nor Parmenides, nor Kant nor Hegel; but only the mental
positions of which these names are, in those cases, the symbols. The
eternal Platonism, Aristotelianism, Heracliteanism, Eleaticism are in
us, as they were formerly in Plato and in Aristotle, in Heraclitus and
in Parmenides. Divested of those historical names, they are called
transcendentalism and immanentism, evolutionism and anti-evolutionism,
and so on. To the philosophers of the past, as men of the past, no
return is made, because _no return is possible._ The past lives in the
present and the pretence of returning to it is equivalent to that of
destroying the present, in which alone it lives. Those who understand
_ideal_ returns in this _empirical_ sense, do not in truth know what
they are saying.

[Sidenote: _The false idea of a history of philosophy as the history of
the successive appearances in time of the categories and of errors._]

But just because the phenomenology of error and the system of the
categories are outside time, we must also recognize the fallacy of a
history of philosophy which expounds the development of philosophic
thought as a successive appearance in time of the various philosophic
categories and of the various forms of error. On this view the human
race seems to begin to think truly philosophically at a definite moment
of time and at a definite point of space; for example at a definite
year of the seventh or sixth century before Christ, at a definite
point of Asia Minor, with Thales, who surpassing mere fancy posits as
a philosophic concept the empirical concept of water; or in another
year and place, with Parmenides, who posits the first pure concept,
that of being. And it seems further to progress in philosophic thinking
with other thinkers, each of whom either discovers a concept or offers
a suggestion of one. Thus each takes the other's hand and they form
a chain which is prolonged to one who, more audacious and fortunate
than the others, gives his hand to the first, and unites them all in
a circle. After this, there would remain nothing else to do but to
dance eternally, as the stars dance in the imaginations of the poets,
without any further necessity to devise suggestions and to risk falling
into error. All this is brilliant but arbitrary. The categories are
outside time, because they are all and singly in every instant of
time, and therefore they cannot be divided and impersonated within
empirical and individual limits. It is not true that each philosophic
system has for its beginning a particular category or a particular
suggestion. A philosophic system, in the empirical signification of
the word, is a series of thoughts whose unity is the empirical bond of
the life of a definite individual. It is therefore without beginning,
since it does not constitute a true unity and refers on the one hand
to its predecessors, on the other to those who continue it, and on all
sides to its contemporaries. In the strict sense, in that system, in
so far as it is philosophic, there is always the whole of philosophy;
and therefore, as we have previously seen, all philosophic systems
(including materialism and scepticism) have, whether they admit it
or not, displayed or implied the same principle, which is the pure
concept, and every philosophy is idealism. Nor is it true that there
is progress in the history of philosophy, in the sense of the passage
from one category to another superior category, or from one suggestion
to another superior suggestion. Speaking empirically, we should have in
this case to admit regress also, because it is a fact that a return is
made to inferior categories and suggestions. Philosophically, we can
speak in this case, neither of progress nor of regress, seeing that
those categories and suggestions are eternal and outside time.

Finally, this conception of philosophic history itself declares its
untenability, since in its last term it is logically obliged to posit a
definitive philosophy (which is that represented by him who constructs
such a history of philosophy), whereas there is nothing definitive
in reality, which is perpetual development. Those very historians of
philosophy themselves, who have desired and in part attempted to give
actuality to that conception, have been perplexed at the assumption of
so great a responsibility as to proclaim a _definitive philosophy,_
that is to say, to decree the retirement of Thought and so of Reality.

[Sidenote: _Philosophism both of this false view and of the formula
concerning the identity of philosophy and history of philosophy._]

The error which appears in this conception of philosophic history, is
the same that we have already studied under the name of philosophism,
and which appears here in one of its special applications. The formula
of the error is the _identity of Philosophy with the History of
philosophy._ The sense in which this is meant is at once shown by the
tendency which exists in this identity of the two terms, to be enlarged
into a third term, that is to say, into the recognition of the identity
of philosophy and of the history of philosophy with the _Philosophy
of history._ And this Philosophy of philosophic history, like every
philosophy of history, converts representations and empirical concepts
into pure concepts assigning to each one the function which properly
belongs to the categories, corrupting philosophy and history and
becoming shipwrecked in a sort of mythologism and propheticism.

[Sidenote: _Distinction between this false idea of a history of
philosophy and the books that are so entitled or profess a like

But, as in the case of the philosophy of history in general, so also in
this application of it to the history of philosophy, it is necessary
to recognize the elements of truth. These lie in the works of genius
in _historical characterization,_ which under this guise have been
achieved by various thinkers and in various epochs of philosophy.
Certainly Plato is not only transcendental, nor is Aristotle only
immanentist; nor Kant only agnostic, nor Hegel only logical, nor
Epicurus only materialist, nor Descartes only dualist; nor is Greek
thought concerned only with objectivity, nor modern thought with
subjectivity alone. But history takes shape as historical narrative,
by noting the prominent traits of the various individuals and of the
various epochs. Without this process it would be impossible to divide,
to summarize, or to record it; without the introduction of empirical
concepts, history could not be fixed in the memory.[1] By means of
those characterizations, it also happens that historical names can be
taken as symbols of truths and errors: all the crudity of dualism is
expressed in Descartes, the paradox of determinism in Spinoza, that of
abstract pluralism in Leibnitz. We owe (as is admitted by all those
competent to judge) the elevation of the history of philosophy from a
chronicle or an erudite collection to history properly so-called, to
historians of philosophy who were tainted with philosophism. And since
Hegel was the first and greatest of those historians, we must impute to
Hegel the arbitrary act that he committed, but also the merit of having
been the first to give a history of philosophy worthy of the name
and accord to him all the more merit, in so far as he almost always
corrected in execution the errors of his original plan.[2]

[Sidenote: _Exact formula: identity of philosophy and of history._]

This original plan (and in general the position taken up by the system
of Hegel) may perhaps be considered as a deviation and aberration
from a just impulse, which still awaits its legitimate satisfaction.
This satisfaction we have attempted to give, by going deeply into the
meaning of the Kantian _a priori_ synthesis and by establishing the
identity of philosophy and history. Thus, as regards the question at
issue, the formula that we oppose to Hegel's formula of the identity
of _philosophy and history of philosophy,_ is that of the identity
of _philosophy and history._ This difference may at first sight seem
non-existent or very slight, but yet it is substantial. Philosophy is
indeed identical with history, because by solving historical problems
it affirms itself, and is in this way identical with the history of
philosophy, not because this is separable from other histories, or has
precedence over them, but for precisely the contrary reason, that it
is altogether inseparable from and completely fused in the totality
of history, according to the unity in distinction already explained.
Hence it is seen that philosophy does not originate in time, that
there are not philosophic men and non-philosophic men, that there are
not concepts belonging to one individual which another individual
is without, nor mental efforts which one makes and another does not
make, and that philosophy, or all the categories, operates at every
instant of the spiritual life, and at every instant of the spiritual
life operates upon material altogether new, given to it by history,
which for its part it helps to create. This amounts to saying that
from that concept we obtain the criticism of philosophism and of the
formula expressing the identity of Philosophy, History of Philosophy
and Philosophy of history; and a more exact idea of the history of
philosophy, free from the chains of an arbitrary classification.

[Sidenote: _The history of philosophy and philosophic progress._]

It may seem that in this way we destroy all idea of philosophic
progress; and certainly philosophy, taken in itself, that is to say
as an abstract category, does not progress any more than the category
of art or of morality progresses. But philosophy in its concreteness
progresses, like art and the whole of life; it progresses, because
reality is development, and development, including antecedents in
consequences, is progress. Every affirmation of truth is conditioned
by reality and conditions a new reality, which, in turn, is in its
progress, the condition of a new thought and of a new philosophy. In
this respect it is true that a philosophy which comes later in time,
contains the preceding philosophies in itself, and not only when it
is truly a philosophy, adequate to the new times, which comprehend
ancient times in themselves, but even when it is a simple suggestion,
of the kind we have called erroneous and in need of correction. As
erroneous suggestion it will be, ideally, inferior to the truths
already discovered. The scepticism of David Hume, for instance, is
inferior from this point of view, not only to Cartesianism, but even
to Scholasticism, to Platonism and to Socraticism. But historically it
is superior even to the most perfect of those philosophies, because it
is occupied with a problem which they did not propose to themselves
and initiates its solution, by forming a first attempt at solution,
however erroneous. Those perfect philosophies belong to the past, this,
though imperfect, has the future in itself. Thus it is explained how we
sometimes find far more to learn in philosophers who have maintained
errors than from others who have maintained truths; the errors of
the former are gold in the quartz, which when it has been purified
will add weight and value to the mass of gold, which is already in
our possession and has been preserved by the latter. Fanatics content
themselves with truths, however poor they are, and therefore seek those
who repeat them, even though they be poor of spirit. True thinkers seek
for adversaries, bristling with errors and rich with truth; they learn
from them, and while opposing, love and esteem them; indeed, their
opposing them is at the same time an act of esteem and of love.

[Sidenote: _The truth of all philosophies, and critique of

The philosophy which each one of us professes at a determinate moment,
in so far as it is adequate to the knowledge of facts and in the
proportion in which it is adequate, is the result of all preceding
history, and in it are organically brought together all systems,
all errors and all suggestions. If some error should appear to be
inexplicable, some suggestion without fruit, some concept incapable of
adoption, the new philosophy is to that extent more or less defective.
But the organic reconciliation, which preceding philosophies must find
in those that follow, cannot be the bare bringing them together in
time, and _eclecticism,_ as in those superficial spirits, who associate
fragments of all philosophies without mediation. Eclecticism (from
the historical point of view also, as for instance in the relation
of Victor Cousin to Hegel, whom he admired, imitated and failed to
understand) is the falsification or the caricature of the vastness of
thought, which embraces in itself all thoughts, though apparently the
most diverse and irreconcilable. The peace of the lazy, who do not
collide with one another, because they do not act, must not be made
sublime and confounded with the lofty peace that belongs to those who
have striven and have fraternized after strife, or, indeed, during the
actual combat.

[Sidenote: _Researches concerning the authors and precursors of truths:
and the reason for the antinomies which they exhibit._]

A proof of this _constancy_ of philosophy, which is immanent in all
philosophies and in all the thoughts of men, and also of its perpetual
variation and novelty of historical form, is to be found in the
questions that have been and are raised, concerning the _origin_ or
_discovery_ of truth. Hardly has the truth been discovered, when the
critics easily succeed in proving that it was already known, and begin
the search for _precursors._ And there can be no doubt that they are
right and their researches deserve to be followed up. Every assertion
of discovery, in so far as it seems to make a clear cut into the web
of history, has something arbitrary about it. Strictly speaking,
Socrates did not discover the concept, or Vico æsthetic fancy, or Kant
the _a priori_ synthesis, or Hegel the synthesis of opposites; nor
even perhaps, did Pythagoras discover the theorem of the square on the
hypotenuse, or Archimedes the law of the displacement of liquids. If
a discovery is represented as an explosion, this happens for reasons
of practical and mnemonic convenience in narrating and summarising
history; and, for that matter, the explosion, the eruption and the
earthquake are continuous processes. But the rational side of the
search for precursors must not cause the acceptance of the irrational
side, which is the denial of the _originality_ of discoveries, as
though they were to be found point for point in the precursors, or
as though they consisted only in the aggregation of elements which
pre-existed, or in like insignificant changes of form. To attach
oneself to precursors, does not mean to repeat them, but to continue
their work. This continuation is always new, original, and creative
and always gives rise to discoveries, be they small or great. To think
is to discover. The reduction to absurdity of the wrong meaning of
the search for precursors is to be found in the fact that every one
of the most important thoughts can be discovered in a certain sense
in common beliefs, in proverbs, in ways of speech, and among savages
and children. This is so much the case that by this path we can return
to the Utopia of an _ingenuous_ philosophy, outside history; whereas
philosophy is truly ingenuous or genuine only when it _is,_ and it is
not, save in History.

[Footnote 1: See above, Part II. Chap. III.]

[Footnote 2: See ch. ix. _What is Living and What is Dead of the
Philosophy of Hegel,_ by the Author, English translation by Douglas



[Sidenote: _Logic and the defence of philosophy._]

Attacks upon Philosophy and defences of it have been made as more
or less academic exercises. But the true defence of it can only be
Philosophy itself, and above all, Logic, which, by determining the
concept of Philosophy, recognizes its necessity and function. And since
Logic itself teaches that a concept is not truly known, save in the
system where it is shown in all its relations, the complete defence is
obtained in our opinion only, when this treatise dedicated to _Logic_
is placed in relation to the preceding, which treats of _Æsthetic,_ and
with that which follows and has for its object the _Philosophy of the

[Sidenote: _The utility of Philosophy and the philosophy of the

To this last must be relegated the complete elucidation of the problem
concerning the utility or non-utility of philosophy. It is a problem
about which We can here raise no fundamental question, if the equation
posited by us be true: philosophy = thought = history = perception
of reality. Thus the doubt concerning the utility of philosophy
would be of equal value with the extravagant doubt as to the utility
of knowledge. The philosophy of the practical also demonstrates
that no action is possible, save when preceded by knowledge, and
that presupposed in action there is always historical or perceptive
knowledge, that is, the knowledge which contains in itself all other
knowledge. And it also demonstrates that reality, being always will
and action, is always thought, and that therefore thought is not an
extrinsic adjunct, but an intrinsic category constitutive of the Real.
Reality is action, because it is thought, and it is thought because it
is action.

[Sidenote: _Consolation of philosophy, as joy in thought and in the
truth. Impossibility of a pleasure arising from falsity or illusion._]

If thought is so useful that without it the Real would not be, the
common concept of an unconsolatory philosophy cannot be accepted.
Consolation, pleasure, joy, is activity itself, which rejoices in
itself. So far as is known, no other mode of pleasure, joy and
consolation has yet been discovered. Now, knowledge of the true,
whatever it is, is activity and promotes activity, and therefore brings
with it its own consolation. "The truth, known, though it be sad, _has
its delights." _Not a few would wish to attribute these delights, not
to truth, but to _illusion._ But illusion is either not recognized as
illusion, or it is so recognized. When it is not recognized as such
and yet truly satisfies the mind, it cannot be called illusion, but
truth, which has its own good reasons, since nothing can be held to be
true without good reasons; it is that much of truth which can be noted
in the given circumstances and which from the point of view of a more
complete truth can only arbitrarily be called illusion: the consolation
given by the pretended illusion resides, therefore, in its truth--or
it is recognized as illusion, because the actual circumstances have
changed; and then it is anguish and desire to attain to the truth. If
there is no desire to attain to this truth, and if in order to avoid
it, affirmations are brought forward, which are not adequate to the
new conditions in which we find ourselves, there is error, which,
as such, is always more or less voluntary; and from error, which is
self-critical, arise evil conscience, and remorse, and so again anguish
and desire for the truth, which dissipates illusion and produces
consolation, because ... "the truth though it be sad, yet has its

[Sidenote: _Critique of the concept of a sad truth._]

Yet (it will be said), the true can be _sad;_ true, but sad. This
prejudice also should be eliminated. Truth is reality, and reality is
never either glad or sad, since it comprehends both these categories in
itself, and therefore surpasses them both. To judge reality to be sad,
it would have to be admitted that we possessed besides the idea of it,
the idea of _another_ reality, which should be better than the reality
known to us. But this is contradictory. The second reality would be not
real and therefore not thinkable, and so no idea at all of it could be
formed. And if we did attempt to form an idea of it, thought, entering
into contradiction with itself and striving in a vain effort, would be
seized with terror, and would produce, not that ideal reality, but at
the most an æsthetic expression of terror, like that of a man who looks
upon a bottomless abyss.

[Sidenote: _Examples: philosophical criticism and the concepts of God
and of Immortality._]

Once upon a time and even to-day many found and find consolation in
the idea of a personal God, who has created and governs the universe,
and of an immortal life, above this life of ours, which vanishes
at every instant. And this consolation seems to have diminished in
our times, or to many of us, owing to Philosophies. But he who does
not limit himself to the surface and analyses the state of soul of
sincere and noble believers, realizes that the God who comforted
them is the same who comforts us and whom our Philosophies call the
universal Spirit, immanent in all of us--the continuity and rationality
of the universe--just as the Immortality in which they reposed was
the immortality which transcends our individual actions, and in
transcending them, makes them eternal. All that is born is worthy to
perish; but in perishing, it is also preserved as an ideal moment of
what is born from it; and the universe preserves in itself all that
has ever been thought and done, because it is nothing but the organism
of these thoughts and actions. Philosophy has rendered those concepts
of God and of Immortality more exact, and has liberated them from
impurities and errors and thus at the same time from perplexities and
anguish; it has rendered them more, not less, consolatory. On the
other hand, the absurdity which mingled with those concepts, has never
consoled any one who seriously thought them--and serious thinking
of them is an indispensable condition of obtaining consolation from
concepts. If they are not thought, but mechanically repeated, the
consolation is obtained from something else, from distraction and
occupation with life lived, not from the concepts. In the effort
to think a God outside the world, a Despot of the world, we are
seized with a sense of fear for that God, who is a solitary being,
suffering from his omnipotence, which makes activity impossible for
him and dangerous for his creatures, who are his playthings. That God
becomes an object of maledictions. Equally, in seriously thinking our
immortality as empirical individuals, immobilized in our works and in
our affections (which are beautiful only because they are in motion and
fugitive), we are assailed by the terror, not of death, but of this
immortality, which is unthinkable because desolating and desolating
because unthinkable. Ideal immortality has generated the poetic
representations of Paradise, which are representations of infinite
peace; the false concepts of an empirical immortality can generate no
other representation than Swift's profoundly satirical picture of the
_Struldbrugs_ or immortals, plunged in all the miseries of life, unable
to die, and weeping with envy at the sight of a funeral.

[Sidenote: _Consolatory virtue belonging to all spiritual activities._]

But we do not wish to close these new considerations upon the old
theme _de consolatione Philosophiae,_ without noting that philosophy
is not the sole or supreme consoler, as the philosophers of antiquity
believed, and some among the moderns, who assumed the same attitude.
It is neither the sole nor the supreme consoler, because thought does
not exist alone, nor does it exist above life: thought is outside and
inside life; and if on one side it surpasses life, on the other it is a
mode of life itself. Philosophy brings consolation in its own kingdom,
putting error to flight and preparing the conditions for practical
life; but man is not thought alone, and if he has joys and sorrows
from thought, other sorrows and joys come to him from the exercise of
life itself. And in this exercise action heals the evils of action and
life brings consolation for life. The error of Stoicism and of similar
doctrines consists in attributing to philosophy a direct action upon
the ills of life and of making it in consequence the whole totality
of the real. But philosophy has no pocket-handkerchiefs to dry all
the tears that man sheds, nor is it able to console unhappy lovers
and unfortunate husbands (as sentimental people pretend): it can only
contribute to their comfort by healing that part of their pain which
is due to theoretic obscurity. Such part is certainly not small: all
our sorrows are irritated and made more pungent by mental darkness
which paralyses or fetters the purification of action. But it is a
part and not the whole. Every form of the activity of the Spirit, art
like philosophy, practical life like theoretic life, is a fount of
consolation and none suffices alone.

[Sidenote: _Sorrow and the elevation of sorrow._]

"He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" is a false saying,
because the increase of knowledge is the overcoming of sorrow. But it
is true, in so far as it means that the increase of knowledge does not
eliminate the sorrows of practical life. It does not eliminate, but
_elevates_ them; and to adopt the fine expression of a contemporary
Italian writer, superiority is "nothing but the right to suffer on
a higher plane." On a higher plane, but neither more nor less than
others, who are at a lower level of knowledge,--to suffer on a higher
plane, in order to act upon a higher plane.





[Sidenote: _Reality, Thought and Logic._]

The three terms, _Reality, Thought_ and _Logic_, and their relations,
could be represented by a system of three circles, the one included in
the other, and by marking at will as the first term that which includes
all, or that which is included in all: R T L or L T R. Limiting
ourselves to the first method, the first circle would be Reality,
which Thought (the second circle) would think, in the same way that
it would in its turn be thought in the third circle, formed by Logic,
the Thought of thought, or the Philosophy of philosophy. This graphic
symbol is probably destined to some fortune; but the reader must not
seek it in our pages, because knowing how much inadequacy, clumsiness
and danger it contains, we share the repugnance, almost instinctively
felt at such materializations, which seem to be and are of slight value.

[Sidenote: _Relation of these three terms._]

The vice of that spatial figuration is that it divides into three
circles what is three, but three in one, and should consequently be
expressed as a triple circle which should also be a single circle, in
which all the three coincide; which is geometrically unrepresentable.
The relation of Reality, Thought of Reality and Thought of Thought,
divided into three circles, legitimately gives rise to the question:
Why should there not be a fourth, a fifth, a sixth circle (and so on
to infinity) which should include respectively the third, the fourth,
the fifth (and so on to infinity)? Why should not a Logic of Logic,
or a thought of the thought of thought, and so on, follow the thought
of thought, which is Logic? For us, this question raises no objection
that need bring us to a halt for a single instant, just because we have
never divided the one reality into two or more different realities
(matter and spirit, nature and idea, and so on), nor into a series of
different realities, the one following the other; but we have conceived
it as a system of relations and of correlations, constituting a unity,
indeed the only unity concretely thinkable. There is no progress to
infinity, when the terms are coincident and correlative; hence to
think the thought of thought would not be a new act, but equivalent
to thinking thought. The mental act will be new (and any mental act
is new) for the individual who accomplishes it in conditions that are
always new; but its spiritual form will always be that of Logic, which
thinks thought and contains within itself, on its side, the process
of reality. Further, the indifference exhibited by the symbol of the
triple circle as to the determination of the first as last and the
last as first, confirms for us the non-existence of a first that is
only first and of a last that is only last; confirms, that is to say,
the coincidence of unity in relation that is first and last. Reality
is not only thought by thought, but is also thought; and thought
is not only thought by Logic, but is also Logic. Those who wish to
expound philosophy and history, proceeding from the centre of the logos
or Logic, and those who wish to expound them, proceeding from the
periphery of facts, are both right and wrong, because the centre is
periphery and the periphery centre.

[Sidenote: _Non-existence of a general philosophy outside the
particular philosophic sciences:_]

By adopting this view, which affirms the most complete immanence, it
has never happened that in any part of the Real we have discovered a
division between idea and fact, between general and particular, between
primary and secondary reality and the like, but we have found, in every
part, relation and correlation, unity and distinction in unity. There
is no general philosophy opposed to, or consequent on, or alongside
particular philosophies; particular philosophy is general, and the
general is the particular; nor is there a general history, which is
not also particular history, and _vice versa._ History is always the
history of man as artist, thinker, economic producer, and moral agent,
and in distinguishing these various aspects, it gives their unity,
which does not transcend these various aspects, but _is_ these various
aspects themselves.

[Sidenote: _and consequently of a History of general philosophy outside
the histories of particular philosophic sciences._]

In like manner, the History of thought, or the History of Philosophy,
which is one of these determinate aspects, is distinguished in the
histories of particular philosophic concepts, as the history of
Æsthetic, of Logic, of Economics and of Ethics; but it is also unified
in them and _consists in nothing but them,_ completely resolving itself
into them. There is no _general History of Philosophy,_ in the sense
of a history of _general Philosophy,_ or of _Metaphysics,_ or whatever
else it may be called, outside particular histories (which are unity in

One of the errors which in our opinion vitiates the writing of the
history of philosophy, appears to be just the prejudice in favour of a
treatment of the general part of this history, in which, for instance,
speculations concerning practice enter only incidentally, a great
part of logical doctrine is excluded as not belonging to it, and the
doctrines of Æsthetic are hardly referred to at all. The prejudice is
derived, in the last analysis, from the old idea of an Ontology or
Metaphysic, as the science of an ideal world, of which nature and man
are the more or less imperfect actualizations; hence the relegation of
a great part of true and proper philosophy to what is called the human
and natural world, and the looking upon this as a special philosophy,
distinguished from general philosophy and consequently lying outside
the true and proper history of philosophy. That prejudice, amounting
almost to a survival, persists even in those who have more or less
surpassed such a conception, and determines the curious configuration
of a general history of philosophy, outside the special histories.
Such a scheme, when closely examined, shows itself to be a complex of
historical elucidations of some problems of Logic, and of some of the
philosophy of the practical (individuality, liberty, the supreme good,
etc.), and of some arising from their relations (knowing and being,
spirit and nature, infinite and finite, etc.). These are all without
doubt arguments of philosophical history; but they must be united with
the others, from which they have been wrenched, and without which they
prove but little intelligible. Philosophy is present in the Poetics
and the Rhetoric of Aristotle as much as in the Metaphysics; not less
in the _Critique of Pure Judgment_ of Kant, than in the _Critique of
Pure Reason._ It is never outside those treatises concerning what are
called the special parts of philosophy. The present-day historians
of philosophy who have overcome so many forms of transcendence
and re-established immanence, must also overcome the residue of
transcendence, which, so to speak, they still retain in their own house.

[Sidenote: _Histories of particular philosophies and literary value of
such division._]

Certainly, the reality of the distinctions between the various aspects
of the real and between the various particular philosophies renders
possible literary divisions, through which there are composed special
treatises upon Ethics and so upon the history of Ethic; upon Logic and
so upon the history of Logic; upon Æsthetic and so upon the history
of Æsthetic; but it is not possible by a like method of division to
construct a treatise upon general Philosophy and a corresponding
History of general philosophy. It is not possible, because this
literary division presupposes a distinction of concepts; and a general
philosophy is not conceptually distinguishable. When the attempt to
distinguish it is made, we have, as we saw, a mass of historical
fragments taken from the various philosophic sciences; that is to
say, not the coherent historical treatment of problems relating to a
definite aspect of the real, but a more or less arbitrary aggregate.

[Sidenote: _History of Logic in a particular sense._]

With these considerations, we have answered the question concerning the
relation between the History of Logic and the History of Philosophy.
This relation is the same as that between Logic and Philosophy,--terms
which are capable neither of distinction nor of opposition. The history
of Logic is not outside the history of Philosophy, but is an integral
part of this history itself. To make it the object of special treatment
always means to compose a complete history of philosophy, in which,
from the literary point of view, prominence and priority are given
to the problems of Logic, the others being thrown, not outside the
picture, but into the background. The same may be said of the History
of Æsthetic or of Ethic or of any other particular discipline, which is
never held to be distinguishable.

[Sidenote: _Works relating to the history of Logic._]

Logic being more or less profoundly renovated (as we have sought
to do in this book), it is natural that the histories of Logic
hitherto available can no longer be completely satisfactory. For they
are written from points of view that have been surpassed, such as
Aristotelian formalism or Hegelian panlogism, and therefore either
do not interpret facts with exactitude, or they give prominence and
exaggerated importance to certain orders of facts, neglecting others
far more worthy of mention and of examination.

Of the special books bearing the title of the History of Logic, there
is really only one--that of Charles Prantl--which, based upon wide
researches, is truly remarkable for its doctrine and for lucid and
animated exposition. Unfortunately this does not go further than the
fifteenth century and omits the whole movement of modern philosophy.[1]
But even the period exhaustively treated by him (Antiquity and the
Middle Ages) is looked at from the narrow angle of an Aristotelian and
formal temperament. Other works bearing the same title are not worthy
of attention.[2] On the other hand, the better histories of Logic must
not be sought under this title, but especially in the better Histories
of Philosophy, beginning with that of Hegel, which, for the most part,
is precisely a history of Logic.

In inaugurating a new treatment, governed by the principles which we
have defended, we shall confine ourselves, in the following pages,
to a sketch of the history of some of the principal parts of logical
doctrine, without any claim to even approximate completeness, and with
a view to giving simple illustrations of the things that were said
in the theoretical part. In this theoretical part, in virtue of the
identity of philosophy and history which we have explained, history may
be said to be already contained and projected, even though names and
dates are mostly omitted and left to be understood.

[Footnote 1: _Geschichte der Logik im Abendlande,_ Leipzig, 1855-1870,
4 vols. Scattered memoirs of certain writers belonging to later times
are being published by Prantl in academic journals, and it would be
opportune to collect these in a volume.]

[Footnote 2: A rapid sketch, compiled in part from the work of Prantl,
with a polemical addition directed against the adversaries of the
Hegelian Logic, precedes the _Logic_² of Kuno Fischer. The historical
part of the _System der Logik_ of Ueberweg (fifth edition, 1882, edited
by J. B. Meyer) has an almost exclusively bibliographical character
with excerpts, and that contained in L. Rabus, _Logik ii. System der
Wissenschaften,_ Erlangen-Leipzig, 1895, is yet more arid. The _Gesch.
d. Logik_ of F. Harms (Berlin, 1881) is meagre in facts, verbose and
vague. In recent monographs on special points, one feels the effect
of what is called Logistic or new formalism, which makes the authors
pursue ineptitudes and curiosities of slight value.]



[Sidenote: _Question as to who was the "father of Logic."_]

Just as whenever in Æsthetic any one sought the "father" of the science
Plato was usually named, so whenever a like enquiry has been proposed
for Logic that honourable title has been almost unanimously bestowed
upon Aristotle. But even if we admit (as we must) in a somewhat
empirical and expedient sense, the propriety of these searches for
"discoverers" and "fathers," Aristotle could not in our eyes occupy
that position. For if Logic is the science of the concept, such a
science was evidently begun before him. Further, Aristotle himself
claimed the distinction only of having reduced and treated the theory
of reasoning[1] and recognized elsewhere that to Socrates belonged the
merit of having directed attention to the examination and definition of
the concept (τούς τ' ἐπακτικοὺς λόγους καὶ τὸ όρίζεσθαι), that is to
say, to the very principle of logical Science,[2] the rigorous form of

[Sidenote: _Socrates, Plato, Aristotle._]

In this affirmation of the consistency and absoluteness of knowledge
and of truth (sustained in him by a vivid religious and moral
consciousness) lies the significance of Socrates as opposed to the
Sophists; as indeed in the same thing lies the importance of Hellenic
Logic of the truly classical period. This Logic elaborated the idea
of conceptual knowledge, of science or of philosophy, and transmitted
it to the modern world with a terminology, which is in great part
that which we ourselves employ. We too reject in almost the same
words as the Greek philosophers the renascent sophism, the perennial
Protagoreanism, and the sensationalism which denies truth, and (like
the ancient Gorgias), by declaring it incommunicable by the individual,
individualizes and reduces it to practical utility. In Plato, the
affirmation and glorification of conceptual knowledge was accompanied
by contempt for the knowledge of the individual, and in comparison
with the immortal world of ideas, the world of sensations was for him
so dark and obscure as to disappear in his eyes like phantoms before
the sun. But Aristotle, although he held firmly that there is no
science of the accidental and individual, and of sensation, which is
bound to space and time, to the _where_ and the _when,_ and that the
object of science is the universal, the essence, _which is being,_
was less exclusive than he; and as he saved the world of poetry from
the condemnation of Plato, so, in all his philosophy and in all his
work as physicist, politician and historian, he affirmed the world of
experience and of history.[3]

[Sidenote: _Enquiries concerning the nature of the concept in Greece.
The question of transcendence and immanence._]

On the other hand, there was in Socrates only the consciousness of
the universal still indefinite and vague; in Plato there appeared
for the first time the consciousness of the true character of the
universal, and so of its distinction from empirical universals; and
in Aristotle this enquiry gave important results. The problem of the
nature of the concept became, then and afterwards, interwoven with
that other problem of the transcendence or immanence of the concepts;
but since, notwithstanding many points of contact, the two problems
cannot be completely identified, they must not be confounded. Indeed,
the problem of the transcendence or immanence of the universals is
reducible to the more general problem of the relation between values
and facts, the ideal and the real, what ought to be and what is;
whereas the other, concerning the nature of the universals, centres
upon the distinction between universals that are truly logical, and
pseudological universals, and upon the greater or less admissibility
of one or the other or of both, and so upon their mode of relation.
The point of contact between the two problems lies in this, that where
pure and real universals are denied and only arbitrary and nominal
universals allowed to subsist, the question of the immanence or
transcendence of the universals also disappears. And as to the first
problem and the polemic of Aristotle against Plato concerning the
ideas, it has appeared to some critics (to Zeller and others) that
Aristotle misunderstood his master and invented an error that Plato
had never maintained, or attacked merely certain gross expositions of
doctrine which were current in some Platonic school. To others again
(to Lotze, for instance), it has seemed that Aristotle thought this
problem, at bottom, in the same way as Plato, who by placing the ideas
in a hyper-Uranian space, in a super-world or a super-heaven, thus
came to refuse to them that reality which Aristotle himself refused
to them and to consider them as _values,_ not as _beings;_ although
Greek linguistic usage prevented Plato from expressing the difference,
just as it prevented Aristotle from expressing the same thing, when it
led him to describe genera as "second substances" (δεύτεραι οὺσίαι).
However, as regards the first interpretation, it certainly seems to
us that it is impossible to raise doubts about such a document as
the testimony of Aristotle[4] by means of such frequently uncertain
documents as the Platonic dialogues. And as regards the second
interpretation, it seems to us that it does not so much purge Plato
of the vice of transcendence as convict his adversary also of sharing
that vice. On this point the opposition of Aristotle to his predecessor
does not coincide with that of modern nominalism and empiricism to
philosophic idealism, for the former sets in question the truth of the
concept itself. Aristotle denied this truth as little as Plato; indeed
he expressly asserted that his predecessor was right, and approved his
definite accusation of the sophists that they were occupied not with
the universal but with the accidental, that is to say, with not-being.

[Sidenote: _Controversies as to the various forms of concept in Plato._]

The beginning of the enquiry as to the nature of universals or of ideas
is to be seen, on the other hand, in Plato's embarrassments before the
questions as to whether there are ideas of everything, of artificial
as well as of natural things, of noble things and vile things alike,
of things only or also of properties and relations; of good things
or also of bad things (καλὸν καὶ αἰσχρόν, ἀγαθὸν καὶ κακόν)[5] He
does not escape from the embarrassments, save occasionally, by making
strange admissions, by accepting ideas of all the preceding, only
to fall immediately afterwards into contradictions, through which
however we see the outlines of the problems of to-day. Are the ideas
representative concepts (of things) or are they not rather categories
(ideas of relation)? Arc opposites particular kinds of ideas (if there
exist ideas of base and ugly things, as well as of beautiful and good
things)? Is it possible to distinguish, from the point of view of the
Ideas, between the natural world and the human world (between natural
things and artificial)? Plato himself refers to mathematical knowledge
as distinct from philosophic knowledge.

[Sidenote: _The philosophic concepts and the empirical and abstract
concepts in Aristotle. Philosophy, physics and mathematics._]

In Aristotle, the determination of the rigorous philosophic concept
and its distinction from empirical and abstract concepts make great
progress, although this does not amount to a solution of those Platonic
embarrassments. Aristotle accurately traces the limits between
Philosophy (and so the philosophic concept) and the physical and
mathematical sciences. Philosophy, the science of God or _theology_
(as he also calls it), treats of being in its absoluteness, and so
not of particular beings or of the matter that forms part of their
composition. The non-philosophical sciences, on the other hand, always
treat of particular beings (περὶ ὄν τι καὶ γένος τι). They take their
objects from sense or assume them by hypotheses, giving now more, now
less accurate demonstrations of them. All the physical sciences have
need of some definite material (ὕλη) because they are always concerned
with noses, eyes, flesh, bones, animals, plants, roots, bark, in short
with material things, subject to movement. There even arises a physical
science that is concerned with the soul, or rather, with a sort of
soul (περὶ ψυχῆς ἐνίας), in so far as this is not without matter.
Mathematics, like philosophy, studies, not things subject to movement,
but motionless being; but it differs from philosophy in not excluding
the matter in which their objects are as it were incorporated (ὡς ἐν
ὔλῃi): the suppression of matter is obtained in them by aphairesis or

[Sidenote: _The universals of the "always" and those of the "for the
most part."_]

This divergence between philosophic and physical or mathematical
procedure is the point upon which empiricism and mathematicism rely;
but these, inferior here to Aristotle, deny the science of absolute
being (περὶ ὅντος άπλῶς) and leave in existence only the second
order of sciences, which deal with the particular and abstract.
There is another important distinction in Aristotle, but to tell
the truth it is impossible to say how far he connected it with the
preceding distinction between philosophy and physics, with which it is
substantially one. Aristotle knew two forms of universal: the universal
of the _always_ (τοῡ ἀεί) and that of the _for the most part_ (τοῡ
ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ).[7] He was well aware of the difference between the
first, which is truly universal, and the second, which is so only in
an approximate and improper manner; and he even asked himself if the
_for the most part_ alone existed and not also the _always_; but his
interest was directed not so much to the comparative differences of
the two series, as to the common character of universality which both
of them asserted as against the individual and accidental. Science (he
said) is occupied, not with the accidental, but with the universal,
whether it be eternal and necessary (ἀναγκαῖον) or only approximately
universal (ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ).[8] Philosophy, physics and mathematics felt at
this period that they had a common enemy in sensationalism and sophism,
and they formed an alliance against this common enemy, rather than as
happened later, dissipate their energies in intestinal welfare.

[Sidenote: _Controversies concerning Logic in the Middle Ages._]

Without dwelling upon the later scepticism, mysticism and mythologism,
which represented the dissolution of ancient philosophy and the germ
of a new life (especially in Christian mythologism, which had absorbed
elements of ancient philosophy and was accompanied by a very developed
theology), we must pass on to note the progress which the logical
problem made in the schools of the Middle Ages. To look upon mediæval
philosophy (as many do) as a negligible episode, a mere detritus of
ancient culture quite unconnected with the later spiritual activity, is
now no longer possible. Certainly in the disputes of the nominalists
and realists, the problem of transcendence and of immanence was
neglected. It could not be solved on the presumptions of a philosophy
which had at its side a theology, of which it constituted itself the
handmaiden. The Platonic transcendence was incurable in Christianity,
and those who even to-day seek to purify Christianity from survivals
of Greek thought, do not perceive that, in this purification effected
by their philosophies of action and of immanence, they are destroying
Christianity itself.[9]

[Sidenote: _Nominalism and realism._]

But in those disputes, besides the question of the place that belongs
to science in relation to religious faith, or to mundane science in
relation to revealed and divine science, the question of the nature
of the concept was also raised; that is to say, they continued the
Platonic-Aristotelian enquiry into the doctrine of the concept in
the second of the meanings that we have distinguished. But no true
conclusion was reached in this enquiry. The conciliatory formula of
the Arabic interpreters of Aristotle, accepted by Albertus Magnus and
Thomas Aquinas, in which the universals were affirmed as existing
_ante, in_ and _post rem,_ in so far as it is possible to confer
upon it an exact meaning, was understood in a superficial manner,
and therefore it has not unreasonably seemed too easy and too
expeditious.[10] A dispute of this sort cannot be solved by summarizing
discordant opinions, as in the formula we have mentioned, or by fixing
a mean, as in conceptualism. But the realists, bravely maintaining
the truth of the philosophic universal, maintained the rights of
rational thought and of philosophy; and the nominalists, on their part,
asserting in contradiction to the former, the nominalist universal,
prepared the modern theories of natural science. Realism produced
philosophic thought of high importance, as in the so-called ontological
argument of Anselm of Aosta, which (though through the myth of a
personal God) asserts the unity of Essence and Existence, the reality
of what is truly conceivable and conceived. Gaunilo, who confuted and
satirized that concept, by employing the example of a "most perfect
island," thinkable yet non-existent, seems an anticipation of Kant;
at least of the Kant who employed the example of the hundred dollars
to illustrate the same case--if it is not more accurate to say that
Kant was, in that case, a late Gaunilo. Anselm replied (as Hegel did to
Kant) that it was not a question of an island (or of a hundred dollars
of something imaginable that is not at all a concept), but of the being
than which it is impossible to think a greater and a more perfect (the
true and proper concept). On the other hand, the nominalists, who
like Roscellinus maintained that the _universelles substantiae_ were
_nonnisi flatus vocis,_ performed the useful office of preventing the
sciences of experience from being absorbed and lost in philosophy.
In Roger Bacon we see clearly the connection of nominalism with
naturalism. He considered individual facts, so-called external
experience, in its immediacy, as the true and proper object of science.
Concepts were for him a simple expedient, directed towards the mastery
of the immense richness of the individual. "_Intellectus est debilis_
(he said); _propter eam debilitatem magis conformatur rei debili, quae
est universale, qitam rei quae habet multum de esse, ut singulare._"

[Sidenote: _Nominalism, mysticism and coincidence of opposites._]

But the nominalists, _dialecticae haeretici_ (as Anselm called them),
were heretics only in the circle of the dialectic. The truth remained
for them something beyond; the concept, the _secunda intentio,_ was
certainly something arbitrary and _ad placitum instituta_; it was
"_forma artificialis tantum, quae per violentiam habet esse,_" but
beyond it were always faith and revelation. God is the truth, and in
God the ideas are real; hence Roger Bacon gave to inner light (as
the positivists or neocritics of to-day give to feeling) a place
beside sensible experience. Mysticism, being developed from mediæval
philosophy, both from one-sided realism and from one-sided nominalism,
extends its hand at the dawn of the new Era to the philosophy of
Cusanus, to scepticism, to _docta ignorantia._ This was not a mere
negation; so much so that in it (though in a negative form and
mixed with religion) there appears in outline nothing less than the
theory of the _coincidence of opposites,_ that is to say, the cradle
of that modern logical movement, which was destined definitely to
conquer transcendence. The coincidence of opposites is the germ of
the dialectic, which unifies value and fact, ideal and real, what
ought to be and what is. This important thought reappears in German
mysticism; and (significantly for its future destinies) rings out upon
the lips of Martin Luther, who declared that virtue coexists with its
contrary, vice, hope with anxiety, faith with vacillation, indeed with
temptation, gentleness with disdain, chastity with desire, pardon with
sin; as in nature, heat coexists with cold, white with black, riches
with poverty, health with disease; and that _peccatum manet et non
manet, tollitur et non tollitur,_ and that at the moment a man ceases
to make himself better, he ceases to be good.[11] And before it became
dominant in Jacob Böhme it was stripped of its religious form and
eloquently defended in Italy by Giordano Bruno.[12]

[Sidenote: _The Renaissance and naturalism. Bacon._]

This realist, mystical and dialectical current of thought was destined
to yield its best fruits some centuries later. For the time being, in
the seventeenth century, and yet more in the century that followed,
the victory seemed to rest with nominalism, that is to say, with
naturalism. In Italy, Leonardo da Vinci laughed at theological and
speculative disputes and celebrated, not the mind, but the _eye_ of
man, that is, the science of observation. The same tendency appeared
in the anti-Aristotelians and naturalists, who placed the natural
sciences above scholasticism. In England, the other Bacon, however
slight his importance both as philosopher and naturalist, yet has
much importance as the symptom and spokesman of the self-assertion
of naturalism. In the _Novum Organum,_ the universal of the _for the
most part_ claims its rights as against the universal of the necessary
and eternal. He does not wish, however, to do away with the latter,
but rather to complete it; the syllogism is insufficient, induction
also is needed. Philosophy and theology are well where they are, but a
science of physics is also needed; philosophic induction, which goes
at a leap to first causes, must be accompanied by a gradual induction
(the only one that interests the naturalist), which connects particular
facts by means of laws more and more general; final causes must be
banished from the study of nature, and only efficient causes admitted.
_Anticipationes naturae,_ that is to say, the invasions of philosophism
into the natural sciences, are to be prohibited. These utterances are
far more discreet than those that have so often since been heard.

[Sidenote: _The ideal of exact science and the Cartesian philosophy._]

By another school of this period, on the other hand, the pure concept
was wrongly identified with the abstract concept. Thus speculative
rationalism took the form of mathematical rationalism and the ideal
of philosophy was confused with the ideal of _exact science._ This
tendency is also to be found in Leonardo, who exalted "reason"
alone, that is calculation, as outside of and sometimes superior to
experience. Galileo expressed similar thoughts later. The Cartesian
philosophy is animated with it, that is to say, the philosophy of
Descartes and of his great followers, especially Spinoza and Leibnitz.
Thus this is especially an intellectualist philosophy, full of empty
excogitations and rigid divisions, developed by a mechanical or by
a teleological method, which always operated by means of mechanism.
It is true that even under these improper forms, philosophic thought
progressed. The consciousness of the inner unity of philosophy
progressed with Descartes, that of the unity of the real by means of
Spinoza's concept of substance, and that of spiritual activity by means
of the dynamism of Leibnitz; but Logic remained as a whole the old
scholastic logic. The purity of the concept was asserted at the expense
of concreteness; thus the concept, in the Logic of those writers, is
always something abstract, although its reality is so far recognized
that it is thought possible to think with it the most real (the God
of Descartes, the substance of Spinoza, the Monad of Leibnitz). The
eighteenth century, mathematical, abstractionist, intellectualist
ratiocinative, anti-historical, illuminist, reformist, and finally
Jacobin, is the legitimate issue of this Cartesian philosophy, which
confuses the Logic of philosophy with the Logic of mathematics. France,
which was the country of its birth and where it became most firmly
rooted and most widely disseminated, owes to it, perhaps even more than
to Scholasticism, the mental imprint which it still bears and which
the strong Germanic influence that has made itself felt there also in
the last century has not sufficed to eradicate. It is only in our day
that the country which is the type of the abstract intellect strives
to become philosophically more concrete. It is now occupied with
æstheticism or intuitionism, and, unless the movement is suffocated or
dissipated, it may effect a true revolution in the traditional French

[Sidenote: _Adversaries of Cartesianism. Vico._]

The opposition to abstractionism had no representatives in the
seventeenth century and for a great part of the eighteenth, except
among thinkers of but slight systematic powers, with whom it did
not progress beyond the logical form of the presentiment and the
literary form of the aphorism. In France, Blaise Pascal was one of
these, with his anti-Cartesianism, his restriction of the value of
mathematics, and his celebration of the reasons of the heart which
reason does not know. In Germany there was Hamann, who possessed such
a strong sense of tradition, of history, of language, of poetry and
of myth, and finally of the truth contained in the principle of the
_coincidence of opposites_ which he had met with somewhere in Bruno.
The Italian Giambattista Vico was the only great systematic thinker
to express opposition to abstractionism and Cartesianism. Prior to
and more clearly than Hamann, he perceived the unity of philosophy
and history, or as he called it, of _philosophy and philology._ He
conceived thought as an _ideal history_ of reality, immanent in the
real history which occurs in time; he abolished the distinctions of the
concept as separate species and substituted the notion of degrees or
moments, which (as Schelling did after him) he called _ideal epochs_;
he considered the abstractionist and mathematical century which he saw
rising before him, as a period of philosophic decadence, and foretold
the evil effects of Cartesian anti-historicism. (His presage was
fulfilled.) In this way, he sketched a new Logic, very different from
that of Aristotle or of Arnaud which was the most recent, a Logic in
which he attempted to satisfy Plato and Bacon, Tacitus and Grotius, the
idea and the fact. But if the other opponents of abstractionism had
very little effect, because of their immaturity and want of system,
Vico also was ineffectual, because he was born in Italy precisely at
the time when Italy as a productive country was definitely issuing from
the circle of European thought and was beginning passively to accept
the more popular forms of foreign thought. Finally, Naples, the little
country of Vico, was then becoming encyclopædist and sensationalist,
and did not really begin to know until a century later the remedy for
such evils composed in anticipation by Vico.

[Sidenote: _Empiricist Logic and its dissolution--Locke, Berkeley and

The surpassing of the Logic of the abstract concept and the achievement
of that of the concrete concept or pure concept or idea, was realized
in other ways, primarily by a sort of reduction to the absurd of
empiricist and mathematical Logic, in the scepticism which was its
result. This reduction to the absurd, this final scepticism, is to
be observed in the movement of English philosophy, beginning with
Locke or even with Hobbes, to Hume. Locke, starting from perception
as his presupposition, derived all ideas from experience, with the
sole instrument of reflection; and rejecting innate ideas and looking
upon others as more or less arbitrary, he preserved some objectivity
to mathematical ideas alone, which relate to what are called primary
qualities. Berkeley denies objectivity even to the primary qualities.
All concepts, naturalist and mathematical alike, are for him abstract
concepts and to that extent without truth. The only truth is the
"idea," which means here nothing but sensation or the representation
of the individual. His Logic is not empiricist, because it is in no
respect Logic. At the most it is an Æsthetic substituted for and
given as Logic. It is true, notwithstanding his complete denial of
universals--of empirical and abstract, no less than of philosophic,
which he never even mentions--that he deludes himself into thinking
that he has overcome scepticism; and it is true also that he laid the
foundations of a spiritualist and voluntarist conception of reality,
which in our opinion should be preserved and adopted by modern thought.
But this proves only that his philosophy does not wholly agree with
his Logic, and not that his Logic is not the complete denial of the
concept and of thought. The logical consequence of Berkeley could not,
then, be anything but the scepticism of David Hume, who shakes the very
foundation upon which the whole of the science of nature rests, namely,
the principle of causality.

[Sidenote: _Exact science and Kant. The concept of the category._]

As the effect of this extreme scepticism, the surpassing of empiricist
and abstractionist Logic had to be begun with the restoration of that
Logic itself (because that which does not exist cannot be surpassed),
that is to say, with the demonstration, against Hume, that the exact
science of nature is possible. Such is the principal task of the
_Critique of Pure Reason_, which contains the Logic of the natural
and mathematical sciences, thought no longer by an empiricist, but by
a philosopher who has surpassed empiricism and recognized that the
concepts of experience presuppose the human intellect, which originally
constructed them. Leibnitz had already travelled this road, when in
a polemic against Locke he maintained that reflection to which Locke
appealed, referred back to the innate ideas: for if reflection (he
said) is nothing but "_une attention à ce qui est en nous et les sens
ne nous donnent point ce que nous portons déjà avec nous,_" how can
it ever be denied "_qu'il y est beaucoup d'inné en nous, puisque nous
sommes, pour ainsi dire, innés à nous mêmes? Peut-on nier qu'il y ait
eu nous être, unité, substance, durée, changement, action, perception,
plaisir et mille autres objets de nos idées intellectuelles?_"[13] The
_New Essays,_ in which theses and other similar themes were developed,
remained for a time unedited, but appeared opportunely in 1765 to
fecundate German thought, and acted upon Kant, together with English
empiricism and scepticism, the latter giving the problem and the former
almost an attempt at a solution. But the innate ideas of Leibnitz
are profoundly transformed in the Kantian concept of the _category,_
which is the formal element and really exists only in the very act
of judgment, which it effects. Mathematics are thus secured in their
possession, no longer by means of the primary qualities of Locke, but
because they arise from the _a priori_ forms of intuition, space and
time. The natural sciences are also secured, because the concepts of
them are constituted by means of the categories of the intellect,
on the data of experience. In other words, mathematical and natural
science have value, in so far as they are a necessary product of the

[Sidenote: _The limits of science and Kantian scepticism._]

But a limitation of value due also to Kant, accompanies this theoretic
reinforcement of exact science. That science is necessary, because
produced by the categories; but the categories cannot develop their
activity except upon the data of experience; so that exact science is
limited to experience, and whenever it makes the attempt to surpass it,
it becomes involved in antinomies and paralogisms and gesticulates in
the void. Science moves among phenomena and can never penetrate beyond
them and attain to the "Thing in itself."

[Sidenote: _The limits cf science and Jacobi._]

It would seem from this that Kant was bound to end in a renovated
nominalism and mysticism, and indeed such is partly the case.
Contemporaneously with him, Jacobi also observed the limit in which
is enclosed the mechanical and determinist science of nature (the
highest philosophic expression of which was then found in the _Ethic_
of Spinoza), since it works with the principle of causation and is
impotent, unless it wishes to commit suicide, to leave the finite
which it describes in a causal series, and Jacobi concluded in favour
of mysticism and of _feeling,_ the organ of the Knowledge of God.
Kant, like Jacobi, in his turn has recourse to the non-theoretic
form of the spirit, to the practical reason and its postulates, to
provide that certitude of God, of immortality, and of human freedom,
which is not evident to the theoretic reason. But in Kant there are
other positive elements which are not in Jacobi, and these elements,
although not sufficiently elaborated by him and not harmonized with
one another, confer upon his philosophy the value of a new Logic,
more or less sketched. For he recognizes not only a theoretic but
also a practical reason, which cannot be called simply practical, if
it in any way produce (although only under the title of postulates),
knowledge (and knowledge of supreme importance). He recognises also an
æsthetic judgment, which, although developed without concepts, does
not belong to the sphere of practical interests; and a teleological
judgment, which is regulative and not constitutive, but not on this
account arbitrary or without meaning. Finally, the very contradictions,
in which the intellect becomes involved, when it wishes to apply the
categories beyond experience, could not reasonably be considered by
him to be mere errors, because they constitute serious problems, if
the intellect becomes involved in them, not capriciously, but of
_necessity._ All this presages the coming of a new Logic, which shall
set in their places these scattered elements of truth and solve the

[Sidenote: _The a priori synthesis._]

But the Kantian philosophy also contains, in addition to these elements
and these stimulations, the concept of the new Logic in the _a priori_
synthesis. This synthesis is the unity of the necessary and the
contingent, of concept and intuition, of thought and representation,
and consequently is the pure concept, the _concrete_ universal.

[Sidenote: _The intimate contradiction of Kant. Romantic principle and
classical execution._]

Kant was not aware of this; and instead of developing with a mind free
from prejudice the thought of his genius, he also allowed himself
to be vanquished by the abstractionism of his time and out of the
logical and philosophical _a priori_ synthesis he made the more or
less arbitrary _a priori_ synthesis of the sciences. In this way, the
apriority of the intuition led him, not to art, but to mathematics
(transcendental Æsthetic)[14] the apriority of the intellect led
him, not to Philosophy, but to Physics (abstract intellect): hence
the impotence which afflicted that synthesis, when confronted with
philosophic problems. When he discovered the _a priori_ synthesis,
Kant had laid his hand upon a profoundly _romantic_ concept; but his
treatment of it became afterwards _classicist_ and _intellectualist._
The synthesis is the palpitating reality which makes itself and knows
itself in the making: the Kantian philosophy makes it rigid again in
the concepts of the sciences; and it is a philosophy in which the sense
of life, of imagination, of individuality, of history, is almost as
completely absent as in the great systems of the Cartesian period.
Whoever is not aware of this intimate drama and fails to understand
this contradiction; whoever, when confronted with the work of Kant, is
not seized with the need, either of going forward or of going backward,
has not reached the heart of that soul, the centre of that mind. The
old philosophers who condemned Kant as sceptical and as a corrupter of
philosophy, and who confined themselves strictly to Wolfianism and to
scholasticism, and the new who greeted him as a precursor and made of
him a stepping-stone on which to mount higher,--these alone came truly
into contact with Kant's philosophy. For in his case there are but two
alternatives: abhorrence or attraction, loathing or love. In the midst
of a battle one must flee or fight: to sit still and take one's ease is
the attitude of the unconscious and the mad. Certainly it is better to
fight than to flee, but it is better to flee than to sit inactive. He
who flees, saves at least his own skin, or, to abandon metaphor, saves
the old philosophy, which is still something; but the inactive man
loses both life and glory, the old philosophy and the new.

[Sidenote: _Advance upon Kant: Fichte, Schelling, Hegel._]

The new philosophy was that of the three great post-Kantians, Fichte,
Schelling and Hegel. With Fichte, all trace of the thing in itself has
disappeared and the dominating concept is that of the Ego, that is,
of the Spirit, which creates the world by means of the transcendental
imagination and recreates it in thought. In Schelling is found the
concept of the Absolute, the unity of subject and object, which has, as
its instrument, intellectual intuition. In Hegel, there is this same
concept, but it has itself as instrument, that is to say, it is truly
logical. All three are Kantians, but all three (and especially the last
two) are not simply Kantian. They employed elements which Kant ignored
or employed timidly, and in particular the mystical tradition and the
new tendencies of æsthetic and historical thought. Thus they pass
beyond the abstractionism and intellectualism of the Kantian period,
and inaugurate the nineteenth century. They are connected ideally with
Vico (Hamann was the little German Vico), and they enrich him with the
thoughts of Kant.

[Sidenote: _The Logic of Hegel. The concrete concept or Idea._]

Neglecting the particular differences between these thinkers and the
genetic process by which we pass from one to the other, and taking the
result of that speculative movement in its most mature form, which is
the philosophy of Hegel, we see in it (like a new, securely established
society after the frequent changes of a revolution) the establishment
of the new doctrine of the concept. Kant's unconsciousness of the
consequences of the _a priori_ synthesis had been such that he had
not hesitated to affirm that Logic, since the time of Aristotle,
had possessed so just and secure a form as not to need to take one
single step backward, and to be unable to take one forward.[15] But
Hegel insisted that this was rather a sign that that science demanded
complete re-elaboration, since an application of two thousand years
should have endowed the spirit with a more lofty consciousness of
its own thought and of its own essential nature.[16] What was the
concept for Hegel? It was not that of the empirical sciences, which
consists in a simple general representation and therefore always
in something finite; it is barbaric to give the name concepts to
intellectual formations, like "blue," "house," or "animal." Nor was
it the mathematical concept, which is an arbitrary construction. All
the logical rationality that there is in mathematics is what is called
irrational. These so-called concepts are the products of the abstract
intellect; the true concept is the product of the concrete intellect,
or reason. It has therefore nothing to do with the immediate knowledge
of the sentimentalists and of the mystics, and with the intuition of
the æstheticists; such formulae as these express the necessity for the
concept, but give only a negative determination of it. They assert what
it is not in relation to the empirical sciences and then misstate what
it is in philosophy. For the rest, the shortcomings of the abstract
intellect, generating the pure void or _thing in itself_(which far
from being, as Kant believed, unknowable, is indeed the best known
thing of all, the abstraction from everything and from thought itself)
prepare the environment for the phantasms and caprices of mysticism
and intuitionism. The true concept is the _idea,_ and the idea is the
absolute unity of the concept and of its objectivity.

[Sidenote: _Identity of the Hegelian Idea with the Kantian a priori

This definition has sometimes seemed whimsical, sometimes most obscure;
yet it presents nothing but the elaboration in a more rigorous form
of the Kantian _a priori_ synthesis, so that these two terms could
without further difficulty be regarded as equivalent; the _a priori_
logical synthesis is the Idea and the Idea is the _a priori_ logical
synthesis. If Hegel has not been understood, that is due to the fact
that Kant himself has not been understood. Those who assert that they
understand what Kant meant to say, but not what Hegel meant to say,
deceive themselves. For Kant and Hegel say the same thing, though the
latter says it with greater consciousness and clearness, that is to
say, better.[17]

[Sidenote: _The Idea and the Antinomies. The Dialectic._]

The idea, the concrete universal, the pure concept, rebels against
the mechanical divisions employed for the empirical concepts. For it
has its own division, its own proper and intimate rhythm, by means
of which it divides and unifies, and unifies itself when dividing
and divides itself when unifying. The concept thinks reality, which
is not immobile but in motion, not abstract being, but becoming;
and therefore in it distinctions are generated one from another and
oppositions reconciled. Hegel not only gives the true meaning of
the Kantian _a priori_ synthesis, recognizing it as the concrete
concept, but replaces the antinomies in its bosom. The contradiction
is not due to the limitation of thought before a non-contradictory
reality, which thought is unable to attain; it is the character of
reality itself, which contradicts itself in itself, and is opposition,
_coincidentia oppositorum,_ the synthesis of opposites, or dialectic.
A new doctrine of opposites and the outlines of a new doctrine of
distinction accompanies the new doctrine of the pure concept. In this
philosophy is truly summarized all the previous history of thought. The
concept of Socrates has acquired the reality of the idea of Plato, the
concreteness of the substance of Aristotle, the unity-in-opposition
of Cusanus and Bruno, the Vichian reconciliation of philosophy and
philology, the unity-in-distinction of the Kantian synthesis and the
æsthetic suppleness of Schelling's intellectual intuition.

[Sidenote: _The lacunæ and errors of the Hegelian Logic. Their

Nevertheless, the history of thought does not stop at Hegel. In Hegel
himself are found the points to which later history must attach
itself; the lacunæ which he left and the errors into which he fell.
The fundamental error was the abuse of the dialectic method, which
originated for the philosophic solution of the problem of opposites,
but was extended by Hegel to the distinct concepts, so that he
interpreted even the Kantian synthesis itself as nothing but the unity
of opposites. Hence arises his incapacity to attribute their true
value and function to the alogical forms of the spirit, such as art,
and to the atheoretic, such as the natural sciences and mathematics;
and even to logical thought itself, which, violating the laws of the
synthesis, ended by imposing itself upon history and the natural
sciences, attempting to resolve them into itself by dialectizing them,
as the philosophy of history and the philosophy of nature. To this,
therefore, is due the philosophism or panlogism which is characteristic
of the system. This error was assisted by Hegel's want of clearness as
to the nature of the empirical sciences. For him as for Kant, these
remained _sciences,_ that is to say, knowledge of truth, although
imperfect knowledge of it. They therefore constituted even for him
the material or the first step in philosophy. It is true that he also
had other more acute and profound thoughts upon this subject. Amid a
number of incidental observations, he emphasized the arbitrariness
(_Willkurlichkeit_), with which those forms are affected; and this is
tantamount to declaring their practical and atheoretic character. But
instead of respecting this character, he decided upon surpassing it by
means of a philosophic transformation of those sciences, which was not
so much their death as pretended philosophies (a most true conclusion),
as their elevation to the rank of particular philosophies by means of a
mixture of empirical concepts and pure concepts, of abstract intellect
and of reason. The erroneous tendency found nourishment and took
concrete form in the idea of a Philosophy of nature, which Schelling
had obtained, partly from Kant himself and partly had found in his
own at first latent and then manifest theosophism. In this way, the
system of Hegel became divided into three parts, a Logic-metaphysic,
a Philosophy of nature and a Philosophy of Spirit, whereas it should
on the contrary have unified Logic and the Philosophy of Spirit, and
expelled the Philosophy of nature. By its internal dialectic, panlogism
or philosophism was converted, even in Hegel himself, and still more
among his disciples, into mythologism, and from the system of the Idea
and of absolute immanence, because of the imperfections which they
contained, there reappeared theism and transcendence (the Hegelian
right wing).[18]

[Sidenote: _Contemporaries of Hegel: Herbart, Schleiermacher, and

It would be vain to seek the correction of Hegel among those thinkers
that were his contemporaries, for they were all, though in various
degrees, inferior to him. None of them had attained, through Kant, to
the height attained by Hegel. Dwelling on a lower level, they could
certainly refuse to recognize him and vituperate him, but they could
never collaborate with and beyond him, in the progress of truth.
Herbart held those concepts to which the particular sciences give rise
to be contradictory, but he claimed to surpass the contradiction by
means of an elaboration of the concepts (_Bearbeitung der Begriffe_),
conducted in the very method of the old Logic, that is, of the Logic
of the empirical sciences. Schleiermacher renounced the attempt to
reach the unity of the speculative and the empirical, of Ethic and
Physics, that is, the realization of the pure idea of knowledge;
and he substituted for that ideal, which for him was unattainable,
_criticism,_ a form of worldly wisdom; that is to say, of philosophy
(_Weltweisheit_) which gave access to theology and to religious
feeling.[19] Schopenhauer accepted the distinction between concept
and idea, the first abstract and artificial, the second concrete and
real; but so slight was his understanding of the idea (which he called
the Platonic idea) that he confused it with the concept of natural
species,[20] that is to say, precisely with one of the most artificial
and arbitrary of empirical concepts. Finally, Schelling, who had been
a precursor of Hegel in his youth and had collaborated with him,
not only failed to improve his logic of the intuition in his second
philosophical period, but he abandoned even this embryonic form of the
concrete concept, and gave himself over as a prey to the will and to
irrationality. In his positive philosophy the old adversary of Jacobi
made a bad combination of the alogism of Jacobi with the Hegelian
idea of development and with mythologism, as in metaphysic he had
anticipated the blind will of Schopenhauer.[21]

[Sidenote: _Later positivism and psychologism._]

The ensuing period, both in Germany and in the whole of Europe, had
little philosophical interest. It was marked by the reappearance of
a form of naturalism and of Empiricism, in part justified by the
abuse of the dialectic, which had sometimes, in the hands of Hegel's
disciples, seemed altogether mad. But this recrudescence was in every
way very poor in thought and inadequate to previous history. With this
Empiricism is associated the deplorable _Logic_ of John Stuart Mill,
one of those books which do least honour to the human spirit. That
less than mediocre reasoner did not even succeed in producing a Logic
of the natural sciences. He became involved in contradictions and
tautologies, talking, for instance, of experience, which criticises
itself and imposes its own limits upon itself, and of the principle
of causality, as a law which affirms the existence of a law that
there shall be a law. Still less had he any notion of what it is
to philosophize, maintaining that in order to make progress in the
moral and philosophical sciences it is necessary to apply to them
the method of the physical sciences. Nothing is more puerile than
his nominalism, which gives language a logical character, and then
pretends that language must be logically reformed. Logical science was
altogether lost in the evolutionism or physiologism of Spencer, and in
the psychologism which had and still has many followers in Germany, in
France, and in England, not less than in Italy. The state in which the
Logic of philosophy is found in such an environment can be inferred
from the fact that even mathematical Logic fared ill there, since there
have not been wanting those who have dared to conceive a _psychology
of arithmetic._ Finally, as a healthy corrective of psychologism, the
danger of which to the old Logic had already been noted by Kant,[22]
there came the revival of the Aristotelian, and even of the scholastic
Logic, in which there yet lived, though in erroneous forms, the idea of
the universal which had been discovered by the Greek philosophers.

[Sidenote: _Eclectics. Lotze._]

Other thinkers have not abandoned all contact with classical German
philosophy; but, in comparison with the thoughts of Kant and of Kant's
great pupils, they seem like children. They try to lift the weapons
of the Titans, and either they do not move them at all or they let
them fall from their hands, wounding themselves with them, but failing
to grip them. The thoughts of Schelling and of Hegel indeed were
discredited, but not touched; and those of Kant were touched, but
ill-treated. In the most esteemed Logics of this description, such
as those of Sigwart and of Wundt, the capital distinction between
pure concepts and representative concepts, between _universalia_ and
_generalia,_ has no prominence at all. Sigwart is obliged to complete
the knowledge obtained from naturalistic and mathematical procedure
by faith and by a gradual elevation to the idea of God. Wundt, who
does not attribute to philosophy a method which is proper to it and
different from that of the other forms of knowledge, conceives the
final result of metaphysical thought as the position of a perpetual
hypothesis. In the Logic of Lotze, who combated Hegelianism and revived
transcendentalism and theism, there is just a luminous streak, a
faint trace, of the idealist philosophy. Lotze understands that it
is impossible to form (empirical) concepts by simply cancelling the
varying parts of representations and preserving the constant parts, and
recognizes that the formation of concepts presupposes the concept: the
universal is made with the universal. He strives to issue from this
circle by positing a _primary_ universal, not formed by the method of
the others, but such that thought finds it in itself. This primary
universal has nothing particular and representative; and only by means
of it is it possible to combine heterogeneous and to differentiate
homogeneous elements, and to form the ideas of size, of more or less,
of one and of many and such like, with which the _second_ universals of
the synthesis are afterwards constructed.[23]

[Sidenote: _New gnoseology of Science. The Economic theory of the
scientific concept._]

While students of philosophy, although manifesting some doubt and
dissatisfaction, allowed themselves to be intimidated by naturalism
(dazzled, like the public, with technical applications, or confounded
by the applause of the public), a tendency has become more and more
accentuated during the last decades, which seems to us to offer great
assistance to Logic and philosophy in general, if it is understood
how to adapt it to its true end. It has not had any single centre
of diffusion, but has arisen, almost contemporaneously, in several
places, becoming at once diffused everywhere, like something that has
happened at the right time. Several of its founders and promoters
are mathematicians, physicists, and naturalists. From the very fact
of their having begun to reflect upon their activity, these men
have certainly ceased to be mere specialists, notwithstanding their
protests to the contrary. Yet they obtain considerable strength from
their specialism, finding in it a guide and a curb to prevent their
losing sight in their gnoseological enquiry of the actual procedure of
naturalistic constructions, which are its origin. The formula of this
tendency is the recognition of the _practical or economic_ character of
the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences.

[Sidenote: _Avenarius, Mach._]

The empirocriticism of Avenarius considers science to be a simple
description of the forms of experience, and conceptual procedure to
be the instrument that alters pure and primitive experience (pure
intuition or pure perception) for the purpose of simplifying it. Ernest
Mach has developed and popularized these views, for as a student of
mechanics he had reached the same conclusions by his own path and in
his own way. The physical sciences (he says), not less than zoology and
botany, have as their sole foundation the description of natural facts
in which there are never identical cases. Identical cases are created
by means of the schematic imitation that we make of reality; and here
toe lies the origin of the mutual dependence that appears in the
character of facts. To this therefore he restricts the significance of
the principle of causality, for which (in order to avoid fancifulness
and mythologicism) it would be opportune to substitute the concept of
_function._ Bodies or things are abbreviated intellectual _symbols_ of
groups of sensations; symbols, that is to say, which have no existence
outside our intellect. They are cards, like those which dealers attach
to boxes and which have no value except in so far as there are goods of
value inside the box. In this economic schematicism lies the strength,
but also the weakness, of science; for in the presentation of facts
science always sacrifices something of their individuality and real
appearance, and does not seek exactness in another way save when
obliged to do so, by the requirements of a definite moment. Hence the
incongruity between experience and science. Since they are developed
upon parallel lines, they can reduce to some extent the interval that
separates them, but they can never annul it by becoming coincident with
one another.[24]

_Rickert,_ in his book on the _Limits of the Naturalistic Concepts,_
maintains similar ideas, though with different cultural assumptions.
The concept, which is the result of the labour of the sciences, is
nothing but a means to a scientific end. The world of bodies and of
souls is infinite in space and time. It is not possible to represent
it in every individual part, by reason of its variety, which is not
only extensive but also intensive: intuition is inexhaustible. The
naturalistic concept is directed to surpassing this infinity of
intuitions. It effects this by determining its own extension and
comprehension, and by formulating its being in a series of judgments.
Thus, in order to conquer intuition altogether, the natural sciences
tend to substitute for concepts of _tilings_ concepts of _relations_
free from all intuitive elements. But the ultimate concept must always
of necessity be a concept of things (though of things _sui generis,_
immutable, indivisible, perfectly equal among themselves, expressible
in negative judgments); and besides, they find everywhere insuperable
barriers in the historical or descriptive element, which surrounds them
all and is ineliminable. This naturalistic procedure can be applied
and is indeed applied, not only to the science of bodies, but also to
that of souls, to psychology and sociology; and Rickert opportunely
insists (as did Hegel in his time) upon the possibility of empirical
sciences of what is called the spiritual world; or (as he says) the
word "nature," as used in this connection, means not a reality, but a
particular point of view from which reality is observed, in order to
reach the end of conceptual simplification.[25]

[Sidenote: _Bergson and the new French philosophy._]

In France, the same ideas or very similar are represented by a group
of thinkers, who are called variously philosophers of contingency, of
liberty, of intuition, or of action. Bergson, who is the chief of them,
looks upon the concepts of the natural sciences in the same way as
Mach, as _symboles_ and _étiquettes._ Besides the extremely apposite
applications that he has made of this principle to the analysis of
time, of duration, of space, of movement, of liberty, of evolution, he
has also the great merit of having broken his country's traditions of
intellectualism and abstractionism, of giving to France for the first
time that lively consciousness of the intuition, which she has always
lacked, and of shaking her excessive reliance upon clear distinctions,
upon well-turned concepts, upon classes, formulæ, and reasonings that
proceed in a straight line, but run upon the surface of reality.[26]

[Sidenote: _Le Roy and others._]

Le Roy, one of the followers of Bergson, has set himself to
demonstrate, with many examples, that scientific laws only become
rigorous when they are changed into conventions and depend upon vicious
circles. The course of events is habitual and regular (if you like
to say so), but it is not at all necessary. The great security of
astronomical previsions is commonly praised; but that security is not
always such in actual fact ("_il y a des comètes qui ne reviennent
pas_"), and in any case it is always approximate. The rigorous
necessity of which the natural sciences boast, is not known, but is
rather postulated, and this postulation has merely the practical object
of dominating single facts and of communicating with our neighbours
("_parler le monde_"). The law of gravity holds, but only when external
forces do not disturb it. In this way it is well understood that it
always holds. The conservation of energy avails only in closed systems;
but closed systems are just those in which energy is conserved. A body
left to itself persists in the state of repose; but this law is nothing
but the definition of a body left to itself, and so on.[27] Poincaré
boldly affirms the conventional character of the mathematical and
physical sciences, as do Milhaud and several others. They have deduced
it as a consequence of the impression aroused by the theories of higher
geometry, which has contributed more or less successfully towards
revealing the practical character of mathematics, which was formerly
held to be the foundation or model of truth and certainty.

[Sidenote: _Reattachment to romantic ideas and advance made upon them._]

All those criticisms directed against the sciences do not sound new
to the ears of those Schelling, of Novalis, and of other romantics,
and particularly with Hegel's marvellous criticism of the abstract
(that is, empirical and mathematical) intellect. This runs through
all his books, from the _Phenomenology of the Spirit_ to the _Science
of Logic,_ and is enriched with examples in the observations to the
paragraphs of the _Philosophy of Nature._ But if compared with that of
Hegel, they are at the disadvantage of not being based upon powerful
philosophical thought; they have, on the other hand, this superiority:
that they do not present the characteristics observed in the sciences
as errors which must be corrected, but define them as physiological,
necessary, uncensurable characteristics, derived from the very function
of the sciences, which is not theoretic, but practical and economic. In
this way there is posited one of the premisses that are necessary for
preventing the mixture of the economic method with the method of truth,
of empirical and abstract concepts with pure theoretic forms, and thus
for making impossible that speculative hybridism, which is expressed in
philosophies of history and of nature, and which fashions an abstract
reason to work out a dialectic of the naturalistic concepts, and even
of the representations of history. And with the prevention of this
error there is also prepared a more exact idea of the relation between
pseudoconcepts and concepts and a better constitution of philosophic

[Sidenote: _Philosophy of pure experience, of intuition, of action,
etc.; and its insufficiency._]

But in order that this result should be obtained, the idea of the
philosophic universal must be reawakened and strengthened, in
conformity with its most perfect elaboration in the history of thought,
at the hands of Hegel. The critics of the sciences are at present
far from this mark. The term that is distinct from the empirical and
abstract concepts, the knowledge of reality which is not falsified by
practical ends and discovered beneath labels and formulae, is supplied,
not by the pure concept, by reality thought in its concreteness, by
philosophy which is history, but by pure sensation or intuition. Both
Avenarius and Mach appeal to pure and primitive experience, that is,
to experience free of thought and anterior to it. Bergson, with an
artistic talent that is wanting to the two Germans, but following
the same path, has proclaimed a new metaphysic, which proceeds in an
opposite sense to that of symbolical knowledge and of generalizing and
abstracting experience. He has defined the metaphysic which he desires,
as a science _qui prétend se passer des symboles,_ and therefore as
"_Science de l'expérience intégrale._" This metaphysic would be the
opposite of the Kantian ideal, of the mathematical universal, of the
Platonism of the concepts, and would be founded upon intuition, the
sole organ of the Absolute: "_est relative la connaissance symbolique
par concepts pré-existants qui va du fixe au mouvant, mais non pas la
connaissance intuitive, qui s'installe dans le mouvement et adopte
la vie même des choses. Cette intuition atteint l'absolu._"[28] The
conclusion is æstheticism, and sometimes something even less than
æstheticism, namely mysticism, or _action_ substituted for the concept.
The criticism of the sciences thereby comes to mean the negation of
knowledge and of truth. Hence the protest of Poincaré[29] against Le
Roy, justified in its motive, but ineffective, because based upon the
presuppositions of mathematics and physics. In others again, it becomes
intermingled with the turbid waters of pragmatism, which is a little of
everything, but, above all, chatter and emptiness.

[Sidenote: _The theory of values._]

Finally, another of the thinkers that we have mentioned, Rickert
(following Windelband), wishes to integrate naturalistic and abstract
knowledge with the historical knowledge of individual reality. Being
reasonably diffident as to the possibility of a metaphysic as an
"experimental science" (such as Zeller was among the first to desire),
he moves towards a general theory of values. This indeed is the form
(imperfect because stained with transcendence) by means of which many
in our day are approaching a philosophy as the science of the spirit
(or of immanent value). But in the hands of Windelband and Rickert it
is understood as a primacy of the practical reason, which is taken to
govern the double series of the world of the sciences and the world
of history. This doubtless represents progress, as compared with
empiricism and positivism; but not as compared with the Hegelian Logic
of the pure concept, which included in itself what is and what ought to

Such, briefly stated, is the present state of logical doctrines
concerning the Concept.

[Footnote 1: _De sophist. elench._ ch. 34.]

[Footnote 2: _Metaphys._ M 4, p. 1078 b 28-30; cf. A 6, p. 987 b 2-3.]

[Footnote 3: Cf. _Æsthetic,_ part ii. chap. i.]

[Footnote 4: See in this connection the observations of Lasson, in the
preface to his recent German translation of the _Metaphysic,_ Jena,
Diederichs, 1907.]

[Footnote 5: Cf. especially the _Parmenides,_ the _Theætetus,_ and
_Book of the Republic._]

[Footnote 6: _Metaphys._ E I, p. 1025 b, 1026 a.]

[Footnote 7: _Metaphys._ vi. 1027 a.]

[Footnote 8: _Anal. post._ i. ch. 30.]

[Footnote 9: See the writings of Gentile concerning De Wulf and La
Berthonnière in the _Critica,_ iii. pp. 203-21, iv. pp. 431-445.]

[Footnote 10: Prantl, _Gesch. d. Logik,_ iii. pp. 182-3.]

[Footnote 11: For these references to writings of Luther, see F. J.
Schmidt, _Zur Wiedergeburt des Idealismus,_ Leipzig, 1908, pp. 44-6.]

[Footnote 12: See my Essay upon Hegel, ch. ii.]

[Footnote 13: Preface to _Nouveaux Essais._]

[Footnote 14: See what is said on this point in my
_Æsthetic,_² Part II. Chap. VIII.]

[Footnote 15: _Krit. d. rein. Vern._ ed. Kirchmann, pp. 22-3.]

[Footnote 16: _Wiss. d. Logik,_ i. p. 35; cfr. p. 19.]

[Footnote 17: Kuno Fischer in his _Logic,_ when expounding the thought
of Hegel, clearly distinguishes the empirical concepts from the pure
concepts, and notes that those which are pure or philosophical, are,
in the spirit, the basis and presupposition of the others. "These
others, the empirical, are formed from single representations or
intuitions, by uniting homogeneous characteristics and separating
them from the heterogeneous; and thus arise general representations,
concepts of classes": empirical, because of their empirical origin,
and representative, because they represent entire classes of single
objects, that is, are generalized representations. But at the base
of each of these are found judgments or syntheses, which contain
non-empirical and non-representable elements, elements which are _a
priori_ and only thinkable. These are the true concepts, the first
thoughts in the ideal order, without which nothing can be thought
(_Logik²,_ i. sect. i. § 3). The difference between these pure concepts
or categories and empirical concepts or categories is not quantitative,
but qualitative: the pure concepts are not the most general, the
broadest classes; they do not represent phenomena, but connections and
relations; they can be compared to the signs (+,-, x, ÷, √, etc.) of
arithmetical operations; they are not obtainable by abstraction, indeed
it is by means of them that all abstractions are affected (_loc. cit._
§§ 5-6).]

[Footnote 18: See my essay, _What is Living and what is Dead of the
Philosophy of Hegel,_ for the criticism here briefly summarized.]

[Footnote 19: _Dialektik,_ ed. Halpern, pp. 203-245.]

[Footnote 20: _Werke,_ ed. Grisebach, ii. chap. 39.]

[Footnote 21: The movement of Italian thought in the first decades of
the nineteenth century was rather a progress of national philosophic
culture than a factor in the general history of philosophy. In this
last respect, the rôle of Italy was for the time being ended; though
it did not end in the seventeenth century with Campanella and Galileo
(as foreign historians and the Italians who copy them believe). It
ended magnificently in the first half of the eighteenth century with
Vico, the last representative of the Renaissance and the first of
Romanticism. The influence of German philosophy continued to manifest
itself in Italy in the nineteenth century, at first almost entirely
through French literature, then directly. It can be studied in the
three principal thinkers of the first half of the century, Galuppi,
Rosmini, and Gioberti. The first began from the Scottish school, and
while attacking Kant, he absorbed not a few of his principles. The
second, also in a polemical sense and in a Catholic wrapping, can be
called the Italian Kant. The third, who had always only the slightest
consciousness of history, assumed the same position as Schelling and
Hegel. To have attained (between 1850 and 1860) to such historical
consciousness is the merit of Bertrando Spaventa (see especially his
book, _La filosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni con la filosofia
europea,_ new edition, by G. Gentile, Bari, Laterza, 1908), who
represented Hegelianism in Italy in a very cautious and critical form.
But there was no true surpassing of Hegelianism either by his disciples
or by his adversaries, and some original thought is to be found only
among non-professional philosophers, particularly in Æsthetic, with
Francesco de Sanctis (cf. _Estetica,_ part ii. chap. 15).]

[Footnote 22: _Krit. d. rein. Vernunft, loc. cit._]

[Footnote 23: _Logik,_ p. 42 _sqq._]

[Footnote 24: See, among other books, _L'Analisi delle sensazioni,_
Italian translation Turin, Bocca; 1903.]

[Footnote 25: _Grenzen d. naturwissensch. Begriffsbildung,_ Freiburg i.
B, 1896-1902, chaps. 1-3.]

[Footnote 26: See above, p. 528.]

[Footnote 27: See his articles in the _Revue de métaphys. et de
morale,_ vols. vii. viii. xi.]

[Footnote 28: "Introduction à la Métaphysique," in the _Revue de
métaphys. et de mor._ xi. pp. 1-36.]

[Footnote 29: _La Valeur de la science,_ Paris, 1904.]



[Sidenote: _Secular neglect of the theory of history._]

The theory of the individual judgment and therefore of historical
thought, has been the least elaborated of all logical theories in
the course of philosophic history. It is a very true and profound
remark that the historical sense is a modern thing, and that the
nineteenth century is the first great century of historical thinking.
Of course, since history has always been made and individual judgments
pronounced, theoretic observations upon historical judgments have not
been altogether wanting in the past. The spirit is, as we know, the
whole spirit at every instant, and in this respect nothing is ever
new under the sun, indeed, nothing is new, either before or after the
sun.[1] But history, and in particular, the theory of history, did not
formerly arouse interest nor attract attention, nor was its importance
felt, nor was it the object of anxious and wide investigations to the
degree witnessed in the nineteenth century and in our times, when the
consciousness of immanence triumphs more and more--and immanence means

[Sidenote: _Græco-Roman world's ideas of history._]

Transcendence, then, which has for centuries been more or less
dominant, supplies the reason why the study of the individual and the
theory of history were neglected. In Greek philosophy, individual
judgments were either despised, as in Platonism, or superseded by and
confused with logical judgments of the universal, as in Aristotle. In
the _Poetics_[2] the character of history did not escape him. Differing
from science (which was directed to the universal) and from poetry
(which was directed to the possible), it expresses things that have
happened in their individuality, _ta genomena_ (what Alcibiades did and
experienced). But in the _Organon,_ although he distinguished between
the universal (ta katholou) and the individual (ta kath' ekastou),
between man and Callias,[3] he made no use of the distinction, and
divided judgments into universal, particular and indefinite. The
theory of history was not raised to the rank of philosophic treatment
in antiquity, like the other forms of knowledge, and especially
philosophy, mathematics and poetry. What mark the ancients have
left upon the argument is limited to incidental observations, and
some altogether empirical remarks here and there upon the method of
writing history. They were wont to assign extrinsic ends to it, such
as utility and advice upon the conduct of life. Such utterances of
good common sense as that of Quintilian, to the effect that history
is written _ad narrandum, non ad demonstrandum,_ do not possess great
philosophic weight. Nor had the rules of the rhetoricians philosophic
value, such as that of Dionysus of Halicarnassus, that historical
narrative, without becoming quite poetical, should be somewhat more
elevated in tone than ordinary discourse; or that of Cicero, who
demanded for historical style _verba ferme poëtarum,_ "perhaps" (wrote
Vico, making the rhetorical rule profound) "in order that historians
might be maintained in their most ancient possession, since, as has
been demonstrated in the _Scienza nuova,_ the first historians of
the nations were the first poets."[4] More important, on the other
hand, are the demands (as expressed especially by Polybius) of what
is indispensable to history. Besides the element of fact, there is
needful (Polybius observed) knowledge of the nature of the things
of which the happenings are portrayed, of military art for military
things, of politics for things political. History is written, not
from books, as is the way with compilers and men of letters, but from
original documents, by visiting the places where it has occurred and by
penetrating it with experience and with thought.[5]

[Sidenote: _The theory of history in mediæval and modern philosophy_]

The abstractionist and anti-historical character of the Aristotelian
Logic had an injurious effect in the schools, though, on the other
hand, it allied itself well with the persistent transcendentalism.
Certainly, just as in the Middle Ages appeared reflections upon
history, so there could be no avoiding the distinction between what
was known _logice_ and what was known _historice,_ or, as Leibnitz
afterwards formulated the distinction, between _propositions de raison_
and _propositions de fait._ But these latter were always regarded
with a compassionate eye, as a sort of uncertain and inferior truth.
The ideal of exact science would have been to absorb truths of fact
in truths of reason, and to resolve them all into a philosophy, or
rather into a universal mathematics. Nor did the empiricists succeed
in increasing their credit. These certainly paid particular attention
to facts (hence the polemic of the Anti-Aristotelians and the origin
of the new instrument of observation and induction). But by weakening
the consciousness of the concrete universal they also weakened that
of the concrete individual, and therefore presented the latter in the
mutilated form of species and genera, of types and classes. Bacon, had
he done nothing else, at any rate assigned a place to history in his
classification of knowledge, which was divided, as we know, according
to the three faculties (memory, imagination and reason), into History,
Poetry and Philosophy. He passed in review the two great classes of
history, natural and civil (the first of which was either narrative
or inductive, the second more variously subdivided); thus he even
pointed out the kinds of history that were desirable, but of which no
conspicuous examples were yet extant, such as literary history.[6]
Hobbes, on the other hand, having distinguished the two species of
cognition, one of reason and the other of fact, "altera facti, et est
cognitio propria testium, cujus conscriptio est historia," and having
subdivided this into natural and civil, "_neutra_" (he added, that is
to say neither the natural nor the civil) "_pertinet ad institutum
nostrum_" which was concerned only with the _cognitio consequentiarum,_
that is to say, science and philosophy.[7] Locke is not less
anti-historical than Descartes and Spinoza, and even Leibnitz, who was
very learned, did not recognize the autonomy of historical work, and
continued to consider it as directed towards utilitarian and moral ends.

[Sidenote: _Treatises on historical art in the Renaissance._]

Reflections upon history, suggested rather by the professional needs
of historians than by a need for systematization and a profound
philosophy, continued on their way, almost apart from the philosophy
of the time. From the Renaissance onwards, treatises on historical
art were multiplied at the hands of Robortelli, Atanagi, Riccoboni,
Foglietta, Beni, Mascardi, and of many others, even of non-Italians;
but their discussions usually centred upon elocution, upon the use of
ornament and of digressions, upon arguments worthy of history, and
the like. Among these writers of treatises we must note (here as well
as in the history of Poetics and of Rhetoric) Francesco Patrizio or
Patrizzi (1560), for his ideas, sometimes acute, sometimes incoherent
and extravagant. Overcoming one of the prejudices of empiricism, he
justly wished that the concept of history should not be limited to
military enterprises and political negotiations alone, and that it
should be extended to all the doings of men. With a like superiority
to empirical views, he found historical representation not only in
words, but also in painting and sculpture--(our times, so fruitful
of histories graphically illustrated, should admit that he was to
some extent right), and he did not accept chronological limits. He
also insisted upon the mode of testing historical truth and upon the
degree of credibility of witnesses. But he became extravagant, when he
admitted a history of the future, calling the prophets as witnesses,
and incoherent, when he both denied and affirmed the moral end of

[Sidenote: _Treatises upon method._]

Another form of empiricism, certainly more important, the
methodological, which dealt with the canons and criteria to be borne in
mind in making historical researches, accompanied the often rhetorical
empiricism of writers of treatises. The reference to the duties of
the historian in one place in Cicero was repeated and commented upon
by all. But this treatment became gradually more wide, as we see
especially in the work of Vossius, _Ars historica sive de historia
et historiae natura, historiaeque scribendae praeceptis commentatio_
(1623). The term "Historic" dates from this book and is formed on the
analogy of Logic, Poetic, Rhetoric, etc., and applied to the theory or
Logic of history. Gervinus (1837) and Droysen (1858) tried to bring
this term again into vogue. The methodological treatment of historical
research was more widely developed in the scholastic manuals of Logic
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, such as the _Logica seu ars
ratiocinandi_ of Leclerc (1692).[9] With these canons arising in the
field of research and historical criticism, we may opportunely compare
those concerning the mode of valuing and weighing evidence, which were
gradually unified in juridical literature. Methodological treatment
has also progressed in our times, in manuals such as those of Droysen,
of Bernheim, of Langlois-Seignobos; but the general tendency of these
works (as is also evident from their apparatus in heuristic, in
criticism, in comprehension and in exposition) remains and must remain
altogether empirical.

[Sidenote: _The theory of history and G. B. Vico._]

The first philosopher who gave to History an importance equal to
Philosophy was Vico, with his already-mentioned union of philosophy
and philology, of _truth_ and _certainty,_ and with the example that
he offered of a philosophic _system,_ which is also a _history_ of the
human race: an "_eternal ideal_ history, upon which the histories of
nations run in _time._" For this reason (not less than from his strong
consciousness of the difference in character between the metaphysical
concept and mathematical abstraction) Vico was an Anti-Cartesian. He
stands between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as the opposer
of the past and of the future, or of the nearest past and the nearest
future. Indeed, there is even in Vico a trace of that vice which
arises from a too indiscriminate identification of philosophy and
history, which certainly constitute an identity, but an identity which
is a synthesis and therefore a distinction. Hence, when no account
is taken of this, the substantial truth affirmed loses its balance
in philosophism and mythologism. The real epochs of Vico are too
philosophic and have in them something forced; the ideal epochs are too
historical and have in them something of exuberance and of contingency.
The real epochs are not exempt from philosophistic caprices; the ideal
sometimes become converted into a mythology (though full of profound
meanings). For this reason, it has been possible now to praise, now to
blame him for having invented the _Philosophy of history._ There is
indeed in him, here and there, some hint of a philosophy of history
_sensu deteriori,_ but above all he is the great philosopher and the
great historian.

[Sidenote: _The anti-historicism of the eighteenth century and Kant._]

As the eighteenth century did not really know the concept of
philosophy, so was it ignorant of that of history: its anti-historicism
has become proverbial. There appeared at this time some celebrated
theoretic manifestations of historical scepticism, of the negation
of history, which seemed, as before to Sextus Empiricus, a thing
without art and without method (ἅτεχνον ... καὶ ἐκ τἥς ἀμεθόδον ὕλης
τυγχράνουσαν). The book of Melchior Delfico, _Pensieri sull' Istoria
e sull' incertezza ed inutilità della medesima_ (1808), is one of
the last manifestations of this sort. But all the thinkers of that
time were of this opinion; even Kant, in whose wide culture were
certainly two lacunæ--artistic and historical. And if in the course
of elaborating his system he was led by logical necessity to meditate
upon art, or rather upon beauty, he never paid serious attention to the
problem of history.

[Sidenote: _Concealed historical value of the a priori synthesis._]

Yet Kant is the true, though unconscious creator of the new Logic
of history. To him belongs the merit, not only of having shown the
importance of the historical judgment, but also of having given the
formula of the identity of philosophy and history in the _a priori_
synthesis. The logical revolution effected by Kant consists in this:
that he perceives and proclaims that to know is not to think the
concept abstractly, but to think the concept in the intuition, and
that consequently to think is to _judge._ The theory of the judgment
takes the place of that of the concept and is truly the theory of
the concept, in so far as it becomes concrete. What does it matter
that he is not aware of all this and that instead of referring
the logical _a priori_ synthesis to history, he refers it to the
sciences, constituting it an instrument not of history, but of the
sciences; and that instead of exhausting knowledge in the _a priori_
synthesis, he leaves outside of it true knowledge as an unattainable,
or theoretically unattainable ideal? What does it matter that when
confronted with the problem of the judgment of existence, he solves it
like Gaunilo and withdraws existence from thought, removing from it
the character of predicate and of concept and making of it a position
or an imposition _ab extra?_ What does it matter that his history is
without historical developments and wanting even in knowledge of the
history of philosophy, and that in the parts of the so-called system
that he has developed (for example, in the doctrine of virtue and of
rights) there reigns the most squalid crowd of abstractions and of
anti-historical determinations? What does it matter that we find the
man of the eighteenth century on every page of his book, and that he
was absolutely without sympathy for the tendencies of thought of the
Hamanns and of they Herders? There always remains the fact that the
_a priori_ synthesis carried in itself even that which its discoverer
ignored or denied.

[Sidenote: _The theory of history in Hegel._]

It would be preferable to say that all Kant's failures in recognition
and all his lacunæ are certainly of importance, just because they
provided his followers with a new problem, and generated by way of
contrariety the philosophy of Schelling and the historical philosophy
of Hegel. Not even in Hegel is there to be found the elaboration of
the doctrine of the individual judgment, nor is its identity with that
of the concept explicitly recognized. But in Hegel not only do we find
ourselves in the full historical atmosphere (suffice it to recall
his histories of art, of religion, of philosophy and of the general
development of the human race, which are still the most profound and
the most stimulating writings upon history that exist); but these
historical elucidations are all connected with the fundamental thought
of his Logic: the concept is immanent and is divided in itself in the
judgment, of which the general formula is that the individual _is_ the
universal, the subject _is_ the predicate, every judgment is a judgment
of the universal, and the universal is the dialectic of opposites. For
this reason also, we find in the works of Hegel a historical method
far in advance of all his predecessors and also (save in a few points)
of his successors. He maintained, with much vigour, the necessity of
the interpretative and rational element in history; and to those who
demanded that a historian should be disinterested, in the same way as
a magistrate who judges a case, he replied that since the magistrate
has nevertheless his interest, that for the right, so has the historian
also his interest, namely that for truth.[10]

[Sidenote: _W. von Humboldt._]

Hegel's defect in relation to history (as was Vico's before him but on
a larger scale) was the philosophist error, which led him to the design
of a philosophy of history, rising above history properly so-called.
The psychological explanations of this strange duplication, together
with its philosophic motives, have already been adduced.[11] Wilhelm
von Humboldt certainly alluded to Hegel and intended to oppose him in
this respect in his discourse concerning the office of the historian
(1820). Here the method of the writer of history was likened to that
of the artist. Fancy is as necessary to the historian as to the poet,
Humboldt said, not in the sense of free fancy, but as the gift of
reconstruction and of association. History, like art, seeks the true
form of events, the pure and concrete form of real facts. But whereas
art hardly touches the fugitive manifestations of the real, in order to
rise above all reality, history attaches itself to those manifestations
and becomes totally immersed in them. The ideas which the historian
elaborates are not introduced by him into history, but discovered in
reality itself, of which they constitute the essence. They are the
outcome of the fulness of events, not of an extrinsic addition, as
in what is called philosophic or theological history (Philosophy of
history). Certainly, universal history is not intelligible without
a world-order (eine Weltregierung). But the historian possesses no
instrument which enables him directly to examine this design, and every
effort in which he attempts to reach it, makes him fall into empty and
arbitrary teleologism. He must, on the contrary, proceed by deducing
it from facts examined in their individuality; for the end of history
can only be the realization of the idea, which humanity must represent
from all sides and in all the different modes in which finite form
can ever be united with the idea. The course of events can only be
interrupted when idea and form are no longer able to interpenetrate
one another.[12] The protest was justified, not indeed against the
fundamental doctrine of Hegel, but rather against one of its particular
aberrations. But the protest was inferior in the determinateness of
its concepts to the philosophy which it opposed. Even in the healthy
tendency of the Hegelian doctrine, ideas should not be introduced but
discovered in history. And if it sometimes seemed that the Philosophy
of history introduced them from without, this happened because in that
case true ideas were not employed and the concreteness of the fact was
not respected.

[Sidenote: _F. Brentano._]

The theory of the individual judgment has made no progress in the
Logics of the nineteenth century, save for certain timely explanations
concerning the existential character of the judgment given by Brentano
and his school. Brentano, who is an Anti-Kantian, considers the period
inaugurated by Kant to be that of a new philosophical decadence. Yet
notwithstanding his sympathy for mediæval scholasticism and for modern
psychologism, he has too much philosophic acumen to remain fixed in the
one or to lose himself in the other. Thus the tripartition of the forms
of the spirit, maintained by him,[13] beneath the external appearance
of a renovated Cartesianism, bears traces of the abhorred criticism,
romanticism and idealism. The first form, the pure representation,
answers to the æsthetic moment; the second, the judgment, is the
primitive logical form answering to the Kantian _a priori_ synthesis;
and love and hatred, the third form, which contains will and feeling,
is not without precedent among the Post-Kantians themselves. He
reasonably criticizes the various more or less mechanical theories,
which treat the judgment as a connection of representations or a
subsumption of concepts, and defends the _idiogenetic_ against
allogenetic theories. But when he tries to prove that the judgment
"A is" cannot be resolved into "A" and "is" (that is, into A and
existence), because the concept of existence is found in the judgment
and does not precede it, he goes beyond the mark. For the concept of
existence certainly does not precede, but neither does it _follow_
the judgment: it is contemporaneous; that is to say, it exists only
in the judgment, like the category in the _a priori_ synthesis.
And he goes beyond the mark again, when he makes existentiality
the character of the judgment, whereas existentiality is only one
of the categories and consequently, if it be indispensable for the
constitution of the judgment, it is not sufficient for any judgment,
since for every judgment there is necessary the inner determination
of the judgment as essence and as existence. For the rest, this is
easily seen in the theories of his school, which end by establishing
a double degree or form of judgment, thus creating a duality that
cannot be maintained.[14] In any case, in the researches of Brentano
and his followers, there is affirmed the need for a complete doctrine
of the judgment and of its relation (which in our opinion is one of
identity) with the doctrine of the concept. The theories of values and
of judgments of values already mentioned, in their investigation of
the universal or valuative element, express the same need from another
point of view; although none of them discovers, by recalling the
Kantian-Hegelian tradition, that values are immanent in single facts,
and that consequently judgments of value, as judgments, are the same as
individual judgments.

[Sidenote: _Controversies concerning the nature of history._]

Enquiries concerning the character of history may assist the
constitution of a theory of individual judgments. These enquiries have
never enjoyed so much favour as in the last decade of the nineteenth
century. Naturalism or positivism has provided the incentive to such
enquiries, for it brought into being the problem: "whether history is
or is not a (natural) science," by its attempt to violate and pervert
history by raising it (as they said, and it must have sounded ironical)
to the rank of a science, that is to say, of a naturalistic science.
There were two answers to the problem: (1) that history is a science
_sui generis_ (not natural); (2) that it is, not a science, but an art,
a particular form of art, the representation of the real.

[Sidenote: _Rickert; Xénopol. History as science of the individual._]

The first of these answers is to be found in the work of Rickert
(1896-1902), cited above, and in the almost contemporary work
of Xénopol (1899).[15] Rickert's work is that of a professional
philosopher, and a follower of Windelband; the other, of an
intelligent historian, who is somewhat lacking in equipment as a
philosopher. Rickert, after having examined the naturalistic process
and demonstrated how it finds a limit in individuality, next examines
historical process, which takes possession of the field that naturalism
is obliged to relinquish. Xénopol upholds the same distinction, of a
double series of sciences, historical and theoretical, of _phénomènes
successifs_ and of _phénomènes de répétition._ To both these writers
(besides the merit of having revived, in opposition to naturalism, the
consciousness of individuality) belongs that of having understood that
the field of history extends far beyond that ordinarily assigned to it,
and embraces every manifestation of the real. But merely successive
phenomena or phenomena of mere repetition do not exist and are not
conceivable; nor is it true that the sciences dealing with the former
stop at differences of fact and neglect identities. For how could a
history of political facts be written, if no attention were paid to
the constant political nature of those facts? or of poetry, without
paying attention to the constant poetical nature of all its historical
manifestations? or of zoological species, without paying attention
to the constant nature of the organism and of life? The distinction,
therefore, as formulated by Xénopol, is little enough elaborated, not
to say crude. Rickert, for his part, falls into a like error, owing
to his failure to respect that intuitive and individual element,
which he had previously admitted. Hence the serious contradictions,
in which he becomes involved in the second part of his book. After
having defined the concept as peculiar to the naturalistic method, he
eventually claims to find also a species of concept in the procedure
of history, which he had distinguished from and opposed to the former:
a _historical_ concept, which is obtained by cutting out, in the
extensive and intensive infinity of facts, certain groups, which are
placed in relation by means of practical criteria of importance and
of value. It is true (he writes) that the concept has been defined by
us as something of universal content; but now we _wish_ precisely to
surpass this one-sidedness, and therefore in the interest of logic it
is justifiable to give the name concepts also to the thoughts which
express the _historical essence_ of reality.[16] It is worse still
when he attempts to explain the ineradicable intuitive and æsthetic
element of historical narration; for holding art to be without truth
and of use only in producing some sort of artistic (hedonistic?)
effect, he recognizes that element as a means of endowing narration
with liveliness and of exciting the fancy.[17] A consequence of this
lack of understanding of the æsthetic function has been the laborious
and vain attempt which Rickert is obliged to make, to determine to what
personages and facts we are to attribute objective historical value.

[Sidenote: _History as art._]

The second answer, that history is an art (that is to say, a special
form of art, which is distinguished from the rest, in that it
represents, not the possible but the real), avoids the above-mentioned
difficulties. It distinguishes clearly between the natural sciences
and history; it explains the ineliminability and the function of
the intuitive element in history, and does not lose itself in the
vain search for the distinctive criterion between historical facts
and non-historical facts, because it declares that all facts are
historical.[18] But it must in any case be corrected and completed with
the conclusion that the representation of the real is no longer simple
representation or simple art, but the interpenetration of thought and
representation, that is to say, philosophy-history.[19]

[Sidenote: _Other controversies concerning history._]

All the other controversies recently engaged upon, relate to the
criteria of interpretation, or the system of ideas, which serves as
the basis of any sort of historical narration. Thus there have been
disputes as to the precise meaning and the greater or less importance
in history of climate, of race, of economic factors, of individuality,
of collectivity, of culture, of morality, and of intelligence; and
also as to how teleology, immanence, providence, and so on, are to be
understood in history. In these disputes there recur constantly the
names of Buckle, of Taine, of Spencer, of Ranke, of Marx, of Lamprecht
and of others. It is evident that those controversies concern, not
only the gnoseological nature of historical writing, but the system of
the spirit and of the real, the conception of the world itself. The
materialist and the spiritualist, the theist and the pantheist, will
solve them differently. To write their history here would be to go
beyond the boundaries of Logic and of the particular history of Logic,
that we have set ourselves.

[Footnote 1: See my observations concerning the perpetuity of
historical criticism in _Critica,_ vi. pp. 383-84.]

[Footnote 2: _Poetics,_ chap. 8.]

[Footnote 3: _Anal. pr._ i. chap. 27.]

[Footnote 5: See (in particular for Polybius) E. Pais, _Della
storiografia della filosofia della storia presso i Greci,_ Livorno,

[Footnote 6: _De dign. et augm._ i. ii. chaps. 1-2.]

[Footnote 7: _De homine,_ chap. 9.]

[Footnote 8: E. Maffei, _I trattati dell' arte storica del Rinascimento
fino al secolo XVII,_ Napoli, 1897.]

[Footnote 9: G. Gentile, "Contribution à l'histoire de la méthode
historique," in the _Revue de synthèse historique,_ v. pp. 129-152.]

[Footnote 10: _Encycl._ § 549; and all the introduction to the _Phil.
d. Gesch._]

[Footnote 11: See above, Part III. Chap. III.]

[Footnote 12: "Ueber die Aufgabe des Geschichtsschreibers," in the
_Transactions_ of the Academy of Berlin, 1882, and reprinted in _W. W._]

[Footnote 13: F. Brentano, _Psychologie,_ Leipzig, 1874.]

[Footnote 14: F. Hildebrand, _Die neuen Theorien der kategorischer.
Schlussen,_ Vienna, 1891.]

[Footnote 15: _Les Principes fondamentaux de l'histoire,_ Paris, 1899;
2nd ed., entitled _La Théorie de l'histoire,_ Paris, 1908.]

[Footnote 16: _Grenzen d. naturwiss. Begriffsbildung,_ pp. 328-29.]

[Footnote 17: _Op. cit._ pp. 382-89.]

[Footnote 18: This is the thesis maintained in 1893 by the author of
this book, cf. also B. Croce, "Les Études relatives à la théorie de
l'histoire en Italie," in the _Revue de synthèse historique,_ v. pp.

[Footnote 19: See above, Part II. Chap. IV., and the note concerning



[Sidenote: _Relation between the history of Logic and that of the
Philosophy of language._]

The history of Logic depends very closely upon the history of the
Philosophy of language, or of Æsthetic, understood as the philosophy
of language and of expression in general. Every discovery concerning
language throws new light upon the function of thought, which,
surpassing language, employs it as an instrument, and therefore unites
itself with language both negatively and positively. It belongs to the
progress of the Philosophy of language, not less than to that of Logic,
to have determined in a more exact manner the relations between thought
and expression, as also to have dissipated or begun the dissipation of
empirical and formalist Logic. This Logic, deluding itself with the
belief that it was analysing thought, presents a series of mutilated
and empty linguistic forms.

[Sidenote: _Logical formalism. Indian Logic free of it._]

This error, which appeared very early in our western world, has spread
during the centuries and yet dominates many minds; so true is this that
"Logic" is usually understood to mean just illogic or formalist Logic.
We say our western world, because if Greece created and passed on the
doctrine of logical forms, which was a mixture of thoughts materialized
in words and of words become rigid in thoughts, another Logic is known,
which, as it seems, developed outside the influence of Greek thought,
and remained immune from the formalist error. This is Indian Logic,
which is notably antiverbalist, though very inferior to that of Greece
and of Europe in wealth and depth of concepts, and limited almost
exclusively to the examination of the empirical concept or reasoning,
of naturalistic induction or _expectatio casuum similium._ Indian
Logic studies the naturalistic syllogism in _itself,_ as internal
thought, distinguishing it from the syllogism _for others,_ that is to
say, from the more or less usual, but always extrinsic and accidental
forms of communication and dispute. It has not even a suspicion of the
extravagant idea (which still vitiates our treatises) of a truth which
is merely syllogistic and formalist, and which may be false in fact. It
takes no account of the judgment, or rather it considers what is called
judgment, and what is really the proposition, as a verbal clothing
of knowledge; it does not make the verbal distinctions of subject,
copula and predicate; it does not admit classes of categorical and
hypothetical, of affirmative and of negative judgments. All these are
extraneous to Logic, whose object is the constant: knowledge considered
in itself.[1]

[Sidenote: _Aristotelian Logic and formalism._]

It was a subject of enquiry and of disagreement, especially during
the second half of last century, whether formalist Logic, the Logic
of the schools, could legitimately be called _Aristotelian._ Some,
among whom were Trendelenburg and Prantl, absolutely denied this,
and wished to restore the genuine thought of Aristotle, opposing it
to post-Aristotelian and mediæval Logic. But they themselves were
so enmeshed in logical formalism, that they were not capable of
determining its peculiar character. The contrast between those two
Logics, so far as it struck them, concerned secondary points. If
the proper character of formalism consists in the confusion between
thought and word, how are we to deny that Aristotle fell into this
error, or that at any rate he set his foot upon the perilous way?
Certainly he did not proceed to the exaggerations and ineptitudes
of later logicians. He was ingenuous, not pedantic. And his books
(and in particular the _Analytics)_ are rich in acute and original
observations. He was a philosopher, and his successors were very
often manual labourers. But Aristotle (probably influenced by
the mathematical disciplines) conceived the idea of a theory of
_apodeictic,_ which, from simple judgments, through syllogisms and
demonstrations, reached completeness in the definition as its last
term. The concept was the first term, as the loose concept or name,
the last term was the concept defined. He was not ignorant that not
everything can thus be demonstrated, that in the case of the supreme
principles such a demonstration cannot be given, and it is vain to
look for it, and that there is alongside the apodeictic a science of
_anapodeictic._ But that did not induce him to abandon the study of
verbal forms for a close study of the concepts or of the category,
which is the demonstration of itself. In his divisions of judgments
he was very discreet; but yet he distinguished them verbally, as
universal, particular and indefinite, negative and affirmative. In the
syllogism he distinguished only three figures, and affirmed that of
those the first is the truly scientific (ἐπιστημὀνικον), because it
determines _what is,_ whereas the second does not give a categorical
judgment and affirmative knowledge, and the third does not give
universal knowledge; but these restrictions did not suffice to correct
the false step made in positing the idea of _figures_ and _moods_ of
the syllogism. When we examine the various doctrines of Aristotle
and compare them with the forms and developments which they assumed
later, it can be maintained that no logician was less Aristotelian than
Aristotle. But even he was Aristotelian, and the impulse to seek logic
in words had been begun in so masterly a manner that for centuries it
weighed upon the mind like a fate.

[Sidenote: _Later formalism._]

Why, then, should we rage, like many modern critics, against the later
manipulations and amplifications to which Aristotelian Logic was
submitted by Peripatetics and Stoics, by commentators and rhetoricians,
by doctors of the Church and masters of the University, by Neolatins
and Byzantines, by Arabs and Germans? We certainly harbour no
tenderness for the _hypothetical_ and _disjunctive_ syllogism, or for
the _fourth figure_ of the syllogism, as elaborated from Theophrastus
to Galen, or for the _five predicables_ of Porphyry, or for subtleties
upon the _conversions_ of judgments, or for the _mnemonic verses_ of
Michael Psellus and of Peter Hispanus, or for the geometric symbols
of the concepts and syllogisms invented by Christian Weiss in the
seventeenth century ("to direct blockheads aright,"[2] as Prantl
permits himself to say), or for the calculations upon the moods of the
syllogism made by John Hispanianus, which he found to be no less than
five hundred and sixty in number, thirty-six of which are conclusive.
We also willingly admit that errors have been made in the traditional
interpretation of certain doctrines of Aristotle (for example, in the
doctrine of the enthymeme).[3] But setting aside these errors, we can
say that for those excogitations and distinctions support was already
found in the Organon of Aristotle, and that they were derived from
principles there laid down. Certainly, with their crude roughness and
their evident absurdity, they shock good sense in a way in which the
distinctions of Aristotle did not, for these were in some sort of
relation with the empirical description of the usual mode of scientific
discussions. But the error nestled in themselves; and it was well that
it should be intensified, so that it might leap to the eyes of all,
just as it is sometimes well that there should be scandals in practical

[Sidenote: _Rebellions against Aristotelian Logic. The opposition of
the humanists and their motives._]

The rebellions which the school (in the wide sense of the word,
from the Peripatetic to the modern) continued to arouse in regard
to these doctrines might seem to be of greater interest than this
labour of embroidering and carving. But since there has been a time
during which every protest, and indeed, every insult levelled against
the philosopher of Stagira seemed a sign of original thought, of
spiritual freedom and of secure progress, it is well to repeat that an
indispensable condition for surpassing the Aristotelian Logic was a new
Philosophy of language. Such a condition was altogether wanting in the
past and is partly wanting now. It is therefore not surprising that
when those rebellions are closely examined, we discover in the midst
of secondary and superficial disagreement something quite different
from what was expected; not the radical negation, but the substantial
acceptance, explicit or understood, of the principles of formalist

Such is the case with the rebellions of the humanists, Ciceronians
and rhetoricians, which took place in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, of Lorenzo Valla, of Rudolph Agricola, of Luigi Vives,
of Mario Nizolio, of Peter Ramus. The motive power with all of them
was abhorrence for the heavy scholastic armour. Culture, leaving
the cloisters, spread itself abroad in life; philosophy began to be
written in the common tongue, and for this reason men sought forms of
exposition that were rapid, easy and clear or eloquent and oratorical.
But under these new forms the direction of logical thought remained
unchanged. Ramus, for example, who applied to Aristotle the elegant
terms of _fatuus impostor, chamæleon somnians et stertens,_ and so
forth, ended by claiming that he alone had understood his true thought,
and showed by the reforms of it that he proposed (among which was the
suggestion that the third figure of the syllogism should pass to the
first place) that he, too, was still revolving in the narrow circle of

[Sidenote: _The opposition of naturalism._]

Even the opposition of naturalism to the Aristotelian Logic did
not strike it to the heart, but wished to replace and more often
to accompany one form of empiricism with another: the rules of the
syllogism with the precepts of induction, the sophistical refutations
with the determination of the four idols that preoccupy men's minds.
Bacon never dreamed of denying to syllogistic the value of true
doctrine. He believed, however, that it had already been sufficiently
studied and developed, that it lacked nothing, and even possessed
something superfluous, whereas there was still wanting a criterion of
invention and of induction, which was of fundamental importance for
syllogistic itself. In making the inventory of knowledge (he writes) it
is to be observed that we find ourselves almost in the conditions of a
man who inherits an estate, in the inventory of which there is noted:
"ready money, none" ("numeratae pecuniae, nihil").[5] Hence he raised
his voice against the abuse of disputations and of reasoning as to
matters of fact; the subtlety of the syllogism is always conquered by
that of nature.[6] The syllogism consists of propositions, propositions
of words, and words are the counters of concepts; but if the concepts
are confused or wrongly abstracted, the syllogistic consequences
deduced from them are without any sort of security. Hence the necessity
of beginning with induction: "_spes est una in inciuctione vera._"[7]
Bacon's position (which was therefore not anti-formalist, but only
an addition or complement to formalism) has been renewed, word for
word, in all inductive Logics, up to that of the English school of the
nineteenth century, and to ours of to-day. Stuart Mill's book expresses
the combination of the two empiricisms, syllogistic and inductive, in
its very title: "A system of Logic, _ratiocinative_ and _inductive,_
being a connected view of the principles of evidence and the methods of
Scientific _investigation._"

[Sidenote: _Labour of simplification in the eighteenth century. Kant._]

In the eighteenth century, while Leibnitz sought an amplification
and perfecting of syllogistic in the logical calculus, and some
followed him who did not, however, attain to true effectiveness in the
history of culture,[8] formalist Logic fell always more and more into
discredit, not only as Logica _utens,_ but also as _docens,_ that is to
say, as theory.

Hence the moderate tendency, to which Kant adhered, which consists of
preserving that Logic, while seeking to correct, and, in particular,
to simplify it. For example, Kant undertook to demonstrate the "false
subtlety of the four figures of the syllogism," and at the same time
rendered traditional Logic yet more formalist by withdrawing from it
all examination of the synthesis and the categories, which he referred
to his new transcendental Logic. Traditional Logic, which he respected
and held to be substantially perfect, constituted (he said) a canon
of the intellect and of reason, but only in the _formal_ aspect of
their employment, whatever be the content to which it is applied. Its
only criterion is the agreement or non-agreement of any knowledge
with the general and formal laws of the intellect and of reason; a
_conditio sine qua non_ of every truth, but a _conditio_ which is only

[Sidenote: _Refutation of formalist Logic. Hegel; Schleiermacher._]

Hegel, on the contrary, opposed tradition. He understood the
character of formalist Logic marvellously well: this "_empirical_
Logic, a bizarre science, which is an _irrational_ knowledge of
the _rational,_ and sets the bad example of not following its own
doctrines. Indeed it assumes the licence of doing the opposite of
what its rules prescribe, when it neglects to deduce the concepts and
to demonstrate its affirmations."[10] In so far as it was empirical
it was intellectualist, and presented the determinations of reason
in an abstract and atomic manner in combining them mechanically. The
new concept of the concept, originated by Hegel, creates from itself
its own theories and allows the old formalist theories to disappear
as dead and dry remains. The forms of thought are henceforth the very
forms of the real; the Idea is the unity of concept and representation,
because it is the universal itself, big with the individual. Things
are realized judgments, and the syllogism is the Idea which identifies
itself with its own reality. This at bottom amounts to saying that
thought fully dominates reality, because it is not an extrinsic
addition or an interposed means, but Reality itself, which makes itself
thought, because it is thought. Other philosophers, too, contemporaries
and adversaries of Hegel, rejected formalist Logic, and among these
was Schleiermacher.[11] He made the logical forms of the _concept_ and
of the _judgment_ correspond to the two forms of reality, _being_ and
_doing,_ finding corresponding analogies in _space,_ a dividing of
being, and in _time,_ a dividing of doing. The concept and the judgment
mutually presuppose one another, and give rise to a circle, which is so
only when considered temporally; since at the point of indifference, of
fusion, of indistinction the two make one.[12] Schleiermacher differed
from Hegel (who attains in thought the unity of the real) in being
obliged to withdraw the syllogism from the number of the essential
forms of thought, because (he says), "if the syllogism were a true
form, a being of its own should correspond to it, and this is not found
to be the case."[13]

[Sidenote: _Its partial persistence owing to insufficient ideas as to

But if with the Hegelian criticism formalist Logic was surpassed by a
truly philosophical Logic, and thereupon lost all its importance, it
cannot be said that it was definitely dissolved. In Hegel himself there
remain traces of it in certain divisions of the forms of judgment and
of syllogism, which he either accepts and corrects or creates anew.
Definitive criticism demanded that in any case the error peculiar to
this empiricism should be recognized. This error consists in confusing
language and thought, taking thought as language, and therefore also
language as thought. Hegel could not effect this criticism, for he
was logistic as regards the theory of language, conceiving it to be a
complex of logical and universal elements.[14] Hence the coincidence
between the forms of language and those of thought did not seem to him
irrational, provided that both were taken in their true connection. The
revival of the Philosophy of language, begun by Vico and carried on
by Hamann and by Herder, and then again by Humboldt, remained unknown
to him or had no influence upon him. Nor, to tell the truth, has it
influenced even later Logic, for had it acquired this knowledge, it
would have been freed for ever from formalism or verbalism and have
possessed a method and a power of application to the nature of the
problems that belong to it. Just a trace of serious discussion (but
made rather in the interest of the Philosophy of language than in
that of Logic) appears in the polemic between Steinthal and Becker
concerning the relations between Logic and Grammar.[15]

[Sidenote: _Formalist Logic in Herbart, in Schopenhauer, in Hamilton._]

For this reason, formalist Logic has continued to exist (with
difficulty if you will, but yet to exist) in the nineteenth century.
From Kant it had received with the name _formal_ a new baptism and
a new legitimization. Among post-Kantians Herbart clung closely
to it, though he somewhat simplified it, and hostile as he was to
all transcendental Logic, he continued to conceive it as the sole
instrument of thought. Schopenhauer held logical forms to be a good
parallel to rhetorical forms, and limited himself to proposing some
slight remodelling of the former: for example, to consider judgments
as always universal (both those called by that name and particular
and singular judgments as well), and to explain hypothetical and
disjunctive judgments as pronounced upon the comparison of two or
more categorical judgments. From the syllogism, which he defined as
"a judgment drawn from two other judgments, without the intervention
of new conditions," he dropped the fourth figure, but he proclaimed
the first three to be "ectypes" of three real and essentially
different operations of thought.[16] Kant's teaching was followed in
England by Hamilton. Hamilton insisted upon the purely hypothetical
character of logical reasonings; he excluded from Logic discussions
of possibility and impossibility and of the modalities, and declared
that the intrusion into that science of the concepts of perfect or
imperfect induction, which refer to material differences and are
therefore extralogical,[17] was a fundamental error. In this way he
reacted against inductive Logic, which, in his country especially, had
prevailed against formalist Logic or had strangely accompanied it. He
persuaded himself that he could perfect the latter, by simplifying
the doctrine of the judgment, by means of what is called the
_quantification of the predicate._[18]

[Sidenote: _More recent theories._]

Later logicians continued to employ these partial and superficial
modifications. Trendelenburg, as has been mentioned, believed that
he could make progress by referring the thing to its beginning,
that is, by turning from Aristotelianism to Aristotle, and owing to
the curious influence of a thought of Hegel, he assigned to logic
and reality a common foundation which, for him, was not the Idea,
but Movement. Lotze reduced the forms of judgments to three only,
according to the variations of the copula: categorical, hypothetical
and disjunctive judgments; and he made impersonal judgments precede
categorical. By this last class he vainly sought to satisfy the
desire for a theoretic form which is presupposed in properly
logical thought, and it is yet to seek. Lotze always had at bottom
an intellectualistic concept of language: poetry and art seemed to
him to be directed, not to contemplation and expression, but to
emotion and to feelings of pleasure and pain. He could not therefore
recognize the primitive theoretic form in art, in intuition, in pure
expressiveness. Drobisch, the Herbartian, revealed formalism in all
its crudity, beginning with the affirmation that "there are certainly
necessary judgments and syllogisms, but no necessary concepts."
Sigwart reformed the classification of judgments (of denomination, of
property and activity, impersonal, of relation, abstract, narrative and
explicative), and retouched that of syllogisms. Wundt, accepting the
old tripartition of logical forms, also attempts new sub-divisions,
distinguishing judgments for example, according to their subject, into
indeterminate, singular and plural; according to their predicate,
into narrative, descriptive and explicative; according to their
relation, into judgments of identity, superordination, subordination,
co-ordination and dependence; and into negative predications and
negative oppositions. Brentano's reform does not in general abandon the
formalist circle; hence, having assigned the quantity of judgments to
their matter, he limits himself to dividing them into affirmative and
negative; among immediate inferences he accepts only the inference _ad
contradictoriam_; among the laws of the syllogism he denies the law
_ex mere negativis,_ maintaining indeed that _ex mere affirmativis nil
sequitur;_ he defends, as the law of all syllogisms, that of _quaternio
terminorum,_ which used to pass for the sign of the sophism; and he
further abolishes the vain distinctions of figures and moods.

[Sidenote: _Mathematical Logic._]

Opposed as radical innovators to these logicians, who work more or less
with traditional formulas, are the mathematical logicians, who follow,
not philosophy, but certain fictions of the Leibnitzian philosophy.
George Bentham, De Morgan, Boole, Jevons, Grassman and now several in
England, in France, in Germany and in Italy (Peano), have been and are
representative of this tendency. They are innovators only in a manner
of speaking, for they are ultra-reactionaries, far more formalist than
the formalist Aristotle. They are dissatisfied with the divisions made
by him, not because they are toe numerous and arbitrary, but because
they are toe few and still bear some traces of rationality They strive
to the uttermost to provide a theory of thought, from which all thought
is absent This kind of Logic has been well defined by Windelband as
"Logic of the green cloth."[19]

[Sidenote: _Inexact idea of language among mathematical logicians and

These logicians have naturally inherited the other fiction of
Leibnitz, namely that of the possibility of a constant and universal
language,[20] thus revealing another reason for their aberration,
and the usual support of the whole formalist error--ignorance of the
alogical nature of language. The nature of language remains obscure
from another point of view, even to the modern intuitionists (Bergson).
They continue to regard as language, not language in its simplicity,
but the intellectualist procedure (classificatory and abstractive)
which falsifies the continuous in the discontinuous, breaks up
duration, and builds a fictitious world upon the real world. They are
therefore ultimately led to attribute the value of a pure expression
of reality to music, as though music were not language, and true
language (not the intellectualist discourse which they accept in place
of it) were not essentially music, that is to say, poetry. For the
intellectualists also, a Logic (were they to resolve upon constructing
one) would be nothing but formalist.

[Footnote 1: See the recent exposition of the secular Indian Logic, in
its most complete form, as found in a treatise of the twelfth century,
in II. Jacobi, "Die indische Logik," in the _Nachrichten v. d. Königl.
Gesellsch. d. Wissenschaft zu Göttingen,_ Philol.-hist. Klasse, 1901,
fasc. iv. pp. 460-484.]

[Footnote 2: _Gesch. d. Logik,_ i. p. 362.]

[Footnote 3: Hamilton, _Fragments philosophiques,_ French tr. pp.

[Footnote 4: Frantl, "Über Petrus Ramus," in the _Sitzungsberichte d.
k. bayer. Akad. d. Wissensch.,_ Philol.-hist. Klasse, 1878, ii. pp.

[Footnote 5: _De dign. et augm._ iv. ch. 2-5.]

[Footnote 6: _Ib._ ch. 2.]

[Footnote 7: _Nov. Org._ i., aphorism 14.]

[Footnote 8: It is pertinent to translate here a passage of Hegel, in
relation to this Leibnitzian tendency, which is now again becoming
fashionable. "The extreme form of this (syllogistic) disconceptualized
manner of dealing with the conceptual determinations of the syllogism,
is found in Leibnitz, who (_Opp._ t. ii. p. i) places the syllogism
under the calculus of combination. By this means he has calculated
how many positions of the syllogism are possible, and thus, by taking
count of the differences of positive and negative judgments, then of
universal, particular, indeterminate and singular judgments, he has
arrived at the result that the possible combinations are 2048, of
which, after excluding the invalid, there remain 24 valid. Leibnitz
boasts much of the utility possessed by the analysis of combination in
finding, not only the forms of the syllogism, but also the connections
of other concepts. This operation is the same as that of calculating
the number of possible combinations of letters that can be made from
an alphabet, or of moves in a game of draughts, or of different hands
in a game of _hombre,_ and so on. From which it is clear that the
determinations of a syllogism are placed on a level with moves in
draughts, or hands in _hombre._ The rational is taken as something
dead, altogether deprived of the concept, and the peculiar character
of the concept and its determinations is left out; that is to say,
the character that in so far as they are spiritual facts, they are
_relation,_ and that, in virtue of this relation, they suppress their
_immediate_ determination. This Leibnitzian application of the calculus
of combination to the syllogism and to the connection of other concepts
is not to be distinguished in any way from the discredited _art of
Lully,_ save for the greater methodicalness in calculation of which
it gives proof; it resembles that absurdity in every other respect.
Another thought, dear to Leibnitz, was included in the calculus
of combination. He had nourished this thought in his youth, and
notwithstanding its immaturity and superficiality, he never afterwards
abandoned it. This was the thought of a _universal characteristic_ of
concepts, of a writing, in which every concept should be represented as
proceeding from others or as referring to another; almost as though, in
a rational connection, which is essentially dialectic, a content should
preserve the same determinations that it has when standing alone.

"The calculus of Ploucquet is doubtless supported by the most cogent
mode of submitting the relation of the syllogism to calculation. He
abstracts in the judgment from the difference of relation; that is to
say, from its singularity, particularity and universality, and fixes
the _abstract identity_ of subject and predicate, placing them in a
_mathematical relation._ This relation reduces reason to an empty,
tautological formation of propositions. In the proposition, 'the rose
is red,' the predicate must signify, not red in general, but only the
determinate 'red of the rose.' In the proposition, 'all Christians are
men,' the predicate must signify only 'those men who are Christians.'
From this and from the other proposition, 'Hebrews are not Christians,'
follows the conclusion (which did not constitute a good recommendation
for this calculus with Mendelssohn): 'hence, Hebrews are not men' (that
is to say, they are not those men, who are Christians).

"Ploucquet gives as a consequence of his invention _posse etiant rudes
mechanice tot am logicam doceri, uti pueri arithmeticam docentur. ita
quidem, ut nulla formidine in ratiociniis suis errandi lorqueri, vel
fallaciis circumveniri possint, si in calculo non errant._ This eulogy
of the calculus, to the effect that by its means it is possible to
supply uneducated people with the whole of Logic, is certainly the
worst that can be said of an invention which concerns logical Science'"
(_Wiss. d. Logik,_ iii. pp. 142-43).]

[Footnote 9: _Kr. d. rein. Vern.,_ ed. quoted, pp. 101-2.]

[Footnote 10: _Wiss. d. Logik,_ iii. p. 51.]

[Footnote 11: _Dialektik,_ ed. quoted, pp. 74-5.]

[Footnote 12: Work cited, pp. 145, 147-9.]

[Footnote 13: Work cited, pp. 146, 291-2.]

[Footnote 14: _Wiss. d. Logik,_ i. pp. 10-11 and _passim; Encykl._ §
205 and elsewhere.]

[Footnote 15: _Estetica_², p. II, ch. xii.]

[Footnote 16: _Werke,_ ed. cited, ii. pp. 120-135.]

[Footnote 17: Work cited, pp. 159, 165.]

[Footnote 18: See above, pp. 297, dealing with Ploucquet.]

[Footnote 19: In his remarks upon the present state of Logic, contained
in his work _Die Philosophie im Beginn des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts_
(Heidelberg 1904), i. pp. 163-186.]

[Footnote 20: See my remarks in the _Critica,_ iii. pp. 428-433
(concerning the work of Messrs. Couturat and Léau); and cf. same, iv.
pp. 379-381.]



[Sidenote: _Traditional character of this Logic and its connection with
the Logic of the philosophic concept._]

The Logic which we have expounded in this treatise is also in a certain
sense traditional Logic. But it should be connected, not with the
tradition of formalism, but rather with that of the Hegelian Logic,
of Kantian transcendental Logic, and so of the loftiest Hellenic
speculative thought. In other words, its affinity should be sought in
the logical sections of the _Critique of Pure Reason_ of Kant, or in
the _Metaphysic_ of Aristotle, and not in the _Lessons in Logic_ or in
the _Analytics_ of the same authors. This traditional character endows
it with confidence, because man has always thought the true, and it
is to be doubted if he who fails to discover the truth in the past,
possesses the truth of the present and of the future, of which in his
proud isolation he thinks himself secure.

[Sidenote: _Its innovations._]

But to be truly attached to tradition means to carry it on and to
collaborate with it. Contact with thought is always dynamic and
propulsive and urges us to go forward, since it is impossible to stop
or to turn back. For this reason, this Logic presents some novelties,
of which the fundamental and principal can be thus enumerated:

[Sidenote: _I. Exclusion of empirical and abstract concepts._]

I. Accepting the doctrine, which culminates in the last great modern
philosophy of the _pure Concept,_ as the only doctrine of logical
truth, this Logic excludes empirical and abstract concepts, declaring
them to be irreducible to the pure concept.

[Sidenote: _II. Non-theoretic character of the second and autonomy of
the empirical and mathematical sciences._]

II. Accepting for these last the _economic theory_ of the empirical and
abstract sciences and considering them as having a practical character
and therefore as non-concepts (pseudoconcepts), this Logic denies that
they exhaust logical thought, indeed it altogether denies that they
belong to it and demonstrates that their very existence presupposes
the reality of the pure concept. Hence, it connects the two doctrines
with one another and asserts the _autonomy_ of philosophy, at the same
time respecting the relative autonomy of the empirical and mathematical
sciences thus rendered atheoretical.

[Sidenote: _III. The concept as unity of distinctions._]

III. In the doctrine concerning the organism of the pure concept, it
accepts the _dialectic_ view or the unity of opposites, but denies
its immediate validity for the distinctions of the concept; the unity
of which is organized as a unity of distinctions in the theory of
_degrees_ of reality. In this way, the autonomy of the forms of reality
or of the spirit is also respected and the _practical_ nature of error

[Sidenote: _IV. Identity of the concept with the individual judgment
and of philosophy with history._]

IV. The richness of reality, of facts, of experience, which seemed
to be withdrawn from the pure concept and so from philosophy by the
separation of it from the empirical sciences, is on the contrary
restored to and recognized in philosophy, not in the diminished and
improper form which is that of empirical science, but in a total and
integral manner. This is effected by means of the connection, which
is a _unity,_ between _Philosophy_ and _History_--a unity obtained by
making clear and profoundly studying the nature of the concept and the
logical _a priori_ synthesis.

[Sidenote: _V. Impossibility of defining thought by means of verbal
forms, and refutation of formalists Logic._]

V. Finally, the doctrines and the presuppositions of formalist Logic
are refuted in a precise manner. The autonomy of the _logical form_ is
asserted and consequently the effort to contain its determinations in
words or expressive forms is declared to be vain. These are certainly
necessary, but obey, not the law of logic, but that of the æsthetic

[Sidenote: _Conclusion._]

Such, summarily indicated, is the progress upon previous thought, which
this Logic would wish to represent. To gain this end, it has availed
itself, not only of the help afforded by ancient and modern Logic,
concentrated in the Hegelian Logic, but also of those others that have
come into being since Hegel, and especially of æsthetic, of the theory
of historical writing and of the gnoseology of the sciences. It has
striven to avail itself of all scattered truths, but of none in an
eclectic manner, that is to say, by making arbitrary collections or
merely aggregations, for it has been conscious that scattered truths
become truly truths when they are no longer scattered but fused, not
many, but one.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Logic as the Science of the pure Concept" ***

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.