The World as Will and Representation/Second Half

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Second Half.


THE DOCTRINE OF THE ABSTRACT IDEA, OR THINKING.


CHAPTER V. 1 ON THE IRRATIONAL INTELLECT.

IT must be possible to arrive at a complete knowledge of the consciousness of the brutes, for we can construct it by abstracting certain properties of our own consciousness. On the other hand, there enters into the consciousness of the brute instinct, which is much more developed in all of them than in man, and in some of them extends to what we call mechanical instinct.

The brutes have understanding without having reason, and therefore they have knowledge of perception but no abstract knowledge. They apprehend correctly, and also grasp the immediate causal connection, in the case of the higher species even through several links of its chain, but they do not, properly speaking, think. For they lack con ceptions, that is, abstract ideas. The first consequence of this, however, is the want of a proper memory, which applies even to the most sagacious of the brutes, and it is just this which constitutes the principal difference be tween their consciousness and that of men. Perfect in telligence depends upon the distinct consciousness of the

1 This chapter, along with the one which follows it, is connected with 8 and 9 of the first book.


ON THE IRRATIONAL INTELLECT. 229

past and of the eventual future, as such, and in connection with the present. The special memory which this de mands is therefore an orderly, connected, and thinking retrospective recollection. This, however, is only possible by means of general conceptions, the assistance of which is required by what is entirely individual, in order that it may be recalled in its order and connection. For the boundless multitude of things and events of the same and similar kinds, in the course of our life, does not admit directly of a perceptible and individual recollection of each particular, for which neither the powers of the most comprehensive memory nor our time would be sufficient. Therefore all this can only be preserved by subsuming it under general conceptions, and the consequent reference to relatively few principles, by means of which we then have always at command an orderly and adequate survey of our past. We can only present to ourselves in perception particular scenes of the past, but the time that has passed since then and its content we are conscious of only in the abstract by means of conceptions of things and numbers which now represent days and years, together with their content. The memory of the brutes, on the contrary, like their whole intellect, is confined to what they perceive, and primarily consists merely in the fact that a recurring im pression presents itself as having already been experienced, for the present perception revivifies the traces of an earlier one. Their memory is therefore always dependent upon what is now actually present. Just on this account, how ever, this excites anew the sensation and the mood which the earlier phenomenon produced. Thus the dog recog nises acquaintances, distinguishes friends from enemies, easily finds again the path it has once travelled, the houses it has once visited, and at the sight of a plate or a stick is at once put into the mood associated with them. All kinds of training depend upon the use of this perceptive memory and on the force of habit, which in the case of animals is specially strong. It is therefore just as diffe-


250 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER V.

rent from human education as perception is from thinking. We ourselves are in certain cases, in which memory proper refuses us its service, confined to that merely perceptive recollection, and thus we can measure the difference be tween the two from our own experience. For example, at the sight of a person whom it appears to us we know, although we are not able to remember when or where we saw him ; or again, when we visit a place where we once were in early childhood, that is, while our reason was yet undeveloped, and which we have therefore entirely forgotten, and yet feel that the present impres sion is one which we have already experienced. This is the nature of all the recollections of the brutes. We have only to add that in the case of the most saga cious this merely perceptive memory rises to a certain degree of phantasy, which again assists it, and by virtue of which, for example, the image of its absent master floats before the mind of the dog and excites a longing after him, so that when he remains away long it seeks for him everywhere. Its dreams also depend upon this phan tasy. The consciousness of the brutes is accordingly a mere succession of presents, none of which, however, exist as future before they appear, nor as past after they have vanished; which is the specific difference of human con sciousness. Hence the brutes have infinitely less to suffer than we have, because they know no other pains but those which the present directly brings. But the present is with out extension, while the future and the past, which contain most of the causes of our suffering, are widely extended, and to their actual content there is added that which is merely possible, which opens up an unlimited field for desire and aversion. The brutes, on the contrary, undis turbed by these, enjoy quietly and peacefully each present moment, even if it is only bearable. Human beings of very limited capacity perhaps approach them in this. Further, the sufferings which belong purely to the present can only be physical. Indeed the brutes do not properly


OiV THE IRRATIONAL INTELLECT. 231

speaking feel death : they can only know it when it ap pears, and then they are already no more. Thus then the life of the brute is a continuous present. It lives on without reflection, and exists wholly in the present ; even the great majority of men live with very little reflection. Another consequence of the special nature of the intellect of the brutes, which we have explained is the perfect accordance of their consciousness with their environment. Between the brute and the external world there is nothing, but between us and the external world there is always our thought about it, which makes us often inap proachable to it, and it to us. Only in the case of children and very primitive men is this wall of partition so thin that in order to see what goes on in them we only need to see what goes on round about them. Therefore the brutes are incapable alike of purpose and dissimulation ; they reserve nothing. In this respect the dog stands to the man in the same relation as a glass goblet to a metal one, and this helps greatly to endear the dog so much to us, for it affords us great pleasure to see all those inclinations and emotions which we so often conceal displayed simply and openly in him. In general, the brutes always play, as it were, with their hand exposed ; and therefore we con template with so much pleasure their behaviour towards each other, both when they belong to the same and to different species. It is characterised by a certain stamp of innocence, in contrast to the conduct of men, which is withdrawn from the innocence of nature by the entrance of reason, and with it of prudence or deliberation. Hence human conduct has throughout the stamp of intention or deliberate purpose, the absence of which, and the conse quent determination by the impulse of the moment, is the fundamental characteristic of all the action of the brutes. No brute is capable of a purpose properly so-called. To conceive and follow out a purpose is the prerogative of man, and it is a prerogative which is rich in consequences. Certainly an instinct like that of the bird of passage or the


232 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER V.

bee, still more a permanent, persistent desire, a longing like that of the dog for its absent master, may present the appearance of a purpose, with which, however, it must not be confounded. Now all this has its ultimate ground in the relation between the human and the brute in tellect, which may also be thus expressed : The brutes have only direct knowledge, while we, in addition to this, have indirect knowledge ; and the advantage which in many things for example, in trigonometry and analysis, in machine work instead of hand work, &c. indirect has over direct knowledge appears here also. Thus again we may say : The brutes have only a single intellect, we a double intellect, both perceptive and thinking, and the operation of the two often go on independently of each other. We perceive one thing, and we think another. Often, again, they act upon each other. This way of put ting the matter enables us specially to understand that natural openness and naivete of the brutes, referred to above, as contrasted with the concealment of man.

However, the law natura nonfacit saltus is not entirely suspended even with regard to the intellect of the brutes, though certainly the step from the brute to the human intelligence is the greatest which nature has made in the production of her creatures. In the most favoured indi viduals of the highest species of the brutes there certainly sometimes appears, always to our astonishment, a faint trace of reflection, reason, the comprehension of words, of thought, purpose, and deliberation. The most striking indications of this kind are afforded by the elephant, whose highly developed intelligence is heightened and supported by an experience of a lifetime which sometimes extends to two hundred years. He has often given unmistakable signs, recorded in well-known anecdotes, of premeditation, which, in the case of brutes, always astonishes us more than anything else. Such, for instance, is the story of the tailor on whom an elephant revenged himself for pricking him with a needle. I wish, however, to rescue from


ON THE IRRATIONAL INTELLECT. 233

oblivion a parallel case to this, because it has the advan tage of being authenticated by judicial investigation. On the 2/th of August 1830 there was held at Morpeth, in England, a coroner s inquest on the keeper, Baptist Bern- hard, who was killed by his elephant. It appeared from the evidence that two years before he had offended the elephant grossly, and now, without any occasion, but on a favourable opportunity, the elephant had seized him and crushed him. (See the Spectator and other English papers of that day.) For special information on the intelligence of brutes I recommend Leroy s excellent book, " Sur V Intelligence des Animaux" nouv. ed. 1802.


CHAPTER VI.

ON THE DOCTRINE OF ABSTKACT OR RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE.

THE outward impression upon the senses, together with the mood which it alone awakens in us, vanishes with the presence of the thing. Therefore these two cannot of themselves constitute experience proper, whose teaching is to guide our conduct for the future. The image of that impression which the imagination preserves is originally weaker than the impression itself, and becomes weaker and weaker daily, until in time it disappears altogether. There is only one thing which is not subject either to the instantaneous vanishing of the impression or to the gradual disappearance of its image, and is therefore free from the power of time. This is the conception. In it, then, the teach ing of experience must be stored up, and it alone is suited to be a safe guide to our steps in life. Therefore Seneca says rightly, "Si vis tibi omnia siibjicere, te subjice rationi" (Ep. 37). And I add to this that the essential condition of surpassing others in actual life is that we should reflect or deliberate. Such an important tool of the intellect as the concept evidently cannot be identical with the word, this mere sound, which as an impression of sense passes with the moment, or as a phantasm of hearing dies away with time. Yet the concept is an idea, the distinct con sciousness and preservation of which are bound up with the word. Hence the Greeks called word, concept, rela tion, thought, and reason by the name of the first, 6 \oyos. Yet the concept is perfectly different both from the word,


ON ABSTRACT OR RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE. 235

to which it is joined, and from the perceptions, from which it has originated. It is of an entirely different nature from these impressions of the senses. Yet it is able to take up into itself all the results of perception, and give them back again unchanged and undiminished after the longest period of time ; thus alone does experience arise. But the concept preserves, not what is perceived nor what is then felt, but only what is essential in these, in an entirely altered form, and yet as an adequate representa tive of them. Just as flowers cannot be preserved, but their ethereal oil, their essence, with the same smell and the same virtues, can be. The action that has been guided by correct conceptions will, in the result, coincide with the real object aimed at. We may judge of the inestimable i value of conceptions, and consequently of the reason, if we i glance for a moment at the infinite multitude and variety of the things and conditions that coexist and succeed each other, and then consider that speech and writing (the signs of conceptions) are capable of affording us accurate information as to everything and every relation when and wherever it may have been ; for comparatively few conceptions can contain and represent an infinite number of things and conditions. In our own reflection abstrac tion is a throwing off of useless baggage for the sake of more easily handling the knowledge which is to be compared, and has therefore to be turned about in all directions. We allow much that is unessential, and therefore only confusing, to fall away from the real things, and work with few but essential determinations thought in the abstract. But just because general con ceptions are only formed by thinking away and leaving out existing qualities, and are therefore the emptier the more general they are, the use of this procedure is confined to the working iip of knowledge which we have already acquired. This working up includes the drawing of con clusions from premisses contained in our knowledge. New insight, on the contrary, can only be obtained by the help


236 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VI.

of the faculty of judgment, from perception, which alone is complete and rich knowledge. Further, because the content and the extent of the concepts stand in inverse relation to each other, and thus the more is thought un der a concept, the less is thought in it, concepts form a graduated series, a hierarchy, from the most special to the most general, at the lower end of which scholastic realism is almost right, and at the upper end nominalism. For the most special conception is almost the individual, thus almost real ; and the most general conception, e.g., being (i.e., the infinitive of the copula), is scarcely anything but a word. Therefore philosophical systems which confine themselves to such very general conceptions, without going down to the real, are little more than mere jug gling with words. For since all abstraction consists in thinking away, the further we push it the less we have left over. Therefore, if I read those modern philoso- phemes which move constantly in the widest abstrac tions, I am soon quite unable, in spite of all attention, to think almost anything more in connection with them ; for I receive no material for thought, but am supposed to work with mere empty shells, which gives me a feeling like that which we experience when we try to throw very light bodies; the strength and also the exertion are there, but there is no object to receive them, so as to supply the other moment of motion. If any one wants to experience this let him read the writings of the disciples of Schelling, or still better of the Hegelians. .ffLffljifc -iwtircj^rV??" would necessarily be such as could not be broken up. Accordingly they could never be the subject of an analytical judgment. This I hold to be impossible, for if we think a conception we must also be able to give its content. What are com monly adduced as examples of simple conceptions are really not conceptions at all, but partly mere sensations as, for instance, those of some special colour ; partly the forms of perception which are known to us a priori, thus pro perly the ultimate elements of perceptive knowledge. But




ON ABSTRACT OR RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE. 237

this itself is for the whole system of our thought what granite is for geology, the ultimate firm basis which sup ports all, and beyond which we cannot go. The distinct ness of a conception demands not only that we should be able to separate its predicates, but also that we should be able to analyse these even if they are abstractions, and so on until we reach knowledge of perception, and thus refer to concrete things through the distinct perception of which the final abstractions are verffiecT and reality guaran teed to them, as well as to all the higher abstractions which rest upon them. Therefore the ordinary explana tion that the conception is distinct as soon as we can give its predicates is not sufficient. For the separating of these predicates may lead perhaps to more concep tions ; and so on again without there being that ultimate basis of perceptions which imparts reality to all those conceptions. Take, for example, the conception " spirit," and analyse it into its predicates : " A thinking, will ing, immaterial, simple, indestructible being that does not occupy space." Nothing is yet distinctly thought about it, because the elements of these conceptions cannot be verified by means of perceptions, for a thinking being without a brain is like a digesting being without a stomach. Only perceptions are, properly speaking, clear, not conceptions ; these at the most can only be distinct. Hence also, absurd as it was, " clear and con fused" were coupled together and used as synonymous when knowledge of perception was explained as merely a confused abstract knowledge, because the latter kind of knowledge alone was distinct. This was first done by Duns Scotus, but Leibnitz has substantially the same view, upon which his "Identitas Indiscernibilium" depends. (See Kant s refutation of this, p. 275 of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Eeason.)

The close connection of the conception with the word, thus of speech with reason, which was touched on above rests ultimately upon the following ground. Time is throughout the form of our whole consciousness, with its


238 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VI.

inward and outward apprehension. Conceptions, on the other hand, which originate through abstraction and are perfectly general ideas, different from all particular things, have in this property indeed a certain measure of objec tive existence, which does not, however, belong to any series of events in time. Therefore in order to enter the immediate present of an individual consciousness, and thus to admit of being introduced into a series of events in time, they must to a certain extent be reduced again to the nature of individual things, individualised, and therefore linked to an idea of sense. Such an idea is the word. It is accordingly the sensible sign of the concep tion, and as such the necessary means of fixing it, that is, of presenting it to the consciousness, which is bound up with the form of time, and thus establishing a connection between the reason, whose objects are merely general universals, knowing neither place nor time, and con sciousness, which is bound up with time, is sensuous, and so far purely animal. Only by this means is the repro duction at pleasure, thus the recollection and preserva tion, of conceptions possible and open to us ; and only by means of this, again, are the operations which are undertaken with conceptions possible judgment, infer ence, comparison, limitation, &c. It is true it sometimes happens that conceptions occupy consciousness without their signs, as when we run through a train of reasoning so rapidly that we could not think the words in the time. But such cases are exceptions, which presuppose great exercise of the reason, which it could only have obtained by means of language. How much the use of reason is bound up with speech we see in the case of the deaf and dumb, who, if they have learnt no kind of language, show scarcely more intelligence than the ourang-outang or the elephant. For their reason is almost entirely potential, not actual.

"Words and speech are thus the indispensable means of distinct thought. But as every means, every machine,


ON ABSTRACT OR RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE. 239

at once burdens and hinders, so also does language ; for it forces the fluid and modifiable thoughts, with their infinitely fine distinctions of difference, into certain rigid, permanent forms, and thus in fixing also fetters them. This hindrance is to some extent got rid of by learning several languages. For in these the thought is poured from one mould into another, and somewhat alters its form in each, so that it becomes more and more freed from all form and clothing, and thus its own proper nature comes more distinctly into consciousness, and it recovers again its original capacity for modification. The ancient languages render this service very much better than the modern, because, on account of their great dif ference from the latter, the same thoughts are expressed in them in quite another way, and must thus assume a very different form ; besides which the more perfect grammar of the ancient languages renders a more artistic and more perfect construction of the thoughts and their connection possible. Thus a Greek or a Roman might perhaps content himself with his own language, but he who understands nothing but some single modern patois will soon betray this poverty in writing and speaking ; for his thoughts, firmly bound to such narrow stereotyped forms, must appear awkward and monotonous. Genius certainly makes up for this as for everything else, for example in Shakespeare.

Burke, in his " Inquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful," p. 5, 4 and 5, has given a perfectly correct and very elaborate exposition of what I laid down in 9 of the first volume, that the words of a speech are perfectly under stood without calling up ideas of perception, pictures in our heads. But he draws from this the entirely false con clusion that we hear, apprehend, and make use of words without connecting with them any idea whatever; whereas he ought to have drawn the conclusion that all ideas are not perceptible images, but that precisely those ideas which must be expressed by means of words are abstract notions


240 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VI.

or conceptions, and these from their very nature are not perceptible. Just because words impart only general conceptions, which are perfectly different from ideas of perception, when, for example, an event is recounted all the hearers will receive the same conceptions ; but if after wards they wish to make the incident clear to themselves, each of them will call up in his imagination a different image of it, which differs considerably from the correct image that is possessed only by the eye-witness. This is the primary reason (which, however, is accompanied by others) why every fact is necessarily distorted by being repeatedly told. The second recounter communicates con ceptions which he has abstracted from the image of his own imagination, and from these conceptions the third now forms another image differing still more widely from the truth, and this again he translates into conceptions, and so the process goes on. Whoever is sufficiently matter of fact to stick to the conceptions imparted to him, and repeat them, will prove the most truthful reporter.

The best and most intelligent exposition of the essence and nature of conceptions which I have been able to find is in Thomas Reid's "Essays on the Powers of Human Mind," vol. ii., Essay 5, ch. 6. This was afterwards con demned by Dugald Stewart in his "Philosophy of the Human Mind." Not to waste paper I will only briefly remark with regard to the latter that he belongs to that large class who have obtained an undeserved repu tation through favour and friends, and therefore I can only advise that not an hour should be wasted over the scribbling of this shallow writer.

The princely scholastic Pico de Mirandula already saw that reason is the faculty of abstract ideas, and under standing the faculty of ideas of perception. For in his book, " De Imaginatione," ch. u, he carefully distinguishes understanding and reason, and explains the latter as the discursive faculty peculiar to man, and the former as the intuitive faculty, allied to the kind of knowledge which is


ON ABSTRACT OR RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE. 241

proper to the angels, and indeed to God. Spinoza also characterises reason quite correctly as the faculty of framing general conceptions (Eth., ii. prop. 40, schol. 2). Such facts would not need to be mentioned if it were not for the tricks that have been played in the last fifty years by the whole of the philosophasters of Germany with the conception reason. For they have tried, with shameless audacity, to smuggle in under this name an entirely spurious faculty of immediate, metaphysical, so-called super-sensuous knowledge. The reason proper, on the other hand, they call understanding, and the understand ing proper, as something quite strange to them, they over look altogether, and ascribe its intuitive functions to sensibility.

In the case of all things in this world new drawbacks or disadvantages cleave to every source of aid, to every gain, to every advantage ; and thus reason also, which gives to man such great advantages over the brutes, carries with it its special disadvantages, and opens for Mm paths of error into which the brutes can never stray. Through it a new species of motives, to which the brute is not accessible, obtains power over his will. These are the abstract motives, the mere thoughts, which are by no means always drawn from his own experience, but often come to him only through the talk and example of others, through tradition and literature. Having become accessible to thought, he is at once exposed to error. But every error must sooner or later do harm, and the greater the error the greater the harm it will do. The individual error must be atoned for by him who cherishes it, and often he has to pay dearly for it. And the same thing holds good on a large scale of the common errors of whole nations. Therefore it cannot too often be repeated that every error wherever we meet it, is to be pursued and rooted out as an enemy of mankind, and that there can be no such thing as privileged or sanctioned error. The thinker ought to attack it, even if humanity should cry out with

VOL. II. Q


242 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VI.

pain, like a sick man whose ulcer the physician touches. The brute can never stray far from the path of nature ; for its motives lie only in the world of perception, where only the possible, indeed only the actual, finds room. On the other hand, all that is only imaginable, and therefore also the false, the impossible, the absurd, and senseless, enters into abstract conceptions, into thoughts and words. Since now all partake of reason, but few of judgment, the consequence is that man is exposed to delusion, for he is abandoned to every conceivable chimera which any one talks him into, and which, acting on his will as a motive, may influence him to perversities and follies of every kind, to the most unheard-of extravagances, and also to actions most contrary to his animal nature. True culture, in which knowledge and judgment go hand in hand, can only be brought to bear on a few ; and still fewer are capable of receiving it. For the great mass of men a kind of training everywhere takes its place. It is effected by example, custom, and the very early and firm impression of certain conceptions, before any experience, understanding, or judgment were there to disturb the work. Thus thoughts are implanted, which afterward cling as firmly, and are as incapable of being shaken by any instruction as if they were inborn; and indeed they have often been regarded, even by philosophers, as such. In this way we can, with the same trouble, imbue men with what is right and rational, or with what is most absurd. For example, we can accustom them to approach this or that idol with holy dread, and at the mention of its name to prostrate in the dust not only their bodies but their whole spirit ; to sacrifice their pro perty and their lives willingly to words, to names, to the defence of the strangest whims ; to attach arbitrarily the greatest honour or the deepest disgrace to this or that, and to prize highly or disdain everything accordingly with full inward conviction ; to renounce all animal food, as in Hindustan, or to devour still warm and quivering pieces,


ON THE DOCTRINE OF KNOWLEDGE. 243

cut from the living animal, as in Abyssinia ; to eat men, as in New Zealand, or to sacrifice their children to Moloch ; to castrate themselves, to fling themselves voluntarily on the funeral piles of the dead in a word, to do anything we please. Hence the Crusades, the extravagances of fanatical sects ; hence Chiliasts and Flagellants, persecu tions, autos da fe, and all that is offered by the long register of human perversities. Lest it should be thought that only the dark ages afford such examples, I shall add a couple of more modern instances. In the year 1818 there went from "Wurtemberg 7000 Chiliasts to the neigh bour 1 ""^, of Ararat, because the new kingdom of God, specially announced by Jung Stilling, was to appear there. 1 Gall relates that in his time a mother killed her child and roasted it in order to cure her husband s rheumatism with its fat. 2 The tragical side of error lies in the practical, the comical is reserved for the theoretical. For example, if we could firmly persuade three men that the sun is not the cause of daylight, we might hope to see it soon established as the general conviction. In Germany it was possible to proclaim as the greatest philosopher of all ages Hegel, a repulsive, mindless charlatan, an unparalleled scribbler of nonsense, and for twenty years many thou sands have believed it stubbornly and firmly ; and indeed, outside Germany, the Danish Academy entered the lists against myself for his fame, and sought to have him re garded as a summits philosophus. (Upon this see the preface to my Grundproblemen der Ethik) These, then, are the disadvantages which, on account of the rarity of judgment, attach to the existence of reason. We must add to them the possibility of madness. The brutes do not go mad, although the carnivora are subject to fury, and the ruminants to a sort of delirium.

1 Illgen s " Zcitschrift far His- 2 Gall et Spurzhcim, " Des Dis- torische Theoloyic," 1839, part i. positions Inntes," 1811, p. 253. p. 182.


244


CHAPTER VII. 1

ON THE RELATION OF THE CONCRETE KNOWLEDGE OF PERCEPTION TO ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE.

IT has been shown that conceptions derive their material

from knowledge of perception, and therefore the entire

structure of our world of thought rests upon the world

of perception. We must therefore be able to go back

from every conception, even if only indirectly through

intermediate conceptions, to the perceptions from which it

is either itself directly derived or those conceptions are

derived of which it is again an abstraction. That is to

say, we must be able to support it with perceptions which

stand to the abstractions in the relation of examples.

These perceptions thus afford the real content of all our

thought, and whenever they are wanting we have not had

conceptions but mere words in our heads. In this respect

our intellect is like a bank, which, if it is to be sound,

must have cash in its safe, so as to be able to meet all

the notes it has issued, in case of demand ; the perceptions

are the cash ; the conceptions are the notes. In this sense

the perceptions might very appropriately be called primary,

and the conceptions, on the other hand, secondary ideas.

Not quite so aptly, the Schoolmen, following the example

of Aristotle (MctapJi., vi. n, xi. i), called real things

substantial primes, and the conceptions substantice secundce.

Books impart only secondary ideas. MRI^ Conceptions of

a thing without perception give only a general knowledge

of it. We only have a thorough understanding of things

and their relations so far as we are able to represent them

1 This chapter is connected with 12 of the first volume.


CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE, 245

to ourselves in pure, _distinct perceptions, without the aid of words. To explain words by words, to compare concepts with concepts, in which most philosophising consists, is a trivial shifting about of the concept-spheres in order to see which goes into the other and which does not. At the best we can in this way only arrive at conclusions ; but even conclusions give no really new knowledge, but only show us all that lay in the knowledge we already pos sessed, and what part of it perhaps might be applicable to the particular case. On the other hand, to perceive, to allow the things themselves to speak to us, to apprehend new relations of them, and then to take up and deposit all this in conceptions, in order to possess it with certainty that gives new knowledge. But, while almost every one is capable of comparing conceptions with conceptions, to com pare conceptions with perceptions is a gift of the select few. It is the condition, according to the degree of its perfection, of wit, judgment, ingenuity, genius. The former faculty, on the contrary, results in little more than possibly rational reflections. The inmost kernel of all genuine and actual knowledge is a perception ; and every new truth is the profit or gain yielded by a perception. All original think ing takes place in images, and this is why imagination is so necessary an instrument of thought, and minds that lack imagination will never accomplish much, unless it be in mathematics. On the other hand, merely abstract thoughts, which have no kernel of perception, are like cloud-structures, without reality. Even writing and speak ing, whether didactic or poetical, has for its final aim to guide the reader to the same concrete knowledge from which the author started ; if it has not this aim it is bad. This is why the contemplation and observing of every real thing, as soon as it presents something new to the observer, is more instructive than any reading or hearing. For indeed, if we go to the bottom of the matter, all truth and wisdom, nay, the ultimate secret of things, is contained in each real object, yet certainly only in concrete,


246 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VII.

just as gold lies hidden iii the ore ; the difficulty is to ex tract it. From a book, on the contrary, at the best we only receive the truth at second hand, and oftener not at all.

In most books, putting out of account those that are thoroughly bad, the author, when their content is not altogether empirical, has certainly thought but not per ceived ; he has written from reflection, not from intuition, and it is this that makes them commonplace and tedious. For what the author has thought could always have been thought by the reader also, if he had taken the same trouble ; indeed it consists simply of intelligent thought, full exposition of what is implicite contained in the theme. But no actually new knowledge comes in this way into the world ; this is only created in the moment of percep tion, of direct comprehension of a new side of the thing. When, therefore, on the contrary, sight has formed the foundation of an author s thought, it is as if he wrote from a land where the reader has never been, for all is fresh and new, because it is drawn directly from the original source of all knowledge. Let me illustrate the distinction here touched upon by a perfectly easy and simple example. Any commonplace writer might easily describe profound contemplation or petrifying astonish ment by saying : " He stood like a statue ; " but Cervantes says : " Like a clothed statue, for the wind moved his gar ments" (Don Quixote, book vi. ch. 19). It is thus that all great minds have ever thought in presence of the perception, and kept their gaze steadfastly upon it in their thought. We recognise this from this fact, among others, that even the most opposite of them so often agree and coincide in some particular ; because they all speak of the same thing which they all had before their eyes, the world, the perceived reality; indeed in a certain degree they all say the same thing, and others never believe them. We recognise it further in the appropriateness and originality of the expression, which is always perfectly adapted to the subject because it has been inspired by perception, in


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the naivete of the language, the freshness of the imagery, and the impressiveness of the similes, all of which quali ties, without exception, distinguish the works of great minds, and, on the contrary, are always wanting in the works of others. Accordingly only commonplace forms of expression and trite figures are at the service of the latter, and they never dare to allow themselves to be natural, under penalty of displaying their vulgarity in all its dreary barrenness ; instead of this they are affected mannerists. Hence Buffon says : " Le style est I homme menu." If men of commonplace mind write poetry they have certain traditional conventional opinions, passions, noble sentiments, &c., which they have received in the abstract, and attribute to the heroes of their poems, who are in this way reduced to mere personifications of those opinions, and are thus themselves to a certain extent abstractions, and therefore insipid and tiresome. If they philosophise, they have taken in a few wide abstract conceptions, which they turn about in all directions, as if they had to do with algebraical equations, and hope that something will come of it ; at the most we see that they have all read the same things. Such a tossing to and fro of abstract conceptions, after the manner of algebraical equations, which is now-a-days called dialectic, does not, like real algebra, afford certain results ; for here the con ception which is represented by the word is not a fixed and perfectly definite quality, such as are symbolised by the letters in algebra, but is wavering and ambiguous, and capable of extension and contraction. Strictly speak ing, all thinking, i.e., combining of abstract conceptions, has at the most the recollections of earlier perceptions for its material, and this only indirectly, so far as it consti tutes the foundation of all conceptions. Real knowledge, on the contrary, that is, immediate knowledge, is percep tion alone, new, fresh perception itself. Now the concepts which the reason has framed and the memory has pre served cannot all be present to consciousness at once, but


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only a very small number of them at a time. On the other hand, the energy with which we apprehend what is present in perception, in which really all that is essential in all things generally is virtually contained and represented, is apprehended, fills the consciousness in one moment with its whole power. Upon this depends the infinite superiority of genius to learning ; they stand to each other as the text of an ancient classic to its commentary. All truth and all wisdom really lies ultimately in perception. But this unfortunately can neither be retained nor communicated. The objective, conditions of such communication can cer tainly be presented to others purified and illustrated through plastic and pictorial art, and even much more directly through poetry ; but it depends so much upon sub jective conditions, which are not at the command of every one, and of no one at all times, nay, indeed in the higher degrees of perfection, are only the gift of the favoured few. Only the worst knowledge, abstract, secondary knowledge, the conception, the mere shadow of true know ledge, is unconditionally communicable. If perceptions were communicable, that would be a communication worth the trouble ; but at last every one must remain in his o\vn skin and skull, and no one can help another. To enrich the conception from perception is the unceasing endeavour of poetry and philosophy. However, the aims of man are essentially practical ; and for these it is sufficient that what he has apprehended through perception should leave traces in him, by virtue of which he will recognise it in the next similar case ; thus he becomes possessed of worldly wisdom. Thus, as a rule, the man of the world cannot teach his accumulated truth and wisdom, but only make use of it ; he rightly comprehends each event as it happens, and determines what is in conformity with it. That books will not take the place of experience nor learning of genius are two kindred phenomena. Their common ground is that the abstract can never take the place of the concrete. Books therefore do not take the


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place of experience, because conceptions always remain general, and consequently do not get down to the par ticular, which, however, is just what has to be dealt with in life ; and, besides this, all conceptions are abstracted from what is particular and perceived in experience, and therefore one must have come to know these in order adequately to understand even the general conceptions which the books communicate. Learning cannot take the place of genius, because it also affords merely conceptions, but the knowledge of genius consists in the apprehension of the (Platonic) Ideas of things, and therefore is essentially intuitive. Thus in the first of these phenomena the objective condition of perceptive or intuitive knowledge is wanting ; in the second the subjective ; the former may be attained, the latter cannot.

Wisdom and genius, these two summits of the Parnassus of human knowledge, have their foundation not in the abstract and discursive, but in the perceptive faculty. Wisdom proper is something intuitive, not something abstract. It does not consist in principles and thoughts, which one can carry about ready in his mind, as results of his own research or that of others ; but it is the whole manner in which the world presents itself in his mind. This varies so much that on account of it the wise man lives in another world from the fool, and the genius sees another world from the blockhead. That the w r orks of the man of genius immeasurably surpass those of all others arises simply from the fact that the world which he sees, and from which he takes his utterances, is so much clearer, as it were more profoundly worked out, than that in the minds of others, which certainly contains the same objects, but is to the world of the man of genius as the Chinese picture without shading and perspective is to the finished oil-painting. The material is in all minds the same ; but the difference lies in the perfection of the form which it assumes in each, upon which the numerous grades of intelligence ultimately depend. These grades thus


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exist in the root, in the perceptive or intuitive appre hension, and do not first appear in the abstract. Hence original mental superiority shows itself so easily when the occasion arises, and is at once felt and hated by others.

In practical life the intuitive knowledge of the under standing is able to guide our action and behaviour directly, while the abstract knowledge of the reason can only do so by means of the memory. Hence arises the superiority of intuitive knowledge in all cases which admit of no time for reflection ; thus for daily intercourse, in which, just on this account, women excel. Only those who intuitively know the nature of men as they are as a rule, and thus comprehend the individuality of the person before them, will understand how to manage him with certainty and rightly. Another may know by heart all the three hun dred maxims of Gracian, but this will not save him from stupid mistakes and misconceptions if he lacks that in tuitive knowledge. For all abstract knowledge affords us primarily mere general principles and rules ; but the particular case is almost never to be carried out exactly according to the rule ; then the rule itself has to be pre sented to us at the right time by the memory, which seldom punctually happens ; then the propositio minor has to be formed out of the present case, and finally the con clusion drawn. Before all this is done the opportunity has generally turned its back upon us, and then those excellent principles and rules serve at the most to enable us to measure the magnitude of the error we have com mitted. Certainly with time we gain in this way experi ence and practice, which slowly grows to knowledge of the world, and thus, in connection with this, the abstract rules may certainly become fruitful. On the other hand, the intuitive knowledge, which always apprehends only the particular, stands in immediate relation to the present case. Rule, case, and application are for it one, and action follows immediately upon it. This explains why in real


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life the scholar, whose pre-eminence lies in the province of abstract knowledge, is so far surpassed by the man of the world, whose pre-eminence consists in perfect intuitive knowledge, which original disposition conferred on him, and a rich experience has developed. The two kinds of knowledge always stand to each other in the relation of paper money and hard cash ; and as there are many cases and circumstances in which the former is to be preferred to the latter, so there are also things and situations for which abstract knowledge is more useful than intuitive. If, for example, it is a conception that in some case guides our action, when it is once grasped it has the advantage of being unalterable, and therefore under its guidance we go to work with perfect certainty and consistency. But this certainty which the conception confers on the subjective side is outweighed by the uncertainty which accompanies it on the objective side. The whole conception may be false and groundless, or the object to be dealt with may not come under it, for it may be either not at all or not altogether of the kind which belongs to it. Now if in the particular case we suddenly become conscious of some thing of this sort, we are put out altogether ; if we do not become conscious of it, the result brings it to light. There fore Vauvenargue says: "Personne nest suj et a plus def antes, que ceux qui nagissent que par reflexion." If, on the con trary, it is direct perception of the objects to be dealt with and their relations that guides our action, we easily hesitate at every step, for the perception is always modifiable, is am biguous, has inexhaustible details in itself, and shows many sides in succession ; we act therefore without full confi dence. But the subjective uncertainty is compensated by the objective certainty, for here there is no conception between the object and us, we never lose sight of it ; if therefore we only see correctly what we have before us and what we do, we shall hit the mark. Our action then is perfectly sure only when it is guided by a conception the right ground of which, its completeness, and applica-


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bility to the given cause is perfectly certain. Action in accordance with conceptions may pass into pedantry, action in accordance with the perceived impression into levity and folly.

Perception is not only the source of all knowledge, but is itself knowledge KCLT e^o^rjv, is the only unconditionally true, genuine knowledge completely worthy of the name. For it alone imparts insight properly so called, it alone is actually assimilated by man, passes into his nature, and can with full reason be called his ; while the conceptions merely cling to him. In the fourth book we see indeed that true virtue proceeds from knowledge of perception or intuitive knowledge ; for only those actions which are directly called forth by this, and therefore are performed purely from the impulse of our own nature, are properly symptoms of our true and unalterable character; not so those which, resulting from reflection and its dogmas, are often extorted from the character, and therefore have no unalterable ground in us. But wisdom also, the true view of life, the correct eye, and the searching judgment, proceeds from the way in which the man apprehends the perceptible world, but not from his mere abstract know ledge, i.e., not from abstract conceptions. The basis or ultimate content of every science consists, not in proofs, nor in what is proved, but in the unproved foundation of the proofs, which can finally be apprehended only through perception. So also the basis of the true wisdom and real insight of each man does not consist in concep tions and in abstract rational knowledge, but in what is perceived, and in the degree of acuteness, accuracy, and profundity with which he has apprehended it. He who excels here knows the (Platonic) Ideas of the world and life ; every case he has seen represents for him innumer able cases ; he always apprehends each being according to its true nature, and his action, like his judgment, corresponds to his insight. By degrees also his coun tenance assumes the expression of penetration, of true


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intelligence, and, if it goes far enough, of wisdom. For it is pre-eminence in knowledge of perception alone that stamps its impression upon the features also ; while pre-eminence in abstract knowledge cannot do this. In accordance with what has been said, we find in all classes men of intellectual superiority, and often quite without learning. Natural understanding can take the place of almost every degree of culture, but no culture can take the place of natural understanding. The scholar has the advantage of such men in the possession of a wealth of cases and facts (historical knowledge) and of causal determinations (natural science), all in well-ordered con nection, easily surveyed ; but yet with all this he has not a more accurate and profound insight into what is truly essential in all these cases, facts, and causations. The unlearned man of acuteness and penetration knows how to dispense with this wealth ; we can make use of much ; we can do with little. One case in his own experience teaches him more than many a scholar is taught by a thousand cases which he knows, but does not, properly speaking, understand. For the little knowledge of that unlearned man is living, because every fact that is known to him is supported by accurate and well-apprehended perception, and thus represents for him a thousand similar facts. On the contrary, the much knowledge of the ordinary scholar is dead, because even if it does not consist, as is often the case, in mere words, it consists en tirely in abstract knowledge. This, however, receives its value only through the perceptive knowledge of the indivi dual with which it must connect itself, and which must ulti mately realise all the conceptions. If now this perceptive knowledge is very scanty, such a mind is like a bank with liabilities tenfold in excess of its cash reserve, whereby in the end it becomes bankrupt. Therefore, while the right apprehension of the perceptible world has impressed the stamp of insight and wisdom on the brow of many an un learned man, the face of many a scholar bears no other


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trace of his much study than that of exhaustion and weariness from excessive and forced straining of the memory in the unnatural accumulation of dead concep tions. Moreover, the insight of such a man is often so puerile, so weak and silly, that we must suppose that the excessive strain upon the faculty of indirect knowledge, which is concerned with abstractions, directly weakens the power of immediate perceptive knowledge, and the natural and clear vision is more and more blinded by the light of books. At any rate the constant streaming in of the thoughts of others must confine and suppress our own, and indeed in the long run paralyse the power of thought if it has not that high degree of elasticity which is able to withstand that unnatural stream. Therefore ceaseless reading and study directly injures the mind the more so that completeness and constant connection of the system of our own thought and knowledge must pay the penalty if we so often arbitrarily interrupt it in order to gain room for a line of thought entirely strange to us. To banish my own thought in order to make room for that of a book would seem to me like what Shakespeare censures in the tourists of his time, that they sold their own land to see that of others. Yet the inclination for reading of most scholars is a kind of fuga vacui, from the poverty of their own minds, which forcibly draws in the thoughts of others. In order to have thoughts they must read something; just as lifeless bodies are only moved from without ; while the man who thinks for himself is like a living body that moves of itself. Indeed it is dan gerous to read about a subject before we have thought about it ourselves. For along with the new material the old point of view and treatment of it creeps into the mind, all the more so as laziness and apathy counsel us to accept what has already been thought, and allow it to pass for truth. This now insinuates itself, and henceforward our thought on the subject always takes the accustomed path, like brooks that are guided by ditches ; to find a thought


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of our own, a new thought, is then doubly difficult. This contributes much to the want of originality on the part of scholars. Add to this that they supposethat, like other people, they must divide their time between pleasure and work. Now they regard reading as their work and special calling, and therefore they gorge themselves with it, beyond what they can digest. Then reading no longer plays the part of the mere initiator of thought, but takes its place altogether ; for they think of the subject just as long as they are read ing about it, thus with the mind of another, not with their own. But when the book is laid aside entirely different things make much more lively claims upon their interest ; their private affairs, and then the theatre, card-playing, skittles, the news of the day, and gossip. The man of thought is so because such things have no interest for him. He is interested only in his problems, with which therefore he is always occupied, by himself and without a book. To give ourselves this interest, if we have not got it, is impossible. This is the crucial point. And upon this also depends the fact that the former always speak only of what they have read, while the latter, on the contrary, speaks of what he has thought, and that they are, as Pope says :

"For ever reading, never to be read."

The mind is naturally free, not a slave ; only what it does willingly, of its own accord, succeeds. On the other hand, the compulsory exertion of a mind in studies for which it is not qualified, or when it has become tired, or in general too continuously and invita Minerva, dulls the brain, just as reading by moonlight dulls the eyes. This is especially the case with the straining of the immature brain in the earlier years of childhood. I believe that the learning of Latin and Greek grammar from the sixth to the twelfth year lays the foundation of the subsequent stupidity of most scholars. At any rate the mind requires the nourishment of materials from without. All that we eat is not at once incorporated in the organism, but only so


256 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VII.

much of it as is digested ; so that only a small part of it is assimilated, and the remainder passes away ; and thus to eat more than we can assimilate is useless and injurious. It is precisely the same with what we read. Only so far as it gives food for thought does it increase our insight and true knowledge. Therefore Heracleitus says : " TTO\V-

o /

fj,a0ia vow ov StSacr/cet." (multiscitia non dat intellectum) . It seems, however, to me that learning may be compared to a heavy suit of armour, which certainly makes the strong man quite invincible, but to the weak man is a burden under which he sinks altogether.

The exposition given in our third book of the knowledge of the (Platonic) Ideas, as the highest attainable by man, and at the same time entirely perceptive or intuitive know ledge, is a proof that the source of true wisdom does not lie in abstract rational knowledge, but in the clear and profound apprehension of the world in perception. There fore wise men may live in any age, and those of the past remain wise men for all succeeding generations. Learn ing, on the contrary, is relative ; the learned men of the past are for the most part children as compared with us, and require indulgence.

But to him who studies in order to gain insight books and studies are only steps of the ladder by which he climbs to the summit of knowledge. As soon as a round of the ladder has raised him a step, he leaves it behind him. The many, on the other hand, who study in order to fill their memory do not use the rounds of the ladder to mount by, but take them off, and load themselves with them to carry them away, rejoicing at the increasing weight of the burden. They remain always below, be cause they bear what ought to have borne them.

Upon the truth set forth here, that the kernel of all knowledge is the perceptive or intuitive apprehension, de pends the true and profound remark of Helvetius, that the really characteristic and original views of which a gifted individual is capable, and the working up, develop-


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ment, and manifold application of which is the material of all his works, even if written much later, can arise in him only up to the thirty-fifth or at the latest the fortieth year of his life, and are really the result of combinations he has made in his early youth. For they are not mere connections of abstract conceptions, but his own intuitive comprehension of the objective world and the nature of things. Now, that this intuitive apprehension must have completed its work by the age mentioned above depends partly on the fact that by that time the ectypes of all (Platonic) Ideas must have presented themselves to the man, and therefore cannot appear later with the strength of the first impression ; partly on this, that the highest energy of brain activity is demanded for this quintessence of all knowledge, for this proof before the letter of the apprehension, and this highest energy of the brain is depen dent on the freshness and flexibility of its fibres and the rapidity with which the arterial blood flows to the brain. But this again is at its strongest only as long as the arte rial system has a decided predominance over the venous system, which begins to decline after the thirtieth year, until at last, after the forty-second year, the venous system obtains the upper hand, as Cabanis has admirably and instructively explained. Therefore the years between twenty and thirty and the first few years after thirty are for the intellect what May is for the trees ; only then do the blossoms appear of which all the later fruits are the development. The world of perception has made its impression, and thereby laid the foundation of all the subsequent thoughts of the individual. He may by reflection make clearer what he has apprehended ; he may yet acquire much knowledge as nourishment for the fruit which has once set ; he may extend his views, correct his conceptions and judgments, it may be only through endless combinations that he becomes completely master of the materials he has gained ; indeed he will generally produce his best works much later, as the greatest heat VOL. n. it


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begins with the decline of the day, but he can no longer hope for new original knowledge from the one living foun tain of perception. It is this that Byron feels when he breaks forth into his wonderfully beautiful lament :

" No more no more oh ! never more on me The freshness of the heart can fall like dew,

Which out of all the lovely things we see Extracts emotions beautiful and new,

Hived in our bosoms like the bag o the bee : Think st thou the honey with those objects grew 1

Alas ! twas not in them, but in thy power

To double even the sweetness of a flower."

Through all that I have said hitherto I hope I have placed in a clear light the important truth that since all abstract knowledge springs from knowledge of perception, it obtains its whole value from its relation to the latter, thus from the fact that its conceptions, or the abstractions which they denote, can be realised, i.e., proved, through perceptions ; and, moreover, that most depends upon the quality of these perceptions. Conceptions and abstrac tions which do not ultimately refer to perceptions are like paths in the wood that end without leading out of it. The great value of conceptions lies in the fact that by means of them the original material of knowledge is more easily handled, surveyed, and arranged. But although many kinds of logical and dialectical operations are pos sible with them, yet no entirely original and new know ledge will result from these ; that is to say, no knowledge whose material neither lay already in perception nor was drawn from self-consciousness. This is the true meaning of the doctrine attributed to Aristotle : Nihil est in in- tdlectu, nisi quod antea fuerit in sensu. It is also the meaning of the Lockeian philosophy, which made for ever an epoch in philosophy, because it commenced at last the serious discussion of the question as to the origin of our knowledge. It is also principally what the " Critique of Pure Eeason " teaches. It also desires that we should not


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remain at the conceptions, but go back to their source, thus to perception ; only with the true and important addition that what holds good of the perception also extends to its subjective conditions, thus to the forms which lie pre disposed in the perceiving and thinking brain as its natural functions ; although these at least virtualiter precede the actual sense-perception, i.e., are a priori, and therefore do not depend upon sense-perception, but it upon them. For these forms themselves have indeed no other end, nor service, than to produce the empirical perception on the nerves of sense being excited, as other forms are determined afterwards to construct thoughts in the ab stract from the material of perception. The " Critique of Pure Eeason" is therefore related to the Lockeian philosophy as the analysis of the infinite to elementary geometry, but is yet throughout to be regarded as the continuation of the Lockeian philosophy. The given mate rial of every philosophy is accordingly nothing else than the empirical consciousness, which divides itself into the consciousness of one s own self (self-consciousness) and the consciousness of other things (external perception). For this alone is what is immediately and actually given. Every philosophy which, instead of starting from this, takes for its starting-point arbitrarily chosen abstract conceptions, such as, for example, absolute, absolute sub stance, God, infinity, finitude, absolute identity, being, essence, &c., &c., moves in the air without support, and can therefore never lead to a real result. Yet in all ages philosophers have attempted it with such materials ; and hence even Kant sometimes, according to the common usage, and more from custom than consistency, defines philosophy as a science of mere conceptions. But such a science would really undertake to extract from the partial ideas (for that is what the abstractions are) what is not to be found in the complete ideas (the perceptions), from which the former were drawn by abstraction. The possibility of the syllogism leads to this mistake, because


2 6o FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VII.

here the combination of the judgments gives a new result, although more apparent than real, for the syllogism only brings out what already lay in the given judgments ; for it is true the conclusion cannot contain more than the premisses. Conceptions are certainly the material of philosophy, but only as marble is the material of the sculptor. It is not to work out of them but in them ; that is to say, it is to deposit its results in them, but not to start from them as what is given. Whoever wishes to see a glaring example of such a false procedure from mere conceptions may look at the " Institutio Theologica " of Proclus in order to convince himself of the vanity of that whole method. There abstractions such as " ev, , ayaOov, Trapayov Kat, Trapayopevov, avTapKes, aircov, v,KivriTov, aKivr)Tov,KivovfAevov"(unum, multa, bonum, producens et produdum, sibi sufficiens, causa, melius, mobile, immobile, motum), &c., are indiscriminately collected, but the perceptions to which alone they owe their origin and content ignored and contemptuously disregarded. A theology is then constructed from these conceptions, but its goal, the 0eo<?, is kept concealed ; thus the whole pro cedure is apparently unprejudiced, as if the reader did not know at the first page, just as well as the author, what it is all to end in. I have already quoted a fragment of this above. This production of Proclus is really quite peculiarly adapted to make clear how utterly useless and illusory such combinations of abstract conceptions are, for we can make of them whatever we will, especially if we further take advantage of the ambiguity of many words, such, for example, as /cpeiTrov. If such an architect of conceptions w r ere present in person we would only have to ask naively where all the things are of which he has so much to tell us, and whence he knows the laws from which he draws his conclusions concerning them. He would then soon be obliged to turn to empirical percep tion, in which alone the real world exhibits itself, from which those conceptions are drawn. Then we would only


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have to ask further why he did not honestly start from the given perception of such a world, so that at every step his assertions could be proved by it, instead of opera ting with conceptions, which are yet drawn from percep tion alone, and therefore can have no further validity than that which it imparts to them. But of course this is just his trick. Through such conceptions, in which, by virtue of abstraction, what is inseparable is thought as separate, and what cannot be united as united, he goes far beyond the perception which was their source, and thus beyond the limits of their applicability, to an entirely different world from that which supplied the material for building, but just on this account to a world of chimeras. I have here referred to Proclus because in him this procedure becomes specially clear through the frank audacity with which he carries it out. But in Plato also we find some examples of this kind, though not so glar ing; and in general the philosophical literature of all ages affords a multitude of instances of the same thing. That of our own time is rich in them. Consider, for ex ample, the writings of the school of Schelling, and observe the constructions that are built up out of abstractions like finite and infinite being, non-being, other being activity, hindrance, product determining, being determined, deter- minateness limit, limiting, being limited unity, plurality, multiplicity identity, diversity, indifference thinking, being, essence, &c. Not only does all that has been said above hold good of constructions out of such materials, but because an infinite amount can be thought through such wide abstractions, only very little indeed can be thought in them ; they are empty husks. But thus the matter of the whole philosophising becomes astonishingly trifling and paltry, and hence arises that unutterable and excruciating tediousness which is characteristic of all such writings. If indeed I now chose to call to mind the way in which Hegel and his companions have abused such wide and empty abstractions, I should have to fear that


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"both the reader and I myself would be ill ; for the most nauseous tediousness hangs over the empty word-juggling of this loathsome philophaster.

That in practical philosophy also no wisdom is brought to light from mere abstract conceptions is the one thing to be learnt from the ethical dissertations of the theologian Schleiermacher, with the delivery of which he has wearied the Berlin Academy for a number of years, and which are shortly to appear in a collected form. In them only abstract conceptions, such as duty, virtue, highest good, moral law, &c., are taken as the starting-point, without further introduction than that they commonly occur in ethical systems, and are now treated as given realities. He then discusses these from all sides with great subtilty, but, on the other hand, never makes for the source of these conceptions, for the thing itself, the actual human life, to which alone they are related, from which they ought to be drawn, and with which morality has, properly speaking, to do. On this account these diatribes are just as unfruit ful and useless as they are tedious, which is saying a great deal. At all times we find persons, like this theologian, who is too fond of philosophising, famous while they are alive, afterwards soon forgotten. My advice is rather to read those whose fate has been the opposite of this, for time is short and valuable.

Now although, in accordance with all that has been said, wide, abstract conceptions, which can be realised in no perception, must never be the source of knowledge, the starting-point or the proper material of philosophy, yet sometimes particular results of philosophy are such as can only be thought in the abstract, and cannot be proved by any perception. Knowledge of this kind will certainly only be half knowledge ; it will, as it were, only point out the place where what is to be known lies ; but this remains concealed. Therefore we should only be satisfied with such conceptions in the most extreme case, and when we have reached the limit of the knowledge possible to


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our faculties. An example of this might perhaps be the conception of a being out of time ; such as the proposi tion : the indestructibility of our true being by death is not a continued existence of it. With conceptions of this sort the firm ground which supports our whole knowledge, the perceptible, seems to waver. Therefore philosophy may certainly at times, and in case of necessity, extend to such knowledge, but it must never begin with it.

The working with wide abstractions, which is con demned above, to the entire neglect of the perceptive knowledge from which they are drawn, and which is therefore their permanent and natural controller, was at all times the principal source of the errors of dogmatic philosophy. A science constructed from the mere com parison of conceptions, that is, from general principles, could only be certain if all its principles were synthetical a priori, as is the case in mathematics : for only such admit of no exceptions. If, on the other hand, the prin ciples have any empirical content, we must keep this con stantly at hand, to control the general principles. For no truths which are in any way drawn from experience are ever unconditionally true. They have therefore only an approximately universal validity ; for here there is no rule without an exception. If now I link these principles together by means of the intersection of their concept- spheres, one conception might very easily touch the other precisely where the exception lies. But if this happens even only once in the course of a long train of reasoning, the whole structure is loosed from its foundation and moves in the air. If, for example, I say, " The ruminants have no front incisors," and apply this and what follows from it to the camel, it all becomes false, for it only holds good of horned ruminants. What Kant calls das Ver- nunfteln, mere abstract reasoning, and so often condemns, is just of this sort. For it consists simply in subsuming conceptions under conceptions, without reference to their origin, and without proof of the correctness and exclusive-


264 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VII.

ness of such subsumption a method whereby we can arrive by longer or shorter circuits at almost any result we choose to set before us as our goal. Hence this mere abstract reasoning differs only in degree from sophistica tion strictly so called. But sophistication is in the theo retical sphere exactly what chicanery is in the practical. Yet even Plato himself has very frequently permitted such mere abstract reasoning; and Proclus, as we have already mentioned, has, after the manner of all imitators, carried this fault of his model much further. Dionysius the Areopagite, " De Divinis Nominibus" is also strongly af fected with this. But even in the fragments of the Eleatic Melissus we already find distinct examples of such mere abstract reasoning (especially 2-5 in Brandis " Comment. Meat.) His procedure with the conceptions, which never touch the reality from which they have their content, but, moving in the atmosphere of abstact universality, pass away beyond it, resembles blows which never hit the mark. A good pattern of such mere abstract reasoning is the " De Diis et Mundo " of the philosopher Sallustius Biichelchen ; especially chaps. 7, 12, and 17. But a perfect gem of philosophical mere abstract reasoning passing into decided sophistication is the following reasoning of the Platonist, Maximus of Tyre, which I shall quote, as it is short : " Every injustice is the taking away of a good. There is no other good than virtue : but virtue cannot be taken away : thus it is not possible that the virtuous can suffer injustice from the wicked. It now remains either that no injustice can be suffered, or that it is suffered by the wicked from the wicked. But the wicked man possesses no good at all, for only virtue is a good ; therefore none can be taken from him. Thus he also can suffer no in justice. Thus injustice is an impossible thing." The original, which is less concise through repetitions, runs thus : " ABiKia ecm a<j)aipecris ayadov TO Be a^aOov n av etrj a\\o 77 apery ; f) 8e apery ava(f>aiperov. OVK a rai TOLVVV o rrjv aperrjv e^a>v, f] OVK eariv aSircia


CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE. 265


ayadov ovSev <yap cvyadov a(f>ai,peTov, ov^ -^aTro^XTjTOV, ov eXerov, ov8e \7)icnov. Etev ovv, ouS aSifceir To?, ovS VTTO TOV fjto%0i)pov ava(j)aipeTO<> yap. TOLVVV TJ fjLrjSeva aSiKeicrdat, Kada7ra, 77 rov no^drjpov VTTO TOV o/Jbotov aXXa -T&) fjio^drjpa) ofSe^o? /ierecrrty ayadow TI Se aSiKta rjv ajadov affxtipecris 6 Se /j,rj e^cof o, ri a<f>ai,- peadij, ovSe ei? 6, TI aSifcrjcrOrj, e^et" (Scrmo 2). I shall add further a modern example of such proofs from abstract conceptions, by means of which an obviously absurd proposition is set up as the truth, and I shall take it from the works of a great man, Giordano Bruno. In his book, "Del Infinite* Universo & Mondi" (p. 87 of the edition of A. Wagner), he makes an Aristotelian prove (with the assistance and exaggeration of the passage of Aristotle s De Casio, i. 5) that there can loe.no space beyond the world. The world is enclosed by the eight spheres of Aristotle, and beyond these there can be no space. For if beyond these there were still a body, it must either be simple or compound. It is now proved sophistically, from principles which are obviously begged, that no simple body could be there ; and therefore, also, no compound body, for it would necessarily be com posed of simple ones. Thus in general there can be no body there but if not, then no space. For space is defined as " that in which bodies can be ; " and it has just been proved that no body can be there. Thus there is also there no space. This last is the final stroke of this proof from abstract conceptions. It ultimately rests on the fact that the proposition, " Where no space is, there can be no body " is taken as a universal negative, and there fore converted simply, " Where no body can be there is no space." But the former proposition, when properly re garded, is a universal affirmative : " Everything that has no space has no body," thus it must not be converted simply. Yet it is not every proof from abstract con ceptions, with a conclusion which clearly contradicts perception (as here the fmiteness of space), that can thus


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be referred to a logical error. For the sophistry does not always lie in the form, but often in the matter, in the premisses, and in the indefiniteness of the conceptions and their extension. We find numerous examples of this in Spinoza, whose method indeed it is to prove from concep tions. See, for example, the miserable sophisms in his " Ethics," P. iv., prop. 29-31, by means of the ambiguity of the uncertain conceptions convenire and commune habere, Yet this does not prevent the neo-Spinozists of our own day from taking all that he has said for gospel. Of these the Hegelians, of whom there are actually still a few, are specially amusing on account of their traditional reverence for his principle, omnis determinatio est negatio, at which, according to the charlatan spirit of the school, they put on a face as if it was able to unhinge the world ; whereas it is of no use at all, for even the simplest can see for himself that if I limit anything by determinations, I thereby exclude and thus negate what lies beyond these limits.

Thus in all mere reasonings of the above kind it be comes very apparent what errors that algebra with mere conceptions, uncontrolled by perception, is exposed to, and that therefore perception is for our intellect what the firm ground upon which it stands is for our body : if we forsake perception everything is instabilis tellus, innabilis unda. The reader will pardon the fulness of these exposi tions and examples on account of their instructiveness. I have sought by means of them to bring forward and support the difference, indeed the opposition, between per ceptive and abstract or reflected knowledge, which has hitherto been too little regarded, and the establishment of which is a fundamental characteristic of my philosophy. For many phenomena of our mental life are only ex plicable through this distinction. The connecting link between these two such different kinds of knowledge is the faculty of judgment, as I have shown in 14 of the first volume. This faculty is certainly also active


CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE. 267

in the province of mere abstract knowledge, in which it compares conceptions only with conceptions ; therefore every judgment, in the logical sense of the word, is cer tainly a work of the faculty of judgment, for it always consists in the subsumption of a narrower conception under a wider one. Yet this activity of the faculty of judgment, in which it merely compares conceptions with each other, is a simpler and easier task than when it makes the transi tion from what is quite particular, the perception, to the essentially general, the conception. For by the analysis of conceptions into their essential predicates it must be possible to decide upon purely logical grounds whether they are capable of being united or not, arid for this the mere reason which every one possesses is sufficient. The faculty of judgment is therefore only active here in short ening this process, for he who is gifted with it sees at a glance what others only arrive at through a series of re flections. But its activity in the narrower sense really only appears when what is known through perception, thus the real experience, has to be carried over into distinct abstract knowledge, subsumed under accurately corre sponding conceptions, and -thus translated into reflected rational knowledge. It is therefore this faculty which has to establish the firm basis of all sciences, which always consists of what is known directly and cannot be further denied. Therefore here, in the fundamental judgments, lies the difficulty of the sciences, not in the inferences from these. To infer is easy, to judge is difficult. False inferences are rare, false judgments are always the order of the day. Not less in practical life has the faculty of judgment to give the decision in all fundamental conclu sions and important determinations. Its office is in the main like that of the judicial sentence. As the burning- glass brings to a focus all the sun s rays, so when the understanding works, the intellect has to bring together all the data which it has upon the subject so closely that the understanding comprehends them at a glance, which


268 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VII.

it now rightly fixes, and then carefully makes the result distinct to itself. Further, the great difficulty of judging in most cases depends upon the fact that we have to proceed from the consequent to the reason, a path which is always uncertain ; indeed I have shown that the source of all error lies here. Yet in all the empirical sciences, and also in the affairs of real life, this way is for the most part the only one open to us. The experiment is an attempt to go over it again the other way; therefore it is decisive, and at least brings out error clearly ; provided always that it is rightly chosen and honestly carried out; not like Newton s experiments in connection with the theory of colours. But the experiment itself must also again be judged. The complete certainty of the a priori sciences, logic and mathematics, depends principally upon the fact that in them the path from the reason to the consequent is open to us, and it is always certain. This gives them the character of purely objective sciences, i.e., sciences with regard to whose truths all who understand them must judge alike ; and this is all the more remarkable as they are the very sciences which rest on the subjective forms of the intellect, while the empirical sciences alone have to do with what is palpably objective.

Wit and ingenuity are also manifestations of the faculty of judgment; in the former its activity is reflective, in the latter subsuming. In most men the faculty of judgment is only nominally present ; it is a kind of irony that it is reckoned with the normal faculties of the mind, instead of being only attributed to the monstris per excessum. Ordinary men show even in the smallest affairs want of confidence in their own judgment, just because they know from experience that it is of no service. With them pre judice and imitation take its place ; and thus they are kept in a state of continual non-age, from which scarcely one in many hundreds is delivered. Certainly this is not avowed, for even to themselves they appear to judge ; but all the time they are glancing stealthily at the opinion of others,


CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT KNOWLEDGE. 269

which is their secret standard. While each one would be ashamed to go about in a borrowed coat, hat, or mantle, they all have nothing but borrowed opinions, which they eagerly collect wherever they can find them, and then strut about giving them out as their own. Others borrow them again from them and do the same thing. This ex plains the rapid and wide spread of errors, and also the fame of what is bad ; for the professional purveyors of opinion, such as journalists and the like, give as a rule only false wares, as those who hire out masquerading dresses give only false jewels.


( 270 )


CHAPTEE VIII. 1

ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS.

MY theory of the ludicrous also depends upon the op position explained in the preceding chapters between perceptible and abstract ideas, which I have brought into such marked prominence. Therefore what has still to be said in explanation of this theory finds its proper place here, although according to the order of the text it would have to come later.

The problem of the origin, which is everywhere the same, and hence of the peculiar significance of laughter, was already known to Cicero, but only to be at once dismissed as insoluble (De Orat., ii. 58). The oldest attempt known to me at a psychological explanation of laughter is to be found in Hutcheson s " Introduction into Moral Philosophy," Bk. I., ch. i. 14. A somewhat later anonymous work, " TraiU des Causes Physiques et Morals du Hire," 1768, is not without merit as a ventila tion of the subject. Platner, in his " Anthropology," 894, has collected the opinions of the philosophers from Home to Kant who have attempted an explanation of this phenomenon peculiar to human nature. Kant s and Jean Paul s theories of the ludicrous are well known. I regard it as unnecessary to prove their incorrectness, for whoever tries to refer given cases of the ludicrous to them will in the great majority of instances be at once convinced of their insufficiency.

According to my explanation given in the first volume,

1 This chapter is connected with 13 of the first volume.


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 271

the source of the ludicrous is always the paradoxical, and therefore unexpected, subsumption of an object under a conception which in other respects is different from it, and accordingly the phenomenon of laughter always signifies the sudden apprehension of an incongruity between such a conception and the real object thought under it, thus between the abstract and the concrete object of perception. The greater and more unexpected, in the apprehension of the laugher, this incongruity is, the more violent will be his laughter. Therefore in everything that excites laughter it must always be possible to show a conception and a particular, that is, a thing or event, which certainly can be subsumed under that conception, and therefore thought through it, yet in another and more predominating aspect does not belong to it at all, but is strikingly different from every thing else that is thought through that conception. If, as often occurs, especially in witticisms, instead of such a real object of perception, the conception of a sub ordinate species is brought under the higher conception of the genus, it will yet excite laughter only through the fact that the imagination realises it, i.e., makes a perceptible representative stand for it, and thus the con flict between what is thought and what is perceived takes place. Indeed if we wish to understand this perfectly explicitly, it is possible to trace everything ludicrous to a syllogism in the first figure, with an undisputed major and an unexpected minor, which to a certain extent is only sophistically valid, in consequence of which con nection the conclusion partakes of the quality of the ludicrous.

In the first volume I regarded it as superfluous to illus trate this theory by examples, for every one can do this for himself by a little reflection upon cases of the ludicrous which he remembers. Yet, in order to come to the assist ance of the mental inertness of those readers who prefer always to remain in a passive condition, I will accommodate


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myself to them. Indeed in tins third edition I wish to multiply and accumulate examples, so that it may be indisputable that here, after so many fruitless earlier attempts, the true theory of the ludicrous is given, and the problem which was proposed and also given up by Cicero is definitely solved.

If we consider that an angle requires two lines meeting so that if they are produced they will intersect each other ; on the other hand, that the tangent of a circle only touches it at one point, but at this point is really parallel to it ; and accordingly have present to our minds the abstract conviction of the impossibility of an angle be tween the circumference of a circle and its tangent ; and if now such an angle lies visibly before us upon paper, this will easily excite a smile. The ludicrousness in this case is exceedingly weak ; but yet the source of it in the incongruity of what is thought and perceived appears in it with exceptional distinctness. When we discover such an incongruity, the occasion for laughter that thereby arises is, according as we pass from the real, i.e., the perceptible, to the conception, or conversely from the conception to the real, either a witticism or an absurdity, which in a higher degree, and especially in the practical sphere, is folly, as was explained in the text. Now to consider examples of the first case, thus of wit, we shall first of all take the familiar anecdote of the Gascon at whom the king laughed when he saw him in light summer clothing in the depth of winter, and who thereupon said to the king : " If your Majesty had put on what I have, you would find it very warm ; " and on being asked what he had put on, replied : " My whole wardrobe ! " Under this last conception we have to think both the unlimited wardrobe of a king and the single summer coat of a poor devil, the sight of which upon his freezing body shows its great incongruity with the conception. The audience in a theatre in Paris once called for the " Marseillaise " to be played, and as this was not done, began shrieking and


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 273

howling, so that at last a commissary of police in uniform came upon the stage and explained that it was not allowed that anything should be .given in the theatre except what was in the playbill. Upon this a voice cried : " Et vous, Monsieur, etes-vous aussi sur Hafficke, ? " a hit which was received with universal laughter. For here the sub- sumption of what is heterogeneous is at once distinct and unforced. The epigramme :

" Bav is the true shepherd of whom the Bible spake : Though his flock be all asleep, he alone remains awake : "

subsumes, under the conception of a sleeping flock and a waking shepherd, the tedious preacher who still bellows on unheard when he has sent all the people to sleep. Analogous to this is the epitaph on a doctor : " Here lies he like a hero, and those he has slain lie around him ; " it subsumes under the conception, honourable to the hero, of " lying surrounded by dead bodies," the doctor, who is supposed to preserve life. Very commonly the witticism consists in a single expression, through which only the conception is given, under which the case presented can be subsumed, though it is very different from everything else that is thought under it. So is it in " Romeo " when the vivacious Mercutio answers his friends who promise to visit him on the morrow : " Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man." Under this conception a dead man is here subsumed ; but in English there is also a play upon the words, for " a grave man " means both a serious man and a man of the grave. Of this kind is also the well-known anecdote of the actor Unzelmaun. In the Berlin theatre he was strictly forbidden to im provise. Soon afterwards he had to appear on the stage on horseback, and just as he came on the stage the horse dunged, at which the audience began to laugh, but laughed much more when Unzelmann said to the horse : " What are you doing ? Don t you know we are forbidden to improvise ? " Here the subsumption of the heterogeneous VOL. ii. s


274 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VIII.

under the more general conception is very distinct, but the witticism is exceedingly happy, and the ludicrous effect produced by it excessively strong. To this class also belongs the following announcement from Hall in a news paper of March 1851: " The band of Jewish swindlers to which we have referred were again delivered over to us with obligate accompaniment." This subsuming of a police escort under a musical term is very happy, though it approaches the mere play upon words. On the other hand, it is exactly a case of the kind we are considering when Saphir, in a paper-war with the actor Angeli, de scribes him as " Angeli, who is equally great in mind and body." The small statue of the actor was known to the whole town, and thus under the conception " great " unusual smallness was presented to the mind. Also when the same Saphir calls the airs of a new opera " good old friends," and so brings the quality which is most to be condemned under a conception which is usually employed to commend. Also, if we should say of a lady whose favour could be influenced by presents, that she knew how to combine the utile with the dulci. For here we bring the moral life tinder the conception of a rule which Horace has recommended in an aesthetical refer ence. Also if to signify a brothel we should call it the " modest abode of quiet joys." Good society, in order to be thoroughly insipid, has forbidden all decided utter ances, and therefore all strong expressions. Therefore it is wont, when it has to signify scandalous or in any way indecent things, to mitigate or extenuate them by expressing them through general conceptions. But in this way it happens that they are more or less incongruously subsumed, and in a corresponding degree the effect of the ludicrous is produced. To this class belongs the use of utile dulci referred to above, and also such expressions as the following : " He had unpleasantness at the ball when he w as thrashed and kicked out ; or, " He has done too well " when he is drunk ; and also, " The woman has


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 275

weak moments " if she is unfaithful to her husband, &c. Equivocal sayings also belong to the same class. They are conceptions which in themselves contain nothing improper, but yet the case brought under them leads to an improper idea. They are very common in society. But a perfect example of a full and magnificent equi vocation is Shenstone s incomparable epitaph on a justice of the peace, which, in its high-flown lapidary style, seems to speak of noble and sublime things, while under each of their conceptions something quite different is to be sub sumed, which only appears in the very last word as the unexpected key to the whole, and the reader discovers with loud laughter that he has only read a very obscene equivocation. In this smooth-combed age it is altogether impossible to quote this here, not to speak of translating it ; it will be found in Shenstone s poetical works, under the title " Inscription." Equivocations sometimes pass over into mere puns, about which all that is necessary has been said in the text.

Further, the ultimate subsumption, ludicrous to all, of what in one respect is heterogeneous, under a conception which in other respects agrees with it, may take place contrary to our intention. Eor example, one of the free negroes in North America, who take pains to imitate the whites in everything, quite recently placed an epitaph over his dead child which begins, " Lovely, early broken lily." If, on the contrary, something real and perceptible is, with direct intention, brought under the conception of its opposite, the result is plain, common irony. For example, if when it is raining hard we say, " Nice weather we are having to-day ; " or if we say of an ugly bride, " That man has found a charming treasure ; " or of a knave, " This honest man," &c. &c. Only children and quite un educated people will laugh at such things ; for here the incongruity between what is thought and what is per ceived is total. Yet just in this direct exaggeration in the production of the ludicrous its fundamental character,


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incongruity, appears very distinctly. This species of the ludicrous is, on account of its exaggeration and distinct intention, in some respects related to parody. The pro cedure of the latter consists in this. It substitutes for the incidents and words of a serious poem or drama insignifi cant low persons or trifling motives and actions. It thus subsumes the commonplace realities which it sets forth under the lofty conceptions given in the theme, under which in a certain respect they must come, while in other respects they are very incongruous ; and thereby the con trast between what is perceived and what is thought appears very glaring. There is no lack of familiar ex amples of this, and therefore I shall only give one, from the " Zobeide " of Carlo Gozzi, act iv., scene 3, where the famous stanza of Ariosto (Orl. Fur., i. 22), " Oh gran bonta de cavalicri antichi," &c., is put word for word into the mouth of two clowns who have just been thrashing each other, and tired with this, lie quietly side by side. This is also the nature of the application so popular in Ger many of serious verses, especially of Schiller, to trivial events, which clearly contains a subsumption of hetero geneous things under the general conception which the verse expresses. Thus, for example, when any one has displayed a very characteristic trait, there will rarely be wanting some one to say, " From that I know with whom I have to do." But it was original and very witty of a man who was in love with a young bride to quote to the newly married couple (I know not how loudly) the con cluding words of Schiller s ballad, " The Surety : "

" Let me be, I pray you, In your bond the third."

The effect of the ludicrous is here strong and inevitable, because under the conceptions through which Schiller presents to the mind a moral and noble relation, a for bidden and immoral relation is subsumed, and yet cor rectly and without change, thus is thought through it.


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 277

In all the examples of wit given here we find that under a conception, or in general an abstract thought, a real thing is, directly, or by means of a narrower conception, subsumed, which indeed, strictly speaking, comes under it, and yet is as different as possible from the proper and original intention and tendency of the thought. Accord ingly wit, as a mental capacity, consists entirely in a facility for finding for every object that appears a concep tion under which it certainly can be thought, though it is very different from all the other objects which come under this conception.

The second species of the ludicrous follows, as we have mentioned, the opposite path from the abstract conception to the real or perceptible things thought through it. But this now brings to light any incongruity with the concep tion which was overlooked, and hence arises an absurdity, and therefore in the practical sphere a foolish action. Since the play requires action, this species of the ludicrous is essential to comedy. Upon this depends the observa tion of Voltaire : " J*ai cru remarquer aux spectacles, qu il ne s e leve presque jamais de ccs Eclats de rire universels, qu a I occasion d une M^PRISE" (Preface de I! Enfant Prodiyue). The following may serve as examples of this species of the ludicrous. When some one had declared that he was fond of walking alone, an Austrian said to him : " You like walking alone ; so do I : therefore we can go together." He starts from the conception, "A pleasure which two love they can enjoy in common," and subsumes under it the very case which excludes community. Further, the servant who rubbed a worn sealskin in his master s box with Macassar oil, so that it might become covered with hair again ; in doing which he started from the con ception, " Macassar oil makes hair grow." The soldiers in the guard-room who allowed a prisoner who was brought in to join in their game of cards, then quarrelled with him for cheating, and turned him out. They let them selves be led by the general conception, " Bad companions


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are turned out," and forget that he is also a prisoner, i.e., one whom they ought to hold fast. Two young peasants had loaded their gun with coarse shot, which they wished to extract, in order to substitute fine, without losing the powder. So one of them put the mouth of the barrel in his hat, which he took between his legs, and said to the other : " Now you pull the trigger slowly, slowly, slowly ; then the shot will come first." He starts from the concep tion, " Prolonging the cause prolongs the effect." Most of the actions of Don Quixote are also cases in point, for he subsumes the realities he encounters under conceptions drawn from the romances of chivalry, from which they are very different. For example, in order to support the oppressed he frees the galley slaves. Properly all Munch- hausenisms are also of this nature, only they are not actions which are performed, but impossibilities, which are passed off upon the hearer as having really happened. In them the fact is always so conceived that when it is thought merely in the abstract, and therefore compara tively a priori, it appears possible and plausible ; but afterwards, if we come down to the perception of the parti cular case, thus a posteriori the impossibility of the thing, indeed the absurdity of the assumption, is brought into prominence, and excites laughter through the evident incongruity of what is perceived and what is thought. For example, when the melodies frozen up in the post- horn are thawed in the warm room when Miinchhausen, sitting upon a tree during a hard frost, draws up his knife which has dropped to the ground by the frozen jet of his own water, &c. Such is also the story of the two lions who broke down the partition between them during the night and devoured each other in their rage, so that in the morning there was nothing to be found but the two tails.

There are also cases of the ludicrous where the concep tion under which the perceptible facts are brought does not require to be expressed or signified, but comes into


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 279

consciousness itself through the association of ideas. The laughter into which Garrick burst in the middle of playing tragedy because a butcher in the front of the pit, who had taken off his wig to wipe the sweat from his head, placed the wig for a while upon his large dog, who stood facing the stage with his fore paws resting on the pit railings, was occasioned by the fact that Garrick started from the conception of a spectator, which was added in. his own mind. This is the reason why certain animal forms, such as apes, kangaroos, jumping-hares, &c., some times appear to us ludicrous because something about them resembling man leads us to subsume them under the conception of the human form, and starting from this we perceive their incongruity with it.

Now the conceptions whose observed incongruity with the perceptions moves us to laughter are either those of others or our own. In the first case we laugh at others, in the second we feel a surprise, often agreeable, at the least amusing. Therefore children and uneducated people laugh at the most trifling things, even at misfor tunes, if they were unexpected, and thus convicted their preconceived conception of error. As a rule laughing is a pleasant condition ; accordingly the apprehension of the incongruity between what is thought and what is perceived, that is, the real, gives us pleasure, and we give ourselves up gladly to the spasmodic convulsions which this ap prehension excites. The reason of this is as follows. In every suddenly appearing conflict between what is per ceived and what is thought, what is perceived is always unquestionably right ; for it is not subject to error at all, requires no confirmation from without, but answers for itself. Its conflict with what is thought springs ultimately from the fact that the latter, with its abstract concep tions, cannot get down to the infinite multifariousness and fine shades of difference of the concrete. This victory of knowledge of perception over thought affords us pleasure. For perception is the original kind of knowledge insepar-


2 8o FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VIII.

able from animal nature, in which everything that gives direct satisfaction to the will presents itself. It is the medium of the present, of enjoyment and gaiety ; more over it is attended with no exertion. With thinking the opposite is the case ; it is the second power of knowledge, the exercise of which always demands some, and often considerable, exertion. Besides, it is the conceptions of thought that often oppose the gratification of our imme diate desires, for, as the medium of the past, the future, and of seriousness, they are the vehicle of our fears, our re pentance, and all our cares. It must therefore be divert ing to us to see this strict, untiring, troublesome governess, the reason, for once convicted of insufficiency. On this account then the mien or appearance of laughter is very closely related to that of joy.

On account of the want of reason, thus of general con ceptions, the brute is incapable of laughter, as of speech. This is therefore a prerogative and characteristic mark of man. Yet it may be remarked in passing that his one friend the dog has an analogous characteristic action peculiar to him alone in distinction from all other brutes, the very expressive, kindly, and thoroughly honest fawning and wagging of its tail. But how favourably does this salutation given him by nature compare with the bows and simpering civilities of men. At least for the present, it is a thousand times more reliable than their assurance of inward friendship and devotion.

The opposite of laughing and joking is seriousness. Accordingly it consists in the consciousness of the perfect agreement and congruity of the conception, or thought, with what is perceived, or the reality. The serious man is convinced that he thinks the things as they are, and that they are as he thinks them. This is just why the transition from profound seriousness to laughter is so easy, and can be effected by trifles. For the more perfect that agreement assumed by seriousness may seem to be, the more easily is it destroyed by the unexpected discovery


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 281

of even a slight incongruity. Therefore the more a man is capable of entire seriousness, the more heartily can he laugh. Men whose laughter is always affected and forced are intellectually and morally of little worth ; and in general the way of laughing, and, on the other hand, the occasions of it, are very characteristic of the person. That the relations of the sexes afford the easiest materials for jokes always ready to hand and within the reach of the weakest wit, as is proved by the abundance of obscene jests, could not be if it were not that the deepest serious ness lies at their foundation.

That the laughter of others at what we do or say seri ously offends us so keenly depends on the fact that it asserts that there is a great incongruity between our con ceptions and the objective realities. For the same reason, the predicate " ludicrous " or " absurd " is insulting. The laugh of scorn announces with triumph to the baffled adversary how incongruous were the conceptions he cherished with the reality which is now revealing itself to him. Our own bitter laughter at the fearful disclosure of the truth through which our firmly cherished expecta tions are proved to be delusive is the active expression of the discovery now made of the incongruity between the thoughts which, in our foolish confidence in man or fate, we entertained, and the truth which is now unveiled.

The intentionally ludicrous is the joke. It is the effort to bring about a discrepancy between the conceptions of another and the reality by disarranging one of the two ; while its opposite, seriousness, consists in the exact con formity of the two to each other, which is at least aimed at. But if now the joke is concealed behind serious ness, then we have irony. For example, if with apparent seriousness we acquiesce in the opinions of another which are the opposite of our own, and pretend to share them with him, till at last the result perplexes him both as to us and them. This is the attitude of Socrates as opposed to Hippias, Protagoras, Gorgias, and other sophists, and


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indeed often to his collocutors in general. The converse of irony is accordingly seriousness concealed behind a joke, and this is humour. It might be called the double counterpoint of irony. Explanations such as " Humour is the interpenetration of the finite and the infinite " express nothing more than the entire incapacity for thought of those who are satisfied with such empty phrases. Irony is objective, that is, intended for another ; but humour is subjective, that is, it primarily exists only for one s own self. Accordingly we find the masterpieces of irony among the ancients, but those of humour among the moderns. For, more closely considered, humour depends upon a subjective, yet serious and sublime mood, which is in voluntarily in conflict with a common external world very different from itself, which it cannot escape from and to which it will not give itself up ; therefore, as an accom modation, it tries to think its own point of view and that external world through the same conceptions ; and thus a double incongruity arises, sometimes on the one side, sometimes on the other, between these concepts and the realities thought through them. Hence the impression of the intentionally ludicrous, thus of the joke, is produced, behind which, however, the deepest seriousness is con cealed and shines through. Irony begins with a serious air and ends with a smile ; with humour the order is reversed. The words of Mercutio quoted above may serve as an example of humour. Also in "Hamlet" Polonius : " My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you. Hamlet : You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal, except my life, except my life, except my life." Again, before the introduction of the play at court, Hamlet says to Ophelia : " What should a man do but be merry ? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours. Ophelia: Nay, tis twice two months, my lord. Hamlet : So long ? Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I ll have a suit of sables."


ON THE THEORY OF THE LUDICROUS. 283

Again, in Jean Paul s " Titan," when Schoppe, melancholy and now brooding over himself, frequently looking at his hands, says to himself, " There sits a lord in bodily reality, and I in him ; but who is such ? " Heinrich Heine appears as a true humourist in his " Romancero." Behind all his jokes and drollery we discern a profound serious ness, which is ashamed to appear unveiled. Accordingly humour depends upon a special kind of mood or temper (German, Laune, probably from Luna) through which conception in all its modifications, a decided predomi nance of the subjective over the objective in the appre hension of the external world, is thought. Moreover, every poetical or artistic presentation of a comical, or indeed even a farcical scene, through which a serious thought yet glimmers as its concealed background, is a production of humour, thus is humorous. Such, for example, is a coloured drawing of Tischbein s, which represents an empty room, lighted only by the blazing fire in the grate. Before the fire stands a man with his coat off, in such a position that his shadow, going out from his feet, stretches across the whole room. Tischbein comments thus on the drawing : " This is a man who has succeeded in nothing in the world, and who has made nothing of it; now he rejoices that he can throw such a large shadow." Now, if I had to express the serious ness that lies concealed behind this jest, I could best do so by means of the following verse taken from the Persian poem of Anwari Soheili :

" If them hast lost possession of a world,

Be not distressed, for it is nought ; Or hast thou gained possession of a world,

Be not o erjoyed, for it is nought. Our pains, our gains, all pass away ;

Get thee beyond the world, for it is nought."

That at the present day the word homorous is generally iised in German literature in the sense of comical arises from the miserable desire to give things a more distin-


284 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER VIII.

guished name than belongs to them, the name of a class that stands above them. Thus every inn must be called a hotel, every money-changer a banker, every concert a musical academy, the merchant s counting-house a bureau, the potter an artist in clay, and therefore also every clown a humourist. The word humour is borrowed from the English to denote a quite peculiar species of the ludicrous, which indeed, as was said above, is related to the sublime, and which was first remarked by them. But it is not intended to be used as the title for all kinds of jokes and buffoonery, as is now universally the case in Germany, without opposition from men of letters and scholars ; for the true conception of that modification, that tendency of the mind, that child of the sublime and the ridiculous, would be too subtle and too high for their public, to please which they take pains to make everything flat and vulgar. Well, "high words and a low meaning" is in general the motto of the noble present, and accordingly now-a-days he is called a humourist who was formerly called a buffoon.


CHAPTEE IX. 1

ON LOGIC IN GENERAL.

LOGIC, Dialectic, and Ehetoric go together, because they make up the whole of a technic of reason, and under this title they ought also to be taught Logic as the technic of our own thinking, Dialectic of disputing with others, and Ehetoric of speaking to many (concionatio) ; thus cor responding to the singular, dual, and plural, and to the monologue, the dialogue, and the panegyric.

Under Dialectic I understand, in agreement with Aris totle (Metaph., iii. 2, and Analyt. Post., i. n), the art of conversation directed to the mutual investigation of truth, especially philosophical truth. But a conversation of this kind necessarily passes more or less into controversy ; therefore dialectic may also be explained as the art of disputation. We have examples and patterns of dialectic in the Platonic dialogues ; but for the special theory of it, thus for the technical rules of disputation, eristics, very little has hitherto been accomplished. I have worked out an attempt of the kind, and given an example of it, in the second volume of the " Parerga," therefore I shall pass over the exposition of this science altogether here.

In Ehetoric the rhetorical figures are very much what the syllogistic figures are in Logic ; at all events they are worth considering. In Aristotle s time they seem to have not yet become the object of theoretical investigation, for he does not treat of them in any of his rhetorics, and in

1 This chapter and the one which follows it are connected with 9 of the first volume.


286 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER IX.

this reference we are referred to Eutilius Lupus, the epito- miser of a later Gorgias.

All the three sciences have this in common, that with out having learned them we follow their rules, which indeed are themselves first abstracted from this natural employment of them. Therefore, although they are of great theoretical interest, they are of little practical use ; partly because, though they certainly give the rule, they do not give the case of its application ; partly because in practice there is generally no time to recollect the rules. Thus they teach only what every one already knows and practises of his own accord ; but yet the abstract know ledge of this is interesting and important. Logic will not easily have a practical value, at least for our own thinking. For the errors of our own reasoning scarcely ever lie in the inferences nor otherwise in the form, but in the judg ments, thus in the matter of thought. In controversy, on the other hand, we can sometimes derive some practical use from logic, by taking the more or less intentionally deceptive argument of our opponent, which he advances under the garb and cover of continuous speech, and referring it to the strict form of regular syllogisms, and thus convicting it of logical errors ; for example, simple conversion of universal affirmative judgments, syllogisms with four terms, inferences from the consequent to the reason, syllogisms in the second figure with merely affir mative premisses, and many such.

It seems to me that the doctrine of the laws of thought might be simplified if we were only to set up two, the law of excluded middle and that of sufficient reason. The former thus : " Every predicate can either be affirmed or denied of every subject." Here it is already contained in the " either, or " that both cannot occur at once, and con sequently just what is expressed by the laws of identity and contradiction. Thus these would be added as corol laries of that principle which really says that every two concept-spheres must be thought either as united or as


ON LOGIC IN GENERAL. 287

separated, but never as both at once ; and therefore, even although words are brought together which express the latter, these words assert a process of thought which can not be carried out. The consciousness of this infeasibility is the feeling of contradiction. The second law of thought, the principle of sufficient reason, would affirm that the above attributing or denying must be determined by some thing different from the judgment itself, which may be a (pure or empirical) perception, or merely another judg ment. This other and different thing is then called the ground or reason of the judgment. So far as a judgment satisfies the first law of thought, it is thinkable ; so far as it satisfies the second, it is true, or at least in the case in which the ground of a judgment is only another judgment it is logically or formally true. But, finally, material or absolute truth is always the relation between a judgment and a perception, thus between the abstract and the con crete or perceptible idea. This is either an immediate relation or it is brought about by means of other judg ments, i.e., through other abstract ideas. From this it is easy to see that one truth can never overthrow another, but all must ultimately agree ; because in the concrete or perceptible, which is their common foundation, no contra diction is possible. Therefore no truth has anything to fear from other truths. Illusion and error have to fear every truth, because through the logical connection of all truths even the most distant must some time strike its blow at every error. This second law of thought is there fore the connecting link between logic and what is no

o o

longer logic, but the matter of thought. Consequently the agreement of the conceptions, thus of the abstract idea with what is given in the perceptible idea, is, on the side of the object truth, and on the side of the subject knowledge.

To express the union or separation of two concept- spheres referred to above is the work of the copula, " is is not." Through this every verb can be expressed by


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means of its participle. Therefore all judging consists in the use of a verb, and vice versd. Accordingly the signi ficance of the copula is that the predicate is to be thought in the subject, nothing more. Now, consider what the content of the infinitive of the copula " to be " amounts to. But this is a principal theme of the professors of philosophy of the present time. However, we must not be too strict with them ; most of them wish to express by it nothing but material things, the corporeal world, to which, as perfectly innocent realists at the bottom of their hearts, they attribute the highest reality. To speak, how ever, of the bodies so directly appears to them too vulgar ; and therefore they say " being," which they think sounds better, and think in connection with it the tables and chairs standing before them.

" For, because, why, therefore, thus, since, although, in deed, yet, but, if, then, either, or," and more like these, are properly logical particles, for their only end is to express the form of the thought processes. They are therefore a valuable possession of a language, and do not belong to all in equal numbers. Thus "zwar" (the contracted " es ist wahr ") seems to belong exclusively to the German lan guage. It is always connected with an "aler" which follows or is added in thought, as " if " is connected with " then."

The logical rule that, as regards quantity, singular judg ments, that is, judgments which have a singular conception (notio singularis) for their subject, are to be treated as universal judgments, depends upon the circumstance that they are in fact universal judgments, which have merely the peculiarity that their subject is a conception which can only be supported by a single real object, and there fore only contains a single real object under it ; as when the conception is denoted by a proper name. This, how ever, has really only to be considered when we proceed from the abstract idea to the concrete or perceptible, thus seek to realise the conceptions. In thinking itself, in


ON LOGIC IN GENERAL. 289

operating with judgments, this makes no difference, simply because between singular and universal conceptions there is no logical difference. " Immanuel Kant " signifies logi cally, " all Immanuel Kant." Accordingly the quantity of judgments is really only of two kinds universal and particular. An individual idea cannot be the subject of a judgment, because it is not an abstraction, it is not some thing thought, but something perceived. Every concep tion, on the other hand, is essentially universal, and every judgment must have a conception as its subject.

The difference between particular judgments (proposi- tiones particulares) and universal judgments often depends merely on the external and contingent circumstance that the language has no word to express by itself the part that is here to be separated from the general conception which forms the subject of such a judgment. If there were such a word many a particular judgment would be universal. For example, the particular judgment, " Some trees bear gall-nuts," becomes a universal judgment, be cause for this part of the conception, " tree," we have a special word, " All oaks bear gall-nuts." In the same way is the judgment, " Some men are black," related to the judgment, " All negroes are black." Or else this differ ence depends upon the fact that in the mind of him who judges the conception which he makes the subject of the particular judgment has not become clearly separated from the general conception as a part of which he defines it ; otherwise he could have expressed a universal instead of a particular judgment. For example, instead of the judgment, " Some ruminants have upper incisors," this, " All unhorned ruminants have upper incisors."

The liyijotlictical and disjunctive judgments are assertions as to the relation of two (in the case of the disjunctive judgment even several) categorical judgments to each other. The hypothetical judgment asserts that the truth of the second of the two categorical judgments here linked to gether depends upon the truth of the first, arid the

VOL. n. T


290 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER IX.

falseness of the first depends upon the falseness of the second; thus that these two propositions stand in direct community as regards truth and falseness. The disjunctive judgment, on the other hand, asserts that upon the truth of one of the categorical judgments here linked together depends the falseness of the others, and conversely ; thus that these propositions are in conflict as regards truth and falseness. The question is a judgment, one of whose three parts is left open : thus either the copula, " Is Caius a Roman or not ? " or the predicate, " Is Caius a Roman or something else ? " or the subject, " Is Caius a Roman or is it some one else who is a Roman ? " The place of the conception which is left open may also remain quite empty ; for example, " What is Caius ? " " Who is a Roman ? "

The e7ra7&&gt;7?7, inductio, is with Aristotle the opposite of the aTraycayr}. The latter proves a proposition to be false by showing that what would follow from it is not true ; thus by the instantia in contrarium. The eTraywyr), on the other hand, proves the truth of a proposition by showing that what would follow from it is true. Thus it leads by means of examples to our accepting something while the cnrarywyr) leads to our rejecting it. Therefore the eTraywyrj, or induction, is an inference from the con sequents to the reason, and indeed modo ponente ; for from many cases it establishes the rule, from which these cases then in their turn follow. On this account it is never perfectly certain, but at the most arrives at very great probability. However, this formal uncertainty may yet leave room for material certainty through the number of the sequences observed ; in the same way as in mathe matics the irrational relations are brought infinitely near to rationality by means of decimal fractions. The aTrajwyTj, on the contrary, is primarily an inference from the reason to the consequents, though it is afterwards carried out modo tollente, in that it proves the non- existence of a necessary consequent, and thereby destroys


ON LOGIC IN GENERAL. 291

the truth of the assumed reason. On this account it is always perfectly certain, and accomplishes more by a single example in contrarium than the induction does by innumerable examples in favour of the proposition pro pounded. So much easier is it to refute than to prove, to overthrow than to establish.


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CHAPTER X.

OX THE SYLLOGISM.

ALTHOUGH it is very hard to establish a new and correct view of a subject which for more than two thousand years has been handled by innumerable writers, and which, moreover, does not receive additions through the growth of experience, yet this must not deter me from presenting to the thinker for examination the following attempt of this kind.

An inference is that operation of our reason by virtue of which, through the comparison of two judgments a third judgment arises, without the assistance of any knowledge otherwise obtained. The condition of this is that these two judgments have one conception in common, for other wise they are foreign to each other and have no com munity. But under this condition they become the father and mother of a child that contains in itself something of both. Moreover, this operation is no arbitrary act, but an act of the reason, which, when it has considered such judgments, performs it of itself according to its own laws. So far it is objective, not subjective, and therefore subject to the strictest rules.

We may ask in passing whether he who draws an infer ence really learns something new from the new propo sition, something previously unknown to him ? Not absolutely; but yet to a certain extent he does. What he learns lay in what he knew : thus he knew it also, but he did not know that he knew it ; which is as if he had something, but did not know that he had it, and this is


ON THE SYLLOGISM. 293

just the same as if he had it not. He knew it only im- plicite, now he knows it explicite ; but this distinction may be so great that the conclusion appears to him a new truth. For example :

All diamonds are stones ; All diamonds are combustible : Therefore some stones are combustible. The nature of inference consequently consists in this, that we bring it to distinct consciousness that we have already thought in the premisses what is asserted in the con clusion. It is therefore a means of becoming more dis tinctly conscious of one s own knowledge, of learning more fully, or becoming aware of what one knows. The knowledge which is afforded by the conclusion was latent, and therefore had just as little effect as latent heat has on the thermometer. Whoever has salt has also chlorine ; but it is as if he had it not, for it can only act as chlorine if it is chemically evolved ; thus only, then, does he really possess it. It is the same with the gain which a mere conclusion from already known premisses affords : a previ ously bound or latent knowledge is thereby set/ree. These comparisons may indeed seem to be somewhat strained, but yet they really are not. For because we draw many of the possible inferences from our knowledge very soon, very rapidly, and without formality, and therefore have no dis tinct recollection of them, it seems to us as if no premisses for possible conclusions remained long stored up unused, but as if we already had also conclusions prepared for all the premisses within reach of our knowledge. But this is not always the case ; on the contrary, two premisses may have for a long time an isolated existence in the same mind, till at last some occasion brings them together, and then the conclusion suddenly appears, as the spark conies from the steel and the stone only when they are struck together. In reality the premisses assumed from without, both for theoretical insight and for motives, which bring about re solves, often lie for a long time in us, and become, partly


294 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER X.

through half-conscious, and even inarticulate, processes of thought, compared with the rest of our stock of knowledge, reflected upon, and, as it were, shaken up together, till at last the right major finds the right minor, and these imme diately take up their proper places, and at once the conclu sion exists as a light that has suddenly arisen for us, without any action on our part, as if it were an inspiration ; for we cannot comprehend how we and others have so long been in ignorance of it. It is true that in a happily organised mind this process goes on more quickly and easily than in ordinary minds ; and just because it is carried on spon taneously and without distinct consciousness it cannot be learned. Therefore Goethe says : " How easy anything is he knows who has discovered it, he knows who has attained to it." As an illustration of the process of thought here described we may compare it to those padlocks which con sist of rings with letters ; hanging on the box of a travelling carriage, they are shaken so long that at last the letters of the word come together in their order and the lock opens. For the rest, we must also remember that the syllogism consists in the process of thought itself, and the words and propositions through which it is expressed only indicate the traces it has left behind it they are related to it as the sound-figures of sand are related to the notes whose vibrations they express. When we reflect upon something, we collect our data, reduce them to judgments, which are all quickly brought together and compared, and thereby the conclusions which it is possible to draw from them are instantly arrived at by means of the use of all the three syllogistic figures. Yet on account of the great rapidity of this operation only a few words are used, and sometimes none at all, and only the conclusion is formally expressed. Thus it sometimes happens that because in this way, or even merely intuitively, i.e., by a happy apperqu, we have brought some new truth to consciousness, we now treat it as a conclusion and seek premisses for it, that is, we desire to prove it, for as a rule knowledge


ON THE SYLLOGISM. 295

exists earlier than its proofs. We then go through our stock of knowledge in order to see whether we can find some truth in it in which the newly discovered truth was already implicitly contained, or two propositions which would give this as a result if they were brought together according to rule. On the other hand, every judicial proceeding affords a most complete and imposing syllo gism, a syllogism in the first figure. The civil or criminal transgression complained of is the minor ; it is established by the prosecutor. The law applicable to the case is the major. The judgment is the conclusion, which therefore, as something necessary, is "merely recognised" by the judge.

But now I shall attempt to give the simplest and most correct exposition of the peculiar mechanism of inference.

Judging, this elementary and most important process of thought, consists in the comparison of two concep tions ; inference in the comparison of two judgments. Yet ordinarily in text-books inference is also referred to the comparison of conceptions, though of three, because from the relation which two of these conceptions have to a third their relation to each other may be known. Truth cannot be denied to this view also ; and since it affords opportunity for the perceptible demonstration of syllogistic relations by means of drawn concept-spheres, a method approved of by me in the text, it has the advantage of making the matter easily comprehensible. But it seems to me that here, as in so many cases, com- prehensibility is attained at the cost of thoroughness. The real process of thought in inference, with which the three syllogistic figures and their necessity precisely agree, is not thus recognised. In inference we operate not with mere conceptions but with whole judgments, to which quality, which lies only in the copula and not in the conceptions, and also quantity are absolutely essential, and indeed we have further to add modality. That exposition of inference as a relation of three conceptions


296 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER X.

fails in this, that it at once resolves the judgments into their ultimate elements (the conceptions), and thus the means of combining these is lost, and that which is peculiar to the judgments as such and in their complete ness, which is just what constitutes the necessity of the conclusion which follows from them, is lost sight of. It thus falls into an error analogous to that which organic chemistry would commit if, for example, in the analysis of plants it were at once to reduce them to their ultimate elements, when it would find in all plants carbon, hydro gen, and oxygen, but would lose the specific differences, to obtain which it is necessary to stop at their more special elements, the so-called alkaloids, and to take care to analyse these in their turn. From three given concep tions no conclusion can as yet be drawn. It may certainly be said : the relation of two of them to the third must be given with them. But it is just the judgments which combine these conceptions, that are the expression of this relation; thus judgments, not mere conceptions, are the material of the inference. Accordingly inference is essentially a comparison of two judgments. The process of thought in our mind is concerned with these and the thoughts expressed by them, not merely with three con ceptions. This is the case even when this process is imperfectly or not at all expressed in words ; and it is as such, as a bringing together of the complete and un- analysed judgments, that we must consider it in order properly to understand the technical procedure of infer ence. From this there will then also follow the necessity for three really rational syllogistic figures.

As in the exposition of syllogistic reasoning by means of concept- spheres these are presented to the mind under the form of circles, so in the exposition by means of entire judgments we have to think these tinder the form of rods, which, for the purpose of comparison, are held together now by one end, now by the other. The different ways in which this can take place give the three figures.


ON THE SYLLOGISM. 297

Since now every premiss contains its subject and its predicate, these two conceptions are to be imagined as situated at the two ends of each rod. The two judgments are now compared with reference to the two different conceptions in them ; for, as has already been said, the third conception must be the same in both, and is there fore subject to no comparison, but is that with which, that is, in reference to which, the other two are compared ; it is the middle. The latter is accordingly always only the means and not the chief concern. The two different con ceptions, on the other hand, are the subject of reflection, and to find out their relation to each other by means of the judgments in which they are contained is the aim of the syllogism. Therefore the conclusion speaks only of them, not of the middle, which was only a means, a measuring rod, which we let fall as soon as it has served its end. Now if this conception which is identical in both propositions, thus the middle, is the subject of one pre miss, the conception to be compared with it must be the predicate, and conversely. Here at once is established a priori the possibility of three cases ; either the subject of one premiss is compared with the predicate of the other, or the subject of the one with the subject of the other, or, finally, the predicate of the one with the predicate of the other. Hence arise the three syllogistic figures of Aristotle ; the fourth, which was added somewhat im pertinently, is ungenuine and a spurious form. It is attri buted to Galenus, but this rests only on Arabian authority. Each of the three figures exhibits a perfectly different, cor rect, and natural thought-process of the reason in inference. If in the two judgments to be compared the relation be tween the predicate of the one and the subject of the other is the object of the comparison, the first figure appears. This figure alone has the advantage that the conceptions which in the conclusion are subject and predicate both appear already in the same character in the premisses ; while in the two other figures one of them must always


298 FIRST BOOK CHAPTER X.

change its roll in the conclusion. But thus in the first figure the result is always less novel and surprising than in the other two. Now this advantage in the first figure is obtained by the fact that the predicate of the major is compared with the subject of the minor, but not conversely, which is therefore here essential, and involves that the middle should assume both the positions, i.e., it is the sub ject in the major and the predicate in the minor. And from this again arises its subordinate significance, for it appears as a mere weight which we lay at pleasure now in one scale and now in the other. The course of thought in this figure is, that the predicate of the major is attributed to the subject of the minor, because the subject of the major is the predicate of the minor, or, in the negative case, the converse holds for the same reason. Thus here a property is attributed to the things thought through a con ception, because it depends upon another property which we already know they possess ; or conversely. Therefore here the guiding principle is : Nota notcc est nota rei ipsius, et repugnans notce repugnat rei ipsi.

If, on the other hand, we compare two judgments with the intention of bringing out the relation which the sub jects of both may have to each other, we must take as the common measure their predicate. This will accordingly be here the middle, and must therefore be the same in both judgments. Hence arises the second figure. In it the relation of two subjects to each other is determined by that which they have as their common predicate. But this relation can only have significance if the same predi cate is attributed to the one subject and denied of the other, for thus it becomes an essential ground of distinc tion between the two. For if it were attributed to both the subjects this could decide nothing as to their relation to each other, for almost every predicate belongs to innu merable subjects. Still less would it decide this relation if the predicate were denied of both the subjects. From this follows the fundamental characteristic of the second


ON THE SYLLOGISM 299

figure, that the premisses must be of opposite quality ; the one must affirm and the other deny. Therefore here the principal rule is : Sit altcra neyans ; the corollary of which is : E meris affirmativis nihil sequiter; a rule which is some times transgressed in a loose argument obscured by many parenthetical propositions. The course of thought which this figure exhibits distinctly appears from what has been said. It is the investigation of two kinds of things with the view of distinguishing them, thus of establishing that they are not of the same species ; which is here decided by showing that a certain property is essential to the one kind, which the other lacks. That this course of thought assumes the second figure of its own accord, and ex presses itself clearly only in it, will be shown by an example :

All fishes have cold blood ; No whale has cold blood : Thus no whale is a fish.

In the first figure, on the other hand, this thought ex hibits itself in a weak, forced, and ultimately patched-up form :

Nothing that has cold blood is a whale ; All fishes have cold blood : Thus no fish is a whale, And consequently no whale is a fish. Take also an example with an affirmative minor : No Mohamedan is a Jew ; Some Turks are Jews : Therefore some Turks are not Mohamedans. As the guiding principle for this figure I therefore give, for the mood with the negative minor : Cui repugnat nota, etiam rcpugnat notatum; and for the mood with the affirmative minor : Notato rcpugnat id cui nota repugnat. Translated these may be thus combined : Two subjects which stand in opposite relations to one predicate have a negative relation to each other.

The third case is that in which we place two judgments


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together in order to investigate the relation of their predi cates. Hence arises the third figure,in which accordingly the middle appears in both premisses as the subject. It is also here the tertium comparationis, the measure which is ap plied to both the conceptions which are to be investigated, or, as it were, a chemical reagent, with which we test them both in order to learn from their relation to it what relation exists between themselves. Thus, then, the con clusion declares whether a relation of subject and predi cate exists between the two, and to what extent this is the case. Accordingly, what exhibits itself in this figure is reflection concerning two properties which we are in clined to regard either as incompatible, or else as insepa rable, and in order to decide this we attempt to make them the predicates of one subject in two judgments. From this it results either that both properties belong to the same thing, consequently their compatibility, or else that a thing has the one but not the other, consequently their separableness. The former in all moods with two affirmative premisses, the latter in all moods with one negative ; for example :

Some brutes can speak ;

All brutes are irrational :

Therefore some irrational beings can speak. According to Kant (Die Falsche Spitzfiniglceit, 4) this inference would only be conclusive if we added in thought : " Therefore some irrational beings are brutes." But this seems to be here quite superfluous and by no means the natural process of thought. But in order to carry out the same process of thought directly by means of the first figure I must say :

" All brutes are irrational ;

Some beings that can speak are brutes," which is clearly not the natural course of thought; in deed the conclusion which would then follow, " Some beings that can speak are irrational," would have to be converted in order to preserve the conclusion which the


ON THE SYLLOGISM. 301

third figure gives of itself, and at which the whole course of thought has aimed. Let us take another example : All alkalis float in water ; All alkalis are metals : Therefore some metals float in water. When this is transposed into the first figure the minor must be converted, and thus runs : " Some metals are alkalis." It therefore merely asserts that some metals lie

in the sphere "alkalis," thus I Aikaii B .( ) Metais. ), while our actual knowledge is that all alkalis lie in the sphere

/ Metala. >.

" metals," thus : ( / . ] It follows that if the first



figure is to be regarded as the only normal one, in order to think naturally we would have to think less than we know, and to think indefinitely while we know definitely. This assumption has too much against it. Thus in general it must be denied that when we draw inferences in the second and third figures we tacitly convert a proposition. On the contrary, the third, and also the second, figure exhibits just as rational a process of thought as the first. Let us now consider another example of the other class of the third figure, in which the separableness of two predicates is the result ; on account of which one premiss must here be negative :

No Buddhist believes in a God ;

Some Buddhists are rational :

Therefore some rational beings do not believe in a God.

As in the examples given above the compatibility of two properties is the problem of reflection, now their separableness is its problem, which here also must be de cided by comparing them with one subject and showing


3 o2 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER X.

that one of tliern is present in it without the other. Thus the end is directly attained, while by means of the first figure it could only be attained indirectly. For in order to reduce the syllogism to the first figure we must convert the minor, and therefore say : " Some rational beings are Buddhists," which would be only a faulty expression of its meaning, which really is : " Some Buddhists are yet certainly rational."

As the guiding principle of this figure I therefore give : for the affirmative moods: Ejusdem rei notce, modo sit altera univcrsalis, sibi invicem sunt notce particular -es ; and for the negative moods : Nota rei competens, notce eidem repugnanti, particulariter repugnat, modo sit altera univer- salis. Translated : If two predicates are affirmed of one subject, and at least one of them universally, they are also affirmed of each other particularly ; and, on the con trary, they are denied of each other particularly when ever one of them contradicts the subject of which the other is affirmed ; provided always that either the con tradiction or the affirmation be universal.

In the fourth figure the subject of the major has to be compared with the predicate of the minor; but in the conclusion they must both exchange their value and position, so that what was the subject of the major appears as the predicate of the conclusion, and what was the predicate of the minor appears as the subject of the con clusion. By this it becomes apparent that this figure is merely the first, wilfully turned upside down, and by no means the expression of a real process of thought natural to the reason.

On the other hand, the first three figures are the ectypes of three real and essentially different operations of thought. They have this in common, that they consist in the com parison of two judgments ; but such a comparison only becomes fruitful when these judgments have one con ception in common. If we present the premisses to our imagination under the sensible form of two rods, we can


ON THE SYLLOGISM. 303

think of this conception as a clasp that links them to each other ; indeed in lecturing one might provide oneself with such rods. On the other hand, the three figures are distinguished by this, that those judgments are compared either with reference to the subjects of both, or to the pre dicates of both, or lastly, with reference to the subject of the one and the predicate of the other. Since now every conception has the property of being subject or predicate only because it is already part of a judgment, this con firms my view that in the syllogism only judgments are primarily compared, and conceptions only because they are parts of judgments. In the comparison of two judg ments, however, the essential question is, in respect of what are they compared ? not ly what means are they compared ? The former consists of the concepts which are different in the two judgments ; the latter consists of the middle, that is, the conception which is identical in both. It is therefore not the right point of view which Lambert, and indeed really Aristotle, and almost all the moderns have taken in starting from the middle in the analysis of syllogisms, and making it the principal matter and its position the essential characteristic of the syllo gisms. On the contrary, its roll is only secondary, and its position a consequence of the logical value of the conceptions which are really to be compared in the syllo gism. These may be compared to two substances which are to be chemically tested, and the middle to the reagent by which they are tested. It therefore always takes the place which the conceptions to be compared leave vacant, and does not appear again in the conclusion. It is selected according to our knowledge of its relation to both the conceptions and its suitableness for the place it has to take up. Therefore in many cases we can change it at pleasure for another without affecting the syllogism. For example, in the syllogism :

All men are mortal ; Caius is a man :


304 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER X.

I can exchange the middle " man " for " animal exist ence." In the syllogism :

All diamonds are stones ; All diamonds are combustible :

I can exchange the middle " diamond " for " anthracite." As an external mark by which we can recognise at once the figure of a syllogism the middle is certainly very useful. But as the fundamental characteristic of a thing which is to be explained, we must take what is essential to it ; and what is essential here is, whether we place two propositions together in order to compare their predicates or their subjects, or the predicate of the one and the subject of the other.

Therefore, in order as premisses to yield a conclusion, two judgments must have a conception in common ; further, they must not both be negative, nor both parti cular ; and lastly, in the case in which the conceptions to be compared are the subjects of both, they must not both be affirmative.

The voltaic pile may be regarded as a sensible image of the syllogism. Its point of indifference, at the centre, represents the middle, which holds together the two pre misses, and by virtue of which they have the power of yielding a conclusion. The two different conceptions, on the other hand, which are really what is to be compared, are represented by the two opposite poles of the pile. Only because these are brought together by means of their two conducting wires, which represent the copulas of the two judgments, is the spark emitted upon their contact the new lidit of the conclusion.


CHAPTER XT. 1

OX RHETORIC.

ELOQUENCE is the faculty of awakening in others our view of a thing, or our opinion about it, of kindling in them our feeling concerning it, and thus putting them in sympathy with us. And all this by conducting the stream of our thought into their minds, through the medium of words, with such force as to carry their thought from the direction it has already taken, and sweep it along witli ours in its course. The more their previous course of thought differs from ours, the greater is this achievement. From this it is easily understood how personal conviction and passion make a man elo quent ; and in general, eloquence is more the gift of nature than the work of art; yet here, also, art will support nature.

In order to convince another of a truth which conflicts with an error he firmly holds, the first rule to be observed, is an easy and natural one : let the premisses come first, and the conclusion follow. Yet this rule is seldom observed, but reversed ; for zeal, eagerness, and dogmatic positive- ness urge us to proclaim the conclusion loudly and noisily against him who adheres to the opposed error. This easily makes him shy, and now he opposes his will to all reasons and premisses, knowing already to what conclusion they lead. Therefore we ought rather to keep the conclusion completely concealed, and only advance the premisses

1 This chapter is connected with the conclusion of 9 of the first volume. VOL. II. U


306 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XI.

distinctly, fully, and in different lights. Indeed, if possible, we ought not to express the conclusion at all. It will come necessarily and regularly of its own accord into the reason of the hearers, and the conviction thus born in themselves will be all the more genuine, and will also be accompanied by self-esteem instead of shame. In difficult cases we may even assume the air of desiring to arrive at a quite opposite conclusion from that which we really have in view. An example of this is the famous speech of Antony in Shakspeare s " Julius Csesar."

In defending a thing many persons err by confidently advancing everything imaginable that can be said for it, mixing up together what is true, half true, and merely plausible. But the false is soon recognised, or at any rate felt, and throws suspicion also upon the cogent and true arguments which were brought forward along with it. Give then the true and weighty pure and alone, and beware of defending a truth with inadequate, and there fore, since they are set up as adequate, sophistical reasons ; for the opponent upsets these, and thereby gains the appearance of having upset the truth itself which was supported by them, that is, he makes argumenta ad hominem hold good as argumenta ad rem. The Chinese go, perhaps, too far the other way, for they have the saying : " He who is eloquent and has a sharp tongue may always leave half of a sentence unspoken ; and he who has right on his side may confidently yield three- tenths of his assertion."


( 307 )


CHAPTER XII. i

ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE.

FROM the analysis of the different functions of our intellect given in the whole of the preceding chapters, it is clear that for a correct use of it, either in a theoretical or a practical reference, the following conditions are demanded: (i.) The correct apprehension through perception of the real things taken into consideration, and of all their essential properties and relations, thus of all data. (2.) The construction of correct conceptions out of these ; thus the connotation of those properties under correct abstrac tions, which now become the material of the subsequent thinking. (3.) The comparison of those conceptions both with the perceived object and among themselves, and with the rest of our store of conceptions, so that correct judgments, pertinent to the matter in hand, and fully comprehending and exhausting it, may proceed from them ; thus the right estimation of the matter. (4.) The placing together or combination of those judgments as the premisses of syllogisms. This may be done very differently accord ing to the choice and arrangement of the judgments, and yet the actual result of the whole operation primarily depends upon it. What is really of importance here is that from among so many possible combinations of those different judgments which have to do with the matter free deliberation should hit upon the very ones which serve the purpose and are decisive. But if in the first function, that is, in the apprehension through perception

1 This chapter is connected with 14 of the first volume.


308 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

of the things and relations, any single essential point has been overlooked, the correctness of all the succeeding operations of the mind cannot prevent the result from being false; for there lie the data, the material of the whole investigation. Without the certainty that these are correctly and completely collected, one ought to abstain, iu important matters, from any definite decision.

A conception is correct ; a judgment is true; a body is real; and a relation is evident. A proposition of immedi ate certainty is an axiom. Only the fundamental principles of logic, and those of mathematics drawn a priori from in tuition or perception, and finally also the law of causality, have immediate certainty. A proposition of indirect certainty is a maxim, and that by means of which it obtains its certainty is the proof. If immediate certainty is attributed to a proposition which has no such certainty, this is a petitio principii. A proposition which appeals directly to the empirical perception is an assertion: to confront it with such perception demands judgment. Empirical perception can primarily afford us only par ticular, not universal truths. Through manifold repetition and confirmation such truths indeed obtain a certain uni versality also, but it is only comparative and preca rious, because it is still always open to attack. But if a proposition has absolute universality, the perception to which it appeals is not empirical but a priori. Thus Logic and Mathematics alone are absolutely certain sciences ; but they really teach us only what we already knew beforehand. For they are merely explanations of that of which we are conscious a priori, the forms of our own knowledge, the one being concerned with the forms of thinking, the other with those of perceiving. Therefore we spin them entirely out of ourselves. All other scien tific knowledge is empirical.

A proof proves too much if it extends to things or cases of which that which is to be proved clearly does not hold good ; therefore it is refuted apagogically by these. The


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 309

dedudio ad dbsurdum properly consists in this, that we take a false assertion which has been made as the major proposition of a syllogism, then add to it a correct minor, and arrive at a conclusion which clearly contradicts facts of experience or unquestionable truths. But by some round-about way such a refutation must be possible of every false doctrine. For the defender of this will yet certainly recognise and admit some truth or other, and then the consequences of this, and on the other hand those of the false assertion, must be followed out until we arrive at two propositions which directly contradict each other. We find many examples in Plato of this beautiful artifice of genuine dialectic.

A correct hypothesis is nothing more than the true and complete expression of the present fact, which the origi nator of the hypothesis has intuitively apprehended in its real nature and inner connection. For it tells us only what really takes place here.

The opposition of the analytical and synthetical methods we find already indicated by Aristotle, yet perhaps first distinctly described by Proclus, who says quite correctly : " M edoSoc Se TrapaSiSovrai KaXXiarr] p.ev 1} Sta TTJS ava- Xucreo)? e-Tr ap^v 6/J,o\oyov/J.evrjv avayovcra TO fyrov^evov r]v KCLI nXcnwv, a>9 fyacn, Aao8a/j,avri -TrapeSw/cev. K. r. \." (Methodi tradunlur sequences : pulcherrima quidem ea, qua; per analysin qucesitum refert ad principium, de quo jam convenit ; quam etiain Plato Laodamanti tradidisse dicitur.") " In Primuin Eaclidis Librum," L. iii. Certainly the ana lytical method consists in referring what is given to an admitted principle ; the synthetical method, on the con trary, in deduction from such a principle. They are there fore analogous to the eTra^cojTj and aTra^ojyt] explained in chapter ix. ; only the latter are not used to establish propositions, but always to overthrow them. The analy tical method proceeds from the facts ; the particular, to the principle or rule ; the universal, or from the consequents to the reasons ; the other conversely. Therefore it would


3io riRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

be much more correct to call them the inductive and the deductive methods, for the customary names are unsuitable and do not fully express the things.

If a philosopher tries to begin by thinking out the methods in accordance with which he will philosophise, he is like a poet who first writes a system of aesthetics in order to poetise in accordance with it. Both of them may be compared to a man who first sings himself a tune and afterwards dances to it. The thinking mind must find its way from original tendency. Rule and application, method and achievement, must, like matter and form, be inseparable. But after we have reached the goal we may consider the path we have followed. ^Esthetics and methodology are, from their nature, younger than poetry and philosophy ; as grammar is younger than language, thorough bass younger than music, and logic younger than thought.

This is a fitting place to make, in passing, a remark by means of which I should like to check a growing evil while there is yet time. That Latin has ceased to be the language of all scientific investigations has the disad vantage that there is no longer an immediately common scientific literature for the whole of Europe, but national literatures. And thus every scholar is primarily limited to a much smaller public, and moreover to a public ham pered with national points of view and prejudices. Then he must now learn the four principal European languages, as well as the two ancient languages. In this it will be a great assistance to him that the termini technici of all sciences (with the exception of mineralogy) are, as an in heritance from our predecessors, Latin or Greek. Therefore all nations wisely retain these. Only the Germans have hit upon the unfortunate idea of wishing to Germanise the termini technici of all the sciences. This has two great disadvantages. First, the foreign and also the Ger man scholar is obliged to learn all the technical terms of his science twice, which, when there are many for


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 311

example, in Anatomy is an incredibly tiresome and lengthy business. If the other nations were not in this respect wiser than the Germans, we would have the trouble of learning every terminus technicus five times. If the Germans carry this further, foreign men of learning will leave their books altogether unread ; for besides this fault they are for the most part too diffuse, and are writ ten in a careless, bad, and often affected and objectionable style, and besides are generally conceived with a rude disregard of the reader and his requirements. Secondly, those Germanised forms of the termini technici are almost throughout long, patched-up, stupidly chosen, awkward, jarring words, not clearly separated from the rest of the language, which therefore impress themselves with diffi culty upon the memory, while the Greek and Latin ex pressions chosen by the ancient and memorable founders of the sciences possess the whole of the opposite good qualities, and easily impress themselves on the memory by their sonorous sound. What an ugly, harsh-sound ing word, for instance, is " Stickstoff" instead of azot ! " Verbum," " siibstantiv" " adjectiv" are remembered and distinguished more easily than " Zeitwort," " Nennwort" " Beiwort" or even " Umstandswort " instead of " adver- bium." In Anatomy it is quite unsupportable, and more over vulgar and low. Even " Pidsader " and " Blutader " are more exposed to momentary confusion than " Arterie " and " Vene ; " but utterly bewildering are such expressions as " Fruchthdlter," " Fruclitgang" and " Fruchtleiter " in stead of " uterus," " vagina" and " tuba Faloppii" which yet every doctor must know, and which he will find sufficient in all European languages. In the same way "Speiche " and " Ellcnbogenrohre " instead of " radius " and " ulna," which all Europe has understood for thousands of years. Where fore then this clumsy, confusing, drawling, and awkward Germanising ? Not less objectionable is the translation of the technical terms in Logic, in which our gifted profes sors of philosophy are the creators of a new terminology,


312 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

and almost every one of them has his own. With G. E. Schulze, for example, the subject is called " Grund- legriff" the predicate " Beilegunysbegriff ; " then there are " Beilegungsschlusse" " Voraussctzungssclilusse," and "Untge- gensetzungsschlilsse ; " the judgments have " Grosse," " Be- schaffenheit," " Verhaltniss" and " Zuverldssigkeit" i.e., quantity, quality, relation, and modality. The same per verse influence of this Germanising mania is to be found in all the sciences. The Latin and Greek expressions have the further advantage that they stamp the scientific con ception as such, and distinguish it from the words of common intercourse, and the ideas which cling to them through association ; while, for example, " Speisebrei " in stead of chyme seems to refer to the food of little children, arid " Lungensack " instead of pleura, and " Herzbeutel " instead of pericardium seem to have been invented by butchers rather than anatomists. Besides this, the most immediate necessity of learning the ancient languages de pends upon the old termini technici, and they are more and more in danger of being neglected through the use of living languages in learned investigations. But if it comes to this, if the spirit of the ancients bound up with their languages disappears from a liberal education, then coarse ness, insipidity, and vulgarity will take possession of the whole of literature. For the works of the ancients are the pole-star of every artistic or literary effort ; if it sets they are lost. Even now we can observe from the miser able and puerile style of most writers that they have never written Latin. 1 The study of the classical authors is very properly called the study of Humanity, for through it the student first becomes a man again, for he enters

1 A principal use of the study of Therefore we ought to pursue the

the ancients is that it preserves study of the ancients all our life,

us from verbosity ; for the ancients although reducing the time devoted

always take pains to write concisely to it. The ancients knew that we

and pregnantly, and the error of al- ought not to write as we speak,

most all moderns is verbosity, which The moderns, on the other hand,

the most recent try to make up for are not even ashamed to print lec-

by suppressing syllables and letters, tures they have delivered.


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 513

into the world which was still free from all the absurdities of the Middle Ages and of romanticism, which afterwards penetrated so deeply into mankind in Europe that even now every one comes into the world covered with it, and has first to strip it off simply to become a man again. Think not that your modern wisdom can ever supply the place of that initiation into manhood ; ye are not, like the Greeks and Eomans, born freemen, unfettered sons of nature. Ye are first the sous and heirs of the barbarous Middle Ages and of their madness, of infamous priestcraft, and of half-brutal, half-childish chivalry. Though both now gradually approach their end, yet ye cannot yet stand on your own feet. Without the school of the ancients your literature will degenerate into vulgar gossip and dull philistinism. Thus for all these reasons it is my well- intended counsel that an end be put at once to the Germanising mania condemned above.

I shall further take the opportunity of denouncing here the disorder which for some years has been introduced into German orthography in an unprecedented manner. Scribblers of every species have heard something of conciseness of expression, but do not know that this consists in the careful omission of everything super fluous (to which, it is true, the whole of their writings belong), but imagine they can arrive at it by clipping the words as swindlers clip coin ; and every syllable which appears to them superfluous, because they do not feel its value, they cut off without more ado. For example, our ancestors, with true tact, said " Beweis" and " Verweis;" but, on the other hand, " Nacliweisung." The fine distinc tion analogous to that between " Versuch" and " Versu- chung" "Betraclit " and "etrachtung" is not perceptible to dull ears and thick skulls ; therefore they have invented the word " Nachiucis," which has come at once into gene ral use, for this only requires that an idea should be thoroughly awkward and a blunder very gross. Accord ingly a similar amputation has already been proposed in in-


314 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

numerable words; for example, instead of " Dnter&uchung" is written " Untersuch ; " nay, even instead of " allmdlig"

  • mdlig;" instead of "beinahe," "nahe;" instead of " be-

stdndig" " standig." If a Frenchman took npon himself to write "pres" instead of "presque," or if an Englishman wrote " most " instead of " almost," they would be laughed at by every one as fools ; but in Germany whoever does this sort of thing passes for a man of originality. Chemists already write " loslich" and " unloslich " instead of " ujiauf- loslich," and if the grammarians do not rap them over the knuckles they will rob the language of a valuable word. Knots, shoe-strings, and also conglomerates of which the cement is softened, and all analogous things are " loslich " (can be loosed) ; but what is " aufloslick" (soluble), on the other hand, is whatever vanishes in a liquid, like salt in water. " Aufloscn " (to dissolve) is the terminus ad hoc, which says this and nothing else, marking out a definite conception ; but our acute improvers of the language wish to empty it into the general rinsing-pan " losen " (to loosen) ; they would therefore in consistency be obliged to make " losen " also take the place everywhere of "ablosen" (to relieve, used of guards), " auslosen " (to release), " einlosen" (to redeem), &c., and in these, as in the former case, deprive the language of definiteness of expression. But to make the language poorer by a word means to make the thought of the nation poorer by a conception. Yet this is the tendency of the united efforts of almost all our writers of books for the last ten or twenty years. For what I have shown here by one ex ample can be supported by a hundred others, and the meanest stinting of syllables prevails like a disease. The miserable wretches actually count the letters, and do not hesitate to mutilate a word, or to use one in a false sense, whenever by doing so they can gain two letters. He who is capable of no new thoughts will at least bring new words to market, and every ink-slinger regards it as his vocation to improve the language. Journalists practise


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 315

this most shamelessly ; and since their papers, on account of the trivial nature of their contents, have the largest public, indeed a public which for the most part reads nothing else, a great danger threatens the language through them. I therefore seriously advise that they should be subjected to an orthographical censorship, or that they should be made to pay a fine for every unusual or mutilated word; for what could be more improper than that changes of language should proceed from the lowest branch of literature ? Language, especially a relatively speaking original language like German, is the most valuable inheritance of a nation, and it is also an exceedingly complicated work of art, easily injured, and which cannot again be restored, therefore a noli me tangere. Other nations have felt this, and have shown great piety towards their languages, although far less complete than German. Therefore the language of Dante and Petrarch differs only in trifles from that of to-day; Montaigne is still quite readable, and so also is Shakspeare in his oldest editions. For a German indeed it is good to have somewhat long words in his mouth ; for he thinks slowly, and they give him time to reflect. But this prevailing economy of language shows itself in yet more character istic phenomena. For example, in opposition to all logic and grammar, they use the imperfect for the perfect and pluperfect ; they often stick the auxiliary verb in their pocket ; they use the ablative instead of the genitive ; for the sake of omitting a couple of logical particles they make such intricate sentences that one has to read them four times over in order to get at the sense ; for it is only the paper and not the reader s time that they care to spare. In proper names, after the manner of Hotten tots, they do not indicate the case either by inflection or article : the reader may guess it. But they are specially fond of contracting the double vowel and dropping the lengthening h, those letters sacred to prosody ; which is just the same thing as if we wanted to banish 77 and to


316 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

from Greek, and make e and o take their place. Whoever writes Scham, Mdrchcn, Mass, Spass, ought also to write Lon, Son, Stat, Sat, Jar, Al, &c. But since writing is the copy of speech, posterity will imagine that one ought to speak as one writes; and then of the German language there will only remain a narrow, mouth-distorting, jarring noise of consonants, and all prosody will be lost. The spelling " Literatur " instead of the correct "Litteratur" is also very much liked, because it saves a letter. In defence of this the participle of the verb linere is given as the root of the word. But linere means to smear; therefore the favoured spelling might actually be correct for the greater part of German bookmaking ; so that one could distinguish a very small " Litteratur " from a very extensive " Literatur! In order to \vrite concisely let a man improve his style and shun all useless gossip and chatter, and then he will not need to cut out syllables and letters on account of the dearness of paper. But to write so many useless pages, useless sheets, useless books, and then to want to make up this waste of time and paper at the cost of the innocent syllables and letters that is truly the superlative of what is called in English being penny wise and pound foolish. It is to be regretted that there is no German Academy to take charge of the language against literary sans-culottism, especially in an age when even those who are ignorant of the ancient language venture to employ the press. I have expressed my mind more fully on the whole sub ject of the inexcusable mischief being done at the present day to the German language in my " Parerga," vol. ii. chap. 23.

In my essay on the principle of sufficient reason, 51, I already proposed a first classification of the sciences in accordance with the form of the principle of sufficient reason which reigns in them ; and I also touched upon it again in 7 and 1 5 of the first volume of this work.

Ot) *

I will give here a small attempt at such a classification,


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 317

which will yet no doubt be susceptible of much improve ment and perfecting :

I. Pure a priori Sciences.

1. The doctrine of the ground of being.

(a.) In space : Geometry.

(&.) In time : Arithmetic and Algebra.

2. The doctrine of the ground of knowing : Logic.

II. Empirical or a posteriori Sciences. All based upon the ground of becoming, i.e., the law of causalty, and upon the three modes of that law.

1. The doctrine of causes.

(a.) Universal : Mechanics, Hydrodynamics, Physics, Chemistry.

(&.) Particular : Astronomy, Mineralogy, Geo logy, Technology, Pharmacy.

2. The doctrine of stimuli.

(a.) Universal : Physiology of plants and

animals, together with the ancillary

science, Anatomy. (?>.) Particular : P>otany, Zoology, Zootomy,

Comparative Physiology, Pathology,

Therapeutics.

3. The doctrine of motives.

(a.) Universal : Ethics, Psychology. (&.) Particular : Jurisprudence, History.

Philosophy or Metaphysics, as the doctrine of conscious ness and its contents in general, or of the whole of expe rience as such, does not appear in the list, because it does not at once pursue the investigation which the principle of sufficient reason prescribes, but first has this principle itself as its object. It is to be regarded as the thorough bass of all sciences, but belongs to a higher class than they do, and is almost as much related to art as to science. As in music every particular period must correspond to the tonality to which thorough bass has advanced, so every


318 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XII.

author, in proportion to the line he follows, must bear the stamp of the philosophy which prevails in his time. But besides this, every science has also its special philosophy ; and therefore we speak of the philosophy of botany, of zo ology, of history, &c. By this we must reasonably under stand nothing more than the chief results of each science itself, regarded and comprehended from the highest, that is the most general, point of view which is possible within that science. These general results connect themselves directly with general philosophy, for they supply it with important data, and relieve it from the labour of seeking these itself in the philosophically raw material of the special sciences. These special philosophies therefore stand as a mediating link between their special sciences and philosophy proper. For since the latter has to give the most general explanations concerning the whole of things, these must also be capable of being brought down and applied to the individual of every species of thing. The philosophy of each science, however, arises indepen dently of philosophy in general, from the data of its own science itself. Therefore it does not need to wait till that philosophy at last be found ; but if worked out in advance it will certainly agree with the true universal philosophy. This, on the other hand, must be capable of receiving confirmation and illustration from the philosophies of the particular sciences ; for the most general truth must be capable of being proved through the more special truths. Goethe has afforded a beautiful example of the philosophy of zoology in his reflections on Dalton s and Pander s skeletons of rodents (Hefte zur Morphologic, 1824). And like merit in connection with the same science belongs to Kielmayer, Delamark, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Cuvier, and many others, in that they have all brought out clearly the complete analogy, the inner relation ship, the permanent type, and systematic connection of animal forms. Empirical sciences pursued purely for their own sake and without philosophical tendency are


ON THE DOCTRINE OF SCIENCE. 319

like a face without eyes. They are, however, a suitable occupation for men of good capacity who yet lack the highest faculties, which would even be a hindrance to minute investigations of such a kind. Such men concen trate their whole power and their whole knowledge upon one limited field, in which, therefore, on condition of re maining in entire ignorance of everything else, they can attain to the most complete knowledge possible; while the philosopher must survey all fields of knowledge, and indeed to a certain extent be at home in them; and thus that complete knowledge which can only be at tained by the study of detail is necessarily denied him. Therefore the former may be compared to those Geneva workmen of whom one makes only wheels, another only springs, and a third only chains. The philosopher, on the other hand, is like the watchmaker, who alone pro duces a whole out of all these which has motion and significance. They may also be compared to the musi cians of an orchestra, each of whom is master of his own instrument ; and the philosopher, on the other hand, to the conductor, who must know the nature and use of every instrument, yet without being able to play them, all, or even one of them, with great perfection. Scotus Erigena includes all sciences under the name Scientia, in opposi tion to philosophy, which he calls Sapientia. The same distinction was already made by the Pythagoreans ; as may be seen from Stobseus (Floril, vol. i. p. 20), where it is very clearly and neatly explained. But a much happier and more piquant comparison of the relation of the two kinds of mental effort to each other has been so often repeated by the ancients that we no longer know to whom it belongs. Diogenes Laertius (ii. 79) attributes it to Aristippus, Stobseus {Floril., tit. iv. no) to Aristo of Chios ; the Scholiast of Aristotle ascribes it to him (p. 8 of the Berlin edition), but Plutarch (De Puer. Educ., c. 10) attributes it to Bio " Qui ajebat, sicut Penelopes prod,


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quum non possent cum Penelope concumbere, rem cum ejus ancillis habuissent ; ita qui philosophiam nequeunt appre- hendere eos in alliis nullius pretii diciplinis sese conterere." In our predominantly empirical and historical age it can do no harm to recall this.


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CHAPTER XIII. 1

OX THE METHODS OF MATHEMATICS.

EUCLID S method of demonstration has brought forth from its own womb its most striking parody and caricature in the famous controversy on the theory of parallels, and the attempts, which are repeated every year, to prove the eleventh axiom. This axiom asserts, and indeed supports its assertion by the indirect evidence of a third inter secting line, that two lines inclining towards each other (for that is just the meaning of "less than two right angles ") if produced far enough must meet a truth which is supposed to be too complicated to pass as self- evident, and therefore requires a demonstration. Such a demonstration, however, cannot be produced, just because there is nothing that is not immediate. This scruple of conscience reminds me of Schiller s question of law :

" For years I have used my nose for smelling. Have I, then, actually a right to it that can be proved ? " Indeed it seenis to me that the logical method is hereby reduced to absurdity. Yet it is just through the controversies about this, together with the vain attempts to prove what is directly certain as merely indirectly certain, that the self-sufficingness and clearness of intuitive evidence ap pears in contrast with the uselessness and difficulty of logical proof a contrast which is no less instructive than amusing. The direct certainty is not allowed to be valid here, because it is no mere logical certainty following from the conceptions, thus resting only upon the relation of the

1 This chapter is connected with 15 of the first volume. VOL. II. X


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predicate to the subject, according to the principle of contradiction. That axiom, however, is a synthetical proposition a priori, and as such has the guarantee of pure, not empirical, perception, which is just as immediate and certain as the principle of contradiction itself, from which all demonstrations first derive their certainty. Ultimately this holds good of every geometrical theorem, and it is quite arbitrary where we draw the line between what is directly certain and what has first to be demon strated. It surprises me that the eighth axiom is not rather attacked. "Figures which coincide with each other are equal to each other." For " coinciding with each other " is either a mere tautology or something purely empirical which does not belong to pure percep tion but to external sensuous experience. It presupposes that the figures may be moved ; but only matter is mov able in space. Therefore this appeal to coincidence leaves pure space the one element of geometry in order to pass over to what is material and empirical.

The reputed motto of the Platonic lecture-room, " Ayeca- fjieTptyros /i^Sei? eicrmo," of which mathematicians are so proud, was no doubt inspired by the fact that Plato re garded the geometrical figures as intermediate existences between the eternal Ideas and particular things, as Aristotle frequently mentions in his " Metaphysics " (espe cially i. c. 6, p. 887, 998, d Scholia, p. 827, ed. Berol.) Moreover, the opposition between those self-existent eternal forms, or Ideas, and the transitory individual things, was most easily made comprehensible in geometri cal figures, and thereby laid the foundation of the doc trine of Ideas, which is the central point of the philosophy of Plato, and indeed his only serious and decided theo retical dogma. In expounding it, therefore, he started from geometry. In the same sense we are told that he regarded geometry as a preliminary exercise through which the mind of the pupil accustomed itself to deal with incorpo real objects, having hitherto in practical life had only to


ON THE METHODS OF MATHEMATICS. 323

do with corporeal things (Sclwl. inAristot., p. 12, 15). This, then, is the sense in which Plato recommended geometry to the philosopher; and therefore one is not justified in extending it further. I rather recommend, as an investi gation of the influence of mathematics upon our mental powers, and their value for scientific culture in general, a very thorough and learned discussion, in the form of a review of a book by Whewell in the Edinburgh Review of January 1836. Its author, who afterwards published it with some other discussions, with his name, is Sir W. Hamilton, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Scot land. This work has also found a German translator, and has appeared by itself under the title, " Ueber den Werth und Univerth dcr Matliematik " aus detn Englishen, 1836. The conclusion the author arrives at is that the value of mathematics is only indirect, and lies in the application to ends which are only attainable through them; but in themselves mathematics leave the mind where they find it, and are by no means conducive to its general culture and development, nay, even a decided hindrance. This conclusion is not only proved by tho rough dianoiological investigation of the mathematical activity of the mind, but is also confirmed by a very learned accumulation of examples and authorities. The only direct use which is left to mathematics is that it can accustom restless and unsteady minds to fix their attention. Even Descartes, who was yet himself famous as a mathematician, held the same opinion with regard to mathematics. In the " Vie de Descartes par Baillet" 1693, it is said, Liv. ii. c. 6, p. 54: " Sa propre experience I avait convaincu du pen dutilite" des mathe matiques, surtout lorsqu on ne les cultive que pour dies memes. . . . II ne voyait rien de moins solide, que de soccuper de noinbres tout simples et de figures imaginaires" &c.


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CHAPTER XIV.

ON THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS.

THE presence of ideas and thoughts in our consciousness is as strictly subordinated to the principle of sufficient reason in its different forms as the movement of bodies to the law of causality. It is just as little possible that a thought can appear in the mind without an occasion as that a body can be set in motion without a cause. Now this occasion is either external, thus an impression of the senses, or internal, thus itself also a thought which introduces another thought by means of association. This again depends either upon a relation of reason and con sequent between the two ; or upon similarity, even mere analogy ; or lastly upon the circumstance that they were both first apprehended at the same time, which again may have its ground in the proximity in space of their objects. The last two cases are denoted by the word a propos. The predominance of one of these three bonds of association of thoughts over the others is characteristic of the intellectual worth of the man. The first named will predominate in thoughtful and profound minds, the second in witty, ingenious, and poetical minds, and the third in minds of limited capacity. Not less characteristic is the degree of facility with which one thought recalls others that stand in any kind of relation to it ; this constitutes the activeness of the mind. But the im possibility of the appearance of a thought without its sufficient occasion, even when there is the strongest desire to call it up, is proved by all the cases in which we weary


ON THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS. 325

ourselves in vain to recollect something, and go through the whole store of our thoughts in order to find any one that may be associated with the one we seek; if we find the former, the latter is also found. Whoever wishes to call up something in his memory first seeks for a thread with which it is connected by the association of thoughts. Upon this depends mnemonics : it aims at providing us with easily found occasioners or causes for all the conceptions, thoughts, or words which are to be preserved. But the worst of it is that these occasioners themselves have first to be recalled, and this again re quires an occasioner. How much the occasion accom plishes in memory may be shown in this way. If we have read in a book of anecdotes say fifty anecdotes, and then have laid it aside, immediately afterwards we will some times be unable to recollect a single one of them. But if the occasion comes, or if a thought occurs to us which has any analogy with one of those anecdotes, it imme diately comes back to us ; and so with the whole fifty as opportunity offers. The same thing holds good of all that we read. Our immediate remembrance of words, that is, our remembrance of them without the assistance of mnemonic contrivances, and with it our whole faculty of speech, ultimately depends upon the direct association of thoughts. For the learning of lan guage consists in this, that once for all we so connect a conception with a word that this word will always occur to us along with this conception, and this conception will always occur to us along with this word. We have after wards to repeat the same process in learning every new language ; yet if we learn a language for passive and not for active use that is, to read, but not to speak, as, for example, most of us learn Greek then the connection is one-sided, for the conception occurs to us along with the word, but the word does not always occur to us along with the conception. The same procedure as in language be comes apparent in the particular case, in the learning of


326 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XIV.

every new proper name. But sometimes we do not trust ourselves to connect directly the name of this person, or town, river, mountain, plant, animal, &c., with the thought of each so firmly that it will call each of them up of it self ; and then we assist ourselves mnemonically, and con nect the image of the person or thing with any perceptible quality the name of which occurs in that of the person or thing. Yet this is only a temporary prop to lean on ; later we let it drop, for the association of thoughts be comes an immediate support.

The search of memory for a clue shows itself in a peculiar manner in the case of a dream which we have forgotten on awaking, for in this case we seek in vain for that which a few minutes before occupied our minds with the strength of the clearest present, but now has entirely disappeared. We grasp at any lingering impression by which may hang the clue that by virtue of association would call that dream back again into our conscious ness. According to Kieser, " Tellurismus," Bd. ii. 271, memory even of what passed in magnetic-somnambular sleep may possibly sometimes be aroused by a sensible sign found when awake. It depends upon the same impossibility of the appearance of a thought without its occasion that if we propose to do anything at a defi nite time, this can only take place if we either think of nothing else till then, or if at the determined time we are reminded of it by something, which may either be an external impression arranged beforehand or a thought which is itself again brought about in the regular way. Both, then, belong to the class of motives. Every morning when w r e awake our consciousness is a tabula rasa, which, however, quickly fills itself again. First it is the sur roundings of the previous evening which now reappear, and remind us of what we thought in these surroundings ; to this the events of the previous day link themselves on ; and so one thought rapidly recalls the others, till all that occupied us yesterday is there again. Upon the fact that


ON THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS. 327

this takes place properly depends the health of the mind, as opposed to madness, which, as is shown in the third book, consists in the existence of great blanks in the memory of past events. But how completely sleep breaks the thread of memory, so that each morning it has to be taken up again, we see in particular cases of the incom pleteness of this operation. For example, sometimes we cannot recall in the morning a melody which the night before ran in our head till we were tired of it.

The cases in which a thought or a picture of the fancy suddenly came into our mind without any conscious occa sion seem to afford an exception to what has been said. Yet this is for the most part an illusion, which rests on the fact that the occasion was so trifling and the thought itself so vivid and interesting, that the former is instantly driven out of consciousness. Yet sometimes the cause of such an instantaneous appearance of an idea may be an internal physical impression either of the parts of the brain on each other or of the organic nervous system upon the brain.

In general our internal process of thought is in reality not so simple as the theory of it ; for here it is involved in many ways. To make the matter clear to our imagination, let us compare our consciousness to a sheet of water of some depth. Then the distinctly conscious thoughts are merely the surface ; while, on the other hand, the indis tinct thoughts, the feelings, the after sensation of percep tions and of experience generally, mingled with the special disposition of our own will, which is the kernel of our being, is the mass of the water. Now the mass of the whole consciousness is more or less, in proportion to the intellectual activity, in constant motion, and what rise to the surface, in consequence of this, are the clear pictures of the fancy or the distinct, conscious thoughts expressed in words and the resolves of the will. The whole process of our thought and purpose seldom lies on the surface, that is, consists in a combination of distinctly thought


328 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XIV.

judgments ; although we strive against this in order that we may be able to explain our thought to ourselves and others. But ordinarily it is in the obscure depths of the mind that the rumination of the materials received from without takes place, through which they are worked up into thoughts ; and it goes on almost as unconsciously as the conversion of nourishment into the humours and substance of the body. Hence it is that we can often give no account of the origin of our deepest thoughts. They are the birth of our myste rious inner life. Judgments, thoughts, purposes, rise from out that deep unexpectedly and to our own surprise. A letter brings us unlooked-for and important news, in con sequence of which our thoughts and motives are disordered ; we get rid of the matter for the present, and think no more about it ; but next day, or on the third or fourth day after, the whole situation sometimes stands distinctly before us, with what we have to do in the circumstances. Consciousness is the mere surface of our mind, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the inside, but only the crust.

But in the last instance, or in the secret of our inner being, what sets in activity the association of thought itself, the laws of which were set forth above, is the will, which urges its servant the intellect, according to the measure of its powers, to link thought to thought, to re call the similar, the contemporaneous, to recognise reasons and consequents. For it is to the , interest of the will that, in general, one should think, so that one may be well equipped for all cases that may arise. Therefore the form of the principle of sufficient reason which governs the association of thoughts and keeps it active is ulti mately the law of motivation. For that which rules the sensorium, and determines it to follow the analogy or other association of thoughts in this or that direction, is the will of the thinking subject. Now just as here the laws of the connection of ideas subsist only upon the basis of the will, so also in the real world the causal connection


ON THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS. 329

cf bodies really subsists only upon the basis of the will, which manifests itself in the phenomena of this world. On this account the explanation from causes is never absolute and exhaustive, but leads back to forces of nature as their condition, and the inner being of the latter is just the will as thing in itself. In saying this, however, I have certainly anticipated the following book.

But because now the outward (sensible) occasions of the presence of our ideas, just as well as the inner occa sions (those of association), and both independently of each other, constantly affect the consciousness, there arise from this the frequent interruptions of our course of thought, which introduce a certain cutting up and con fusion of our thinking. This belongs to its imperfections which cannot be explained away, and which we shall now consider in a separate chapter.


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CHAPTER XV.

ON THE ESSENTIAL IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT.

OUR self-consciousness has not space but only time as its form, and therefore we do not think in three dimensions, as we perceive, but only in one, thus in a line, without breadth or depth. This is the source of the greatest of the essential imperfections of our intellect. We can know all things only in succession, and can become conscious of only one at a time, indeed even of this one only under the condition that for the time we forget everything else, thus are absolutely unconscious of everything else, so that for the time it ceases to exist as far as we are concerned. In respect of this quality our intellect may be compared to a telescope with a very narrow field of vision; just because our consciousness is not stationary but fleeting. The intellect apprehends only successively, and in order to grasp one thing must let another go, retaining nothing but traces of it, which are ever becoming weaker. The thought which is vividly present to me now must after a little while have escaped me altogether ; and if a good night s sleep intervene, it may be that I shall never find it again, unless it is connected with my personal interests, that is, with my will, which always commands the field.

Upon this imperfection of the intellect depends the disconnected and often fragmentary nature of our course of thought, which I have already touched on at the close of last chapter ; and from this again arises the unavoidable distraction of our thinking. Sometimes external iinpres-


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 331

sions of sense throng in upon it, disturbing and interrupt ing it, forcing different kinds of things upon it every moment ; sometimes one thought draws in another by the bond of association, and is now itself dislodged by it ; sometimes, lastly, the intellect itself is not capable of fixing itself very long and continuously at a time upon one thought, but as the eye when it gazes long at one object is soon unable to see it any more distinctly, because the outlines run into each other and become confused, until finally all is obscure, so through long-continued reflection upon one subject our thinking also is gradually confused, becomes dull, and ends in complete stupor. Therefore after a certain time, which varies with the individual, we must for the present give up every medita tion or deliberation which has had the fortune to remain undisturbed, but yet has not been brought to an end, even if it concerns a matter which is most important and pertinent to us ; and we must dismiss from our conscious ness the subject which interests us so much, however heavily our anxiety about it may weigh upon us, in order to occupy ourselves now with insignificant and indifferent things. During this time that important subject no longer exists for us; it is like the heat in cold water, latent. If now we resume it again at another time, we approach it like a new thing, with which we become acquainted anew, although more quickly, and the agree able or disagreeable impression of it is also produced anew upon our will. We ourselves, however, do not come back quite unchanged. For with the physical composition of the humours and tension of the nerves, which constantly changes with the hours, days, and years, our mood and point of view also changes. Moreover, the different kinds of ideas which have been there in the meantime have left an echo behind them, the tone of which influences the ideas which follow. Therefore the same thing appears to us at different times, in the morn ing, in the evening, at mid-day, or on another day, often


332 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

very different; opposite views of it now press upon each other and increase our doubt. Hence we speak of sleeping upon a matter, and for important determinations we de mand a long time for consideration. Now, although this quality of our intellect, as springing from its weakness, has its evident disadvantages, yet, on the other hand, it affords the advantage that after the distraction and the physical change we return to our subject as comparatively new beings, fresh and strange, and thus are able to see it repeatedly in very different lights. From all this it is plain that human consciousness and thought is in its nature necessarily fragmentary, on account of which the theoretical and practical results which are achieved by piecing together such fragments are for the most part defective. In this our thinking consciousness is like a magic lantern, in the focus of which only one picture can appear at a time, and each, even if it represents the noblest objects, must yet soon pass away in order to make room for others of a different, and even most vulgar, description. In practical matters the most important plans and resolutions are formed in general; but others are subordinated to these as means to an end, and others again are subordinated to these, and so on down to the particular case that has to be carried out in concrete. They do not, however, come to be carried out in the order of their dignity, but while we are occupied with plans which are great and general, we have to contend with the most trifling details and the cares of the moment. In this way our consciousness becomes still more desultory. In general, theoretical occupations of the mind unfit us for practical affairs, and vice versd.

In consequence of the inevitably distracted and frag mentary nature of all our thinking, which has been pointed out, and the mingling of ideas of different kinds thereby introduced, to which even the noblest human minds are subject, we really have only half a consciousness with which to grope about in the labyrinth of our life and the


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 333

obscurity of our investigations ; bright moments some times illuminate our path like lightning. But what is to be expected of heads of which even the wisest is every night the scene of the strangest and most senseless dreams, and which has to take up its meditations again on awaken ing from these ? Clearly a consciousness which is subject to such great limitations is little suited for solving the riddle of the world ; and such an endeavour would neces sarily appear strange and pitiful to a being of a higher order whose intellect had not time as its form, and whose thinking had thus true completeness and unity. Indeed it is really wonderful that we are not completely confused by the very heterogeneous mixture of ideas and fragments of thought of every kind which are constantly crossing eacli other in our minds, but are yet always able to see our way again and make everything agree together. Clearly there must exist a simpler thread upon \vhich everything ranges itself together : but what is this ? Memory alone is not sufficient, for it has essential limitations of which I shall speak shortly, and besides this, it is exceedingly imperfect and untrustworthy. The logical ego or even the transcendental synthetic unity of apperception are ex pressions and explanations which will not easily serve to make the matter comprehensible; they will rather suggest to many :

" Tis true your beard is curly, yet it will not draw you the bolt."

Kant s proposition, "The / think must accompany all our ideas," is insufficient ; for the " I " is an unknown quantity, i.e., it is itself a secret. That which gives unity and connection to consciousness in that it runs through all its ideas, and is thus its substratum, its permanent supporter, cannot itself be conditioned by consciousness, therefore cannot be an idea. Rather it must be the prius of consciousness, and the root of the tree of which that is the fruit. This, I say, is the will. It alone is un changeable and absolutely identical, and has brought


334 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

forth consciousness for its own ends. Therefore it is also the will which gives it imity and holds together all its ideas and thoughts, accompanying them like a continuous harmony. Without it the intellect would no longer have the unity of consciousness, as a mirror in which now this and now that successively presents itself, or at the most only so much as a convex mirror whose rays unite in an imaginary point behind its surface. But the will alone is that which is permanent and unchangeable in conscious ness. It is the will which holds together all thoughts and ideas as means to its ends, and tinges them with the colour of its own character, its mood, and its interests, commands the attention, and holds in its hand the train of motives whose influence ultimately sets memory and the association of ideas in activity ; at bottom it is the will that is spoken of whenever " I " appears in a judg ment. Thus it is the true and final point of unity of consciousness, and the bond of all its functions and acts ; it does not itself, however, belong to the intellect, but is only its root, source, and controller.

From the form of time and the single dimension of the series of ideas, on account of which, in order to take up one, the intellect must let all the others fall, there follows not only its distraction, but also its foryetfulness. Most of what it lets fall it never takes up again ; especi ally since the taking up again is bound to the principle of sufficient reason, and thus demands an occasion which the association of thoughts and motivation have first to supply; an occasion, however, which may be the more remote and smaller in proportion as our sensibility for it is heightened by our interest in the subject. But memory, as I have already shown in the essay on the principle of sufficient reason, is not a store-house, but merely a faculty acquired by practice of calling up ideas at pleasure, which must therefore constantly be kept in practice by use; for otherwise it will gradually be lost. Accordingly the knowledge even of the learned


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 335

man exists only virtualiter as an acquired facility in calling up certain ideas ; actualiter, on the other hand, it also is confined to one idea, and is only conscious of this one at a time. Hence arises a strange contrast between what he knows potentid and what he knows actu ; that is, between his knowledge and what he thinks at any moment : the former is an immense and always somewhat chaotic mass, the latter is a single distinct thought. The relation resembles that between the in numerable stars of the heavens and the limited field of vision of the telescope ; it appears in a striking manner when upon some occasion he wishes to call distinctly to his remembrance some particular circumstance in his knowledge, and time and trouble are required to produce it from that chaos. Rapidity in doing this is a special gift, but is very dependent upon day and hour ; therefore memory sometimes refuses us its service, even in things which at another time it has readily at hand. This consideration calls us in our studies to strive more to attain to correct insight than to increase our learning, and to lay it to heart that the quality of knowledge is more important than its quantity. The latter imparts to books only thickness, the former thoroughness and also style ; for it is an intensive quantity, while the other is merely extensive. It consists in the distinctness and com pleteness of the conceptions, together with the purity and accuracy of the knowledge of perception which forms their foundation ; therefore the whole of knowledge in all its parts is penetrated by it, and in proportion as it is so is valuable or trifling. With a small quantity, but of good quality, one achieves more than with a very large quantity of bad quality.

The most perfect and satisfactory knowledge is that of perception, but it is limited absolutely to the particular, the individual. The combination of the many and the different in one, idea is only possible through the conception, that is, through the omission of the differences ; therefore


336 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

this is a very imperfect manner of presenting things to the mind. Certainly the particular also can be directly comprehended as a universal, if it is raised to the (Pla tonic) Idea ; but in this process, which I have analysed in the third book, the intellect already passes beyond the limits of individuality, and therefore of time ; more over it is only an exception.

These inner and essential imperfections of the intellect are further increased by a disturbance which, to a certain extent, is external to it, but yet is unceasing the influence exerted by the will upon all its operations whenever it is in any way concerned in their result. Every passion, indeed every inclination and aversion, tinges the objects of knowledge with its colour. Of most common occurrence is the falsifying of knowledge which is brought about by wishes and hopes, for they picture to us the scarcely possible as probable and well nigh certain, and make us almost incapable of comprehending what is opposed to it : fear acts in a similar way ; and every preconceived opinion, every partiality, and, as has been said, every interest, every emotion and inclination of the will, acts in an analogous manner.

To all these imperfections of the intellect we have finally to add this, that it grows old with the brain, that is, like all physiological functions, it loses its energy in later years, whereby all its imperfections are then much increased.

The defective nature of the intellect here set forth will not, however, surprise us if we look back at its origin and destiny as established by me in the second book. Nature has produced it for the service of an individual will. Therefore it is only designed to know things so far as they afford the motives of such a will, but not to fathom them or comprehend their true being. Human intellect is only a higher gradation of the intellect of the brutes ; and as this is entirely confined to the present, our intellect also bears strong traces of this limitation.


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 337

Therefore our memory and recollection is something very imperfect. How little of all that we have done, experi enced, learnt, or read, can we recall ! And even this little for the most part only laboriously and imperfectly. For the same reasons is it so very difficult for us to keep ourselves free from the impressions of the present. Un consciousness is the original and natural condition of all things, and therefore also the basis from which, in par ticular species of beings, consciousness results as their highest efflorescence ; wherefore even then unconscious ness always continues to predominate. Accordingly most existences are without consciousness ; but yet they act according to the laws of their nature, i.e., of their will. Plants have at most a very weak analogue of conscious ness ; the lowest species of animals only the dawn of it. But even after it has ascended through the whole series of animals to man and his reason, the unconsciousness of plants, from which it started, still remains the foundation, and may be traced in the necessity for sleep, and also in all those essential and great imperfections, here set forth, of every intellect produced through physiological functions; and of another intellect we have no conception.

The imperfections here proved to be essential to the intellect are constantly increased, however, in particular cases, by non-essential imperfections. The intellect is never in every respect what it possibly might be. The perfections possible to it are so opposed that they exclude each other. Therefore no man can be at once Plato and Aristotle, or Shakspeare and Newton, or Kant and Goethe. The imperfections of the intellect, on the contrary, consort very well together ; therefore in reality it for the most part remains far below what it might be. Its functions depend upon so very many conditions, which we can only compre hend as anatomical and physiological, in the phenomenon in which alone they are given us, that a decidedly excelling intellect, even in one respect alone, is among the rarest of natural phenomena. Therefore the productions of such an

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338 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

intellect are preserved through thousands of years, indeed every relic of such a highly favoured individual becomes a most valuable treasure. From such an intellect down to that which approaches imbecility the gradations are innumerable. And primarily, in conformity with these gradations, the mental horizon of each of us varies very much from the mere comprehension of the present, which even the brute has, to that which also embraces the next hour, the day, even the morrow, the week, the year, the life, the century, the thousand years, up to that of the con sciousness which has almost always present, even though obscurely dawning, the horizon of the infinite, and whose thoughts therefore assume a character in keeping with this. Further, that difference among intelligences shows itself in the rapidity of their thinking, which is very im portant, and which may be as different and as finely gradu ated as that of the points in the radius of a revolving disc. The remoteness of the consequents and reasons to which any one s thought can extend seems to stand in a certain relation to the rapidity of his thinking, for the greatest exertion of thought-power in general can only last quite a short time, and yet only while it lasts can a thought be thought out in its complete unity. It therefore amounts to this, how far the intellect can pursue it in so short a time, thus what length of path it can travel in it. On the other hand, in the case of some, rapidity may be made up for by the greater duration of that time of perfectly concentrated thought. Probably the slow and lasting thought makes the mathematical mind, while rapidity of thought makes the genius. The latter is a flight, the former a sure advance upon firm ground, step by step. Yet even in the sciences, whenever it is no longer a question of mere quantities, but of understanding the nature of phenomena, this last kind of thinking is in adequate. This is shown, for example, by Newton s theory of colour, and later by Biot s nonsense about colour rings, which yet agrees with the whole atomistic method of


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 339

treating light among the French, with its molecules de lumiere, and in general with their fixed idea of reducing everything in nature to mere mechanical effects. Lastly, the great individual diversity of intelligence we are speaking about shows itself excellently in the degrees of the clearness of understanding, and accordingly in the distinctness of the whole thinking. To one man that is to understand which to another is only in some degree to observe ; the one is already done and at the goal while the other is only at the beginning ; to the one that is the solution which to the other is only the problem. This depends on the quality of thought and knowledge, which was already referred to above. As in rooms the degree of light varies, so does it in minds. We can detect this quality of the whole thought as soon as we have read only a few pages of an author. For in doing so we have been obliged to understand both

o o

with his understanding and in his sense ; and there fore before we know all that he has thought we see already how he thinks, what is the formal nature, the texture of his thinking, which remains the same in every thing about which he thinks, and whose expression is the train of thought and the style. In this we feel at once the pace, the flexibleness and lightness, even indeed the soaring power of his mind; or, on the contrary, its dulness, formality, lameness and leaden quality. For, as language is the expression of the mind of a nation, style is the more immediate expression of the mind of an author than even his physiognomy. We throw a book aside when we observe that in it we enter an obscurer region than our own, unless we have to learn from it mere facts, not thoughts. Apart from mere facts, only that author will afford us profit whose understanding is keener and clearer than our own, who forwards our thinking instead of hindering it, like the dull mind that

O o

will force us to keep pace with the toad-like course of its thought ; thus that author with whose mind it gives


340 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

us sensible relief and assistance sometimes to think, by whom we feel ourselves borne where we could not have gone alone. Goethe once said to me that if he read a page of Kant he felt as if he entered a brightly lighted room. Inferior minds are so not merely because they are distorted, and therefore judge falsely, but primarily through the indistinctness of their whole thinking, which may be compared to seeing through a bad telescope, when all the outlines appear indistinct and as if ob literated, and the different objects run into each other. The weak understanding of such minds shrinks from the demand for distinctness of conceptions, and therefore they do not themselves make this claim upon it, but put up with haziness ; and to satisfy themselves with this they gladly have recourse to words, especially such as denote indefinite, very abstract, unusual conceptions which are hard to explain ; such, for example, as infinite and finite, sensible and supersensible, the Idea of being, Ideas of the reason, the absolute, the Idea of the good, the divine, moral freedon, power of spontaneous generation, the absolute Idea, subject-object, &c. The like of these they confidently fling about, imagine they really express thoughts, and expect every one to be content with them ; for the highest summit of wisdom which they can see is to have at command such ready-made words for every possible question. This immense satisfaction in words is thoroughly characteristic of inferior minds. It depends simply upon their incapacity for distinct conceptions, whenever these must rise above the most trivial and simple relations. Hence upon the weakness and indolence of their intellect, and indeed upon the secret conscious ness of this, which in the case of scholars is bound up with the early learnt and hard necessity of passing them selves off as thinking beings, to meet which demand in all cases they keep such a suitable store of ready-made words. It must really be amusing to see a professor of philosophy of this kind in the chair, who bond fide delivers


O.V THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 341

such a juggle of words destitute of thoughts, quite sin cerely, under the delusion that they are really thoughts, and in front of him the students, who just as land fide, i.e., under the same delusion, listen attentively and take notes, while yet in reality neither the one nor the other goes beyond the words, but rather these words themselves, to gether with the audible scratching of pens, are the only realities iu the whole matter. This peculiar satisfaction in words has more than anything else to do with the per petuation of errors. For, relying on the words and phrases received from his predecessors, each one confidently passes over obscurities and problems, and thus these are pro pagated through centuries from book to book ; and the thinking man, especially in youth, is in doubt whether it may be that he is incapable of understanding it, or that there is really nothing here to understand ; and similarly, whether for others the problem which they all slink past with such comical seriousness by the same path is no problem at all, or whether it is only that they will not see it. Many truths remain undiscovered simply on this account, that no one has the courage to look the problem in the face and grapple with it. On the contrary, the distinctness of thought and clearness of conceptions peculiar to eminent minds produces the effect that even known truths when brought forward by them gain new light, or at least a new stimulus. If we hear them or read them, it is as if we exchanged a bad telescope for a good one. Let one only read, for example, in Euler s " Letters to the Princess," his exposition of the fundamental truths of mechanics and optics. Upon this rests the remark of Diderot in the Neveu de Earneau, that only the perfect masters are capable of teaching really well the elements of a science ; just because it is only they who really under stand the questions, and for them words never take the place of thoughts.

But we ought to know that inferior minds are the rule, good minds the exception, eminent minds very rare,


342 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

and genius a portent. How otherwise could a human race consisting of about eight hundred million individuals have left so much after six thousand years to discover, to invent, to think out, and to say ? The intellect is calcu lated for the support of the individual alone, and as a rule it is only barely sufficient even for this. But nature has wisely been very sparing of conferring a larger measure ; for the man of limited intelligence can survey the few and simple relations which lie within reach of his narrow sphere of action, and can control the levers of them with much greater ease than could the eminently intellectual man who commands an incomparably larger sphere and works with long levers. Thus the insect sees everything on its stern or leaf with the most minute exactness, and better than we, and yet is not aware of the man who stands within three steps of it. This is the reason of the slyness of half-witted persons, and the ground of the paradox : II y a un mystere dans I esprit des gens qui n en ont pas. For practical life genius is about as useful as an astral telescope in a theatre. Thus, with regard to the intellect nature is highly aristocratic. The dis tinctions which it has established are greater than those which are made in any country by birth, rank, wealth, or caste. But in the aristocracy of intellect, as in other aristocracies, there are many thousands of plebeians for one nobleman, many millions for one prince, and the great multitude of men are mere populace, mob, rabble, la canaille. Now certainly there is a glaring contrast be tween the scale of rank of nature and that of convention, and their agreement is only to be hoped for in a golden age. Meanwhile those who stand very high in the one scale of rank and in the other have this in common, that for the most part they live in exalted isolation, to which Byron refers when he says :

" To feel me in the solitude of kings Without the power that makes them bear a crown."

Proph. of Dante, c. I.


ON THE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INTELLECT. 343

For intellect is a differentiating, and therefore a separating principle. Its different grades, far more than those of mere culture, give to each man different conceptions, in consequence of which each man lives to a certain extent in a different world, in which he can directly meet those only who are like himself, and can only attempt to speak to the rest and make himself understood by them from a distance. Great differences in the grade and in the cultivation of the understanding fix a wide gulf between man and man, which can only be crossed by benevolence ; for it is, on the contrary, the unifying principle, which identifies every one else with its own self. Yet the con nection remains a moral one ; it cannot become intellectual. Indeed, when the degree of culture is about the same, the conversation between a man of great intellect and an ordinary man is like the journey together of two men, one of whom rides on a spirited horse and the other goes on foot. It soon becomes very trying to both of them, and for any length of time impossible. For a short way the rider can indeed dismount, in order to walk with the other, though even then the impatience of his horse will give him much to do.

But the public could be benefited by nothing so much as by the recognition of that intellectual aristocracy of nature. By virtue of such recognition it would compre hend that when facts are concerned, thus when the matter has to be decided from experiments, travels, codes, histories, and chronicles, the normal mind is certainly sufficient; but, on the other hand, when mere thoughts are in question, especially those thoughts the material or data of which are within reach of every one, thus when it is really only a question of thinking before others, decided reflectiveness, native eminence, which only nature bestows, and that very seldom, is inevitably demanded, and no one deserves to be heard who does not at once give proofs of this. If the public could be brought to see this for itself, it would no longer waste the time which is sparingly


344 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XV.

measured out to it for its culture on the productions of ordinary minds, thus on the innumerable botches of poetry and philosophy which are produced every day. It would no longer seize always what is newest, in the childish delusion that books, like eggs, must be enjoyed while they are fresh, but would confine itself to the works of the few select and chosen minds of all ages and nations, would strive to learn to know and understand them, and might thus by degrees attain to true culture. And then, also, those thousands of uncalled-for productious which, like tares, hinder the growth of the good wheat would be discontinued.


( 345 )


CHAPTER XVI. 1

ON THE PRACTICAL USE OF REASON AND ON STOICISM.

IN the seventh chapter I have shown that, in the theo retical sphere, procedure based upon conceptions suffices for mediocre achievements only, while great achievements, on the other hand, demand that we should draw from perception itself as the primary source of all knowledge. In the practical sphere, however, the converse is the case. Here determination by what is perceived is the way of the brutes, but is unworthy of man, who has conceptions to guide his conduct, and is thus emancipated from the power of what is actually perceptibly present, to which the brute is unconditionally given over. In proportion as a man makes good this prerogative his conduct may be called rational, and only in this sense can we speak of practical reason, not in the Kantian sense, the inadmis- sibility of which I have thoroughly exposed in my prize essay on the foundation of morals.

It is not easy, however, to let oneself be determined by conceptions alone; for the directly present external world, with its perceptible reality, intrudes itself forcibly even on the strongest mind. But it is just in con quering this impression, in destroying its illusion, that the human spirit shows its worth and greatness. Thus if incitements to lust and pleasure leave it unaffected, if the threats and fury of enraged enemies do not shake it, if the entreaties of erring friends do not make its

1 This chapter is connected with 16 of the first volume.


346 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

purpose waver, and the delusive forms with which pre concerted plots surround it leave it unmoved, if the scorn of fools and of the vulgar herd does not disturb it nor trouble it as to its own worth, then it seems to stand under the influence of a spirit-world, visible to it alone (and this is the world of conceptions), before which that perceptibly present world which lies open to all dissolves like a phantom. But, on the other hand, what gives to the external world and visible reality their great power over the mind is their nearness and directness. As the magnetic needle, which is kept in its position by the combined action of widely distributed forces of nature embracing the whole earth, can yet be perturbed and set in violent oscillation by a small piece of iron, if only it comes quite close to it, so even a great mind can some times be disconcerted and perturbed by trifling events and insignificant men, if only they affect it very closely, and the deliberate purpose can be for the moment shaken by a trivial but immediately present counter motive. For the influence of the motives is subject to a law which is directly opposed to the law according to which weights act on a balance, and in consequence of it a very small motive, which, however, lies very near to us, can out weigh one which in itself is much stronger, but which only affects us from, a distance. But it is this quality of the mind, by reason of which it allows itself to be determined in accordance with this law, and does not withdraw itself from it by the strength of actual practical reason, which the ancients denoted by animi impotentia, which really signifies ratio regendce voluntatis impotens. Every emotion (animi perturbatio) simply arises from the fact that an idea which affects our will comes so exces sively near to us that it conceals everything else from us, and we can no longer see anything but it, so that for the moment we become incapable of taking account of things of another kind. It would be a valuable safe guard against this if we were to bring ourselves to regard


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 347

the present, by the assistance of imagination, as if it were past, and should thus accustom our apperception to the epistolary style of the Romans. Yet conversely we are very well able to regard what is long past as so vividly present that old emotions which have long been asleep are thereby reawakened in their full strength. Thus also no one would be irritated or disconcerted by a misfortune, a disappointment, if reason always kept present to him what man really is : the most needy of creatures, daily and hourly abandoned to innumerable misfortunes, great and small, TO BeiXoTarov faov, who has therefore to live in constant care and fear. Herodotus already says, " Hav <TTI avOpwnos avpfyopa " (homo totus cst calamitas).

The application of reason to practice primarily ac complishes this. It reconstructs what is one-sided and defective in knowledge of mere perception, and makes use of the contrasts or oppositions which it presents, to correct each other, so that thus the objectively true result is arrived at. For example, if we look simply at the bad action of a man we will condemn him ; on the other hand, if we consider merely the need that moved him to it, we will compassionate him : reason, by means of its conceptions, weighs the two, and leads to the conclusion that he must be restrained, restricted, and curbed by a proportionate punishment.

I am again reminded here of Seneca s saying : " Si vis tibi omnia subjicere, te siibjice rationi." Since, however, as was -shown in the fourth book, the nature of suffering is positive, and that of pleasure negative, he who takes abstract or rational knowledge as the rule of his conduct, and therefore constantly reilects on its consequences and on the future, will very frequently have to practise sustine et abstine, for in order to obtain the life that is most free from pain he generally sacrifices its keenest joys and pleasures, mindful of Aristotle s " o <ppovt/jios TO $i(0Ki, ov TO ijov" (quod dolore vacat, non quod


348 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

suave est, persequitur vir prudens). Therefore with him the future constantly borrows from the present, instead of the present borrowing from the future, as is the case with a frivolous fool, who thus becomes impoverished and finally bankrupt. In the case of the former reason must, for the most part, assume the role of a churlish mentor, and unceasingly call for renunciations, without being able to promise anything in return, except a fairly painless existence. This rests on the fact that reason, by means of its conceptions, surveys the whole of life, whose outcome, in the happiest conceivable case, can be no other than what we have said.

When this striving after a painless existence, so far as it might be attainable by the application of and strict adherence to rational reflection and acquired knowledge of the true nature of life, was carried out with the greatest consistency and to the utmost extreme, it produced cyni cism, from which stoicism afterwards proceeded. I wish briefly here to bring this out more fully for the sake of establishing more firmly the concluding exposition of our first book.

All ancient moral systems, with the single exception of that of Plato, were guides to a happy life. Accordingly in them the end of virtue was entirely in this life, not beyond death. For to them it is only the right path to a truly happy life ; and on this account the wise choose it. Hence arise those lengthy debates chiefly preserved for us by Cicero, those keen and constantly renewed investigations, whether virtue quite alone and in itself is really sufficient for a happy life, or whether this further requires some external condition ; whether the virtuous and wise may also be happy on the rack and the wheel, or in the bull of Phalaris ; or whether it does not go as far as this. For certainly this would be the touch stone of an ethical system of this kind ; the practice of it must give happiness directly and unconditionally. If it cannot do this it does not accomplish what it ought,


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 349

and must be rejected. It is therefore with truth and in accordance with the Christian point of view that Augustine prefaces his exposition of the moral systems of the ancients (De Civ. Dei, Lib. xix. c. i) with the explanation : " Exponenda sunt ndbis argumenta morta- lium, quibus sibi ipsi beatitudinem facere IN HUJUS VlT^E INFELIGITATE moliti sunt ; ut ab eorum rebus vanis spes nostra quid differ at clarescat. De finibus bonorum et malorum multa inter se philosophi disputarunt ; quam quccstionem maxima intentione versantes, invenire conati sunt, quid efficiat liominem beatum: illud enim est finis bonorum." I wish to place beyond all doubt the eu- dsemonistic end which we have ascribed to all ancient ethics by several express statements of the ancients them selves. Aristotle says in the " Uth. Magna," i. 4: " H

ev rw ev tyjv eari, TO Se ev fyv ev TCO Kara ra<?

" (Felicitas in bene vivendo posita est : verum bene vivere est in eo positum, ut secundum virtutem vivamus), with which may be compared " Eth. Nicom." i. 5. " Cic. Tusc." v. i : " Nam, quum ea causa impulerit eos, qui primi se ad philosophies studia contulerunt,ut, omnibus rebus post- habitis, totos se in optima vitas, statu exquirendo collocarent ; profecto spe beate vivendi tantam in eo studio curam operam- que posuemnt. According to Plutarch (De Eepugn. Stoic., c. xviii.) Chrysippus said : " To Kara Kaiciav tyv rw fca/co- &aifj,ov(as tyjv ravrov eari." ( Vitiose vivere idem est quod vivcre infeliciter.} Ibid., c. 26 : " JET fypovrjais ov% erepov ecrTi TT;? evSai/jiovcas /cad kavro, a\\ ev8ai/j,ovia." (Pru- dentia nihil differt a felicitate, estque ipsa adeo felicitas.) " Stob. Eel.," Lib. ii. c. 7 : " TeXo? Se (fraaiv eivai TO evBai- fjioveiv, 6u eveica, Travra irparrerai." (Finem esse dicunt felicitatem, cvjus causa fiunt omnia.) " EvSatpoviav a-vvw- vvpew TW re\ei \eyovai,." (Finem bonorum et felicita tem synonyma esse dicunt.} " Arrian Diss. Epict.," i. 4 : " H aperr) ravTijv e^et TTJV eTrayje^iav, evSatfj-oviav Troirjcrai." (Virtus profitetur, se felicitatem prwstare.) Sen., Ep. 90: " Ceterum (sapientia) ad beatum statum tendit, illo ducit,


350 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

illo vias aperit." Id., Ep. 108 : " Illud admoneo audit ionem philosophorum, lectionemque, ad proposition beatce vitce tra- hendum"

The ethics of the C} r nics also adopted this end of the happiest life, as the Emperor Julian expressly testifies (Orat. vi.) : " Trjs Kuvi/crj<; Se (^iXocro^ta? CT/COTTO? fjuev ecrn teat reXo?, axnrep 8ij Kai Tracnjs <f)i\oa o<j)ia<;, TO evbai/Aoveiv ro Sc ev8ai/jtoveiv ev ru> fyv Kara (frvaiv, d\Xa p.rj Trpo? ra? rwv 7To\\(ov Soa?." (Cynicce philosophic ut etiam omnis philosophic^, scopus et finis est feliciter vivere : felicitas vitce autem in eo posita est, ut secundum naturam vivatur, nee vero secundum opiniones multitudinis.) Only the Cynics followed quite a peculiar path to this end, a path directly opposed to the ordinary one the path of extreme priva tion. They start from the insight that the motions of the will which are brought about by the objects which attract and excite it, and the wearisome, and for the most part vain, efforts to attain these, or, if they are attained, the fear of losing them, and finally the loss itself, produce far greater pain than the want of all these objects ever can. Therefore, in order to attain to the life that is most free from pain, they chose the path of the extremest desti tution, and fled from all pleasures as snares through which one was afterwards handed over to pain. But after this they could boldly scorn happiness and its caprices. This is the spirit of cynicism. Seneca dis tinctly expresses it in the eighth chapter, " De Tranquili- tate Animi : " " Cogitandum est, quanto levior dolor sit, non habere, quam perdere : et intelligemus paupertati eo mino- rem tormentorum, quo minorem damnorum esse materiam." Then : " Tolerabilius est, faciliusque, non acquirere, quam amittere. . . . Diogenes effecit, ne quid sibi eripi posset, . . . qui se fortuitis omnibus exuit. . . . Videtur mihi dixisse ; age tuum ner/otium, fortuna : nihil apud Diogenem jam tuum est." The parallel passage to this last sentence is the quotation of Stobasus (Eel. ii. /) : "Aioyevr]? e^ vofju- %eiv opav rrjv Tvyr,v evopwcrav avrov Kai Xeyovcrav TOVTOV


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 351

S ov Svva/jiai fBaXeeiv Kvva Xvcra^rrj pa." (Diogenes credere se dixit, videre Fortunam, ipsum intuentem, ac dicentem : aut hunc non potui tetiyisse canem rabiosum.) The same spirit of cynicism is also shown in the epitaph on Diogenes, in Suidas, under the word ^iTuoveo?, and in " Diogenes Laertius," vi. 2 :


" TrjpaffKfi fjifv %aXos VTTO XP OVOV

KvSos a was aiuv, Aioyevij^, M owes firei pioTris avrapKea 5oac eSetfas QVTJTOLS, /ecu fco?;s OI/JLOV f\a.(j)pora.rt)V,"

{JEra quidem absumit tempus, sed tempore numquam

Interitura tua est gloria, Diogenes : Quandoquidem ad vitam miseris mortalibus cequam

Monstrata estfacilis, te duce, et ampla via.)

Accordingly the fundamental thought of cynicism is that life in its simplest and nakedest form, with the hardships that belong to it by nature, is the most endurable, and is therefore to be chosen ; for every assistance, convenience, gratification, and pleasure by means of which men seek to make life more agreeable only brings with it new and greater ills than originally belonged to it. Therefore we may regard the following sentence as the expression of the kernel of the doctrine of cynicism: " Awyevris efioq TTO\- \a/a<? Xeyayv, rov iwv avOwjrwv ftiov pa&iov inro TWV decov &6$oa6ai, aTro/ceKpv(J)9ai 8e avrov ^rjTowroov fJ,\L7rrjKTa Kat fjivpa teat ra 7rapcnr\r)aria." (Diogenes clamabat sccpius, hominum vitam facilcm a diis dari, verum occultari illam qucerentibus mellita cibaria, ungucnta et his similia. (Diog., Laert., vi. 2.) And further : " Aeov, avrt, rwv a^prjarcav TTOVCOV, TOU? Kara (j>v<riv e\o(j,evovs, "C^v euSat/Ltoyo)? jrapa rrjv avoiav Ka/toScufiovovcn. . . rov avrov %apa/crr)pa rov ftiov \e<ya)v Siej^aryeiv, ovrrep Kat, HpaKkys, firj&ev eXevdijpia? rrpoKpivwv" (Quum igitur, repudiatis inutilibus laborious, naturales insequi, ac vivere beate dcbcamus, per summam de- mentiam infelices sumus. . . . eandem vitce formam, quam Hercules, se vivere affirmans, nihil libertati prccferens. Ibid.) Therefore the old, genuine Cynics, Antisthenes,


352 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

Diogenes, Krates, and their disciples had once for all re nounced every possession, all conveniences and pleasures, in order to escape for ever from the troubles and cares, the dependence and the pains, which are inevitably bound up with them and are not counterbalanced by them. Through the bare satisfaction of the most press ing wants and the renunciation of everything superfluous they thought they would come off best. Accordingly they contented themselves with what in Athens or Corinth was to be had almost for nothing, such as lupines, water, an old threadbare cloak, a wallet, and a staff. They begged occasionally, as far as was necessary to supply such wants, but they never worked. Yet they accepted absolutely nothing that exceeded the wants referred to above. Independence in the widest sense was their aim. They occupied their time in resting, going about, talking with all men, and much mocking, laughing, and joking ; their characteristic was carelessness and great cheerful ness. Since now in this manner of life they had no aims of their own, no purposes or ends to pursue, thus were lifted above the sphere of human action, and at the same time always enjoyed complete leisure, they were admir ably fitted, as men of proved strength of mind, to be the advisers and admonishers of the rest. Therefore Apuleius says (Florid., iv.) : " Crates, ut lar familiaris apud homines suoe cctatis cultus est. Nulla domus ei unquam clausa erat : nee erat patrisfamilias tarn absconditum secretum, quin co tempestive Crates interveniret, litium omnium et jurgiorum inter propinquos disceptator et arbiter" Thus in this, as in so many other respects, they show a great likeness to the mendicant friars of modern times, that is, to the better and more genuine among them, whose ideal may be seen in the Capucine Christoforo in Manzoni s famous romance. Yet this resemblance lies only in the effects, not in the cause. They agree in the result, but the fundamental thought of the two is quite different. With the friars, as with the Sannyasis, who are akin to them, it is an aim


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 353

which transcends life ; but with the Cynics it is only the conviction that it is easier to reduce their wishes and their wants to the minimum, than to attain to the maxi mum in their satisfaction, which indeed is impossible, for with their satisfaction the wishes and wants grow ad infinitum; therefore, in order to reach the goal of all ancient ethics, the greatest happiness possible in this life, they took the path of renunciation as the shortest and easiest : " odev /cat rov Kvvt,cr[j.ov eiprjKaaiv (rvvro^ov GTT apeTTjv o&ov." (Unde Cynismum dixere compendiosam ad virtutem viam.} Diog. Laert., vi. 9. The fundamental difference between the spirit of cynicism and that of asceticism comes out very clearly in the humility which is essential to the ascetic, but is so foreign to the Cynic that, on the contrary, he is distinguished beyond every thing else for pride and scorn :

" Sapiens uno minor est Jove, dives, Liber, honoratua, pulcher, rex denique regum." Hor.

On the other hand, the view of life held by the Cynics agrees in spirit w y ith that of J. J. Eousseau as he expounds ijb in the " Discours sur I Origine de I Indgalitt" For he also would wish to lead us back to the crude state of nature, and regards the reduction of our wants to the minimum as the surest path to happiness. For the rest, the Cynics were exclusively practical philosophers : at least no account of their theoretical philosophy is known to me.

Now the Stoics proceeded from them in this way they changed the practical into the theoretical. They held that the actual dispensing with everything that can be done without is not demanded, but that it is sufficient that we should regard possessions and pleasures constantly as dispensable, and as held in the hand of chance ; for then the actual deprivation of them, if it should chance to occur, would neither be unexpected nor fall heavily. One might always have and enjoy everything ; only one

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354 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI

must ever keep present the conviction of the worthless- ness and dispensableness of these good things on the one hand, and of their uncertainty and perishableness on the other, and therefore prize them all very little, and be always ready to give them up. Nay more, he who must actually dispense with these things in order not to be moved by them, thereby shows that in his heart he holds them to be truly good things, which one must put quite out of sight if one is not to long after them. The wise man, on the other hand, knows that they are not good things at all, but rather perfectly indifferent things, aSia^opa, in any case Trpoiyy/j.eva. Therefore if they present themselves he will accept them, but yet is always ready to let them go again, if chance, to which they be long, should demand them back ; for they are TWV OVK e</> rj/jiiv. In this sense, Epictetus, chap, vii., says that the wise man, like one who has landed from a ship, &c., will also let himself be comforted by a wife or a child, but yet will always be ready, whenever the captain calls, to let them go again. Thus the Stoics perfected the theory of equanimity and independence at the cost of the practice, for they reduced everything to a mental process, and by arguments, such as are presented in the first chapter of Epictetus, sophisticated themselves into all the amenities of life. But in doing so they left out of account that everything to which one is accustomed becomes a need, and therefore can only be given up with pain ; that the will does not allow itself to be played with, cannot enjoy without loving the pleasures ; that a dog does not remain indifferent if one draws a piece of meat through its mouth, and neither does a wise man if he is hungry; and that there is no middle path between desiring and renouncing. But they believed that they satisfied their principles if, sitting at a luxurious Roman table, they left no dish untasted, yet at the same time protested that they were each and all of them mere Trpoiufieva, not ajaOa ; or in plain English, if they eat, drank, and were merry, yet


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 355

gave no thanks to God for it all, but rather made fastidious faces, and persisted in boldly asserting that they gained nothing whatever from the whole feast. This was the expedient of the Stoics ; they were therefore mere brag garts, and stand to the Cynics in much the same relation as well-fed Benedictines and Augustines stand to Francis cans and Capucines. Now the more they neglected practice, the more they refined the theory. I shall here add a few proofs and supplementary details to the exposi tion of it given at the close of our first book.

If we search in the writings of the Stoics which re main to us, all of which are unsystematically composed, for the ultimate ground of that irrefragible equanimity which is unceasingly demanded of us, we find no other than the knowledge that the course of the world is entirely independent of our will, and consequently, that the evil which befalls us is inevitable. If we have regulated our claims by a correct insight into this, then mourning, rejoicing, fearing, and hoping are follies of which we are no longer capable. Further, especially in the commen taries of Arrian, it is surreptitiously assumed that all that is OVK <f> r^jiiv (i.e., does not depend upon us) is at once also ov 7r/3o<? r}/jLas (i.e., does not concern us). Yet it remains true that all the good things of life are in the power of chance, and therefore whenever it makes use of this power to deprive us of them, we are unhappy if we have placed our happiness in them. From this unworthy fate we are, in the opinion of the Stoics, delivered by the right use of reason, by virtue of which we regard all these things, never as ours, but only as lent to us for an in definite time ; only thus can we never really lose them. Therefore Seneca says (Ep. 98) : " Si, quid humanarum rerum varietas possit, cogitaverit, ante quam senserit," and Diogenes Laertius (vii. I. 87) : " Icrov Se ecrrt TO KCLT aperrjv %r)v TO) Ka-f fj,TTipiav ra)v (ucra av^aivovrwu "C^v" (Secun dum virtutem vivere idem est, quod secundum experientiam eorum, quce secundum naturam accidunt, vivere.~) The pas-


356 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

sage in Arrian s "Discourses of Epictetus," B. iii., c. 24, 84-89, is particularly in point here; and especially, as a proof of what I have said in this reference in 16 of the first volume, the passage : " TOVTO 709 ecrrt TO airiov TOL<? avOpoTTOLS TTavrwv Twv KdKWV TO T<Z? TrpoX.rjtyeis Ta<? icoLvas fjiT) &vvacr0ai e<f)ap/j,ot,6iv rot? 67U /jiepovs," Ibid, iv., I. 42. (If ax enim causa est hominibus omnium malorum, quod anticipationes generates rebus singularibus accom- modare non possuntS) Similarly the passage in " Marcus Aurelius " (iv. 29) : " Et %evo<; KOO-/JLOV 6 fjii TO, v avro) ovra, ov% rjrrov evo<; /cat o ^ ra ryLyvofieva ; " that is : " If he is a stranger to the universe who does not know what is in it, no less is he a stranger who does not know how things go on in it." Also Seneca s eleventh chapter, " De Tran- guilitate Animi," is a complete proof of this view. The opinion of the Stoics amounts on the whole to this, that if a man has watched for awhile the juggling illusion of happiness and then uses his reason, he must recognise both the rapid changes of the dice and the intrinsic worth- lessness of the counters, and therefore must henceforth remain unmoved. Taken generally the Stoical point of view may be thus expressed : our suffering always arises from the want of agreement between our wishes and the course of the world. Therefore one of these two must be changed and adapted to the other. Since now the course of things is not in our power (OVK <$> ^^iv), we must direct our volitions and desires according to the course of things : for the will alone is e< TJ^IV. This adaptation of volition to the course of the external world, thus to the nature of things, is very often understood under the ambiguous Kara fyvanv %gv. See the " Discourses of Epictetus," ii. 17, 21, 22. Seneca also denotes this point of view (E^. 119) when he says: " Nihil interest, utrum non desideres, an habeas. Summa rei in utroque est eadem: non torqueberis." Also Cicero (Tusc. iv. 26) by the words : " Solum halere velle, summa dementia est,"


ON THE USE OF REASON AND STOICISM. 357

Similarly Arrian (iv. i. 175): " Ov yap eKTrXrjpcoa-ei rtav 7ridvfj,ov/jiei 0)v e\.6v0epia irapaaKeva^erai, aXka avaarcevr) TT;? 7ri6v/ALa<;." (Non cnim explcndis desideriis libertas comparatur, sed tollenda cupiditate.)

The collected quotations in the " Historia Philosophies Grceco-Romance" of Hitter and Preller may be taken as proofs of what I have said, in the place referred to above, about the o/j,o\o<yoviievws tyv of the Stoics. Also the saying of Seneca (Ep. 31, and again Ep. 74): " Perfecta virtus cst cequalitas et tenor mice per omnia consonans sibi." The following passage of Seneca s indicates the spirit of the Stoa generally (Ep. 92) : " Quid est beata vita ? Securitas et perpetua tranquillitas. Hanc dabit animi magnitude, dabit constantia bene judicati tenax" A sys tematical study of the Stoics will convince every one that the end of their ethics, like that of the ethics of Cynicism from which they sprang, is really nothing else than a life as free as possible from pain, and therefore as happy as possible. Whence it follows that the Stoical morality is only a special form of Eudccmonism. It has not, like the Indian, the Christian, and even the Platonic ethics, a metaphysical tendency, a transcendental end, but a completely immanent end, attainable in this life; the steadfast serenity (arapa^ta) and unclouded happiness of the wise man, whom nothing can disturb. Yet it cannot be denied that the later Stoics, especially Arrian, some times lose sight of this end, and show a really ascetic tendency, which is to be attributed to the Christian and Oriental spirit in general which was then already spreading. If we consider closely and seriously the goal of Stoicism, that arapa^ia, we find in it merely a hardening and in sensibility to the blow of fate which a man attains to because he keeps ever present to his mind the short ness of life, the emptiness of pleasure, the instability of happiness, and has also discerned that the difference be tween happiness and unhappiness is very much less than our anticipation of both is wont to represent. But this is


358 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVI.

yet no state of happiness ; it is only the patient endur ance of sufferings which one has foreseen as irremedi able. Yet magnanimity and worth consist in this, that one should bear silently and patiently what is irremedi able, in melancholy peace, remaining always the same, while others pass from rejoicing to despair and from des pair to rejoicing. Accordingly one may also conceive of Stoicism as a spiritual hygiene, in accordance with which, just as one hardens the body against the influences of wind and weather, against fatigue and exertion, one has also to harden one s mind against misfortune, danger, loss, injustice, malice, perfidy, arrogance, and the folly of men. I remark further, that the KaOyrcovra of the Stoics, which Cicero translates officia, signify as nearly as pos sible Oblicgenheiten, or that which it befits the occasion to do ; English, incumbencies ; Italian, quel che tocca a me di fare, o di lasciare, thus what it behoves a reasonable man to do. Cf. Diog. Laert, vii. i. 109. Finally, the panthe ism of the Stoics, though absolutely inconsistent with many an exhortation of Arrian, is most distinctly ex pressed by Seneca : " Quid est Deus ? Mens universi. Quid est Deus ? Quod vides totum, et quod non vides totum. Sic dem.um magnitudo sua illi redditur, qua nihil majus ex- cogitari potest : si solus est omnia, opus suum et extra et intra tenet." (Qucest. Natur. i,prcefatio 12.)


( 359 )


CHAPTEE XVII. 1

ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS.

WITH the exception of man, no being wonders at its own existence ; but it is to them all so much a matter of course that they do not observe it. The wisdom of nature speaks out of the peaceful glance of the brutes ; for in them, the will and the intellect are not yet so widely separated that they can be astonished at each other when they meet again. Thus here the whole phenomenon is still firmly attached to the stem of nature from which it has come, and is partaker of the unconscious omniscience of the great mother. Only after the inner being of nature (the will to live in its objectification) has ascended, vigorous and cheerful, through the two series of unconscious exist ences, and then through the long and broad series of ani mals, does it attain at last to reflection for the first time on the entrance of reason, thus in man. Then it marvels at its own works, and asks itself what it itself is. Its wonder however is the more serious, as it here stands for the first time consciously in the presence of death, and besides the finiteness of all existence, the vanity of all effort forces itself more or less upon it. With this reflec tion and this wonder there arises therefore for man alone, the need for a mdaphysic ; he is accordingly an animal metapJiysicum. At the beginning of his consciousness cer tainly he also accepts himself as a matter of course. This does not last long however, but very early, with the first dawn of reflection, that wonder already appears, which is

1 This chapter is connected with 15 of the first volume.


360 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

some day to become the mother of metaphysics. In agree ment with this Aristotle also says at the beginning of his metaphysics : " Ata <yap TO Oavfj,a^eiv olavOpwjroi, Kai vvv /cat TO TTpatTov r)pavTO <f}iXocro(f)eiv." (Propter admirationem enim et nunc et primo inceperunt homines philosophari.} Moreover, the special philosophical disposition consists primarily in this, that a man is capable of wonder beyond the ordinary and everyday degree, and is thus induced to make the universal of the phenomenon his problem, while the investigators in the natural sciences wonder only at exquisite or rare phenomena, and their problem is merely to refer these to phenomena which are better known. The lower a man stands in an intellectual regard the less of a problem is existence itself for him ; everything, how it is, and that it is, appears to him rather a matter of course. This rests upon the fact that his intellect still remains perfectly true to its original destiny of being ser viceable to the will as the medium of motives, and therefore is closely bound up with the world and nature, as an inte gral part of them. Consequently it is very far from com prehending the world in a purely objective manner, freeing itself, so to speak, from the whole of things, opposing itself to this whole, and so for a while becoming as if self- existent. On the other hand, the philosophical wonder which springs from this is conditioned in the individual by higher development of the intellect, yet in general not by this alone; but without doubt it is the knowledge of death, and along with this the consideration of the suffering and misery of life, which gives the strongest impulse to philosophical reflection and metaphysical explanation of the world. If our life were endless and painless, it would perhaps occur to no one to ask why the world exists, and is just the kind of world it is ; but everything would just be taken as a matter of course. In accordance with this we find that the interest which philosophical and also religious systems inspire has always its strongest hold in the dogma of some kind of


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 361

existence after death ; and although the most recent systems seem to make the existence of their gods the main point, and to defend this most zealously, yet in reality this is only because they have connected their special dogma of immortality with this, and regard the one as inseparable from the other : only on this account is it of importance to them. For if one could establish their doctrine of immortality for them in some other way, their lively zeal for their gods would at once cool, and it would give place almost to complete indifference if, conversely, the absolute impossibility of immortality were proved to them ; for the interest in the existence of the gods would vanish with the hope of a closer acquaintance with them, to the residuum which might connect itself with their possible influence on the events of this present life. But if one could prove that continued existence after death is incompatible with the existence of gods, because, let us say, it pre-supposes originality of being, they would soon sacrifice the gods to their own immortality and be come zealous for Atheism. The fact that the materialistic systems, properly so-called, and also absolute scepticism, have never been able to obtain a general or lasting in fluence, depends upon the same grounds.

Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all lands and in all ages, in splendour and vastness, testify to the metaphysical need of man, which, strong and ineradic able, follows close upon his physical need. Certainly whoever is satirically inclined might add that this meta physical need is a modest fellow who is content with poor fare. It sometimes allows itself to be satisfied with clumsy fables and insipid tales. If only imprinted early enough, they are for a man adequate explanations of his existence and supports of his morality. Consider, for example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of


362 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through the translations ; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it. Such things show that metaphysical capacity does not go hand in hand with the metaphysical need. Yet it will appear that in the early ages of the present surface of the earth this was not the case, and that those who stood considerably nearer than we do to the beginning of the human race and the source of organic nature, had also both greater energy of the intuitive faculty of knowledge, and a truer disposition of mind, so that they were capable of a purer, more direct comprehension of the inner being of nature, and were thus in a position to satisfy the metaphysical need in a more worthy manner. Thus originated in the primitive ancestors of the Brahmans, the Eishis, the almost super human conceptions which were afterwards set down in the Upanishads of the Vedas.

On the other hand, there have never been wanting persons who were interested in deriving their living from that metaphysical need, and in making the utmost they could out of it. Therefore among all nations there are monopolists and farmers-general of it the priests. Yet their trade had everywhere to be assured to them in this way, that they received the right to impart their meta physical dogmas to men at a very early age, before the judgment has awakened from its morning slumber, thus in early childhood; for then every well-impressed dogma, however senseless it may be, remains for ever. If they had to wait till the judgment is ripe, their privileges could not continue.

A second, though not a numerous class of persons, who derive their support from the metaphysical need of man, is constituted by those who live by philosophy. By the Greeks they were called Sophists, by the moderns they are called Professors of Philosophy. Aristotle (Metaph.,


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 363

ii. 2) without hesitation numbers Aristippus among the Sophists. In Diogenes Laertius (ii. 65) we find that the reason of this is that he was the first of the Socratics who accepted payment for his philosophy ; on account of which Socrates also returned him his present. Among the moderns also those who live "by philosophy are not only, as a rule, and with the rarest exceptions, quite different from those who live for philosophy, but they are very often the opponents, the secret and irreconcilable enemies of the latter. For every true and important philosophical achievement will overshadow their own too much, and, moreover, cannot adapt itself to the views and limitations of their guild. Therefore it is always their endeavour to prevent such a work from making its way ; and for this purpose, according to the age and circum stances in each case, the customary means are suppressing, concealing, hushing up, ignoring and keeping secret, or denying, disparaging, censuring, slandering and distorting, or, finally, denouncing and persecuting. Hence many a great man has had to drag himself wearily through life unknown, unhonoured, unrewarded, till at last, after his death, the world became undeceived as to him and as to them. In the meanwhile they had attained their end, had been accepted by preventing him from being accepted, and, with wife and child, had lived "by philosophy, while he lived for it. But if he is dead, then the thing is reversed ; the new generation of the former class, which always exists, now becomes heir to his achievements, cuts them down to its own measure, and now lives "by him. That Kant could yet live both "by and for philosophy depended on the rare circumstance that, for the first time since Divus Antoninus and Divus Julianus, a philosopher sat on the throne. Only under such auspices could the " Critique of Pure Reason " have seen the light. Scarcely was the king dead than we see that Kant also, seized with fear, because he belonged to the guild, modified, expur gated, and spoiled his masterpiece in the second edition,


364 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

and yet was soon in danger of losing bis place ; so that Campe invited him to come to him, in Brunswick, and live with him as the instructor of his family (Iling., Ansichten aus Kant s Leben, p. 68). University philosophy is, as a rule, mere juggling. Its real aim is to impart to the students, in the deepest ground of their thought, that tendency of mind which the ministry that appoints to the professorships regards as consistent with its views. The ministry may also be perfectly right in this from a states man s point of view; only the result of it is that such philosophy of the chair is a nervis alienis mobile lignum, and cannot be regarded as serious philosophy, but as the mere jest of it. Moreover, it is at any rate just that such inspection or guidance should extend only to the philo sophy of the chair, and not to the real philosophy that is in earnest. For if anything in the world is worth wishing for so well worth wishing for that even the ignorant and dull herd in its more reflective moments would prize it more than silver and gold it is that a ray of light should fall on the obscurity of our being, and that we should gain some explanation of our mysterious existence, in which nothing is clear but its misery and its vanity. But even if this is in itself attainable, it is made impossible by imposed and compulsory solutions.

We shall now subject to a general consideration the different ways of satisfying this strong metaphysical need.

By metaphysics I understand all knowledge that pre tends to transcend the possibility of experience, thus to transcend nature or the given phenomenal appearance of things, in order to give an explanation of that by which, in some sense or other, this experience or nature is con ditioned ; or, to speak in popular language, of that which is behind nature, and makes it possible. But the great original diversity in the power of understanding, besides the cultivation of it, which demands much leisure, makes so great a difference between men, that as soon as a people has emerged from the state of savages, no one metaphysic


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 365

can serve for them all. Therefore among civilised nations we find throughout two different kinds of metaphysics, which are distinguished by the fact that the one has its evidence in itself, the other outside itself. Since the meta physical systems of the first kind require reflection, culture, and leisure for the recognition of their evidence, they can be accessible only to a very small number of men ; and, moreover, they can only arise and maintain their existence in the case of advanced civilisation. On the other hand, the systems of the second kind exclusively are for the great majority of men who are not capable of thinking, but only of believing, and who are not accessible to reasons, but only to authority. fThese systems may therefore be called metaphysics of the people, after the analogy of poetry of the people, and also wisdom of the people, by which is understood proverbs. These systems, however, are known under the name of religions, and are found among all na tions, not excepting even the most savage. Their evidence is, as has been said, external, and as such is called revela tion, which is authenticated by signs and miracles. Their arguments are principally threats of eternal, and indeed also temporal evils, directed against unbelievers, and even against mere doubters. As ultima ratio theologorum, we find among many nations the stake or things similar to it. If they seek a different authentication, or if they make use of other arguments, they already make the transition into the systems of the first kind, and may degenerate into a mixture of the two, which brings more danger than advan tage, for their invaluable prerogative of being imparted to children gives them the surest guarantee of the permanent possession of the mind, for thereby their dogmas grow into a kind of second inborn intellect, like the twig upon the grafted tree ; while, on the other hand, the systems of the first kind only appeal to grown-up people, and in them always find a system of the second kind already in pos session of their convictions. Both kinds of metaphysics, whose difference may be briefly expressed by the words


366 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

reasoned conviction and faith, have this in common, that every one of their particular systems stands in a hostile re lation to all the others of its kind. Between those of the first kind war is waged only with word and pen ; between those of the second with fire and sword as well. Several of the latter owe their propagation in part to this last kind of polemic, and all have by degrees divided the earth between them, and indeed with such decided authority that the peoples of the earth are distinguished and sepa rated more according to them than according to nation ality or government. They alone reign, each in its own province. The systems of the first kind, on the contrary, are at the most tolerated, and even this only because, on account of the small number of their adherents, they are for the most part not considered worth the trouble of com bating with fire and sword although, where it seemed necessary, these also have been employed against them with effect ; besides, they occur only in a sporadic form. Yet in general they have only been endured in a tamed and subjugated condition, for the system of the second kind which prevailed in the country ordered them to con form their teaching more or less closely to its own. Some times it not only subjugated them, but even employed their services and used them as a support, which is how ever a dangerous experiment. For these systems of the first kind, since they are deprived of power, believe they may advance themselves by craft, and never entirely lay aside a secret ill-will which at times comes unexpectedly into prominence and inflicts injuries which are hard to heal. For they are further made the more dangerous by the fact that all the real sciences, not even excepting the most innocent, are their secret allies against the systems of the second kind, and without themselves being openly at war with the latter, suddenly and unexpectedly do great mis chief in their province. Besides, the attempt which is aimed at by the enlistment referred to of the services of the systems of the first kind by the second the attempt


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 367

to add an inner authentication to a system whose original authentication was external, is in its nature perilous ; for, if it were capable of such an authentication, it would never have required an external one. And in general it is always a hazardous thing to attempt to place a new foun dation under a finished structure. Moreover, how should a religion require the suffrage of a philosophy ? It has everything upon its side revelation, tradition, miracles, prophecies, the protection of the government, the highest rank, as is due to the truth, the consent and reverence of all, a thousand temples in which it is proclaimed and practised, bands of sworn priests, and, what is more than all, the invaluable privilege of being allowed to imprint its doctrines on the mind at the tender age of childhood, whereby they became almost like innate ideas. With such wealth of means at its disposal, still to desire the assent of poor philosophers it must be more covetous, or to care about their contradiction it must be more fearful, than seems to be compatible with a good conscience.

To the distinction established above between metaphy sics of the first and of the second kind, we have yet to add the following : A system of the first kind, thus a philo sophy, makes the claim, and has therefore the obligation, in everything that it says, sensu strict o et proprio, to be true, for it appeals to thought and conviction. A religion, on the other hand, being intended for the innumerable multitude who, since they are incapable of examination and thought, would never comprehend the profoundest and most difficult truths sensu proprio, has only the obli gation to be true sensu alleyorico. Truth cannot appear naked before the people. A symptom of this allegorical nature of religions is the mysteries which are to be found perhaps in them all, certain dogmas which cannot even be distinctly thought, not to speak of being literally true. Indeed, perhaps it might be asserted that some absolute contradictions, some actual absurdities, are an essential ingredient in a complete religion, for these are just the


368 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

stamp of its allegorical nature, and the only adequate means of making the ordinary mind and the uncultured understanding feel what would be incomprehensible to it, that religion has ultimately to do with quite a different order of things, with an order of things in themselves, in the presence of which the laws of this phenomenal world, in conformity with which it must speak, vanish ; and that therefore not only the contradictory but also the compre hensible dogmas are really only allegories and accommo dations to the human power of comprehension. It seems to me that it was in this spirit that Augustine and even Luther adhered to the mysteries of Christianity in opposi- sition to Pelagianism, which sought to reduce everything to the dull level of comprehensibility. From this point of view it is also conceivable how Tertullian could say in all seriousness : "Prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est : . . . cer- tum est, quia impossible " (De Carne Christi, c. 5). This alle gorical nature of religions makes them independent of the proofs which are incumbent on philosophy, and in general withdraws them from investigation. Instead of this they require faith, that is, a voluntary admission that such is the state of the case. Since, then, faith guides action, and the allegory is always so framed that, as regards the practical, it leads precisely to that which the truth sensu proprio would also lead to, religion is justified in promising to those who believe eternal salva tion. Thus we see that in the main, and for the great ma jority, who cannot apply themselves to thought, religions very well supply the place of metaphysics in general, the need of which man feels to be imperative. They do this partly in a practical interest, as the guiding star of their action, the unfurled standard of integrity and virtue, as Kant admirably expresses it ; partly as the indispensable comfort in the heavy sorrows of life, in which capacity they fully supply the place of an objectively true meta- physic, because they lift man above himself and his exist ence in time, as well perhaps as such a metaphysic ever


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 369

could. In this their great value and indeed necessity shows itself very clearly. For Plato says, and says rightly, " <f>i\6ao(f)ov 7r\r)6o<? aSvvarov elvai " (vulgus philosophum esse impossible est. De Rep., vi. p. 89, Bip.} On the other hand, the only stumbling-stone is this, that religions never dare to confess their allegorical nature, but have to assert that they are true sensu proprio. They thereby encroach on the province of metaphysics proper, and call forth the antagonism of the latter, which has therefore expressed itself at all times when it was not chained up. The con troversy which is so perseveringly carried on in our own day between supernaturalists and rationalists also rests on the failure to recognise the allegorical nature of all religion.

o o o

Both wish to have Christianity true sensu proprio ; in this sense the former wish to maintain it without deduction, as it were with skin and hair ; and thus they have a hard stand to make against the knowledge and general culture of the age. The latter wish to explain away all that is properly Christian ; whereupon they retain something which is neither sensu proprio nor sensu allegorico true, but rather a mere platitude, little better than Judaism, or at the most a shallow Pelagianism, and, what is worst, an abject optimism, absolutely foreign to Christianity proper. Moreover, the attempt to found a religion upon reason removes it into the other class of metaphysics, that which has its authentication in itself, thus to the foreign ground of the philosophical systems, and into the conflict which these wage against each other in their own arena, and consequently exposes it to the light fire of scepticism and the heavy artillery of the " Critique of Pure Eeason ; " but for it to venture there would be clear presumption.

It would be most beneficial to both kinds of meta physics that each of them should remain clearly separated from the other and confine itself to its own province, that it may there be able to develop its nature fully. Instead of which, through the whole Christian era, the endeavour

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370 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

has been to bring about a fusion of the two, for the dogmas and conceptions of the one have been carried over into the other, whereby both are spoiled. This has taken place in the most open manner in our own day in that strange her maphrodite or centaur, the so-called philosophy of religion, which, as a kind of gnosis, endeavours to interpret the given religion, and to explain what is true sensu allegorico through something which is true sensu proprio. But for this we would have to know and possess the truth sensu proprio already ; and in that case such an interpretation would be superfluous. For to seek first to find meta physics, i.e., the truth sensu proprio, merely out of religion by explanation and interpretation would be a doubtful and dangerous undertaking, to which one would only make up one s mind if it were proved that truth, like iron and other base metals, could only be found in a mixed, not in a pure form, and therefore one could only obtain it by reduction from the mixed ore.

Eeligions are necessary for the people, and an inestim able benefit to them. But if they oppose themselves to the progress of mankind in the knowledge of the truth, they must with the utmost possible forbearance be set aside. And to require that a great mind a Shakspeare ; a Goethe should make the dogmas of any religion im plicitly, bond fide et sensu proprio, his conviction is to require that a giant should put on the shoe of a dwarf.

Eeligions, being calculated with reference to the power of comprehension of the great mass of men, can only have indirect, not immediate truth. To require of them the latter is as if one wished to read the letters set up in the form-chase, instead of their impression. The value of a religion will accordingly depend upon the greater or less content of truth which it contains under the veil of alle gory, and then upon the greater or less distinctness with which it becomes visible through this veil, thus upon the transparency of the latter. It almost seems that, as the oldest languages are the most perfect, so also are the oldest

ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 371

religions. If I were to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth, I would be obliged to concede to Buddhism the pre-eminence over the rest. In any case it must be a satisfaction to me to see my teaching in such close agreement with a religion which the majority of men upon the earth hold as their own; for it numbers far more adherents than any other. This agreement, however, must be the more satisfactory to me because in my philosophising I have certainly not been under its influence. For up till 1818, when my work appeared, there were very few, exceedingly incomplete and scanty, accounts of Buddhism to be found in Europe, which were almost entirely limited to a few essays in the earlier volumes of "Asiatic Researches," and were principally concerned with the Buddhism of the Burmese. Only since then has fuller information about this religion gradually reached us, chiefly through the profound and instructive essays of the meritorious member of the St. Petersburg Academy, J. J. Schmidt, in the proceedings of his Academy, and then little by little through several English and French scholars, so that I was able to give a fairly numerous list of the best works on this religion in my work, "Ueber den Willen in der Natur" under the heading Sinologie. Unfortunately Csoma Korosi, that persevering Hungarian, who, in order to study the language and sacred writings of Buddhism, spent many years in Tibet, and for the most part in Buddhist monasteries, was carried off by death just as he was beginning to work out for us the results of his researches. I cannot, however, deny the pleasure with which I read, in his provisional accounts, several passages cited directly from the Kahgyur itself; for example, the following conversation of the dying Buddha with Brahma, who is doing him homage: "There is a description of their conversation on the subject of creation, by whom was the world made? Shakya asks several questions of Brahma, whether was it he who made or produced such and such things, and

372 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

endowed or blessed them with such and such virtues or properties, whether was it he who caused the several revolutions in the destruction and regeneration of the world. He denies that he had ever done anything to that effect. At last he himself asks Shakya how the world was made, by whom? Here are attributed all changes in the world to the moral works of the animal beings, and it is stated that in the world all is illusion, there is no reality in the things ; all is empty. Brahma, being instructed in his doctrine, becomes his follower" (Asiatic Researches, vol. xx. p. 434).

I cannot place, as is always done, the fundamental difference of all religions in the question whether they are monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic, or atheistic, but only in the question whether they are optimistic or pessimistic, that is, whether they present the existence of the world as justified by itself, and therefore praise and value it, or regard it as something that can only be con ceived as the consequence of our guilt, and therefore properly ought not to be, because they recognise that pain and death cannot lie in the eternal, original, and immutable order of things, in that which in every respect ought to be. The power by virtue of which Christianity was able to overcome first Judaism, and then the heathen ism of Greece and Rome, lies solely in its pessimism, in the confession that our state is both exceedingly wretched and sinful, \vhile Judaism and heathenism were opti mistic. That truth, profoundly and painfully felt by all, penetrated, and bore in its train the need of redemption.

I turn to a general consideration of the other kind of metaphysics, that which has its authentication in itself, and is called philosophy. I remind the reader of its origin, mentioned above, in a wonder concerning the world and our own existence, inasmuch as these press upon the intel lect as a riddle, the solution of which therefore occupies mankind without intermission. Here, then, I wish first of all to draw attention to the fact that this could not be


ON MAN'S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 373

the case if, in Spinoza s sense, which in our own day has so often been brought forward again under modern forms and expositions as pantheism, the world were an " absolute substance," and therefore an absolutely necessary existence. For this means that it exists with so great a necessity that beside it every other necessity comprehensible to our understanding as such must appear as an accident. It would then be something which comprehended in itself not only all actual but also all possible existence, so that, as Spinoza indeed declares, its possibility and its actuality would be absolutely one. Its non-being would therefore be impossibility itself; thus it would be something the non-being or other-being of which must be completely inconceivable, and which could therefore just as little be thought away as, for example, space or time. And since, further, loe ourselves would be parts, modes, attributes, or accidents of such an absolute substance, which would be the only thing that, in any sense, could ever or anywhere exist, our and its existence, together with its properties, would necessarily be very far from presenting itself to us as remarkable, problematical, and indeed as an unfathom able and ever-disquieting riddle, but, on the contrary, would be far more self-evident than that two and two make four. For we would necessarily be incapable of thinking anything else than that the world is, and is, as it is ; and therefore we would necessarily be as little conscious of its existence as such, i.e., as a problem for reflection, as we are of the incredibly fast motion of our planet.

All this, however, is absolutely not the case. Only to the brutes, who are without thought, does the world and existence appear as a matter of course; to man, on the contrary, it is a problem, of which even the most unedu cated and narrow-minded becomes vividly conscious in certain brighter moments, but which enters more distinctly and more permanently into the consciousness of each one of us the clearer and more enlightened that conscious-


374 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

ness is, and the more material for thought it has acquired through culture, which all ultimately rises, in minds that are naturally adapted for philosophising, to Plato s " dav^a- %ew, yu-aXa <f)i\o<ro<f)iKov TraOos " (mirari, valde philosophicus affectus), that is, to that wonder which comprehends in its whole magnitude that problem which unceasingly occupies the nobler portion of mankind in every age and in every land, and gives it no rest. In fact, the pendulum which keeps in motion the clock of metaphysics, that never runs down, is the consciousness that the non-existence of this world is just as possible as its existence. Thus, then, the Spinozistic view of it as an absolutely necessary existence, that is, as something that absolutely and in every sense ought to and must be, is a false one. Even simple Theism, since in its cosmological proof it tacitly starts by inferring the previous non-existence of the world from its existence, thereby assumes beforehand that the world is something contingent. Nay, what is more, we very soon apprehend the world as something the non-existence of which is not only conceivable, but indeed preferable to its existence. Therefore our wonder at it easily passes into a brooding over the fatcdity which could yet call forth its existence, arid by virtue of which such stupendous power as is de manded for the production and maintenance of such a world could be directed so much against its own interest. The philosophical astonishment is therefore at bottom per plexed and melancholy ; philosophy, like the overture to " Don Juan," commences with a minor chord. It follows from this that it can neither be Spinozism nor optimism. The more special nature, which has just been indicated, of the astonishment which leads us to philosophise clearly springs from the sight of the suffering and the wickedness in the world, which, even if they were in the most just proportion to each other, and also were far outweighed by good, are yet something which absolutely and in gene ral ought not to be. But since now nothing can come out of nothing, these also must have their germ in the


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 375

origin or in the kernel of the world itself. It is hard for us to assume this if we look at the magnitude, the order and completeness, of the physical world, for it seems to us that what had the power to produce such a world must have been able to avoid the suffering and the wickedness. That assumption (the truest expression of which is Or- muzd and Ahrimines), it is easy to conceive, is hardest of all for Theism. Therefore the freedom of the will was primarily invented to account for wickedness. But this is only a concealed way of making something out of nothing, for it assumes an Operari that proceeded from no Esse (see Die beiden Grrundprobleme der Ethik, p. 58, et seq. ; second edition, p. 57 et seq.) Then it was sought to get rid of evil by attributing it to matter, or to unavoid able necessity, whereby the devil, who is really the right Expedicns ad hoc, was unwillingly set aside. To evil also belongs death; but wickedness is only the throwing of the existing evil from oneself on to another. Thus, as was said above, it is wickedness, evil, and death that qualify and intensify the philosophical astonishment. Not merely that the world exists, but still more that it is such a wretched world, is the punctum pruriens of metaphysics, the problem which awakens in mankind an unrest that cannot be quieted by scepticism nor yet by criticism.

We find physics also (in the widest sense of the word) occupied with the explanation of the phenomena in the world. But it lies in the very nature of its explanations themselves that they cannot be sufficient. Physics cannot stand on its own feet, but requires a metaphysic to lean upon, whatever airs it may give itself towards the latter. For it explains the phenomena by something still more unknown than they are themselves ; by laws of nature, resting upon forces of nature, to which the power of life also belongs. Certainly the whole present condition of all things in the world, or in nature, must necessarily be explicable from purely physical causes. But such an ex planation supposing one actually succeeded so far as to


3?6 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

be able to give it must always just as necessarily be tainted with two imperfections (as it were with two sores, or like Achilles with the vulnerable heel, or the devil with the horse s hoof), on account of which everything so explained really remains still unexplained. First with this imperfection, that the beginning of every explanatory chain of causes and effects, i.e., of connected changes, can absolutely never be reached, but, just like the limits of the world in space and time, unceasingly recedes in infinite. Secondly with this, that the whole of the efficient causes out of which everything is explained constantly rest upon something which is completely inexplicable, the original qualities of things and the natural forces which play a prominent part among them, by virtue of which they pro duce a specific kind of effect, e.g., weight, hardness, impul sive force, elasticity, warmth, electricity, chemical forces &c., and which now remain in every explanation which is given, like an unknown quantity, which absolutely cannot be eliminated, in an otherwise perfectly solved algebraical equation. Accordingly there is no fragment of clay, how ever little worth, that is not entirely composed of inex plicable qualities. Thus these .two inevitable defects in every purely physical, i.e., causal, explanation show that such an explanation can only be relative, and that its whole method and nature cannot be the only one, the ultimate and thus the sufficient one, i.e., cannot be the method of explanation that can ever lead to the satis factory solution of the difficult riddle of things, and to the true understanding of the world and existence ; but that the physical explanation in general and as such requires further a metaphysical explanation, which affords us the key to all its assumptions, but just on this account must necessarily follow quite a different path. The first step to this is that one should bring to distinct consciousness and firmly retain the difference of the two, hence the difference between physics and metaphysics. It rests in general on the Kantian distinction between phenomenon


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 377

and thing in itself. Just because Kant held the latter to be absolutely unknowable, there was, according to him, no metaphysics, but merely immanent knowledge, i.e., phy sics, which throughout can speak only of phenomena, and also a critique of the reason which strives after metaphy sics. Here, however, in order to show the true point of connection between my philosophy and that of Kant, I shall anticipate the second book, and give prominence to the fact that Kant, in his beautiful exposition of the com patibility of freedom and necessity (Critique of Pure Eeason, first edition, p. 532-554; and Critique of Prac tical Pieason, p. 224-231 of Rosenkranz s edition), shows how one and the same action may in one aspect be per fectly explicable as necessarily arising from the character of the man, the influence to which he has been subject in the course of his life, and the motives which are now pre sent to him, but yet in another aspect must be regarded as the work of his free will ; and in the same sense he says, 53 of the " Prolegomena :" " Certainly natural neces sity will belong to every connection of cause and effect in the world of sense ; yet, on the other hand, freedom will be conceded to that cause which is not itself a phenomenon (though indeed it is the ground of phenomena), thus nature and freedom may without contradiction be attri buted to the same thing, but in a different reference in the one case as a phenomenon, in the other case as a thing in itself." What, then, Kant teaches of the phenomenon of man and his action my teaching extends to all phenomena in nature, in that it makes the will as a thing in itself their foundation. This proceeding is justified first of all by the fact that it must not be assumed that man is specifically toto genere radically different from the other beings and things in nature, but rather that he is different only in degree. I turn back from this premature digres sion to our consideration of the inadequacy of physics to afford us the ultimate explanation of things. I say, then, everything certainly is physical, but yet nothing is explic-


378 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

able physically. As for the motion of the projected bullet, so also for the thinking of the brain, a physical explanation must ultimately be in itself possible, which would make the latter just as comprehensible as is the former. But even the former, which we imagine we understand so perfectly, is at bottom as obscure to us as the latter ; for what the inner nature of expansion in space may be of impenetra bility, mobility, hardness, elasticity, and gravity remains, after all physical explanations, a mystery, just as much as thought. But because in the case of thought the inexplic able appears most immediately, a spring was at once made here from physics to metaphysics, and a substance of quite a different kind from all corporeal substances was hypos- tatised a soul was set up in the brain. But if one had not been so dull as only to be capable of being struck by the most remarkable of phenomena, one would have had to explain digestion by a soul in the stomach, vegetation by a soul in the plant, affinity by a soul in the reagents, nay, the falling of a stone by a soul in the stone. For the quality of every unorganised body is just as mysterious as the life in the living body. In the same way, therefore, the physical explanation strikes everywhere upon what is metaphysical, by which it is annihilated, i.e., it ceases to be explanation. Strictly speaking, it may be asserted that no natural science really achieves anything more than what is also achieved by Botany : the bringing together of similars, classification. A physical system which asserted that its explanations of things in the particular from causes, and in general from forces were really sufficient, and thus exhausted the nature of the world, would be the true Naturalism. From Leucippus, Dernocritus, and Epicurus down to the Systeme de la Nature, and further, to Delamark, Cabanis, and to the materialism that has again been warmed up in the last few years, we can trace the persistent attempt to set up a system of physics without metaphysics, that is, a system which would make the phenomenon the thing in itself. But all their explana-


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 379

tions seek to conceal from the explainers themselves and from others that they simply assume the principal matter without more ado. They endeavour to show that all phenomena, even those of mind, are physical. And they are right ; only they do not see that all that is physical is in another aspect also metaphysical. But, without Kant, this is indeed difficult to see, for it presupposes the dis tinction of the phenomenon from the thing in itself. Yet without this Aristotle, much as he was inclined to empiri cism, and far as he was removed from the Platonic hyper- physics, kept himself free from this limited point of view. He says : " Ei /ACV ovv pi) can T*<? erepa ovaia Trapa ret? (f>vai avveo-Trj/cvias, rj (frvcriKi} av eirj TrpUtTTj eTTiarrj/j-Tf] et Be eari T*$ ovcria afctvrjTos, avrr) TT pore pa Kai <f>i\ocro(f>ia Trpayrfj, Kai Kado\ov euro)?, <m irpatTr) KCLI irept, TOV ovros 77 ov, TCIVTIJS av en) OeatpTja-ai." (Si igitur non est aliqua alia sub- stantia, prceter eas, quce natura consistunt, physica profecto prima scientia esset : quodsi autem est aliqua substantia immobilis, hcec prim* et philosopliia prima, et universalis sic, quod prima ; et de ente, prout ens est, speculari hujus est), "Metaph.,"v. I. Such an absolute system of physics as is described above, which leaves room for no metaphysics, would make the Natura naturata into the Natura natu- rans ; it would be physics established on the throne of metaphysics, yet it would comport itself in this high position almost like Holberg s theatrical would-be poli tician who was made burgomaster. Indeed behind the reproach of atheism, in itself absurd, and for the most part malicious, there lies, as its inner meaning and truth, which gives it strength, the obscure conception of such an absolute system of physics without metaphysics. Certainly such a system would necessarily be destructive of ethics ; and while Theism has falsely been held to be inseparable from morality, this is really true only of metaphysics in general, i.e., of the knowledge that the order of nature is not the only and absolute order of things. Therefore we may set up this as the necessary Credo of all just and


380 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

good men : " I believe in metaphysics." In this respect it is important and necessary that one should convince one self of the untenable nature of an absolute system of physics, all the more as this, the true naturalism, is a point of view which of its own accord and ever anew presses itself upon a man, and can only be done away with through profound speculation. In this respect, however, all kinds of systems and faiths, so far and so long as they are accepted, certainly serve as a substitute for such speculation. But that a fundamentally false view presses itself upon man of its own accord, and must first be skilfully removed, is explic able from the fact that the intellect is not originally intended to instruct us concerning the nature of things, but only to show us their relations, with reference to our will ; it is, as we shall find in the second book, only the medium of motives. Now, that the world schematises itself in the intellect in a manner which exhibits quite a different order of things from the absolutely true one, because it shows us, not their kernel, but only their outer shell, happens accidentally, and cannot be used as a reproach to the intellect; all the less as it nevertheless finds in itself the means of rectifying this error, in that it arrives at the distinction between the phenomenal appear ance and the inner being of things, which distinction existed in substance at all times, only for the most part was very imperfectly brought to consciousness, and there fore was inadequately expressed, indeed often appeared in strange clothing. The Christian mystics, when they call it the light of nature, declare the intellect to be inadequate to the comprehension of the true nature of things. It is, as it were, a mere surface force, like electricity, and does not penetrate to the inner being.

The insufficiency of pure naturalism appears, as we have said, first of all, on the empirical path itself, through the circumstance that every physical explanation explains the particular from its cause ; but the chain of these causes, as we know a priori, and therefore with perfect certainty,


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 381

runs back to infinity, so that absolutely no cause could

ever be the first. Then, however, the effect of every cause

is referred to a law of nature, and this finally to a force of

nature, which now remains as the absolutely inexplicable.

But this inexplicable, to which all phenomena of this so

clearly given and naturally explicable world, from the

highest to the lowest, are referred, just shows that the

whole nature of such explanation is only conditional, as

it were only ex concessis, and by no means the true and

sufficient one ; therefore I said above that physically

everything and nothing is explicable. That absolutely

inexplicable element which pervades all phenomena, which

is most striking in the highest, e.g., in generation, but yet

is just as truly present in the lowest, e.g., in mechanical

phenomena, points to an entirely different kind of order

of things lying at the foundation of the physical order,

which is just what Kant calls the order of things in

themselves, and which is the goal of metaphysics. But,

secondly, the insufficiency of pure naturalism comes out

clearly from that fundamental philosophical truth, which

we have fully considered in the first half of this book, and

which is also the theme of the " Critique of Pure Eeason ;"

the truth that every object, both as regards its objective

existence in general and as regards the manner (forms) of

this existence, is throughout conditioned by the knowing

subject, hence is merely a phenomenon, not a thing in

itself. This is explained in 7 of the first volume, and it

is there shown that nothing can be more clumsy than that,

after the manner of all materialists, one should blindly take

the objective as simply given in order to derive everything

from it without paying any regard to the subjective, through

which, however, nay, in which alone the former exists.

Samples of this procedure are most readily afforded us

by the fashionable materialism of our own day, which

has thereby become a philosophy well suited for barbers

and apothecaries apprentices. For it, in its innocence,

matter, assumed without reflection as absolutely real, is


382 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

the thing in self, and the one capacity of a thing in itself is impulsive force, for all other qualities can only be mani festations of this.

With naturalism, then, or the purely physical way of looking at things, we shall never attain our end ; it is like a sum that never comes out. Causal series without begin ning or end, fundamental forces which are inscrutable, endless space, beginningless time, infinite divisibility of matter, and all this further conditioned by a knowing brain, in which alone it exists just like a dream, and without which it vanishes constitute the labyrinth in which naturalism leads us ceaselessly round. The height to which in our time the natural sciences have risen in this respect entirely throws into the shade all previous centuries, and is a summit which mankind reaches for the first time. But however great are the advances which physics (understood in the wide sense of the ancients) may make, not the smallest step towards metaphysics is thereby taken, just as a plane can never obtain cubical content by being indefinitely extended. For all such advances will only perfect our knowledge of the pheno menon; while metaphysics strives to pass beyond the phenomenal appearance itself, to that which so appears. And if indeed it had the assistance of an entire and com plete experience, it would, as regards the main point, be in no way advantaged by it. Nay, even if one wandered through all the planets and fixed stars, one would thereby have made no step in metaphysics. It is rather the case that the greatest advances of physics will make the need of metaphysics ever more felt ; for it is just the corrected, extended, and more thorough knowledge of nature which, on the one hand, always undermines and ultimately over throws the metaphysical assumptions which till then have prevailed, but, on the other hand, presents the problem of metaphysics itself more distinctly, more correctly, and more fully, and separates it more clearly from all that is merely physical; moreover, the more perfectly and


OiV MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 383

accurately known nature of the particular thing more pressingly demands the explanation of the whole and the general, which, the more correctly, thoroughly, and com pletely it is known empirically, only presents itself as the more mysterious. Certainly the individual, simple inves tigator of nature, in a special branch of physics, does not at once become clearly conscious of all this ; he rather sleeps contentedly by the side of his chosen maid, in the house of Odysseus, banishing all thoughts of Penelope (cf. ch. 12 at the end). Hence we see at the present day the husk of nature investigated in its minutest details, the intes tines of intestinal worms and the vermin of vermin known to a nicety. But if some one comes, as, for example, I do, and speaks of the kernel of nature, they will not listen ; they even think it has nothing to do with the matter, and go on sifting their husks. One finds oneself tempted to call that over-microscopical and micrological investigator of nature the cotquean of nature. But those persons who believe that crucibles and retorts are the true and only source of all wisdom are in their own way just as per verse as were formerly their antipodes the Scholastics. As the latter, absolutely confined to their abstract con ceptions, used these as their weapons, neither knowing nor investigating anything outside them, so the former, absolutely confined to their empiricism, allow nothing to be true except what their eyes behold, and believe they can thus arrive at the ultimate ground of things, not discerning that between the phenomenon and that which manifests itself in it, the thing in itself, there is a deep gulf, a radical difference, which can only be cleared up by the knowledge and accurate delimitation of the subjective element of the phenomenon, and the insight that the ultimate and most important conclusions concerning the nature of things can only be drawn from self-conscious ness ; yet without all this one cannot advance a step beyond what is directly given to the senses, thus can get no further than to the problem. Yet, on the other hand,


384 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

it is to be observed that the most perfect possible know ledge of nature is the corrected statement of the problem of metaphysics. Therefore no one ought to venture upon this without having first acquired a knowledge of all the branches of natural science, which, though general, shall be thorough, clear, and connected. For the problem must precede its solution. Then, however, the investigator must turn his glance inward ; for the intellectual and ethical phenomena are more important than the physical, in the same proportion as, for example, animal magnetism is a far more important phenomenon than mineral mag netism. The last fundamental secret man carries within himself, and this is accessible to him in the most imme diate manner ; therefore it is only here that he can hope to find the key to the riddle of the world and gain a clue to the nature of all things. The special province of meta physics thus certainly lies in what has been called mental philosophy.

" The ranks of living creatures thou dost lead Before me, teaching me to know my brothers In air and water and the silent wood :

Then to the cave secure thou leadest me,

Then show st me mine own self, and in my breast

The deep, mysterious miracles unfold." 1

Finally, then, as regards the source or the foundation of metaphysical knowledge, I have already declared myself above to be opposed to the assumption, which is even re peated by Kant, that it must lie in mere conceptions. In no knowledge can conceptions be what is first ; for they are always derived from some perception. What has led, however, to that assumption is probably the example of mathematics. Mathematics can leave perception alto gether, and, as is especially the case in algebra, trigono metry, and analysis, can operate with purely abstract conceptions, nay, with conceptions which are represented

[Bayard Taylor s translation of Faust, vol. i. 180. Trs.]


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 385

only by signs instead of words, and can yet arrive at a perfectly certain result, which is still so remote that any one who adhered to the firm ground of perception could not arrive at it. But the possibility of this depends, as Kant has clearly shown, on the fact that the conceptions of mathematics are derived from the most certain and definite of all perceptions, from the a priori and yet in tuitively known relations of quantity, and can therefore be constantly realised again and controlled by these, either arithmetically, by performing the calculations which are merely indicated by those signs, or geometrically, by means of what Kant calls the construction of the conceptions. This advantage, on the other hand, is not possessed by the conceptions out of which it was believed metaphysics could be built up ; such, for example, as essence, being, substance, perfection, necessity, reality, finite, infinite, absolute, ground, &c. For such conceptions are by no means original, as fallen from heaven, or innate ; but they also, like all con ceptions, are derived from perceptions ; and as, unlike the conceptions of mathematics, they do not contain the mere form of perception, but more, empirical perceptions must lie at their foundation. Thus nothing can be drawn from them which the empirical perceptions did not also contain, that is, nothing which was not a matter of experience, and which, since these conceptions are very wide abstractions, we would receive with much greater certainty at first hand from experience. For from conceptions nothing more can ever be drawn than the perceptions from which they are derived contain. If we desire pure conceptions, i.e., such as have no empirical source, the only ones that can be produced are those which concern space and time, i.e., the merely formal part of perception, consequently only the mathematical conceptions, or at most also the conception of causality, which indeed does not originate in experience, but yet only comes into consciousness by means of it (first in sense-perception) ; therefore experience indeed is only possible by means of it ; but it also is only

VOL. II. 2 B


386 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

valid in the sphere of experience, on which account Kant has shown that it only serves to communicate the connec tion of experience, and not to transcend it ; that thus it admits only of physical application, not of metaphysical. Certainly only its a priori origin can give apodictic certainty to any knowledge ; but this limits it to the mere form of experience in general, for it shows that it is conditioned by the subjective nature of the intellect. Such knowledge, then, far from taking us beyond experience, gives only one part of experience itself, the formal part, which belongs to it throughout, and therefore is universal, consequently mere form without content. Since now metaphysics can least of all be confined to this, it must have also empirical sources of knowledge ; therefore that preconceived idea of a metaphysic to be found purely a priori is necessarily vain. It is really a petitio principii of Kant s, which he expresses most distinctly in i of the Prolegomena, that metaphysics must not draw its fundamental conceptions and principles from experience. In this it is assumed beforehand that only what we knew before all experience can extend beyond all possible experience. Supported by this, Kant then comes and shows that all such knowledge is nothing more than the form of the intellect for the purpose of experience, and consequently can never lead beyond ex perience, from which he then rightly deduces the impossi bility of all metaphysics. But does it not rather seem utterly perverse that in order to discover the secret of experience, i.e., of the world which alone lies before us, we should look quite away from it, ignore its content, and take and use for its material only the empty forms of which we are conscious a priori ? Is it not rather in keeping with the matter that the science of experience in general, and as such, should also be drawn from experience ? Its problem itself is given it empirically; why should not the solution of it call in the assistance of experience ? Is it not senseless that he who speaks of the nature of things should not look at things themselves, but should


ON MAN S NEED OF METAPHYSICS. 387

confine himself to certain abstract conceptions ? The task of metaphysics is certainly not the observation of particular experiences, but yet it is the correct explanation of experi ence as a whole. Its foundation must therefore, at any rate, be of an empirical nature. Indeed the a priori nature of a part of human knowledge will be apprehended by it as a given fact, from which it will infer the sub jective origin of the same. Only because the conscious ness of its a priori nature accompanies it is it called by Kant transcendental as distinguished from transcendent, which signifies " passing beyond all possibility of experi ence," and has its opposite in immanent, i.e., remaining within the limits of experience. I gladly recall the original meaning of this expression introduced by Kant, with which, as also with that of the Categories, and many others, the apes of philosophy carry on their game at the present day. Now, besides this, the source of the know ledge of metaphysics is not outer experience alone, but also inner. Indeed, what is most peculiar to it, that by which the decisive step which alone can solve the great question becomes possible for it, consists, as I have fully and thoroughly proved in " Ueber den Willen in der Natur" under the heading, " Physische Astronomie" in this, that at the right place it combines outer experience with inner, and uses the latter as a key to the former.

The origin of metaphysics in empirical sources of knowledge, which is here set forth, and which cannot fairly be denied, deprives it certainly of that kind of apodictic certainty which is only possible through know ledge a priori. This remains the possession of logic and mathematics sciences, however, which really only teach what every one knows already, though not distinctly. At most the primary elements of natural science may also be deduced from knowledge a priori. By this confession metaphysics only surrenders an ancient claim, which, according to what has been said above, rested upon mis understanding, and against which the great diversity and


388 FIRST BOOK. CHAPTER XVII.

changeableness of metaphysical systems, and also the con stantly accompanying scepticism, in every age has testified. Yet against the possibility of metaphysics in general this changeableness cannot be urged, for the same thing affects just as much all branches of natural science, chemistry, physics, geology, zoology, &c., and even history has not remained exempt from it. But when once, as far as the limits of human intellect allow, a true system of meta physics shall have been found, the unchangeableuess of a science which is known a priori will yet belong to it ; for its foundation can only be experience in general, and not the particular and special experiences by which, on the other hand, the natural sciences are constantly modified and new material is always being provided for history. For experience as a whole and in general will never change its character for a new one.

The next question is : How can a science drawn from experience pass beyond it and so merit the name of meta physics ? It cannot do so perhaps in the same way as we find a fourth number from three proportionate ones, or a triangle from two sides and an angle. This was the way of the pre-Kantian dogmatism, which, according to certain laws known to us a priori, sought to reason from the given to the not given, from the consequent to the reason, thus from experience to that which could not possibly be given in any experience. Kant proved the impossibility of a metaphysic upon this path, in that he showed that although these laws were not drawn from experience, they were only valid for experience. He therefore rightly taught that in such a way we cannot transcend the possibility of all ex perience. But there are other paths to metaphysics. The whole of experience is like a cryptograph, and philosophy the deciphering of it, the correctness of which is proved by the connection appearing everywhere. If this whole is only profoundly enough comprehended, and the inner experience is connected with the outer, it must be capable of being interpreted, explained from itself. Since Kant


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has irrefutably proved to us that experience in general proceeds from two elements, the forms of knowledge and the inner nature of things, and that these two may be dis tinguished in experience from each other, as that of which we are conscious a priori and that which is added a pos teriori, it is possible, at least in general, to say, what in the given experience, which is primarily merely phenome nal, belongs to the form of this phenomenon, conditioned by the intellect, and what, after deducting this, remains over for the thing in itself. And although no one can dis cern the thing in itself through the veil of the forms of perception, on the other hand every one carries it in him self, indeed is it himself; therefore in self-consciousness it must be in some way accessible to him, even though only conditionally. Thus the bridge by which meta physics passes beyond experience is nothing else than that analysis of experience into phenomenon and thing in itself in which I have placed Kant s greatest merit. For it contains the proof of a kernel of the phenomenon different from the phenomenon itself. This can indeed never be entirely separated from the phenomenon and regarded in itself as an ens extramundanum, but is always known only in its relations to and connections with the phenomenon itself. But the interpretation and explana tion of the latter, in relation to the former, which is its inner kernel, is capable of affording us information with regard to it which does not otherwise come into conscious ness. In this sense, then, metaphysics goes beyond the phenomenon, i.e., nature, to that which is concealed in or behind it (TO //.era TO (fivaiKov), always regal-ding it, how ever, merely as that which manifests itself in the pheno menon, not as independent of all phenomenal appearance ; it therefore remains immanent, and does not become tran scendent. For it never disengages itself entirelv from

o o /

experience, but remains merely its interpretation and explanation, since it never speaks of the thing in itself otherwise than in its relation to the phenomenon. This


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at least is the sense in which I, with reference through out to the limitations of human knowledge proved by Kant, have attempted to solve the problem of metaphysics. Therefore his Prolegomena to future metaphysics will be valid and suitable for mine also. Accordingly it never really goes beyond experience, but only discloses the true understanding of the world which lies before it in experi ence. It is neither, according to the definition of meta physics which even Kant repeats, a science of mere con ceptions, nor is it a system of deductions from a priori principles, the uselessness of which for the end of meta physics has been shown by Kant. But it is rational knowledge, drawn from perception of the external actual world and the information which the most intimate fact of self-consciousness affords us concerning it, deposited in distinct conceptions. It is accordingly the science of ex perience ; but its subject and its source is not particular experiences, but the totality of all experience. I com pletely accept Kant s doctrine that the world of experience is merely phenomenal, and that the a priori knowledge is valid only in relation to phenomena ; but I add that just as phenomenal appearance, it is the manifestation of that which appears, and with him I call this the thing in itself. This must therefore express its nature and character in the world of experience, and consequently it must be possible to interpret these from this world, and indeed from the matter, not the mere form, of experience. Accord ingly philosophy is nothing but the correct and universal understanding of experience itself, the true exposition of its meaning and content. To this the metaphysical, i.e., that which is merely clothed in the phenomenon and veiled in its forms, is that which is related to it as thought to words. Such a deciphering of the world with reference to that which manifests itself in it must receive its confirmation from itself, through the agreement with each other in which it places the very diverse phenomena of the world, and which without it we do not perceive. If we find a


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document the alphabet of which is unknown, we endea vour to make it out until we hit upon an hypothesis as to the significance of the letters in accordance with which they make up comprehensible words and connected sen tences. Then, however, there remains no doubt as to the correctness of the deciphering, because it is not possible that the agreement and connection in which all the letters of that writing are placed by this explanation is merely accidental, and that by attributing quite a different value to the letters we could also recognise words and sentences in this arrangement of them. In the same way the de ciphering of the world must completely prove itself from itself. It must throw equal light upon all the phenomena of the world, and also bring the most heterogeneous into agreement, so that the contradiction between those which are most in contrast may be abolished. This proof from itself is the mark of genuineness. For every false de ciphering, even if it is suitable for some phenomena, will conflict all the more glaringly with the rest. So, for example, the optimism of Leibnitz conflicts with the pal pable misery of existence ; the doctrine of Spinoza, that the world is the only possible and absolutely necessary substance, is incompatible with our wonder at its exist ence and nature ; the Wolfian doctrine, that man obtains his Existentia and Essentia from a will foreign to himself, is contradicted by our moral responsibility for the actions which proceed with strict necessity from these, in conflict with the motives ; the oft-repeated doctrine of the progres sive development of man to an ever higher perfection, or in general of any kind of becoming by means of the pro cess of the world, is opposed to the a priori knowledge that at any point of time an infinite time has already run its course, and consequently all that is supposed to come with time would necessarily have already existed ; and in this way an interminable list might be given of the con tradictions of dogmatic assumptions with the given reality of things. On the other hand, I must deny that any doc-


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trine of my philosophy could fairly be added to such a list, because each of them has been thought out in the presence of the perceived reality, and none of them has its root in abstract conceptions alone. There is yet in it a fundamental thought which is applied to all the phe nomena of the world as their key ; but it proves itself to be the right alphabet at the application of which all words and sentences have sense and significance. The discovered answer to a riddle shows itself to be the right one by the fact that all that is said in the riddle is suitable to it. In the same way my doctrine introduces agreement and connection into the confusion of the con trasting phenomena of this world, and solves the innume rable contradictions which, when regarded from any other point of view, it presents. Therefore, so far, it is like a sum that comes out right, yet by no means in the sense that it leaves no problem over to solve, no possible question unanswered. To assert anything of that sort would be a presumptuous denial of the limits of human knowledge in general. Whatever torch we may kindle, and whatever space it may light, our horizon will always remain bounded by profound night. For the ultimate solution of the riddle of the world must necessarily be concerned with the things in themselves, no longer with the phenomena. But all our forms of knowledge are adapted to the phenomena alone ; therefore we must com prehend everything through coexistence, succession, and causal relations. These forms, however, have meaning and significance only with reference to the phenomenon ; the things in themselves and their possible relations can not be apprehended by means of those forms. Therefore the actual, positive solution of the riddle of the world must be something that human intellect is absolutely incapable of grasping and thinking ; so that if a being of a higher kind were to come and take all pains to impart it to us, we would be absolutely incapable of understand ing anything of his expositions. Those, therefore, who pro-


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fess to know the ultimate, i.e., the first ground of things, thus a primordial being, an absolute, or whatever else they choose to call it, together with the process, the reasons, motives, or whatever it may be, in consequence of which the world arises from it, or springs, or falls, or is produced, set in existence, "discharged," and ushered forth, are playing tricks, are vain boasters, when indeed they are not charlatans.

I regard it as a great excellence of my philosophy that all its truths have been found independently of each other, by contemplation of the real world ; but their unity and agree ment, about which I had been unconcerned, has always afterwards appeared of itself. Hence also it is rich, and has wide-spreading roots in the ground of perceptible reality, from which all nourishment of abstract truths springs ; and hence, again, it is not wearisome a quality which, to judge from the philosophical writings of the last fifty years, one might regard as essential to philosophy. If, on the other hand, all the doctrines of a philosophy are merely deduced the one out of the other, and ultimately indeed all out of one first principle, it must be poor and meagre, and consequently wearisome, for nothing can follow from a proposition except what it really already says itself. Moreover, in this case everything depends upon the cor rectness of one proposition, and by a single mistake in the deduction the truth of the whole would be endangered. Still less security is given by the systems which start from an intellectual intuition, i.e., a kind of ecstasy or clairvoyance. All knowledge so obtained must be rejected as subjective, individual, and consequently problematical. Even if it actually existed it would not be communicable, for only the normal knowledge of the brain is communi cable ; if it is abstract, through conceptions and words ; if purely perceptible or concrete, through works of art.

If, as so often happens, metaphysics is reproached with having made so little progress, it ought also to be con sidered that no other science has grown up like it under


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constant oppression, none has been so hampered and hindered from without as it has always been by the religion of every land, which, everywhere in possession of a monopoly of metaphysical knowledge, regards meta physics as a weed growing beside it, as an unlicensed worker, as a horde of gipsies, and as a rule tolerates it only under the condition that it accommodates itself to serve and follow it. For where has there ever been true freedom of thought ? It has been vaunted sufficiently ; but whenever it wishes to go further than perhaps to differ about the subordinate dogmas of the religion of the country, a holy shudder seizes the prophets of tolerance, and they say : " Not a step further ! " What progress of metaphysics was possible under such oppression ? Nay, this constraint which the privileged metaphysics exercises is not confined to the communication of thoughts, but extends to thinking itself, for its dogmas are so firmly imprinted in the tender, plastic, trustful, and thoughtless age of childhood, with studied solemnity and serious airs, that from that time forward they grow with the brain, and almost assume the nature of innate thoughts, which some philosophers have therefore really held them to be, and still more have pretended to do so. Yet nothing can so firmly resist the comprehension of even the problem of metaphysics as a previous solution of it intruded upon and early implanted in the mind. For the necessary starting-point for all genuine philosophy is the deep feeling of the Socratic : " This one thing I know, that I know nothing." The ancients were in this respect in a better position than we are, for their national religions certainly limited somewhat the imparting of thoughts ; but they did not interfere with the freedom of thought itself, because they were not formally and solemnly impressed upon children, and in general were not taken so seriously. Therefore in metaphysics the ancients are still our teachers.

Whenever metaphysics is reproached with its small pro-


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gress, and with not having yet reached its goal in spite of such sustained efforts, one ought further to consider that in the meanwhile it has constantly performed the in valuable service of limiting the boundless claims of the privileged metaphysics, and yet at the same time combat ing naturalism and materialism proper, which are called forth by it as an inevitable reaction. Consider to what a pitch the arrogance of the priesthood of every religion would rise if the belief in their doctrines was as firm and blind as they really wish. Look back also at the wars, disturbances, rebellions, and revolutions in Europe from the eighth to the eighteenth century; how few will be found that have not had as their essence, or their pre text, some controversy about beliefs, thus a metaphysical problem, which became the occasion of exciting nations against each other. Yet is that whole thousand years a continual slaughter, now on the battlefield, now on the scaffold, now in the streets, in metaphysical interests ! I wish I had an authentic list of all crimes which Chris tianity has really prevented, and all good deeds it has really performed, that I might be able to place them in the other scale of the balance.

Lastly, as regards the obligations of metaphysics, it has only one ; for it is one which endures no other beside it the obligation to be true. If one would impose other obli gations upon it besides this, such as to be spiritualistic, optimistic, monotheistic, or even only to be moral, one cannot know beforehand whether this would not interfere with the fulfilment of that first obligation, without which all its other achievements must clearly be worthless. A given philosophy has accordingly no other standard of its value than that of truth. For the rest, philosophy is essen tially world-wisdom : its problem is the world. It has to do with this alone, and leaves the gods in peace expects, however, in return, to be left in peace by them.