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History Of Modern Philosophy by Richard Falckenberg

Part 8 out of 13

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of a need or of the taste, they can be replaced by other means, which
fulfill the same purpose, and they have a (market or fancy) _value_; while
that which is above all value and admits of no equivalent has an ultimate
worth or _dignity_, and is an object of respect. The legislation which
determines all worth, and with this the disposition which corresponds to
it, has a dignity, an unconditioned, incomparable worth, and lends its
subjects, rational beings framed for morality, the advantage of being ends
in themselves. "Therefore morality, and humanity so far as it is capable of
morality, is that which alone possesses dignity." Accordingly the following
formulation of the moral law may be held equivalent to the first: "So act
as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other,
in every case as an end, never as a means only."

A further addition to the abstract formula of the categorical imperative
results from the discussion of the question, What universal ends admit of
subsumption under it, _i.e._, stand the test of fitness to be principles of
a universal legislation? Here again Kant stands forth as an arbiter between
the contending parties, and, with a firm grasp, combines the useful
elements from both sides after winnowing them out from the worthless
principles. The majority of the eudemonistic systems, along with the
promotion of private welfare, prescribe the furtherance of universal good
without being able to indicate at what point the pursuit of personal
welfare should give way to regard for the good of others, while in the
perfectionist systems the social element is wanting or retreats unduly into
the background. The principle of happiness represents moral empiricism, the
principle of perfection moral rationalism. Kant resolves the antithesis
by restricting the theses of the respective parties within their proper
limits: "Make _thine own perfection_ and _the happiness of others_ the end
of thy actions;" these are the only ends which are at the same time duties.
The perfection of others is excluded by the fact that I cannot impart
to anyone a good disposition, for everyone must acquire it for himself;
personal happiness by the fact that everyone seeks it naturally.

This antithesis (which is crossed by the further distinction between
perfect, _i.e._, indispensable, and imperfect duties) serves as a basis for
the division of moral duties into duties toward ourselves and duties toward
other men.[1] The former enjoin the preservation and development of our
natural and moral powers, the latter are duties of obligation (of respect)
or of merit (of love). Since no one can obligate me to feel, we are to
understand by love not the pathological love of complacency, but only the
active love of benevolence or practical sympathy. Since it is just as
impossible that the increase of the evils in the world should be a duty,
the enervating and useless excitation of pity, which adds to the pain of
the sufferer the sympathetic pain of the spectator, is to be struck off
the list of virtues, and active readiness to aid put in its place. In
friendship love and respect unite in exact equipoise. Veracity is one of
the duties toward self; lying is an abandonment of human dignity and under
no conditions allowable, not even if life depends on it.

[Footnote 1: All duties are toward men, not toward supra-human or
infra-human beings. That which we commonly term duties toward animals,
likewise the so-called duties toward God, are in reality duties toward
ourselves. Cruelty to animals is immoral, because our sympathies are
blunted by it. To have religion is a duty to ourselves, because the view of
moral laws as laws of God is an aid to morality.]

After it has been settled what the categorical imperative enjoins, the
further problem awaits us of explaining how it is possible. The categorical
imperative is possible only on I the presupposition of our _freedom_. Only
a free being gives laws to itself, just as an autonomous being alone is
free. In theoretical philosophy the pure self-consciousness, the "I think,"
denoted a point where the thing in itself manifests to us not its nature,
indeed, but its existence. The same holds true in practical philosophy of
the moral law. The incontestable fact of the moral law empowers me to rank
myself in a higher order of things than the merely phenomenal order, and
in another causal relation than that of the merely necessary (mechanical)
causation of nature, to regard myself as a legislative member of an
intelligible world, and one independent of sensuous impulses--in short, to
regard myself as free. Freedom is the _ratio essendi_ of the self-given
moral law, the latter the _ratio cognoscendi_ of freedom. The law would
have no meaning if we did not possess the power to obey it: I can _because_
I ought. It is true that freedom is a mere Idea, whose object can never be
given to me in an experience, and whose reality, consequently, cannot
be objectively known and proved, but nevertheless, is required with
satisfactory subjective necessity as the condition of the moral law and of
the possibility of its fulfillment. I may not say it is certain, but, with
safety, I am certain that I am free. Freedom is not a dogmatic proposition
of theoretical reason, but a _postulate_ of practical reason; and the
latter holds the _primacy_ over the former to this extent, that it can
require the former to show that certain transcendent Ideas of the
suprasensible, which are most intimately connected with moral obligation,
are compatible with the principles of the understanding. It was just in
view of the practical interests involved in the rational concepts God,
freedom, immortality, that it was so important to establish, at least,
their possibility (their conceivability without contradiction). That,
therefore, which the Dialectic recognized as possible is in the Ethics
shown to be real: Whoever seeks to fulfill his moral destiny--and this is
the duty of every man--must not doubt concerning the conditions of its
possible fulfillment, must, in spite of their incomprehensibility,
_believe_ in freedom and a suprasensible world. They are both postulates
of practical reason, _i.e._, assumptions concerning that which is in behalf
of that which ought to be. Naturally the interests of the understanding
must not be infringed upon by those of the will. The principle of the
complete causal determination of events retains its validity unimpeached
for the sphere of the knowledge of the understanding, that is, for the
realm of phenomena; while, on the other hand, it remains permissible for
us to postulate another kind of causality for the realm of things in
themselves, although we can have no idea of its _how_, and to ascribe to
ourselves a free intelligible character.

While the Idea of freedom can be derived directly from the moral law as
a postulate thereof, the proof of the reality of the two other Ideas is
effected indirectly by means of the concept of the "highest good," in which
reason conceives a union of perfect virtue and perfect happiness. The
moral law requires absolute correspondence between the disposition and the
commands of reason, or holiness of will. But besides this supreme good
(_bonum supremum_) of completed morality, the highest good (_bonum
consummatum_) further contains a degree of happiness corresponding to the
degree of virtue. Everyone agrees in the judgment that, by rights, things
should go well with the virtuous and ill with the wicked, though this must
not imply any deduction from the principle previously announced that the
least impulse of self-interest causes the maxim to forfeit its worth: the
motive of the will must never be happiness, but always the being worthy of
happiness. The first element in the highest good yields the argument for
_immortality_, and the second the argument for the _existence of God_. (1)
Perfect correspondence between the will and the law never occurs in this
life, because the sensibility never allows us to attain a permanently good
disposition, armed against every temptation; our will can never be
holy, but at best virtuous, and our lawful disposition never escape the
consciousness of a constant tendency to transgression, or at least of
impurity. Since, nevertheless, the demands of the (Christian) moral law
continue in their unrelenting stringency to be the standard, we are
justified in the hope of an unlimited continuation of our existence,
in order that by constant progress in goodness we may draw nearer _in
infinitum_ to the ideal of holiness. (2) The establishment of a rational
proportion between happiness and virtue is also not to be expected until
the future life, for too often on earth it is the evil man who prospers,
while the good man suffers. A justly proportioned distribution of rewards
and punishment can only be expected from an infinite power, wisdom, and
goodness, which rules the moral world even as it has created the natural
world. Deity alone is able to bring the physical and moral realms into
harmony, and to establish the due relation between well-being and right
action. This, the moral argument, is the only possible proof for the
existence of God. Theology is not possible as speculative, but only as
moral theology. The certitude of faith, moreover, is only different from,
not less than, the certainty of knowledge, in so far as it brings with it
not an objective, but a subjective, although universally valid, necessity.
Hence it is better to speak of belief in God as a need of the reason than
as a duty; while a logical error, not a moral one, should be charged
against the atheist. The atheist is blind to the intimate connection which
exists between the highest good and the Ideas of the reason; he does not
see that God, freedom, and immortality are the indispensable conditions of
the realization of this ideal.

Thus faith is based upon duty without being itself duty: ethics is the
_basis of religion_, which consists in our regarding moral laws as
(_instar_, as if they were) divine commands. They are not valid or
obligatory because God has given them (this would be heteronomy), but they
should be regarded as divine because they are necessary laws of reason.
Religion differs from ethics only in its form, not in its content, in that
it adds to the conception of duty the idea of God as a moral lawgiver, and
thus increases the influence of this conception on the will; it is simply
a means for the promotion of morality. Since, however, besides natural
religion or the pure faith of reason (the moral law and the moral
postulates), the historical religions contain statutory determinations or a
doctrinal faith, it becomes the duty of the critical philosopher to inquire
how much of this positive admixture can be justified at the bar of reason.
In this investigation the question of the divine revelation of dogma
and ceremonial laws is neither supra-rationalistically affirmed nor
naturalistically derived, but rationalistically treated as an open

The four essays combined under the title _Religion within the Limits of
Reason Only_ treat of the Radical Evil in Human Nature, the Conflict of the
Good Principle with the Evil for the Mastery over Man, the Victory of the
Good Principle over the Evil and the Founding of a Kingdom of God upon
Earth, and, finally, Service and False Service under the Dominion of the
Good Principle, or Religion and Priestcraft; or more briefly, the fall, the
atonement (the Christ-idea), the Church, and true and false service of God.

(1) The individual evil deeds of the empirical character point to an
original fault of the intelligible character, a _propensity to evil_
dwelling in man and not further deducible. This, although it is
self-incurred, may be called natural and innate, and consists (not in the
sensibility merely, but) in a freely chosen reversal of the moral order
of our maxims, in virtue of which the maxim of duty or morality is
subordinated to that of well-being or self-love instead of being
placed above it, and that which should be the supreme condition of all
satisfaction is degraded into a mere means thereto. Morality is therefore a
_conversion_ from the evil to the good, and requires a complete revolution
in the disposition, the putting on of a new man, a "new birth,"
which, an act out of time, can manifest itself in the temporal world of
phenomena only as a gradual transformation in conduct, as a continuous
advance, but which, we may hope, is judged by him who knows the heart,
who regards the disposition instead of particular imperfect actions, as a
completed unity.

(2) By the eternal Son of God, for whose sake God created all things, we
are to understand the ideal of the perfect man, which in truth forms the
end of creation, and is come down from heaven, etc. To believe in Christ
means to resolve to realize in one's self the ideal of human nature which
is well pleasing to God, or to make the divine disposition of the Son of
God our own, not to believe that this ideal has appeared on earth as an
actual man, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The only saving faith is
the belief of reason in the ideal which Christ represents, and not the
historical belief in his person. The vicarious atonement of the ideal
man for those who believe on him is to be interpreted to mean that the
sufferings and sacrifices (crucifixion of the flesh) imposed by moral
conversion, which are due to the sinful man as punishment, are assumed by
the regenerate man: the new Adam bears the sufferings of the old. In the
same way as that in which Kant handles the history of Christ and the
doctrine of justification, all biblical narratives and ecclesiastical
doctrines are in public instruction (from the pulpit) to be interpreted
morally, even where the authors themselves had no such meaning in mind.

(3) The Church is a society based upon the laws of virtue, an ethical
community or a people of God, whose members confirm each other in the
performance of duty by example and by the profession of a common moral
conviction; we are all brothers, the children of one father. Ideally there
is only one (the universal, invisible) Church, and its foundation the pure
faith of reason; but in consequence of a weakness peculiar to human nature
the foundation of an actual church required the addition of a statutory
historical faith, with claims to a divine origin, from which a multitude of
visible churches and the antithesis of orthodox and heretics have sprung.
The history of the Church since the establishment of Christianity
represents the conflict between the historical faith and the faith of
reason; its goal is the submission of the former to the latter, as, indeed,
we have already begun to perceive that God does not require a special
service beyond the practice of virtue.

(4) The true service of God consists in a moral disposition and its
manifestation: "All that man supposes himself able to do in order to please
God, beyond living a good life, is _false service_" False service is the
false subordination of the pure faith of reason to the statutory faith, by
which the attainment of the goal of religious development is hindered
and the laity are brought into dangerous dependence upon the clergy.
Priestcraft, hypocrisy, and fanaticism enter in the train of fetich
service. The church-faith is destined little by little to make itself
superfluous. It has been necessary as a vehicle, as a means for the
introduction and extension of the pure religion of morality, and it still
remains useful for a time, until humanity shall become of age; with man's
entrance on the period of youth and manhood, however, the leading-string of
holy traditions, which in its time did good service, becomes unnecessary,
nay, finally, a fetter. (This relative appreciation of the positive element
in religion, in antithesis to the unthinking rejection of it by the
Illumination, resembles the view of Lessing; cf. pp. 306-309.) Moreover,
since it is a duty to be a co-worker in the transition from the historical
to the pure religious faith, the clergy must be free as scientific
theologians, as scholars and authors to examine the doctrines of faith
and to give expression to dissenting opinions, while, as preachers in the
pulpit, speaking under commission, they are bound to the creeds. To decide
the articles of belief unalterable would be a crime against human
nature, whose primal destination is just this--to progress. To renounce
illumination means to trample upon the divine rights of reason.

The "General Observations" appended to each division add to the four
principle discussions as many collateral inquiries concerning Operations
of Grace, Miracles, Mysteries, and Means of Grace, objects of transcendent
ideas, which do not properly belong in the sphere of religion within pure
reason itself, but which yet border on it. (1) We are entirely incapable of
calling forth works of grace, nay, even of indicating the marks by which
actual divine illuminations are distinguished from imaginary ones; the
supposed experience of heavenly influences belongs in the region of
superstitious religious illusion. But their impossibility is just as little
susceptible of proof as their reality. Nothing further can be said on the
question, save that works of grace may exist, and perhaps must exist in
order to supplement our imperfect efforts after virtue; and that everyone,
instead of waiting for divine assistance, should do for his own amendment
all that is in his power. (2) Kant judges more sharply in regard to the
belief in miracles, which contradict the laws of experience without in the
least furthering the performance of our duties. In practical life no one
regards miracles as possible; and their limitation to the past and to rare
instances does not make them more credible. (3) In so far as the Christian
mysteries actually represent impenetrable secrets they have no bearing on
moral conduct; so far as they are morally valuable they admit of rational
interpretation and thus cease to be mysteries. The Trinity signifies the
three moral qualities or powers united in the head of the moral state: the
one God as holy lawgiver, gracious governor, and just judge. (4) The
services of the Church have worth as ethical ceremonies, as emblems of the
moral disposition (prayer) and of moral fellowship (church attendance,
baptism, and the Lord's Supper); but to find in these symbolic ceremonies
means of grace and to seek to purchase the favor of God by them, is an
error of the same kind as sorcery and fetichism. The right way leads from
virtue to grace, not in the opposite direction; piety without morality is

The Kantian theory of religion is rationalistic and moralistic. The fact
that religion is based on morality should never be assailed. But the
foundation is not the building, the origin not the content and essence
of the thing itself. As far as the nature of religion is concerned,
the Kantian view does not exclude completion in the direction of
Schleiermacher's theory of feeling, just as by its speculative
interpretation of the Christian dogmas and its appreciation of the history
of religion as a gradual transformation of historical faith into a faith of
reason, it points out the path afterward followed by Hegel. The philosophy
of religion of the future must be, as some recent attempts aim to be (O.
Pfleiderer, Biedermann, Lipsius), a synthesis of Kant, Schleiermacher, and

While the moral law requires rightness not only of the action, but also of
the disposition, the law of right is satisfied when the act enjoined is
performed, no matter from what motives. Legal right, as the sum of the
conditions under which the will of the one can consist with the will of
others according to a universal law, relates only to enforceable actions,
without concerning itself about motives. Private right includes right in
things or property, personal right or right of contract, and real-personal
right (marriage right); public right is divided into the right of states,
of nations, and of citizens of the world. Kant's theory of punishment is
original and important. He bases it not upon prudential regard for the
protection of society, or the deterrence or reformation of the criminal,
but upon the exalted idea of retaliation (_jus talionis_), which demands
that everyone should meet with what his deeds deserve: Eye for eye, life
for life. In _politics_ Kant favors democratic theories, though less
decidedly than Rousseau and Fichte. As he followed with interest the
efforts after freedom manifested in the American and French Revolutions, so
he opposed an hereditary nobility as a hindrance to the natural equality of
rights, and demanded freedom for the public expression of opinion as the
surest means of guarding against revolutions. The only legitimate form of
the state is the republican, _i.e._, that in which the executive power is
separated from the legislative power, in contrast to despotism, where they
are united in one hand. The best guaranty for just government and civil
liberty is offered by constitutional monarchy, in which the people through
its representatives exercises the legislative power, the sovereign the
executive power, and judges chosen by the people the judicial power. The
contract from which we may conceive the state to have arisen is not to be
regarded as an historical fact, but as a rational idea or rule, by which
we may judge whether the laws are just or not: that which the people as a
whole cannot prescribe for itself, this cannot be prescribed for it by
the ruler (cf. p. 235). That there is a constant progress--not only of
individuals, but--of the race, not merely in technical and intellectual,
but also in moral respects, is supported both by rational grounds (without
faith in such progress we could not fulfill our duty as co-laborers in it)
and by experiential grounds (above all, the unselfish sympathy which all
the world gave to the French Revolution); and the never-ending complaint
that the times are growing worse proves only that mankind is continually
setting up stricter standards for itself. The beginning of _history_ is to
be placed at the point where man passes out of the condition of innocence,
in which instinct rules, and begins to subdue nature, which hitherto he has
obeyed. The goal of history, again, is the establishment of the perfect
form of the state. Nature itself co-operates with freedom in the gradual
transformation of the state based on necessity _(Notstaat)_ into a rational
state, inasmuch as selfish competition and the commercial spirit require
peace, order, and justice for their own security and help to bring them
about. And so, further, we need not doubt that humanity will constantly
draw nearer to the ideal condition of everlasting peace among the nations
(guaranteed by a league of states which shall as a mediator settle disputes
between individual states), however impracticable the idea may at present

If the bold declaration of Fortlage, that in Kant the system of absolute
truth appeared, is true of any one part of his philosophy, it is true of
the practical part, in which Christian morality has found its scientific
expression. If we may justly complain that on the basis of his sharp
distinction between legality and morality, between legal duty and
virtue-duty, Kant took into account only the legal side of the institutions
of marriage and of the state, overlooking the fact that besides these they
have a moral importance and purpose, if we may demand a social ethic as a
supplement to his ethics, which is directed to the duties of the individual
alone, yet these and other well-founded desiderata may be attained by
slight corrections and by the addition of another story to the Kantian
edifice, while the foundations are still retained. The bases are immovable.
Autonomy, absolute oughtness, the formal character of the law of reason,
and the incomparable worth of the pure, disinterested disposition--these
are the corner stones of the Kantian, nay, of all morals.

%3. Theory of the Beautiful and of Ends in Nature.%

We now know the laws which the understanding imposes upon nature and those
which reason imposes upon the will. If there is a field in which to be
(_Sein_) and ought to be (_Sollen_), nature and freedom, which we have thus
far been forced to consider antithetical, are reconciled--and that there
is such a field is already deducible from the doctrine of the religious
postulates (as practical truths or assumptions concerning what is, in
behalf of what ought to be), and from the hints concerning a progress in
history (in which both powers co-operate toward a common goal)--then the
source of its laws is evidently to be sought in that faculty which mediates
alike between understanding and reason and between knowing and feeling:
in _Judgment_, as the higher faculty of feeling. Judgment, in the general
sense, is the faculty of thinking a particular as contained in a universal,
and exercises a twofold function: as "determinant" judgment it subsumes the
particular under a given universal (a law), as "reflective" it seeks the
universal for a given particular. Since the former coincides with the
understanding, we are here concerned only with the reflective judgment,
judgment in the narrower sense, which does not cognize objects, but judges
them, and this according to the principle of purposiveness.[1]

[Footnote 1: The universal laws springing from the understanding, to
which every nature must conform to become an object of experience for us,
determine nothing concerning the particular form of the given reality;
we cannot deduce the special laws of nature from them. Nevertheless the
nature of our cognitive faculty does not allow us to accept the empirical
manifoldness of our world as contingent, but impels us to regard it as
purposive or adapted to our knowledge, and to look upon these special
laws as if an intelligence had given them in order to make a system of
experience possible.]

This, in turn, is of two kinds. An object is really or _objectively_
purposive (perfect) when it corresponds to its nature or its determination,
formally or _subjectively_ purposive (beautiful) when it is conformed to
the nature of our cognitive faculty. The perception of purpose is always
accompanied by a feeling of pleasure; in the first case, where the pleasure
is based on a concept of the object, it is a logical satisfaction, in the
second, where it springs only from the harmony of the object with our
cognitive powers, aesthetic satisfaction. The objects of the teleological
and the aesthetic judgment, the purposive and the beautiful products of
nature and art, constitute the desired intermediate field between nature
and freedom; and here again the critical question comes up, How, in
relation to these, synthetic judgments _a priori_ are possible?

%(a) Esthetic Judgment.%--The formula holds of Kant's aesthetics as well as
of his theoretical and practical philosophy, that his aim is to overcome
the opposition between the empirical and the rationalistic theories, and to
find a middle course of his own between the two extremes. Neither Burke
nor Baumgarten satisfied him. The English aesthetics was sensational, the
German, _i.e._, that of the Wolffian school, rationalistic. The former
identified the beautiful with the agreeable, the latter identified it with
the perfect or with the conformity of the object to its concept; in the one
case, aesthetic appreciation is treated as sensuous pleasure, in the other,
it is treated as a lower, confused kind of knowledge, its peculiar nature
being in both cases overlooked. In opposition to the sensualization of
aesthetic appreciation, its character as judgment must be maintained;
and in opposition to its rationalization, its character as feeling. This
relation of the Kantian aesthetics to that of his predecessors explains
both its fundamental tendency and the elements in it which appear defective
and erroneous. In any case, Kant shows himself in this field also an
unapproachable master of careful analysis.

The first task of aesthetics is the careful distinction of its object from
related phenomena. The beautiful has points of contact with the agreeable,
the good, the perfect, the useful, and the true. It is distinguished
from the true by the fact that it is not an object of knowledge, but
of satisfaction. If we inquire further into the difference between the
satisfaction in the beautiful and the satisfaction in the agreeable, in the
good (in itself), and in the (good for something, as a means, or in the)
useful, which latter three have this in common, that they are objects of
appetition--of sensuous want, of moral will, of prudential desire--it
becomes evident that the beautiful pleases through its mere representation
(that is, independently of the real existence of the object), and that
the delight in the beautiful is a contemplative pleasure. It is for
contemplation only, not to be sensuously enjoyed nor put to practical use;
and, further, its production is not a universal duty. Sensuous, prudential,
or moral appetition has always an "interest" in the actual existence of
the object; the beautiful, on the other hand, calls forth a disinterested

According to quality the beautiful is the object of a disinterested, free
(bound by no interest), and sportive satisfaction. According to quantity
and modality the judgment of taste claims universal and necessary validity,
without this being based upon concepts. This posits further differences
between the beautiful and the agreeable and the good. The good also pleases
universally, but it pleases through concepts; the agreeable as well as the
beautiful pleases without a concept, but it does not please universally.

That which pleases the reason through the concept is good; that which
pleases the senses in sensation is agreeable. That which pleases
_universally and necessarily without a concept_ is beautiful. Moral
judgment demands the assent of all, and its universal validity is
demonstrable. The judgment concerning the agreeable is not capable of
demonstration, but neither does it pretend to possess universal validity;
we readily acknowledge that what is pleasant to one need not be so to every
other man. In regard to the beautiful, on the contrary, we do not content
ourselves with saying that tastes differ, but we expect it to please all.
We expect everyone to assent to our judgment of taste, although it is able
to support itself by no proofs.

Here there is a difficulty: since the judgment of taste does not express
a characteristic of the object, but a state of mind in the observer, a
feeling, a satisfaction, it is purely subjective; and yet it puts forth a
claim to be universally communicable. The difficulty can be removed only on
the assumption of a common aesthetic sense, of a corresponding organization
of the powers of representation in all men, which yields the common
standard for the pleasurableness of the impression. The agreeable appeals
to that in man which is different in different individuals, the beautiful
to that which functions alike in all; the former addresses itself to
the passive sensibility, the latter to the active judgment. The
agreeable--because of the non-calculable differences in our sensuous
inclinations, which are in part conditioned by bodily states--possesses no
universality whatever, the good possesses an objective, and the beautiful
a subjective universality. The judgment concerning the agreeable has an
empirical, that concerning the beautiful an _a priori_, determining ground:
in the former case, the judgment follows the feeling, in the latter, it
precedes it.

An object is considered beautiful (for, strictly speaking, we may say only
this, not that it is beautiful) when its form puts the powers of the human
mind in a state of harmony, brings the intuitive and rational faculties
into concordant activity, and produces an agreeable proportion between the
imagination and the understanding. In giving the occasion for an harmonious
play of the cognitive activities (that is, for an easy combination of the
manifold into unity) the beautiful object is purposive for us, for our
function of apprehension; it is--here we obtain a determination of the
judgment of taste from the standpoint of relation--_purposive without a
definite purpose_. We know perfectly well that a landscape which attracts
us has not been specially arranged for the purpose of delighting us, and we
do not wish to find in a work of art anything of an intention to please.
An object is perfect when it is purposive for itself (corresponds to its
concept); useful when it is purposive for our desire (corresponds to a
practical intention of man); beautiful when the arrangement of its parts
is purposive for the relation between the fancy and understanding of
the beholder (corresponds in an unusual degree to the conditions of our
apprehension). Perfection is internal (real, objective) purposiveness, and
utility is external purposiveness, both for a definite purpose; beauty,
on the other hand, is purposiveness without a purpose, formal, subjective
purposiveness. The beautiful pleases by its mere form. The satisfaction in
the perfect is of a conceptual or intellectual kind, the satisfaction in
the beautiful, emotional or aesthetic in character.

The combination of these four determinations yields an exhaustive
definition of the beautiful: The beautiful is that which universally and
necessarily arouses disinterested satisfaction by its mere form
(purposiveness without the representation of a purpose).

Since the pleasurableness of the beautiful rests on the fact that
it establishes a pleasing harmony between the imagination and the
understanding, hence between sensuous and intellectual apprehension, the
aesthetic attitude is possible only in sensuous-rational beings. The
agreeable exists for the animal as well, and the good is an object of
approval for pure spirits; but the beautiful exists for humanity alone.
Kant succeeded in giving very delicate and felicitous verbal expression
to these distinctions: the agreeable gratifies _(vergnügt)_ and excites
inclination _(Neigung)_; the good is approved _(gebilligt)_ and arouses
respect _(Achtung)_; the beautiful "pleases" _(gefällt)_ and finds "favor"

In the progress of the investigation the principle that beauty depends on
the form alone, and that the concept, the purpose, the nature of the
object is not taken into account at all in aesthetic judgment, experiences
limitation. In its full strictness this applies only to a definite and, in
fact, a subordinate division of the beautiful, which Kant marks off under
the name of pure or _free_ beauty. With this he contrasts _adherent_
beauty, as that which presupposes a generic concept to which its form must
correspond and which it must adequately present. Too much a purist not
to mark the coming in of an intellectual pleasure as a beclouding of the
"purity" of the aesthetic satisfaction, he is still just enough to admit
the higher worth of adherent beauty. For almost the whole of artificial
beauty and a considerable part of natural beauty belong to this latter
division, which we to-day term ideal and characteristic beauty. Examples of
free or purely formal beauty are tapestry patterns, arabesques, fountains,
flowers, and landscapes, the pleasurableness of which rests simply on the
proportion of their form and relations, and not upon their conformity to a
presupposed significance and determination of the thing. A building, on the
contrary--a dwelling, a summer-house, a temple--is considered beautiful
only when we perceive in it not merely harmonious relations of the parts
one to another, but also an agreement between the form and the purpose or
generic concept: a church must not look like a chalet. Here the external
form is compared with an inner nature, and harmony is required between form
and content. Adherent beauty is significant and expressive beauty, which,
although the satisfaction in it is not "purely" aesthetic, nevertheless
stands higher than pure beauty, because it gives to the understanding also
something to think, and hence busies the whole spirit.

The analytical investigations concerning the nature of the beautiful
receive a valuable supplement in the classical definition of genius. Kant
gives two definitions of productive talent, one formal and one genetic.

Natural beauty is a beautiful thing; artificial beauty, a beautiful
representation of a thing. The gift of agreeably presenting a thing which
in itself, perhaps, is ugly, is called taste. To judge of the beautiful
it is sufficient to possess taste, but for its production there is still
another talent needed, spirit or genius. For an art product can fulfill
the demands of taste and yet not aesthetically satisfy; while formally
faultless, it may be spiritless.

While beautiful nature looks as though it were art (as though it were
calculated for our enjoyment), beautiful art should resemble nature, must
not appear to be intentional though, no doubt, it is so, must show a
careful but not an overnice adherence to rules (_i.e._, not one which
fetters the powers of the artist). This is the case when the artist bears
the rule in himself, that is, when he is gifted. Genius is the
innate disposition (through) which (nature) gives rules to art; its
characteristics are originality, exemplariness, and unreflectiveness. It
does not produce according to definite rules which can be learned, but
it is a law in itself, it is original. It creates instinctively without
consciousness of the rule, and cannot describe how it produces its results.
It creates typical works which impel others to follow, not to imitate. It
is only in art that there are geniuses, _i.e._, spirits who produce that
which absolutely cannot be learned, while the great men of science differ
only in degree, not in kind, from their imitators and pupils, and that
which they discover can be learned by rule.

This establishes the criteria by which genius may be recognized. If we ask
by what psychological factors it is produced the answer is as follows:
Genius presupposes a certain favorable relation between imagination and
reason. Genius is the faculty of aesthetic Ideas, but an aesthetic Idea is
a representation of the imagination which animates the mind, which adds to
a concept of the understanding much of ineffable thought, much that belongs
to the concept but which cannot be comprehended in a definite concept. With
the aid of this idea Kant solves the antinomy of the aesthetic judgment.
The thesis is: The judgment of taste is not based upon concepts; for
otherwise it would admit of controversy (would be determinable by proofs).
The antithesis is: It is based upon concepts; for otherwise we could not
contend about it (endeavor to obtain assent). The two principles are
reconcilable, for "concept" is understood differently in the two cases.
That which the thesis rightly seeks to exclude from the judgment of beauty
is the determinate concept of the understanding; that which the antithesis
with equal justice pronounces indispensable is the indeterminate concept,
the aesthetic Idea.

The freest play is afforded the imagination by poetry, the highest of
all arts, which, with rhetoric ("insidious," on account of its earnest
intention to deceive), forms the group termed arts of speech. To the class
of formative arts belong architecture, sculpture, and painting as the art
of design. A third group, the art of the beautiful play of sensations,
includes painting as the art of color, and music, which as a "fine" art is
placed immediately after poetry, as an "agreeable" art at the very foot of
the list, and as the play of tone in the vicinity of the entertaining play
of fortune [games of chance] and the witty play of thought. The explanation
of the comic (the ludicrous is based, according to Kant, on a sudden
transformation of strained expectation into nothing) lays great (indeed
exaggerated) weight on the resulting physiological phenomena, the
bodily shock which heightens vital feeling and favors health, and which
accompanies the alternating tension and relaxation of the mind.

Besides free and adherent beauty, there is still a third kind of aesthetic
effect, the Sublime. The beautiful pleases by its bounded form. But also
the boundless and formless can exert aesthetic effect: that which is great
beyond all comparison we judge sublime. Now this magnitude is either
extensive in space and time or intensive greatness of force or power;
accordingly there are two forms of the sublime. That phenomenon which mocks
the power of comprehension possessed by the human imagination or surpasses
every measure of our intuition, as the ocean and the starry heavens, is
mathematically sublime. That which overcomes all conceivable resistance,
as the terrible forces of nature, conflagrations, floods, earthquakes,
hurricanes, thunderstorms, is dynamically sublime or mighty. The former
is relative to the cognitive, the latter to the appetitive faculty. The
beautiful brings the imagination and the understanding into accord; by
the sublime the fancy is brought into a certain favorable relation, not
directly to be termed harmony, with reason. In the one case there arose a
restful, positively pleasurable mood; here a shock is produced, an indirect
and negative pleasure proceeding from pain. Since the sublime exceeds the
functional capability of our sensuous representations and does violence to
the imagination, we first feel small at the sight of the absolutely great,
and incapable of compassing it with our sensuous glance. The sensibility is
not equal to the impression; this at first seems contrary to purpose and
violent. This humiliating impression, however, is quickly followed by a
reaction, and the vital forces, which were at first checked, are stimulated
to the more lively activity. Moreover, it is the sensuous part of man
which is humbled and the spiritual part that is exalted: the overthrow of
sensibility becomes a triumph for reason. The sight of the sublime, that
is, awakens the _Idea of the unconditioned, of the infinite_. This Idea can
never be adequately presented by an intuition, but can be aroused only
by the inadequacy of all that is sensuous to present it; the infinite is
presented through the impossibility of presenting it. We cannot intuit the
infinite, but we can think it. In comparison with reason (as the faculty of
Ideas, the faculty of thinking the infinite) even the greatest thing that
can be given in the sense-world appears small; reason is the absolutely
great. "That is sublime the mere ability to think which proves a faculty
of the mind surpassing every standard of sense." "That is sublime which
pleases immediately through its opposition to the interest of the senses."
The conflict between phantasy and reason, the insufficiency of the former
for the attainment of the rational Idea, makes us conscious of the
superiority of reason. Just because we feel small as sensuous beings we
feel great as rational beings. The pleasure (related to the moral feeling
of respect and, like this, mingled with a certain pain) which accompanies
this consciousness of inner greatness is explained by the fact that the
imagination, in acknowledging reason superior, places itself in the
appropriate and purposive relation of subordination. It is evident from the
foregoing that the truly sublime is reason, the moral nature of man, his
predisposition and destination, which point beyond the present world.
Schiller declares that "in space the sublime does not dwell," and
Kant says, "Sublimity is contained in none of the things of nature, but
only in our mind, in so far as we are conscious of being superior to nature
within us and without us." Nevertheless, since in this contemplation we fix
our thoughts entirely on the object without reflecting on ourselves, we
transfer the admiration of right due to the reason and its Idea of the
infinite by subreption to the object by which the Idea is occasioned, and
call the object itself sublime, instead of the mood which it wakes in us.

If the sublime marks the point where the aesthetic touches on the boundary
of the moral, the beautiful is also not without some relation to the good.
By showing the agreement of sensibility and reason, which is demanded by
the moral law, realized in aesthetic intuition (as a voluntary yielding of
the imagination to the legitimacy of the understanding), it gives us the
inspiring consciousness that the antithesis is reconcilable, that the
rational can be presented in the sensuous, and so becomes a "symbol of the

%(b) Teleological Judgment.%--Teleological judgment is not knowledge, but
a way of looking at things which comes into play where the causal or
mechanical explanation fails us. This is not the case if the purposiveness
is external, relative to its utility for something else. The fact that the
sand of the sea-shore furnishes a good soil for the pine neither furthers
nor prevents a causal knowledge of it. Only inner purposiveness, as it
is manifested in the products of organic nature, brings the mechanical
explanation to a halt. Organisms are distinguished above inorganic forms by
the fact that of themselves they are at once cause and effect, that they
are self-productive and this both as a species (the oak springs from the
acorn, and in its turn bears acorns) and as individuals (self-preservation,
growth, and the replacement of dying parts by new ones), and also by the
fact that the reciprocally productive parts are in their form and their
existence all conditioned by the whole. This latter fact, that the whole is
the determining ground for the parts, is perfectly obvious in the products
of human art. For here it is the representation of the whole (the idea of
the work desired) which as the ground precedes the existence and the form
of the parts (of the machine). But where is the subject to construct
organisms according to its representations of ends? We may neither conceive
nature itself as endowed with forces acting in view of ends, nor a
praetermundane intelligence interfering in the course of nature. Either of
these suppositions would be the death of natural philosophy: the hylozoist
endows matter with a property which conflicts with its nature, and the
theist oversteps the boundary of possible experience. Above all, the
analogy of the products of organic nature with the products of human
technique is destroyed by the fact that machines do not reproduce
themselves and their parts cannot produce one another, while the organism
organizes itself.

For our discursive understanding an interaction between the whole and the
parts is completely incomprehensible. We understand when the parts precede
the whole (mechanically) or the representation of the whole precedes
the parts (teleologically); but to think the whole itself (not the Idea
thereof) as the ground of the parts, which is demanded by organic life,
is impossible for us. It would have been otherwise if an intuitive
understanding had been bestowed upon us. For a being possessing
intellectual intuition the antithesis between possibility and actuality,
between necessity and contingency, between mechanism and teleology, would
disappear along with that between thought and intuition. For such a being
everything possible (all that it thinks) would be at the same time
actual (present for intuition), and all that appears to us
contingent--intentionally selected from several possibilities and in order
to an end--would be necessary as well; with the whole would be given
the parts corresponding thereto, and consequently natural mechanism
and purposive connection would be identical, while for us, to whom the
intuitive understanding is denied, the two divide. Hence the teleological
view is a mere form of human representation, a subjective principle. We may
not say that a mechanical origin of living beings is impossible, but only
that we are unable to understand it. If we knew how a blade of grass or
a frog sprang from mechanical forces, we would also be in a position to
produce them.

The antinomy of the teleological judgment--thesis: all production of
material things and their forms must be judged to be possible according to
merely mechanical laws; antithesis: some products of material nature cannot
be judged to be possible according to merely mechanical laws, but to judge
them requires the causality of final causes--is insoluble so long as both
propositions are taken for constitutive principles; but it is soluble when
they are taken as regulative principles or standpoints for judgment. For it
is in no wise contradictory, on the one hand, to continue the search for
mechanical causes as far as this is in any way possible, and, on the other,
clearly to recognize that, at last, this will still leave a remainder which
we cannot make intelligible without calling to our aid the concept of ends.
Assuming that it were possible to carry the explanation of life from life,
from ancestral organisms (for the _generatio aequivoca_ is an absurd
theory) so far that the whole organic world should represent one great
family descended from one primitive form as the common mother, even
then the concept of final causes would only be pushed further back, not
eliminated: the origin of the first organization will always resist
mechanical explanation. Besides this mission of putting limits to causal
derivation and of filling the gap in knowledge by a necessary, although
subjective, way of looking at things, the Idea of ends has still another,
the direct promotion of knowledge from efficient causes through the
discovery of new causal problems. Thus, for example, physiology owes the
impulse to the discovery of previously unnoticed mechanical connections
(cf. also p. 382 note) to the question concerning the purpose of organs.
As doctrines mechanism and teleology are irreconcilable and impossible;
as rules or maxims of inquiry they are compatible, and the one as
indispensable as the other.

After the problem of life, which is insoluble by means of the mechanical
explanation, has necessitated the application of the concept of ends, the
teleological principle must, at least by way of experiment, be extended to
the whole of nature. This consideration culminates in the position that
man, as the subject of morality, must be held to be the final aim of the
world, for it is only in regard to a moral being that no further inquiry
can be raised as to the purpose of its existence. It also repeats the
moral argument for the existence of a supreme reason, thus supplementing
physico-theology, which is inadequate to the demonstration of one
absolutely perfect Deity; so that the third _Critique_, like the two
preceding, concludes with the Idea of God as an object of practical faith.

* * * * *

There are three original and pregnant pairs of thoughts which cause Kant's
name to shine in the philosophical sky as a star of the first magnitude:
the demand for a critique of knowledge and the proof of _a priori_ forms
of knowledge; the moral autonomy and the categorical imperative; the
regulative validity of the Ideas of reason and the practical knowledge of
the transcendent world. No philosophical theory, no scientific hypothesis
can henceforth avoid the duty of examining the value and legitimacy of its
conclusions, as to whether they keep within the limits of the competency of
human reason; whether Kant's determination of the origin and the limits of
knowledge may count on continued favor or not, the fundamental critical
idea, that reflection upon the nature and range of our cognitive faculty is
indispensable, retains its validity for all cases and makes an end of all
philosophizing at random.[1] No ethical system will with impunity pass by
the autonomous legislation of reason and the unconditional imperative (the
admonition of conscience translated into conceptual language): the nature
and worth of moral will will be everywhere sought in vain if they are not
recognized where Kant has found them--in the unselfish disposition, in that
maxim which is fitted to become a general law for all rational beings.
The doctrine of the Ideas, finally, reveals to us, beyond the daylight of
phenomenal knowledge, the starlit landscape of another mode of looking at
things,[2] in which satisfaction is afforded for the hitherto unmet wishes
of the heart and demands of the reason.

[Footnote 1: "_Reason_ consists just in this, that we are able to give
account of all our concepts, opinions, and assertions, either on objective
or subjective grounds."]

[Footnote 2: Those who regard all future metaphysics as refuted by the
Critique of Reason are to be referred to the positive side of the Kantian
doctrine of Ideas. Kant admits that the mechanical explanation does not
satisfy reason, and that, besides it, a judgment according to Ideas is
legitimate. When, therefore, the speculation of the constructive school
gives an ideal interpretation of the world, it may be regarded as an
extended application of "regulative principles," which exceeds its
authority only when it professes to be "objective knowledge."]

The effect of the three _Critiques_ upon the public was very varied. The
first great work excited alarm by the sharpness of its negations and its
destruction of dogmatic metaphysics, which to its earliest readers appeared
to be the core of the matter; Kant was for them the universal destroyer.
Then the Science of Knowledge brought into prominence the positive,
boldly conquering side, the investigation of the conditions of empirical
knowledge. In later times the endeavor has been made to do justice to both
sides, but, in opposition to the overbold procedure of the constructive
thinkers, who had fallen into a revived dogmatism, more in the spirit of
caution and resignation. The second great work aroused glowing enthusiasm:
"Kant is no mundane luminary," writes Jean Paul in regard to the _Critique
of Practical Reason_, "but a whole solar system shining at once."
The third, because of its subject and by its purpose of synthetic
reconciliation between fields heretofore sharply separated, gained the
sympathy of our poet-heroes Schiller and Goethe, and awakened in a young,
speculative spirit Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature. Schelling reclaimed
the intuitive understanding, which Kant had problematically attributed to
the primal spirit, as the property of the philosopher, after Fichte had
drawn attention to the fact that the consciousness of the categorical
imperative, which Kant had not thoroughly investigated, could be nothing
else than intellectual intuition, because in it knowing and doing coincide.
Fichte, however, does not derive the material for his system from the
_Critique of Judgment_, though he also had a high appreciation of it, but
from the two earlier _Critiques_, the fundamental conceptions of which
he--following the hint that practical and theoretical reason are only
different applications of one and the same reason--brings into the closest
connection. He unites the central idea of the practical philosophy, the
freedom and autonomous legislation of the will, with the leading principle
of the theoretical philosophy, the spontaneity of the understanding, under
the original synthesis of the pure ego, in order to deduce from the
activity of the ego not only the _a priori_ forms of knowledge, but also,
rejecting the thing in itself, the whole content of empirical
consciousness. The thought which intervenes between the Kantian Critique
of Reason and the development of thoroughgoing idealism by Fichte, with
its criticisms of and additions to the former and its preparation for the
latter, may be glanced at in a few supplementary pages.

%4. From Kant to Fichte.%

To begin with the works which aided in the extension and recognition of the
Kantian philosophy, besides Kant's _Prolegomena_, the following stand
in the front rank: _Exposition of the Critique of Pure Reason_, by the
Königsberg court preacher, Johannes Schulz, 1784; the flowing _Letters
concerning the Kantian Philosophy_, by K.L. Reinhold in Wieland's
_Deutscher Merkur_, 1786-87; and the _Allgemeine Litteraturzeitung_, in
Jena, founded in 1785, and edited by the philologist Schütz and the jurist
Hufeland, which offered itself as the organ of the new doctrine. Jena
became the home and principal stronghold of Kantianism; while by the
beginning of the nineteenth century almost all German chairs belonged to
it, and the non-philosophical sciences as well received from it stimulation
and guiding ideas.

In the camp of the enemy there was no less of activity. The Wolffian,
Eberhard of Halle, founded a special journal for the purpose of opposing
the Kantian philosophy: the _Philosophisches Magazin_, 1789, continued from
1792 as the _Philosophisches Archiv_. The Illumination collected its forces
in the _Philosophische Bibliothek_, edited by Feder and Meiners. Nicolai
waved the banner of common sense in the _Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek_,
and in satirical romances, and was handled as he deserved by the heroes
of poetry and philosophy (cf. the _Xenien_ of Goethe and Schiller, Kant's
_Letter on Bookmaking_, and Fichte's cutting disposal of him, _Nicolai's
Life and Peculiar Opinions_). The attacks of the faith-philosophers have
been already noticed (pp. 310-314).

The advance from Kant to Fichte was preparing alike among friends and
enemies, and this in two points. The demand was in part for a formal
complement (a first principle from which the Kantian results could be
deduced, and by which the dualism of sense and understanding could be
overcome), in part for material correction (the removal of the thing in
itself) and development (to radical idealism). Karl Leonhard Reinhold (born
at Vienna in 1758; fled from a college of the St. Barnabite order, 1783;
in 1787-94 professor in Jena, and then as the successor of Tetens in Kiel,
where he died in 1823) undertook the former task in his _Attempt at a New
Theory of the Human Faculty of Representation_, 1789. Kant's classical
theory of the faculty of cognition requires for its foundation a theory of
the faculty of representation, or an elementary philosophy, which shall
take for its object the deduction of the several functions of reason
(intuition, concept, Idea) from the original activity of representation.
The Kantian philosophy lacks a first principle, which, as first, cannot be
demonstrable, but only a fact immediately evident and admitted by everyone.
The primal fact, which we seek, is consciousness. No one can dispute that
every representation contains three things: the subject, the object, and,
between the two, the activity of representation. Accordingly the principle
of consciousness runs: "The representation is distinguished in
consciousness from the represented [object] and the representing [subject],
and is referred to both." From this first principle Reinhold endeavors to
deduce the well-known principles of the material manifold given by the
action of objects, and the forms of representation spontaneously produced
by the subject, which combine this manifold into unity. When, a few years
later, Fichte's Science of Knowledge brilliantly succeeded in bridging the
gap between sense and understanding by means of a first principle, thus
accomplishing what Reinhold had attempted, the latter became one of his
adherents, only to attach himself subsequently to Jacobi, and then to
Bardili (_Outlines of Logic_, 1800), and to end with a verbal philosophy
lacking both in influence and permanence.

In Reinhold's elementary philosophy the thing in itself was changed from a
problematical, negative, merely limiting concept into a positive element of
doctrine. Objections were raised against Kantianism, as thus dogmatically
modified in the direction of realism, by Schulze, Maimon, and Beck--by
the first for purposes of attack, by the second in order to further
development, and by the third with an exegetical purpose. Gottlob Ernst
Schulze, professor in Helmstädt, and from 1810 in Göttingen, in his
_Aenesidemus_ (1792, published anonymously), which was followed later by
psychological works, defended the skeptical position in opposition to
the Critique of Reason. Hume's skepticism remains unrefuted by Kant
and Reinhold. The thing in itself, which is to produce the material of
representation by affecting the senses, is a self-contradictory idea. The
application of the category of cause to things in themselves violates
the doctrine that the latter are unknowable and that the use of the pure
concepts of the understanding beyond the sphere of experience is
inadmissible. The transcendental philosophy has never proved that the
ground of the material of representation cannot, just as the form thereof,
reside in the subject itself.

Side by side with the anti-critical skepticism of Aenesidemus-Schulze,
Salomon Maimon (died 1800; cf. Witte, 1876), who was highly esteemed by the
greatest philosophers of his time, represents critical skepticism. With
Reinhold he holds consciousness (as the combination of a manifold into
objective unity) to be the common root of sensibility and understanding,
and with Schulze, the concept of the thing in itself to be an imaginary or
irrational quantity, a thought that cannot be carried out; it is not only
unknowable, but unthinkable. That alone is knowable which we ourselves
produce, hence only the form of representation. The matter of
representation is "given," but this does not mean that it arises from the
action of the thing in itself, but only that we do not know its origin.
Understanding and sense, or spontaneity and receptivity, do not differ
generically, but only in degree, viz., as complete and incomplete
consciousness. Sensation is an incomplete consciousness, because we do not
know how its object arises.

By the removal of the thing in itself Aenesidemus-Schulze sought to refute
the Kantian theory and Maimon to improve it. Sigismund Beck (1761-1840), in
his _Only Possible Standpoint from which the Critical Philosophy must be
Judged_, 1796,[1] seeks by it to elucidate the Kantian theory, holding up
idealism as its true meaning. In opposition to the usual opinion that a
representation is true when it agrees with its object, he points to the
impossibility of comparing the one with the other. Of objects out of
consciousness we can know nothing; after the removal of all that is
subjective there is nothing positive left of the representation. Everything
in it is produced by us; the matter arises together with the form through
the "original synthesis."

[Footnote 1: This book forms the third volume of his _Expository Abridgment
of the Critical Writings of Professor Kant_; in the same year appeared the
_Outlines of the Critical Philosophy_. Cf. on Beck, Dilthey in the _Archiv
für Geschichte der Philosophie_, vol. ii., 1889, pp. 592-650.]

The last mentioned attempts to develop the Kantian philosophy were so far
surpassed by Fichte's great achievement that they have received from their
own age and from posterity a less grateful appreciation and remembrance
than was essentially their due. A phenomenon of a different sort, which is
also to be placed at the threshold between Kant and Fichte, but which forms
rather a supplement to the noëtics and ethics of the latter than a link in
the transition to them, has, on the contrary, gained an honorable position
in the memory of the German people, viz., Schiller's aesthetics.[1] In
its center stand the Kantian antithesis of sensibility and reason and
the reconciliation of the two sides of human nature brought about by its
occupation with the beautiful. Artistic activity or the play-impulse
mediates between the lower, sensuous matter-impulse and the higher,
rational form-impulse, and unites the, two in harmonious co-operation.
Where appetite seeks after satisfaction, and where the strict idea of duty
rules, there only half the man is occupied; neither lust nor moral worth is
beautiful. In order that beauty and grace may arise, the matter-impulse
and the form-impulse, or sensibility and reason, must manifest themselves
uniformly and in harmony. Only when he "plays" is man wholly and entirely
man; only through art is the development of humanity possible. The
discernment of the fact that the beautiful brings into equilibrium the two
fundamental impulses, one or the other of which preponderates in sensuous
desire and in moral volition, does not of itself decide the relative rank
of artistic and moral activity. The recognition of this mediating position
of art may be connected with the view that it forms a transitional stage
toward and a means of education for morality, as well as with the other,
that in it human nature attains its completion. Evidence of both views can
be found in Schiller's writings. At first he favors the Kantian moralism,
which admits nothing higher than the good will, and sets art the task
of educating men up to morality by ennobling their natural impulses.
Gradually, however, aesthetic activity changes in his view from a
preparation for morality into the ultimate goal of human endeavor. Peaceful
reconciliation is of more worth than the spirit's hardly gained victory
in the conflict with the sensibility; fine feeling is more than rational
volition; the highest ideal is the beautiful soul, in which inclination not
merely obeys the command of duty, but anticipates it.

[Footnote 1: The most important of Schiller's aesthetic essays are those
_On Grace and Dignity_, 1793; _On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry_, 1795-96;
and the _Letters on Aesthetic Education_, intermediate between them. Cf.
Kuno Fischer, _Schiller als Philosoph_, 1858, 2d ed. (_Schillerschriften_,
iii., iv.) 1891-92.]



Fichte is a Kantian in about the same sense that Plato was a Socratic.
Instead of taking up and developing particular critical problems he
makes the vivifying kernel, the soul of criticism, his own. With the
self-activity of reason (as a real force and as a problem) for his
fundamental idea, he outlines with magnificent boldness a new view of the
world, in which the idealism concealed in Kant's philosophy under the
shell of cautious limitations was roused into vigorous life, and the great
Königsberger's noble words on the freedom, the position, and the power of
the spirit translated from the language of sober foresight into that of
vigorous enthusiasm. The world can be understood only from the standpoint
of spirit, the spirit only from the will. The ego is pure activity, and all
reality its product. Fichte's system is all life and action: its aim is not
to mediate knowledge, but to summon the hearer and reader to the production
of a new and pregnant fundamental view, in which the will is as much
a participant as the understanding; it begins not with a concept or a
proposition, but with a demand for action (posit thyself; do consciously
what thou hast done unconsciously so often as thou hast called thyself I;
analyze, then, the act of self-consciousness, and cognize in their elements
the forces from which all reality proceeds); its God is not a completed
absolute substance, but a self-realizing world-order. This inner vivacity
of the Fichtean principle, which recalls the pure actuality of Aristotle's
[Greek: nous] and the ceaseless becoming of Heraclitus, finds its complete
parallel in the fact that, although he was wanting neither in logical
consecutiveness nor in the talent for luminous and popular exposition,
Fichte felt continually driven to express his ideas in new forms, and, just
when he seemed to have succeeded in saying what he meant with the greatest
clearness, again unsatisfied, to seek still more exact and evident
renderings for his fundamental position, which proved so difficult to

The author of the _Wissenschaftslehre_ was the son of a poor ribbon maker,
and was born at Rammenau in Lusatia in 1762. The talents of the boy induced
the Freiherr von Miltiz to give him the advantage of a good education.
Fichte attended school in Meissen and in Pforta, and was a student of
theology at the universities of Jena and Leipsic. While a tutor in Zurich
he made the acquaintance of Lavater and Pestalozzi, as well as of his
future wife, Johanna Rahn, a niece of Klopstock. Returning to Leipsic, his
whole mode of thought was revolutionized by the Kantian philosophy, in
which it was his duty to instruct a pupil. This gives to the mind, as his
letters confess, an inconceivable elevation above all earthly things. "I
have adopted a nobler morality, and, instead of occupying myself with
things without me, have been occupied more with myself." "I now believe
with all my heart in human freedom, and am convinced that only on this
supposition duty and virtue of any kind are possible." "I live in a new
world since I have read the _Critique of Practical Reason_. Things which
I believed never could be proved to me, _e.g._, the idea of an absolute
freedom and duty, have been proved, and I feel the happier for it. It is
inconceivable what reverence for humanity, what power this philosophy gives
us, what a blessing it is for an age in which the citadels of morality
had been destroyed, and the idea of duty blotted out from all the
dictionaries!" A journey to Warsaw, whither he had been attracted by the
expectation of securing a position as a private tutor, soon afforded him
the opportunity of visiting at Königsberg the author of the system which
had effected so radical a transformation in his convictions. His rapidly
written treatise, _Essay toward a Critique of All Revelation_, attained the
end to which its inception was due by gaining for its author a favorable
reception from the honored master. Kant secured for Fichte a tutor's
position in Dantzic, and a publisher for his maiden work. When this
appeared, at Easter, 1792, the name of its author was by oversight omitted
from the title page, together with the preface, which had been furnished
after the rest of the book; and as the anonymous work was universally
ascribed to Kant (whose religious philosophy was at this time eagerly
looked for), the young writer became famous at a stroke as soon as the
error was explained. A second edition was issued as early as the following

After his marriage in Zurich, where he had completed several political
treatises (the address, _Reclamation of the Freedom of Thought from the
Princes of Europe, who have hitherto suppressed it, Heliopolis in the Last
Year of the Old Darkness_, and the two _Hefte, Contributions toward the
Correction of the Public Judgment on the French Revolution_, 1793), Fichte
accepted, in 1794, a call to Jena, in place of Reinhold, who had gone to
Kiel, and whose popularity was soon exceeded by his own. The same year saw
the birth of the _Wissenschaftslehre_. His stay in Jena was embittered by
conflicts with the clergy, who took offense at his ethical lectures (_On
the Vocation of the Scholar_) held on Sunday mornings (though not at an
hour which interfered with church service), and with the students, who,
after they had been untrue to their decision--which they had formed as a
result of these lectures--to dissolve their societies or orders, gave vent
to their spite by repeatedly smashing the windows of Fichte's residence.
Accordingly he took leave of absence, and spent the summer of 1795 in
Osmannstädt. The years 1796-98, in which, besides the two _Introductions to
the Science of Knowledge_, the _Natural Right_ and the _Science of Ethics_
(one of the most all important works in German philosophical literature)
appeared, mark the culmination of Fichte's famous labors. The so-called
atheistic controversy[1] resulted in Fichte's departure from Jena. The
_Philosophisches Journal_, which since 1797 had been edited by Fichte in
association with Niethammer, had published an article by Magister Forberg,
rector at Saalfeld, entitled "The Development of the Concept of Religion,"
and as a conciliating introduction to this a short essay by Fichte, "On the
Ground of our Belief in a Divine Government of the World."[2] For this
it was confiscated by the Dresden government on the charge of containing
atheistical matter, while other courts were summoned to take like action.
In Weimar hopes were entertained of an amicable adjustment of the matter.
But when Fichte, after publishing two vindications[3] couched in vehement
language, had in a private letter uttered the threat that he would answer
with his resignation any censure proceeding from the University Senate, not
only was censure for indiscretion actually imposed, but his (threatened)
resignation accepted.

[Footnote 1: Cf. Karl August Hase, _Jenaisches Fichtebüchlein_, 1856.]

[Footnote 2: It is a mistake, Fichte writes here, referring to the
conclusion of Forberg's article ("Is there a God? It is and remains
uncertain," etc.), to say that it is doubtful whether there is a God or
not. That there is a moral order of the world, which assigns to each
rational individual his determined place and counts on his work, is most
certain, nay, it is the ground of all other certitude. The living and
operative moral order _(ordo ordinans)_ is itself God; we need no other
God, and can conceive no other. There is no ground in reason for going
beyond this world order to postulate a particular being as its cause.
Whoever ascribes personality and consciousness to this particular being
makes it finite; consciousness belongs only to the individual, limited ego.
And it is allowable to state this frankly and to beat down the prattle of
the schools, in order that the true religion of joyous well-doing may lift
up its head.]

[Footnote 3: _Appeal to the Public_, and _Formal Defense against the Charge
of Atheism_, 1799. The first of these maintains that Fichte's standpoint
and that of his opponents are related as duty and advantage, sensible and
suprasensible, and that the substantial God of his accusers, to be derived
from the sensibility, is, as personified fate, as the distributer of all
happiness and unhappiness to finite beings, a miserable fetich.]

Going to Berlin, Fichte found a friendly government, a numerous public for
his lectures, and a stimulating circle of friends in the romanticists, the
brothers Schlegel, Tieck, Schleiermacher, etc. In the first years of
his Berlin residence there appeared _The Vocation of Man. The Exclusive
Commercial State_, 1800; _The Sun-clear Report to the Larger Public on the
Essential Nature of the New Philosophy_, and the _Answer to Reinhold_,
1801. Three works, which were the outcome of his lectures and were
published in the year 1806 _(Characteristics of the Present Age, The Nature
of the Scholar, Way to the Blessed Life or Doctrine of Religion)_, form a
connected whole. In the summer of 1805 Fichte filled a professorship at
Erlangen, and later, after the outbreak of the war, he occupied for a short
time a chair at Königsberg, finding a permanent university position at the
foundation of the University of Berlin in 1810. His glowing _Addresses to
the German Nation_, 1808, which essentially aided in arousing the national
spirit, have caused his name to live as one of the greatest of orators
and most ardent of patriots in circles of the German people where his
philosophical importance cannot be understood. His death in 1814 was also a
result of unselfish labor in the service of the Fatherland. He succumbed to
a nervous fever contracted from his wife, who, with self-sacrifice equal
to his own, had shared in the care of the wounded, and who had brought the
contagion back with her from the hospital. On his monument is inscribed
the beautiful text, "The teachers shall shine as the brightness of the
firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars that
shine forever and ever." Forberg in his journal records this estimate: The
leading trait in Fichte's character is his absolute integrity. All his
words are weighty and important. His principles are stern and little
modified by affability. The spirit of his philosophy is proud and
courageous, one which does not so much lead as possess us and carry us
along. His philosophemes are inquiries in which we see the truth arise
before our eyes, and which just for this reason lay the foundations of
science and conviction.

The philosopher's son, Immanuel Hermann Fichte (his own name was Johann
Gottlieb), wrote a biography of his father (1830; 2d ed., 1862), and
supervised the publication of both the _Posthumous Works_ (1834-35, 3
vols.) and the _Collected Works_ (1845-46, 8 vols.). The simple and
luminous _Facts of Consciousness_ of 1811, or 1817 (not the lecture of 1813
with the same title), is especially valuable as an introduction to the
system. Among the many redactions of the _Wissenschaftslehre_, the
epoch-making _Foundation of the whole Science of Knowledge_, 1794, with
the two _Introductions to the Science of Knowledge_, 1797, takes the first
rank, while of the practical works the most important are the _Foundation
of Natural Right according to the Principles of the Science of Knowledge_,
1796, and the _System of the Science of Ethics according to the Principles
of the_ _Science of Knowledge_, 1798, and next to these the _Lectures on
the Theory of the State_, 1820 (delivered in 1813).[1]

[Footnote 1: At the same time as J.H. Löwe's book _Die Philosophie
Fichtes_, 1862, there appeared in celebration of the centenary of Fichte's
birthyear, or birthday, a large number of minor essays and addresses by
Friedrich Harms, A.L. Kym, Trendelenburg, Franz Hoffman, Karl Heyder, F.C.
Lott, Karl Köstlin, J.B. Meyer, and others (cf. Reichlin-Meldegg in vol.
xlii. of the _Zeitschrift für Philosophie_). Lasson has written, 1863, on
Fichte's relation to Church and state, Zeller on Fichte as a political
thinker (_Vorträge und Abhandlungen_, 1865), and F. Zimmer on his
philosophy of religion. Among foreign works we may note Adamson's _Fichte_,
1881, and the English translations of several of Fichte's works by Kroeger
[_Science of Knowledge_, 1868; _Science of Rights_, 1869--both also, 1889]
and William Smith [_Popular Writings_, 4th ed., 1889; also Everett's
_Fichte's Science of Knowledge_ (Griggs's Philosophical Classics, 1884),
and several translations in the _Journal of Speculative Philosophy_,
including one of _The Facts of Consciousness_.--TR.]]

%1. The Science of Knowledge.%

%(a) The Problem.%--In Fichte's judgment Kant did not succeed in carrying
through the transformation in thought which it was his aim to effect,
because the age did not understand the spirit of his philosophy. This
spirit, and with it the great service of Kant, consists in _transcendental
idealism_, which by the doctrine that objects conform themselves to
representations, not representations to objects, draws philosophy away from
external objects and leads it back into ourselves. We have followed the
letter, he thinks, instead of the spirit of Kant, and because of a few
passages with a dogmatic ring, whose references to a given matter, the
thing in itself, and the like, were intended only as preliminary, have
overlooked the numberless others in which the contrary is distinctly
maintained. Thus the interpreters of Kant, using their own prejudices as a
criterion, have read into him exactly that which he sought to refute, and
have made the destroyer of all dogmatism himself a dogmatist; thus in the
Kantianism of the Kantians there has sprung up a marvelous combination of
crude dogmatism and uncompromising idealism. Though such an absurd
mingling of entirely heterogeneous elements may be excused in the case of
interpreters and successors, who have had to construct for themselves the
guiding principle of the whole from their study of the critical writings,
yet we cannot assume it in the author of the system, unless we believe the
_Critique of Pure Reason_ the result of the strangest chance, and not the
work of intellect. Two men only, Beck, the teacher of the Standpoint, and
Jacobi, the clearest mind of the century, are to be mentioned with respect
as having risen above the confusion of the time to the perception that Kant
teaches idealism, that, according to him, the object is not given, but

Besides the perspicuity which would have prevented these misunderstandings,
Fichte misses something further in Kant's work. Considered as a system
Kant's expositions were incomplete; and, on his own confession, his aim
was not to furnish the science itself, but only the foundation and the
materials for it. Therefore, although the Kantian philosophy is established
as far as its inner content is concerned, there is still need of earnest
work to systematize the fragments and results which he gives into a firmly
connected and impregnable whole. The _Wissenschaftslehre_ takes this
completion of idealism for its mission. It cannot solve the problem by a
commentary on the Kantian writings, nor by the correction and addition of
particulars, but only by restoring the whole at a stroke. He alone finds
the truth who new creates it in himself, independently and in his own way.
Thus Fichte's system contains the same view of the matter as the critical
system--the author is aware, runs the preface to the programme, _On the
Concept of the Science of Knowledge_, 1794, "that he never will be able to
say anything at which Kant has not hinted, immediately or mediately,
more or less clearly, before him,"--but in his procedure he is entirely
independent of the Kantian exposition. We shall first raise the question,
What in the Kantian philosophy is in need of completion? and, secondly,
What method must be adopted in completing it?

Kant discusses the laws of intelligence when they are already applied to
objects, without enlightening us concerning the ground of these laws. He
derived the pure concepts (the laws of substantiality, of causality, etc.)
from (logic, and thus mediately from) experience instead of deducing
them from the nature of intelligence; similarly he never furnished
this deduction for the forms of intuition, space and time. In order to
understand that intelligence, and why intelligence, must act in just this
way (must think just by means of these categories), we must prove, and not
merely, with Kant, assert, that these functions or forms are really laws of
thought--or, what amounts to the same thing, that they are conditions of
self-consciousness. Again, even if it be granted that Kant has explained
the properties and relations of things (that they appear in space and time,
and that their accidents must be referred to substances), the question
still remains unanswered, Whence comes the matter which is taken up into
these forms? So long as the whole object is not made to arise before the
eyes of the thinker, dogmatism is not driven out of its last corner. The
thing in itself is, like the rest, only a thought in the ego. If thus
the antithesis between the form and the matter of cognition undergoes
modification, so, further, the allied distinction between understanding and
sensibility must, as Reinhold accurately recognized, be reduced to a common
principle and receptivity be conceived as self-limiting spontaneity. In
his practical philosophy also Kant left much unfinished. The categorical
imperative is susceptible of further deduction, it is not the principle
itself, but a conclusion from the true principle, from the injunction to
absolute _self-dependence on the part of reason_; moreover, the nature of
our consciousness of the moral law must be more thoroughly discussed, and
in order to gain a real, instead of a merely formal, ethics the relation of
this law to natural impulse. Finally, Kant never discussed the foundation
of philosophy as a whole, but always separated its theoretical from its
practical side, and Reinhold also did nothing to remove this dualism. In
short, some things that Kant only asserted or presupposed can and must be
proved, some that he kept distinct must be united. In what way are both to
be accomplished?

Since correct inferences from correct premises yield correct results, and
correct inference is easy to secure, everything depends on the correct
point of departure. If we neglect this and consider only the process and
the results of inference, there are two consistent systems: the dogmatic
or realistic course of thought, which seeks to derive representations from
things; and the idealistic, which, conversely, seeks to derive being from
thought. Now, no matter how consistently dogmatism may proceed (and when it
does so it becomes, like the system of Spinoza, materialism and fatalism or
determinism, maintaining that all is nature, and all goes on mechanically;
treats the spirit as a thing among others, and denies its metaphysical and
moral independence, its immateriality and freedom), it may be shown to
be false, because it starts from a false principle. Thought can never be
derived from being, because it is not contained therein; from being only
being can proceed, and never representation. Being, however, can be derived
from thought, for consciousness is also being; nay, it is more than this,
it is conscious being. And as consciousness contains both being and a
knowledge of this being, idealism is superior to realism, because idealism
includes the latter as a moment in itself, and hence can explain it, though
it is not explicable by it. Dogmatism makes the mistake of going beyond
consciousness or the ego, and working with empty, merely formal concepts. A
concept is empty when nothing actual corresponds to it, or no intuition
can be subsumed under it (here it is to be noted that, besides sensuous
intuition, there is an intellectual intuition also; an example is found in
the ego as a self-intuiting being). Philosophy, indeed, may abstract and
must abstract, must rise above that which is given--for how could she
explain life and particular knowledge if she assumed no higher standpoint
than her object?--but true abstraction is nothing other than the separation
of factors which in experience always present themselves together; it
analyzes empirical consciousness in order to reconstruct it from its
elements, it causes empirical consciousness to arise before our eyes, it
is a pragmatic _history of consciousness_. Such abstraction, undertaken in
order to a genetic consideration of the ego, does not go beyond experience,
but penetrates into the depths of experience, is not transcendent, but
transcendental, and, since it remains in close touch with that which is
intuitable, yields a real philosophy in contrast to all merely formal

These theoretical advantages of idealism are supplemented by momentous
reasons of a practical kind, which determine the choice between the two
systems, besides which none other is possible. The moral law says: Thou
shalt be self-dependent. If I ought to be so I must be able to be so; but
if I were matter I would not be able. Thus idealism proves itself to be the
ethical mode of thought, while the opposite mode shows that those who favor
it have not raised themselves to that independence of all that is external
which is morally enjoined, for in order to be able to know ourselves free
we must have made ourselves free.[1] Thus the philosophy which a man
chooses depends on what sort of a man he is. If, on the other hand, the
categorical imperative calls for belief in the reality of the external
world and of other minds, this is nothing against idealism. For idealism
does not deny the realism of life, but explains it as a necessary, though
not a final, mode of intuition. The dogmatic mode of thought is merely an
explanation from the standpoint of common consciousness, and for idealism,
as the only view which is both scientifically and practically satisfactory,
this explanation itself needs explaining. Realism and idealism, like
natural impulse and moral will in the sphere of action, are both grounded
in reason. But idealism is the true standpoint, because it is able to
comprehend and explain the opposing theory, while the converse is not the

[Footnote 1: Cf. O. Liebmann (_Ueber den individuellen Beweis für die
Freiheit des Willens p, 131. 1866)_ "Here we discover the noteworthy point
where theoretical and practical philosophy actually pass over into each
other. For this principle results: In order to carry out the individual
proof for the freedom of the will, I must do my duty."]

The nature, the goal, and the methods of the Science of Knowledge have now
been determined. It is genuine, thoroughgoing idealism, which raises the
Kantian philosophy to the rank of an evident science by deducing its
premises from a first principle which is immediately certain, and by
removing the twofold dualism of intuition and thought, of knowledge and
volition, viz., by proving both contraries acts of one and the same ego.
While Reinhold had sought a supreme truth as a fundamental principle of
unity, without which the doctrine of knowledge would lack the systematic
form essential to science, while Beck had interpreted the spirit of the
Kantian philosophy in an idealistic sense, and Jacobi had demanded the
elimination of the thing in itself, all these desires combined are
fulfilled in Fichte's doctrine, and at the same time the results of the
Critique of Reason are given that evidence which Aenesidemus-Schulze had
missed in them. As an answer to the question, "How is knowledge brought
about?" (as well the knowledge of common sense as that given in the
particular sciences), "how is experience possible?", and as a construction
of common consciousness as this manifests itself in life and in the
particular sciences, Fichteanism adopts the name _Science of Knowledge_,
being distinguished from the particular sciences by the fact that they
discuss the voluntary, and it the necessary, representations or actions of
the spirit. (The representation of a triangle or a circle is a free one, it
may be omitted; the representation of space in general is a necessary one,
from which it is impossible for us to abstract.) How does intelligence
come to have sensations, to intuit space and time, and to form just such
categories (thing and property, cause and effect, and not others quite
different)? While Kant correctly described these functions of the intuiting
and thinking spirit, and showed them actual, they must further be proven,
be shown necessary or deduced. Deduced whence? From the "deed-acts"
(_Thathandlungen_) of the ego which lie at the basis of all consciousness,
and the highest of which are formulated in three principles.

%(b) The Three Principles.%--At the portal of the Science of Knowledge we
are met not by an assertion, but by a summons--a summons to
self-contemplation. Think anything whatever and observe what thou dost,
and of necessity must do, in thinking. Thou wilt discover that thou dost
never think an object without thinking thyself therewith, that it is
absolutely impossible for thee to abstract from thine ego. And second,
consider what thou dost when thou dost think thine "ego." This means
to affirm or posit one's self, to be a subject-object. The nature of
self-consciousness is the identity of the representing [subject] and
the represented [object]. The pure ego is not a fact, but an original
doing, the act of being for self (_Fürsichsein_), and the (philosophical,
or--as seems to be the case according to some passages--even the common)
consciousness of this doing an intellectual intuition; through this we
become conscious of the deed-act which is ever (though unconsciously)
performing. This is the meaning of the first of the principles: "The _ego_
posits originally and absolutely its own being," or, more briefly: The ego
posits itself; more briefly still: I am. The nature of the ego consists in
positing itself as existing.[1] Since, besides this self-cogitation of
the ego, an op-position is found among the facts of empirical
consciousness (think only of the principle of contradiction), and yet,
besides the ego, there is nothing which could be opposed, we must assume
as a second principle: To the ego there is absolutely opposited
a _non-ego_. These two principles must be united, and this can be
accomplished only by positing the contraries (ego and non-ego), since they
are both in the ego, as reciprocally limiting or partially sublating
one another, that is, each as _divisible_ (capable of quantitative
determination). Accordingly the third principle runs: "The ego opposes in
the ego a divisible non-ego to the divisible ego." From these principles
Fichte deduces the three laws of thought, identity, contradiction, and
sufficient reason, and the three categories of quality--reality, negation,
and limitation or determination. Instead of following him in these labors,
we may emphasize the significance of his view of the ego as pure activity
without an underlying substratum, with which he carries dynamism over from
the Kantian philosophy of nature to metaphysics. We must not conceive the
ego as something which must exist before it can put forth its activities.
Doing is not a property or consequence of being, but being is an accident
and effect of doing. All substantiality is derivative, activity is primal;
_being arises from doing_. The ego is nothing more than self-position; it
exists not only for itself (_für sich_), but also through itself (_durch

[Footnote 1: The ego spoken of in the first of the principles, the ego as
the object of intellectual intuition and as the ground and creator of all
being, is, as the second _Introduction to the Science of Knowledge_ clearly
announces, not the individual, but the I-ness _(Ichheit)_ (which is to be
presupposed as the prius of the manifold of representation, and which is
exalted above the opposition of subject and object), mentality in general,
eternal reason, which is common to all and the same in all, which is
present in all thinking and at the basis thereof, and to which particular
persons stand related merely as accidents, as instruments, as special
expressions, destined more and more to lose themselves in the universal
form of reason. But, further still, a distinction must be made between the
absolute ego as intuition (as the form of I-ness), from which the Science
of Knowledge starts, and the ego as Idea (as the supreme goal of practical
endeavor) with which it ends. In neither is the ego conceived as
individual; in the former the I-ness is not yet determined to the point of
individuality, in the latter individuality has disappeared, Fichte is right
when he thinks it remarkable that "a system whose beginning and end and
whole nature is aimed at forgetfulness of individuality in the theoretical
sphere and denial of it in the practical sphere" should be "called egoism."
And yet not only opponents, but even adherents of Fichte, as is shown by
_Friedrich Schlegel's_ philosophy of genius, have, by confusing the pure
and the empirical ego, been guilty of the mistake thus censured. On the
philosophy of the romanticists cf. Erdmann's _History_, vol. ii. §§ 314,
315; Zeller, p. 562 _seq_.; and R. Haym, _Die Romantische Schule_, 1870.]

The actions expressed in the three principles are never found pure in
experience, nor do they represent isolated acts of the ego. Intelligence
can think nothing without thinking itself therewith; it is equally
impossible for it to think "I am" without at the same time thinking
something else which is not itself; subject and object are inseparable.
It is rather true that the acts of position described are one single,
all-inclusive act, which forms only the first member in a connected system
of pre-conscious actions, through which consciousness is produced, and the
complete investigation of whose members constitutes the further business of
the Science of Knowledge as a theory of the nature of reason. In this the
Science of Knowledge employs a method which, by its rhythm of analysis and
synthesis, development and reconciliation of opposites, became the model of
Hegel's dialectic method. The synthesis described in the third principle,
although it balances thesis and antithesis and unites them in itself, still
contains contrary elements, in order to whose combination a new synthesis
must be sought. In this, in turn, the analytic discovery and the synthetic
adjustment of a contrariety is repeated, etc., etc. The original synthesis,
moreover, prescribes a division of the inquiry into two parts, one
theoretical and the other practical. For it contains the following
principles: The ego posits itself as limited by the non-ego--it functions
cognitively; and: The ego posits itself as determining the non-ego--it
functions volitionally and actively.

%(c) The Theoretical Ego.%--In positing itself as determined by the
non-ego, the ego is at once passive (affected by something other than
itself) and active (it posits its own limitation). This is possible only as
it posits reality in itself only in part, and transfers to the non-ego so
much as it does not posit in itself. Passivity is diminished activity,
negation of the totality of reality. From reflection on this relation
between ego and non-ego spring the categories of reciprocal determination,
of causality (the non-ego as the cause of the passion of the ego), and
substantiality (this passion merely the self-limitation of the ego).
The conflict between the causality of the non-ego (by which the ego is
affected) and the substantiality of the ego (in which and the activity of
which all reality is contained) is resolved only by the assumption of two
activities (or, rather, of two opposite directions of one activity) in the
ego, one of which (centrifugal, expansive) strives infinitely outward while
the other (centripetal or contractile) sets a bound to the former, and
drives the ego back into itself, whereupon another excursus follows, and a
new limitation and return, etc. With every repetition of this double act
of production and reflection a special class of representations arises.
Through the first limitation of the in itself unlimited activity
"sensation" arises (as a product of the "productive imagination"). Because
the ego produces this unconsciously, it appears to be given, brought about
by influence from without. The second stage, "intuition," is reached when
the ego reflects on sensation, when it opposes to itself something foreign
which limits it. Thirdly, by reflection on intuition an "image" of that
which is intuited is constructed, and, as such, distinguished from a real
thing to which the image corresponds; at this point the categories and the
forms of intuition, space and time, appear, which thus arise along with
the object.[1] The fourth stadium is "understanding," which steadies the
fluctuating intuition into a concept, realizes the object, and looks upon
it as the cause of the intuition. Fifthly, "judgment" makes its appearance
as the faculty of free reflection and abstraction, or the power to consider
a definite content or to abstract from it. As judgment is itself the
condition of the bound reflection of the understanding, so it points in
turn to its condition, to the sixth and highest stage of intelligence,
"reason," by means of which we are able to abstract from all objects
whatever, while reason itself, pure self-consciousness, is that from
which abstraction is never possible. It is only in the highest stage that
consciousness or a representation of representation takes place. And at the
culmination of the theoretical ego the point of transition to the practical
ego appears. Here the ego becomes aware that in positing itself as
determined by the non-ego it has only limited itself, and therefore is
itself the ground of the whole content of consciousness; here it apprehends
itself as determining the non-ego or as acting, and recognizes as its chief
mission to impress the form of the ego as far as possible on the non-ego,
and ever to extend the boundary further.

[Footnote 1: The object is a product of the ego only for the observer, not
for the observed ego itself, to which, from this standpoint of imagination,
it appears rather as a thing in itself independent of the ego and affecting
it. Further, it must so appear, because the ego, in its after reflection
on its productive activity, and just by this reflection, transforms the
productive action considered into a fixed and independent product found

The "deduction of representation" whose outline has just been given was the
first example (often imitated in the school of Schelling and Hegel) of a
_constructive psychology_, which, from the mission or the concept of the
soul--in this case from the nature of self-consciousness--deduces the
various psychical functions as a system of actions, each of which is in
its place implied by the rest, as it in turn presupposes them. This is
distinguished from the sensationalistic psychology, which is also genetic
(cf. pp. 245-250), as well as from the mechanical or associational
psychology, which likewise excludes the idea of an isolated coexistence of
mental faculties, by the fact that it demands a new manifestation of the
soul-ground in order to the ascent from one member of the series to
the next higher. It is also distinguished from sensationalism by its
teleological point of view. For no matter how much Fichte, too, may speak
of the mechanism of consciousness, it is plain to the reader of the
theoretical part of his system not only that he makes this mechanism work
in the service of an end, but also that he finds its origin in purposive
activity of the ego; while the practical part gives further and decisive
confirmation of the fact. The danger and the defect of such a constructive
treatment of psychology--as we may at once remark for all later
attempts--lies in imagining that the task of mental science has been
accomplished and all its problems solved when each particular activity of
the ego has been assigned its mission and work for the whole, and its place
in the system, without any indication of the means through which this
destination can be fulfilled.

%(d) The Practical Ego.%--The deduction of representation has shown
how (through what unconscious acts of the ego) the different stages of
cognition, the three sensuous and the three intellectual functions of
representation, come into being. It has proved incapable, however, of
giving any account of the way in which the ego comes at one point to arrest
its activity, which tends infinitely outward, and to turn it back upon
itself. We know, indeed, that this first limitation, through which
sensation arises, and on which as a basis the understanding, by continued
reflection constructs the objective world, was necessary in order that
consciousness and knowledge might arise. If the ego did not limit its
infinite activity neither representation nor an objective world
would exist. But why, then, are there such things as consciousness,
representation, and a world? From the standpoint of the theoretical ego
this problem, "Whence the original non-ego or opposition (_Anstoss_),
which impels the ego back upon itself?" cannot be solved, since it is
only through the opposition that it itself arises. The "deduction of the
opposition," which the theoretical part of the Science of Knowledge did
not furnish, is to be looked for from the practical part. The primacy of
practical reason, already emphasized by Kant, gives us the answer: _The
ego_ limits itself and _is theoretical, in order to be practical_. The
whole machinery of representation and the represented world exists only to
furnish us the possibility of fulfilling our duty. We are intelligence in
order that we may be able to be will.

Action, action--that is the end of our existence. Action is giving form to
matter, it is the alteration or elaboration of an object, the conquest of
an impediment, of a limitation. We cannot act unless we have something
in, on, and against which to act. The world of sensation and intuition is
nothing but a means for attaining our ethical destiny, it is "the material
of our duty under the form of sense." The theoretical ego posits an
object (_Gegenstand_) that the practical ego may experience resistance
(_Widerstand_). No action is possible without a world as the object of
action; no world is possible without a consciousness which represents it;
no consciousness possible without reflection of the ego on itself; no
reflection without limitation, without an opposition or non-ego. The
_Anstoss_ is deduced. The ego posits a limit (is theoretical) in order (as
practical) to overcome it. Our duty is the only _per se (Ansich)_ of
the phenomenal world, the only truly real element in it: "Things are in
themselves that which we ought to make of them." Objectivity exists only to
be more and more sublated, that is, to be so worked up that the activity
of the ego may in it become evident.--The same ground of explanation which
reveals the necessity of an external nature enables us to understand why
the one infinite ego (the universal life or the Deity, as Fichte puts it in
his later works) divides into the many empirical egos or individuals, why
it does not carry out its plan immediately, but through finite spirits as
its organs. Action is possible only under the form of the individual, only
in individuals are consciousness and morality possible. Without resistance,
no action; without conflict, no morality. Individuality, it is true, is to
be overcome and destroyed in moral endeavor; but in order to this it must
have existed. Virtue is a conquest over external _and internal_ nature.

A gradation of practical functions corresponding to the series of
theoretical activities leads from feeling and striving (longing and
desire) through the system of impulses (the impulse to representation or
reflection, to production, to satisfaction) up to moral will or the impulse
to harmony with self, which stands opposed to the natural impulses as the
categorical imperative. The practical ego mediates between the theoretical
and the absolute ego. The ego ought to be infinite and self-dependent, but
finds itself finite and dependent on a non-ego--a contradiction which is
resolved by the ego becoming practical, by the fact that in ever increasing
measure it subdues nature to itself, and by such increasing extension
of the boundary draws nearer and ever nearer to the realization of its
destination, to become absolute ego.

%2. The Science of Ethics and of Right.%

The moral law demands the control of the sensuous impulse by the pure
impulse. If the former aims at comfortable ease and enjoyment, the
latter is directed toward satisfaction with one's self, to endeavor and
self-dependence. (Enjoyment is inevitable, it is true, as satisfaction
where any impulse whatever is carried out; only it must not form the end
of action.) Morality is activity for its own sake, the radical evil--from
which only a miracle can deliver us, but a miracle which we must ourselves
perform--is inertness, lack of will to rise above the natural
determinateness of the impulse of self-preservation to the clear
consciousness of duty and of freedom. For the moral man there is no
resting; each end attained becomes for him the impulse to renewed endeavor,
each task fulfilled leads him to a fresh one. Become self-dependent, act
autonomously, make thyself free; let every action have a place in a series,
in the continuation of which the ego must become independent. To this
formal and universal norm, again, there is added a special injunction for
each individual. Each individual spirit has its definite mission assigned
to it by the world-order: each ought to do that which it alone should and
can do. Always fulfill thy moral vocation, thy special destination.[1] Or
both in popular combination: Never act contrary to conscience.

[Footnote 1: Although Fichte was justly charged with surpassing even the
abstractness of the Kantian ethics with his bald moral principle, the
self-dependence of the ego, he deserves praise for having given ethics a
concrete content of indisputable soundness and utility by his introduction
of Jacobi's idea of purified individuality.]

The elevation to freedom is accomplished gradually. At first freedom
consists only in the consciousness of the natural impulse, then follows
a breaking away from this by means of maxims, which in the beginning
are maxims of individual happiness. Later on a blind enthusiasm for
self-dependence arises and produces an heroic spirit, which would rather be
generous than just, which bestows sympathy more readily than respect; true
morality, however, does not arise until, with constant attention to the law
and continued watchfulness of self, duty is done for its own sake. No man
is for a moment secure of his morality without continued endeavor. In order
to deliverance from the original sin of inertness and its train, cowardice
and falsity, men stand in need of examples, such as have been given them in
the founders of religions, to construe for them the riddle of freedom. The
necessary enlightenment concerning moral conviction is given by the Church,
whose symbols are not to be looked upon as dogmatic propositions, but only
as means for the proclamation of the eternal verities, and which, like the
state (for both are institutions based on necessity), has for its object to
make itself unnecessary as time goes on.

The system of duties distinguishes four classes of duties on the basis
of the twofold opposition of universal (non-transferable) and particular
(transferable) duties, and of unconditional duties (directed to the whole)
and conditional duties (directed toward self). These four classes are the
duties of self-preservation, of class, of non-interference with others,
and of vocation. The lower calling includes the producers, artisans, and
tradesmen, whose action terminates directly on nature; and the higher,
the scholars, teachers of the people or clergy, artists, and government
officials, who work directly on the community of rational beings. Fichte's
thoughtful and sympathetically written discussion of marriage is in
pleasant contrast to the bald, purely legal view of this relation adopted
by Kant.

_Natural right_ is for Fichte, as for Kant, whose theory of right,
moreover, appeared later than Fichte's, entirely independent of ethics,
and distinguished from the latter by its exclusive reference to external
conduct instead of to the disposition and the will. The rule of right gains
from the moral law, it is true, new sanction for conscience, but cannot be
derived from the law.--The concept of right is to be deduced as a necessary
act of the ego, _i.e._, to be shown a condition of self-consciousness. The
ego must posit itself as an individual, and can accomplish this only by
positing itself in a relation of right to other finite rational beings;
without a thou, no I. A finite rational being cannot posit itself without
ascribing to itself a free activity in an external sense-world; and it
cannot effect this latter unless (1) it ascribes free activity to other
beings as well, hence not without assuming other finite rational beings
outside itself, and positing itself as standing in _the relation of right_
to them; and unless (2) it ascribes to itself a material body and posits
this as standing under the influence of a person outside it. But, further,
Fichte considers it possible to deduce the particular constitution both of
the external world and of the human body (as the sphere of all free actions
possible to the person). In the former there must be present a tough,
durable matter capable of resistance, and light and air in order to the
possibility of intercourse between spirits; while the latter must be an
organized, articulated nature-product, furnished with senses, capable of
infinite determination, and adapted to all conceivable motions.

If a community of free beings, such as has been shown the condition of
individual self-consciousness, is to be possible, the following must hold
as the law of right: So limit thy freedom that others may be free along
with thee. This law is conditioned on the lawful behavior of others. Where
this is lacking, where my fellow does not recognize and treat me as a free,
rational being, the right of coercion comes in; coercion, however, is not
to be exercised by the individual himself--since then there would be no
guaranty either for its successful exercise or for the non-violation of the
legal limit--but devolves upon the state. The state takes its origin in
the common will of all to unite for the safeguarding of their rights, and
determines by positive laws (intermediate between the law of right and
legal judgments) what shall be considered rights. Thus there result three
subjects for natural right: original rights or the sum of that which
pertains to freedom or personality (inviolability of the body and of
property), the right of coercion, and political right. The aim of
punishment is the reform of the evil doer and the deterrence of others.
Fichte is in agreement with Kant concerning the principle of popular
sovereignty (Rousseau) and the exercise of the political power through
representatives; but not so concerning the guaranties against the violation
of the fundamental law of the state. Instead of the division of powers
recommended by Kant he demands supervision of the rulers of the state by
ephors, who, themselves without any legislative or executive authority,
shall suspend the rulers in case they violate the law, and call them to
account before the community. Every constitution in which the rulers
are not responsible is despotic. Fichte did not continue loyal to this
principle, that the state is merely a legal institution. He not only
demands a state organization of labor by which everyone shall be placed in
a position to live from his work, in the _Natural Right_ and the _Exclusive
Commercial State_, but, in his posthumous _Theory of Right_, 1812, he makes
it the chief duty of the state to lead men, by the moral and intellectual
training of the people, to do from insight what they have hitherto done
from traditional belief. Through the education of the people the empirical
state is gradually to transform itself into the rational state.

%3. Fichte's Second Period: his View of History and his Theory of

Fichte's transfer to Berlin brought him into more intimate contact with
the world, and along with new experiences and new emotions gave him new
problems. While a vigorously developing religious sentiment turned his
speculation to the relation of the individual ego to the primal source of
spiritual life, empirical reality also acquired greater significance for
him, and the intellectual, moral, and political situation of the time
especially attracted his attention. The last required philosophical
interpretation, demanded at once inquiry into its historical conditions and
a consideration of the means by which the glaring contradiction between
the condition of the nation at the time and the ideals of reason could be
diminished. The _Addresses to the German Nation_ outlined a plan for a
moral reformation of the world, to start with the education of the German
people;[1] while the _Characteristics of the Present Age_, which had
preceded the _Addresses_, defined the place of the age in the general
development of humanity. The scheme of historical periods given in
the _Characteristics_ and similarly in the _Theory of the State_
(innocence--sin--supremacy of reason, with intermediate stages between each
two) is interesting as a forerunner of Hegel's undertaking.

[Footnote 1: "Among all nations you are the one in whom the germ of human
perfection is most decidedly present." The spiritual regeneration of
mankind must proceed from the German people, for they are the one original
or primitive people of the new age, the only one which has preserved its
living language--French is a dead tongue--and has raised itself to true
creative poetry and free science. The ground of distinction between
Germanism and the foreign spirit lies in the question, whether we believe
in an original element in man, in the freedom, infinite perfectibility, and
eternal progress of our race, or put no faith in all these.]

History is produced through the interaction of the two principles, faith
and understanding, which are related to each other as law and freedom, and
strives toward a condition in which these two shall be so reconciled that
faith shall have entirely passed over into the form of understanding, shall
have been transformed into insight, and understanding shall have taken up
the content of faith into itself. History begins with the coming together
of two original and primitive races, one of order or faith, and one of
freedom or understanding, neither of which would attain to an historical
development apart from the other. From the legal race the free race learns
respect for the law, as in turn it arouses in the former the impulse toward
freedom. The course of history divides into five periods. In the state
of "innocence" or of rational instinct that which is rational is done
unconsciously, out of natural impulse; in the state of "commencing sin" the
instinct for the good changes into an external compulsory authority,
the law of reason appears as a ruling power from without, which can be
disobeyed as well as obeyed. We ourselves live in the period of "completed
sinfulness," of absolute license and indifference to all truth, of
unlimited caprice and selfishness. But however far removed from the moral
ideal this age appears, in which the individual, freed from all restraints,
heeds naught except his egoistic desire, and in his care for his own
welfare forgets to labor for the universal, yet this ultimate goal, this
doing from free insight that which in the beginning was done out of blind
faith, cannot be attained unless authority shall have first been shaken off
and the individual become self-dependent. A few signs already betoken
the dawn of the fourth era, that of rational science or of "commencing
justification," in which truth shall be acknowledged supreme, and the
individual ego, at least as cognitive, shall submit itself to the generic
reason. Finally, with the era of rational art, or the state of "completed
justification and sanctification," wherein the will of the individual shall
entirely merge in life for the race, the end of the life of humanity
on earth--the free determination of all its relations according to
reason--will be fulfilled.

In the Jena period the religious life of the ego simply coincided for
Fichte with its practical life; piety coincided with moral conduct; the
Deity with the absolute ego, with the moral law, with the moral order of
the world. A change subsequently took place in his views on this point.
He experienced feelings which, at least in quality, were distinct from
readiness for moral action, no matter how intimately they are intertwined
with this, and no matter how little they can actually be separated from
it; _religion_ is possible neither without a metaphysical belief in a
suprasensible world, nor without obedience to the moral law, yet in itself
it is not that belief nor this action, but the inner spirit which pervades
and animates all our thought and action--it is life, love, blessedness. And
as quiet blessedness is here distinguished from ceaseless action, so for
our thinker the inactive Deity, the self-identical life of the absolute,
separates from the active universal reason, which in its individual organs
advances from task to task. The earlier undivided and unique principle, the
absolute ego, divides into the _Ichheit_ (moral law, world-order), and an
absolute as the ground thereof. "The spirit (the ego, or, as Fichte now
prefers to say, knowledge) an image of God, the world an image of the
spirit." The active order of the world (the moral law which realizes
itself in individuals) the immediate, and objective reality the mediate,
revelation of the absolute!

Does this view of religion, which Fichte incorporates also in the later
expositions of the Science of Knowledge, indicate an abandonment and denial
of the earlier standpoint? The philosophy of Fichte's second period is a
new system--so judge the majority of the historians of philosophy. It is
not a transformation, but a completion of the earlier system; the doctrine
promulgated in Berlin continues to be idealistic, as that advanced in Jena
had itself been pantheistic--this is the opinion of Fortlage and Harms,
in agreement with the philosopher himself and with his son. Kuno Fischer,
also, who shows a constant advance in the development of Fichteanism, a
gradual transition "without a break," may be counted among the minority who
hold that throughout his life Fichte taught but one system. We believe it
our duty to adhere to this latter view. The Science of Knowledge (the world
a product of the ego) enters as it is into the later form of the Fichtean
philosophy; the latter gives up none of the fundamental positions of the
former, but only adds to it a culmination, by which the appearance of
the building is altered, it is true, but not the edifice itself. In the
discussion of the question the following three have been emphasized as
the most important points of distinction between the two periods: In the
earlier system God is made equivalent to the absolute ego and the moral
order of the world, in the later he is separated from these and removed
beyond them; in the former the nature of God is described as activity,
in the latter, as being; in the one, action is designated as the highest
mission of man, in the other, blessed devotion to God. All three variations
of the later doctrine from the earlier may be admitted without giving up
the position that the former is only an extension of the latter and not
an essential modification of it (_i.e._, in its teachings concerning the
relation of the ego and the world). Fichte experienced religious feelings
the philosophical outcome of which he worked into his system. He now knows
a first thing (the Deity as distinct from the absolute ego) and a last
thing (the inwardness of religious devotion to the world-ground), which he
had before not overlooked, much less denied, but combined in one with the
second (the absolute ego or the moral order of the world) and the one
before the last (moral action). It is incorrect to say that, in his later
doctrine, Fichte substituted the inactive absolute in place of the active
absolute ego, and the quiet blessedness of contemplation in place of
ceaseless action. Not in place of these, but beyond them, while all
else remains as it was. The categorical imperative, the absolute ego or
knowledge is no longer God himself, but the first manifestation of God,
though a necessary revelation of him. Religion had previously been included
for Fichte in moral action; now fellowship with God goes beyond this,
though morality remains its indispensable condition and inseparable
companion. Finally, how to construe the previously avoided predicate,
being, in relation to the Deity, is shown by the no less frequent
designation of the absolute as the "Universal Life." The expression being,
which it must be confessed is ambiguous, here signifies in our opinion only
the quiet, self-identical activity of the absolute, in opposition to the
unresting, changeful activity of the world-order and its finite organs, not
that inert and dead being posited by the ego, the ascription of which to
the Deity Fichte had forbidden in his essay which had been charged with
atheism, not to speak of the existence-mode of a particular self-conscious
and personal being. Instead of speaking of a conversion of Fichte to
the position of his opponents, we might rather venture the paradoxical
assertion, that, when he characterizes the absolute as the only true being,
he intends to produce the same view in the mind of the reader as in his
earlier years, when he expressed himself against the application of the
concepts existence, substance, and conscious personality to God, on the
ground that they are categories of sense. The chief thing, at least,
remains unaltered: the opposition to a view of religion which transforms
the sublime and sacred teaching of Christianity "into an enervating
doctrine of happiness."



Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph (von) Schelling was born January 27, 1775, at
Leonberg (in Würtemberg), and died August 20, 1854, at the baths of Ragatz
(in Switzerland). In 1790-95 he attended the seminary at Tübingen, in
company with Hölderlin and Hegel, who were five years older than himself;
at seventeen he published a dissertation on the Fall of Man, and a
year later an essay on Religious Myths; and was called in 1798 from
Leipsic--where, after several treatises[1] in explanation of the Science
of Knowledge, he had issued, in 1797, the _Ideas for a Philosophy of
Nature_--to Jena. In the latter place he became acquainted with his future
wife, Caroline,[2] _née_ Michaëlis (1763-1809), widow of Böhmer and at this
time the brilliant wife of August Wilhelm Schlegel. From 1803 to 1806 he
served as professor in Würzburg; then followed two residences of fourteen
years each in Munich, separated by seven years in Erlangen: 1806-20 as
Member of the Academy of Sciences and General Secretary of the Academy of
the Plastic Arts (he received this latter position after delivering on the
king's birthday his celebrated address on "The Relation of the Plastic
Arts to Nature," 1807); and 1827-41 as professor in the newly established
university, and President of the Academy of Sciences. In 1812 Schelling
married his second wife, Pauline Gotter. Besides various journals[3] and
the works to be noticed later, two polemic treatises should be mentioned,
the _Exposition of the True Relation of the Philosophy of Nature to the
Improved Doctrine of Fichte_, 1806, in which his former friend is charged
with plagiarism, and the _Memorial of the Treatise on Divine Things by Herr
Jacobi_, 1812, which answers a bitter attack of Jacobi still more bitterly.
From this on our philosopher, once so fond of writing, becomes silent.[4]
The often promised issue of the positive philosophy, which had already been
twice commenced in print (_The Ages of the World_, 1815; _Mythological
Lectures_, 1830), was both times suspended. Being called to the Berlin
Academy by Frederick William IV., in order to counterbalance the prevailing
Hegelianism, Schelling delivered lectures in the university also (on
Mythology and Revelation), which he ceased, however, when notes taken by
his hearers were printed without his consent.[5] His collected works were
published in fourteen volumes (1856-61) under the care of his son, K.E.A.

[Footnote 1: _On the Possibility of a Form of Philosophy in General_, _On
the Ego as Principle of Philosophy_, both in 1795; _Letters on Dogmatism
and Criticism_, 1796; _Essays in Explanation of the Science of Knowledge_,

[Footnote 2: _Karoline_, Letters, edited by G. Waitz, 1871.]

[Footnote 3: _Kritisches Journal der Philosophie_ (with Hegel), 1802;
_Zeitschrift für spekulative Physik_, 1800 (continued as _Neue Zeitschrift
für spekulative Physik_); _Jahrbücher der Medizin als Wissenschaft_ (with
Marcus), 1806-08; _Allgemeine Zeitschrift von Deutschen für Deutsche_,

[Footnote 4: Besides a supplement to _Die Weltalter_ and his inaugural
lecture at Berlin, he published only two prefaces, one to _Viktor Cousin
über französische und deutsche Philosophie_, done into German by Hubert
Beckers, 1834, and one to Steffens's _Nachgelassene Schriften_, 1846.]

[Footnote 5: Paulus, _Die endüch offenbar gewordene positive Philosophie
der Offenbarung_, 1843. Frauenstädt had previously published a sketch from
this later doctrine, 1842.]

[Footnote 6: On Schelling cf. the Lectures by K. Rosenkranz, 1843; the
articles by Heyder in vol. xiii. of Herzog's _Realencyclopädie für
protestantische Theologie_, 1860, and Jodl in the _Allgemeine deutsche
Biographie_; R. Haym, _Die romantische Schule_, 1870; _Aus Schellings
Leben, in Briefen_, edited by Plitt, 3 vols., 1869-70. [Cf. also Watson's
_Schelling's Transcendental Idealism_ (Griggs's Philosophical Classics,
1882); and several translations from Schelling in the _Journal of
Speculative Philosophy_.--TR.]]

The leading motive in Schelling's thinking is an unusually powerful fancy,
which gives to his philosophy a lively, stimulating, and attractive
character, without making it to a like degree logically satisfactory. If
the systems of Fichte and Hegel, which in their content are closely related
to Schelling's, impress us by their logical severity, Schelling chains us
by his lively intuition and his suggestive power of feeling his way into
the inner nature of things. With him analogies outweigh reasons; he is
more concerned about the rich content of concepts than about their sharp
definition; and in the endeavor to show the unity of the universe, both in
the great and in the little, especially to show the unity of nature and
spirit, he dwells longer on the relationship of objects than on their
antitheses, which he is glad to reduce to mere quantitative and temporary
differences. He adds to this an astonishing mobility of thought, in virtue
of which every offered suggestion is at once seized and worked into his own
system, though in this the previous standpoint is unconsciously exchanged
for a somewhat altered one. Schelling's philosophy is, therefore, in a
continual state of flux, nearly every work shows it in a new form, and it
is always ideas from without whose incorporation has caused the transition.
Besides Leibnitz, Kant, and Fichte, who were already familiar to Schelling
as a pupil at Tübingen, it was first Herder, then Spinoza and Bruno, who
exerted a transforming influence on his system, to be followed later by
Neoplatonism and Böhme's mysticism, and, finally, by Aristotle and
the Gnostics, not to speak of his intercourse with his contemporaries
Kielmeyer, Steffens, Baader, Eschenmayer, and others. Omitting his early
adherence to Fichte, at least three periods must be distinguished
in Schelling's thinking. The first period (1797-1800) includes the
epoch-making feat of his youth, the _philosophy of nature_, and, as an
equally legitimate second part of his system, the philosophy of spirit or
_transcendental philosophy_. The latter is a supplementary recasting of
Fichte's Science of Knowledge, while in the former Schelling follows Kant
and Herder. The second period, from 1801, adds to these two co-ordinate
parts, the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of spirit, and as a
fundamental discipline, a science of the absolute, the _philosophy of
identity_, which may be characterized as Spinozism revived on a Fichtean
basis. Besides the example of Spinoza, Giordano Bruno had most influence on
this form of Schelling's philosophy. With the year 1809, after the signs of
a new phase had become perceptible from 1804 on, his system enters on its
third, the theosophical, period, the period of the _positive philosophy_,
in which we shall distinguish a mystical and a scholastic stage. The former
is represented by the doctrine of freedom inspired by Jacob Böhme; the
latter, by the philosophy of mythology and revelation, which goes back to
Aristotle and the Gnostics. In the first period the absolute for Schelling
is creative nature; in the second, the identity of opposites; in the third
it is an antemundane process which advances from the not-yet-present of
the contraries to their overcoming. In neither of these advances is it
Schelling's intention to break with his previous teachings, but in each
case only to add a supplement. That which has hitherto been the whole is
retained as a part. The philosophy of nature takes its place beside the
completed Fichtean transcendental philosophy, with equal rights, though
with a reversed procedure; then the theory of identity assumes a place
above both; finally, a positive (existential) philosophy is added to the
previous negative (rational) philosophy.

%1a. Philosophy of Nature.%

Schelling agrees with Fichte that philosophy is transcendental science,
the doctrine of the conditions of consciousness, and has to answer the
question, What must take place in order that knowledge may arise? They
agree, further, that these conditions of knowledge are necessary acts,
outgoings of an active original ground which is not yet conscious self, but
seeks to become such, and that the material world is the product of these
actions. Nature exists in order that the ego may develop. But while Fichte
correctly understood the purpose of nature, to help intelligence into
being, he failed to recognize the dignity of nature, for he deprived it of

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