A History of Philosophy in Epitome Part 16

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The great want of Sch.e.l.ling's philosophizing, was its inability to furnish a suitable form for the philosophic content. Sch.e.l.ling went through the list of all methods, and at last abandoned all. But this absence of method into which he ultimately sank, contradicted the very principle of his philosophizing. If thought and being are identical, yet form and content cannot be indifferent in respect to each other. On the standpoint of absolute knowledge, there must be found for the absolute content an absolute form, which shall be identical with the content.

This is the position a.s.sumed by _Hegel_. Hegel has fused the content of Sch.e.l.ling's philosophy by means of the _absolute method_. Hegel sprang as truly from Fichte as from Sch.e.l.ling; the origin of his system is found in both. His method is essentially that of Fichte, but his general philosophical standpoint is Sch.e.l.ling's. He has combined both Fichte and Sch.e.l.ling.

Hegel has himself, in his "_Phenomenology_," the first work in which he appeared as a philosopher on his own hook, having previously been considered as an adherent of Sch.e.l.ling-clearly expressed his difference from Sch.e.l.ling, which he comprehensively affirms in the following three hits (_Schlagworte_):-In Sch.e.l.ling's philosophy, the absolute is, as it were, shot out of a pistol; it is only the night in which every cow looks black; when it is widened to a system, it is like the course of a painter, who has on his palette but two colors, red and green, and who would cover a surface with the former when a historical piece was demanded, and with the latter when a landscape was required. The first of these charges refers to the mode of attaining the idea of the absolute, viz., immediately, through intellectual intuition; this leap Hegel changes, in his _Phenomenology_, to a regular transit, proceeding step by step. The second charge relates to the way in which the absolute thus gained is conceived and expressed, viz., simply as the absence of all finite distinctions, and not as the immanent positing of a system of distinctions within itself. Hegel declares that every thing depends upon apprehending and expressing the true not as substance (_i. e._ as negation of determinateness), but as subject (as a positing and producing of finite distinction). The third charge has to do with Sch.e.l.ling's manner of carrying out his principle through the concrete content of the facts given in the natural and intellectual worlds, viz., by the application of a ready-made schema (the opposition of the ideal and the real) to the objects, instead of suffering them to unfold and separate themselves from themselves. The school of Sch.e.l.ling was especially given to this schematizing formalism, and that which Hegel remarks, in the introduction to his _Phenomenology_, may very well be applied to it: "If the formalism of a philosophy of nature should happen to teach that the understanding is electricity, or that the animate is nitrogen, the inexperienced might look upon such instructions with deep amazement, and perhaps revere them as displaying the marks of profound genius. But the trick of such a wisdom is as readily learned as it is easily practised; its repet.i.tion is as insufferable as the repet.i.tion of a discovered feat of legerdemain. This method of affixing to every thing heavenly and earthly, to all natural and intellectual forms, the two determinations of the universal scheme, makes the universe like a grocer's shop, in which a row of closed jars stand with their labels pasted on them."

The point, therefore, of greatest difference between Sch.e.l.ling and Hegel is their philosophical method, and this at the same time forms the bond of close connection which unites Hegel with Fichte. Thesis, ant.i.thesis, synthesis-this was the method by which Fichte had sought to deduce all being from the Ego, and in precisely the same way Hegel deduces all being-the intellectual and natural universe-from the thought, only with this difference, that with him that which was idealistically deduced had at the same time an objective reality. While the practical idealism of Fichte stood related to the objective world as a producer, and the ordinary empiricism as a beholder, yet with Hegel the speculative (conceiving) reason is at the same time productive and beholding. I produce (for myself) that which is (in itself) without my producing. The result of philosophy, says Hegel, is the thought which is by itself, and which comprehends in itself the universe, and changes it into an intelligent world. To raise all being to being in the consciousness, to knowledge, is the problem and the goal of philozophizing, and this goal is reached when the mind has become able to beget the whole objective world from itself.

In his first great work, the "_Phenomenology of the Mind_," Hegel sought to establish the standpoint of absolute knowledge or absolute idealism.

He furnishes in this work a history of the phenomenal consciousness (whence its t.i.tle), a development of the formative epochs of the consciousness in its progress to philosophical knowledge. The inner development of consciousness consists in this, viz., that the peculiar condition in which it finds itself becomes objectified (or conscious), and through this knowledge of its own being the consciousness rises ever a new step to a higher condition. The "_Phenomenology_" seeks to show how, and out of what necessity the consciousness advances from step to step, from reality to being _per se_ (_vom Ansich zum Fursich_), from being to knowledge. The author begins with the immediate consciousness as the lowest step. He ent.i.tled this section: "_The Sensuous Certainty, or the This and the Mine_." At this stage the question is asked the Ego: what is _this_, or what is _here_? and it answers, _e. g._ the tree; and to the question, what is _now_? it answers now is the night. But if we turn ourselves around, _here_ is not a tree but a house; and if we write down the second answer, and look at it again after a little time, we find that _now_ is no longer night but mid-day. The _this_ becomes, therefore, a not-this, _i. e._ a universal. And very naturally; for if I say: this piece of paper, yet each and every paper is a this piece of paper, and I have only said the universal. By such inner dialectics the whole field of the immediate certainty of the sense in perception is gone over. In this way-since every formative step (every form) of the consciousness of the philosophizing subject is involved in contradictions, and is carried by this immanent dialectics to a higher form of consciousness-this process of development goes on till the contradiction is destroyed, _i. e._ till all strangeness between subject and object disappears, and the mind rises to a perfect self-knowledge and self-certainty. To characterize briefly the different steps of this process, we might say that the consciousness is first found as a certainty of the sense, or as the _this_ and the _mine_; next as perception, which apprehends the objective as a thing with its properties; and then as understanding, _i. e._ apprehending the objects as being reflected in itself, or distinguishing between power and expression, being and manifestation, outer and inner. From this point the consciousness, which has only recognized itself, its own pure being in its objects and their determinations, and for which therefore every other thing than itself has, as such, no significance, becomes the self-like Ego, and rises to the truth and certainty of itself to self-consciousness. The self-consciousness become universal, or as reason, now traverses also a series of development-steps, until it manifests itself as spirit, as the reason which, in accord with all rationality, and satisfied with the rational world without, extends itself over the natural and intellectual universe as _its_ kingdom, in which it finds itself at home. Mind now pa.s.ses through its stages of unconstrained morality, culture and refinement, ethics and the ethical view of the world to religion; and religion itself in its perfection, as revealed religion becomes absolute knowledge. At this last stage being and thought are no more separate, being is no longer an object for the thought, but the thought itself is the object of the thought. Science is nothing other than the true knowledge of the mind concerning itself. In the conclusion of the "_Phenomenology_," Hegel casts the following retrospect on the course which he has laid down: "The goal which is to be reached, viz., absolute knowledge, or the mind knowing itself as mind, requires us to take notice of minds as they are in themselves, and the organization of their kingdom. These elements are preserved, and furnished to us either by history, where we look at the side of the mind's free existence as it accidentally appears, or by the science of phenomenal knowledge, where we look at the side of the mind's ideal organization. These two sources taken together, as the ideal history, give us the real history and the true being of the absolute spirit, the actuality, truth, and certainty of his throne, without which he were lifeless and alone; only 'from the cup of this kingdom of minds does there stream forth for him his infinity.'"



_George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel_ was born at Stuttgart, the 27th of August, 1770. In his eighteenth year he entered the university of Tubingen, in order to devote himself to the study of theology. During his course of study here, he attracted no marked attention; Sch.e.l.ling, who was his junior in years, shone far beyond all his contemporaries.

After leaving Tubingen, he took a situation as private tutor, first in Switzerland, and afterwards in Frankfort-on-the-Main till 1801, when he settled down at Jena. At first he was regarded as a disciple, and defender of Sch.e.l.ling's philosophy, and as such he wrote in 1801 his first minor treatise on the "_Difference between Fichte and Sch.e.l.ling_."

Soon afterwards he became a.s.sociated with Sch.e.l.ling in publishing the "_Critical Journal of Philosophy_," 1802-3, for which he furnished a number of important articles. His labors as an academical teacher met at first with but little encouragement; he gave his first lecture to only four hearers. Yet in 1806 he became professor in the university, though the political catastrophe in which the country was soon afterwards involved, deprived him again of the place. Amid the cannon's thunder of the battle of Jena he finished "_the Phenomenology of the Mind_," his first great and independent work, the crown of his Jena labors. He was subsequently in the habit of calling this book which appeared in 1807, his "voyage of discovery." From Jena, Hegel for want of the means of subsistence went to Bamberg, where for two years he was editor of a political journal published there. In the fall of 1808, he became rector of the gymnasium at Nuremberg. In this situation he wrote his _Logic_, 1812-16. All his works were produced slowly, and he first properly began his literary activity as Sch.e.l.ling finished his. In 1816, he received a call to a professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg, where in 1817 he published his "_Encyclopaedia of the philosophical sciences_," in which for the first time he showed the whole circuit of his system. But his peculiar fame, and his far-reaching activity, dates first from his call to Berlin in 1818. It was at Berlin that he surrounded himself with an extensive and very actively scientific school, and where through his connection with the Prussian government he gained a political influence and acquired a reputation for his philosophy, as _the_ philosophy of the State, though this neither speaks favorably for its inner purity, nor its moral credit. Yet in his "_Philosophy of Rights_," which appeared in 1821 (a time, to be sure, when the Prussian State had not yet shown any decidedly anti-const.i.tutional tendency), Hegel does not deny the political demands of the present age; he declares in favor of popular representation, freedom of the press, and publicity of judicial proceedings, trial by jury, and an administrative independence of corporations.

In Berlin, Hegel gave lectures upon almost every branch of philosophy, and these have been published by his disciples and friends after his death. His manner as a lecturer was stammering, clumsy, and unadorned, but was still not without a peculiar attraction as the immediate expression of profound thoughtfulness. His social intercourse was more with the uncultivated than with the learned; he was not fond of shining as a genius in social circles. In 1829 he became rector of the university, an office which he administered in a more practical manner than Fichte had done. Hegel died with the cholera, Nov. 14th, 1831, the day also of Leibnitz's death. He rests in the same churchyard with Solger and Fichte, near by the latter, and not far from the former. His writings and lectures form seventeen volumes which have appeared since 1882: Vol. I. Minor Articles; II. Phenomenology; III-V. Logic; VI.-VII.

Encyclopaedia; VIII. Philosophy of Rights; IX. Philosophy of History; X.

aesthetics; XI.-XII. Philosophy of Religion; XIII.-XV. History of Philosophy; XVI.-XVII. Miscellanies. His life has been written by Rosenkranz.

Hegel's system may be divided in a number of ways. The best mode is by connecting it with Sch.e.l.ling. Sch.e.l.lings's absolute was the ident.i.ty or the indifference point of the ideal and the real. From this Hegel's threefold division immediately follows. (1) The exposition of the indifference point, the development of the pure conceptions or determinations in thought, which lie at the basis of all natural and intellectual life; in other words, the logical unfolding of the absolute,-_the science of logic_. (2) The development of the real world or of nature-_natural philosophy_. (3) The development of the ideal world, or of mind as it shows itself concretely in right, morals, the state, art, religion, and science.-_Philosophy of Mind_. These three parts of the system represent the three elements of the absolute method, thesis, ant.i.thesis, synthesis. The absolute is at first pure, and immaterial thought; secondly, it is differentiation (_Andersseyn_) of the pure thought or its diremption (_Verzerrung_) in s.p.a.ce and time-nature; thirdly, it returns from this self-estrangement to itself, destroys the differentiation of nature, and thus becomes actual self-knowing thought or mind.

I. SCIENCE OF LOGIC.-The Hegelian logic is the scientific exposition and development of the pure conceptions of reason, those conceptions or categories which lie at the basis of all thought and being, and which determine the subjective knowledge as truly as they form the indwelling soul of the objective reality; in a word, those ideas in which the ideal and the real have their point of coincidence. The domain of logic, says Hegel, is the truth, as it is _per se_ in its native character. It is as Hegel himself figuratively expresses it, the representation of G.o.d as he is in his eternal being, before the creation of the world or a finite mind. In this respect it is, to be sure, a domain of shadows; but these shadows are, on the other hand, those simple essences freed from all sensuous matters, in whose diamond net the whole universe is constructed.

Different philosophers had already made a thankworthy beginning towards collecting and examining the pure conceptions of the reason, as Aristotle in his categories, Wolff in his ontology, and Kant in his transcendental a.n.a.lytics. But they had neither completely collected, nor critically sifted, nor (Kant excepted) derived them from one principle, but had only taken them up empirically, and treated them lexicologically. But in opposition to this course, Hegel attempted, (1) to completely collect the pure art-conceptions; (2) to critically sift them (_i. e._ to exclude every thing but pure thought); and (3)-which is the most characteristic peculiarity of the Hegelian logic-to derive these dialectically from one another, and carry them out to an internally connected system of pure reason. Hegel starts with the view, that in every conception of the reason, every other is contained _implicite_, and may be dialectically developed from it. Fichte had already claimed that the reason must deduce the whole system of knowledge purely from itself, without any thing taken for granted; that some principle must be sought which should be of itself certain, and need no farther proof, and from which every thing else could be derived.

Hegel holds fast to this thought. Starting from the simplest conception of reason, that of pure being, which needs no farther establishing, he seeks from this, by advancing from one conception ever to another and a richer one, to deduce the whole system of the pure knowledge of reason.

The lever of this development is the dialectical method.

Hegel's dialectical method is partly taken from Plato, and partly from Fichte. The conception of negation is Platonic. All negation, says Hegel, is position, affirmation. If a conception is negated, the result is not the pure nothing-a pure negative, but a concrete positive; there results a new conception which extends around the negation of the preceding one. The negation of the one _e. g._ is the conception of the many. In this way Hegel makes negation a vehicle for dialectical progress. Every presupposed conception is denied, and from its negation a higher and richer conception is gained. This is connected with the method of Fichte, which posits a fundamental synthesis; and by a.n.a.lyzing this, seeks its ant.i.theses, and then unites again these ant.i.theses through a second synthesis,-_e. g._ being, nothing, becoming, quality, quant.i.ty, measure, &c. This method, which is at the same time a.n.a.lytical and synthetical, Hegel has carried through the whole system of science.

We now proceed to a brief survey of the Hegelian Logic. It is divided into three parts; the doctrine of _being_, the doctrine of _essence_, and the doctrine of _conception_.

1. THE DOCTRINE OF BEING. (1.) _Quality._-Science begins with the immediate and indeterminate conception of _being_. This, in its want of content and emptiness, is nothing more than a pure negation, a _nothing_. These two conceptions are thus as absolutely identical as they are absolutely opposed; each of the two disappears immediately in its contrary. This oscillation of the two is the pure _becoming_, which, if it be a transition from nothing to being, we call _arising_, or, in the reverse case, we call it a _departing_. The still and simple precipitate of this process of arising and departing, is _existence_ (_Daseyn_). Existence is being with a determinateness, or it is _quality_; more closely, it is _reality_ or limited existence. Limited existence excludes every other from itself. This reference to itself, which is seen through its negative relation to every other, we call being _per se_ (_Fursichseyn_). Being _per se_ which refers itself only to itself, and repels every other from itself, is _the one_. But, by means of this repelling, the one posits immediately _many_ ones. But the many ones are not distinguished from each other. One is what the other is. The many are therefore one. But the one is just as truly the manifold. For its exclusion is the positing of its contrary, or it posits itself thereby as manifold. By this dialectic of _attraction_ and _repulsion_, quality pa.s.ses over into quant.i.ty: for indifference in respect of distinction or qualitative determinateness is _quant.i.ty_.

(2.) _Quant.i.ty._-Quant.i.ty is determination of greatness, which, as such, is indifferent in respect of quality. In so far as the _greatness_ contains many ones distinguishably within itself, it is a _discrete_, or has the element of _discretion_; but on the other hand, in so far as the many ones are similar, and the greatness is thus indistinguishable, it is _continuous_, or has the element of _continuity_. Each of these two determinations is at the same time identical with the other; discretion cannot be conceived without continuity, nor continuity without discretion. The existence of quant.i.ty, or the limited quant.i.ty, is the _quantum_. The quantum has also manifoldness and unity in itself; it is the enumeration of the unities, _i. e._ _number_. Corresponding to the quantum or the extensive greatness, is the intensive greatness or _the degree_. With the conception of degree, so far as degree is simple determinateness, quant.i.ty approaches quality again. The unity of quant.i.ty and quality is _the measure_.

(3.) _The measure_ is a qualitative quantum, a quantum on which the quality is dependent. An example of quant.i.ty determining the quality of a definite object is found in the temperature of water, which decides whether the water shall remain water or turn to ice or steam. Here the quantum of heat actually const.i.tutes the quality of the water. Quality and quant.i.ty are, therefore, ideal determinations, perpetually turning around _on_ one being, on a _third_, which, is distinguished from the immediate what and how much (quality and quant.i.ty) of a thing. This third is the _essence_, which is the negation of every thing immediate, or quality independent of the immediate being. Essence is being in se, being divided in itself, a self-separation of being. Hence the twofoldness of all determinations of essence.

2. THE DOCTRINE OF ESSENCE. (1.) _The Essence as such._ The essence as reflected being is the reference to itself only as it is a reference to something other. We apply to this being the term reflected a.n.a.logously with the reflection of light, which, when it falls on a mirror, is thrown back by it. As now the reflected light is, through its reference to another object, something mediated or posited, so the reflected being is that which is shown to be mediated or grounded through another. From the fact that philosophy makes its problem to know the essence of things, the immediate being of things is represented as a covering or curtain behind which the essence is concealed. If, therefore, we speak of the essence of an object, the immediate being standing over against the essence (for without this the essence cannot be conceived), is set down to a mere negative, to an _appearance_. The being appears in the essence. The essence is, therefore, the being as _appearance in itself_.

The essence when conceived in distinction from the appearance, gives the conception of the _essential_, and that which only appears in the essence, is the essenceless, or the _unessential_. But since the essential has a being only in distinction from the unessential, it follows that the latter is essential to the former, which needs its unessential just as much as the unessential needs it. Each of the two, therefore, appears in the other, or there takes place between them a reciprocal reference which we call _reflection_. We have, therefore, to do in this whole sphere with determinations of reflection, with determinations, each one of which refers to the other, and cannot be conceived without it (_e. g._ positive and negative, ground and sequence, thing and properties, content and form, power and expression).

We have, therefore, in the development of the essence, those same determinations which we found in the development of being, only no longer in an immediate, but in a reflected form. Instead of being and nothing, we have now the forms of the positive and negative; instead of the there-existent (_Daseyn_), we now have existence.

Essence is reflected being, a reference to itself, which, however, is mediated through a reference to something other which appears in it.

This reflected reference to itself we call _ident.i.ty_ (which is unsatisfactorily and abstractly expressed in the so-called first principle of thought, that A = A). This ident.i.ty, as a negativity referring itself to itself, as a repulsion of its own from itself, contains essentially the determination of _distinction_. The immediate and external distinction is the _difference_. The essential distinction, the distinction in itself, is the _ant.i.thesis_ (_positive and negative_). The self-opposition of the essence is the _contradiction_.

The ant.i.thesis of ident.i.ty and distinction is put in agreement in the conception of the ground. Since now the essence distinguishes itself from itself, there is the essence as identical with itself or the _ground_, and the essence as distinguished from itself or the _sequence_. In the category of ground and sequence the same thing, _i.

e._ the essence, is twice posited; the grounded and the ground are one and the same content, which makes it difficult to define the ground except through the sequence, or the sequence except through the ground.

The two can, therefore, be divided only by a powerful abstraction; but because the two are identical, it is peculiarly a formalism to apply this category. If reflection would inquire after a ground, it is because it would see the thing as it were in a twofold relation, once in its immediateness, and then as posited through a ground.

(2.) _Essence and Phenomenon._-The _phenomenon_ is the appearance which the essence fills, and which is hence no longer essenceless. There is no appearance without essence, and no essence which may not enter into phenomenon. It is one and the same content which at one time is taken as essence, and at another as phenomenon. In the phenomenal essence we recognize the positive element which has. .h.i.therto been called ground, but which we now name _content_, and the negative element which we call the _form_. Every essence is a unity of content and form, _i. e._ _it exists_. In distinction from immediate being, we call that being which has proceeded from some ground, _existence_, _i. e._ grounded being.

When we view the essence as existing, we call it _thing_. In the relation of a thing to its _properties_ we have a repet.i.tion of the relation of form and content. The properties show us the thing in respect of its form, but it is thing in respect of its content. The relation between the thing and its properties is commonly indicated by the verb _to have_ (_e. g._ the thing _has_ properties), in order to distinguish between the two. The essence as a negative reference to itself, and as repelling itself from itself in order to a reflection in an _alterum_, is _power_ and _expression_. In this category, like all the other categories of essence, one and the same content is posited twice. The power can only be explained from the expression, and the expression only from the power; consequently every explanation of which this category avails itself, is tautological. To regard power as uncognizable, is only a self-deception of the understanding respecting its own doing.-A higher expression for the category of power and expression is the category of _inner_ and _outer_. The latter category stands higher than the former, because power needs some solicitation to express itself, but the inner is the essence spontaneously manifesting itself. Both of these, the inner and the outer, are also identical; neither is without the other. That, _e. g._ which the man is internally in respect of his character, is he also externally in his action. The truth of this relation will be, therefore, the ident.i.ty of inner and outer, of essence and phenomenon, viz.:

(3.) _Actuality._-Actuality must be added as a _third_ to being and existence. In the actuality, the phenomenon is a complete and adequate manifestation of the essence. The true actuality is, therefore (in opposition to _possibility_ and _contingency_), a necessary being, a rational _necessity_. The well-known Hegelian sentence that every thing is rational, and every thing rational is actual, is seen in this apprehension of "actuality" to be a simple tautology. The necessary, when posited as its own ground, identical with itself, is _substance_.

The phenomenal side, the unessential in the substance, and the contingent in the necessary, are _accidences_. These are no longer related to the substance, as the phenomenon to the essence, or the outer to the inner, _i. e._ as an adequate manifestation; they are only transitory affections of the substance, accidentally changing phenomenal forms, like sea waves on the water of the sea. They are not produced by the substance, but are rather destroyed in it. The relation of substance leads to the relation of _cause_. In the relation of cause there is one and the same thing posited on the one side as _cause_, and on the other side as _effect_. The cause of warmth is warmth, and its effect is again warmth. The effect is a higher conception than the accidence, since it actually stands over against the cause, and the cause itself pa.s.ses over into effect. So far, however, as each side in the relation of cause presupposes the other, we shall find the true relation one in which each side is at the same time cause and effect, _i. e._ _reciprocal action_.

Reciprocal action is a higher relation than causality, because there is no pure causality. There is no effect without counteraction. We leave the province of essence with the category of reciprocal action. All the categories of essence had shown themselves as a duplex of two sides, but when we come to the category of reciprocal action, the opposition between cause and effect is destroyed, and they meet together; unity thus takes again the place of duplicity. We have, therefore, again a being which coincides with mediate being. This unity of being and essence, this inner or realized necessity, is the conception.

3. THE DOCTRINE OF THE CONCEPTION.-A conception is a rational necessity.

We can only have a conception of that whose true necessity we have recognized. The conception is, therefore, the truly actual, the peculiar essence; because it states as well that which is actual as that which should be.

(1.) _The subjective conception_ contains the elements of _universality_ (the conception of species), _particularity_ (ground of cla.s.sification, logical difference), and _individuality_ (species-logical difference).

The conception is therefore a unity of that which is distinct. The self-separation of the conception is the _judgment_. In the judgment, the conception appears as self-excluding duality. The twofoldness is seen in the difference between subject and predicate, and the unity in the copula. Progress in the different forms of judgment, consists in this, viz., that the copula fills itself more and more with the conception. But thus the judgment pa.s.ses over into the _conclusion_ or inference, _i. e._ to the conception which is identical with itself through the conception. In the inference one conception is concluded with a third through a second. The different figures of the conclusion are the different steps in the self-mediation of the conception. The conception is when it mediates itself with itself and the conclusion is no longer subjective; it is no longer my act, but an objective relation is fulfilled in it.

(2.) _Objectivity_ is a reality _only_ of the conception. The objective conception has three steps,-_Mechanism_, or the indifferent relation of objects to each other; _Chemism_, or the interpenetration of objects and their neutralization; _Teleology_, or the inner design of objects. The end accomplishing itself or the self-end is,

(3.) _The idea._-The idea is the highest logical definition of the absolute. The immediate existence of the idea, we call _life_, or process of life. Every thing living is self-end immanent-end. The idea posited in its difference as a relation of objective and subjective, is the _true_ and _good_. The true is the objective rationality subjectively posited; the good is the subjective rationality carried into the objectivity. Both conceptions together const.i.tute the _absolute idea_, which is just as truly as it _should_ be, _i. e._ the good is just as truly actualized as the true is living and self-realizing.

The absolute and full idea _is in s.p.a.ce_, because it discharges itself from itself, as its reflection; this its being in s.p.a.ce is _Nature_.

II. THE SCIENCE OF NATURE.-Nature is the idea in the form of differentiation. It is the idea externalizing itself; it is the mind estranged from itself. The unity of the conception is therefore concealed in nature, and since philosophy makes it its problem to seek out the intelligence which is hidden in nature, and to pursue the process by which nature loses its own character and becomes mind, it should not forget that the essence of nature consists in being which has externalized itself, and that the products of nature neither have a reference to themselves, nor correspond to the conception, but grow up in unrestrained and unbridled contingency. Nature is a baccha.n.a.lian G.o.d who neither bridles nor checks himself. It therefore represents no ideal succession, rising ever in regular order, but, on the contrary, it every where obliterates all essential limits by its doubtful structures, which always defy every fixed cla.s.sification. Because it is impossible to throw the determinations of the conception over nature, natural philosophy is forced at every point, as it were, to capitulate between the world of concrete individual structures, and the regulative of the speculative idea.

Natural philosophy has its beginning, its course, and its end. It begins with the first or immediate determination of nature, with the abstract universality of its being _extra se_, s.p.a.ce and matter; its end is the dissevering of the mind from nature in the form of a rational and self-conscious individuality-man; the problem which it has to solve is, to show the intermediate link between these two extremes, and to follow out successively the increasingly successful struggles of nature to raise itself to self-consciousness, to man. In this process, nature pa.s.ses through three princ.i.p.al stages.

1. MECHANICS, or matter and an ideal system of matter. Matter is the being _extra se_ (_Aussersichseyn_) of nature, in its most universal form. Yet it shows at the outset that tendency to being _per se_ which forms the guiding thread of natural philosophy-gravity. Gravity is the being _in se_ (_Insichseyn_) of matter; it is the desire of matter to come to itself, and shows the first trace of subjectivity. The centre of gravity of a body is _the one_ which it seeks. This same tendency of bringing all the manifold unto being _per se_ lies at the basis of the solar system and of universal gravitation. The centrality which is the fundamental conception of gravity, becomes here a system, which is in fact a rational system so far as the form of the orbit, the rapidity of motion, or the time of revolution may be referred to mathematical laws.

2. PHYSICS.-But matter possesses no individuality. Even in astronomy it is not the bodies themselves, but only their geometrical relations which interest us. We have here at the outset to treat of quant.i.tative and not yet of qualitative determinations. Yet in the solar system, matter has found its centre, itself. Its abstract and hollow being _in se_ has resolved itself into form. Matter now, as possessing a quality, is an object of _physics_. In physics we have to do with matter which has particularized itself in a body, in an individuality. To this province belongs inorganic nature, its forms and reciprocal references.

3. ORGANICS.-Inorganic nature, which was the object of physics, destroys itself in the chemical process. In the chemical process, the inorganic body loses all its properties (cohesion, color, shining, sound, transparency, &c.), and thus shows the evanescence of its existence and that relativity which is its being. This chemical process is overcome by the organic, the living process of nature. True, the living body is ever on the point of pa.s.sing over to the chemical process; oxygen, hydrogen and salt, are always entering into a living organism, but their chemical action is always overcome; the living body resists the chemical process till it dies. Life is self-preservation, self-end. While therefore nature in physics had risen to individuality, in organics, it progresses to subjectivity. The idea, as life, represents itself in three stages.

(1.) The general image of life in _geological_ organism, or the _mineral kingdom_. Yet the mineral kingdom is the result, and the residuum of a process of life and formation already pa.s.sed. The primitive rock is the stiffened crystal of life, and the geological earth is a giant corpse.

The present life which produces itself eternally anew, breaks forth as the first moving of subjectivity,

(2.) In the organism of _plants_ or the _vegetable kingdom_. The plant rises indeed to a formative process, to a process of a.s.similation, and to a process of species. But it is not yet a totality perfectly organized in itself. Each part of the plant is the whole individual, each twig is the whole tree. The parts are related indifferently to each other; the crown can become a root, and the root a crown. The plant, therefore, does not yet attain a true being _in se_ of individuality; for, in order that this may be attained, an absolute unity of the individual is necessary. This unity, which const.i.tutes an individual and concrete subjectivity, is first seen in

(3.) The _animal_ organism, the _animal kingdom_. An uninterrupted intus-susception, free motion and sensation, are first found in the animal organism. In its higher forms we find an inner warmth and a voice. In its highest form, man, nature, or rather the spirit, which works through nature, apprehends itself as conscious individuality, as Ego. The spirit thus become a free and rational self, has now completed its self-emanc.i.p.ation from nature.

III. PHILOSOPHY OF MIND.-1. THE SUBJECTIVE MIND.-The mind is the truth of nature; it is being removed from its estrangement, and become identical with itself. Its formal essence, therefore, is freedom, the possibility of abstracting itself from every thing else; its material essence is the capacity of manifesting itself as mind, as a conscious rationality,-of positing the intellectual universe as its kingdom, and of building a structure of objective rationality. In order, however, to know itself, and every thing rational,-in order to posit nature more and more negatively, the mind, like nature, must pa.s.s through a series of stages or emanc.i.p.ative acts. As it comes from nature and rises from its externality to being, _per se_, it is at first soul or spirit of nature, and as such, it is an object of _anthropology_ in a strict sense. As this spirit of nature, it sympathizes with the general planetary life of the earth, and is in this respect subject to diversity of climate, and change of seasons and days; it sympathizes with the geographical portion of the world which it occupies, _i. e._, it is related to a diversity of race; still farther, it bears a national type, and is moreover determined by mode of life, formation of the body, &c., while these natural conditions work also upon its intelligent and moral character.

Lastly, we must here take notice of the way in which nature has determined the individual subject, _i. e._ his natural temperament, character, idiosyncrasy, &c. To this belong the natural changes of life, age, s.e.xual relation, sleep, and waking. In all this the mind is still buried in nature, and this middle condition between being _per se_ and the sleep of nature, is sensation, the hollow forming of the mind in its unconscious and unenlightened (_verstandlos_) individuality. A higher stage of sensation is feeling, _i. e._ sensation _in se_, where being _per se_ appears; feeling in its completed form is self-feeling. Since the subject, in self-feeling, is buried in the peculiarity of his sensations, but at the same time concludes himself with himself, as a subjective one, the self-feeling is seen to be the preliminary step to consciousness. The Ego now appears as the shaft in which all these sensations, representations, cognitions and thoughts are preserved, which is with them all, and const.i.tutes the centre in which they all come together. The mind as conscious, as a conscious being _per se_, as Ego, is the object of the _phenomenology_ of consciousness.

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A History of Philosophy in Epitome Part 16 summary

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