A History of Philosophy in Epitome Part 17

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The mind was individual, so long as it was interwoven with nature; it is consciousness or Ego when it has divested itself of nature. When distinguishing itself from nature, the mind withdraws itself into itself, and that with which it was formerly interwoven, and which gave it a peculiar (earthly, national, &c.) determination, stands now distinct from it, as its external world (earth, people, &c). The awaking of the Ego is thus the act by which the objective world, as such, is created; while on the other hand, the Ego awakens to a conscious subjectivity only _in_ the objective world, and in distinction from it.

The Ego, over against the objective world, is consciousness in the strict sense of the word. Consciousness becomes self-consciousness by pa.s.sing through the stages of immediate sensuous consciousness, perception, and understanding, and convincing itself in this its formative history, that it has only to do with itself, while it believed that it had to do with something objective. Again, self-consciousness becomes universal or rational self-consciousness, as follows: In its strivings to stamp the impress of the Ego upon the objective, and thus make the objective subjective, it falls in conflict with other self-consciousnesses, and begins a war of extermination against them, but rises from this _bellum omnium contra omnes_, as common consciousness, as the finding of the proper mean between command and obedience, _i. e._ as truly universal, _i. e._ rational self-consciousness. The rational self-consciousness is actually free, because, when related to another, it is really related to itself, and in all is still with itself; it has emanc.i.p.ated itself from nature. We have now mind as mind, divested of its naturalness and subjectivity, and as such, it is an object of _Pneumatology_.

Mind is at first theoretical mind, or intelligence, and then practical mind, or will. It is theoretical in that it has to do with the rational as something given, and now posits it as its own; it is practical in that it immediately wills the subjective content (truth), which it has as its own, to be freed from its one-sided subjective form, and transformed into an objective. The practical mind is, so far, the truth of the theoretical. The theoretical mind, in its way to the practical, pa.s.ses through the stages of intuition, representation, and thought; and the will on its side forms itself into a free will through impulse, desire, and inclination. The free will, as having a being in s.p.a.ce (_Daseyn_), is the _objective mind_, right, and the state. In right, morals and the state, the freedom and rationality, which are chosen by the will, take on an objective form. Every natural determination and impulse now becomes moralized, and comes up to view again as ethical inst.i.tute, as right and duty (the s.e.xual impulse now appears as marriage, and the impulse of revenge as civil punishment, &c.)

2. THE OBJECTIVE MIND.-(1.) The immediate objective being (_Daseyn_) of the free will is _the right_. The individual, so far as he is capable of rights, so far as he has rights and exercises them, is a person. The maxim of right is, therefore, be a person and have respect to other persons. The person allows himself an external sphere for his freedom, a substratum in which he can exercise his will: as property, possession.

As person I have the right of possession, the absolute right of appropriation, the right to cast my will over every thing, which thereby becomes mine. But there exist other persons besides myself. My right is, therefore, limited through the right of others. There thus arises a conflict between will and will, which is settled in a compact, in a common will. The relation of compact is the first step towards the state, but only the _first_ step, for if we should define the state as a compact of all with all, this would sink it in the category of private rights and private property. It does not depend upon the will of the individual whether he will live in the state or not. The relation of compact refers to private property. In a compact, therefore, two wills merge themselves in a common will, which as such becomes a right. But just here lies also the possibility of a conflict between the individual will and the right or the universal will. The separation of the two is a wrong (civil wrong, fraud, crime). This separation demands a reconciliation, a restoration of the right or the universal will from its momentary suppression or negation, by the particular will. The right restoring itself in respect of the particular will, and establishing a negation of the wrong, is punishment. Those theories, which found the right of punishment in some end of warning or improvement, mistake the essence of punishment. Threatening, warning, &c., are finite ends, _i.

e._ means, and moreover uncertain means: but an act of righteousness should not be made a means; righteousness is not exercised in order that any thing other than itself shall be gained. The fulfilment and self-manifestation of righteousness is absolute end, self-end. The particular views we have mentioned, can only be considered in reference to the mode of punishment. The punishment which is inflicted on a criminal, is _his_ right, _his_ rationality, _his_ law, beneath which he should be subsumed. His act comes back upon himself. Hegel also defends capital punishment whose abolition seemed to him as an untimely sentimentalism.

(2.) The removal of the opposition of the universal and particular will in the subject const.i.tutes _morality_. In morality the freedom of the will is carried forward to a self-determination of the subjectivity, and the abstract right becomes duty and virtue. The moral standpoint is the standpoint of conscience, it is the right of the subjective will, the right of a free ethical decision. In the consideration of strict right, it is no inquiry what my principle or my view might be, but in morality the question is at once directed towards the purpose and moving spring of the will. Hegel calls this standpoint of moral reflection and dutiful action for a reason-morality, in distinction from a substantial, unconditioned and unreflecting ethics. This standpoint has three elements; (1) the element of resolution (_vorsatz_), where we consider the inner determination of the acting subject, that which allows an act to be ascribed only to me, and the blame of it to rest only on my will (imputation); (2) the element of purpose, where the completed act is regarded not according to its consequences, but according to its relative worth in reference to myself. The resolution was still internal; but now the act is completed, and I must suffer myself to judge according to the const.i.tuents of the act, because I must have known the circ.u.mstances under which I acted; (3) the element of the good, where the act is judged according to its universal worth. The good is peculiarly the reconciliation of the particular subjective will with the universal will, or with the conception of the will; in other words, to will the rational is good. Opposed to this is evil, or the elevation of the subjective will against the universal, the attempt to set up the peculiar and individual choice as absolute; in other words, to will the irrational is evil.

(3.) In morality we had conscience and the abstract good (the good which ought to be) standing over against each other. The concrete ident.i.ty of the two, the union of subjective and objective good, is _ethics_. In the ethical the good has become actualized in an existing world, and a nature of self-consciousness.

The ethical mind is seen at first immediately, or in a natural form, as marriage and the _family_. Three elements meet together in marriage, which should not be separated, and which are so often and so wrongly isolated. Marriage is (1) a s.e.xual relation, and is founded upon a difference of s.e.x; it is, therefore, something other than Platonic love or monkish asceticism; (2) it is a civil contract; (3) it is love. Yet Hegel lays no great stress upon this subjective element in concluding upon marriage, for a reciprocal affection will spring up in the married life. It is more ethical when a determination to marry is first, and a definite personal affection follows afterwards, for marriage is most prominently duty. Hegel would, therefore, place the greatest obstacles in the way of a dissolution of marriage. He has also developed and described in other respects the family state with a profound ethical feeling.

Since the family becomes separated into a mult.i.tude of families, it is a _civil society_, in which the members, though still independent individuals, are bound in unity by their wants, by the const.i.tution of rights as a means of security for person and property, and by an outward administrative arrangement. Hegel distinguished the civil society from the state in opposition to most modern theorists upon the subject, who, regarding it as the great end of the state to give security of property and of personal freedom, reduced the state to a civil society. But on such a standpoint which would make the state wholly of wants and of rights, it is impossible, _e. g._ to conceive of war. On the ground of civil society each one stands for himself, is independent, and makes himself as end, while every thing else is a means for him. But the state, on the contrary, knows no independent individuals, each one of whom may regard and pursue only his own well-being; but in the state, the whole is the end, and the individual is the means.-For the administration of justice, Hegel, in opposition to those of our time who deny the right of legislation, would have written and intelligible laws, which should be within reach of every one; still farther, justice should be administered by a public trial by jury.-In respect of the organization of civil society, Hegel expresses a great preference for a corporation. Sanct.i.ty of marriage, he says, and honor in corporations, are the two elements around which the disorganization of civil society turns.

Civil society pa.s.ses over into the _state_ since the interest of the individual loses itself in the idea of an ethical whole. The state is the ethical idea actualized, it is the ethical mind as it rules over the action and knowledge of the individuals conceived in it. Finally the states themselves, since they appear as individuals in an attracting or repelling relation to each other, represent, in their destiny, in their rise and fall, the process of the _world's history_.

In his apprehension of the state, Hegel approached very near the ancient notion, which merged the individual and the right of individuality, wholly in the will of the state. He held fast to the omnipotence of the state in the ancient sense. Hence his resistance to modern liberalism, which would allow individuals to postulate, to criticize, and to will according to their improved knowledge. The state is with Hegel the rational and ethical substance in which the individual has to live, it is the existing reason to which the individual has to submit himself with a free view. He regarded a limited monarchy as the best form of government, after the manner of the English const.i.tution, to which Hegel was especially inclined, and in reference to which he uttered his well-known saying that the king was but the dot upon the i. There must be an individual, Hegel supposes, who can _affirm_ for the state, who can prefix an "_I will_" to the resolves of the state, and who can be the head of a formal decision. The personality of a state, he says, "is only actual as a person, as monarch." Hence Hegel defends hereditary monarchy, but he places the n.o.bility by its side as a mediating element between people and prince-not indeed to control or limit the government, nor to maintain the rights of the people, but only that the people may experience that there is a good rule, that, the consciousness of the people may be with the government and that the state may enter into the subjective consciousness of the people.

States and the minds of individual races pour their currents into the stream of the world's history. The strife, the victory, and the subjection of the spirits of individual races, and the pa.s.sing over of the world spirit from one people to another, is the content of the world's history. The development of the world's history is generally connected with some ruling race, which carries in itself the world spirit in its present stage of development, and in distinction from which the spirits of other races have no rights. Thus these race-spirits stand around the throne of the absolute spirit, as the executors of its actualization, as the witnesses and adornment of its glory.

3. THE ABSOLUTE MIND.-(1.) _aesthetics_. The absolute mind is immediately present to the sensuous intuition as the beautiful or as art. The beautiful is the appearance of the idea through a sensible medium (a crystal, color, tone, poetry); it is the idea actualized in the form of a limited phenomenon. To the beautiful (and to its subordinate kinds, the simply beautiful, the sublime, and the comical) two factors always belong, thought and matter; but both these are inseparable from each other; the matter is the outer phenomenon of the thought, and should express nothing but the thought which inspires it and shines through it.

The different ways in which matter and form are connected, furnish the different forms of art. In the symbolic form of art the matter preponderates; the thought presses through it, and brings out the ideal only with difficulty. In the cla.s.sic form of art, the ideal has attained its adequate existence in the matter; content and form are absolutely befitting each other. Lastly, in romantic art, the mind preponderates, and the matter is a mere appearance and sign through which the mind every where breaks out, and struggles up above the material. The system of particular arts is connected with the different forms of art; but the distinction of one particular art from another, depends especially upon the difference of the material.

(_a._) The beginning of art is _Architecture_. It belongs essentially to the symbolic form of art, since in it the sensible matter far preponderates, and it first seeks the true conformity between content and form. Its material is stone, which it fashions according to the laws of gravity. Hence it has the character of magnitude, of silent earnestness, of oriental sublimity.

(_b._) _Sculpture._-The material of this art is also stone, but it advances from the inorganic to the organic. It gives the stone a bodily form, and makes it only a serving vehicle of the thought. In sculpture, the material, the stone, since it represents the body, that building of the soul, in its clearness and beauty, disappears wholly in the ideal; there is nothing left of the material which does not serve the idea.

(_c._) _Painting._-This is preeminently a romantic art. It represents, as sculpture cannot do, the life of the soul, the look, the disposition, the heart. Its medium is no longer a coa.r.s.e material substratum, but the colored surface, and the soul-like play of light; it gives the _appearance_ only of complete s.p.a.cial dimension. Hence it is able to represent in a complete dramatic movement the whole scale of feelings, conditions of heart, and actions.

(_d._) _Music._-This leaves out all relation of s.p.a.ce. Its material is sound, the vibration of a sonorous body. It leaves, therefore, the field of sensuous intuition, and works exclusively upon the sensation. Its basis is the breast of the sensitive soul. Music is the most subjective art.

(_e._) Lastly in _Poetry_, or the speaking art, is the tongue of art loosed; poetry can represent every thing. Its material is not the mere sound, but the sound as word, as the sign of a representation, as the expression of reason. But this material cannot be formed at random, but only in verse according to certain rhythmical and musical laws. In poetry, all other arts return again; as epic, representing in a pleasing and extended narrative the figurative history of races, it corresponds to the plastic arts; as lyric, expressing some inner condition of soul, it corresponds to music; as dramatic poetry, exhibiting the struggles between characters acting out of directly opposite interests, it is the union of both these arts.

(2.) _Philosophy of Religion._-Poetry forms the transition from art to religion. In art the idea was present for the intuition, in religion it is present for the representation. The content of every religion is the reconciliation of the finite with the infinite, of the subject with G.o.d.

All religions seek a union of the divine and the human. This was done in the crudest form by

(_a._) The natural religions of the oriental world. G.o.d is, with them, but a power of nature, a substance of nature, in comparison with which the finite and the individual disappear as nothing.

(_b._) A higher idea of G.o.d is attained by the religions of spiritual individuality, in which the divine is looked upon as subject,-as an exalted subjectivity, full of power and wisdom in Judaism, the religion of sublimity; as a circle of plastic divine forms in the Grecian religion, the religion of beauty; as an absolute end of the state in the Roman religion, the religion of the understanding or of design.

(_c._) The revealed or Christian religion first establishes a positive reconciliation between G.o.d and the world, by beholding the actual unity of the divine and the human in the person of Christ, the G.o.d-man, and apprehending G.o.d as triune, _i. e._ as Himself, as incarnate, and as returning from this incarnation to Himself. The intellectual content of revealed religion, or of Christianity, is thus the same as that of speculative philosophy; the only difference being, that in the one case the content is represented in the form of the representation, in the form of a history; while, in the other, it appears in the form of the conception. Stripped of its form of religious representation, we have now the standpoint of

(3.) _The Absolute Philosophy_, or the thought knowing itself as all truth, and reproducing the whole natural and intellectual universe from itself, having the system of philosophy for its development-a closed circle of circles.

With Hegel closes the history of philosophy. The philosophical developments which have succeeded him, and which are partly a carrying out of his system, and partly the attempt to lay a new basis for philosophy, belong to the present, and not yet to history.


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A History of Philosophy in Epitome Part 17 summary

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